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Learning Disability: Adult Social Care

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Ivan Lewis) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

We are today laying before Parliament the Government’s response (Cm 7378) to the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) report A Life Like Any Other? Human Rights of Adults with Learning Disabilities, which was published on 6 March.

The JCHR’s report recognises that life for people with learning disabilities has improved considerably over the past 30 years. However, the committee still found serious cause for concern about the way people with learning disabilities are treated by society at large.

The Government response welcomes the JCHR’s report and sets out the Government’s commitment and practical steps that we are taking to uphold the rights of adults with learning disabilities in mainstream public services.

Several of the committee’s recommendations are around influencing the outcome of the consultation response on Valuing People Now, the Government’s consultation on learning disability policy. This response commits the Government to revisiting the JCHR report and providing a further response to the committee when publishing the final Valuing People Now strategy.

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Anne McGuire) is making a Written Statement today on the Government's response to the committee's recommendation about ratification of the UN convention which is contained in this publication.

Today’s publication is in the Library and copies are available to honourable Members from the Vote Office.

Marine Navigation Bill (Draft)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Jim Fitzpatrick) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

I am today publishing a draft Marine Navigation Bill, for public consultation and parliamentary pre-legislative scrutiny. The draft Bill contains legislative proposals to help to improve safety at sea and in our ports, to deal with wrecks if they do occur and to update the powers of the bodies responsible for maritime safety. Copies of the draft Bill, a consultation paper and other accompanying documents are available in the Libraries of the House and the Vote Office.

The issues dealt with in this Bill have been identified in a number of reviews, accident reports and the IMO International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks 2007. In bringing forward this draft Bill I hope to address these issues as far as can

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reasonably be done. Any statutory safety measures need to offer a balance between excessive controls and prudent management. The changes that I am proposing in this draft Bill are not fundamental but they do represent a considered approach to the issues that have been identified and they will provide the responsible authorities with useful enhancements to their powers where necessary.

There are also measures in the draft Bill that will help to reduce costs to the shipping industry through the better management of the General Lighthouse Fund. When the IMO Convention comes into force there will be significant improvements in our ability to recoup the costs of dealing with pollution and the aftermath of maritime accidents as it will introduce a strict liability regime and compulsory insurance for shipping operators, meaning that these costs will no longer be picked up by the authorities responsible for safety and the environment which can now happen when the operators or owners of the ship fail to accept responsibility.

The draft Bill sets out our legislative proposals to:

allow the ratification of the IMO Convention in the UK so that the Government can compel ship owners to remove wrecks or, if emergency works are carried out by the Government or General Lighthouse Authorities, facilitate recovery of their costs from the ship owner or its insurers;enable the Secretary of State to direct a harbour authority which is exercising its functions unsafely;give all harbour authorities access to a power to give general directions to shipping;allow a competent harbour authority to relinquish its unwanted pilotage powers;provide a simple way for the duties of a harbour authority to be extinguished where it no longer serves a useful purpose and to ensure any residual duties are carried out appropriately;permit the introduction of compulsory national occupational standards for harbourmasters and pilots;improve the regulation of pilotage exemption certificates; andmodernise some of the powers of the General Lighthouse Authorities.

Publication of the draft Bill provides an important opportunity to ensure that we get our proposals right through public consultation, and for Parliament to scrutinise the legislation in draft. We need to learn from and build on the diversity of experience of professionals in the ports and shipping industries and all who are concerned about the safety of shipping and the protection of the marine and coastal environment, so I encourage all interested parties to participate in the consultation process.

Ministry of Defence: Headley Court

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): My honourable friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces (Bob Ainsworth) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

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I am pleased to inform the House of the outcomes of our review of defence medical rehabilitation. The review concluded that defence medical rehabilitation is a success story, returning service personnel, whenever possible, to full fitness faster than in the past.

The Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) at Headley Court is widely recognised as delivering first-class specialist rehabilitation of complex cases. The enormous benefit of bringing together service personnel, both those wounded on operations and those injured in training, contributes to the astonishing recovery that so many of our patients make.

The Government recognise that continuing investment is needed to ensure that Headley Court retains its reputation as a centre of excellence.

