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Early Intervention Programmes

Volume 511: debated on Wednesday 9 June 2010

13. Whether he has had recent discussions with third sector organisations on the financing of early intervention programmes; and if he will make a statement. (1354)

I salute the hon. Gentleman’s pioneering work in that area, and he will know that the voluntary and community sector can be a very helpful provider of early intervention services that reduce the drivers of demand on the state. I shall be in contact with my colleagues in all relevant Departments about any future policy developments on early intervention, and about how the Office for Civil Society can contribute.

I welcome the Minister to his place. Will he meet me and a Treasury Minister to discuss how we can release the bonds on the voluntary and charitable sectors so that they can raise money in the City of London in order to pursue early intervention through social investment bonds? Will he agree to meet me?

I can certainly speak for myself and agree to meet the hon. Gentleman. He will know about the interesting work on social impact bonds, which bring in private capital for investment in early intervention and involve payment by results. That will be an important part of the future.

Does the Minister agree that voluntary organisations are preferable to state organisations when providing early intervention?

I am sure that that is the experience of most colleagues in the House—if they have been to visit social enterprises or community organisations and seen the extraordinary work that they can do and the different relationships that they can have with the people whom they are trying to help.

There was some very helpful co-operation there from a Government Back Bencher, the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone), and indeed, I pay tribute to the Minister on the Front Bench for responding in such a pithy and, I hope I can say, timely fashion. The House will be very grateful and will join me in thanking both the hon. Member for Wellingborough and, indeed, the Minister in his response from the Front Bench.

I ask the House to stand and to observe one minute’s silence in memory of those who lost their lives in west Cumbria a week ago today.

The House observed a one-minute silence.