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Column 679dementia, to increase the number of clinical psychologists available to the NHS; and what steps she is taking to ensure that mechanisms exist to effectively link vacancy figures with training commissions. 
Mr. Bowis: It is for local employers to determine the staff needed to deliver the services that they have contracted to provide. Since 1991, the number of clinical psychologists employed by the national health service trusts and the number of training places commissioned on their behalf by regional health authorities has continued to increase to meet the growing demand for clinical psychologists. The number of clinical psychologists has risen from 2,100 in 1990 to 2, 810 in 1993 which represents an increase of 34 per cent.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to (a) advise the Audit Commission of the number of hours that chairmen and non-executive directors of health authorities and NHS trusts are expected to devote to their duties for their salaries and (b) to report on those who significantly fail to honour their commitments. 
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines her Department has issued to its agencies and other public bodies under its authority in respect of the employment of public relations companies and the procedures to be adopted in relation to requesting tenders for public relations companies. 
Mr. Sackville: The Department has not issued guidelines to agencies and public bodies under its authority specifically for the employment of public relations companies. However, the requests for tenders for these and other services are handled in accordance with general purchasing guidance issued by the Department.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much her Department spent on public relations during the financial year 1993 94; how much contracts with the private sector cost; and if she will list the activities covered by these contracts. 
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to her answer of 1 December 1994, Official Report , column 830 , if she is now in a position to make a statement on the payment of defence costs in the Cornwall Health trust libel case involving an earlier chairman. 
Mr. Sackville: I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave him on 30 November 1994, column 794 for the 1992 figures. Information shown in the table for 1993 and 1994 is taken from the English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting annual reports for 1993 and 1994, copies of which are available in the Library.
In training population nurses and midwives-England Years ended 31 March 1992 and 31 March 1994 |1993 |1994 ------------------------------------------------------ Pre-registration |53,085|54,898 Post-registration |3,718 |3,038 Total pre- and post-registration |56,803|57,936 Source: English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance is given to health authorities on the number of beds per 1, 000 population aged over 65 years to be provided for the long-stay medical and nursing care of the elderly. 
Mr. Bowis: HSG(95)8, issued on 23 February to health authorities, made clear the national health service's responsibility for purchasing a full range of services to meet continuing health care needs. Copies are in the Library.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will order the Paymaster General's Office to remove NHS pensioners' personal pension account numbers from labels used in any future departmental mailshot and from any envelope addressed to NHS pensioners. 
Letter from A. F. Cowan to Mr. Martin Redmond, dated 29 March 1995:
The Secretary of State for Health has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question as it falls within my area of responsibility.
Column 681Keith Sullens, Chief Executive of Paymaster who the NHS Pensions Agency contracts to pay our NHS pensioners informed me that account numbers which appeared on envelopes addressed to NHS pensioners were printed in error. A new system has been introduced which will ensure NHS pensioners personal pension account numbers do not appear on any envelopes addressed to NHS pensioners in the future.
Letter from A. F. Cowan to Mr. Martin Redmond, dated 29 March 1995:
The Secretary of State for Health has asked me to reply to your recent parliamentary question as it falls within my areas of responsibility.
I understand that Paymaster whom the NHS Pensions Agency contracts to pay NHS pensioners charged Medicash £21,379.21 (including VAT) for the recent mailshot to NHS pensioners.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will inquire into and publish details of the terms on which Lynn Samuel and Mike Foy left the Surrey ambulance trust and the cost to the NHS. 
Mr. Sackville: The terms on which Mr. Lynn Samuel left Surrey Ambulance Service National Health Service trust are a matter for the trust. The hon. Member may wish to contact the chairman, Lady Helen Gardiner, for details.
The arrangements for Mr. Mike Foy, the former chief ambulance officer and then general manager of Surrey Ambulance Service, are a matter for the East Surrey health authority, which managed the service before it became a trust on 1 April 1994. The hon. Member may wish to contact the chairman of the authority, Mr. John Poole, for details.
