Vicky Foxcroft Portrait

Vicky Foxcroft

Labour - Lewisham, Deptford

Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

(since April 2020)
3 APPG memberships (as of 17 Nov 2021)
Domestic Violence and Abuse, Knife Crime and Violence Reduction, Votes at 16
2 Former APPG memberships
Domestic Violence, Youth Affairs
Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) (Civil Society)
24th Jun 2019 - 10th Apr 2020
Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee)
30th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Statutory Instruments (Select Committee)
30th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Opposition Whip (Commons)
18th Sep 2015 - 24th Jun 2019
Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee)
22nd Feb 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Statutory Instruments (Select Committee)
22nd Feb 2016 - 3rd May 2017


Department Event
Monday 13th December 2021
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Oral questions - Main Chamber
13 Dec 2021, 2:30 p.m.
Work and Pensions (including Topical Questions)
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Health and Care Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 172 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 219 Noes - 280
Speeches
Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

T7. New research from the Disabled Children’s Partnership shows that nearly three quarters of disabled children and young people have …

Written Answers
Friday 26th November 2021
Members: Correspondence
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to respond to the letter dated 22 …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 24th June 2015
Representation of the People (Young Persons’ Enfranchisement and Education) Bill 2015-16
A Bill to reduce the voting age to 16 in general elections, elections to the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly …
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: British Council
Address of donor: 10 Spring Gardens, London SW1A 2BN
Estimate of the probable value (or …
EDM signed
Thursday 21st October 2021
Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; …
Supported Legislation
Representation of the People (Young People's Enfranchisement and Education) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Vicky Foxcroft has voted in 294 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Vicky Foxcroft Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(23 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(20 debate interactions)
Justin Tomlinson (Conservative)
(19 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(18 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(17 debate contributions)
Department for Work and Pensions
(16 debate contributions)
Home Office
(10 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Vicky Foxcroft's debates

Lewisham, Deptford Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Vicky Foxcroft has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Vicky Foxcroft

23rd September 2021
Vicky Foxcroft signed this EDM on Thursday 21st October 2021

Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall

Tabled by: Afzal Khan (Labour - Manchester, Gorton)
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; notes that this memorial now includes over 150,000 hand-painted hearts to symbolise all those who lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic; praises the work of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for …
132 signatures
(Most recent: 16 Nov 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 95
Scottish National Party: 13
Liberal Democrat: 10
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Conservative: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
14th January 2021
Vicky Foxcroft signed this EDM on Monday 18th January 2021

Godfrey Colin Cameron

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
That this House is deeply saddened by news of the death of Godfrey Colin Cameron, a hardworking member of Parliamentary security staff and member of the PCS trade union who passed away aged just 55 after contracting covid-19; extends our sincere condolences to his devoted wife Hyacinth, children Leon and …
139 signatures
(Most recent: 8 Feb 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 117
Scottish National Party: 15
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Alba Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Vicky Foxcroft's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Vicky Foxcroft, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Vicky Foxcroft has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Vicky Foxcroft has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Vicky Foxcroft


A Bill to reduce the voting age to 16 in general elections, elections to the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the European Parliament, local government elections and referendums; to make provision about young people’s education in citizenship and the constitution; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 11th September 2015

494 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
5 Other Department Questions
8th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he has taken to help prevent a recurrence of the accessibility challenges encountered by Israel’s energy minister when attempting to access the Scottish Event Campus on 1 November 2021.

Inclusivity and accessibility were key priorities for COP26 and the venue was designed to facilitate that. When officials were made aware of the issue in question, which was a genuine mistake, they worked urgently with the Israeli delegation to resolve this and the UK Government apologised to Minister Elharrar. The permanent structures were fully wheelchair accessible and the venue holds gold level accessibility status. For the temporary structures a complete accessibility audit was completed and they were fully compliant. There were blue badge spaces for the conference, along with two fully accessible shuttle routes.

An accessibility support desk was on hand to help with any requests for assistance, and there were hearing loops available in conference and plenary rooms. During the second week, BSL was provided at the COP26 Presidency and UK Prime Minister press conferences, and key presidency events including the closing plenaries. Officials regularly met with the UNFCCC Disability lead to address any accessibility concerns.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, for what reason sign language and subtitles have only been available for the opening ceremony of COP26 and not for every session.

Inclusivity and accessibility were key priorities for COP26 and the venue was designed to facilitate that. When officials were made aware of the issue in question, which was a genuine mistake, they worked urgently with the Israeli delegation to resolve this and the UK Government apologised to Minister Elharrar. The permanent structures were fully wheelchair accessible and the venue holds gold level accessibility status. For the temporary structures a complete accessibility audit was completed and they were fully compliant. There were blue badge spaces for the conference, along with two fully accessible shuttle routes.

An accessibility support desk was on hand to help with any requests for assistance, and there were hearing loops available in conference and plenary rooms. During the second week, BSL was provided at the COP26 Presidency and UK Prime Minister press conferences, and key presidency events including the closing plenaries. Officials regularly met with the UNFCCC Disability lead to address any accessibility concerns.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of access to all areas of the Scottish Event Campus.

Inclusivity and accessibility were key priorities for COP26 and the venue was designed to facilitate that. When officials were made aware of the issue in question, which was a genuine mistake, they worked urgently with the Israeli delegation to resolve this and the UK Government apologised to Minister Elharrar. The permanent structures were fully wheelchair accessible and the venue holds gold level accessibility status. For the temporary structures a complete accessibility audit was completed and they were fully compliant. There were blue badge spaces for the conference, along with two fully accessible shuttle routes.

An accessibility support desk was on hand to help with any requests for assistance, and there were hearing loops available in conference and plenary rooms. During the second week, BSL was provided at the COP26 Presidency and UK Prime Minister press conferences, and key presidency events including the closing plenaries. Officials regularly met with the UNFCCC Disability lead to address any accessibility concerns.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what progress her Department has made on enacting Section 106 of the Equality Act 2010.

The Government continues to keep section 106 of the Equality Act 2010 under review but is of the view that political parties should lead the way in improving diverse electoral representation through their selection of candidates.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the number of disabled people working from home as a result of the covid-19 outbreak or in response to the Government's covid-19 guidance on shielding during the covid-19 outbreak.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of challenging the Katherine Rowley vs the Cabinet Office judicial review, Claim No: CO/_4740/2020.

We are unable to comment on ongoing legal proceedings.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th May 2021
To ask the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will ensure that the proposed public inquiry into the covid-19 outbreak includes an assessment of the effect of the outbreak on disabled people.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been guided by data and scientific advice and have acted quickly and decisively to save lives and livelihoods.

Every death from this virus is a tragedy and our sympathies are with everyone who has lost loved ones.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed to this House that a public inquiry into COVID-19 would be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers, and that it will begin its work in spring 2022.

Further details, including terms of reference, will be set out in due course.

Throughout the pandemic, senior ministers, including the Prime Minister, have met and will continue to meet with bereaved families.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what data his Department holds on voter turnout levels among disabled people.

The Government is committed to ensuring that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote and is actively working to improve the electoral process for voters with disabilities.

The Government intends to introduce legislation to improve the support provided to disabled voters at polling stations, and to allow a wider range of people to act as a companion to support disabled voters at the polling station.

The Cabinet Office has led work to make electoral registration more accessible to people with disabilities. This work, coordinated through the Cabinet Office’s Accessibility of Elections Working Group, includes providing accessible information on registering to vote and voting; including easy read guides which sit on the Register to Vote Website, and provides support on the online application process.

There will be an estimated £92 million of government funding that will be provided to Returning Officers and local authorities for the elections; of this, £31 million is an uplift to directly address costs associated with making the elections COVID-secure. This funding will support Returning Officers to deliver the polls and ensure that all eligible electors are able to vote in a way of their choosing, either in person, by proxy or by post. We encourage those wishing to use a postal vote to apply early.

The Government does not collect data on the protected characteristics of voters.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much funding his Department has provided to local authorities specifically to ensure upcoming elections are accessible in the context of covid-19 restrictions.

The Government is committed to ensuring that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote and is actively working to improve the electoral process for voters with disabilities.

The Government intends to introduce legislation to improve the support provided to disabled voters at polling stations, and to allow a wider range of people to act as a companion to support disabled voters at the polling station.

The Cabinet Office has led work to make electoral registration more accessible to people with disabilities. This work, coordinated through the Cabinet Office’s Accessibility of Elections Working Group, includes providing accessible information on registering to vote and voting; including easy read guides which sit on the Register to Vote Website, and provides support on the online application process.

There will be an estimated £92 million of government funding that will be provided to Returning Officers and local authorities for the elections; of this, £31 million is an uplift to directly address costs associated with making the elections COVID-secure. This funding will support Returning Officers to deliver the polls and ensure that all eligible electors are able to vote in a way of their choosing, either in person, by proxy or by post. We encourage those wishing to use a postal vote to apply early.

The Government does not collect data on the protected characteristics of voters.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to improve electoral registration levels among disabled people.

The Government is committed to ensuring that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote and is actively working to improve the electoral process for voters with disabilities.

The Government intends to introduce legislation to improve the support provided to disabled voters at polling stations, and to allow a wider range of people to act as a companion to support disabled voters at the polling station.

The Cabinet Office has led work to make electoral registration more accessible to people with disabilities. This work, coordinated through the Cabinet Office’s Accessibility of Elections Working Group, includes providing accessible information on registering to vote and voting; including easy read guides which sit on the Register to Vote Website, and provides support on the online application process.

There will be an estimated £92 million of government funding that will be provided to Returning Officers and local authorities for the elections; of this, £31 million is an uplift to directly address costs associated with making the elections COVID-secure. This funding will support Returning Officers to deliver the polls and ensure that all eligible electors are able to vote in a way of their choosing, either in person, by proxy or by post. We encourage those wishing to use a postal vote to apply early.

The Government does not collect data on the protected characteristics of voters.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department holds data on the number of disabled people who are registered to vote.

The information requested is not held.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what information his Department holds on the number of disabled people that have been elected to public office in the UK in each of the last five years.

The information requested is not held.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of inequality in political participation.

The Government is working to identify and resolve challenges involved in delivering the local and mayoral elections in England and the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales in May 2021. Voters will be able participate in the May 2021 elections safely, and in a way of their choice, whether in-person, by proxy or by post.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the needs of people with disabilities and long-term health conditions to inform the strategy to end the covid-19 lockdown.

The Government's strategy "Our Plan to Rebuild" has been informed by a wide range of analysis and scientific advice. This has included consideration of how measures have impacted groups across the population, including people with disabilities and long-term health conditions. We will continue to ensure that these groups have the support they need.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will include in the forthcoming Employment Bill an extension of maternity allowance for fathers who are ineligible for paternity leave and pay or other statutory support.

