|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Baroness Andrews: We have published NHS complaints reformmaking things right. It describes reforms to the NHS complaints procedure and sets out a programme to improve management of the whole complaints system, elements of which will be subject to the passage of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill.
The programme builds on the existing NHS complaint procedure, as well as wider initiatives to introduce operational improvements focused on: making the system more flexible so that there is a range of ways in which people can express concerns about the services they have received; improving the local resolution stage so that formal complaints are more likely to be resolved, reducing the need for them to escalate unnecessarily; radical reform to the independent review stage, subject to primary legislationby placing responsibility for it with the new Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection (CHAI); and making sure information about complaints and their causes are an integral part of the system that assures safe, high quality care, which is constantly improving.
We will achieve this through a combination of changes to the structure and operation of the complaints procedure itself and by recognising the place complaints management has in the system for improving services and the quality of patients' experience of healthcare.
The need for primary legislation to establish CHAI means it will not be fully operational before April 2004. This dictates the timetable for comprehensive reform of the NHS complaints procedure as a whole. In the meantime, we will pursue supporting initiatives to bring about improvements in the general approach to complaints in the NHS and pave the way for the more substantive reforms in 2004.
Baroness Andrews: The Department of Health's public service agreement (PSA), published July 2002, included a commitment to review the target on the education of children in care, in light of the Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) project on that subject. Work on the SEU project is nearing completion, and we are now in a position to announce the new target, which is to improve life chances for children, including by substantially narrowing the gap between the educational attainment and participation of children in care and that of their peers by 2006.
This target will have been achieved if, by 2006, outcomes for 11 year-olds in English and maths are at least 60 per cent as good as those of their peers; the proportion who become disengaged from education is reduced, so that no more than 10 per cent reach school-leaving age without having sat a General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) equivalent exam; and the proportion of those aged 16 who get qualifications equivalent to GCSEs graded A*C has risen on average by four percentage points each year since 2002; and in all authorities at least 15 per cent of young people in care achieve this level of qualifications.
The elements of the PSA target relating to the level of education, training and employment outcomes for care leavers aged 19, the proportion of children in care who are cautioned or convicted and the under-18 conception rate remain unchanged.
In developing the target, the Secretary of State for Health has been keen to encourage action to support attainment by all children in care. This includes younger children, those who are able and have the potential to achieve at a high level and those with difficulties who need support to remain engaged with education at all.
The Secretary of State therefore welcomes the SEU's proposal that, as part of the existing planning process, individual education targets should be set for all children in care and that local authorities should monitor both the appropriateness and the achievement of targets by children in care. We will be consulting stakeholders on how best to achieve this.
In order that the target reflects the influence of the care system on attainment, it will apply only to children who have been in care for one year or more. Nonetheless, promoting the attainment of children who spend a shorter time in care is important. The Secretary of State for Education has therefore agreed to put in place arrangements to analyse data from pupil level annual school census in order to improve our understanding of outcomes for those young people who have spent any time in care. The results of this analysis will be to inform the development of future policy.
The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): In accordance with Section 57(1) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, after consultation with the Foreign, Home and Northern Ireland Secretaries and the Scottish First Minister, the Prime Minister has decided to re-appoint Sir Swinton Thomas as the Interception of Communications Commissioner from 11 April 2003 to 10 April 2006.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): Litter on the motorway network is cleared on a regular basis and was removed from this section of the M11 as recently as February this year. Litter will continue to be removed from this section in accordance with current policy. The Highways Agency requires its contractors for this area to carry out frequent inspections, and debris that could present a hazard to traffic is removed as a matter of priority. Other litter is removed regularly, having regard to the safety of the operatives who have to clear it.
Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The Strategy Unit published the analytical discussion paper Life Satisfaction: the state of knowledge and implications for government to synthesise the relevant data, evidence and research. It is not a statement of government policy.
The measure of life satisfaction used most widely by researchers and reported in the paper is the answer to questions such as: "All things considered, how satisfied are you with life as a whole?" Respondents then either answer "very", "fairly" or "not very" satisfied or grade their satisfaction on a scale of one-to-10.
Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The Strategy Unit published the analytical paper Life Satisfaction: the state of knowledge and implications for government to synthesise the relevant data, evidence and research on the subject. It is not a statement of government policy.
The Minister of State, Lord Macdonald of Tradeston, has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the cost and value for money of the proposed new junction at Junction 19 on the M1 Motorway.
Value for money was assessed using the Department for Transport's standard cost benefit analysis tool TUBA (Transport Users Benefit Appraisal) which includes calculation of user benefits and public and private sector transport provider impacts. The economic appraisal shows that the proposed scheme would provide significant journey time benefits to road users and reduced operating costs for both private and heavy goods vehicles.
I hope this is helpful. If you would like any further information, John Dutson, the Agency's Project Manager for the M1 Junction 19 scheme, would be pleased to help. He can be contacted at our offices at Broadway, Broad Street, Birmingham B15 1BL, or by telephone on 0121 678 8361.
|Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|