|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
(a) attended the public galleries of the House of Lords and the House of Commons during the most recent 12-month period for which statistics are available; and
(b) visited the public line of route through the Palace of Westminster during the same period.
The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): Since 1987, the Medical Research Council have awarded one grant to the Institute of Psychiatry for work involving Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Professor A. H. Mann at the Institute was awarded a grant worth £94,610 for a study entitled An epidemiological approach to the study of Chronic Fatigue in primary care settings. This finished in 1993.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: A copy of the report, publication of which was delayed by the election, has been placed in the Library. It is a wide-ranging and informative document and we are grateful to the committee for its comments and recommendations. These are already receiving careful consideration.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: We hope to proceed quickly to develop a Diploma in Probation Studies, located in higher education and combined with a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ), which will become the qualification for new probation officers. We intend that the new arrangements should be employment led and delivered by a consortia of probation services which will manage the recruitment and selection of trainee probation officers.
The combined diploma and NVQ will offer a mixture of academic teaching and work-based supervised practice, all based on the occupational standards that will be developed for probation officers. The new qualification should be delivered through flexible teaching methods which take account of trainees' previous work, academic qualifications and experience so that a wide range of recruits can be attracted to the probation service.
We have decided that training for new probation officers should no longer be linked to social work education. We will be supporting the development of a new and separate Diploma in Probation Studies, which will equip the probation officers of the future to play their full part in this Government's plans for an integrated approach to working with offenders. It will focus on probation's top priority role of protecting the public and reducing crime through effective work with offenders. There will, therefore, be no further funding or support from the Home Office for the Diploma in Social Work.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: After consulting my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, my honourable friend the Minister of State (Mr. Howarth) announced on 16 July that we proposed to implement the outstanding fire safety elements of the European Community Framework and Workplace Directives. Today, my honourable friend has signed and laid before Parliament the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997, made under the European Communities Act 1972, to apply throughout Great Britain. A Compliance Cost Assessment is attached to the regulations showing that the estimated costs to employers attributable to these regulations will be less than £30 million. He has placed copies of these documents in the Library. To assist employers, there will be a package of user-friendly guidance comprising a handy free card summarising the regulations and employers' rights and a short booklet, both of which will be widely available.
The regulations take into account the views expressed in the many responses received during the consultation exercise carried out last year and the representations received since then from business interests and the fire service. We are grateful to business and fire service representatives for the assistance they have given to our officials during the drafting of the regulations and supporting guidance.
The regulations put the primary responsibility for fire safety in the workplace upon employers. It is for them to determine and provide the measures they believe to be necessary to meet the risk from fire identified in their premises. In this way, what is provided will be appropriate to the risks, and tailored to the specific circumstances of the workplace. The regulations incorporate a new approach to fire safety enforcement. Most significant breaches of the regulations can be dealt with by civil sanctions, with the onus of proof on the
The regulations include some of the user-friendly enforcement safeguards of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994. They will be enforced by the fire authority, which will use the employer's own assessment of the risk from fire as a starting point. The fire service has an important role to play. It will offer employers advice and assistance in meeting their obligations and avoiding over provision.
The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations will come into effect in England, Scotland and Wales on 1 December 1997 and will make explicit what is already implicit in United Kingdom law. In light of the existing general duties of care which employers owe to their staff, businesses should, for the most part, already have in place what these regulations require of them. As standards of fire safety in the workplace are already generally high in Great Britain, most businesses will have little to do, and this is reflected in the total estimated compliance costs of less than £30 million. These are significantly lower than the previous estimates of costs of more than £1.7 billion which were associated with earlier drafts of the regulations.
|Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|