Skip to main content

Written Statements

Volume 715: debated on Monday 14 December 2009

Written Statements

Monday 14 December 2009

Armed Forces: War Pensions Committees

Statement

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Kevan Jones) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today announcing a change to the role of the existing War Pensions Committees. This follows a review of their terms of reference and a consultation with organisations representing serving personnel and the ex-service community.

The new committees will be known as Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committees and will initially be piloted across the country for a period of 12 months, with a review point at six months. There will be 13 committees established across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, made up of volunteers from a cross-section of the local community. Members will include health, social care and legal professionals with an interest in ensuring that the best possible service is provided for veterans and their families.

Their role will consist of three main elements:

to act as advocates for implementing improved cross-government support, including services outlined in the service personnel Command Paper and recently announced welfare pathway;

to raise awareness, within their areas, of the above services, the war pension scheme, Armed Forces compensation scheme and the Veterans Welfare Service;

to assist veterans and their families in accessing local support services as described above and, further, to provide assistance and guidance to individuals in accessing the war pension scheme and Armed Forces compensation scheme and to provide an independent element to the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency’s complaints process relating to these schemes.

By extending the role of the committees to include an advocacy role, at local level, we are demonstrating the commitment of the Government to embed these initiatives across the country.

Benefits: Social Security

Statement

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Yvette Cooper) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The proposed rates of benefit for 2010 are set out in the table below. The annual uprating of benefits will take place for state pension and most other benefits in the first full week of the tax year. In 2010, this will be the week beginning 12 April. A corresponding provision will be made in Northern Ireland.

RatesRates

(Weekly rates unless otherwise shown)

2009

2010

Attendance allowance

Higher rate

70.35

71.40

Lower rate

47.10

47.80

Carer's allowance

53.10

53.90

Council tax benefit

Personal allowances

Single

18 to 24

50.95

51.85

25 or over

64.30

65.45

Entitled to main phase ESA

64.30

65.45

Lone parent

64.30

65.45

Couple

100.95

102.75

Dependent children

56.11

57.57

Pensioner

Single / lone parent has attained the qualifying age for pension credit but under 65.

130.00

132.60

Couple—one or both has attained the qualifying age for pension credit but both under 65

198.45

202.40

Single / lone parent—65 and over

150.40

153.15

Couple—one or both 65 and over

225.50

229.50

Premiums

Family

17.30

17.40

Family (lone parent rate)

22.20

22.20

Child under 1

10.50

10.50

Disability

Single

27.50

28.00

Couple

39.15

39.85

Enhanced disability

Single

13.40

13.65

Disabled child

20.65

21.00

Couple

19.30

19.65

Severe disability

Single

52.85

53.65

Couple (lower rate)

52.85

53.65

Couple (higher rate)

105.70

107.30

Disabled child

51.24

52.08

Carer

29.50

30.05

ESA components

Work-related activity

25.50

25.95

Support

30.85

31.40

Alternative maximum council tax benefit

Second adult on IS, JSA(IB), ESA(IR) or pension credit

25% of council tax

25% of council tax

First adult(s) student(s)

100% of council tax

100% of council tax

Second adult's gross income:

—under £175.00

15% of council tax

15% of council tax

—£175.00 to £227.99

7.5% of council tax

7.5% of council tax

Capital limits—rules common to income support, income based jobseeker's allowance, Income-related employment and support allowance, pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit unless stated otherwise

Upper limit

16000.00

16000.00

Upper limit—pension credit guarantee credit and HB/CTB where claimant/partner 60 or over

No limit

No limit

Amount disregarded—all benefits except pension credit and housing benefit and council tax benefit for those below the qualifying age for pension credit

6000.00

6000.00

Amount disregarded—pension credit and housing benefit and council tax benefit for those above the qualifying age for pension credit

6000.00

10000.00

Child disregard (not pension credit)

3000.00

3000.00

Amt disregarded (living in RC/NH)

10000.00

10000.00

Tariff income

£1 for every £250, or part thereof, between the amount of capital disregarded and the capital upper limit

Tariff income—pension credit and HB/CTB where clmt/ptner 60 or over.

£1 for every £500, or part thereof, between the amount of capital disregarded and capital upper limit

Deductions—rules common to income support, jobseeker's allowance, employment and support allowance, pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit unless stated otherwise

Non-dependant deductions from housing benefit and from IS, JSA(IB), ESA(IR) and pension credit

Aged 25 and over in receipt of IS and JSA(IB),

In receipt of main phase ESA(IR),

Aged 18 or over, not in remunerative work

7.40

7.40

Aged 18 or over and in remunerative work

—gross income: less than £120.00

7.40

7.40

—gross income: £120 to £177.99

17.00

17.00

—gross income: £178 to £230.99

23.35

23.35

—gross income: £231 to £305.99

38.20

38.20

—gross income: £306 to £381.99

43.50

43.50

—gross income: £382 and above

47.75

47.75

Non-dependant deductions from council tax benefit

Aged 18 or over and in remunerative work

—gross income: £382 or more

6.95

6.95

—gross income: £306-£381.99

5.80

5.80

—gross income: £178-£305.99

4.60

4.60

—gross income less than £178

2.30

2.30

Others, aged 18 or over

2.30

2.30

Deductions from housing benefit

Service charges for fuel

Heating

21.55

21.55

Hot water

2.50

2.50

Lighting

1.75

1.75

Cooking

2.50

2.50

Amount ineligible for meals

Three or more meals a day

Single claimant

22.95

23.35

Each person in family aged 16 or over

22.95

23.35

Each child under 16

11.60

11.80

Less than three meals a day

Single claimant

15.25

15.50

Each person in family aged 16 or over

15.25

15.50

Each child under 16

7.65

7.80

Breakfast only—claimant and each member of the family

2.80

2.85

Amount for personal expenses (not HB/CTB)

21.90

22.30

Third party deductions from IS, JSA(IB), ESA(IR) and pension credit for;

Arrears of housing, fuel and water costs

3.25

3.30

Council tax etc. And deductions for ELDS and ILS.

Child support, contribution towards maintenance (CTM)

Standard deduction

6.50

6.60

Lower deduction

3.25

3.30

Arrears of community charge

Court order against claimant

3.25

3.30

Court order against couple

5.05

5.15

Fine or compensation order

Standard rate

5.00

5.00

Lower rate

3.25

3.30

Maximum deduction rates for recovery of overpayments (not CTB/JSA(C)/ESA(C))

Ordinary overpayments

9.75

9.90

Where claimant convicted of fraud

12.80

13.20

Deductions from JSA©

Arrears of comm. Charge, council tax, fines & overpayment recovery

Age 16 - 24

16.98

17.28

Age 25 +

21.43

21.81

Max. Dedn for arrears of child maintenance (CTM)

Age 16 - 24

16.98

17.28

Age 25 +

21.43

21.81

Disregards

Housing benefit and council tax benefit

Earnings disregards

Standard (single claimant)

5.00

5.00

Couple

10.00

10.00

Higher (special occupations/circumstances)

20.00

20.00

Lone parent

25.00

25.00

Childcare charges

175.00

175.00

Childcare charges (2 or more children)

300.00

300.00

Permitted work higher

N/a

93.00

Permitted work lower

N/a

20.00

Other income disregards

Adult maintenance disregard

15.00

15.00

War disablement pension and war widows pension

10.00

10.00

Widowed mothers/parents allowance

15.00

15.00

Armed forces compensation scheme

10.00

10.00

Student loan

10.00

10.00

Student's covenanted income

5.00

5.00

Income from boarders (plus 50% of the balance)

20.00

20.00

Additional earnings disregard

16.85

17.10

Income from subtenants (£20 fixed from April 08)

20.00

20.00

Income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment and support allowance and pension credit

Earnings disregards

Standard (single claimant)

5.00

5.00

Couple

10.00

10.00

Higher (special occupations/circumstances)

20.00

20.00

Other income disregards

War disablement pension and war widows pension

10.00

10.00

Widowed mothers/parents allowance

10.00

10.00

Armed Forces compensation scheme

10.00

10.00

Student loan (not pension credit)

10.00

10.00

Student's covenanted income (not pension credit)

5.00

5.00

Income from boarders (plus 50% of the balance)

20.00

20.00

Income from subtenants (£20 fixed from April 08)

20.00

20.00

Dependency increases

Adult dependency increases for spouse or person looking after children—payable with

State pension on own insurance.

57.05

57.05

Long term incapacity benefit and unemployability supplement.

53.10

53.10

Severe disablement allowance

31.90

31.90

Carers allowance

31.70

31.70

Short-term incapacity benefit (over state pension age)

51.10

51.10

Maternity allowance and short-term incapacity benefit.

41.35

41.35

Child dependency increases—payable with:

State pension; widowed mothers/parents allowance; short-term incapacity benefit—higher rate or over state pension age; long-term incapacity benefit; carer's allowance; severe disablement allowance; industrial death benefit (higher rate); unemployability supplement.

11.35

11.35

NB—the rate of child dependency increase is adjusted where it is payable for the eldest child for whom child benefit is also paid. The weekly rate in such cases is reduced by the difference (less £3.65) between the ChB rates for the eldest and subsequent children.

