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Written Statements

Tuesday 18 November 2008

Armed Forces: Mental Health

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

I wish to inform the House of the outcome of a competitive exercise for the provision of in-patient mental health care for our serving Armed Forces personnel.

The Ministry of Defence recognises mental illnesses as potentially serious and disabling conditions, but most can be successfully treated. Our mental health services are configured to provide community-based mental health care in line with the guidelines and standards set by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and the national service frameworks.

We do this primarily by supporting our GPs with specialist out-patient assessment and treatment at our military regional departments of community mental health centres sited in military bases. Care is provided by either military mental health care professionals or civilians employed by the MoD. This means that serving personnel usually remain with their units and receive out-patient care in a military environment.

In-patient care may be required in a small number of cases. Where this is necessary, it is provided regionally in specialised psychiatric units under a contractual arrangement. Since 2003 this contract has been with the Priory Group. The contract with the Priory Group has worked very well and was extended for two years. In line with our usual commercial practice a competitive tendering exercise has now been conducted in order to place a new contract. I am now in a position to announce the outcome of that competition.

The evaluation process produced a clear winner—we have awarded the contract to the South Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Trust, which offered a powerful grouping of NHS providers to deliver a nationwide service.

The South Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Trust proposal offers a bespoke admission and treatment service based upon the needs of the MoD and of the individual patient. They offer a single point of contact for admissions and access to a series of dedicated beds across the United Kingdom. South Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Trust describes its services as culturally sensitive and has proposed an in-patient care pathway that provides assessment and treatment in environments that would allow service patients to be accommodated in a separate area and to separate themselves from the civilian NHS population if they wished this and it was clinically appropriate. The South Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Trust’s philosophy and approach to in-patient care is consistent with that of the MoD and with generally accepted best practice: rapid assessment, stabilisation and return to care within the community as soon as possible.

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The South Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Trust will provide locally based care through a network consisting of a group of five foundation trusts, one trust in the process of foundation trust application and one NHS Scotland trust. These are: Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Grampian, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, Somerset Partnership NHS Trust, and Hampshire Partnership NHS Trust. All of the trusts selected are rated good or excellent for their quality of care in the Healthcare Commission’s recent annual health check. The South Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Trust will act as the network lead and, as such, will guarantee the quality and governance of the services provided. The foundation trust status of the winning bidder offers MoD access to services that are subject to unprecedented levels of corporate governance and are monitored by an independent regulator.

The MoD will work with the South Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Trust to implement a transition to the new contract that will cause minimal disruption to current and future patients. The Priory Group has agreed to extend the existing contract until the end of February 2009 to allow for a transition period.

When combined with care provided on operations by our deployed military mental health professionals, in military primary care and in military community mental health centres, I am confident that this contract represents a continuation of the combination of the best of external and internal providers to deliver mental health care to national standards of excellence.


The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Alistair Darling) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I set out in my Statements to Parliament on 8 October and 13 October the details of the Government's recapitalisation scheme. All UK incorporated banks—including UK subsidiaries of foreign institutions—with substantial business in the UK, and building societies are eligible to apply for the scheme. To date, RBS Group Plc and, subject to their merger proceeding, Lloyds TSB Plc and HBOS Group Plc have announced the terms on which they are participating. Those terms are set out in detail in the Placing and Open Offer agreements and in the preference share subscription agreements. I have today arranged for final, signed versions of the agreements to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

I now set out the detail of dealing with future applications to the scheme from those banks which are currently raising capital, either by an agreement with HM Treasury or otherwise, and which, for whatever reason, may seek to negotiate a substantively new proposal or new agreement with HM Treasury about the terms of any recapitalisation. Detailed terms of participation would remain a matter for discussion with the board of the institution concerned, taking

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proper account of prevailing market conditions, but HM Treasury would expect to apply the following general principles.

The objective of the recapitalisation scheme is to ensure that each eligible institution has sufficient capital to sustain confidence in the institution. Institutions should therefore have a sufficient buffer of capital above the minimum requirement both to absorb losses that might ensue from a downturn and to continue lending on normal commercial criteria. In assessing any proposals in relation to eligible institutions, HM Treasury will continue to focus on three key objectives:

maintaining financial stability;safeguarding the interests of taxpayers; andprotecting depositors and consumers.

In providing capital to any eligible institution, HM Treasury, on the advice of the Bank of England and Financial Services Authority, would need to be satisfied that these three objectives were met.

