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Written Statements

Volume 707: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

Written Statements

Monday 26 January 2009

Children: ContactPoint

Statement

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (Ed Balls) made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I can confirm to the House that the first steps to activate the Government’s online directory of children’s services—ContactPoint—will begin today.

ContactPoint, developed in response to a key recommendation of the Laming inquiry into the tragic death of Victoria Climbié, is a directory to support better communication among practitioners across education, health, social care and youth offending in the statutory and voluntary sectors. It will provide a quick way for those practitioners to find out who else is working with the same child or young person. It is a vital tool to help keep children safe because it is absolutely crucial the right agencies are involved at the right time and get even better at sharing information. And it will also help practitioners to improve outcomes for all children.

Under current child safeguarding arrangements, if a professional believes a child is at risk they may have no immediate way of knowing whether other services are already in contact with that child. The Government believe a fully operational system could save at least 5 million hours of professionals’ time, currently wasted trying to track down who else, if anyone, is helping the child.

The first stage of delivery of ContactPoint will enable 19 early adopter organisations—17 local authorities in the north-west of England and two national voluntary sector partners, Barnardo’s and KIDS—to train their ContactPoint management teams. It also allows all local authorities to start to shield a small proportion of records on ContactPoint. This additional precautionary measure is appropriate for records of children who are at risk of significant harm. These might include children with particular vulnerable circumstances, such as children from families on police protection schemes, or where one parent has been the victim of domestic abuse, or in certain cases where the child has been adopted.

These are significant steps on the journey to making ContactPoint fully available. We are taking a steady and incremental approach to implementation, ensuring we evaluate as we progress and adapt our approach if required.

No information on children’s cases will be held on ContactPoint and it will not be possible to download content. It is a simple online tool containing:

minimal identifying information for each child in England: name, address, date of birth, gender, and contact details for parents or carers. Each child will also have a unique identifying number;

contact details for the child’s educational setting and GP practice and for other practitioners or services working with the child; and

an indication as to whether a service or practitioner holds an assessment under the common assessment framework, or whether they are a lead professional for that child.

Security is of paramount importance. We have put in place comprehensive arrangements to prevent inappropriate access to the information on the system and ongoing security will remain a priority.

ContactPoint is backed by major children’s organisations, such as Barnardo’s and Action for Children, teachers’ unions like NASUWT as well as the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Children’s Inter-Agency Group whose members include NSPCC, the LGA and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

I will provide an update to Parliament in the spring

Correction to Commons Written Answer

Statement

My honourable friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Ben Bradshaw) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I regret that the Written Answer given to the honourable Member for South Cambridgeshire on 12 January (Official Report, col. 178W) was incorrect with respect to the 2009-10 weighted capitation targets per weighted head provided in the third column in the table. The correct information is as follows.

Table: 2009-10 weighted capitation targets per unweighted and weighted person by primary care trust (PCT)

