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Widow's Benefit

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will compensate fathers who were widowed before 9 April 2001 following the European Court of Human Rights ruling on widows' benefits. [26220]

Mr. Plaskitt: The Government will consider the offer of friendly settlements on claims for discrimination relating to widowed mothers' allowance and widow's payment, but only to those widowers who have an admissible case in the European Court of Human Rights and who satisfy the benefit conditions and made their original claim at the correct time. Widowers who were unsuccessful in the recent cases before the House of Lords could have taken their case to Europe provided they had done so by 4 November 2005 (six months from the House of Lords ruling). We will go on to consider these cases also.

Any claims for widows payment or widowed mothers allowance by a man whose wife died before 9 April 2001 and who has not previously made an application to the European Court or was not involved with the domestic cases will now be too late. We have been guided by previous admissibility decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in widowers' cases.

Winter Fuel Payments

Mr. Anthony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people over 80 years of age have received winter fuel payments in (a) Great
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Yarmouth constituency, (b) Norfolk, (c) the eastern region and (d) England and Wales since their inception; [28017]

(2) how many people have received winter fuel payments in (a) Great Yarmouth constituency, (b) Norfolk, (c) the eastern region and (d) England and Wales since their inception. [28018]

Mr. Timms: Information relating to winter fuel payments for the winters of 1997–98 and 1998–99 is not available. The information from winter 1999–2000 is in the following table. Figures are only available from 2002–03 for payments made to those aged 80 or over. These figures are also available in the Library.
Parliamentary constituency/regionWinter fuel payments madePayments made to those aged 80 or over
Great Yarmouth
Norfolk local authority
East of England
Government office region

1. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
2. Figures are rounded to the nearest five.
3. Local authorities and parliamentary constituencies are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant ONS postcode directory.
Information Directorate, 100 per cent. sample

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British Standard 7799

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what mechanisms she plans to put in place to ensure that private sector organisations treating NHS patients are British Standard 7799 compliant; and if she will make a statement; [22587]

(2) what plans she has to change local self-assessment for British Standard 7799 NHS compliance; and if she will make a statement; [22588]

(3) what representations she has received from the British Standards Institute regarding (a) NHS compliance and (b) processes to audit NHS compliance with British Standard 7799; and if she will make a statement; [22589]

(4) what the cost was of developing the Information Governance Toolkit; [22590]

(5) what steps she is taking to increase the number of NHS trusts in receipt of British Standard 7799 certificates; and if she will make a statement; [22591]

(6) how many NHS trusts have been issued with a British Standard 7799 certificate; and if she will make a statement; [22592]

(7) what steps she takes to ensure that electronic patient records are maintained in a manner compliant with British Standard 7799; and if she will make a statement; [22593]
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(8) what mechanisms are in place to ensure NHS trust compliance with British Standard 7799; whether these are (a) independent and (b) auditable; and if she will make a statement; [22594]

(9) what assessment she has made of the compliance of each NHS trust with British Standard 7799; and if she will make a statement. [22595]

Mr. Byrne: The BS7799 part 1, recently updated and now known as ISO/IEC 17799, provides the foundation for the best practice security management of the national health service's information assets. Central arrangements have already been established that enable all NHS organisations to obtain a full reference copy of the standard for their own use. In addition, key requirements of the ISO/IEC17799 are included within the existing NHS Information Governance Framework, along with relevant topic guidance and illustrations. These are available to NHS organisations through the centrally provided and maintained NHS Information Governance Toolkit service.

The NHS Information Governance Toolkit supports NHS organisations to meet information security requirements but also numerous other closely associated requirements including best practice in terms of records management, information quality, data protection and the confidential management of records. Bringing these requirements together in this way has eliminated considerable duplication of effort as each of these aspects of information governance are based on similar principles and working practices but in the past they were addressed separately. The Information Governance Toolkit is provided free of charge to NHS organisations and replaced a range of existing data collections and has generated significant savings in staff time and resources across a wide range of NHS organisations.

Compliance assessment of NHS information security management, is based upon the ISO/IEC 17799 framework and is currently achieved on an annual basis through self-assessed organisational attainment reporting within the NHS Information Governance Toolkit. A review of these arrangements is currently under way and that will further refine and extend assurance criterion. These new arrangements should also in future form a significant part of formal NHS audit programmes at both local and national level.

In addition to contractual obligations, it is also intended that equivalent information governance assurance reporting arrangements will shortly be developed and implemented for a range of non-NHS information partner organisations, including those private sector organisations treating NHS patients. These requirements already exist for commercial service provider organisations involved in the delivery of the NHS National Programme for Information Technology and whose security management performance is routinely monitored against the ISO/IEC 17799.

Although there is no current requirement for NHS organisations to seek or maintain a formal BS7799 part 2:2002 registration, NHS organisations are able to do
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so as a local decision. This part 2 of the original BS7799 standard has recently been replaced and is now known internationally as ISO/IEC 27001:2005. The Information Governance toolkit was developed, in part, to provide a cost effective alternative to individual NHS organisations requiring assistance from independent qualified lead accreditation consultants at commercial rates. As formal registration is not an NHS requirement, there are no central records of NHS organisations that may already have chosen to formally register or that may be considering doing so.

On 18 October 2005, a departmental official met with two representatives of the British Standards Institute to outline and discuss the NHS approach to BS7799. The British Standards Institute are therefore now fully aware of the significant steps taken by the Department to both adopt and promote the values of this standard to NHS organisations and relevant others.

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