There is no automatic right of access to the recapitalisation scheme. At a minimum, HM Treasury would expect the following high-level conditions to be met before capital could be offered to any eligible institution:

the institution must have a plan to meet an appropriate level of capitalisation, as determined by the FSA. Information about the FSA approach is set out in its statement of 14 November 2008. It is a matter for the institutions concerned to disclose to the market their capital requirement; the institution must have a sustainable business model and delivery plan; the institution's funding profile, sources and mix must be clear, broad-based and sustainable; andthe senior management team must be credible, with demonstrable ability to deliver the business plan.

If the Government are to provide capital, the issue will carry terms and conditions that appropriately reflect the financial commitment made by the taxpayer, including in relation to dividend policy, remuneration, lending policy and wider public policy issues.

To the extent that HM Treasury is asked to subscribe for, or underwrite, an offering for ordinary equity shares, the price would be at a discount to either the market price prevailing at the time of the transaction or, if applicable, the placing price agreed on 13 October, whichever is lower. The percentage discount would not be less than the percentage discounts applied in transactions already announced.

To the extent that HM Treasury is asked to subscribe for preference shares or other tier 1 instruments, the appropriate coupon will be based on prevailing market conditions, with due regard given to the rate at which eligible institutions have announced the issue of such instruments most recently.

With respect to fees, HM Treasury would charge an appropriate level of fees for any underwriting commitments, again paying due regard to the fees paid in recent transactions involving eligible institutions.

Any transaction would, of course, be subject to the necessary regulatory and legal clearances, and would need to comply with the European Commission's decision of 13 October 2008 authorising the recapitalisation scheme under EU state aid rules.

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Any securities acquired by HM Treasury under the recapitalisation scheme will be managed on a commercial basis by UK Financial Investments Ltd (UKFI). Details about UKFI are set out in my letter to the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee of 3 November, which is available in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

Children: Children’s Trusts

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

In the Children’s Plan, which I presented to Parliament in December 2007, the Government set out their ambition to make this country the best place in the world for young people to grow up. As part of this we committed to strengthening the links between schools, health and other children’s services in every area through children’s trusts, so that together they can tackle all the barriers to the learning, health and happiness of every child.

Today I am publishing statutory guidance which:

clarifies what a children’s trust is, what it does and how it relates to other local partnerships;discusses in more detail the vision and priorities in the Children’s Plan as they relate to children’s trusts and the five Every Child Matters outcomes;identifies the challenges that now need to be addressed; andoffers guidance on how the priorities in the Children’s Plan should be taken forward across the whole children’s trust.

The guidance also confirms the Government’s intention to legislate to:

extend the number of relevant partners under a duty to co-operate to include schools—including academies—sixth-form and FE colleges, and Jobcentre Plus; make the children’s trust board a statutory body; andgive the board responsibility for producing the Children and Young People’s Plan, which will then be owned by the full children’s trust partnership.

The Children’s Plan set out a vision in which local authorities, schools, the health service and other local providers work together and support each other in setting the direction and in driving delivery. The proposals announced today, taken together, give us a framework that will help make this vision a reality.

Elbourne Review

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Pensions Reform (Rosie Winterton) has made the following Statement.

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On 22 May 2008 the Minister for Pensions Reform announced that John Elbourne had been asked to examine the current arrangements for the engagement of older people and the ability of those arrangements to inform policy and actions of government at all levels. Specifically, this was to include examining better government for older people.

John Elbourne will today publish his report at 3 pm on the Department for Work and Pensions website. This can be found at and a copy will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The purpose of the review has been to examine whether there are any structural and/or organisational changes that can aid progress and enhance opportunities for older people to make themselves heard.

The report makes a range of recommendations for improving older people’s engagement with Government, which are: establishing a national advisory forum for older people; enhancing the role that regional government offices play in supporting and developing engagement with older people; setting up regional forums to support local authorities; and building on the support for older people's forums around the UK.

The Government invite comment on these recommendations and will respond to this report by 30 January 2009. Any comments should be sent to Andrew Jennings, Department for Work and Pensions, Older People and Ageing Society Division, 3rd Floor The Adelphi, 1-11 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6HT (email:, to be received by 9 January 2009.

Energy: Supply Companies

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Ed Miliband) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

As I undertook to do in my Statement to the House on 16 October 2008, yesterday I again met the main energy supply companies to discuss my concerns about a number of issues in the retail energy markets.

I reiterated my concerns about findings in the Ofgem report on the energy supply market, about the charges facing electricity-only customers and customers paying excessively high charges for their particular payment method. I made clear the importance the Government attach to progress on these and other issues.