There are a number of entitlements that support partners in caring for their new baby and support the mother following birth. Employed partners who meet the qualifying criteria can take up to two weeks of paid leave between the birth of their child and the first 56 days following birth. In addition, partners who meet the eligibility criteria have access to paid annual leave, the Right to Request Flexible Working and Shared Parental Leave.

Maternity Allowance provides an element of earnings replacement for pregnant women and new mothers who are not eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay. This is because Maternity Allowance is intended to help a woman to stop working in the later stages of her pregnancy, and in the months after childbirth, in the interests of her own and her baby's health and wellbeing. There is no equivalent paternity allowance, as there are no equivalent health and safety considerations for fathers.

The detailed content for the Employment Bill will be published in due course. In the meantime, we continue to work with stakeholders to ensure that the measures for the bill deliver on our plan to build a high skilled, high productivity, high wage economy as we build back better.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure all claimants of the Warm Home Discount who have been forced to reapply as a result of their energy provider ceasing trading in recent months are not excluded from that support by their new provider.

When an energy supplier leaves the market, Ofgem appoints a Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) to take over its customers. SoLRs are not obliged to provide the Warm Home Discount to transferred customers; however, all SoLRs have honoured this obligation in the past and we would expect that SoLRs continue to honour these obligations.

The Government recently concluded a consultation on the future scheme, which included a proposal to reform the scheme. Under the proposals, the vast majority of households would receive their rebates automatically, without having to apply. This would make it easier for SoLRs to make the Warm Home Discount rebate payments to newly transferred customers. BEIS will be publishing the Government’s response to the consultation in the coming months, with the reforms coming into force from the 2022/23 scheme year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that retailers are using payment card reader technology that is accessible to people who are blind or partially-sighted.

The disability provisions in the Equality Act 2010 require providers of services and facilities to the public to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ so that disabled people are not placed at a “substantial disadvantage” compared to non-disabled people.

The reasonable adjustment duty is an anticipatory duty because it is owed to disabled people in general. This means that people who provide goods, services and facilities to members of the public are expected to anticipate the requirements of disabled customers and the adjustments that may have to be made for them.

The Act has reinforced the legal responsibility for all businesses to cater for disabled customers—and this includes accepting a chip and signature card. Retailers who take card payments are obliged to accept chip and signature cards.

Anyone who feels that they may have suffered unlawful discrimination may wish to contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service, which offers free advice to people across, England, Scotland and Wales. The service can be contact by Freephone on 0808 800 0082 or via its website at https://www.equalityadvisoryservice.com/.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the the Independent Experts Committee on Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and its meeting of September 2020, for what reasons that Committee's membership did not comprise existing stakeholders who had worked on the review for more than 10 years; and if he will publish details of the research that the Independent Experts Committee decided necessary for a review of (a) the overall regulations and (b) children's products.

In July 2019, the Government announced it would develop a new approach to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988.

The Government does not have an ‘Independent Experts Committee’ advising on the review of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. The Government seeks independent expert input and advice from a range of individuals and organisations.

As part of the formulation of Government policy, it is essential that officials are able to seek advice from external parties with relevant knowledge and experience. Third parties must feel that they can provide Government with candid views without fear that that information will be made public, particularly when those views relate to sensitive and ongoing issues. As such, the Government does not intend to publish the individual pieces of advice received from independent experts on this topic. All completed research relating to product safety is published on gov.uk (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/product-safety-research). This is updated periodically with details of further commissioned research.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Independent Experts Committee on the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, established in September 2020, whether that committee has published (a) details of its 13 members and organisations and (b) meeting notes; what process was used for selecting that Committee's membership; and what feedback was received from other Government departments on that selection process.

In July 2019, the Government announced it would develop a new approach to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988.

The Government does not have an ‘Independent Experts Committee’ advising on the review of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. The Government seeks independent expert input and advice from a range of individuals and organisations.

As part of the formulation of Government policy, it is essential that officials are able to seek advice from external parties with relevant knowledge and experience. Third parties must feel that they can provide Government with candid views without fear that that information will be made public, particularly when those views relate to sensitive and ongoing issues. As such, the Government does not intend to publish the individual pieces of advice received from independent experts on this topic. All completed research relating to product safety is published on gov.uk (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/product-safety-research). This is updated periodically with details of further commissioned research.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to recommendation 8 of the Environmental Audit Committee's Twentieth Report of Session 2017-19 on Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life published on 16 July 2019, for what reason children's products have not yet been removed from the scope of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988; and what his timetable is for reviewing the scope of those regulations.

The Government has committed to review the status of baby products in the scope of the new regulations. To help inform this, the Government has recently commissioned research to understand the fire risk that certain products, including baby products, pose. Formal consultation on the new approach is currently planned for early 2022.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government has taken to reduce flame retardants in UK furniture; and what reductions have been achieved since 2014.

To support the development of its new approach to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, the Government has undertaken two consultations on proposals to update the prescribed tests as set out in the schedules of the 1988 Regulations. Revision of the Regulations is complex, and a broad spectrum of views were expressed through these consultations.

In July 2019, the Government announced it would develop a new approach to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and develop Regulations based on safety outcomes. In support of these Regulations, standards are being developed independently by the British Standards Institution.

The 1988 Regulations already allow for the use of materials and products that deliver consumer safety from fires, without using chemical flame retardants and the Government continues to welcome innovative approaches that deliver safe outcomes for consumers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of revoking that legislation.

The Government recognises that the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 need to be updated to respond to developments in furniture design, innovation, manufacturing processes and environmental and health concerns whilst maintaining product safety protections.

In July 2019, the Government announced it would develop a new approach to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 based on outcomes with standards developed independently by the British Standards Institution.

The new approach was recommended following consultation with fire chiefs, the public, manufacturers, suppliers and advice from Chief Scientific Advisors from across Government.

Formal consultation on the new approach is currently planned for Spring 2022.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the presentation by the Office for Product Safety and Standards on The New Approach to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations at the Chemical Stakeholder Forum on 10 February 2021, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the evidence that those regulations provide fire safety with the Department's earlier conclusions on those regulations in 2014.

The Government recognises that the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 need to be updated to respond to developments in furniture design, innovation, manufacturing processes and environmental and health concerns whilst maintaining product safety protections.

In July 2019, the Government announced it would develop a new approach to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 based on outcomes with standards developed independently by the British Standards Institution.

The new approach was recommended following consultation with fire chiefs, the public, manufacturers, suppliers and advice from Chief Scientific Advisors from across Government.

Formal consultation on the new approach is currently planned for Spring 2022.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has taken steps to make the general public aware that furniture may contain the flame retardant DecaBDE which was banned under UK REACH in March 2019.

With effect from 2 March 2019, the use of Deca-BDE was restricted through REACH – this prevents the manufacture and supply on the market of Deca-BDE, including in articles such as furniture. The restriction does not apply to articles placed on the market before 2 March 2019.

A list of restricted substances is available on the Health and Safety Executive website: https://www.hse.gov.uk/reach/restrictions.htm.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to help reduce the number of sofas and mattresses in UK homes that contain the flame retardant chemical DecaBDE, which was banned under UK REACH in March 2019.

With effect from 2 March 2019, the use of Deca-BDE was restricted through REACH – this prevents the manufacture and supply on the market of Deca-BDE, including in articles such as furniture. The restriction does not apply to articles placed on the market before 2 March 2019.

A list of restricted substances is available on the Health and Safety Executive website: https://www.hse.gov.uk/reach/restrictions.htm.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to publish guidance on the rights of disabled workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has published extensive guidance on employment and safer working throughout the Covid-19 outbreak. This can be found on GOV.UK and through the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Further guidance on employment rights and aspects of good practice has been published by other bodies such as ACAS and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Government has also produced guidance around some new situations which have arisen from the Covid-19 outbreak, for example for those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable and on self-isolation. This suite of guidance covers the employment rights of disabled people alongside other groups in the workforce.

The Government continues to support disabled employees to access assistive technology and other forms of support they need to remain in work, including during the Covid-19 outbreak. Through the Disability Confident scheme, we are engaging employers and providing them with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to attract, recruit, retain and develop disabled people in the workplace.? Our new Employer Help site provides advice on recruitment and employment of disabled people, explaining how Disability Confident and Access to Work can help businesses to ensure their practices are fair and inclusive.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will meet with (a) disabled people and (b) disability organisations to co-produce guidance for employers on the rights of disabled employees during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has published extensive guidance on employment and safer working throughout the Covid-19 outbreak. This can be found on GOV.UK and through the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Further guidance on employment rights and aspects of good practice has been published by other bodies such as ACAS and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Government has also produced guidance around some new situations which have arisen from the Covid-19 outbreak, for example for those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable and on self-isolation. This suite of guidance covers the employment rights of disabled people alongside other groups in the workforce.

The Government continues to support disabled employees to access assistive technology and other forms of support they need to remain in work, including during the Covid-19 outbreak. Through the Disability Confident scheme, we are engaging employers and providing them with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to attract, recruit, retain and develop disabled people in the workplace.? Our new Employer Help site provides advice on recruitment and employment of disabled people, explaining how Disability Confident and Access to Work can help businesses to ensure their practices are fair and inclusive.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance and support he has provided to businesses to ensure that (a) they are covid-safe and (b) staff who are shielding can return to work safely on 1 August 2020.

We have set out COVID-secure guidance to help businesses take the measures that are right for them. The weblink for the new guidance is www.gov.uk/workingsafely. The Government has also developed a tool to help businesses in England to reopen safely during coronavirus. The tool encourages businesses to carry out a risk assessment and helps to identify the workplace adjustments that they should make. Employees can also the tool use it to check what their workplace needs to do to keep people safe: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening.

The latest Department for Health and Social Care guidance should be followed, which is being incorporated effectively into the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s working safely COVID-secure guidance for 1 August 2020: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance he has provided to (a) businesses and (b) service providers on making social distancing measures in place during the covid-19 outbreak accessible for blind and partially sighted people.

It is critical that employers offer safe workplaces. The Government has published guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These guides cover a range of working environments and are available at www.gov.uk/workingsafely.

This guidance does not replace health and safety or equalities legislation, it provides information to employers on how best to meet these responsibilities in the context of COVID-19.

Employees have a legal duty to make sure the workplace is safe for their employees; this includes reasonable adjustments for employees with disabilities and those who are clinically vulnerable.

The safer workplaces guidance provides some suggestions to help employers make their workplaces COVID-19 secure for their employees, visitors and customers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps the Government has taken to ensure that banks provide loans under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is part of a comprehensive package of measures designed to support businesses facing difficulties in this period.

Accredited lenders are responsible for providing loans under the CBILS. Decision-making on whether a business is eligible to access the CBILS is fully delegated to the accredited lenders, and individual lending decisions remain at the discretion of these lenders.

