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The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Bob Ainsworth) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
I am pleased to announce that I am today publishing the Ministry of Defence's annual report and accounts 2008-09. This combines the department's annual performance report and departmental resource accounts in a single document that provides a comprehensive overview of the MoD's financial and non-financial performance for the year, including the department's contribution towards public service agreements and departmental strategic objective targets. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House. It is also available online from the department's website at www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceFor/Researchers/.
This last year has been a challenging one for defence. Operational tempos remained high, with operations in Afghanistan and Iraq continuing, although now in Iraq we have seen the end of our combat role and the return of the majority of our personnel.
In those theatres and others, British forces have made, and continue to make, an enormous contribution to international security. Recent sad events have highlighted the commitment of all those involved, not just the men and women of the Armed Forces and the civilians who support them, but also those family members who remain at home and provide vital support to those who serve their country. The success of defence is dependent on them-they continue to do an exceptional job-and the Government remain committed to providing the support that they need and rightly deserve.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Minister of State for Policing, Crime and Security (Mr David Hanson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
On 16 July 2009, the Director of Public Prosecutions made a statement following the conclusion of the review that he announced on 9 July 2009. He had concluded that in the light of the findings, set out in the statement, it would not be appropriate to reopen the cases against Goodman and Mulcaire or to revisit the decisions taken in the course of investigating and prosecuting them. A copy of the full statement by the Director of Public Prosecutions will be made available in the Library of the House.
In my Statement on 14 July, I also reported that the Independent Police Complaints Commission had received a complaint from the honourable Member for Eastleigh about police action in this case and was considering whether there were any issues raised that might fall within its remit. That complaint has been passed to the Metropolitan Police Service for its consideration with the honourable Member's consent.
The MPS will now make a decision as to whether the complaint is recordable under the Police Reform Act 2002 and whether it should refer any matter to the IPCC. The MPS will update the honourable Member for Eastleigh directly.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health (Andy Burnham) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
On 17 March 2009, the Healthcare Commission, the independent health regulator, published a damning report into the failings of emergency care provided by
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The previous Secretary of State commissioned two rapid reviews from Professor Sir George Alberti (national clinical director for emergency care) on the present state of emergency services at the trust, and from Dr David Colin-Thome on how the broader system was not able to detect the failings sooner. All their recommendations were accepted and the reports were published, alongside the Government's response on 30 April 2009.
The new independent regulator for health and social care, the Care Quality Commission, has today published its three-month stock-take report. In short, it concludes there has been some progress, but there is much more to do. Its analysis echoes the concerns that Ministers have heard from members of the local community.
Having listened carefully to these concerns, I have resolved that further action is necessary. Today, I am announcing a package of measures to lead to a step change in improving local services and to help heal the wounds of the past, so the trust and its local community can face the future together with renewed confidence and optimism.
I have worked closely with Monitor, the foundation trust regulator, to ensure a new leadership team with the skills and experience to transform services at the hospital is appointed as a matter of urgency. I am pleased to welcome Sir Stephen Moss, the new chair, and Antony Sumara, the new chief executive, to their roles. Monitor and the Care Quality Commission will continue to oversee their progress, with a further review due in October.
Fundamental to the trust's success will be listening to patients, to ensure their voice counts and that they are an integral part of shaping and influencing the future of the hospital. That is why I have asked Dr David Colin-Thome to support and advise South Staffordshire Primary Care Trust to play its full part alongside the trust in reaching out and involving people locally.
It is clear from listening to those affected that rebuilding local confidence and restoring trust will take time. The full impact of what happened at Mid-Staffordshire is revealed through the personal stories of those affected and it is clear to me that these experiences need to be properly aired if the local NHS is to learn and, in time, move on.
I have therefore decided, following detailed discussions between my department and the new management of the trust, that it would be appropriate to set up a further independent inquiry. I do not believe it is necessary for this to be a full public inquiry, given the thoroughness of the reports already produced by the Healthcare Commission, Professor Sir George Alberti and David Colin-Thome, as well as the availability of
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This inquiry's focus will be on ensuring that patients or their families have an opportunity to raise their concerns. It is important, given the events of the past, for those who depend upon the care provided by the trust to be confident that they have been listened to and that any further lessons not already identified by the thorough inquiries that have already occurred be learnt.
It is important that this is swift so as not to unduly distract the new management and staff at the hospital from improving services for patients today. The inquiry is therefore planned to report to me by the end of 2009. Should the chair of the inquiry consider that it is necessary to have the power to require witnesses to attend, I, as Secretary of State, have the power to convert the inquiry into an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005.
There are also national lessons to learn from the investigation at Mid-Staffordshire. Dr David Colin-Thome's report contained some important recommendations on this. Many of these are already being addressed-for example, through the implementation of Lord Darzi's vision High Quality Care for All and our world-class commissioning programme. In addition, the new national quality board will report to me by the end of the year with recommendations on how best to ensure that any early signs that something is going wrong in the NHS are picked up immediately, that the right organisations are alerted and that action is taken quickly.