PCT

Weighted capitation target per unweighted head £

Weighted capitation target per weighted head £

Ashton, Leigh and Wigan PCT

1,757

1,535

Barking and Dagenham PCT

1,810

1,535

Barnet PCT

1,444

1,572

Barnsley PCT

1,877

1,548

Bassetlaw PCT

1,673

1,535

Bath and North East Somerset PCT

1,288

1,546

Bedfordshire PCT

1,340

1,535

Berkshire East PCT

1,315

1,535

Berkshire West PCT

1,235

1,537

Bexley Care Trust

1,488

1,535

Birmingham East and North PCT

1,713

1,542

Blackburn with Darwen PCT

1,719

1,535

Blackpool PCT

1,938

1,539

Bolton PCT

1,714

1,539

Bournemouth and Poole Teaching PCT

1,548

1,542

Bradford and Airedale Teaching PCT

1,598

1,535

Brent Teaching PCT

1,629

1,553

Brighton and Hove City PCT

1,572

1,541

Bristol PCT

1,485

1,544

Bromley PCT

1,405

1,535

Buckinghamshire PCT

1,260

1,535

Bury PCT

1,578

1,535

Calderdale PCT

1,531

1,544

Cambridgeshire PCT

1,314

1,549

Camden PCT

1,610

1,535

Central and Eastern Cheshire PCT

1,419

1,537

Central Lancashire PCT

1,571

1,543

City and Hackney Teaching PCT

2,009

1,535

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly PCT

1,586

1,539

County Durham PCT

1,826

1,545

Coventry Teaching PCT

1,622

1,542

Croydon PCT

1,494

1,539

Cumbria Teaching PCT

1,572

1,538

Darlington PCT

1,651

1,542

Derby City PCT

1,562

1,540

Derbyshire County PCT

1,589

1,539

Devon PCT

1,454

1,539

Doncaster PCT

1,775

1,547

Dorset PCT

1,497

1,535

Dudley PCT

1,592

1,540

Ealing PCT

1,557

1,535

East and North Hertfordshire PCT

1,366

1,546

East Lancashire Teaching PCT

1,672

1,535

East Riding of Yorkshire PCT

1,464

1,535

East Sussex Downs and Weald PCT

1,497

1,535

Eastern and Coastal Kent PCT

1,576

1,535

Enfield PCT

1,569

1,535

Gateshead PCT

1,840

1,540

Gloucestershire PCT

1,378

1,535

Great Yarmouth and Waveney PCT

1,649

1,535

Greenwich Teaching PCT

1,727

1,535

Halton and St Helens PCT

1,837

1,549

Hammersmith and Fulham PCT

1,625

1,535

Hampshire PCT

1,335

1,540

Haringey Teaching PCT

1,706

1,540

Harrow PCT

1,439

1,535

Hartlepool PCT

1,860

1,543

Hastings and Rother PCT

1,720

1,535

Havering PCT

1,572

1,535

Heart of Birmingham Teaching PCT

1,639

1,542

Herefordshire PCT

1,489

1,548

Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale PCT

1,743

1,535

Hillingdon PCT

1,451

1,535

Hounslow PCT

1,539

1,535

Hull Teaching PCT

1,689

1,535

Isle of Wight NHS PCT

1,651

1,535

Islington PCT

1,913

1,551

Kensington and Chelsea PCT

1,377

1,535

Kingston PCT

1,242

1,535

Kirklees PCT

1,536

1,535

Knowsley PCT

2,020

1,535

Lambeth PCT

1,731

1,535

Leeds PCT

1,506

1,535

Leicester City PCT

1,649

1,543

Leicestershire County and Rutland PCT

1,327

1,543

Lewisham PCT

1,678

1,545

Lincolnshire Teaching PCT

1,553

1,546

Liverpool PCT

2,007

1,543

Luton PCT

1,553

1,550

Manchester PCT

1,889

1,548

Medway PCT

1,456

1,535

Mid Essex PCT

1,316

1,535

Middlesbrough PCT

1,819

1,541

Milton Keynes PCT

1,360

1,546

Newcastle PCT

1,719

1,541

Newham PCT

1,963

1,595

Norfolk PCT

1,505

1,546

North East Essex PCT

1,561

1,542

North East Lincolnshire Care Trust Plus

1,595

1,535

North Lancashire Teaching PCT

1,599

1,535

North Lincolnshire PCT

1,561

1,535

North Somerset PCT

1,464

1,552

North Staffordshire PCT

1,586

1,535

North Tyneside PCT

1,697

1,539

North Yorkshire and York PCT

1,380

1,535

Northamptonshire Teaching PCT

1,379

1,535

Northumberland Care Trust

1,635

1,539

Nottingham City PCT

1,638

1,541

Nottinghamshire County Teaching PCT

1,538

1,543

Oldham PCT

1,715

1,535

Oxfordshire PCT

1,261

1,538

Peterborough PCT

1,539

1,572

Plymouth Teaching PCT

1,602

1,568

Portsmouth City Teaching PCT

1,485

1,542

Redbridge PCT

1,512

1,535

Redcar and Cleveland PCT

1,777

1,540

Richmond and Twickenham PCT

1,215

1,535

Rotherham PCT

1,758

1,544

Salford PCT

1,879

1,549

Sandwell PCT

1,821

1,540

Sefton PCT

1,747

1,535

Sheffield PCT

1,619

1,542

Shropshire County PCT

1,469

1,539

Solihull Care Trust

1,404

1,545

Somerset PCT

1,461

1,541

South Birmingham PCT

1,664

1,542

South East Essex PCT

1,534

1,535

South Gloucestershire PCT

1,260

1,548

South Staffordshire PCT

1,480

1,541

South Tyneside PCT

1,849

1,535

South West Essex PCT

1,492

1,535

Southampton City PCT

1,504

1,542

Southwark PCT

1,755

1,535

Stockport PCT

1,483

1,535

Stockton-on-Tees Teaching PCT

1,585

1,541

Stoke on Trent PCT

1,845

1,535

Suffolk PCT

1,382

1,541

Sunderland Teaching PCT

1,873

1,535

Surrey PCT

1,282

1,536

Sutton and Merton PCT

1,384

1,535

Swindon PCT

1,433

1,559

Tameside and Glossop PCT

1,709

1,535

Telford and Wrekin PCT

1,540

1,553

Torbay Care Trust

1,725

1,548

Tower Hamlets PCT

1,917

1,546

Trafford PCT

1,476

1,540

Wakefield District PCT

1,771

1,540

Walsall Teaching PCT

1,734

1,540

Waltham Forest PCT

1,700

1,535

Wandsworth PCT

1,482

1,535

Warrington PCT

1,509

1,545

Warwickshire PCT

1,427

1,535

West Essex PCT

1,447

1,552

West Hertfordshire PCT

1,348

1,542

West Kent PCT

1,376

1,538

West Sussex PCT

1,438

1,537

Western Cheshire PCT

1,493

1,544

Westminster PCT

1,452

1,535

Wiltshire PCT

1,321

1,535

Wirral PCT

1,787

1,538

Wolverhampton City PCT

1,764