Since the CBILS launched, Government has listened to feedback from stakeholders and made changes to ensure that loans are processed as quickly as possible. These changes include:

  • Extending the scheme so that all viable small businesses affected by Covid-19 are eligible;
  • Removing previous restrictions on the following groups to enable them to access the CBILS, subject to other eligibility criteria being met: Employer, professional, religious or political membership organisations and trade unions;
  • Removing the ability for lenders to ask for personal guarantees for loans under £250,000, and reducing the personal guarantee for loans over £250,000 to 20% of the outstanding balance after recoveries;
  • Introducing technical changes to ensure that applications will be processed faster;
  • Removing the forward-looking viability test; and
  • Removing the per lender portfolio cap.

The Government continues to work with banks and other finance providers to help SMEs access the finance they need.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 30 October 2019 to Question 3780 on Loneliness, whether her Department has published examples of good employer practice in tackling loneliness.

Government continues to work with the Campaign to End Loneliness to gather examples of employer good practice in tackling loneliness. As reported in the Loneliness Annual Report published in January, we intend to publish a good practice guide in Spring 2020.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 30 October 2019 to Question 3777 on loneliness, how many employers have signed the Campaign to End Loneliness Pledge to date.

Since October 2019, we have continued to engage with a range of organisations through the Employers Leadership Group and others including the Federation of Small Businesses, Contact the Elderly and TalkTalk, to draw together examples of good practice in tackling loneliness. Thirty employers have so far signed the Campaign to End Loneliness Pledge. BEIS and Campaign to End Loneliness are in contact with a number of others who are considering signing up.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department is taking to support women with endometriosis in the workplace.

It is our priority to make the UK the best place in the world to work. The Government is determined to ensure employers are fully equipped to support those who are experiencing long term health conditions. We consulted for employees with long term health conditions last year on a range of measures to encourage early and supportive action by employers and on how to boost the support that Government provides. We will publish our response to that consultation in due course.

Flexible working can be key in helping people to manage long term health conditions and work. Subject to consultation, the Government will be bringing forward measures in an Employment Bill to make flexible working the default.

15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Prime Minister's speech at the National Lottery Paralympics GB Homecoming event on 12 September 2021, how the additional funding for disability sports will be allocated.

On 15th August, the Government publicly committed to providing £232 million to support Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The £232 million Grant In Aid funding will be invested into aspiring Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes as well as their coaches and support staff, in addition to funding from the National Lottery.

UK Sport, the strategic lead body for high performance sport in the UK, will be responsible for allocating the funding to athletes for the Paris cycle. Athletes will benefit through their World Class Programme and Progression Funding, which will provide vital support towards reaching the pinnacle of their sports as preparations begin for Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Prime Minister's speech at the National Lottery Paralympics GB Homecoming event on 12 September 2021, what the source is of the extra funding for disability sports.

On 15th August, the Government publicly committed to providing £232 million to support Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The £232 million Grant In Aid funding will be invested into aspiring Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes as well as their coaches and support staff, in addition to funding from the National Lottery.

UK Sport, the strategic lead body for high performance sport in the UK, will be responsible for allocating the funding to athletes for the Paris cycle. Athletes will benefit through their World Class Programme and Progression Funding, which will provide vital support towards reaching the pinnacle of their sports as preparations begin for Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on how many occasions officials in his Department met with David Cameron since July 2016; and what the (a) subject, (b) dates, (c) times and (d) durations of those meetings were.

Our records show officials from my Department have not had any meetings with the Rt. Hon David Cameron within this period.

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 18 March 2021 to Question 166491 on Digital Technology: Disability, what steps the Government is taking to help ensure that disabled people have access to the internet.

To tackle the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on disabled people DCMS launched the £2.5m digital inclusion Digital Lifeline fund on 25 February. The fund will provide 5000 devices, data and support for disabled people to use the devices safely and confidently.

The government is working on the project with leading digital inclusion charities Good Things Foundation and AbilityNet, both highly experienced in helping disabled people boost their mental health and achieve their goals through digital technology.

The Government has worked closely with industry throughout the pandemic and has agreed a set of commitments with the UK’s major broadband and mobile operators to support vulnerable consumers during the Covid-19 period. Providers committed to working with customers who are finding it difficult to pay their bill as a result of Covid-19 to ensure that they are treated fairly and appropriately supported. Supplementary to this work, Ofcom published a Vulnerability Guide for providers, setting out its expectations and good practice on how vulnerable telecoms consumers should be supported.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made a recent assessment of the prevalence of digital exclusion among disabled people.

There are several sources that the government uses to understand the prevalence of digital exclusion among disabled people. Ofcom survey data from 2020 suggests that 23% of those with any limitations/impairments don’t use the internet or have home internet access. The ONS publication ‘Exploring the UK’s Digital Divide’ 2019 states that in 2017, 56% of adult internet non-users were disabled. The 2020 Lloyds Consumer Digital Index tells us that people with an impairment are 25% less likely to have the skills to access devices and get online by themselves.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many youth services organisations have accessed the Government's £16.5 million youth covid-19 support fund to date.

Government recognises the important role that youth services play in communities, which is why we recently announced the £16.5 million Youth Covid-19 Support Fund (YCSF) that will protect the immediate future of grassroots and national youth organisations across the country.

£1.7m of the YCSF has already been allocated to vital youth work qualifications and training.

The competition for the remainder of the funding opened on Friday 15 January 2021 and will remain open until 19 February. It will help to mitigate the impact of lost income during the winter period due to the coronavirus pandemic, and ensure services providing vital support can remain viable.

To distribute funding as soon as possible, we will make initial awards on a rolling basis, prioritising those deemed to have the greatest need against the stated criteria. The first tranche of applications will be assessed in the coming fortnight.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that BT Openreach can gain access to buildings and install infrastructure for fibre optic connectivity.

The Electronic Communications Code (the Code) is the legal framework underpinning rights to install and maintain digital communications infrastructure on public and private land. We are working closely with stakeholders to understand whether the current legislative framework supports the delivery of the gigabit-capable infrastructure, and intend to consult on whether further reforms to the Code are necessary to support the delivery of gigabit-capable connectivity.

We have also introduced the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill, which will make it easier for operators to install gigabit-capable broadband in blocks of flats and apartments in cases when the landowner does not respond to repeated requests for access.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department in taking to prevent developers entering into exclusivity arrangements with internet providers and locking residents in to a limited range of broadband services.

Ofcom has powers to impose network access requirements on providers it deems to hold significant market power, requiring these providers to allow other operators to access their network. Ofcom regularly reviews market definitions and remedies, and is currently consulting on regulations to apply from April 2021.

Additionally, the Communications (Access to Infrastructure) Regulations 2016 enable telecoms operators to request information about the physical infrastructure of other utilities, transport and communications providers, and provide the right to access that infrastructure on fair and reasonable terms and conditions. We are currently reviewing whether these Regulations can be improved to encourage more use of infrastructure sharing to deploy telecoms networks.

Taken together, these measures help increase the numbers of different services consumers can choose from.

24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to help ensure the economic viability of theatres that are unable to operate under social distancing measures.

This Government recognises how severely theatres, and the wider Arts sector, have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

In order to support the Arts sector through the pandemic, DCMS has worked closely with Arts Council England (ACE) to provide a tailored package of financial support. In March, ACE announced a £160m emergency response package to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government and to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

This package includes £140 million of support for artistic organisations including theatres, and £20 million for individuals, including self-employed theatre practitioners, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. More than 9000 individuals and organisations have been successful in applying for this emergency funding.

The Secretary of State, myself and officials continue to consult the arts sectors extensively to ensure we fully understand the impacts of Covid-19 and remain well placed to respond as the landscape develops. On the basis of that engagement, DCMS and ACE are continuing to work closely to consider the additional measures that are needed to ensure the long-term recovery and growth of the cultural sector, including theatres.

9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to help ensure the financial resilience of service delivery charities in the (a) delay and (b) mitigate phases of the response to covid-19.

Ministers and officials are in constant dialogue with partners in these sectors to build and maintain a complete and up to date understanding of the challenges. We are working urgently with colleagues across government to shape support available to mitigate risks in the coming weeks and months.

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) EU and (b) non-EU nationals employed in the creative arts industries.

The department produces annual employment statistics for the creative industries, published as part of DCMS’s economic estimates. The numbers of EU and non-EU nationals employed in the creative industries in 2018 are given in the table below. Overall, employees in the creative industries are 85.8% UK, 7.4% EU and 6.8% non-EU nationals.

Creative Industries employment by subsector in 2018, 000s [1]

Sub-sector

UK

EU [2]

Non-EU

1. Advertising and marketing

168

15

12

2. Architecture

96

-

-

3. Crafts

9

-

-

4. Design and designer fashion

143

11

-

5. Film, TV, video, radio and photography

219

19

8

6. IT, software and computer services

604

50

78

7. Publishing

164

24

11

8. Museums, Galleries and Libraries

80

-

-

9. Music, performing and visual arts

268

17

12

Creative Industries

1,750

150

139

Source: DCMS Economic Estimates, Employment 2018 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/dcms-sectors-economic-estimates-2018-employment

Notes

1. Estimates rounded to the nearest 1,000.

2. Does not include UK nationals

Notation

"-" Figure has been suppressed due to disclosiveness

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate her Department has made of the number of youth centres that have closed in (a) Lewisham Deptford, (b) Lewisham borough, (c) London and (d) the UK in each year since 2010.

The data concerning the number of youth service centres that have closed in (a) Lewisham Deptford, (b) Lewisham borough, (c) London and (d) the UK in each year since 2010 is not held by my Department.

It is the responsibility of local authorities to allocate funding for local services, in line with local need. Individual local authorities would be best placed to advise on any changes there have been to the number of youth centres in their local area.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 23 October 2019 to Question 666, on Third Sector, what recent progress his Department has made on establishing a regular forum for social enterprises to coordinate relations with the Government.

The Civil Society Strategy sets out our vision for government’s work with and for civil society over the next 10 years and beyond. The Strategy recognised the demand from the social enterprise sector for a simpler relationship with the government and committed to establishing a regular forum for social enterprises to coordinate relations with the government. The forum will be launched later this year.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 22 October 2019 to Question 311, what progress her Department has made on the design of the Youth Investment Fund; and when the final details of that fund will be published.

The new £500m Youth Investment Fund will start in 2020/21 and run over five years. This investment will be a balance of capital and revenue funding. The capital funding will build 60 more youth centres, refurbish 360 existing centres, and 100 mobile centres for harder to reach areas across the country, which will deliver high quality services to young people.

The revenue funding will support the provision and coordination of high-quality youth services and positive activities for young people, building on the investment provided by the £7m Youth Accelerator Fund which launched on 30th January 2020.

