|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Denham: There are many different types of youth forum established by local authorities, statutory agencies and voluntary organisations in order to ensure that young people are involved and consulted over policies and services relevant to them. The Government maintain no records of the numbers and costs of youth fora.
Beverley Hughes: I am placing in the Library today a report of a review which the former Home Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw), asked Patrick Carter, a non-executive member of the Strategy Board for Correctional Services, to carry out on the future role of the private sector in the prison system.
I am most grateful to Patrick Carter for his report, which shows how much the private sector has achieved to date providing high quality prison services at lower cost. The report also shows how well the public sector prison service has responded to the challenge of private sector competition.
Both the public and the private sectors are important to the future of the Prison Service. Both can show big successes that benefit prisoners and the public. I want to create conditions in which both can flourish, but in which both have to continually prove themselves. I believe the overall thrust of the recommendations of the report will achieve this. Some can be implemented straight away, but
26 Feb 2002 : Column 1256W
others need further work or will have to be subject to discussions in the current spending review and our wider vision for modernising the Prison Service.
The proposal that under-performing prisons should be required to show how they will meet tough benchmarked standards, or face contracting out or closure, offers the potential for big improvements in performance and value for money. I announced on 19 December 2001 the first scheme of this kind, at Her Majesty's Prison Leicester and Her Majesty's Young Offender Institution and Remand Centre Reading.
The report also provides a welcome contribution to finding ways of bringing the aging prison estate into the 21st century. I will consider this as part of our current assessment of the options for providing a range of carefully targeted new approaches to dealing with offenders, and the spending review.
I note the recommendation for a limited programme of market testing. For the moment, I believe the performance testing process I have announced offers a better, faster and cheaper means of improvement. But I do not rule out using market testing again in the future.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether a Scottish Executive Minister will be a member of the UK delegation to the Justice and Home Affairs European Union Council of Ministers meeting on 28 February; and what information is being provided by his Department to permit pre-council scrutiny by the European Committee of the Scottish Parliament. 
Angela Eagle: Arrangements for co-ordination of European Union policy issues between Scottish Executive Ministers and the United Kingdom (UK) Government are set out in the Corcordat on co- ordination of European Union Policy issues, which supplements the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the devolved administrations and the UK Government. The Concordat states that decisions on Ministerial attendance at Council meetings will be taken on a case-by-case basis by the lead UK Minister, which in the case of the Justice and Home Affairs Council is my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.
Scottish Executive Ministers participate in the Justice and Home Affairs Council from time to time, when issues of particular interest to Scotland are on the agenda. They are not expected to attend on 28 February 2002. The Home Office is in frequent contact with the Scottish Executive Justice Department on European issues.
With regard to pre-Council scrutiny of European Union proposals, Explanatory Memoranda are circulated to the European Committee of the Scottish Parliament at the same time as they are deposited in the UK Parliament.
26 Feb 2002 : Column 1257W
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff left the service of his Department and its agencies in the year ended 31 March 2001; how many left before attaining the formal retirement age of 60 years; and in respect of how many his Department and its agencies assumed responsibilities for making payments until retirement age. 
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many persons in (a) the Angus constituency and (b) Scotland have been awarded a reduced level of DLA when applying for a further award. [37205R]
Maria Eagle: The information is not available for Scotland or for individual constituencies. In 200001 about 17,900 people in Great Britain were awarded a lower amount of disability living allowance when they renewed their claims.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many persons in (a) the Angus constituency and (b) Scotland are in receipt of the mobility element of DLA at the (i) higher, (ii) middle and (iii) lower rate; and what the figures are in each of the last five years. [37208R]
|Higher rate||Lower rate||Higher rate||Lower rate|
1. Scotland figures and 1997 constituency figures are from 5 per cent. sample and rounded to the nearest 100.
2. Constituency figures from 1998 onwards are from 100 per cent. extract and rounded to the nearest 1000.
3. Figures are at 31 May each year.
ASD Information Centre
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many persons in (a) the Angus constituency and (b) Scotland are in receipt of disability living allowance; and what the figures are for each of the last five years. [37207R]
26 Feb 2002 : Column 1258W
1. Scotland figures and 1997 constituency figure from 5 per cent. sample and rounded to the nearest 100.
2. Constituency figures for 1998 onwards from 100 per cent. extract and rounded to the nearest 100.
3. Figures are at 31 May each year.
ASD Information Centre
Maria Eagle: This information is not available for Scotland or for individual constituencies. In 200001 about 36,600 people in Great Britain made unsuccessful renewal claims for disability living allowance.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to ensure that those from the deaf and blind communities are able to contact their hon. Member through the provision of Braille translation and typing facilities and in lip speaking and lip reading training. 
Maria Eagle: Hon. Members have duties as service providers under the Disability Discrimination Act to make reasonable adjustments so that their disabled constituents can access their services. In October, I wrote to all hon. Members reminding them of their duties under the Act and enclosing some guidance to help them. Hon. Members may also wish to refer to a revised Code of Practice on Rights of Access which was published by the Disability Rights Commission today. The new Code explains the law and provides practical guidance for service providers.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent discussions he has had with (a) the RNIB about the use of Braille by public services and (b) the RNID about the use of (i) text phones, (ii) lip speaking and (iii) sign language by public services. 
Maria Eagle: The Department is committed to providing services that are accessible to people with hearing or visual impairments. For example, Benefits Agency leaflets are available in Braille, large print and audio cassette; the Child Support Agency widely advertises its text phone service; and the Employment Service has regular contacts with the RNIB and the RNID about accessibility issues. Last February, the then Department for Education and Employment arranged for guidance, known as "Let's Make it Accessible", to be distributed to other Government Departments. It explains how to adopt a good practice approach in providing information to disabled people.
26 Feb 2002 : Column 1259W
I regularly meet representatives of the major disability charities including the RNIB and the RNID. Most recently I have had discussions with the Chief Executive of the RNID about a videotelephony project to allow a remote British Sign Language interpreter service.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|