With the increase in the numbers and complexity of military casualties over recent years, we have steadily enhanced DMRC’s capabilities:

we now have our own workshops and technicians to provide a “state of the art” limb fitting service, enabling us to start to mobilise patients who have lost limbs as soon as they arrive at DMRC and to make adjustments to their prostheses as required;we have increased the numbers of therapists and nurses and introduced a new team to deal with head injuries, working closely with partner organisations;we have deployed physiotherapists into Iraq and Afghanistan to assess patients’ needs and start treatment, where appropriate, in advance of their arrival at Headley Court;last May we opened a new temporary ward annexe, providing 30 additional beds and giving us a total of 66 ward beds;Headley Court benefits from the use of a hydrotherapy pool and four gyms on site; andwe are building this year a new 58-bed temporary accommodation block, at a cost of about £4 million—work on site is due to start today.

Our review has confirmed that the DMRC at Headley Court should continue to be the specialist centre for rehabilitation, and has recommended further improvements so that it can continue to deliver first-class care.

In the light of the review we have now decided to invest an additional £24 million in the Headley Court site over the next four years to maintain and enhance DMRC’s capabilities. This will enable us to:

replace the new ward annex (designed to be a temporary structure) by extending the Peter Long Unit, and incorporating into that extension an expanded prosthetics facility, treatment areas, and imaging facilities; and replace progressively over the next few years all the existing 180 non-ward bed patient and staff accommodation.

I pay tribute to the charitable bodies that have also contributed to the work of DMRC and its predecessor organisations since Headley Court first opened its doors to RAF patients shortly after the Second World

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War. The estate is owned by a charitable trust, which has itself contributed generously to the improvement of facilities on the site.

The Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Family Association has purchased a house in nearby Ashtead which was opened earlier this year as a “home from home” for families visiting patients at Headley Court, supplementing accommodation that we had already provided on site.

Last year a new charity, Help for Heroes, generously offered to raise funds for a swimming pool and gym, which would together form a new rehabilitation complex, with additional space for rehabilitation and assessment. The charity has already made impressive progress in its fund-raising. We are working closely with Help for Heroes in planning the new facility.

We warmly welcome the contributions of charities to the welfare of the services. Support for them enables the public to demonstrate their appreciation for the work of the Armed Forces in tangible ways.

The new investment I have announced today, together with current funding for new facilities, means that Headley Court will see investment over the next four years totalling some £28 million in addition to the substantial funding that Help for Heroes intends to provide for the new rehabilitation complex.

Our review also looked at the services’ primary care rehabilitation facilities (PCRFs) and regional rehabilitation units (RRUs). The review recommended enhancements to the permanent capability of RRUs, and improvements to the referrals process. The roles and locations of some of the RRUs should be adjusted to align better with current and future population centres. I have agreed that we should provide an additional £1.5 million per year from financial year 2009-10 to establish the necessary permanent manning uplifts at the RRUs, and commissioned further work to take forward the other recommendations.

The outcomes of the review demonstrate our commitment to rehabilitation. The review charts the strategic direction that we shall now follow, to build on our success to date in returning service personnel to mobility and usually to duty. In partnership with the charity sector, we are ensuring that service patients, particularly those severely wounded on operations, receive the best treatment that is available and that it is delivered in an environment that supports their rehabilitation in every way possible. Our servicemen and women deserve no less for the efforts that they are making on our behalf.

I shall place a copy of the review’s top-level report and recommendations in the Library of the House.

Office of the Public Guardian

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Bridget Prentice) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

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The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) supports the Public Guardian in discharging his statutory duties under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The OPG was formed in October 2007 with the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act and 2008-09 is therefore the first full financial year of operation for the agency.

The following list sets out the key performance targets that have been set for the Office of the Public Guardian and the Court of Protection for the year 2008-09.

KPI 1: Lasting Power of Attorney/Enduring Power of Attorney

On receipt:

on receipt of an invalid or incomplete LPA or EPA, we will notify 80 per cent of applicants within 10 working days; and on receipt of a valid LPA, in 80 per cent of cases we will notify the party or parties not making the application within 10 working days.

On registering:

we will register 98 per cent of LPA applications within five working days of the end of the statutory waiting period 1;where an attorney makes an EPA application within 10 days of notifying relatives, we will register 98 per cent within five working days of the end of the statutory waiting period 2; andwhere an attorney makes an EPA application more than 10 days after notifying relatives, we will register 98 per cent within 15 working days of receipt, or within five working days of the end of the statutory waiting period, whichever is the later.