The Youth Investment Fund is being designed in close consultation with young people, the organisations that work with them, and other departments. We will publish further details on the design of the Youth Investment Fund in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 23 October 2019 to Question 676, on Third Sector, what progress his Department has made on extending the use of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 through the joint programme between his Department and the Cabinet Office.

Government remains committed to ensuring social outcomes can be delivered through the government's commercial activities. The roll-out of a comprehensive training and implementation plan for central government commercial staff is now underway. The Office for Civil Society in DCMS is also supporting Claire Dove, the Crown Representative for the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sectors on engaging civil society sector bodies on supplier readiness plans.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 23 October 2019 to Question 672, on Third Sector, when his Department plans to publish its response to the public consultation on the future definition of public service mutuals, which closed on 18 October 2019.

The response to the public consultation on the future definition of public service mutuals will be published in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 23 October 2019 to Question 670, on Third Sector, what recent progress his Department has made on establishing the responsible business leadership group.

The Department, together with BEIS, has continued with the work outlined in the response provided to Question 670. We are consulting with stakeholders from business and civil society, and are conducting research and engaging with academic institutions to gather information on specifically what questions the Group should seek to answer. The Department is also giving further consideration to the relationship of the Group to other business councils, particularly in light of the Government’s new priorities, to ensure that the Group is complementary to these. The Secretary of State will make an announcement about the formation of the Group in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 23 October 2019 to Question 665, on Third Sector, what further progress his Department has made on establishing a cross-government group.

Government recognises the need to work with the civil society sector to establish principles of effective civil society involvement in the policy-making process. My officials have started to scope a programme of work and the details of this will be set out in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 23 October 2019 to Question 663, on Third Sector, what recent progress his Department has made on renewing the Government's commitment to the principles of the Compact.

Government recognises the importance of working together with the civil society organisations to support them, maintain their independence and involve them in policy making. My officials have started to scope a programme of work and the details of this will be set out in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 23 October 2019 to Question 662 on Third Sector, whether the first round of Local Access programme funding has been released; and what five places will receive that funding.

Big Society Capital and The Access Foundation announced the six places will receive funding: Bradford; Bristol; Gainsborough; Greater Manchester (Bolton, Oldham, Stockport and Wigan); Hartlepool, Redcar & Cleveland; and Southwark in London. The six partnerships will now begin a co-design process with Access and Big Society Capital to refine the detail of their enterprise development and investment plans with an expectation that the first place based programmes will launch in the second part of 2020. A small amount of grant funding will be released to assist with the co-design phase.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the pay differential is between the highest and lowest paid employees of the National Citizen Service Trust.

As of 31 January 2020, the upper band of NCS Trust salaries was between £140-145k and lower band is £15-20k.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of recent trends in the level of young people participating in the National Citizen Service.

NCS has been the fastest growing youth organisation since its inception 10 years ago. In recent years, participation in the NCS programme has increased to around 100,000 per year. This equates to approximately 1 in 6 eligible young people participating in the programme. In 2014, 58,283 young people participated in comparison to 99,179 in 2017 (according to the latest published figures). The newly commissioned network, brand refresh and targeted recruitment marketing campaign are all expected to ensure that more young people benefit from the programme, following a year of change and transition.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the (a) adequacy and (b) reasons for the underspend of the funding allocated to the National Citizen Service.

The NCS’ budget is set based on the participation numbers. Stretching participation targets are set by DCMS year on year to help drive the NCS Trust to reach as many young people as possible.The underspend is as a result of the programme participation numbers falling below the target. DCMS works closely with NCS throughout the year providing a strong challenge against NCS’s full year financial forecasts.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure it meets the additional covid-19-related needs of disabled teachers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has published guidance to support schools to understand how the Equality Act affects them and to fulfil their duties under the Equality Act 2010, available to view here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/315587/Equality_Act_Advice_Final.pdf. The Department expects all schools to adhere to all aspects of employment and disability legislation.

The guidance sets out that schools as employers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments in relation to disability for their employees or potential employees. They must make reasonable adjustments to arrangements or practices to alleviate disadvantage. They must also take reasonable steps to provide any necessary auxiliary aids and services.

At each stage of the Department’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have listened to the latest medical and scientific advice. The Department has provided regularly updated guidance to support schools, colleges, and nurseries, with input from education leaders, unions, and sector bodies and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive. As the published guidance sets out, employers have a legal obligation to protect their employees from harm. The guidance is available is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance.

Schools, colleges, and nurseries should continue to follow the measures set out in the guidance. By assessing risk and implementing all measures, including ventilating occupied spaces and cleaning, schools will effectively manage risks and create an inherently safer environment.

All elements of the system of controls are essential in effectively minimising risks. The way different schools, colleges, and nurseries implement some of the requirements will differ based on their individual circumstances. PHE advises that the implementation of the system of controls based on a thorough risk assessment is a sufficient and appropriate way to reduce risk in schools, colleges, and nurseries.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the additional discretion available to schools by academisation, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that school funds are directed at teaching staff and the pupils in their care.

The Department’s priority is the delivery of world class education for all children from all backgrounds. The greater freedom and flexibility that academy trusts enjoy enables the strongest leaders to take responsibility for supporting more schools, developing great teachers and allowing schools to focus on what really matters – the high quality teaching of a broad and ambitious curriculum.

The 2020 Academies Financial Handbook states that the central responsibility for academy trusts is that they “must take full responsibility for their financial affairs, stewardship of assets and use resources efficiently to maximise outcomes for pupils”. Academy trusts work with parents and their local community to deliver on this responsibility. The new 2021 Academies Trust Handbook, also known as the Academies Financial Handbook, effective from 1 September 2021, reiterates the importance of involving parents in trust governance, helping to ensure that boards stay accessible and connected to the community they serve and support robust decision making. The 2021 Academies Trust Handbook is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/academies-financial-handbook/academy-trust-handbook-2021.

Academy trusts lead the way on accountability and transparency. They provide a significant amount of information to the public, setting out the trust and academy level expenditure. The Department also publishes individual academy allocation and expenditure data. This is easily accessible at individual academy level on the schools financial benchmarking website, which allows expenditure to be broken down by theme, including per pupil spend and proportion of expenditure on staff pay and resources. The schools financial benchmarking website is available here: https://schools-financial-benchmarking.service.gov.uk.

The Department operates an effective oversight programme that provides assurance to Parliament and the public. This is delivered through a range of assurance activity and wider intelligence gathering, including from independently audited financial information and educational performance data. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and Regional Schools Commissioners work together to build a joined-up picture of each school and academy trust. They take a risk-based approach to intervene proportionately on the rare occasions when needed.

The ESFA works with academy trusts to share good practice and provide support to help them build capacity and strengthen their financial and governance position. They also offer a school resource management adviser service. This is a free service providing hands-on support from experienced school professionals who work with schools to identify opportunities for improved spending decisions which will allow money to be reinvested back into critical areas of school activity.

Academy trusts are delivering very high standard of governance, educational and financial performance. The latest published data shows that 99.3% of academy trust accounts received unqualified opinions.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will commission research on employers’ behaviour with regards to providing reasonable adjustments for disabled teachers.

The Department has produced guidance for schools, entitled “The Equality Act 2010 and schools”, to help them understand how the Equality Act 2010 affects them and how to fulfil their duties. The guidance is available to view here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/315587/Equality_Act_Advice_Final.pdf.

The guidance sets out that, as employers, schools are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments in relation to disability for their employees or potential employees. They must make reasonable adjustments to arrangements or practices to alleviate disadvantage. They must also take reasonable steps to provide any necessary auxiliary aids and services.

The Department continues to look closely at teaching workforce data, such as through the school workforce census, to engage the sector and explore opportunities for further work in this area.


12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, from what date university students will be able to return to campus and resume in-person teaching.

Following the review into when the remaining higher education students can return to in-person teaching and learning, the government has announced that the remaining students should return to in-person teaching no earlier than 17 May 2021, alongside Step 3 of the roadmap. Students and institutions will be given at least a week’s notice of any further return in accordance with the timing of Step 3 of the roadmap.

The government roadmap is designed to maintain a cautious approach to the easing of restrictions to reduce public health risks and ensure that we can maintain progress towards full reopening. However, the government recognises the difficulties and disruption that this may cause for many students and their families and that is why the government is making a further £15 million of additional student hardship funding available for this academic year 2020/21. In total we have made an additional £85 million of funding available for student hardship.

We are supporting universities to provide regular twice weekly asymptomatic testing for all students and staff on-site and, from May, at home. This will help break chains of transmission of the virus.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending pupil premium funding to all children from families with no recourse to public funds.

Pupil premium eligibility is based on Ever6 free school meals (FSM), whereby pupils eligible for FSM at the time of the October census, or at any point in the previous 6 years, attract pupil premium funding in the following financial year.

The Department is working with other Government Departments to evaluate access to FSM for families with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) and are also considering pupil premium eligibility in that context.

FSM was extended to include certain NRPF groups on a temporary basis during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department will also extend pupil premium eligibility to these same groups for the 2021-22 financial year, with schools able to claim pupil premium funding for eligible pupils. We will provide further details on the claims process in due course.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people who have enrolled on a BTEC Performing Arts course in each of the last 10 years.

The attached file contains further education learning aim enrolments and learning aim achievements, split by learners aged 16 to 18, and 19 and over, along with the total, on BTEC courses in the performing arts from the 2010/11 to 2019/20 academic year.

The department publishes destinations of adult (19+) further education learners in the further education outcome-based success measures publication which can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/further-education-outcome-based-success-measures.

The latest data covers adult learners achieving their course in the 2017/18 academic year with destinations in 2018/19 academic year reported, whilst the earliest data represents learners achieving in 2013/14 academic year. Specifically, destination rates of adult learners on BTEC performing arts courses can be found here:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/25a2cc84-5b83-433c-9f01-f516093af57a.

Data on the destinations of learners reaching the end of 16-18 study based upon the learning aim taken is not held.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information his Department holds on the destinations of people who have successfully completed a BTEC Performing Arts course in each of the last 10 years.

The attached file contains further education learning aim enrolments and learning aim achievements, split by learners aged 16 to 18, and 19 and over, along with the total, on BTEC courses in the performing arts from the 2010/11 to 2019/20 academic year.

The department publishes destinations of adult (19+) further education learners in the further education outcome-based success measures publication which can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/further-education-outcome-based-success-measures.

The latest data covers adult learners achieving their course in the 2017/18 academic year with destinations in 2018/19 academic year reported, whilst the earliest data represents learners achieving in 2013/14 academic year. Specifically, destination rates of adult learners on BTEC performing arts courses can be found here:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/25a2cc84-5b83-433c-9f01-f516093af57a.

