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Written Ministerial Statements

Friday 21 October 2011


Extraordinary ECOFIN (22 October 2011)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr George Osborne): An extraordinary meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council will be held in Brussels on 22 October 2011.

Finance Ministers will discuss preparation of the 23 October European Council.

The current draft European Council conclusions include language on:

economic policy: growth; energy, research and innovation; investment; economic governance; the European semester; financial regulation; ratification of the European financial stability facility; and external trade;

preparation for the Cannes G20 summit;

climate change; and

foreign policy.

ECOFIN is likely to focus its attention on the situation in the euro area. I will continue to emphasise the importance of the euro area delivering a truly comprehensive solution to the situation in the euro area, which ring-fences vulnerable euro area countries, recapitalises Europe’s banks and resolves uncertainty about Greece, ahead of the G20 summit in Cannes on 3-4 November.


Response to Offender Personality Disorder Consultation

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Paul Burstow): I am publishing today a joint Department of Health and Ministry of Justice response to the public consultation on an offender personality disorder pathway implementation plan, which was completed on 17 May 2011.

The consultation set out the Government’s plans to reshape services, interventions and treatments for offenders with severe personality disorders. There were 91 responses to the consultation almost all of which supported the proposed approach.

The Government will now begin to take forward the pathway approach, which will enable the complex needs of high-risk offenders to be addressed more effectively. We will start to decommission the dangerous and severe personality disorder (DSPD) pilot sites in the NHS, the first being the unit based in Broadmoor high secure psychiatric hospital. The patients currently being held in these facilities will continue to be treated in the level of security necessary for the risk they present and no individual will be moved to a lower-level of security as a result of these changes. Professional judgments on an individual’s appropriate level of security will continue to be made as part of the normal assessment arrangements.

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The new pathway will enable the complex needs of high-risk offenders to be addressed more effectively. Interventions and treatment will be provided earlier and in the most suitable locations, additional support will be given to those who have completed programmes and ongoing supervision will be enhanced. These plans strengthen public protection arrangements and improvements in psychological health outcomes through new collaborative services across the national health service and national offender management service.

“Response to Offender Personality Disorder Consultation” has been placed in the Library. Copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.

Work and Pensions

Provider Work Programme Information Sessions

The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Chris Grayling): From 24 October 2011 employment and support allowance claimants eligible to volunteer for the Work programme will be referred to a Work programme information session. These claimants include those in the work-related activity group, with a work capability assessment prognosis greater than six months. Other claimants eligible to volunteer for the Work programme who are not subject to work-related activity can opt to attend an information session, such as those in the Support group.

This change seeks to make claimants aware of the opportunities on offer from Work programme providers. It also gives providers greater ability to reach individual claimants who may not be aware of the support they can access, and helps providers to manage their resources more effectively.

We will introduce these information sessions on a phased basis, beginning on 24 October 2011 in the east midlands (contract package area 2), with national coverage by the end of November 2011.

We are not prescribing how the sessions should be carried out but providers will have to give the Government clear details about their marketing plans for information sessions (for example, timings, individual or group sessions, and group sizes.)

Additionally, these information sessions will encourage partnership working between Jobcentre Plus and providers at a local-level.

We want claimants to engage with their provider on a voluntary basis. In exceptional circumstances, where a claimant refuses to engage without good reason, the personal adviser can require them to attend an information session.

When a claimant decides to volunteer for the Work programme, they will be participating in it for up to two years, so providers have a real chance to address the serious disadvantages some of our claimants face in the labour market.

When claimants have attended their information session they will follow up with their Jobcentre Plus personal adviser to agree next steps.