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14 Mar 2003 : Column 468W—continued

Social Workers

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 24 February 2003, Official Report, column 26W, on child protection, when the General Social Care Council is planning to report on the review of the current framework for post-qualifying training for social work; what the parameters of the review conducted by the General Social Care Council into post-qualifying training are; how many social workers hold the post-qualifying award; and if he will make a statement on the implementation by local authority social services departments of the action plan to effect planned developments. [100487]

Jacqui Smith: It is the intention that the General Social Care Council's review of the post-qualifying training framework will report their findings and recommendations later in the year. The GSCC intends to consult extensively on the future framework for post-qualifying awards during April and May this year. The scope of the review will include the range and design of qualifications within the framework and the administrative framework to support their delivery. Any statement on how recommendations from the review should be implemented will be made after this.

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The number of social workers in England holding the post-qualifying award, recorded by the GSCC is 1,875. However, this award is just one of a number of post-qualifying awards that can be gained after social workers have become professionally qualified in both generic and specialised areas. It these are taken into account, the total number of awards issued comes to over 9,500.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he will take against local authority social services departments that have been found to have recruited social workers who have not had their qualifications validated with the General Social Care Council; and how many times this has happened in the last five years. [100488]

Jacqui Smith: Local authorities, as with any other employer of social care staff, should carry out appropriate checks to ensure that the social workers in their employ are properly qualified for the work they are employed to carry out. In September 2002, the General Social Care Council (GSCC) published codes of practice for social care workers and employers. Code 1 of the employers code requires employers to make sure that only people who have the appropriate knowledge and skills enter the social care work force. The codes are taken into account in the enforcement of National Care Standards.

All courses in social work are approved by the GSCC, which has been in operation since October 2001. The GSCC is also the awarding body for the Diploma in Social Work and will validate the successful completion of the Diploma programme by an individual. The GSCC also offers an advisory service to employers and internationally qualified social workers, verifying whether or not the qualification is a professional qualification in social work in its country of origin.

Prior to this date, the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work (CCETSW) was the awarding body for the Diploma in Social Work and offered the same service.

However, there is no obligation to validate qualifications with the GSCC, or was there previously with the CCETSW, and no action is taken against those who do not use this service.

Tobacco Regulatory Authority

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with other member states of the European Union about establishing a tobacco regulatory authority. [99283]

Ms Blears: Ministers have had no formal discussions to date with other Member States of the European Union about establishing a new tobacco regulatory authority. However, European wide legislation to introduce tighter controls on tobacco products is currently entering into force in Member States.

The Government believes that much of the work to further regulate tobacco is being addressed through continuing developments under the Directive on the Manufacture, Presentation and Sale of Tobacco Products. This legislation was transposed into United Kingdom law in December 2002. It lays down maximum

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yields of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide for cigarettes; requires new larger and starker health warnings on tobacco products and bans the use of terms such as Now tar7 which suggest one tobacco product is less harmful than another.

Article 11 of this Directive requires the European Commission to evaluate implementation of the Directive. This includes indicating where further review may be necessary in a wide range of tobacco regulatory areas, in the light of developments in scientific and technical knowledge. This could include evaluation of addictive effects of ingredients in tobacco products and methodologies for more realistically assessing the content and emissions of tobacco products. The Commission may also propose amendments to the current Directive. Full details of article 11 are contained in the Department of Health publication "Consultation on regulations implementing EU Directive 2001/37/EC— the Labelling Directive", copies of which are available in the Library.

Unpaid Carers

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action the Government is taking to support unpaid carers; what plans he has to bring new funds to (a) help carers and (b) set up better support networks; and if he will make a statement. [100295]

Jacqui Smith: Through the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000, carers are entitled to an assessment to determine their needs as carers and eligibility for support. They may also receive cash to purchase the services they need.

The Carers Grant gives money to local councils to provide short breaks for carers to enable them to continue in their caring role. The grant has been increased annually since its introduction in 1999 from £20 million to £100 million in 2003–04. The Grant will continue until 2006, during which time it will more than double to £185 million to provide extended care and 130,000 further breaks to carers. Increased flexibility in the use of the Grant will allow councils to better support local carers networks.

In addition the Department of Health makes grants to voluntary organisations to provide information to support carers.

Utting Report

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which recommendations of the Utting Report the Government have implemented in full. [100779]

Jacqui Smith: Of the 20 principal recommendations contained in "People Like US—The Report of the Review of the Safeguards for Children Living Away from Home (Utting, 1997)", 11 were for the Government to address. Of these 11, two were rejected, recommendations six and nine, eight have been implemented in full, recommendations one, five, seven, 11, 13, 16, 18, and 19, and one, recommendation 20, was partially implemented. Recommendation 20 relates to the implementation of the remaining recommendations contained in the 1989 Pigot report. These were considered by the interdepartmental report "Speaking

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Up for Justice" and informed the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, now in the process of implementation.

Waiting Times

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the Audit Commission report on the alteration by NHS hospital trusts of figures on waiting times; and which hospitals in the north-west have been accused of altering waiting time lists. [102546]

Mr. Hutton: The Audit Commission report "Waiting List Accuracy" was published on Wednesday 5 March. Three trusts were found to be deliberately misreporting their data, this practice is inexcusable, in all of these cases prompt action was taken to investigate and deal with the issues identified. Only one of these trusts is in the north-west, South Manchester University Hospitals National Health Service Trust.

Working Practices

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his definition is of (a) multidisciplinary working and (b) co-terminosity; and if he will make a statement. [98593]

Mr. Hutton: In a health and social care context, multidisciplinary working refers to a number of trained and skilled professionals using and co-ordinating their particular expertise to ensure that people receive the best possible treatment and care. Co-terminosity means the alignment of organisational boundaries between health and social care agencies.


Asylum Seekers

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reach a decision on the asylum application of Mr. Hektor Sinani, Ref S1034257/3; and where the papers relating to Mr. Sinani's application are located. [102250]

Beverley Hughes: Hektor Sinani's asylum claim was refused on 17 April 2000, and the subsequent appeal was dismissed on 13 March 2001. Mr. Sinani's papers are at Eaton House to consider further applications on the basis of his marriage and Human Rights grounds. These applications will be resolved within the next two weeks.

Mr. Coleman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans his Department has to deport failed asylum seekers to Somalia; and if he will make a statement. [103031]

Beverley Hughes: This position has not changed since my answer on 3 December 2002, Official Report, column 714W.

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