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Social Workers (North-East)

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action the Government are taking to recruit additional (a) psychiatric and (b) approved social workers in the north-east. [15024]

Jacqui Smith: On 19 October 2001, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health announced a £1.5 million recruitment campaign, which is designed to increase the number of people interested in careers in social work and social care work. As well as this action to tackle recruitment problems, the Department is also working with the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Social Services to help employers implement policies to improve recruitment and retention of staff.

Children At Risk

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the reasons that children's names are removed from the at risk register; and if he will make a statement. [16760]

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Jacqui Smith: A child's name may be removed from the register if:

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the reduction in the number of children added to the at risk register between 31 March 2000 and 31 March 2001. [16761]

Jacqui Smith: The number of additions and deletions to child protection registers during the years ending 31 March 2000 and 2001 are given in the table:

Registrations to and de-registrations from child protection registers during the years ending 31 March 2000 and 2001, and children on registers at 31 March of each years
England   Numbers

All children(29)BoysGirls
On the register at 31 March

(29) Includes unborn children

The decrease in the number of registrations during 2000–01 (and the consequent fall in numbers on the registers at 31 March 2001) is largely due to the majority of local councils excluding temporary registrations from their figures (children who are on the register in one authority but located in another and are simultaneously on the register of both councils). The year ending 31 March 2001 was the first year in which the Department of Health has requested that only the council with the original responsibility for the child should include the child in its figures until the receiving council has held a child protection conference to determine whether the child should instead be registered by that council. There has been some element of double counting of these children in previous years.

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Bed Blocking

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what changes have been made to the calculation of bed blocking since 1997. [15319]

Jacqui Smith: A blocked bed occurs when a patient is ready for transfer from an acute hospital bed but is still occupying that bed. That definition has not altered since 1997. Until recently, published statistics have been based on the number of beds occupied by people aged 75 years or more. Current and future statistics on bed blocking will include all blocked beds.

Cane Hill Secure Unit

Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to improve the security at the disused Medium Secure Unit at Cane Hill, Coulsdon, Croydon; and if he will make a statement. [15494]

Jacqui Smith: As a result of recent incidents on the Cane Hill site a range of additional security measures have been agreed. These include the erection of steel palisade fencing around all redundant buildings and an increased security presence.

Nursing Accommodation

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people are in hospital in England awaiting nursing accommodation at the latest available time. [15385]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 19 November 2001]: Information on delayed discharges of patients of all ages in England is collected centrally on a quarterly basis. Information on delays of patients awaiting nursing home placements is not separately identified.

In September 2001 the number of all patients whose discharge was delayed due to awaiting nursing and residential placement was 1,442.

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Freedom of Information Act

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department on what date his Department established a working group of officials to prepare his Department for the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and on what dates this committee has met since it was set up. [14770]

Mr. Wills: My noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor announced on 13 November that the publication scheme provisions of the Freedom of Information Act will be implemented for central Government in November 2002 at the start of a rolling programme across the public sector and that the right of access provisions of the Act will be implemented for all public authorities in January 2005.

No such working group has yet been set up. We have a project plan outlining how FOI will be successfully implemented throughout the Department. We have already appointed an FOI champion at Board level and a full-time implementation project manager. Awareness training has already been held and more is planned. As part of the plan we will be setting up a working group of key officials and a network of staff to consider and advise on implementation issues for the Department.

Asset-freezing Order

Mr. Flight: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many requests for legal aid have been received from persons disputing through the courts an asset-freezing order relating to the terrorist activities; and, what assessment she has made of the likely sums involved. [16025]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Legal Services Commission's Special Cases Unit, which would receive any request for funding in cases involving asset-freezing orders based on allegations of terrorist activities, has no record of receiving any such requests.