Memorandum by the Social Exclusion Unit
2. HEALTH ISSUES
4. SEU EXPERIENCE
1. This memorandum has been prepared for
the Health Select Committee for their inquiry into Public Health.
It provides the Committee with the information requested by e-mail
on 17 November 2000.
2. The Committee asked if the Social Exclusion
Unit would provide answers to three specific questions. The questions
and answers are set out below.
What work is the Unit doing that impacts upon
health and public health?
3. Poor health is one of a range of interlinked
issues which contribute to social exclusion. All the Unit's work
has therefore included consideration of health issues. The table
below shows the main topics the Unit has worked on so far and
examples of the health issues examined. Copies of the Unit's four
published reports and the framework version of the National Strategy
for Neighbourhood Renewal are enclosed with this memorandum (Annexes
A-E). The National Strategy Action Plan will be published in January
2001 and a copy will be sent to the Committee.
|Truancy and School Exclusion
|Targets to improve educational achievement for children in care and care leavers;
DoH and DfEE joint guidance for local authorities on the educational attainment of looked after young people.
|Additional funding for social care for rough sleepers who are physically and mentally ill;
Targeting funding on areas with the most acute substance misuse problems amongst rough sleepers.
|Setting up Teenage Pregnancy Unit;
Area teenage pregnancy co-ordinators to work across local authority boundaries.
|Bridging the Gap: New Opportunities for 16-18 Year Olds not in Education, Employment or Training
|Pilot schemes to look at specific needs of young people with disabilities or who are teenage parents;
Prioritising support for young people in care.
|Participation of health bodies in Local Strategic Partnerships;
The quality of health service provision in poor areas.
|Reducing re-offending by ex-prisoners (due to report in Spring 2001)
|The SEU is currently consulting a range of stakeholders on prisoners' health issues asking what should be done to:
ensure that prisoners' physical and mental health, and any substance misuse, are quickly and accurately assessed, and that this information is passed on as they move through the system;
pick up and track any illnesses they develop as they pass through the system;
improve the quantity and quality of treatment and support on offer;
ensure that prisoners continue to receive sufficient treatment and support on release.
What does the Department of Health input to the SEU?
4. Department of Health (DoH) Ministers and officials
have worked closely with the Unit on our projects and their follow-up.
Steering GroupsDoH Ministers have participated
in the various ministerial groups responsible for steering individual
reports. The Cabinet Committee on Children and Young People (Misc
9) and the Cabinet sub-Committee on Children and Young People
(Misc 9B) have now superseded most of these groups. The Department
is represented on both new committees and on the ongoing Ministerial
Committee on Rough Sleeping.
The Teenage Pregnancy Unita cross-Government
Unit located within the DoH which was set up to implement the
SEU report on teenage pregnancy.
Ministerial Network on Social Exclusiona
DoH Minister sits on this group which was set up by the Prime
Minister to chase progress across Government on implementation
of past SEU reports and act as an informal sounding board for
the Unit's future work programme.
18 Policy Action Teams (PATs) were set up to work
on solutions following publication of the SEU's preliminary report
on Neighbourhood Renewal. DoH actively participated in the PATs
and published PAT 13Improving Shopping Access for People
Living in Deprived Neighbourhoods.
The PAT reports and recommendations were distilled
into a framework document, the National Strategy for Neighbourhood
renewal. DoH Ministers participated in the Ministerial Champions
Group and officials in the inter-departmental group set up to
steer the national strategy.
A great deal of informal liaison took place between
the Unit and DoH.
The SEU currently includes three members of staff
on loan from the DoH. This is on a par with loans from other government
What experience and problems the SEU has had as a cross-departmental
body. Has joint working been problematic?
The SEU's experience of working as a cross-departmental body
is one of the matters covered in the review of the Unit's first
two years, published in December 1999. A copy is attached at Annex