8.20

8.10

Disability living allowance

Care component

Highest

70.35

71.40

Middle

47.10

47.80

Lowest

18.65

18.95

Mobility component

Higher

49.10

49.85

Lower

18.65

18.95

Employment and support allowance

Personal allowances

Under 25

50.95

51.85

25 or over

64.30

65.45

Lone parent

Under 18

50.95

51.85

18 or over

64.30

65.45

Couple

Both under 18

50.95

51.85

Both under 18 with child

76.90

78.30

Both under 18 (main phase)

64.30

65.45

Both under 18 with child (main phase)

100.95

102.75

One 18 or over, one under 18

100.95

102.75

Both over 18

100.95

102.75

Claimant under 25, partner under 18

50.95

51.85

Claimant 25 or over, partner under 18

64.30

65.45

Claimant (main phase), partner under 18

64.30

65.45

Premiums

Enhanced disability

Single

13.40

13.65

Couple

19.30

19.65

Severe disability

Single

52.85

53.65

Couple (lower rate)

52.85

53.65

Couple (higher rate)

105.70

107.30

Carer

29.50

30.05

Pensioner

Single with WRAC

40.20

41.20

Single with support component

34.85

35.75

Single with no component

65.70

67.15

Couple with WRAC

72.00

73.70

Couple with support component

66.65

68.25

Couple with no component

97.50

99.65

Components

Work-related activity

25.50

25.95

Support

30.85

31.40

Earnings rules

Carers allowance

95.00

95.00

Limit of earnings from councillor's allowance

92.00

93.00

Permitted work earnings limit—higher

92.00

93.00

—lower

20.00

20.00

Industrial injuries unemployability supplement permitted earnings level (annual amount)

4784.00

4836.00

Earnings level at which adult dependency (ADI) increases are affected with:

Short-term incap. benefit where claimant is

(a) under state pension age

41.35

41.35

(b) over state pension age

51.10

51.10

Maternity allowance

41.35

41.35

State pension, long term incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance, unemployability supplement—payable when dependant

(a) is living with claimant

64.30

65.45

(b) still qualifies for the tapered earnings rule

45.09

45.09

Earnings level at which ADI is affected when dependent is not living with claimant

State pension,

57.05

57.05

Long-term incapacity benefit, unemployability supplement

53.10

53.10

Severe disablement allowance

31.90

31.90

Carers allowance

31.70

31.70

Earnings level at which child dependency increases are affected

For first child

195.00

200.00

Additional amount for each subsequent child

26.00

26.00

Pension income threshold for incapacity benefit

85.00

85.00

Pension income threshold for contributory employment support allowance

85.00

85.00

Housing benefit

Personal allowances

Single

16 to 24

50.95

51.85

25 or over

64.30

65.45

Entitled to main phase ESA

64.30

65.45

Lone parent

Under 18

50.95

51.85

18 or over

64.30

65.45

Entitled to main phase ESA

64.30

65.45

Couple

Both under 18

76.90

78.30

One or both 18 or over

100.95

102.75

Claimant entitled to main phase ESA

100.95

102.75

Dependent children

56.11

57.57

Pensioner

Single/lone parent has attained the qualifying age for pension credit but under 65.

130.00

132.60

Couple—one or both has attained the qualifying age for pension credit but both under 65

198.45

202.40

Single / lone parent—65 and over

150.40

153.15

Couple—one or both 65 and over

225.50

229.50

Premiums

Family

17.30

17.40

Family (lone parent rate)

22.20

22.20

Child under 1

10.50

10.50

Disability

Single

27.50

28.00

Couple

39.15

39.85

Enhanced disability

Single

13.40

13.65

Disabled child

20.65

21.00

Couple

19.30

19.65

Severe disability

Single

52.85

53.65

Couple (lower rate)

52.85

53.65

Couple (higher rate)

105.70

107.30

Disabled child

51.24

52.08

Carer

29.50

30.05

ESA components

Work-related activity

25.50

25.95

Support

30.85

31.40

Incapacity benefit

Long-term incapacity benefit

89.80

91.40

Short-term incapacity benefit (under state pension age)

Lower rate

67.75

68.95

Higher rate

80.15

81.60

Short-term incapacity benefit (over state pension age)

Lower rate

86.20

87.75

Higher rate

89.80

91.40

Increase of long-term incapacity benefit for age

Higher rate

15.65

15.00

Lower rate

6.55

5.80

Invalidity allowance (transitional)

Higher rate

15.65

15.00

Middle rate

9.10

8.40

Lower rate

5.35

5.45

Income support

Personal allowances

Single

Under 25

50.95

51.85

25 or over

64.30

65.45

Lone parent

Under 18

50.95

51.85

18 or over

64.30

65.45

Couple

Both under 18

50.95

51.85

Both under 18—higher rate

76.90

78.30

One under 18, one under 25

50.95

51.85

One under 18, one 25 and over

64.30

65.45

Both 18 or over

100.95

102.75

Dependent children

56.11

57.57

Premiums

Family / lone parent

17.30

17.40

Pensioner (applies to couples only)

97.50

99.65

Disability

Single

27.50

28.00

Couple

39.15

39.85

Enhanced disability

Single

13.40

13.65

Disabled child

20.65

21.00

Couple

19.30

19.65

Severe disability

Single

52.85

53.65

Couple (lower rate)

52.85

53.65

Couple (higher rate)

105.70

107.30

Disabled child

51.24

52.08

Carer

29.50

30.05

Relevant sum for strikers

34.50

35.00

Industrial death benefit

Widow's pension

Higher rate

95.25

97.65

Lower rate

28.58

29.30

Widower's pension

95.25

97.65

Industrial injuries disablement benefit

18 and over, or under 18 with dependants

100%

143.60

145.80

90%

129.24

131.22

80%

114.88

116.64

70%

100.52

102.06

60%

86.16

87.48

50%

71.80

72.90

40%

57.44

58.32

30%

43.08

43.74

20%

28.72

29.16

Under 18

100%

88.05

89.35

90%

79.25

80.42

80%

70.44

71.48

70%

61.64

62.55

60%

52.83

53.61

50%

44.03

44.68

40%

35.22

35.74

30%

26.42

26.81

20%

17.61

17.87

Maximum life gratuity (lump sum)

9540.00

9680.00

Unemployability supplement

88.75

90.10

Increase for early incapacity

Higher rate

18.65

18.65

Middle rate

12.00

12.00

Lower rate

6.00

6.00

Maximum reduced earnings allowance

57.44

58.32

Maximum retirement allowance

14.36

14.58

Constant attendance allowance

Exceptional rate

115.00

116.80

Intermediate rate

86.25

87.60

Normal maximum rate

57.50

58.40

Part-time rate

28.75

29.20

Exceptionally severe disablement allowance

57.50

58.40

Jobseeker's allowance

Contribution based JSA—personal rates

Under 25

50.95

51.85

25 or over

64.30

65.45

Income-based JSA—personal allowances

Under 25

50.95

51.85

25 or over

64.30

65.45

Lone parent

Under 18

50.95

51.85

18 or over

64.30

65.45

Couple

Both under 18

50.95

51.85

Both under 18—higher rate

76.90

78.30

One under 18, one under 25

50.95

51.85

One under 18, one 25 and over

64.30

65.45

Both 18 or over

100.95

102.75

Dependent children

56.11

57.57

Premiums

Family / lone parent

17.30

17.40

Pensioner

Single

65.70

67.15

Couple

97.50

99.65

Disability

Single

27.50

28.00

Couple

39.15

39.85

Enhanced disability

Single

13.40

13.65

Disabled child

20.65

21.00

Couple

19.30

19.65

Severe disability

Single

52.85

53.65

Couple (lower rate)

52.85

53.65

Couple (higher rate)

105.70

107.30

Disabled child

51.24

52.08

Carer

29.50

30.05

Prescribed sum for strikers

34.50

35.00

Maternity allowance

Standard rate

123.06

124.88

Ma threshold

30.00

30.00

Pension credit

Standard minimum guarantee

Single

130.00

132.60

Couple

198.45

202.40

Additional amount for severe disability

Single

52.85

53.65

Couple (one qualifies)

52.85

53.65

Couple (both qualify)

105.70

107.30

Additional amount for carers

29.50

30.05

Savings credit

Threshold—single

96.00

98.40

Threshold—couple

153.40

157.25

Maximum—single

20.40

20.52

Maximum—couple

27.03

27.09

Amount for claimant and first spouse in polygamous marriage

198.45

202.40

Additional amount for additional spouse

68.45

69.80

Pneumoconiosis, byssinosis, and miscellaneous diseases scheme and the workmen's compensation (supplementation)

Total disablement allowance and major incapacity

Allowance (maximum)

143.60

145.80

Partial disablement allowance

53.10

53.90

Unemployability supplement

88.75

90.10

Increases for early incapacity

Higher rate

18.65

18.65

Middle rate

12.00

12.00

Lower rate

6.00

6.00

Constant attendance allowance

Exceptional rate

115.00

116.80

Intermediate rate

86.25

87.60

Normal maximum rate

57.50

58.40

Part-time rate

28.75

29.20

Exceptionally severe disablement allowance

57.50

58.40

Lesser incapacity allowance

Maximum rate of allowance

53.10

53.90

Based on loss of earnings over

70.35

71.40

State pension

Category A or B

95.25

97.65

Category B(lower)—spouse or civil partner's insurance

57.05

58.50

Category C or D—non-contributory

57.05

58.50

Category C(lower)—non-contributory

34.15

35.00

Additional pension

Increase by:

0.0%

Increments to:-

Basic pension

Increase by:

0.0%

Additional pension

Increase by:

0.0%

Graduated retirement benefit (GRB)

Increase by:

0.0%

Inheritable lump sum

Increase by:

0.0%

Contracted-out deduction from AP in respect of Pre-April 1988 contracted-out earnings

Nil

Contracted-out deduction from AP in respect of Contracted-out earnings from April 1988 to 1997

Increase by:

0.0%

Graduated retirement benefit (unit)

0.1153

0.1153

Increase of long term incapacity for age

Increase by:

0.0%

Addition at age 80

0.25

0.25

Increase of long-term incapacity for age

Higher rate

18.65

18.65

Lower rate

9.35

9.35

Invalidity allowance (transitional) for state pension recipients

Higher rate

18.65

18.65

Middle rate

12.00

12.00

Lower rate

6.00

6.00

Severe disablement allowance

Basic rate

57.45

59.45

Age-related addition (from Dec 90)

Higher rate

15.65

15.00

Middle rate

9.10

8.40

Lower rate

5.35

5.45

Statutory adoption pay

Earnings threshold

95.00

97.00

Standard rate

123.06

124.88

Statutory maternity pay

Earnings threshold

95.00

97.00

Standard rate

123.06

124.88

Statutory paternity pay

Earnings threshold

95.00

97.00

Standard rate

123.06

124.88

Statutory sick pay

Earnings threshold

95.00

97.00

Standard rate

79.15

79.15

Widow's benefit

Widowed mother's allowance

95.25

97.65

Widow's pension

Standard rate

95.25

97.65

Age-related

Age 54 (49)

88.58

90.81

53 (48)

81.92

83.98

52 (47)

75.25

77.14

51 (46)

68.58

70.31

50 (45)

61.91

63.47

49 (44)

55.25

56.64

48 (43)

48.58

49.80

47 (42)

41.91

42.97

46 (41)

35.24

36.13

45 (40)

28.58

29.30

Note: for deaths occurring before 11 April 1988 refer to age-points shown in brackets.

Bereavement benefit

Bereavement payment (lump sum)

2000.00

2000.00

Widowed parent's allowance

95.25

97.65

Bereavement allowance

Standard rate

95.25

97.65

Age-related

Age 54

88.58

90.81

53

81.92

83.98

52

75.25

77.14

51

68.58

70.31

50

61.91

63.47

49

55.25

56.64

48

48.58

49.80

47

41.91

42.97

46

35.24

36.13

45

28.58

29.30

Children: Children's Plan

Statement

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

I am today announcing, on the second anniversary of the Children’s Plan, the publication of the Children’s Plan Two Years On: A Progress Report, as well as both the publication of an independent assessment of the impact of the commercial world on children’s well-being and the appointment of Sarah Thane CBE to develop proposals about the regulation of child performance.

Children’s Plan Two Years On: A Progress Report

This report demonstrates how the Children’s Plan, which puts the child at the centre of all our policy and provision, has significantly changed children’s services to the great benefit of children, young people and their families, and all those who work with them. As a result, the Children’s Plan has significantly improved outcomes for children and young people. It can be accessed at www.dcsf.gov.uk/childrensplan.

As well as celebrating what has already been achieved, today’s Children’s Plan Two Years On report shows the huge advances that are made for children when families are supported and whole communities are enabled to work together to overcome the challenges that they face.

The report explains that over the next five years we will:

introduce new guarantees setting out what children, young people and their parents can expect from services through the new pupil and parent guarantees underpinned by legislation in the Children, Schools and Families Bill, and the September guarantee—and, in 2010, the January guarantee—to a suitable place in education post-16; and setting out what support families can expect from the early years onward in a Green Paper concerning families and relationships;

further professionalise the workforce across all children’s services. In the early years workforce we will have better qualified practitioners, increasingly with graduate leadership; within social work we have accepted the recommendations of the social work taskforce to ensure that children, young people and their families receive the highest standards of care; and we will develop a professional status for the youth sector;

develop and support the best leaders by investing in developing talent and giving our leaders the flexibility to innovate; and

be tough on services that fail to deliver. The early success of national challenge has shown what can be achieved when support and appropriate intervention are targeted at underperforming schools through local authorities. It is equally important that we intervene where local authorities are failing to deliver children’s services to an acceptable standard.

We are committed to continued investment in the services and other activities required to fulfil the ambitions set out in the Children’s Plan and are keen to move to the next stage of reform. But now more than ever, we need to ensure we are getting real value for money from our investment. In this tougher fiscal climate, we need to continue supporting and working with those who deliver services, including those on the front line, in combining investment and efficiency savings to meet spending requirements, and to deliver our guarantees to pupils, parents and school leavers. We must remain focused on meeting the challenges facing all those working with children. Through a collective effort we believe that we can go even further and can move 21st-century children’s services from being good to outstanding, making England the best place in the world to grow up.

I am also pleased to announce the launch of a new blog site as part of the Children’s Plan village (www.dcsf.gov.uk/childrensplan). The website includes case studies and video showing how the Children’s Plan has made a positive difference to children and young people, families and practitioners over the past two years.

The Impact of the Commercial World on Children’s Well-being

The Government announced in the Children’s Plan our intention to “commission an independent assessment of the impact of the commercial world on young people” and later that David Buckingham, professor of education at the Institute of Education, would lead this work, supported by a panel of independent experts.

Professor Buckingham and his team conducted an extensive review of the available evidence and spoke to a large number of stakeholders representing the broad spectrum of opinion on this subject. I am today publishing the resultant report. It reflects the fact that Professor Buckingham was asked, first and foremost, to bring together and critically assess all the available research and evidence that exists on this vast subject.

Professor Buckingham’s report raises a number of far-ranging issues, from the need to promote greater media literacy to the regulation of new media and the need to safeguard children’s television as part of a broadcaster’s responsibility to provide public service content. I am very grateful to Professor Buckingham and his colleagues for such a thorough piece of work.

The key messages from this comprehensive piece of work are that:

the children’s commercial market is already large, is continuing to grow and is becoming increasingly sophisticated in its activities, in particular through new media. This trend seems set to continue;

the children’s market does not exist in isolation. Notwithstanding considerable social change in recent decades, parents continue to play the pivotal role in how children are affected by the market, although peers also have a considerable influence, especially as children grow into adolescence;

so far as the impact of the commercial world on children is concerned, the evidence shows a complex picture from which it is not possible to draw simple conclusions about cause or effect. The evidence does not validate either the notion that commercialisation is creating a toxic childhood or the notion that children are highly sophisticated consumers able to navigate with ease through a benign market; and

children are increasingly aware of commercial forces in public places and in schools and there is significant commercial activity going on within schools.

Professor Buckingham’s thoughtful report requires a considered response and we have decided that this should comprise the following elements:

we will take action to ensure that children and their parents are supported to improve their media literacy skills, especially relating to new media;

as a first necessary step towards this, we will shortly establish a panel to assess the place of media literacy within the school curriculum, to help schools to enhance the media literacy of their pupils. We believe that our overriding aim should be to ensure that children are safe while enjoying the many opportunities that both old and new media have to offer;

we will also develop materials to help parents guide their children and help them deal with commercial messages transmitted via old and new media working with the digital participation consortia set up following the Digital Britain White Paper;

it is important that the regulatory framework keeps pace with technical developments and the subsequent new marketing techniques that might be directed at children. In response to these issues the independent advertising regulators recently undertook an extensive public consultation exercise to inform the updating of both the broadcast and non-broadcast media codes. The revised codes will be published early in the new year;

we are also working with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department of Health to ensure that the well-being of children is given priority, particularly in areas such as food promotion. The Chief Medical Officer is planning this week to issue guidelines on the health effects and risks of children drinking alcohol. Working closely with industry, we will look at developing a set of voluntary principles to underpin all forms of marketing and promotion of food and drink to children, particularly where established mandatory self-regulatory and co-regulatory regimes do not exist. We also welcome the fact that the Internet Advisory Bureau has developed a set of good practice principles for online behavioural advertising. These came into force in September 2009;

we want there to be strong links and productive partnerships between schools and businesses, as illustrated in Building Stronger Partnerships, published in December 2008. The best practice principles relating to the commercial aspects of these partnerships have been in place for nine years. We have reviewed these with businesses and school partners and we now plan to update them to provide stronger guidance about the characteristics of good partnerships and how these are best formed, so that both schools and businesses can benefit. The new charity, the Education and Employers Taskforce, will be doing more to co-ordinate and promote constructive joint working between schools and employers. It has already published some initial online guidance; and

we recognise how important public service broadcasting (PSB) is to children. Professor Buckingham’s report found that older children are relatively poorly served by PSB and made it clear that there is a need to encourage high-quality, UK-sourced, original PSB content for children. We strongly agree and we welcome the BBC executive’s recent decision to increase its budget for children’s content, and the new remit for Channel 4.