As part of the due process I referred to in my October Statement, the companies have until 1 December to provide a formal response to the Ofgem findings. Ofgem will then come forward with its conclusions, including any proposed changes to licence conditions.

However, as promised in my Statement, I stand ready to consult on legislation should there not be a speedy and satisfactory resolution to these issues.

At the meeting, I also highlighted the public’s concern about the current high level of retail prices. I impressed upon the companies the need for retail energy prices to

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reflect changes in wholesale prices as soon as possible. The Government and the industry are agreed on the need to bring down retail gas and electricity prices.

The meeting also recognised the need for very significant levels of investment in our energy infrastructure in the coming years.

Health: Assessment and Remuneration

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

High Quality Care for All, the final report of the NHS next stage review, set out the vision of an NHS in which quality is the organising principle for everything the service does. The chief executive of the NHS, David Nicholson CBE, the NHS Medical Director, Sir Bruce Keogh, and the Chief Nursing Officer, Dame Christine Beasley, are today writing to every NHS organisation in England, asking them to start to take concrete steps to make this happen. The document they are sending to the NHS, Measuring for Quality Improvement: The Approach, sets out clearly what local teams, NHS organisations (both providers and commissioners) and strategic health authorities will be asked to do to promote better measurement of quality to enable them to improve their services. It also describes the range of activities that the department will undertake to support the NHS at local level.

The launch of Measuring for Quality Improvement marks both a key step towards realising the vision of High Quality Care for All and the start of an important journey of improvement which will ultimately involve the entire NHS in England. A copy has been placed in the Library and copies are available for honourable Members from the Vote Office.

Local Government

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): My right honourable friend the Minister for Local Government (John Healey) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 8 May 2008 we introduced through the Standards Committee (England) Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/1085) the reformed conduct regime for local authority members, in which responsibility for standards of conduct and dealing with allegations of misconduct by members is largely devolved to each council’s independently chaired standards committee. In this regime the Standards Board for England has the role of a strategic regulator, and only the most serious cases of misconduct by members are to be investigated by the standards board and determined by case tribunals of the Adjudication Panel for England, established under the Local Government Act 2000.

Following extensive consultation, including with the Local Government Association, local authorities, practitioners, and the Administrative Justice and Tribunals

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Council, I have today laid before the House the Case Tribunals (England) Regulations 2008, which complement the Standards Committee (England) Regulations 2008 and make provision about the sanctions available to a case tribunal of the adjudication panel.

In particular, these regulations ensure that from 12 December 2008 case tribunals will have the power to censure a member, require them to apologise, attend training, or enter into a process of conciliation. These sanctions are currently available only to councils’ standards committees. Making these sanctions available to case tribunals will allow them to deal proportionately with, for example, a case which, although referred to the tribunal on the grounds that it is very serious, the tribunal concludes is a less serious matter.

The regulations also make provision about certain administrative procedures to be followed in relation to cases before the adjudication panel and its case tribunals.

These regulations will help ensure that the reformed conduct regime is fair, transparent and efficient.

We intend to complete the reformed conduct regime in January 2009 by making, following consultation, further regulations which will allow councils to establish joint standards committees, and to enable the standards board to suspend, in certain circumstances where the board considers this to be in the public interest, a council’s standards committee’s powers to deal with misconduct allegations.

Mental Health: Children and Young People

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

The Secretary of State for Health and I today welcome the publication of the final report of the independent review of child and adolescent mental health services. We thank the CAMHS external review group for its report and recommendations. In particular, we thank Jo Davidson, the chair and group director of Children and Young People’s Services at Gloucestershire County Council, and Dr Bob Jezzard, the vice-chair.

This has been a challenging review. Children’s mental health is an area where there are strong views and perspectives. The external review group should, therefore, take great credit for having produced such a coherent and evidence-based report, which sets out a clear vision for how we can all take responsibility for promoting children’s mental health and psychological well-being, alongside clear recommendations for how we can best achieve the step change in the quality and consistency of services at all levels.

We asked the chair and vice-chair to investigate:

the progress that has been made, since the launch of Standard 9 of the children’s national service framework and the publication of Every Child Matters in 2004, in delivering services to meet the educational, health and social care needs of children and young people

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at risk of and experiencing mental health problems, including those with complex, severe and persistent needs; andthe practical solutions that can be used by those developing policy and delivering, managing and commissioning services to address current challenges and deliver better outcomes for children and young people with mental health problems; and how these solutions can be monitored.
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