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All Work Test for Incapacity Benefit

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The information is not available in the format requested. Data are not held separately for the All Work Test element within the allocations for the administration of Incapacity Benefit.

However, the total additional funding for the administration of Incapacity Benefit was £42,571 million for 1995-96 and £39,454 million for 1996-97. This does not include any funding for Sickness or Invalidity Benefits.

NHS Trust Board Appointments

Baroness Cumberlege asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): None of the trust board vacancies arising on 31 October 1997 had been filled by 30 September 1997. Apart from exceptional cases, these

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appointments will be confirmed very shortly. Appointments have been delayed this year because of the introduction of new criteria for board membership, and the need to consider new candidates arising from over 1,800 nominations by Members of Parliament and local authorities.


Lord Alderdice asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they remain committed to those professional and governmental guidelines, including the recent Strategy Review of Psychotherapy Services in England, which state that psychotherapy should be provided by properly qualified practitioners as an integral part of comprehensive mental health services.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: Health Authorities, Trusts and Consortia concerned with commissioning education and training are expected to take account of national guidance on good practice in the Review of NHS Psychotherapy Services in England alongside the views of professional and user groups and employers in health and social care. A wide variety of different professional staff are involved in the provision of the "talking therapies". The Government believe that all those who provide such therapies should be competent and appropriately qualified.

University Funding

Lord Rix asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have any plans to replace the additional payments made to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge with scholarships and bursaries open to students at all United Kingdom universities.

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): We have asked the Higher Education Funding Council for advice on the mechanisms for setting future funding for universities and colleges at Oxford and Cambridge. We shall want to consider the options very carefully as soon as we receive their advice.

Self-assessment and Farmers' Expenses

Lord Stewartby asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the introduction of self-assessment will affect the way in which expenditure on conservation by farmers and landowners is eligible for tax relief.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The introduction of self-assessment had no effect on the rules on expenditure which is deductible when computing trading profits from farming for tax purposes.

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Listed Houses

Lord Rowallan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many Grade 1, 2 or 3 listed houses have been vacated by private owners in the last seven years.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has a statutory duty to compile lists of buildings of special architectural or historic interest. All list entries include a description of the building and the features that led to it being listed. It is intended principally to aid identification and holds no information about ownership or whether a building is vacant or not.

Lord Rowallan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many Grade 1 or 2 listed houses in Great Britain are now hotels or conference centres; how many are still in private hands; and how many are owned by the National Trust or Government bodies.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: For England our records indicate that there are currently 1,473 buildings listed as hotels or conference centres which have at some stage in their history been used as houses. Information on the ownership of these buildings is not held centrally. Listing in Scotland and Wales is the responsibility of the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales respectively but I understand that none of the information sought is held centrally for either of these countries.

Abortion Statistics

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many abortions were performed after the 24th week of gestation in each week of the last three years for which figures are available.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Chief Executive of the Office for National Statistics, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Braine of Wheatley from the Director of the Office for National Statistics, Dr. T. Holt, dated 10 November 1997:

I have been asked to reply, as the Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), to your recent question on abortion figures.

The latest information for residents and non-residents of England and Wales is available in Table D for 1993 and 1994, and table D1 for 1995, in the OPCS/ONS publication Abortion Statistics. Series AB Nos. 20-22.

Copies of these publications are available in the House of Lords Library.

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Prison Service: Director General's Review

Lord Monkswell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Director Generals's review of management and organisation of the Prison Service has been completed, and if so, whether they will comment on its findings.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The Director General has now completed an internal review of the management and organisation of the Prison Service.

The review has recommended, and we have endorsed, a programme of action with the following key elements:

(i) measures to assert and reinforce ministerial responsibility for the Prison Service. The Government have already made clear their commitment to taking proper ministerial responsibility for the Prison Service. Parliamentary Questions are now answered by Ministers and not by the Director General. Further measures to be taken in the light of this review are as follows:

    from 1 January, Ministers will chair quarterly meetings to review formally the performance and plans of the Prison Service. The report concludes, and we agree, that in the circumstances of the Prison Service such an arrangement better supports the Government's approach to ministerial oversight than any form of separate advisory board;

    the Agency Framework Document will be updated and reissued with a new ministerial preface when the Comprehensive Spending Review is further advanced;

    the Prison Service will take action to develop a greater sensitivity to the nature and demands of ministerial responsibility for the service at all levels in the agency. This will be reflected in specific training programmes and in key documentation.

(ii) a new focus on the delivery of effective prison regimes and preparation for the release of prisoners. The Government are committed to the development of constructive prison regimes which address offending behaviour. Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons has drawn attention to, and been critical of, the wide variation in standard levels of performance between prisons of the same type. The review concludes that an improvement in performance in this area is required; and that the top management of the Prison Service is not, at present, organised in such a way as to deliver the necessary leadership and direction required to secure an improvement. The Prison Service will, therefore:

    plan for and seek substantial improvements in the effectiveness of regimes and the preparation of prisoners for release, while continuing to maintain its performance in relation to security and control; and

    create a stronger capacity within headquarters to develop regime standards and policies for all prisoner groups and to support the operational line in monitoring performance and spreading best practice. This will be provided by a Director of Regimes at Prisons Board level, supported by

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    Assistant Directors with separate, specific responsibility for: young offenders; women; adult males, lifers and parole; and prisoner administration.

(iii) a major programme of change to improve the managerial effectiveness of the organisation. This reflects the need for:

    the Prisons Board itself to operate more strategically and effectively. Responsibility will be clarified at board level, with separate policy Directors of Regimes, Security and Healthcare. One policy director will be designated as Deputy Director General and will deputise for the Director General in his absence and ensure effective co-ordination of the day to day work of the service;

    more effective standard-setting and performance management systems. A clear set of core standards will be formulated, supported by a set of functional standards for different types of prisoner and prison. The contract between the Governor and the Area Manager will be used as the key business management tool of the Prison Service; and in the longer term the service will move towards the replacement of contracts with more formal service level agreements, providing a form of internal purchaser/provider arrangement;

    a major investment in management development and training will be taken forward when the Prison Service can identify efficiency savings. The net for recruiting managers to all levels in the Prison Service will also be widened.

We welcome the outcome of this review--not least because it is the product of an internal, rather than externally imposed, analysis. None of the proposals to be implemented is intended to pre-empt the outcome of the wider review of the Prison and Probation Services which was announced in another place on 16 July (Official Report, col. 172), or the Comprehensive Spending Review, which are proceeding in parallel. The action proposed will, however, help to position the Prison Service for whatever changes may emerge from these reviews and make improvements which are needed in their own right. The review will be taken forward within existing Prison Service resources.

A copy of the review is being placed in the Library.

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