Skip to main content

Written Statements

Volume 567: debated on Tuesday 10 September 2013

Written Statements

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Communities and Local Government

Parish Council Payments

I am pleased to announce that the Government intend to reform the burdensome rule requiring all parish council cheques and other orders for the payment of money to be signed by two councillors. We consulted on this reform last year and received over 500 replies. Of these 78% were in favour of the reform, including the key national accountancy and audit organisations concerned.

We propose to implement the reform by a legislative reform order under the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006. The order will apply to parish councils and charter trustees in England and community councils in Wales. The order will be laid in draft, accompanied by an explanatory document, as required by the 2006 Act.

The Government place great importance on maintaining a strong system of financial control for parish councils to safeguard the public money they are responsible for against fraud and other losses. We intend the outcome of this reform to be not only the freeing of the councils to use modern methods of payment more efficiently, but also a more effective control framework than the two signature rule on its own provides.

We have worked closely with representatives of the sector and their auditors to ensure such a framework is in place before the two signature rule has been removed. We will be doing further work with them in the coming weeks to finalise the arrangements. I will then lay the draft order and the explanatory document at the earliest opportunity, when both Houses are sitting. The explanatory document will summarise the responses to the consultation and set out the agreed control framework.

Troubled Families Programme

I am pleased to update hon. Members on the progress of the troubled families programme. The latest information shows that this groundbreaking programme has successfully turned around the lives of nearly 14,000 of England’s toughest families in just 15 months.

This Government have set out an ambitious goal of turning around the lives of 120,000 troubled families in England by the end of this Parliament: getting children back into school; cutting youth crime and antisocial behaviour across the whole family; getting adults into work; and reducing the estimated £9 billion per year that these families cost the taxpayer. Full details of the Government’s payment by results framework for troubled families can be found on my Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-troubled-families-programme-financial-framework.

Up to the end of July 2013, upper-tier local authorities have reported that they have turned around nearly 14,000 troubled families. The figure represents a sevenfold increase from January which means children are back in school for at least three terms where they were previously playing truant or excluded; high levels of youth crime and antisocial behaviour are down over at least six months; and adults are getting off benefits and into work for at least three months.

The tough and sustained outcomes which this programme demands mean that it can take in excess of a year to achieve these results and claim success.

Considering the often long-standing and deep-seated nature of these families’ problems and the inherent time lags in these results, the progress achieved in such a short space of time is a huge achievement and a testament to the hard work of colleagues in local government and the workers who directly helped the families.

In June 2012, I announced that all 152 upper-tier local authorities had signed up to deliver the troubled families programme and, for most, this started with the substantial task of identifying the families most in need of intervention. As of the end of June 2013, they had identified over 80,000 troubled families who will be targeted for intervention by the programme. Of these families, nearly 50,000 families are already being worked with—up from 35,000 in March. This represents a significant increase in the pace and scale of work with troubled families across England.

The figures from local authorities on progress within the first 15 months of the Government’s troubled families programme have been collated from the latest quarterly returns submitted to DCLG’s troubled families team from all 152 upper-tier local authorities in England. I am grateful to local authorities for providing us with these figures. Full details of these returns can be found on my Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/troubled-families-progress-information-at-30-june-2013-and-families-turned-around-at-29-july-2013.

I am arranging for copies of this information and the details of the payments by results framework to be placed in the Library of the House.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Gangmasters Licensing Authority

Today I am announcing a triennial review of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA). Triennial reviews of non-departmental public bodies are part of the Government’s commitment to ensuring accountability in public life.

The GLA was set up in 2005 to protect workers from exploitation. Since that time the organisation has been subject to a number of reviews, most recently through the employment theme of the Government’s red tape challenge process. Through previous reviews the Government have determined that the role of the GLA remains important and that operating as an NDPB is an appropriate structure for its delivery. This triennial review provides an opportunity to examine and confirm those conclusions where appropriate and to focus on ensuring that the governance arrangements of GLA are as effective as possible, in line with best practice for public bodies.

This review will be conducted in accordance with Government guidance for reviewing non-departmental public bodies. The review will be carried out in an open and transparent way and interested stakeholders will be given the opportunity to feed in their views. I will announce the findings of the review later in 2013-14.

Further information, including the terms of reference for the review, is available on the Government website.

Marine Management Organisation

Today I am launching a triennial review of the Marine Management Organisation. The Marine Management Organisation was set up in 2010 to make a significant contribution to sustainable development in the marine area, and to promote the UK Government’s vision for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas.

Triennial reviews of non-departmental public bodies are part of the Government’s commitment to ensuring accountability in public life.

This review will be conducted in accordance with Government guidance for reviewing non-departmental public bodies. The review will be carried out in an open and inclusive way and interested stakeholders will be given the opportunity to feed in their views. I will announce the findings of the review early in 2014.

Further information on the review is available on the Government website.

Health

NHS Winter Planning

Today the Government can announce their plans for winter and the allocation of £250 million funding to NHS England. This money will be distributed by NHS England to the areas that need it most in 2013-14, working with Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA). This follows the Prime Minister’s announcement in August that A&E departments will benefit from an additional £500 million over the next two years to address seasonal pressures.

It is important to provide the NHS with greater support during the winter period, particularly at a time when the scale of the challenge facing the NHS and wider health and care system is becoming increasingly clear. It is essential that even when demand is at its highest, patients get the excellent support they need and rightly expect. Emergency admissions have risen by 32% over the last decade and our main priority is to make sure the NHS can cope with this increasing pressure, not only this winter but also for the future.

As in previous years, a robust monitoring process will be in place from the beginning of November until the end of February and data will be available online to local organisations to support their management and co-ordination.