Data on the destinations of learners reaching the end of 16-18 study based upon the learning aim taken is not held.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many disabled pupils are being educated in mainstream schools in England; and whether his Department holds data on the (a) impairment, (b) age, (c) sex and (d) ethnic background of those pupils.

The information requested is not held centrally.

The department collects and publishes information on the numbers of children with special educational needs (SEN), which covers all types of SEN. Data can be broken down by type of school (including special), type of primary need, age, sex and ethnicity. The information is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england.

We do not collect data on which pupils have a disability. SEN is the main focus of our data collection and dissemination in relation to children and young people, as our policy is to focus efforts on the impact of conditions (some of which are disabilities) on the educational experience of the individual and how barriers to their learning and participation in education can be removed.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many disabled pupils are being educated in non-mainstream schools in England; and whether his Department holds data on the (a) impairment, (b) age, (c) sex and (d) ethnic background of those pupils.

The information requested is not held centrally.

The department collects and publishes information on the numbers of children with special educational needs (SEN), which covers all types of SEN. Data can be broken down by type of school (including special), type of primary need, age, sex and ethnicity. The information is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england.

We do not collect data on which pupils have a disability. SEN is the main focus of our data collection and dissemination in relation to children and young people, as our policy is to focus efforts on the impact of conditions (some of which are disabilities) on the educational experience of the individual and how barriers to their learning and participation in education can be removed.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what data his Department holds on the educational outcomes of disabled pupils leaving mainstream schools in England.

We do not collect data on which pupils have a disability. Special Educational Needs (SEN) is the main focus of our data collection and dissemination in relation to children and young people, as our policy is to focus efforts on the impact of conditions (some of which are disabilities) on the educational experience of the individual and how barriers to their learning and participation in education can be removed.

The department publishes data on attainment outcomes of pupils at the end of key stage 4 in state-funded schools. The national characteristics tables contain breakdowns by type of SEN which includes breakdowns for pupils with certain types of disability. This information is in the summary tables in the national characteristics tables: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/key-stage-4-performance-2019-revised.

The department publishes data on post key stage 4 destination outcomes of pupils leaving state-funded special schools and state-funded mainstream schools. The data contains additional breakdowns by type of SEN.

The latest statistical release can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/key-stage-4-destination-measures.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what data his Department holds on the educational outcomes of disabled pupils leaving non-mainstream schools in England.

We do not collect data on which pupils have a disability. Special Educational Needs (SEN) is the main focus of our data collection and dissemination in relation to children and young people, as our policy is to focus efforts on the impact of conditions (some of which are disabilities) on the educational experience of the individual and how barriers to their learning and participation in education can be removed.

The department publishes data on attainment outcomes of pupils at the end of key stage 4 in state-funded schools. The national characteristics tables contain breakdowns by type of SEN which includes breakdowns for pupils with certain types of disability. This information is in the summary tables in the national characteristics tables: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/key-stage-4-performance-2019-revised.

The department publishes data on post key stage 4 destination outcomes of pupils leaving state-funded special schools and state-funded mainstream schools. The data contains additional breakdowns by type of SEN.

The latest statistical release can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/key-stage-4-destination-measures.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what step his Department is taking to encourage the return of international students to UK universities.

The government has been clear that our world-leading universities, which thrive on being global institutions, will always be open to international students. Engaging closely with other government departments and the higher education sector, the department is working to reassure current and prospective international students that UK higher education is ‘open for business’, remains world-class and is a safe and tolerant place to study. This includes continued work with Study UK (the government’s international student recruitment campaign led by the British Council), support for the sector-led #WeAreTogether campaign and a package of bespoke communications that will directly target international students, making clear our world-leading UK offer.

I wrote an open letter to current international students in April, setting out a number of flexibilities, such as with visas, both the UK government as well as higher education providers were introducing to ensure international students could continue and/or resume their studies, as needed. Furthermore, on 22 June, with my counterparts in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, I wrote to prospective international students to outline the support and guidance that is available to those who are considering studying in the UK from this autumn. This letter reiterates a number of flexibilities that the government has already announced for international students including allowing the switching of visa categories within the UK; confirmation that distance/blended learning will be permitted for the 2020/21 academic year (provided that international students’ sponsors intend to transition to face-to-face learning as soon as circumstances allow); and, steps to further promote the new graduate route, which will be introduced from Summer 2021.

The graduate route will be simple and light-touch and it will permit graduates at undergraduate and masters level to remain in the UK for two years and PhD graduates to remain in the UK for three years after they have finished their studies in order to work, or look for work, at any skill level. On 16 June government confirmed that international students present in the UK before 6 April 2021 will be eligible for the graduate route if they meet the other requirements of the route when it is introduced. This represents a significant improvement in our offer to international students and will help ensure the UK higher education sector remains competitive internationally.

In addition, on Friday 5 June, the government announced Sir Steve Smith as the UK’s new International Education Champion. Sir Steve will assist with opening up export growth opportunities for the whole UK education sector, which will include attracting international students to UK Universities. Alongside Sir Steve’s appointment, our review of the International Education Strategy this autumn will respond to the new context and the challenges that are posed by COVID-19 across all education settings to ensure we can continue to welcome international students in the future.


Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether attendance will be compulsory for pupils who are eligible to return to school from 1 June 2020.

From the week commencing 1 June 2020, at the earliest, we will be asking primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups. We will only do this provided that the five key tests set by government justify the changes at the time.

Eligible children – including priority groups - are strongly encouraged to attend their education setting, unless they are self-isolating or they are clinically vulnerable. Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time and schools and colleges will not be held to account for attendance levels.

5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that disabled pupils in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools are able to access (i) home learning and (ii) educational support during the covid-19 outbreak.

The department is committed to ensuring that all pupils and students, including those who are disabled, are able to learn and access educational support during the COVID-19 outbreak. That is why we have asked educational settings to remain open for pupils and students with an education, health and care (EHC) plan where a risk assessment has determined that their individual needs can be better supported at their educational setting than at home.

For pupils and students who remain at home, while educational settings remain responsible for education provision, we have worked to help provide additional support to disabled pupils and students of all ages and needs.

We have published a list of high quality online educational resources to support home learning, including materials for children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND). This includes resources that are suitable for pupils and students with SEND of all ages, from early years to those in further and higher education settings. We will be publishing a second wave of home learning resources within the next few weeks. The initial list of resources can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-online-education-resources-for-home-education#special-educational-needs-and-disabilities-send.

In addition, to support the hard work of schools in delivering remote education for disabled pupils, the Oak National Academy launched its SEND Specialist Curriculum on 4 May. This is providing educational support to disabled children and young people with more profound needs who would normally receive their education in specialist settings. More details are available here:
https://www.thenational.academy/online-classroom/specialist/#subjects.

Furthermore, we have published detailed guidance for parents, teachers and schools on how to best provide educational support at home. This includes specific guidance for parents and carers of children and young people with SEND, which provides links to further specialist home learning resources for disabled pupils and students. Designed to cater to all needs and ages, these links include resources from the Early Years Alliance and TechAbility, a specialist organisation for students in mainstream and specialist further education colleges. More details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-children-with-send-continue-their-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The Office for Students has committed to protecting university students by working with providers to develop practical ways to maintain teaching quality and standards, and enable adequate exams and assessment, including for students who are disabled.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that disabled students in (a) further and (b) higher education are able to access (i) home learning and (ii) educational support during the covid-19 outbreak.

The department is committed to ensuring that all pupils and students, including those who are disabled, are able to learn and access educational support during the COVID-19 outbreak. That is why we have asked educational settings to remain open for pupils and students with an education, health and care (EHC) plan where a risk assessment has determined that their individual needs can be better supported at their educational setting than at home.

For pupils and students who remain at home, while educational settings remain responsible for education provision, we have worked to help provide additional support to disabled pupils and students of all ages and needs.

We have published a list of high quality online educational resources to support home learning, including materials for children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND). This includes resources that are suitable for pupils and students with SEND of all ages, from early years to those in further and higher education settings. We will be publishing a second wave of home learning resources within the next few weeks. The initial list of resources can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-online-education-resources-for-home-education#special-educational-needs-and-disabilities-send.

In addition, to support the hard work of schools in delivering remote education for disabled pupils, the Oak National Academy launched its SEND Specialist Curriculum on 4 May. This is providing educational support to disabled children and young people with more profound needs who would normally receive their education in specialist settings. More details are available here:
https://www.thenational.academy/online-classroom/specialist/#subjects.

Furthermore, we have published detailed guidance for parents, teachers and schools on how to best provide educational support at home. This includes specific guidance for parents and carers of children and young people with SEND, which provides links to further specialist home learning resources for disabled pupils and students. Designed to cater to all needs and ages, these links include resources from the Early Years Alliance and TechAbility, a specialist organisation for students in mainstream and specialist further education colleges. More details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-children-with-send-continue-their-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The Office for Students has committed to protecting university students by working with providers to develop practical ways to maintain teaching quality and standards, and enable adequate exams and assessment, including for students who are disabled.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the efficiency of companies issuing free school meals vouchers to families during the covid-19 outbreak.

As both my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

During this period, we are asking schools to support children eligible for free school meals by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children and we encourage this approach where it is possible.

However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

We are monitoring the use of the national voucher scheme on a daily basis. As of 28 April, Edenred has indicated that over 16,500 schools have placed orders for codes under this scheme. Edenred has reported that over £65 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Monday 11 May.

We are working tirelessly with Edenred to resolve any outstanding technical problems. We are very grateful to families and schools for their understanding and patience while we upgrade this service to meet increased demand.

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending the contract for provision of free school meal vouchers to EdTech companies.

As both my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

We are encouraging schools to use existing catering arrangements to provide meals or food parcels to pupils who are eligible for free school meals while they are staying at home. Where this is not possible, the Department for Education has developed a centrally funded national voucher scheme as an alternative to support schools with this process.

Schools are best placed to determine what is most appropriate locally and are free to make their own arrangements outside the national voucher scheme. We understand that some approaches, such as providing food parcels or purchasing vouchers for shops currently not included in the national scheme, may mean that schools incur additional expenses. Guidance is available setting out how we will compensate schools who incur these additional costs in providing free school meals or vouchers to pupils affected by coronavirus:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government plans to take steps to ensure that parents whose children are not able to attend nurseries during the covid-19 outbreak are not required to pay fees to maintain those nurseries in business.

We are working hard to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on all parts of our society, including individuals and business. Childcare providers will have individual agreements with parents and therefore we urge all childcare providers to be reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents, given the great uncertainty they will be facing too.

Guidance for early years settings, including the support available to them, can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

Further guidance on funding and financial support available for education, childcare and children’s social care organisations can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Answer of 30 October 2019 to Question 3668 on Schools: Buildings, when his Department plans to issue guidance to schools on the use of their premises for community use.