1,541

Worcestershire PCT

1,431

1,539

England

1,540

1,540

Crime: Victims

Statement

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary State for Justice, the Home Secretary, and I are today pleased to announce the appointment of Sara Payne MBE as victims’ champion.

The role of victims’ champion will be to:

listen to the views and concerns of victims and witnesses;

represent the views of victims and witnesses to Ministers, government officials and in the media; and

challenge criminal justice agencies to further reform their practices in relation to victims and witnesses.

The victims’ champion will be a new, time-limited appointment for one year to ensure continuing focus on victims’ issues while Parliament considers proposals in the Coroners and Justice Bill in relation to the separate office of Victims and Witnesses Commissioner. That Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 14 January.

After the murder of her daughter Sarah, Ms Payne started a campaign to change the way in which sex offenders were dealt with and supervised in the community. Ms Payne has since worked closely with the Home Office on increasing the right of public access to information about known sex offenders.

Ms Payne was also instrumental in establishing the multi-agency protection arrangement (MAPPA) which ensures that a risk management plan is drawn up for the most serious offenders.

Ms Payne currently delivers training to specially trained police family liaison officers and has recently been awarded an MBE for her services to protection and work with Phoenix.

Energy: Severn Barrage

Statement

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Ed Miliband) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Further to the launch of the Severn Tidal Power Feasibility Study in January 2008, I am pleased to inform the House that the Government have today issued a public consultation on the conclusions of the first phase of the study.

The huge, renewable resource of the Severn estuary tides is a means of generating nearly 5 per cent of UK electricity. It can contribute to meeting the UK’s renewable energy targets and the progressive decarbonisation of our electricity supply. But Severn tidal power must be considered in the wider context of alternative options as well as its impact on the environment and the economy. Energy saving, and other low-carbon and renewable sources of supply are all means of achieving our goals. The consultation makes the comparison to these alternatives.

Tidal power development in the Severn estuary has benefits, costs and risks, and the consultation paper sets out a provisional assessment of these in order to promote an open public debate. Studies by external consultants are published today alongside the consultation paper, including technical and engineering assessments, advice on financing and ownership structures, an assessment of regional economic impacts, and initial studies on environmental impacts.

The consultation seeks views on:

the process used to move from a long list of potential schemes (following a call for proposals last summer) to a shortlist of feasible schemes;

the proposed issues for further investigation by the feasibility study, including the scope of strategic environmental assessment; and

the proposed shortlist of

Shoots Barrage—(1.05GW scheme located downstream of the new Severn road crossing with an estimated construction cost of £3.2 billion);

Beachley Barrage—(625MW scheme further upstream of the first Severn road bridge with an estimated cost of construction of £2.3 billion);

Bridgwater Bay lagoon—(1.36GW impoundment on the English side of the estuary with an estimated construction cost of £3.8 billion);

Fleming Lagoon—(1.36GW impoundment on the Welsh bank of the estuary with an estimated construction cost of £4.0 billion); and

Cardiff-Weston (Lavernock Point to Brean Down) Barrage—(8.64GW scheme, commonly known as the Severn Barrage, with an estimated cost of construction of £20.9bn).

The Government are keen to continue to consider other innovative schemes. However some of those that have been submitted to the feasibility study are not sufficiently developed at this point for more detailed evaluation. We hope to see these develop further with the benefit of government financial support and new public funding of £500,000 is being made available (in addition to existing support) to speed their development. The Government will consider their progress alongside shortlisted schemes before taking decisions on Severn tidal power generation.

Copies of the consultation document have been placed in the Libraries and are also available at: http://severntidalpowerconsultation.decc.gov.uk. The consultation period is 26 January to 23 April 2009.

I expect to hold a further public consultation at the end of the feasibility study, probably in 2010, to seek public views on whether government could support a Severn tidal power scheme and if so on what terms. This will include considering the development of alternatives to the shortlisted scheme which are not currently sufficiently technically developed for further evaluation. The option remains open not to proceed with any scheme.

A meeting of the Severn tidal power Parliamentary Forum is being held at 5 pm this afternoon in the Large Ministerial meeting room.