Mr. Skinner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will advise health authorities only to employ in part-time posts dental contractors who have a substantial number of national health patients. 
Mr. Malone: Family health services authorities are given approval to employ salaried dentists, whether full or part-time only when they can demonstrate that patients in a particular area would otherwise have difficulty obtaining general dental services.
Column 682proposed creation of a central fund for clinical negligence costs in the NHS. 
Mr. Malone: Last year, the Department of Health published outline proposals for a central fund to help national health service trusts spread the costs of clinical negligence. The response to the proposals, both from the NHS and other interested parties, was very positive. Detailed design work on the scheme has been carried out for the Department by a team from the Medical Protection Society and Willis Corroon Ltd. in full consultation with the trust movement. In the light of the continued high degree of interest shown by NHS trusts, I have decided that--subject to parliamentary authority--the scheme should go ahead with effect from 1 April 1995. The scheme will be voluntary. The necessary regulations to set up the scheme, and the special health authority which will administer it on behalf of the Secretary of State, will be laid in the near future.
Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people claimed free prescriptions on grounds of (a) automatic entitlement and (b) low-income entitlement as outlined in the Department of Healthform P11, during the last year for which figures areavailable. 
encephalomyelitis; and if she will make a statement on her proposals for improving (a) the treatment, (b) medical and public knowledge and (c) research of the disease. 
Mr. Sackville: The national task force on chronic fatigue syndrome, post viral fatigue syndrome or ME, which is independent of the Department of Health, has produced a report. With a view to securing progress and promoting the development of a professional consensus, the chief medical officer has invited the conference of colleges to consider the report. The views of the conference of colleges will be of much assistance to the Department in helping to determine the best way forward on matters concerning this condition.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what guidelines his Department has issued to its agencies and other public bodies under its authority in respect of the employment of public relations companies and the procedures to be adopted in relation to requesting
Column 683tenders for public relations companies. 
Mr. Hague: Guidance on the use of public relations companies is issued by the Cabinet Office and is contained in the booklet, "A Work Guide for Government Information Officers", a copy of which is in the Library. All business units in this Department are expected to work within the Cabinet Office guidelines.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the cost of producing and circulating the last departmental annual report; what was the circulation list; how many copies were produced; how many copies were sold; and at what price. 
Copies were circulated to all personnel at grade 7 and above in the Department and executive agencies, members of the Social Security Select Committee, members of the Treasury and Civil Service Select Committee, members of the Social Security Advisory Committee and all Opposition spokesman on social security. A copy has also been placed in the Library.
A total of 3,500 copies were produced, 1,700 of which were designated for sale through Her Majesty's Stationery Office bookshops at a cover price of £16.35.
Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what assessment he has made of the speed with which (a) reviews and (b) appeals involving benefit cases are dealt with by his Department; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what discussions he has had with regard toappeals and reviews affecting cases inside his Department during the last 12 months; and if he will make astatement; 
(3) what representations he has received in the last 12 months regarding delays in dealing with appeals and reviews affecting cases involving his Department; and if he will make a statement. 
(b) benefit appeals, divided by type of tribunal.
We have received representations from the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux and the Social Security Advisory Committee about delays and also letters concerning individual cases. Ministers have regular meetings with His Honour Judge Bassingthwaighte, the president of the Independent Tribunal Service, which hears social security benefit appeals, and with the chief executive of the Benefits Agency, who is responsible for ensuring that targets on reviews and appeals preparation are met.
Benefit reviews and appeals |Number -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Reviews Disability living allowance |81 per cent. in 55 days Disability working allowance |91 per cent. in 20 days Attendance allowance |92 per cent. in 75 days Appeals<1> Social security appeal tribunal |<2>44 weeks Disability appeal tribunal |23 weeks Medical appeal tribunal |36 weeks <1> Figures include the time taken by the Independent Tribunal Service to hear appeals. <2> This time is higher than usual because the Independent Tribunal Service are clearing appeals which were previously held up awaiting the outcome of a Court of Appeal case. The underlying clearance time is around 28 weeks.