The Department intends to publish guidance on income generation later this year.

The Department is developing this resource, which will include advice on how schools can use their premises for the community and set out other types of income generation such as letting out premises, working with local businesses, selling goods and services, and applying for grants.

The Department’s aim is to inform schools in their ability to generate income and help them build strong community links at the same time.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of pupils eligible to receive pupil premium funding in (a) Lewisham Deptford, (b) London Borough of Lewisham, (c) London and (d) England.

The pupil premium is additional funding that state-funded schools in England receive to help improve the attainment and wider outcomes of pupils from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds; and also of looked after and previously looked after children.

Schools are allocated deprivation pupil premium funding based on the number of pupils on roll at the time of the January school census who have been registered for benefits-based free school meals (FSM) at any point in the last six years (known as Ever6 FSM). Schools also receive pupil premium funding at a higher rate (known as pupil premium plus) for pupils who have left local authority care in England and Wales through adoption, a special guardianship order, a child arrangements order or a residence order. Pupils who are in local authority care for one day or more also attract pupil premium plus funding; this is paid to the local authority and managed by the Virtual School Head.

The Department publishes information annually showing the number of pupils at school, local authority, Parliamentary constituency and national levels who attract the pupil premium to the schools they attend – this is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2019-to-2020.

The Department does not routinely monitor or publish statistics on the number of pupils who would be eligible for the deprivation pupil premium through having a parent in receipt of benefits that meet the qualifying criteria for FSM, but who do not attract this funding to the schools they attend because they are not registered for FSM.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of pupils claiming pupil premium funding in (a) Lewisham Deptford, (b) London Borough of Lewisham, (c) London and (d) England.

The pupil premium is additional funding that state-funded schools in England receive to help improve the attainment and wider outcomes of pupils from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds; and also of looked after and previously looked after children.

Schools are allocated deprivation pupil premium funding based on the number of pupils on roll at the time of the January school census who have been registered for benefits-based free school meals (FSM) at any point in the last six years (known as Ever6 FSM). Schools also receive pupil premium funding at a higher rate (known as pupil premium plus) for pupils who have left local authority care in England and Wales through adoption, a special guardianship order, a child arrangements order or a residence order. Pupils who are in local authority care for one day or more also attract pupil premium plus funding; this is paid to the local authority and managed by the Virtual School Head.

The Department publishes information annually showing the number of pupils at school, local authority, Parliamentary constituency and national levels who attract the pupil premium to the schools they attend – this is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2019-to-2020.

The Department does not routinely monitor or publish statistics on the number of pupils who would be eligible for the deprivation pupil premium through having a parent in receipt of benefits that meet the qualifying criteria for FSM, but who do not attract this funding to the schools they attend because they are not registered for FSM.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support pupils with endometriosis.

The Department wants to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe. We want to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society. From September, we are making relationships education compulsory for all primary pupils, relationships and sex education compulsory for all secondary pupils and health education compulsory for all pupils in state-funded schools.

The statutory guidance sets out that as part of health education, primary and secondary pupils should be taught about menstrual wellbeing including key facts about the menstrual cycle. Schools have the flexibility to design the content of their curriculum in an age appropriate way to support their cohort of pupils. To help schools design their curriculum, we have signposted them to expert advice from Public Health England on reproductive health. This advice covers data, key facts and women’s experiences from menstruation to menopause. The statutory guidance can be accessed via the following link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/805781/Relationships_Education__Relationships_and_Sex_Education__RSE__and_Health_Education.pdf.

The Government is also fully funding access to free period products in schools and colleges across England, for pupils who need them. The new scheme gives young people easy access to period products at school or college, breaking down stigma and ensuring that no young person’s education is disrupted by their period.

This scheme is part of a wider programme of work, led by the cross-sector Period Poverty taskforce, with the vision to eliminate period poverty and shame around menstruation in the UK by 2025.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the national funding formula for schools on levels of socio-economic inequality in (a) Lewisham, Deptford constituency, (b) London and (c) England.

The National Funding Formula (NFF) commits extra funding for pupils with additional needs, based on levels of deprivation, low prior attainment, English as an additional language and mobility. Evidence shows that pupils with these characteristics are more likely to fall behind, and need extra support to reach their full potential. In 2020-21, £6.3 billion will be allocated in the NFF for 5-16 year olds with additional needs in England. Areas with high levels of additional needs will attract more funding, and as a result, both the Lewisham, Deptford constituency and the wider region of London will receive higher than average per pupil funding. Next year, primary and secondary schools in Lewisham, Deptford will attract, on average, £5,381 and £7,086 per pupil respectively. Across all of London, primary and secondary schools will attract, on average, £4,827 and £6,370 per pupil respectively. In both cases, this is above the national average of £4,352 for primary schools and of £5,578 for secondary schools.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made on implementing the steps outlined in the Government's response to the Timpson Review of School Exclusion, published in May 2019.

The Government is taking forward an ambitious programme of action on behaviour, exclusion and alternative provision (AP). This will respect head teachers’ powers to use exclusion, enable schools to support children at risk of exclusion, and ensure that excluded children continue to receive a good education. The Department will expand AP and improve the quality of the sector so that pupils in AP receive the support and education they need to help them overcome the challenges they are facing, and to prepare them for the next stage of their lives.

Further information on the timeframes for this work will be provided in due course.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many convictions there have been for in-person voter fraud in (a) the London Borough of Lewisham, (b) London and (c) the UK in each of the last five years.

The Commission has collected and published information about allegations of electoral fraud from the police since 2008.

The Commission’s data shows that between 2014 and 2018 there were no convictions of in-person voter fraud in the London Borough of Lewisham. There was one conviction in the Waltham Forest constituency at the 2017 UK Parliamentary General Election. In total there have been two convictions in the UK for in-person voter fraud during the period specified; these occurred in Waltham Forest (as noted above) and in East Ayrshire at the 2016 EU Referendum.

The Commission will publish information about allegations of electoral fraud during 2019 in spring 2020.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the average per-hour cost of childcare (a) in a nursery and (b) with a childminder in (i) Lewisham, Deptford constituency, (ii) London and (iii) the UK in each of the last five years.

The Government published data on the cost of delivering childcare in England for 2015 and 2018. The average hourly costs of delivery are shown in the attached table (with the respective publications from which the data is sourced).

The Government also published data on the cost of delivery childcare in London, by all provider types, for 2015 and 2018. The average hourly costs of delivery are shown in the attached table (with the respective publications from which the data is sourced).

Average hourly costs in both tables are based on different collection methodologies and from different sources, so comparability is limited.

The Government does not hold such data relating specifically to the Lewisham Deptford constituency or the UK, nor does it hold this data relating to 2016 and 2017.

20th Jan 2020
What recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of local authority funding for children’s services.

The Government is providing councils with an additional £1 billion for adults’ and children’s social care in every year of this Parliament. This is on top of the continuation of the £410 million social care grant in 2020-21. This will support local authorities to meet rising demand.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on the ability of individuals accompanied by an assistance animal to travel to the EU from 1 January 2021 of the UK being listed in Part 1 of Annex II to EU Regulation (EU) No 577/2013.

Defra is proactively and positively engaging with the assistance dog community and relevant stakeholders on the impacts on dog movements to the EU after the end of the transition period. We will continue to closely work with assistance dog organisations to share the latest advice and guidance (in accessible formats) with their members on pet travel requirements.

The EU Commission has now responded to clarify its decision on listing the UK as a third country under Annex II of the EU Pet Travel Regulations.

On 3 December 2020 the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed of the EU voted in favour of giving the UK Part 2 listed status for the purposes of non-commercial pet travel after the transition period. This listed status will be formally adopted by the EU in due course.

Part 2 listed status means similar health requirements to travel to the EU as now, but new documentation will be required for pets and assistance dogs.

We are disappointed not to become a Part 1 listed third country. We are clear we meet all the requirements for this and have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity. Our disease risk will also not change after the transition period and so we will continue to press the EU Commission on securing Part 1 listed status.

There will be no changes to the current pet travel health requirements for entry into Great Britain and we will continue to accept EU pet passports. We intend to publish further guidance shortly on what this development means for travellers, on GOV.UK.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Oct 2020
What discussions she has had with UK trade partners on maintaining environmental protection standards in trade agreements.

HM Government is committed to meeting its ambitious environmental objectives, as we demonstrated last year by becoming the first major country to enshrine our Net Zero commitment into legislation.

We're?exploring?environmental provisions?in the design of our Free Trade Agreements to secure Britain’s high environmental standards.?Of course, the precise details of free trade agreements are a matter for?the?formal?negotiations. We will lay the full treaty text before Parliament at the end of the negotiations to enable proper scrutiny.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much printed material has been distributed to public transport providers operating in (a) the UK, (b) London and (c) Lewisham constituency in relation to the requirement to wear face coverings on public transport.

The Department for Transport has created over 300 public information resources related to Covid-19. Many incorporate the message that passengers must wear face coverings on public transport and at indoor transport hubs.

There are a range of face covering materials, many of which include exemptions for age, health or disability reasons as well as consequences for those who are not exempt and do not comply. The department has not printed any of these materials itself, instead we have ensured that transport operators, local authorities and partners across England have had access to these materials allowing them to download, print and display these messages as appropriate.

Our materials have been downloaded over 3,700 times and sent to over 250 stakeholders since face coverings became mandatory. We also shared the materials on the department’s social media channels and amplified supporting content from stakeholders. We have worked with Cabinet Office and secured 6,700 digital displays for face coverings at bus stops and rail stations in England.

We do not have specific data for London or Lewisham. The London Borough of Lewisham and TfL are responsible for transport in Lewisham constituency and have access to DfT’s online resources.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what printed material his Department has produced to advise passengers that they must wear a face covering on public transport.

The Department for Transport has created over 300 public information resources related to Covid-19. Many incorporate the message that passengers must wear face coverings on public transport and at indoor transport hubs. There are a range of face covering materials, many of which include exemptions for age, health or disability reasons as well as consequences for those who are not exempt and do not comply. The department has not printed any of these materials itself, instead we have ensured that transport operators, local authorities and partners across England have had access to these resources allowing them to download, print and display these messages as appropriate. Our materials have been downloaded over 3,700 times and sent to over 250 stakeholders since face coverings became mandatory. We also shared the materials on the department’s social media channels and amplified supporting content from stakeholders. We have worked with Cabinet Office and secured 6,700 digital displays for face coverings at bus stops and rail stations in England.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve accessibility for disabled people using the rail network.

The Access for All Programme has been extended across CP6 with an additional £350m of funding, making a total of £383m available to the programme up until 2024. This will deliver more than 100 accessible step free routes and smaller scale access improvements at another 124 stations.