NHS England, Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority have been working jointly to determine where this funding will make the greatest impact and make a demonstrable difference to patients. The funding will be targeted in the following way:

£15 million towards securing a reliable NHS 111 service throughout the winter period;

subject to completion of current scrutiny of plans, a total provisional amount of £221 million for the 53 high-risk systems; and

a small contingency of £14 million for use for final settlements for trusts to use in the winter.

Indicative amounts have been allocated, subject to change, to the following trusts outlined as follows:

Region

System as Identified by NHSTrust/NHS Foundation Trust

Provisional Amounts(£000s)

London

Barking, Havering & Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust

£7,000

London

Barnet & Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust

£5,120

London

Barts Health NHS Trust

£12,800

London

Croydon Health Services NHS Trust

£4,500

London

Ealing Hospital NHS Trust

£2,900

London

North Middlesex University Hospital Trust

£3,800

London

North West London Hospitals NHS Trust

£6,400

London

South London Healthcare NHS Trust

£7,700

London

Whittington Health NHS Trust

£2,960

London

West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust

£2,300

Midlands and East

Basildon and Thurrock NHS FT

£2,490

Midlands and East

Bedford Hospital NHS Trust

£3,734

Midlands and East

Derby Hospitals NHS FT

£4,487

Midlands and East

Heart Of England NHS FT

£9,289

Midlands and East

Kettering General Hospital NHS FT

£3,919

Midlands and East

Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust

£2,869

Midlands and East

Mid Staffordshire NHS FT

£3,747

Midlands and East

Milton Keynes Hospital NHS FT

£2,763

Midlands and East

Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust

£4,000

Midlands and East

Peterborough and Stamford NHS FT

£5,050

Midlands and East

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust

£4,218

Midlands and East

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust

£4,000

Midlands and East

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn. NHS FT

£3,990

Midlands and East

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust

£5,700

Midlands and East

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

£8,000

Midlands and East

University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust

£4,000

Midlands and East

University Hospital Of North Staffordshire NHS Trust

£3,460

Midlands and East

University Hospitals Of Leicester NHS Trust

£10,000

Midlands and East

Worcester Acute Hospitals Trust

£1,000

North

Aintree University Hospital NHS FT

£1,520

North

Airdale NHS FT

£1,450

North

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

£1,403

North

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS FT

£914

North

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

£1,890

North

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS FT

£1,044

North

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

£2,292

North

Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

£4,042

North

Stockport NHS FT

£1,530

North

Tameside Hospital NHS FT

£2,475

North

University Hospitals Of Morecambe Bay NHS FT

£1,257

North

York Teaching Hospital NHS FT

£2,061

South

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust

£2,326

South

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust

£4,080

South

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

£2,300

South

Hampshire Hospitals NHS FT

£3,302

South

Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS FT

£6,644

South

Medway NHS FT

£6,120

South

North Bristol NHS Trust

£5,900

South

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust

£10,207

South

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

£5,500

South

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

£1,427

The additional allocation will require an increase to the revenue budget for NHS England for 2013-14, as specified in the mandate. This revision to the mandate will be laid before Parliament in due course1.

One of the avoidable pressures on the NHS is flu. On average around 750,000 patients see their GP with flu symptoms and nearly 5,000 people die each year. Flu levels have been relatively low over the past two years but this does not mean they will not go up this year. And if cases of flu do increase, the pressure on A&Es will also increase. The best way for people at risk from flu to protect themselves, their families and—in the case of NHS staff—their patient is to get the flu vaccine.

For the first time, young children aged two and three will be offered the innovative nasal spray vaccine to protect them against flu. Young children’s close contact with each other means they are likely to transmit the virus to other more vulnerable groups—including infants and the elderly.

Front-line health care workers, by the very nature of their jobs, deal with people who are unwell every day and on average, around 27,000 people spend time in hospital with flu every year. NHS staff can play an important role in not picking up the flu virus and passing it on to other patients who are often people who are already poorly and vulnerable to infection by simply having the flu vaccine. Less than half of front-line NHS staff get vaccinated against flu, and in some hospitals this figure drops to fewer than one in five. This is why we want to significantly boost the number of health care workers getting the flu vaccine to 75%. Trusts will not be eligible to receive a portion of the money in future years if they do not vaccinate 75% of their staff this year, except in exceptional circumstances where they can prove to the TDA, Monitor and NHS England that they have robust plans in place to ensure they meet this ambitious target the following year.

1The mandate is the document published annually by the Secretary of State under section 13A of the National Health Service Act 2006, specifying for NHS England its objectives and revenue and capital budgets.

Home Department

Police Use of Taser Statistics

I am today publishing the statistics on police use of Taser in England and Wales for the period 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2011. These show that:

Total police use of Taser has increased year on year from 2009 to 2011.

The proportion of Taser where the “highest use” is “fired” remained constant through 2010 and 2011 at about a fifth, after declining from 2009.

The most common “highest use” of a Taser was “red dot” in each of the last two years.

Full details will be placed in the Library of the House.

Transport

Road Network (Economic Growth)

This statement is to inform the House that I am today publishing policy setting out the role of the strategic road network in enabling economic growth.

The new policy will replace circular 02/2007 planning and the strategic road network, and DFT circular 01/2008 policy on service areas and other roadside facilities on motorways and all-purpose trunk roads in England.

The new policy removes some constraints and burdens from local authorities and other local decision makers, creating greater scope for addressing local needs when considering proposals for new developments.

In reducing regulation, the new policy will encourage growth by making it easier for businesses and communities to develop through increased opportunity and reduced cost, while at the same time ensuring that the road network continues to operate efficiently.