Child Internet Safety

We have also launched the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) strategy—the first UK strategy on child internet safety and, we believe, the first strategy of its kind anywhere in the world—led and owned by an unprecedented coalition of government, industry, charities, law enforcement and many others united in working together to help children to stay safe online. And we have launched the first stage of the “Click Clever Click Safe” public awareness campaign with our online version of the Green Cross Code: “Zip it, Block it, Flag it”. We want to see the digital code become as familiar as “Stop, Look, Listen”.

For the first time, key players from industry, charities and government will be independently reviewed against standards to keep children safe online. Online safety is already a compulsory part of the national curriculum for secondary schools and is being taught in many primary schools. From September 2011, online safety will be a compulsory part of the curriculum from age five.

The Regulation of Child Performance

As Professor Buckingham’s report makes clear, the commercial world offers children many exciting opportunities in terms of entertainment, creativity, communication, learning and cultural experience, but it also carries some risks. Both issues can be seen in the specific context of children’s participation in television, film and theatre performances.

Our starting principle is that performing is good for children because of the opportunities that it offers them to develop their skills and talents, to have these recognised and praised and to develop more self-confidence as a result. Performing is often highly enjoyable for children, while also giving great pleasure to many people beyond children’s families and friends.

As a country, we want to continue celebrating the brilliant performances of children in stage shows like “Billy Elliott” or programmes like “Britain’s Got Talent”, and it is right that our talented children should continue aspiring to appear on those stages. We also benefit as a country from the careful and sensitive insight into children’s lives given by films like “Fish Tank” or documentary programmes like “My First Year”.

But where many parents, educators and Ministers become concerned is when programme makers seem determined to keep pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable, to provide shock value for viewers and to push up ratings, rather than to do anything positive or meaningful for our children, our culture or our country.

The relevant legislation is set out in the Children and Young Persons Act 1963 and the 1968 regulations that relate to it. This regulatory regime applies across a huge range of performance activities, from local dramatics and talent shows to popular television programmes and films.

There are a number of difficulties with the 1968 regulations and the primary legislation on which they depend. For example, the legislation is highly complex; is interpreted very differently in different places; and is hard to apply to contemporary broadcasting. Concerns have also been raised that the regulations are often misapplied, or sometimes not applied at all. Some have also asserted that the current regulations do not reflect current thinking about the nature of the biggest risks to children, or children’s greater maturity today compared to 50 years ago.

Questions have also been raised about whether there is sufficient information and guidance currently available to parents who are considering agreeing to their children taking part in performance activities, or indeed to all those putting on performances.

Increasing technological convergence also means that there is a need to consider these issues in a way that takes fully into account the fact that the boundaries between different forms of communication are blurring—those between television and the internet especially. Unless a modern framework is developed that consciously looks ahead, there is a serious risk of it being rapidly overtaken by technological change.

Questions have therefore arisen about the extent to which the current regulatory approach is still fit for purpose today. My department has lead responsibility for the regulation of child performance. Earlier this year, I asked officials to examine the 1968 regulations with the aim of updating them. The results were discussed informally over the summer with interested parties. These discussions made it clear that simply updating the existing regulations would probably not create the kind of approach that we believe we now need; that is, one that protects children effectively and proportionately from the risk of harm, enables them to make the most of the many exciting performance opportunities now available and reflects and respects the right to freedom of expression and editorial independence.

I and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport have therefore decided jointly to commission a piece of work to explore these issues in greater detail, with a view to deciding what a modern, effective and proportionate set of arrangements for the regulation of child performance should look like, and we have appointed Sarah Thane, CBE, to lead it. Sarah Thane is a former chair of the Royal Television Society, a former adviser to Ofcom on regulation and content and a member of the governing board of Teachers TV, and therefore brings considerable relevant experience and expertise to the task.

Sarah Thane will engage and work with all those with an interest in this area, including organisations representing children and parents; children’s charities; broadcasters and programme and film makers; representatives of local arts and drama organisations; and theatre organisations and local authorities, among others. Sarah Thane will report her conclusions to us by the end of February 2010.

Crime: Women

Statement

My honourable friend the Minister of State (Maria Eagle) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Today I am publishing a report on the Government’s strategy for diverting women away from crime. Prison is the right place for those who are dangerous and serious offenders but only 3 per cent of the female population fall into that category.

Two years ago I announced our commitment to a fundamental change in how the criminal justice system deals with women. We believe that rebalancing our spending from custodial provision to community provision will stop vulnerable women becoming trapped in a cycle of crime. Women’s offending is a complex problem which creates a burden on society, damage to children and families, and misery for the women themselves.

I am pleased to announce that, having put in place an intensive, multi-agency approach, we are starting to make a difference, and I am today announcing a commitment to go further. We will:

reduce the women’s prison estate by 300 places by March 2011 and 400 places by March 2012 and divert resources from custody to the community to sustain the multi-agency community services that we have established through grant funding;

provide up to £5 million to improve approved premises accommodation for women offenders who are being closely supervised on release from custody, and for women offenders with high levels of need to keep them out of custody;

make available funding of over £1 million to pilot a new project, from April 2010, to explore the benefits of early intervention for women with multiple needs from their first point of contact with the criminal justice system. Family intervention projects will target this group of women and their dependent children in up to 20 areas in England to provide intensive personalised support in a community setting. Dedicated key workers will provide intensive support to vulnerable women and their families; and

fund enhanced bail support to provide mentoring and other provision to help over 500 more women to settle in accommodation.

We have already made good progress with taking forward our strategy to divert women from crime. It takes time to effect change but we can already see a promising reduction in the number of women in prison and an encouraging increase in the use of community orders for women.

These findings show that we are moving swiftly towards our aim of a different, coherent and sustainable approach to help prevent vulnerable women from becoming trapped in a cycle of crime.

We have been investing to build the necessary community capacity to ensure that there are effective alternatives to custody for women who might otherwise be remanded into custody or given short prison sentences. Earlier this year I announced £15.6 million of new funding over two years, to invest in the provision of additional services in the community for women offenders, who are not a danger to the public, and women at risk of offending.

This funding has crucially given women offenders and those at risk of offending the engagement with the mainstream services that they so often struggle to access. It has also enabled centres to give courts an alternative to short prison sentences by providing additional requirements that can be linked into a productive community sentence that can be more effective in cutting reoffending.

The issues that women and girls face are often multiple, complex and rooted in social exclusion; they commonly include mental health problems, drug and alcohol addiction, sexual and domestic abuse, as well as concerns regarding their children’s welfare, poverty and homelessness. By failing to address these needs we let down some of the most socially excluded people within our society today; the need to address these issues could not be clearer.

Through our work we aim to secure access for women to homes, jobs, mainstream health services, support to tackle drug and alcohol misuse and mental health problems, and support for them and their children as a socially excluded group and as victims themselves.

Underpinning our strategy is the gender equality duty, which is our main lever to ensure delivery of gender-specific services. To promote awareness of how the gender equality duty supports a different approach to women offenders, to share best practice and to publicise the work and knowledge of local services within the community, a series of one-day women-in-focus stakeholder events have been held across the country, the evaluation of which will be published in early 2010.

The report sets out our progress and plans to consolidate and build on delivery of our strategy, to invest further in community provision and to make more widespread changes to stop women committing crime and entering the criminal justice system. I have placed copies of the update report in the Libraries of both Houses. Copies are also available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.

I firmly believe that the approach that we have been taking and the further announcements today will help to transform for the better the way in which women offenders are managed. It will also contribute to our wider ambition to prevent women who are at risk of offending from entering the justice system.

Criminal Justice: Out-of-court Disposals

Statement

My right honourable friend the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Jack Straw) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On Monday 9 November I announced our intention to review the use of out-of-court disposals by criminal justice agencies. Today the Home Secretary, Attorney-General and I are publishing the terms of reference for this review.

Out-of-court penalties and other similar interventions in one form or another have been available for a long time. They are designed to provide simple, swift and proportionate ways of responding to anti-social behaviour and low-risk offending and to save courts the time of listening to minor and undisputed matters. They also support rehabilitation and reparation, especially by young people, provide quick resolution to victims and free up time for the police and courts to focus on more serious offending.

Existing legislation and guidance on the use of out-of-court disposals is clear, but we have been concerned by reports of these disposals being used for apparently serious offences, including violent assaults. We are also concerned by the apparent variation between areas in the number of crimes brought to justice through the use of out-of-court disposals, by reports of the repeated use of such disposals even for low-level offences and by the robustness of their enforcement.

We have therefore asked the Office for Criminal Justice Reform to conduct a review of the use of out-of-court disposals with the following terms of reference:

to examine evidence on the use and enforcement of out-of-court disposals for adults and youths by criminal justice agencies;

to identify any issues with current operational practices, including current performance and regulation frameworks, and compliance with legislation and published guidance; and

to report to Ministers in order that they can issue a Written Statement to Parliament in March 2010 on emerging findings and the focus for the next phase of the review, including any further work required to improve the compliance of criminal justice agencies with legislation and guidance and to consider possible changes to the out-of-court disposals frameworks for adults and youths to improve transparency and confidence in the criminal justice system.