Health: Cross-border Healthcare

Statement

My honourable friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Ben Bradshaw) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The House of Commons Welsh Affairs Select Committee published its interim report The Provision of Cross–border Health Services for Wales on 10 July 2008. We are today laying before Parliament the Command Paper (Cm 7531) setting out the government response to the report.

We have carefully considered the committee’s interim report. The Command Paper discusses the wider context of cross-border healthcare, including arrangements to co-ordinate service provision, the commissioning, funding and quality of services, and provides the additional information requested by the committee.

The Government agree with the committee that the border between England and Wales does not represent a barrier to the provision of healthcare. The core principles of the National Health Service continue to apply across the UK and an inevitable and healthy consequence of devolution has been some divergence in health policy between England and Wales.

The Government and the Welsh Assembly Government operate a protocol whereby responsibility for a patient who lives on one side of the border and is registered with a GP on the other can de determined. The protocol has been renewed annually and is currently in place until April 2009. It is supported by an annual transfer of funds from the Department of Health to the Welsh Assembly Government to cover the costs of providing secondary care for the greater number of patients who live in England but have a GP in Wales. Negotiations on the renewal of the protocol are almost complete.

Social Work

Statement

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (Ed Balls) made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The 2020 Children and Young People’s Workforce Strategy, published last month, set out our ambition for significant reform in social work to be supported by a social work taskforce. Today we are announcing the full membership and remit for this taskforce.

The social work taskforce will undertake a nuts and bolts review of frontline social work practice and make recommendations for immediate improvements to practice and training as well as long-term change in social work. It will report to both the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and to the Secretary of State for Health.

Social workers carry out highly challenging work, often in extremely difficult circumstances. They have a vital role in protecting children and young people from harm and in supporting adults. Enabling social workers to deliver consistent high-quality practice and services is a key priority for this Government. Our ambition is for social work to be a high-quality, self-confident profession, with the support and esteem of the public.

The taskforce builds on the Government’s significant investment in the workforce over the past 10 years. It also builds on the current investment of over £73 million to improve social work training, induction, practice and recruitment.

The taskforce will be chaired by Moira Gibb, chief executive of Camden Council. Andrew Webb, director of children's services, Stockport, and Bob Reitemeier, chief executive of the Children's Society, will be the deputy chairs. The taskforce will be small and action-focused. It will include individuals with a range of backgrounds and experiences including service users’ perspectives, frontline social workers, social work leaders and academics. The taskforce will meet for the first time in early February 2009 and will publish findings in summer 2009.

The taskforce will root its work in a thorough review of evidence and will build on Lord Laming’s review of safeguarding. It will be crucial that the taskforce listens carefully to the experiences, needs and views of frontline social workers and service users. The taskforce will look at all of the factors that impact on frontline social work practice including a survey of workloads and pressures facing social workers. We have asked the taskforce, as an early priority, to look specifically at the integrated children’s system including how it helps to deliver quality support to children and families, procurement and IT issues, how well social workers are supported to use the system and its impact on social workers’ workloads.

The taskforce will also engage closely with stakeholders including delivery partners, social work employers, unions, providers of social work training and academics to identify the key issues affecting social work practice and to ensure that the taskforce’s recommendations will secure excellent frontline practice. It will work in close partnership with the key organisations delivering improvements in social work, including the Children’s Workforce Development Council, the General Social Care Council and Skills for Care.

We are very grateful to the people listed below for agreeing to be members of the taskforce and contributing to this important work.

Chair

Moira Gibb, CBE, Chief Executive, Camden Borough Council.

Deputy Chairs

Andrew Webb, Corporate Director, Children and Young People, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council; and

Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive, the Children’s Society

Members

Celia Atherton OBE, Founder and Chief Executive of Research in Practice;

Anne Beales, Director of Service User Involvement, Together—Working for Wellbeing;

Kim Bromley-Derry, Director of Children’s Services, Newham;

Sue Butcher, Head of Children and Young People’s Services, Gloucestershire;

Richard Jones, Director of Adult Services, Lancashire;

Diane Mallett, Senior Social Work Practitioner, Barnsley Adult Social Services;

Helga Pile, National Officer for Social Care, Unison;

James Riley, Director of Adult Services, Hammersmith and Fulham;

Bridget Robb, Professional Officer, British Association of Social Workers;

Deidre Sanders, Agony Aunt: The Sun;

Professor Sue White, Professor of Social Work, Lancaster University;

Neil Wragg MBE, Chief Executive Officer, Youth at Risk; and

Maxine Wrigley MBE, National Co-ordinator, Voice.

I am placing in the House Library copies of the list of the full membership and the remit for the social work taskforce.