This is in addition to access improvements delivered by major projects such as Crossrail and HS2 or when the industry installs, replaces or renews station infrastructure.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has received on extending the validity period for Disabled Persons Railcard holders to compensate them for lack of access to rail services during the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he is taking to ensure that the Rail Delivery Group tackles that issue.

The Disabled Persons Railcard is sold and managed by the Rail Delivery Group on behalf on the rail industry. Therefore, any proposals for amending existing Railcard policies are for the Rail Delivery Group to bring forward.

The Rail Delivery Group is working with train companies on a number of ways to assist Railcard holders, in light of the current COVID-19 related travel restrictions.

Departmental officials have been engaging regularly with the Rail Delivery Group as it considers possible changes to Railcard conditions.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 9 July 2020 on Health Transformation Programme update (HCWS353), who is currently undertaking benefit eligibility assessments for disabled and seriously people conducted as part of the Health Transformation Programme; whether there is a longer-term contract for that work; and if she will make a statement.

The DWP Health Transformation Programme has begun work to procure assessment services for the period 2023-28, having extended the current contracts to ensure continuity of service in response to the impact of Covid-19. The Invitation to Tender is set to be issued later this month. New contracts will bring together current Health and Disability Assessment Services and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments under single geographic contracts. These will form a building block for our new Health Assessment Service.

Separately, the Programme is integrating the services that deliver PIP and Work Capability Assessments into the new Health Assessment Service. This is being developed in a small, safe and controlled environment known as the Health Transformation Area (HTA), previously the Departmental Transformation Area. Currently, the Healthcare Professionals working in the HTA are employed by Advanced Personnel Management Group (UK) Limited, under a contract with DWP. These resources are managed by DWP. As part of our future strategy for the HTA, we intend to recruit Healthcare Professionals and for them to be employed by DWP.

Starting on a small scale, we are iterating our processes based on experience and building an evidence base to support roll out decisions on a greater scale, and ultimately nationally. The service has begun operating in a small defined part of the country and all claimants of PIP, Employment Support Allowance (ESA)/Universal Credit living within the small number of selected postcodes are included in the HTA; no additional selection criteria apply.

As part of this new service, we are developing and refining our data collection methods, so that we can accurately capture, analyse, and report the most useful metrics. In the North London (Tresco House) Transformation Area we have 71 ESA claimants, 810 Universal Credit claimants and 1422 PIP claimants currently being supported by our services.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 9 July 2020 on Health Transformation Programme update (HCWS353), what criteria is used for selecting someone to take part in the Health Transformation Programme in addition to an eligible postcode.

The DWP Health Transformation Programme has begun work to procure assessment services for the period 2023-28, having extended the current contracts to ensure continuity of service in response to the impact of Covid-19. The Invitation to Tender is set to be issued later this month. New contracts will bring together current Health and Disability Assessment Services and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments under single geographic contracts. These will form a building block for our new Health Assessment Service.

Separately, the Programme is integrating the services that deliver PIP and Work Capability Assessments into the new Health Assessment Service. This is being developed in a small, safe and controlled environment known as the Health Transformation Area (HTA), previously the Departmental Transformation Area. Currently, the Healthcare Professionals working in the HTA are employed by Advanced Personnel Management Group (UK) Limited, under a contract with DWP. These resources are managed by DWP. As part of our future strategy for the HTA, we intend to recruit Healthcare Professionals and for them to be employed by DWP.

Starting on a small scale, we are iterating our processes based on experience and building an evidence base to support roll out decisions on a greater scale, and ultimately nationally. The service has begun operating in a small defined part of the country and all claimants of PIP, Employment Support Allowance (ESA)/Universal Credit living within the small number of selected postcodes are included in the HTA; no additional selection criteria apply.

As part of this new service, we are developing and refining our data collection methods, so that we can accurately capture, analyse, and report the most useful metrics. In the North London (Tresco House) Transformation Area we have 71 ESA claimants, 810 Universal Credit claimants and 1422 PIP claimants currently being supported by our services.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 9 July 2020 on Health Transformation Programme update (HCWS353), how many people have been selected to take part in the north London Health Transformation Programme since that programme was introduced in April 2021.

The DWP Health Transformation Programme has begun work to procure assessment services for the period 2023-28, having extended the current contracts to ensure continuity of service in response to the impact of Covid-19. The Invitation to Tender is set to be issued later this month. New contracts will bring together current Health and Disability Assessment Services and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments under single geographic contracts. These will form a building block for our new Health Assessment Service.

Separately, the Programme is integrating the services that deliver PIP and Work Capability Assessments into the new Health Assessment Service. This is being developed in a small, safe and controlled environment known as the Health Transformation Area (HTA), previously the Departmental Transformation Area. Currently, the Healthcare Professionals working in the HTA are employed by Advanced Personnel Management Group (UK) Limited, under a contract with DWP. These resources are managed by DWP. As part of our future strategy for the HTA, we intend to recruit Healthcare Professionals and for them to be employed by DWP.

Starting on a small scale, we are iterating our processes based on experience and building an evidence base to support roll out decisions on a greater scale, and ultimately nationally. The service has begun operating in a small defined part of the country and all claimants of PIP, Employment Support Allowance (ESA)/Universal Credit living within the small number of selected postcodes are included in the HTA; no additional selection criteria apply.

As part of this new service, we are developing and refining our data collection methods, so that we can accurately capture, analyse, and report the most useful metrics. In the North London (Tresco House) Transformation Area we have 71 ESA claimants, 810 Universal Credit claimants and 1422 PIP claimants currently being supported by our services.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Shaping future support: the health and disability green paper, published on 20 July 2021, if she will take steps to introduce audio recording of disability benefit assessments by default with an option for applicants to opt out.

Currently claimants can request an audio recording in advance of their benefit assessment.

The consultation period for the Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper ended on 11 October 2021. We are currently considering responses, including in relation to the audio recording of assessments. We intend to publish a White Paper in mid-2022.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will remove the three-year award duration for benefits claims made under the special rules for terminal illness.

For the majority of cases made under the SRTI, people are given three year awards. This approach was based on a recommendation from an expert advisory group, initially for DLA, but later adopted in other benefits. The three year awards given to SRTI claims strikes a balance that recognises making a prognosis is not an exact science and that people who do live longer than expected should continue to receive the support provided to them by benefit system, while also enabling those who live for much longer than expected, to be looked at afresh in light of their circumstances as they come towards the end of their award.

As part of the Health and Disability Green Paper consultation, we are consulting on reform of assessments and seeking views on policy proposals, including the principle of receiving unnecessary assessments and reviews. Following the consultation, detailed proposals will then be brought forward in a White Paper next year.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the National Disability Strategy, published in July 2021, what steps she is taking to increase the awareness of Access to Work among disabled employees.

We are taking a range of steps to continue to raise awareness of Access to Work among people with a disability or long-term health condition.

We regularly promote the scheme through the Department’s social media channels, signposting people to the Access to Work pages on the JobHelp website and on gov.uk.

We are also ensuring advisers who work with potential customers, including Jobcentre Plus, health professionals and advisory groups, have the information and tools to act as advocates for the scheme.

In addition, we are continuing to work with stakeholders, partners and employer associations to raise awareness of Access to Work through communications to their customers, and we have produced a communications toolkit to help them raise awareness.

We are continuing to promote Access to Work to employers as part of the Disability Confident scheme.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to review the future of statutory sick pay.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provides a minimum level of income for employees when they are sick or incapable of work. Employers are legally required to pay SSP to eligible employees who are off work sick or incapable of work, where employees meet the qualifying conditions. Some employers may also decide to pay more, and for longer, through Occupational Sick Pay.

The government has previously consulted on reform to SSP. The consultation posed several important questions on the future of SSP which require further consideration and as we learn to live with a new virus there is space to take a broader look at the role of SSP. The government maintains that SSP provides an important link between the employee and employer but that now is not the right time to introduce changes to the sick pay system.

SSP is just one part of our welfare safety net and our wider government offer to support people in times of need. Where an individual’s income is reduced while off work sick and they require further financial support, they may be able to claim Universal Credit and new style Employment and Support Allowance, depending on their personal circumstances.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the National Disability Strategy, published in July 2021, what the timescales are for the (a) creation of Access to Work Passports and (b) expected completion date of the Scheme; and what steps her Department is taking to ensure that disabled people are aware of Access to Work Passports and how they can benefit from them.

To support transitions into work and between jobs, Access to Work has been working with stakeholders to develop an Adjustments Passport. Later this year we will run a series of pilots for those transitioning from education into work and service leavers leaving the armed forces. These pilots will enable us to gain an understanding of the passport’s effectiveness in supporting transitions and raising awareness of in-work support.

The Adjustments passport is already being tested with Access to Work customers who take up freelance and contractor opportunities and with 400 young job seekers in the Health Model Offices since May 2021.

Once fully evaluated we will consider making the passport more widely available during 2022. To raise awareness of the pilots we will promote the passport pilots through social media channels and our stakeholder forums.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department plans to launch a consultation on workforce reporting on disability for large employers.

As set out in the National Disability Strategy, published on 28 July, the Cabinet Office will consult later this year on workforce reporting on disability for large employers, exploring voluntary and mandated workplace transparency, before publishing next steps.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to ensure a wide range of disabled people and their families are involved in the Extra Costs Taskforce; and if he plans to work with disability charities and organisations to ensure as many experiences as possible are included.

As set out in the National Disability Strategy, published on 28 July, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Cabinet Office will set up an Extra Costs Taskforce, bringing together disabled people, regulators and businesses, to better understand the extra costs faced by disabled people, including how this breaks down for different impairments – by summer 2022.

Officials are currently developing proposals for the taskforce and its terms of reference and membership. Insight from disabled people and organisations will inform the development of the Taskforce.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress has been made by her Department on setting up an Extra Costs Taskforce.

As set out in the National Disability Strategy, published on 28 July, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Cabinet Office will set up an Extra Costs Taskforce, bringing together disabled people, regulators and businesses, to better understand the extra costs faced by disabled people, including how this breaks down for different impairments – by summer 2022.

Officials are currently developing proposals for the taskforce and its terms of reference and membership. Insight from disabled people and organisations will inform the development of the Taskforce.

22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many breaches of the General Data Protection Regulation involving the personal information of claimants were registered by her Department with the Information Commissioner's Office in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

The Department has registered the following breaches of the General Data Protection Regulation involving the personal information of claimants to the Information Commissioner's Office.

01/01/2019 – 31/12/2019

15

01/01/2020 – 31/12/2020

28

01/01/2021 – 23/07/2021

04

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what records are held by her Department of breaches of the General Data Protection Regulation which involved the personal information from claimants in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

The following table details the number of General Data Protection Regulation breaches involving customer information which were referred to the Data Protection Team.