The objective of this first phase of the review is to ensure that we have a proper understanding of the operation of the existing out-of-court disposals framework. To this end, and in consultation with key criminal justice partners, the review will examine:

national trends in the numbers of out-of-court disposals in the context of the level of crime, charged cases, court caseloads and convictions;

local variation in the number of out-of-court disposals and operational practice, including performance management and quality assurance arrangements;

the use of out-of-court disposals for serious offences and the consultation with victims in such cases;

evidence of the effectiveness of out-of-court disposals, including operational issues such as the repeat issue of disposals to offenders, compliance and enforcement, and any evidence of the outcomes that they deliver for offenders, victims and the public’s confidence in the criminal justice system; and

the efficiency of using out-of-court disposals, including evidence of their costs and benefits to criminal justice agencies, and any concerns about bureaucracy.

The findings from this first phase of the review will determine the work to be undertaken in the second phase of the review. The programme of work that will form the second phase of the review, and the timescales for this, will be set out in the further Written Statement that I will issue to Parliament in March 2010.

EU: Competitiveness Council

Statement

My right honourable friend the Minister for Higher Education and Intellectual Property (David Lammy) has today made the following Statement.

The EU Competitiveness Council took place in Brussels on 3 and 4 December 2009. The following is a summary of those discussions.

Kevin Brennan, Minister for Consumer Affairs, represented the UK on 3 December on EU consumer issues, while on 4 December I represented the UK on EU patents issues and Ian Lucas, Minister for Business and Regulatory Reform, attended the ministerial lunchtime debate on General Motors/Opel. Andy Lebrecht, the UK’s deputy permanent representative to the EU, represented the UK when a Minister was not in attendance.

On 3 December, the main areas of discussion were research and consumer affairs. On research, the UK argued for a more sophisticated approach to setting targets for the level and impact of R&D investment. Many countries agreed, but the Commission felt that abandoning the current 3 per cent headline target would send a negative signal to business and research communities.

There was strong backing for any EU Lisbon strategy successor to encourage better links between researchers and innovators across Europe. The UK emphasised the need to lever more private sector investment in innovation. There was also broad agreement to reduce bureaucracy for applicants and participants in EU R&D framework programmes.

Conclusions on a new joint European research programme on Alzheimer’s and for other research items were adopted. However, decisions to reform CREST, the high-level group on EU science policy issues, were delayed until 2010.

When debating the draft consumer rights directive, the UK was keen to see fully harmonised solutions across the whole directive that were acceptable to the majority of member states, and supported harmonisation where it could be shown that divergent rules create barriers to trade, though not at the expense of important consumer protections, such as the right to reject faulty goods and receive a full refund. Discussions on the draft directive will continue under the Spanish EU presidency in the first half of 2010.

On 4 December, agreement was reached in principle on a general approach on a Community patent regulation and council conclusions regarding a European patent court, patent fees and partnership working between the European Patent Office and national patent offices. The presidency, Commission and several member states acknowledged that there would still be difficult discussions ahead before there was full completion, but the UK said that this step was long overdue and it was vital to move forward.

At a ministerial lunchtime discussion, Ministers heard an update from General Motors/Opel on its plans for European restructuring. There were no formal conclusions. No agreement was made on the proposal for a European private company statute. It will now be for the Commission and future EU presidencies to decide if and when to come back to this.

Ministers agreed council conclusions after debating eco-efficient industry policy as a contribution to the revised EU Lisbon strategy. The Commission felt that the EU Competitiveness Council had a vital role to play in future deliberations on a Lisbon strategy successor, and these should take account of areas such as climate change, demography, and finding the right balance between competitiveness and high-quality jobs.

The UK stressed the importance of the EU being competitive at a global level and of strengthening the EU single market. The UK also stated that the temporary state aid framework should end as planned in December 2010 and that the EU should exploit and invest more in R&D and innovation to ensure a competitive, modern and diverse industrial base in Europe. Many delegations expressed a desire for a more powerful voice for the Competitiveness Council and considered it important to give greater priority to green technologies.

For other items, conclusions on better regulation were adopted as drafted. The UK and Malta tabled a joint minute statement on gambling, which expressed concerns over the presidency progress report. They requested no further discussion in council as the current Commission had no intention to legislate.

Under any other business points, the Commission reported on the global monitoring for environment and security (GMES) initiative. It was felt unlikely that this would ever be profit making, but that it would however be strategically beneficial for Europe. When giving a progress report on the construction products directive, the Commission singled out the simplified procedures for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) as important in reducing administrative burdens. The Commission also updated the council on the recent Google books settlement.

Spain presented priorities for its forthcoming EU presidency (January to June 2010), which will be innovation, standardisation and business and SME competitiveness. Future industrial policy would be considered in the context of the crisis. There would be a new EU strategy on electric vehicles, to be discussed at the informal Competitiveness Council on 8 and 9 February in San Sebastian, Spain. The presidency would promote socially responsible tourism and address the EU’s target of a 25 per cent reduction in administrative burdens by 2012, as well as implementation of the EU services directive.

EU: Telecoms Council

Statement

My right honourable friend the Minister for Digital Media (Stephen Timms) has made the following Statement.

I am pleased to confirm the agenda items for which BIS has responsibility at the forthcoming Transport, Telecommunications (Telecoms Council) in Brussels on 18 December 2009.

There are only three substantive agenda items, the first of which is a televised policy debate on the adoption of council conclusions on the post-i2010 strategy—towards an open, green and competitive knowledge society. These conclusions are member states’ consolidated views on what policies and workstreams should be in the successor to the current i2010 framework (i2010 is Europe’s ICT agenda). The UK welcomes and supports the adoption of these conclusions, as ICT is now seen by all member states as one of the most important components of a states economic “armoury”. They are in line with the Digital Britain report and also with the priorities that the UK submitted to the recent EU Commission’s public consultation on a successor to i2010. They will be taken account by the Commission in crafting the new ICT strategy, due to be adopted in the first half of 2010.

In my intervention (we expect nearly all member states to make comments) I will welcome the opportunity to debate this essential issue, and as per my recent letters to both Houses on i2010, I will suggest that a new ICT strategy framework should now focus on an agenda that delivers greater benefit for businesses and consumers; should be economically focused, and that the Commission should move away from regulation towards incentivising take up and investment in new networks/technologies, particularly carbon-reducing technologies.

The next item on the agenda is the adoption of council conclusions on communication from the Commission—transforming the digital dividend into social benefits and economic growth. This item concerns the member states’ views on this communication, which outlined a set of proposals for a common approach to the digital dividend in Europe. (The digital dividend is the radio spectrum that is released when member states switch from analogue to digital television.) We do not expect a table round on this item, but if there is a discussion, I will intervene to note my support for the conclusions and their encouragement to member states to complete their switchover programmes during 2012. I will also emphasise our preference for a non-legislative approach to the use of the 800MHz band for mobile broadband services.

The last substantive item on the agenda is the adoption of council resolution on collaborative European approach on network and information security. The resolution (on which there are no reserves) notes the Commission’s efforts in 2009 to promote action on critical information infrastructure protection and it also looks forward to the Commission’s forthcoming proposals on network and information security priorities and the future of ENISA. I will be intervening (if there is a discussion) to note that we welcome this resolution and that the UK has an open mind about the future of ENISA and looks forward to the Commission’s proposals on this matter.

The Swedish presidency is also hosting a ministerial lunch, where member states will debate, informally, the issue of competition and investment in next-generation networks. This discussion will start with a presentation by UK spectrum expert Martin Cave, and I will emphasise the importance of maintaining (and indeed enhancing) competition, as we move towards adoption of next-generation networks. In particular, I will stress the need for competitive access to new networks across the EU.

In addition to the three substantive items, there are two further items for which BIS has responsibility listed under any other business. The first of these will be an update from the council presidency on internet governance including a report on the recent Internet Governance Forum that took place in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt.

Finally, the incoming Spanish presidency will present its work programme for the next six months, which begins on 1 January 2009.

Health: Genomic Medicine

Statement

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

I am pleased to announce that the Government’s response to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee genomic medicine inquiry report has been laid before Parliament. The Select Committee’s report on the rapid developments in human genetics is extremely timely.

Since the genetics White Paper 2003 Our Inheritance, Our Future, the Government have invested over £80 million to fund a broad-based programme of work that has put in place a framework for the National Health Service (NHS) genetics services today. These investments have already provided new levels of genetic knowledge, skills and services within the NHS. Following the review of the White Paper in 2008, the Government have been taking forward a series of actions to:

to strengthen specialised genetic services;

position genetic services into the mainstream diagnostic pathway;

promote understanding across the NHS; and

generate new knowledge and applications.

In addition to this, the Medical Research Council and other research councils collectively invested over £45 million in genomic medicine in 2007-08.

The government response reinforces our commitment to genetics research and aims to maintain our position as world leader in associated health research, development and innovation. It clearly sets out how we will continue to ensure the NHS is ready for future developments and that new technologies are properly developed and translated into clinical practice.

Health: Kidney Disease

Statement

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Ann Keen) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The department has today published Achieving Excellence in Kidney Care: Delivering the National Service Framework for Renal Services, which outlines progress towards the standards and quality requirements of the national service framework, and highlights specific examples of good practice and innovation. The report also celebrates the first year of operation of the improvement organisation NHS Kidney Care, part of NHS Diabetes and Kidney Care.

Real progress to implement the national service framework has been made. The NHS is now a world-leader in the detection and management of chronic kidney disease in primary care, there has been a marked drop in MRSA infection rates among kidney patients as best practice in vascular access becomes more widespread, and there has also been a welcome reduction in the number of late referrals to renal replacement therapy services. Dialysis capacity has expanded through more main and satellite units, and progress continues to be made in increasing the number of organ donors, particularly as the recommendations of the Organ Donation Taskforce are put into action.