Mr. Chris Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many applicants there have been in the last five years for a war disablement pension under the personal injuries (civilians) scheme for tuberculosis sufferers; and how many of these applications have been successfully granted a pension. 
|Number ------------------------------------------------------------------ The Department's headquarters in London |10 Seconded HQ press officer to the charity Motability (includes publicity and promotions work) |1 The Child Support Agency |2 The Contributions Agency |1 The War Pensions Agency |0.25 The Benefits Agency National press office |8 Regional press offices |9 Information Technology Services Agency |0.6
This Department was not in existence until 1988 and figures for 1979 are therefore not available.
Mr. Lilley: I announced on 20 July 1994, Official Report , column 257 , a formal review of the Benefits Agency. Each next steps agency undergoes a periodic review to evaluate performance, to reconsider whether agency status is the best way of doing the job and to revise its framework document.
Column 685Part of that review involved an evaluation of the performance of the Benefits Agency since its creation in April 1991. I am pleased to announce that the evaluation report has been published today and a copy has been placed in the Library.
My colleagues and I have now considered the review team's recommendations. These take account of a number of detailed submissions from hon. Members, national and local customer representative organisations, and private companies. I am grateful to all those who have participated in the review.
The main conclusions of the review, which I accept, are that the Benefits Agency should remain a next steps agency within the civil service, responsible as now for a wide range of social security benefits. There is no scope to abolish or privatise an organisation of this nature; nor is there any evidence to suggest that wholesale contractorisation of the agency's functions is at present feasible or likely to improve value for money for the taxpayer. The review endorses the agency's initiatives to integrate its services more closely in order to provide a "one stop" customer service and to reduce significantly the scope for fraud and abuse.
The review also recommends that the agency should build on its existing change programme by developing a comprehensive strategy for improving its performance and efficiency. The details will be for the chief executive to decide, but they will include the involvement of the private sector wherever its skills would be of assistance, for example through re- engineering of the agency's business processes. The Government's "Competing for Quality" programme will continue to apply to the majority of the agency's support functions. In addition, and in order to inform the debate about longer-term possibilities, I have asked the chief executive to conduct a pilot project to establish the feasibility and desirability of separating the adjudication function from other parts of the benefits administration process.
The review goes on to recommend that the chief executive conduct internal reviews of the agency's structure and organisation, including the relationship between the corporate centre and the local units, and the numbers and boundaries of those units. This will devolve more power to local units to respond to local needs whilst at the same time sharpening accountability. All the elements of the strategy should have been decided by April 1996 to enable implementation of any changesfrom April 1997.
In conclusion, the review recognises the significant improvements in customer service and efficiency which the agency has achieved since its inception in 1991. These reflect great efforts by the chief executive and his staff. The review's recommendations are designed to build on this work. I am placing a copy of the executive summary of the prior options report in the Library today, and I shall shortly publish a revised framework document confirming the agency's aims, objectives and responsibilities.
Mr. Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 20 March, Official Report , column 64 , how long he estimates it will take for absent parents to benefit from reduction in maintenance as a result of the introduction of travel cost allowances in the CSA formula. 
Letter from Miss Ann Chant to Mr. Andrew Miller, dated 29 March 1995:
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about travel to work costs in the child support formula.
Subject to the approval of the regulations by Parliament, travel to work costs will be taken into account in the maintenance formula from 18 April 1995.
Applications for travel to work costs will be incorporated into appropriate assessments as they are made from that date.
Existing clients will be sent a leaflet explaining the change. This will include a tear-off portion inviting them to make a claim within three months. The Agency will start processing these claims as soon as they are received.
Mr. Pope: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many staff are currently employed in the prevention of benefit fraud; and what was the financial benefit of such work in the last financial year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Arbuthnot: The administration of fraud work is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with such information as is available. Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Greg Pope, dated 28 March 1995:
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the numbers of staff currently employed in the prevention of benefit fraud; and the financial benefit of this work in the last financial year.
