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Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment she has made of the extent to which NHS eligibility criteria for the provision of wheelchairs and mobility equipment supports the delivery of the five key outcomes envisaged by Every Child Matters; 
(2) what guidance is being produced to support the role of primary care trusts and local education authorities to jointly commission and jointly resource wheelchair services for children and young people in line with Standard 8 of the National Service Framework for Children; 
(4) what the average waiting times were for children and young people under the age of 18 years following assessment to receive (a) a lightweight manual and (b) a powered indoor and outdoor wheelchair in each of the last three years; 
(5) what percentage of children under the age of 18 years who met local eligibility criteria received a powered indoor and outdoor wheelchair within (a) three months, (b) six months and (c) one year of an assessment in the last three years for which figures are available. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department for Education and Skills leads the cross-government programme Every Child Matters; Change for Children but it is not responsible for all aspects of policy on children. The Department of Health is responsible for the health of disabled children and for wheelchair services for adults and children. It therefore leads the Be Healthy strand of the Every Child Matters programme.
The Department has made it clear that eligibility for services and support is for councils to determine in a locally consistent manner. We believe that local-decision making by councils is an important means by which local people have the opportunity to influence decisions about resources, charging and priorities.
The Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP) report Out and About, which was published on 20 October 2006, highlights the importance of services being committed to standard 8 of the Childrens National Service Framework (NSF). The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) will be referring to the best practice checklist, contained in the report, as part of their inspection process and will be specifically including wheelchair services.
The Transforming Community Equipment and Wheelchair Services (TCEWS) programme is looking at how best to address the issues the services face through development of a new delivery model in collaboration with stakeholders. The Department for Education and Skills is working closely with us on this ongoing programme of work. We anticipate that the new model will be capable of implementation by April 2008.
The TCEWS programme was able to develop two potential models for wheelchair services in collaboration with users and their carers, seven wheelchair services, the wheelchair services managers and to refine the potential models with practitioners and suppliers. Further data are required before recommendations can be made for the way forward. A
further data gathering exercise has been approved and an update will be provided in autumn 2007.
As part of our commitment set out in the Childrens NSF, we presented, on 16 April 2006, a new self-assessment tool for commissioners of childrens and young peoples health services. The tool will play an important role in ensuring that all commissioners are equipped and able to deliver improved quality and outcomes for services for children and young people.
We are currently consulting on the Commissioning Framework for Health and Wellbeing which sets out how local commissioners can successfully commission services that improve health and well-being and help people remain independent. It also consults on a new duty for local authorities and primary care trusts to work together on a joint strategic needs assessment. This will outline current and predicted needs of the local population so providers can best promote the health and wellbeing of their local populations, particularly those groups that currently get a poor response from services.
Every Child Matters aims to improve outcomes for disabled children through better integration of services, at strategic and operational levels, including the pooling of budgets. The introduction of childrens trust arrangements should see services coming together to provide more joined-up and coherent services and make a major contribution to the NSF standard eight vision for equipment provision.
The Department does not collect centrally the average waiting times for children and young people under the age of 18 following assessment to receive a lightweight manual and a powered indoor and outdoor wheelchair in each of the last three years.
The Department does not collect centrally the data for the percentage of children under the age of 18 years who met local eligibility criteria received a powered indoor and outdoor wheelchair within three months, six months and one year of an assessment in the last three years.