The report is, however, equally clear that there is no room for complacency and that there remains a lot more work to be done to take kidney services from good to great. Looking to the future, it is clear that a renewed focus on the issue of acute kidney injury (acute renal failure) is required as part of driving up standards of care across acute medicine. Another central and important theme is achieving real patient choice, and ensuring that a full range of treatment settings are available for all patients, including increasing capacity for home haemodialysis in line with NICE guidance. This would enable patients to more effectively self-care if it is clinically appropriate, and if they wish to make that choice.

Achieving Excellence in Kidney Care: Delivering the National Service Framework for Renal Services has been placed in the Library and copies are available for honourable Members from the Vote Office.

Health: Pharmaceutical Services

Statement

My right honourable friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Mike O’Brien) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The 10th report to Parliament on the pharmaceutical price regulation scheme (PPRS) was published today.

The department published the first report on the PPRS in 1996 following a comment by the Health Committee that the Department of Health should introduce greater transparency into the PPRS by publishing an annual report on the scheme. Since then, the department has published a report to Parliament on the operation and management of the scheme most years. However, there has not been a report since July 2006 following the Office of Fair Trading’s market study into the PPRS in 2007 and the renegotiation of the PPRS in 2007 and 2008. This latest report covers developments since the last report and a description of the new 2009 PPRS.

A copy of the report has been placed in the Library and copies are available for honourable Members from the Vote Office.

Independent Reviewer of the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007

Statement

My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Northern Ireland (Paul Goggins) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

I have arranged for copies of the second report of Robert Whalley CB, independent reviewer of the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 (the 2007 Act), to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

This second report provides an assessment of the operation of Sections 21 to 32 of the 2007 Act and the procedures adopted by the Brigade Commander 38 (Irish) Brigade for receiving, investigating and responding to complaints. The report covers the period 1 August 2008 to 31 July 2009.

The report highlights the seriousness in the security position this year, with the reviewer reporting that the use of the powers under the 2007 Act has remained entirely appropriate and proportional. The reviewer makes clear that, in light of the activities of dissident republicans, the balance of argument for continuing the powers is persuasive.

The independent reviewer notes that while the low level of general complaints regarding military activity has been maintained, there has been an increase in the number of complaints in relation to helicopter flying. The reviewer does, however, assess that the procedures adopted by the Brigade Commander 38 (Irish) Brigade for dealing with these complaints is positive and he is satisfied that the staff concerned with addressing the complaints are aware of the importance of pursuing their inquiries fully and expeditiously. This is important, as these training flights are necessary and reflect the Armed Forces’ wider strategic commitment, particularly in Afghanistan.

There has also been a major change recently with the closure of RAF Aldergrove. While air activity will continue under the Joint Helicopter Command Flying Station Aldergrove, the reviewer has indicated this change presents an opportunity to review how best to reconcile military needs with the impact on the community, through the fullest possible engagement with the community.

The chief constable and the Brigade Commander 38 (Irish) Brigade have both welcomed the independent reviewer’s report and the recommendations made. I, too, welcome the recommendations made by Robert Whalley in his second report and I will consider them carefully.

Local Communities

Statement

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (John Denham) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 14 October, I informed Parliament about my plan to reinvigorate and connect with those communities that are feeling the pressure from recession most acutely and to ensure they are well placed to share fully in future prosperity and emerge stronger and more cohesive.

I can today inform Parliament that I am extending that programme to a further 85 neighbourhoods across 54 local authorities, adding to the 27 neighbourhoods across 21 local authorities that I announced in October.

The expansion of the programme means that over 100 communities are now getting targeted help in addressing local issues. The package of support will enable local people to influence, shape and change policies on issues which really matter in their community. It will help to make sure that those people who are feeling the pressure the most are getting a bigger say and a fair deal.

Practical actions delivered on estates and streets will focus on making changes that address local people’s concerns, reconnect them with jobs and tackle head-on issues—real and perceived—which left neglected can prove fertile territory for extremism and those who would divide our communities.

I can also announce that around £2 million of funding is being directed at activity to support community champions, council staff and councillors that will help them develop the skills and confidence to address local issues head-on. This funding complements extra support announced recently for around 130 local authority areas to tackle anti-social behaviour with training and support available to front-line staff and community champions.

Second Round Areas

Region

Local Authority

Place

North East (7)

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne City Council

1. Elswick

South Tyneside MBC

2. Central Jarrow

Middlesbrough Council

3. Thorntree

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

4. Stockton Town Centre

5.Newtown

Hartlepool Borough Council

6. Dyke House, Stranton, Grange

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

7. Southbank & Grangetown

Durham County Council

8. Spennymoor

North West (5)

Stockport MBC

9. Offerton

Rochdale MBC

10. Kirkholt

Oldham MBC

11. Waterhead

Knowsley MBC

12. Page Moss

Lancaster Council

13. Skerton

Yorkshire and Humber (6)

Barnsley MBC

14. Darton West

15. Dearne

16. Athersley and New Lodge (received funding in wave 1)

East Riding of Yorkshire Council

17. Goole

North Lincolnshire Council

18. Winterton

North East Lincolnshire Council

19. Fiveways

Leeds City Council

20. Gipton

Rotherham MBC

21. East Maltby

22. Dinnington

23. East Maltby

East (2)

Great Yarmouth Borough Council

24. Nelson

Thurrock Council

25. Tilbury Riverside and St Chad’s

East Midlands (7)

South Holland District Council

26. Holbeach

27. Long Sutton

28. Sutton Bridge

Bassetlaw District Council

29. Harworth

Leicester City Council

30. Eyres Monsell

Amber Valley Borough Council

31. Aldercar and Langley Mill

Northampton Borough Council

32. Thorplands

Gedling Borough Council

33. Killisick

NW Leicestershire District Council

34. Measham

West Midlands (6)

Stoke-on-Trent City Council

35.Bentilee

Birmingham City Council

36. Shard End

Herefordshire County Council

37. Newton Farm and Golden Post (Belmont Ward)

Sandwell MBC

38. Friar Park

39. Tibbington Estate, Princes End

Walsall MBC

40.Birchills

Wolverhampton MBC

41. Bilston East

South East (8)

Hastings Borough Council

42. Greater Hollington and Ore Valley

Brighton & Hove City Council

43. Whitehawk

44. Moulescoomb & Woodingdean

Crawley Borough Council

45. Bewbush & Iffield

Rushmoor Borough Council

46. Prospect Estate

Southampton City Council

47. Bitterne (area around Sullivan Road, Sholing)

48. Weston

49. Millbrook

Wycombe District Council

50. Castlefield

Oxford City Council

51. Blackbird leys and Greater leys

Thanet District Council

52. Cliftonville West and Margate Central

South West (2)

Bath & NE Somerset Council

53. London Road, Snowhill

54. Queens Road, Keynesham

Bristol City Council

55. St George East & West, Brislington East

56. Southmead

57. Whitchurch

58. Hillfields

London (12)

Barking & Dagenham

59. Eastbury

60. Village

61. Valence

62. Parsloes

63. Goresbrook

64. Alibon

Barnet, London Borough of

65. Coppetts

66. High Barnet

Croydon, London Borough of

67. New Addington

68. Fieldway

Enfield, London Borough of

69. Chase

70. Enfield Highway

71. Enfield Lock

72. Ponders End

73. Southbury and Turkey Street

Greenwich, London Borough of

74. Brook, Page and Corelli estates

Havering, London Borough of

75. Mawneys and Elm Park

Hillingdon, London Borough of

76. Yeading

Hounslow, London Borough of

77. Bedfont, Feltham North and West, Hanworth and Hanworth Park

Kensington and Chelsea, Royal Borough of

78. North Kensington

Redbridge, London Borough of

79. Hainault

Richmond upon Thames, London Borough of

80. Ham

81. Heathfield

82. Hampton North (Nursery Lands)

83. Castelnau

84. Mortlake

Sutton, London Borough of

85. Sutton Northern Wards: St Helier, Wandle Valley and The Wrythe

Local Transport Act 2008

Statement

My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Transport (Sadiq Khan) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

The Government are today publishing their response to the consultation on proposals to review the list of designated bodies.

Under Section 19 of the Transport Act 1985, the Secretary of State has the power to designate bodies who may issue permits under that section to eligible community transport operators. These Section 19 permits allow the holder to operate transport services for hire or reward, subject to certain conditions, without the need for a full public service vehicle operator’s licence.

The Government published the 12-week consultation on 21 July 2009, and intend final proposals to come into force around the middle of 2010. The proposals would apply to England, Scotland and Wales.

Copies of the formal response are available on the department’s website (www.dft.gov.uk) and in the Libraries of the House.

Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (References to Financial Investigators) (Amendment) Order 2009

Statement

On Monday 7 December, the Earl of Onslow moved a Motion,

“That this House notes with concern criticisms by the Chairman of the Police Federation of the powers contained in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (References to Financial Investigators) (Amendment) Order 2009 (SI 2009/2707) laid before the House on 8 October and calls upon Her Majesty’s Government to revoke the order”.

The Motion was carried by 182 votes to 118.

