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Written Statements

Volume 735: debated on Tuesday 27 June 2023

Written Statements

Tuesday 27 June 2023

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

Wilton Park Review

I am announcing today a review of Wilton Park, an executive agency of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

Wilton Park has convened discreet dialogues on the UK’s strategic priorities since 1946. It brings together global experts, policy makers and decision takers from a wide range of sectors to solve complex global issues.

This review is part of the public bodies review programme which delivers against the commitments made in the declaration on government reform to increase the effectiveness of public bodies and departmental sponsorship. In 2022, all Departments were asked to prioritise their arm’s length bodies for review and the then Foreign Secretary decided Wilton Park, which had last been reviewed in 2018, should undergo one before the end of 2023-24. This timing would allow the review to consider the impacts of the pandemic and some internal structural changes.

This review will follow the Cabinet Office guidance on the undertaking of reviews of public bodies and the terms of reference for the review will be published on It will consider whether and how Wilton Park’s mandate could be delivered more effectively and efficiently. It will provide robust recommendations to provide assurance that Wilton Park has a clear future strategy that meets FCDO and HMG needs.

In conducting this review, officials will engage with a broad range of stakeholders including staff, management and the board of Wilton Park, the FCDO, cross-Whitehall Departments, the all-party parliamentary group on Wilton Park and participants in Wilton Park activities.

I shall inform the House of the outcome of the review when it is completed.


Health and Social Care

Learning Disability and Autism

Today I am delighted to announce the launch of the consultation on the draft Oliver McGowan code of practice (the code) on statutory learning disability and autism training. The launch of this consultation represents a significant moment in the journey towards improved care and treatment of people with a learning disability and autistic people. I welcome anyone with an interest to complete the consultation and share their views on the draft code. An easy read version of the draft code and consultation will be made available as soon as they are ready.

The purpose of the code is to ensure that service providers registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have the necessary guidance to meet the new legal requirement introduced in the Health and Care Act 2022. The effect of the new requirement is that, from 1 July 2022, CQC-registered providers are required to ensure their staff receive training on learning disability and autism, appropriate to their role. To aid those who need to comply with the new training requirement the Secretary of State is obliged by the 2022 Act to issue a code of practice setting out what we consider is required in order for them to comply. Therefore, this draft code sets out the standards this training must meet to comply with the legislation and guidance on what I believe providers need to do to meet those standards.

As set out in the draft code, the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism is the Government’s preferred and recommended package to support CQC-registered providers to meet the new requirement introduced by the Health and Care Act 2022. The training is named after Oliver McGowan, a young autistic teenager with a mild learning disability, who sadly died after having a severe reaction to medication given to him against his and his family’s strong wishes. Oliver’s parents, Paula and Tom McGowan, have campaigned for better training for health and care staff to improve understanding of the needs of people with a learning disability or autistic people. The training was trialled in England during 2021 with over 8,000 people and is helping to ensure that staff are equipped with the right skills to care for people with a learning disability and autistic people.

In my role as Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, I have heard experiences of the poor care and treatment received by people with a learning disability and autistic people, which has highlighted the importance of introducing this legal requirement and the development and publication of the code.

I look forward to receiving responses to this consultation to help us to develop a code that supports health and care staff to provide high-quality care for people with a learning disability and autistic people which complies with the legislative requirements. Too often people with a learning disability and autistic people experience poorer health outcomes and higher mortality than the general population. We are confident that these disparities can be reduced when health and care staff are equipped with the right skills and knowledge. The draft code therefore represents a crucial step in the right direction.


National Institute for Health and Care Research Capital Call

Today I am pleased to announce just over £96 million of funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) for equipment and technology to support NHS organisations to deliver high-quality research to improve the prevention, management and treatment of disease for patient benefit.

This large-scale investment right across the length and breadth of England will support over 90 NHS organisations, including less research-active trusts, to grow research capacity and take research to populations outside of the major teaching hospitals. I want everyone, regardless of where they live, to be able to access the latest innovations in the health and care system through research.

The majority (55%) of funding will go to NHS organisations outside of the greater south-east aligned to the Government’s levelling up commitment. It includes equipment for primary care research expansion in integrated care systems across the east midlands; and mobile research units across seven regions in England, from North Tees and Hartlepool in the north-east to Somerset in south-west, to take research to underserved regions and communities with major health needs, including rural areas.

There is also funding for cutting-edge equipment and technology such as a mobile CT scanner for the north-west coast region to support respiratory, lung cancer diagnostic and cardiology research studies; and state-of-the art equipment in Exeter to transform genomic and transcriptomic sequencing for research into dementia, infectious diseases, cancer and precision medicine. This will enable research that can drive future innovation in the health and care system and allow the UK to remain as one of the most attractive places in the world for innovative commercial companies to invest in research.

I intend to build on this substantial Government investment with a series of further capital calls through the NIHR. The emphasis in future rounds will be on extending the reach of research into our communities, including a focus on reaching those in rural areas, to improve access to clinical research for all. We particularly want to ensure that people outside of major population centres in rural and coastal areas are enabled to take part in clinical research by using innovative ways of designing and delivering our research, fit for the future. Ensuring our world-leading researchers have the right equipment, in the right place, is key to delivering the best, most innovative health and care for our population.