The Mid-Staffordshire case has also illustrated that the current regulatory framework for foundation trusts (FTs) needs updating. The FT model is a key plank of reform in the NHS, successfully rewarding high performance with greater freedom and autonomy. The policy is based on the premise that FT status is a privilege to be earned and valued-an incentive to drive up quality, innovation, productivity and local accountability. However, it is clear that in some exceptional circumstances, where an FT has failed to live up to this
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This is why I intend to consult on legislative proposals to enable Monitor to de-authorise a foundation trust, subject to agreement by the Secretary of State, where it is clear an organisation has forfeited its right to the freedoms and flexibilities afforded by FT status. It is also important that where there is public concern, the Secretary of State is able to express his views and request that Monitor considers intervention in a particular way. I will also consult on legislative proposals so that, in these circumstances, if Monitor disagrees with the approach suggested by Ministers, it should be obliged to justify this position publicly. The Government will issue a consultation on both these issues in the next few days.
By focusing on the powers and actions of Monitor to intervene, I believe we achieve the appropriate balance between ensuring fundamental failure is addressed and maintaining the significant benefits of the FT model, which gives FTs greater freedom in return for high quality.
All of us who care passionately about the health service were appalled by the events at Mid-Staffordshire, which are in stark contrast to the dedication and professionalism shown by NHS staff every day up and down the country. The measures I have announced today, building on those already taken, demonstrate the collective commitment in all parts of the system, to ensure there will be no repeat.
I would like to inform the House that on the 20 July 2009 Ministers agreed that material on our planning for the safety and security of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games should be made available to the public. In doing so, we have to ensure that the public are kept fully informed of progress and of practical impacts, but also that sensitive material is not inappropriately placed in the public domain. In my Statement to the House on 26 February, I announced that the Government had agreed a strategy and developing concept of operations (CONOPS) for Olympic security planning and promised that appropriate material would be put before Parliament and the public as soon as practical.
This follows a period of hard work by all stakeholders, including the police and emergency services, to ensure that a comprehensive and effective programme can be delivered on time and within appropriate boundaries for additional spending.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): My right honourable friend the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The eighth report of the Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSPRB) (Cm 7678) has been laid before Parliament today. The report makes recommendations on the pay of governing governors and other operational managers, prison officers and related support grades in public sector prisons in England and Wales in 2009. Copies of the report are available at http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/cm76/7678/7678.pdf. I am grateful to the chairman and members of the review body for their hard work in producing these recommendations.
I am pleased to confirm that the PSPRB's recommendations will be implemented in full, effective from 1 April 2009. The cost of the award will be met from within the delegated budget allocation for the National Offender Management Service.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Minister of State for Policing, Crime and Security, Mr David Hanson, has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
There has been considerable parliamentary and public interest in the policing of the Kingsnorth Climate Camp which took place between 3 and 9 August 2008. The Government have given repeated assurances that the lessons from the policing of Kingsnorth Climate Camp would be identified and shared across the police service and more widely with Parliament.
The National Policing Improvement Agency and the Association of Chief Police Officers have overseen a review that has been commissioned by the chief constable of Kent into the policing of the Climate Camp for Change at Kingsnorth. Given my previous commitments on Kingsnorth, I am accordingly notifying the House that the report will be published on the Kent Police website on Wednesday 22 July, and that I will place a copy of the Report in the House Library on that date.
The Government are committed to working with the police and public to ensure the report's recommendations are acted upon in order to facilitate peaceful protest while upholding and protecting the rights of wider communities and other individuals. The findings from the report will be picked up by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in its wider review of policing and protest, which is due to report in the autumn.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): My right honourable friend the Minister for Housing and Planning (John Healey) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
On 30 June, I announced my intention to publish a consultation document on reform of council housing finance before the Summer Recess. I said that this would contain proposals to dismantle the housing revenue account subsidy system and replace it with a devolved system of responsibility and funding which would devolve control from central to local government and increase local responsibility and accountability.
I am publishing the consultation document Reform of Council Housing Finance today. I am placing copies of this in the Library of the House. The document can also be downloaded from the consultations section of my department's website at www.communties.gov.uk and I am seeking responses by 27 October 2009.
A fully self-financing locally devolved system cannot be implemented in a single step, but I want to move as rapidly as possible to put these reforms in place. I will work with all those with an interest in improving council housing to deliver this major devolution of responsibility and accountability.
On 24 February the Home Office and Ministry of Justice, supported by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), held a conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the publication of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry report. The conference, with an opening speech by Doreen Lawrence, OBE, reviewed the progress that has been made over the past 10 years, shared good practice, and helped to set out a focus for future work.
On or around this anniversary three reports were published: Stephen Lawrence Review, an independent commentary by Dr Richard Stone; Police and Racism: What has been achieved 10 years after the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report" by the EHRC; and The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry 10 Years On, an analysis of the literature by the Runnymede Trust.
The conference and the reports acknowledge that the police service and other criminal justice agencies have made progress since the publication of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry report, in 1999. There have been many positive changes in relation to race equality and the fact that the overwhelming majority of the recommendations of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry report have been addressed is a measure of this. However, we must, as the conference proceedings and the reports also demonstrate, not become complacent. Much has been achieved, but there is still considerably more to do. That is why we have published an action plan with the conference report, setting out areas for particular focus, building on existing work, as we move forward from the anniversary. This work includes: increasing the recruitment, retention and progression of minority ethnic police officers and police staff; reducing unjustified disproportionality in the use of stop-and-search powers; and continuing to improve the reporting and recording of racist incidents.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (John Denham) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
In February, the Government announced proposals to support third sector organisations through the tackling race inequalities fund. Today, I am pleased to announce to the House that 27 national and regional organisations will receive grants totalling £8.8 million over two years.
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