KPI 2: Supervision of Deputies

All deputyship cases will require a supervision regime based on a risk assessment. Risk criteria include: whether a deputy has been refused credit or is an undischarged bankrupt; whether the deputy has any financial interests which conflict with those of the client; the value of the client’s estate; the relationship of the deputy to the client and any objections which were made to the appointment of the deputy.

90 per cent of new deputyship cases will be assessed and a supervision level set within 30 working days of the court order being served on the Public Guardian;100 per cent of ongoing deputyships with close supervision (type I) will have a formal reassessment of the supervision level within 13 months of the previous assessment; and we will carry out a case review on no less than 4,000 type II cases during the year.A case review could be a combination of: review of annual report;carrying out a visit; and review of supervision level following short term intervention.

KPI 3: Contacting the OPG

The contact centre will act as a point of communication for anybody contacting the OPG for advice and information about the OPG, the Court of

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Protection and other MCA related issues. It will also act as the first point of contact for most deputies in relation to queries about their powers and duties.

we will respond to 95 per cent of correspondence (including letters, faxes and e-mails) within 15 working days of receipt; and 85 per cent of telephone calls to the contact centre will be answered within 60 seconds.

KPI 4: Investigations

On receipt of an investigations case in the compliance and regulation unit it is allocated to a specific caseworker. At this point of allocation the 14-day target to set an action begins. The three-month target to complete the investigation is inclusive of the 14 days in which the action plan is put in place.

we will put in place an approved action plan in 100 per cent of investigations cases within 14 days of receipt; and 75 per cent of investigations will be completed within three months.

KPI 5: Quality of Service

To measure the quality of service people are experiencing in different areas of the organisation we will carry out targeted surveys throughout the year and report the findings in the OPG 2008-09 annual report. A baseline figure will be agreed with Ministers following receipt of the 2007-08 results and will be published in the Public Guardian Section 60 report; and we will also devise measures concentrating on the quality of service delivered through the contact centre. The results will be published in the 2008-09 annual report.

KPI 6: Finance

Based on the statutory instrument for fees approved by Parliament, we will aim to achieve the following targets for full cost recovery:

OPG 100 per cent full cost recovery; andCourt of Protection 63 per cent full cost recovery.

Full cost is defined as:

The total cost of carrying out the provision of services to the taxpayer, less social subsidy/fee remission; financial losses over and above a yearly notional premium; in-year bad debts write-off and exceptional items.

Court of Protection

In 95 per cent of cases we will contact the applicant within 20 working days of receipt of the formal application.

In 75 per cent of applications where no oral hearing is directed, the court will give a direction within 16 weeks; and in 98 per cent of applications the court will give a direction within 20 weeks.

In 75 per cent of applications where an oral hearing is directed, the hearing will be arranged within six weeks of the direction, with all hearings being arranged within 14 weeks.

We will respond to 95 per cent of correspondence (including letters, faxes and e-mails) within 15 working days of receipt.

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We are due to carry out the first survey of court satisfaction by the end of March 2008. Our objective for 2008-09 is to increase satisfaction in court services from this baseline.

Copies of the Office of the Public Guardian framework document and business plan will be available in the Libraries of both Houses and from the website of the OPG from 2 May 2008.

Schools: Primary Curriculum

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (Ed Balls) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

In a Written Statement on 9 January 2008, I summarised the remit of Sir Jim Rose’s independent review of the primary curriculum. Among other things, his remit includes making recommendations on introducing greater flexibility to help schools narrow the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers.

In the Children’s Plan, the Government acknowledged that more needs to be done to improve outcomes and provision for children with special educational needs and to increase parental confidence that children’s educational needs are being met, including for children with dyslexia.

To encourage schools’ development of best practice in improving outcomes for children with dyslexia, my department is:

providing funding of around £1 million over three years to the No to Failure project. No to Failure is trailblazing and evaluating the impact of specialist training for teachers and specialist tuition for children with dyslexia in some schools in three local authority areas; through the national strategies, rolling out to all areas this year an inclusion development programme (IDP) designed to increase knowledge and awareness of dyslexia and communication difficulties among the schools and early years workforce and improve learning outcomes for this particular group of children; providing £150,000 over two financial years to enable the British Dyslexia Association to develop its helpline, which provides advice about dyslexia—including to teachers and parents; and providing £250,000 over three financial years to enable Dyslexia Action to run further Partnership for Literacy pilots.

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