The Government take seriously the concerns of the House and have considered the next steps for the statutory instrument. The Home Office Minister, Lord West of Spithead, and I will be having further discussions with the Earl of Onslow on the concerns that he expressed in the House.

As an immediate step, the Government will be drafting a circular to be issued to all accredited financial investigators to clarify the purpose and extent of the powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act so as to allay the House’s concerns about the potential for misuse of the powers. A draft will be cleared with the House’s Merits Committee before it is issued.

Concerns were raised during the debate over the lack of consultation on the order. In response to Lord Rooker’s point that there was an obligation to consult on the terms of the order, I said that the Cabinet Office rules in respect of consultation do not apply to negative SIs as such. Inadvertently, my response on this point was misleading, by implying that negative instruments may constitute a special category. The position is that the latest code of practice on consultation (http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file47158.pdf) published by the Better Regulation Executive in July 2008,

“is not intended to create a commitment to consult on anything, to give rise to a duty to consult or to be relied on as creating expectations that the Government will consult in any particular case. The issues on which the Government decides to consult depend on the circumstances in each case”.

This applies across the board, including in the case of negative instruments. While consultation is an important part of policy development, there is therefore no general statutory duty on the Government to formally consult on statutory instruments. It is a matter of judgment for the Government as to when and how to engage stakeholders. I set out in the debate the consultation that was carried out on this order and the reasons for it. The concerns that were raised during the debate focused on the adequacy of that consultation and I undertook in the debate that the Government would take on board those concerns for the future.

Lord Thomas of Gresford and Baroness Buscombe queried where the burden of proof lies under the Proceeds of Crime Act. My answer on this point was challenged by the noble Lord and the noble Baroness and I undertook to seek further advice on the matter.

The answer that I gave referred to the powers in respect of the recovery of cash by, for example, an accredited financial investigator in Chapter 3 of Part 5 of the Act, where there is no transfer of the burden of proof. However, the query was in fact in relation to the “criminal lifestyle”/“general criminal conduct” confiscation regime in Part 2, which may have a transfer of the burden of proof. The relevant provision is Section 10 of the 2002 Act. The Explanatory Notes to the Act read:

“Section 10 applies where the court has decided that the defendant has a criminal lifestyle and it is, accordingly, considering the defendant’s benefit from general criminal conduct. The section requires the court to make certain specified assumptions to establish whether the defendant has benefited from general criminal conduct, and, if so, by how much. The court is not, however, permitted to make an assumption in relation to particular property or expenditure if it is shown to be incorrect or there would be a serious risk of injustice if it were made. Where for any reason the court does not make any of the assumptions specified in the legislation, it must nevertheless continue to decide whether the defendant has benefited from general criminal conduct and decide the recoverable amount, albeit without the assistance of the assumptions”.

The burden of proof in this kind of confiscation case does transfer to the defendant, but only in cases where the defendant has been convicted of a listed serious offence or has a pattern of convictions that is indicative of them being a career criminal. In such circumstances, it is reasonable to assume that everything that the defendant has and has had in the previous six years is the proceeds of crime.

In other confiscation cases for lesser offences that do not indicate career criminality, the “particular criminal conduct” regime applies. The confiscation order in these cases is set only to the value of the benefit from the instant offence of which the defendant has been convicted.

The noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, and the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, were therefore correct in challenging my original answer, and I apologise for having inadvertently misled the House on this point.

The Countess of Mar asked which organisations, other than the police and HM Revenue and Customs, had recovered assets. Trading standards officers have made the greatest contribution, but others have also contributed. These include the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Environment Agency, the Office of Fair Trading, the Serious Fraud Office, the Royal Mail, the Pensions Regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and the UK Border Agency. The value of the assets that these bodies recovered were:

2003-04—£172,663.40

2004-05—£481,698.10

2005-06—£2,403,157.36

2006-07—£4,435,137.41

2007-08—£7,180,605.37

2008-09—£5,639,230.54.

In due course I will make a further Written Statement to the House to report on the outcome of the steps that we have taken to respond to the House’s concerns on this order.

Railways: High-speed Line

Statement

In January, the Government set up High Speed Two Limited to advise on the development of high-speed rail services between London and Scotland. At the end of this month High Speed Two will report to me on a detailed route plan for the first stage of a north-south high-speed line, from London to the West Midlands. The company will also advise on options for extending high-speed services, and high-speed lines, to destinations further north, including the North West, the East Midlands, Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland. It will also advise on options for serving Heathrow Airport, and on connections between High Speed One and High Speed Two.

HS2 will present a business case supported by technical assessments, including demand forecasts, and the potential for shifting journeys to high-speed rail from air and road. In respect of the route between London and the West Midlands, the company will also present detailed plans, design specifications, and an assessment of costs, funding and delivery structures.

Having taken full account of the HS2 report, if the Government decide to pursue proposals for high-speed rail, we will publish a White Paper setting out plans by the end of March 2010. This would include route proposals, timescales and associated financial, economic, and environmental assessments. The White Paper would be followed by a full public consultation in the autumn of 2010, giving all interested parties an opportunity to comment before proposals are finalised and a hybrid Bill is prepared.

It would not be possible to publish the HS2 report in advance of a White Paper setting out the Government’s plans, as to do so would cause unnecessary blight in respect of options identified but not taken forward. However, the report will be published alongside the Government’s response. I will seek to minimise uncertainty for those who are potentially affected by a proposed line, and the White Paper would therefore set out, for consultation, a non-statutory hardship scheme.

Railways: Modernisation

Statement

In July, I announced a £1.1 billion investment in the electrification of the Great Western Main Line between London and South Wales, and the line between Liverpool and Manchester.

In the Pre-Budget Report the Chancellor indicated that the Government are now going ahead with plans for electrification of further lines in the North West. I can today set out the lines and expected timescales involved.

The first line is between Huyton—on the line running from Liverpool to Manchester—and Wigan, on the already electrified West Coast Main Line. This will allow electric trains to operate between Liverpool and Wigan via St Helens. The second line is between Manchester and Euxton Junction—just south of Preston on the West Coast Main Line. This will allow electric trains to operate between Manchester and Preston, via Bolton. The third line is between Blackpool North and Preston. This will allow electric trains to operate between Blackpool North and both Liverpool and Manchester.

Our plans envisage that, once electrified, these three lines will be served by thoroughly refurbished electric commuter trains transferred from the Thameslink line. This will increase rail capacity and reliability between key cities and towns in the North West. It will allow 30 year-old Pacer diesel trains to be retired, and modern diesel trains to be transferred to other routes requiring extra capacity. It will also help to reduce the long-term cost of operating the railway, and reduce carbon emissions.

Network Rail will now develop detailed plans to complete these electrification projects alongside the previously-announced plans for Liverpool to Manchester, opening in sequence between 2014 and 2016. Funding of up to £1.1 billion had already been allocated for electrification between Liverpool and Manchester and on the Great Western Main Line. Subject to detailed work on value for money on each new line, a further £200 million will be provided from within Network Rail’s capital programme, giving a total investment available for electrification of up to £1.3 billion.

In July I undertook to review the department’s rolling stock plan in the light of the electrification announcements and other developments. The Government remain committed to providing an additional 1,300 carriages by mid-2014. Until commercial negotiations on the Thameslink programme are completed, I am not in a position to update the rolling stock plan, which is critically dependent on the determination of the Thameslink rolling stock contract. However, I can give the following detail of recent and projected rolling stock procurements:

Southeastern introduced 48 cascaded carriages in March 2009 as the first phase of additional capacity to address the crowding of train services through London Bridge to London Charing Cross and London Cannon Street. The specification for the second phase is now being developed as part of the Thameslink Key Output 1 (December 2011) and Key Output 2 (December 2015) service patterns which are being discussed with train operators;

the East Anglia franchise operator will take delivery of 120 new carriages for Stansted Express services, as part of the department’s agreement with the current train operating company. This will enable the carriages currently forming these trains to be redeployed to lengthen other services into London Liverpool Street. National Express East Anglia is also deploying a further 68 cascaded carriages to lengthen existing trains. In total 188 new and cascaded carriages will be deployed to increase capacity into London Liverpool Street;

the first two phases of additional capacity on London Midland services have been agreed. These involve the deployment of 28 cascaded carriages to lengthen trains and also to operate more trains between Watford and London Euston during peak periods. The third phase of the additional capacity for London Midland services is now being developed with the train operator. This will focus on additional capacity into Birmingham;

extra capacity provision is included in the recently-announced Southern franchise. This includes additional capacity into London Bridge and London Victoria over the next three years using 128 cascaded carriages;

arrangements are almost finalised with First Capital Connect for the introduction of 41 carriages onto the services into London. The extra carriages will be introduced over the next 12 months;

negotiations are underway with First Great Western to provide additional capacity on services around Bristol. This is expected to involve additional cascaded carriages, introduced over the next 12 to 18 months;

proposals for the provision of additional capacity into London Waterloo are being negotiated with South West Trains;

the provision of additional capacity on the Shrewsbury-Birmingham route is being developed with Arriva Trains Wales;

plans for additional capacity on the Liverpool-Nottingham route are being developed with East Midlands Trains;

the specification for a first phase of additional capacity on services into Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield has been completed and is now being discussed with Northern Rail and the relevant Passenger Transport Executives. Planning work is also underway with Northern Rail and the Passenger Transport Executives to develop a second phase scheme to address the further capacity requirements for these cities;

the specification for the new Essex Thameside (C2C) franchise in May 2011 will include extra capacity requirements. The proposed specification will be published in early 2010;

the specification for the new Intercity West Coast franchise, due to start in April 2012, will include a requirement to deploy the 106 new Pendolino vehicles on order to increase capacity between London, Birmingham and Manchester;

the current Transpennine Express franchise is due to end in February 2012, and the specification for its replacement will be developed over the next 24 months. This will include the deployment of new electric trains on the Manchester to Central Scotland route, allowing the diesel trains currently operating these services to be used to provide more capacity on the main trans-Pennine route; and

Chiltern Railway’s franchise agreement contains provision under Evergreen phases 2 and 3 for extra capacity requirements to be delivered by 2014. Chiltern Railways has procured additional carriages to achieve this and further plans are now being discussed.