The Benefits Agency currently employs over 3,000 staff in fraud work where duties include both prevention and detection. Separate figures are not kept on the work of staff where work is related to the prevention of fraud, nor on the financial value of preventative work. The total estimated benefit savings for the financial year 1993/94 from fraud work was £654m. Recoveries of benefit overpaid, including fraud cases, totalled £80m for the same period.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Mr. Robin Squire: The table shows total expenditure by Bedfordshire local education authority on its maintained schools from 1974 75 to 1993 94, the latest year for which provisional outturn figures are available. The table does not include information on grant-maintained schools.
Bedfordshire County Council |Gross expenditure |Nur/pri/sec/spl |(1994-95 prices) |£000 ------------------------------------------------------ 1974-75 |168,728 1975-76 |175,013 1976-77 |184,289 1977-78 |n/a 1978-79 |176,510 1979-80 |172,568 1980-81 |176,925 1981-82 |176,983 1982-83 |167,550 1983-84 |166,307 1984-85 |165,402 1985-86 |165,871 1986-87 |169,281 1987-88 |181,932 1988-89 |185,859 1989-90 |186,259 1990-91 |181,145 1991-92 |190,796 1992-93 |219,064 1993-94<1> |182,297 <1> Provisional.
Mr. Sykes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what is the outcome of consultation on her proposal to accept the pay settlement for school teachers which was recommended by the School Teachers Review Body. 
Mrs. Gillian Shephard: I am today confirming that I am accepting the School Teachers Review Body's recommendation to increase school teachers' pay by 2.7 per cent. I will make an order which will increase all points on the teachers' pay spines by 2.7 per cent. with effect from 1 April.
I am writing to the teacher unions, the National Employers Organisation for School Teachers, bodies representing school governors and to the head teachers and chairmen of governors of all schools in England and Wales. Teachers are making the key contribution to raising standards in education. They deserve their pay award, at the level recommended by the independent School Teachers Review Body, without undue delay.
I have received many representations about the funding of the teachers' pay award and considered them carefully. I believe the local government funding settlement is tough but manageable, and I have concluded that it would be right to implement the recommendation in full. It is for local authorities to give priority to front-line services such as schools. School governors in turn should ensure the efficient management of staff and resources.
I can also confirm my decisions to bring into force from 1 September 1995 the following proposals by means of revisions to the school teachers pay and conditions document:
i. relevant bodies should be able, at their discretion, to reward teachers for work on initial teacher training;
ii. relevant bodies should be able, at their discretion, to compensate teachers for in-service training at weekends and in school holidays, the compensation to be paid from savings on supply cover that would otherwise be necessary were the in-service training to be undertaken during the school day;
Column 688iii. the STPCD should recognise the employment status of teachers in Education Associations and GM clusters.
I can also confirm my decisions to accept the following conclusions and recommendations of the School Teachers Review Body, not all of which will require changes to be made to the STPD: i. there should be no change to the structure of the classroom teachers' pay spine, but the STRB will produce a consultative document on this subject;
ii. the current transitional arrangements for safeguarding the inner London Supplement should remain in place;
iii. returners to the profession should retain their entitlement to their accumulated experience points;
iv. there should be no change in the employment status of teachers at Pupil Referral Units. Such teachers will continue to be "unattached";
v. there should be no separate performance related pay scheme for heads and deputies, but the Secretary of State should issue guidance on the assessment of performance, drawing on the four essential performance indicators set out in the STRB's consultative document, which should be taken into account by relevant bodies when reviewing salaries for these staff;
vi. there should be no direct funding of excellence points through GEST, but the Department should consider other direct funding mechanisms; and
vii. the Teachers' Pension Agency should distribute copies of a poster and a leaflet about the benefits of the Teachers' Superannuation Scheme.