Safeguarding Children

Statement

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

I am today publishing Sir Roger Singleton’s report on the vetting and barring scheme, Drawing the Line, together with the Government’s response. I am placing copies of both in the House Library.

Parliament legislated for the new scheme in the 2006 Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act and it received overwhelming support. We recognised then, as we do now, that it is essential to ensure that children and vulnerable adults are properly safeguarded and that we do everything we reasonably can to protect them from those who seek to do them harm.

Our aim throughout has been to develop an approach which is proportionate, balanced and effective, with the scheme operating in a way which is neither burdensome nor bureaucratic, or off-putting to potential volunteers in children’s settings—while still meeting the concerns of parents.

We have found much support for the scheme as we have taken this work forward through a process of extensive consultation with those who run services and activities for children.

It has always been our intention that mutually agreed and responsible arrangements made between parents and friends for the care of their children should be excluded from the vetting and barring scheme. That principle is central to the 2006 Act.

However, some significant concerns have been expressed about the interpretation of one particular aspect of the scheme; the degree of contact with children which should trigger the requirement to register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). Striking the right balance on where to draw the line that separates those situations that should be covered from those that should be excluded has undoubtedly been a difficult judgment.

In my letter of 14 September to the honourable Member for Huddersfield (Mr Sheerman), chair of the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee, I said that Baroness Morgan and I had asked Sir Roger Singleton to check that the Government have drawn the line in the right place on this issue.

We are very grateful to Sir Roger for his very thorough work on this over the past three months, during which he has consulted a wide range of key individuals and organisations, including relevant unions, inspectorates, voluntary organisations, faith groups and local charities and clubs. His work was also informed by a survey of some 1,800 parents carried out by the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations.

I am therefore pleased to confirm that the Government welcome and accept all 10 of Sir Roger’s recommendations to make sure that the vetting and barring scheme draws the line in the right place, protecting children without getting involved in private arrangements between parents and friends.

Taken together, we believe these recommendations strike the right balance between the need to protect the vulnerable on the one hand, and the importance of having a scheme which is proportionate and which is based on some fundamental guiding principles, consistently applied, on the other.

Sir Roger’s report is based on two fundamental guiding principles which underpin both his overall approach and all his specific recommendations and which also underpin the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.

The first principle is that where parents exercise their own judgment about who should care for their children that is entirely a private matter in which the scheme should not interfere. But where parents give that choice to an organisation, such as a school, club or group and cease to be able to make a personal decision about which adult provides the care or teaching etc, then registration should be required, subject to how often the contact takes place between the adults and the children.

The second principle is that the statutory requirements laid down should go no further than is necessary for the safety and protection of children, At the same time, it is also necessary, and appropriate, to recognise that some organisations will choose to require registration in situations of exceptional vulnerability, whether or not the frequency test is met; for example, if the person will be expected to provide intimate personal care for a severely disabled child. This allows for a degree of local flexibility and recognises everyone’s responsibility for safeguarding.

As Sir Roger notes in his report, public misunderstanding has led to concerns that the scheme risks intruding inappropriately into family life. It is not and it never will be this Government’s policy that this should happen. We therefore strongly welcome the recommendations in Sir Roger’s report, which make this absolutely and unambiguously clear.

The Government welcome Sir Roger’s recommended adjustments to the scheme’s requirements which include:

where organisations such as schools, clubs or groups make the decisions as to which adults should work with their children then the requirement to register with the VBS should apply, subject to the frequent and intensive contact provisions;

the frequent contact test should be met if the work with children takes place once a week or more (at present the test is if activity happens as often as once a month). This covers regular repetitive activity;

the intensive contact test should be met if the work takes place on four days in one month or more or overnight. This change will make the scheme easier to understand and put into practice, since at present the test is three times in every 30 days or overnight. This covers the circumstances where there is contact over a short space of time which is not necessarily repeated;

individuals who go into different schools or similar settings to work with different groups of children should not be required to register unless their contact with the same children is frequent or intensive;

the minimum age of registration for young people who engage in regulated activity as part of their continuing education will be reviewed. The Government will change the rules so that 16, 17 and 18 year-olds in education will not be required to register;

overseas visitors bringing their own groups of children to the UK eg to international camps or the Olympics, should have a three-month exemption from the requirement to register for the work they do with the children or vulnerable adults they have brought to the UK; and

exchange visits lasting less than 28 days, where overseas parents accept the responsibility for the selection of the host family, should be regarded as private arrangements and will not require registration.

We believe that these adjustments to the scheme are proportionate and that they will be supported by parents, employers and by those who work or volunteer with children and vulnerable adults. The changes they will bring about are faithful to the two fundamental principles of allowing parents to make their own private arrangements without interference, and ensuring that requirements set by the state do the minimum necessary to protect children and the vulnerable.

Sir Roger’s report also invites the Government to undertake further work in three areas:

to review the registration requirements for self-employed private health practitioners. As the law currently stands, when a patient attends one of these practitioners it will be a private arrangement and therefore although the practitioners may register with the scheme, there will be no requirement for them to do so. However, the intimate nature of medical treatment may suggest that these practitioners should be registered. The Department of Health will lead on this review in collaboration with my department and the health care regulators;

to review whether there is a continuing need for the separate class of work with different requirements, defined in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 as “controlled activity”. Controlled activity refers to certain tightly defined ancillary and support activities, mainly in FE colleges, NHS settings and local authorities. Far fewer people are potentially covered by “controlled activity” than by “regulated activity”. Sir Roger invites the Government to take stock of whether controlled activity is a necessary part of the scheme. My department and the Department of Health will take this review forward together, in collaboration with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills;

to review the statutory requirements, and the Government’s advice, for CRB disclosures on those who work with vulnerable groups when they are already registered with the ISA. We had already undertaken to carry out this work once the scheme had settled in.

The Government will take forward these three reviews in the new year.

The changes recommended by Sir Roger will impact on the numbers of people who will have to register. Initial estimates by the Home Office indicate that Sir Roger's recommendations will lead to approximately 2 million fewer individuals needing to register with the vetting and barring scheme. This suggests that the new figure of those who will have to register with the scheme lies in the range of 9 million to 9.5 million. The Government will publish a revised impact assessment shortly.

Sir Roger rightly underlines in his report the need for renewed efforts to communicate the details and safeguarding benefits of the scheme. The Government will therefore commission further communications activity to help explain the scheme. We will also act swiftly to dispel any myths and misunderstandings about the scheme with updates to the briefing notes that are on our website and which I have sent to honourable Members. The Government will also reflect all of Sir Roger’s recommendations in the full guidance on the scheme that we intend to publish in the new year.

Volunteering Fund

Statement

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

Following the Third Sector Funding and Investment Review in 2008, and a subsequent procurement exercise conducted by the department to appoint an organisation to manage and deliver a new Health and Social Care volunteering fund, the Government have today announced that they have awarded the contract to act as volunteering fund manager to a partnership led by ECOTEC, with PrimeTimers, Attend and CSV, who will deliver support linked to grant funding to enable third sector organisations to achieve their objectives for long-term sustainability.

The volunteering fund will provide two distinct grant funding schemes: a local grant scheme aimed at supporting volunteering in health and social care, with awards made subject to applicants being connected at local level to commissioners; and a national portfolio scheme through which national organisations will be able to apply for more substantial awards to deliver more strategic or developmental volunteering programmes. The fund manager will also share good practice, disseminate learning and deliver training and development for local and national volunteering programmes.

Volunteers play a range of critically important roles in our communities, and in the context of health and social care: contributing to the delivery of high-quality health, care and support services; improving health and well-being; helping to reduce health and social inequality. They frequently offer support to people at the most vulnerable points in their lives.

The future of health and social care provision places an ever stronger emphasis on better quality and more personalised services, creating even more potential for new roles and opportunities for volunteering that complement the services provided by the paid workforce and utilise the expertise of service users in the provision of services.

The volunteering fund will replace the existing opportunities for volunteering (OFV) scheme over the next three years. Building on the success of the OFV scheme since 1982, the new volunteering fund will be more closely aligned with departmental strategic objectives; therefore increasing the impact of the Government’s investment in volunteering in directly supporting its integration with the delivery of departmental strategic outcomes.

Overall, ECOTEC’s planned approach will support coherent investment, reinforce the role of volunteering in health and social care, and support implementation of the funding and investment review and the developing strategic vision for volunteering in health and social care.