2019

130

2020

419

2021 (up to and including 27 July)

232

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department records instances of a claimant's personal information being sent to the wrong address as a breach of the General Data Protection Regulation.

All instances of claimant’s personal information being sent to the wrong address are recorded as breaches of the General Data Protection Regulations.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 18 May 2021 to Question 367 on Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations, what further progress her Department has made in its discussions with representatives of (a) the Independent Assessment Service and (b) Capita on finding a suitable method of audio recording face-to-face assessments; and when those discussions will conclude.

The Department continues to work closely with both IAS and Capita to deliver an audio recording service for face to face assessments that removes the requirement for the Claimant to provide the equipment. Arrangements are being finalised and we hope to have this in place as soon as practicably possible.

7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 8 February 2021 to Question 143815 on Kickstart Scheme: Disability, what progress her Department has made towards tracking the success of the Kickstart scheme among young people who have a disability or health condition; and whether her Department holds data on (a) how many and (b) what proportion of Kickstart candidates (i) are disabled and (ii) have a health condition.

I refer the honourable member to the answer given for PQ 6284.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 11 May 2021 to Question 368 on Occupational Health, what further progress her Department has made towards publishing (a) in full the survey entitled, Sickness absence and health in the workplace: understanding employer behaviour and practice employers relating to workplace health following the publication of the interim report of that title in June 2019 and (b) her Department's response to the consultation entitled Health is everyone's business.

The government remains committed to supporting disabled people and those with health conditions to thrive at work. Further to our response to Question 368, we continue to work with stakeholders to develop the proposals set out in the Health is Everyone’s Business consultation. The forthcoming government response to the consultation draws

on evidence in the ‘Sickness absence and health in the workplace’ report. It is therefore our intention for the research report to be published alongside the consultation response which we anticipate will be published shortly.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many personal independent payment cases have been suspended by her Department in the last 12 months as a result of claimants being in hospital for more than 28 days.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Seventh Report of the Work and Pensions Committee of Session 2017–19 entitled PIP and ESA assessments published on 14 February 2018, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that contractors incorporate specific training on companions into their standard assessor training.

Companions play a crucial role in obtaining accurate information on how a claimant’s disability or health condition affects their day to day life.

The Personal Independence Payment Assessment Guide (PIPAG) and the Work Capability Assessments (WCA) Handbook provide comprehensive guidance for Health Professionals (HPs) on how to carry out assessments, including specific guidance on the role of companions. Please see links below to the PIPAG and WCA Handbook:

PIP guidance can be found on: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-assessment-guide-for-assessment-providers

ESA guidance can be found on: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/work-capability-assessment-handbook-for-healthcare-professionals

Assessment providers incorporate this guidance into their standard HP training programmes. The role of companions is addressed throughout HP training and learning is consolidated with practical case examples.

1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the recommendation of the Seventh Report of the Work and Pensions Committee of Session 2017–19 entitled PIP and ESA assessments published on 14 February 2018, whether her Department has produced detailed guidance on the role of companions, including case studies demonstrating when and how to use their evidence.

Companions play a crucial role in obtaining accurate information on how a claimant’s disability or health condition affects their day to day life.

The Personal Independence Payment Assessment Guide (PIPAG) and the Work Capability Assessments (WCA) Handbook provide comprehensive guidance for Health Professionals (HPs) on how to carry out assessments, including specific guidance on the role of companions. Please see links below to the PIPAG and WCA Handbook:

PIP guidance can be found on: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-assessment-guide-for-assessment-providers

ESA guidance can be found on: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/work-capability-assessment-handbook-for-healthcare-professionals

Assessment providers incorporate this guidance into their standard HP training programmes. The role of companions is addressed throughout HP training and learning is consolidated with practical case examples.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average time taken is to send a copy of the assessor's report and initial decision to claimants following an assessment for (a) employment support allowance, (b) universal credit and (c) personal independence payment.

We don’t routinely send a copy of the AP report to a customer, instead we send a decision letter advising whether the customer will receive PIP, which components and at which rate. According to published Official Statistics for PIP, the time between the AP reporting to DWP and the DWP decision can vary during the year due to demand, but currently it takes on average 2 weeks for a new claims customer to receive a decision after assessment and on average 3 weeks for a re-assessment decision (median values in April 2021). There may be a delay between the assessment being carried out and the AP reporting to DWP, but the actual assessment date is not collected on DWP analytical data sets.

If a customer does wish to receive a copy of their AP report then they can do so by contacting the DWP and requesting this.

Data on the average time between return of the Assessment Provider’s recommendation to DWP and the date of the DWP decision is published in table 2A (column F) of the following published statistical tables:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/993434/tables-pip-statistics-to-april-2021.xlsx

Statistics on Employment and Support Allowance Work Capability Assessments outcomes are published quarterly here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/employment-and-support-allowance-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessment

Statistics on Work Capability Assessments for Universal Credit are currently under development for future publication and have not previously been published as official statistics. We will issue them in due course as an official statistics release in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. Whilst the initial statistics will not have median clearance times these will be developed for publication in due course.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Seventh Report of the Work and Pensions Committee, PIP and ESA assessments, Session 2017–19, HC 829, published on 14 February 2018, whether her Department implemented the recommendation in that report to commission and publish independent research on the impact of application and assessment for PIP and ESA on claimant health.

The Department did implement this Work and Pensions Committee recommendation and has commissioned independent research to understand claimants’ experience of completing the PIP and ESA questionnaires to identify improvements. It will be published alongside the forthcoming Health and Disability Green Paper.

29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many assessments for (a) personal independence payment, (b) universal credit and (c) employment support allowance her Department has carried out by video call since March 2020.

From November 2020 to date, 930 Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments and 760 Work Capability Assessments (WCA) have been carried out by video call. We are unable to break down the WCAs into Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance.

Video assessments were introduced, along with telephone assessments, as part of the Covid-19 response, however video assessments are still in the trial stage. The experience and feedback from the trial will inform wider roll out and initially participation in video assessments will be limited, and by invitation only. Video assessments, where appropriate, have taken place alongside telephone and paper based assessments, which have been carried out successfully throughout the pandemic. In addition, face to face assessments resumed in May.

*All volumes have been rounded to the nearest 10.

All of the above data is derived from management information produced by the Assessment Providers.

Please note: the above data is derived from unpublished management information which is collected for internal Departmental use only and has not been quality assured to Official Statistics Publication standards.

29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of assessments for (a) personal independence payment, (b) universal credit and (c) employment support allowance were carried out by video call in each of the last three months.

We are currently exploring alternative ways of conducting health assessments as part of the Covid-19 response, and this includes a trial of video assessments.

Stage one of the video trial for Work Capability Assessment (WCA), which includes assessments for Universal Credit (UC) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), was completed in March 2021 and the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) trial is still ongoing. The experience and feedback from the trials will inform wider roll out and initially participation in video assessments will be limited and by invitation only.

Video assessments, where appropriate, have taken place alongside telephone and paper based assessments, which have been carried out successfully throughout the pandemic. In addition, face to face assessments resumed in May.

PIP

Month

Proportion of video assessments undertaken

March 2021

0.09%

April 2021

0.29%

May 2021

0.43%

WCA (including UC & ESA)

Month

Proportion of video assessments undertaken

March 2021

0.26%

April 2021

0.00%

May 2021

0.00%

All volumes have been rounded to the nearest 10.

All of the above data is derived from management information produced by the assessment providers.

Please note: the above data is derived from unpublished management information which is collected for internal departmental use only and has not been quality assured to Official Statistics Publication standards.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the costs her Department has incurred as a result of the judicial review proceedings on its decision not to extend the £20 uplift to legacy benefit claimants.

We do not comment on specific legal matters including costs of litigation.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the final National Strategy for Disabled People will include a focus on the potential effect of backlogs in care and treatment caused by the covid-19 outbreak on the number of years people with long term conditions have had to live with a disability.

The National Disability Strategy will be published in the shortly. The strategy will take into account the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled people and will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects of life.

Separately, and ahead of the strategy’s publication, the Department for Health and Social Care has already taken comprehensive action to address potential backlogs in care and treatment.

In April 2021, NHS staff completed 1.8m diagnostic tests and began treatment for 1.1m patients, against the backdrop of caring for 400,000 seriously ill COVID-19 patients in hospital since the pandemic began.

The 2020/21 Spending Review provided £1 billion to help tackle the elective backlog and support hospitals to cut long waits for treatment, systems are asked to deliver activity levels above set thresholds in order to access this additional funding as Elective Recovery Funding (ERF).

On 13 May 2021, NHS England launched a £160 million initiative to tackle growing waiting lists. A network of "accelerator" areas has been established to pilot new initiatives, including extra clinics at weekends, virtual assessments at home and new clinics that can complete high numbers of cataract operations.

During the pandemic, £450 million was provided to expand and upgrade A&E departments to reduce overcrowding and improve infection control so we can continue to treat both Covid and non-Covid patients safely.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 24 February 2021 to Question 155228 on Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations, whether the first test site in the Departmental Transformation Area went ahead in April 2021 as planned.

The first site in the Departmental Transformation Area went live on 21 April 2021 as planned.

15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2021 to Question 11597 on Disability: Public Consultation, whether the full details of the independent research commissioned by her Department to understand the needs of disabled people to live independent lives and how health and disability benefits can better support them will be published separately.

The Department commissions independent research with disability benefit claimants on an ongoing basis. The forthcoming Health and Disability Support Green Paper, will explore proposals to improve the health and disability benefit system in the short and long-term, which are grounded in research evidence, data analysis and consultation.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Social Security Advisory Committee’s Occasional Paper 25 of December 2020 entitled How DWP involves disabled people when developing or evaluating programmes that affect them, if she will implement Recommendation 3 of that Paper that recommends that her Department should recruit a large-scale panel of disabled people with experience of social security that it can consult regularly, and draw from, to work on detailed projects.

I am grateful to the Committee for their report and pleased to see that our sustained efforts to engage with disabled people have been recognised. We are planning to respond to the Committee in the coming weeks.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the (a) Answer of 26 March 2021 on Disability: Public Consultation and (b) Social Security Advisory Committee’s Occasional Paper 25 of December 2020 entitled How DWP involves disabled people when developing or evaluating programmes that affect them, if she will implement the primary recommendation of that Paper which recommends that her Department should develop a clear protocol for engagement with disabled people, which should be co-produced and applied consistently and comprehensively and cover both national and local engagement, and policy design and operational development and evaluation.

I am grateful to the Committee for their report and pleased to see that our sustained efforts to engage with disabled people have been recognised. We are planning to respond to the Committee in the coming weeks.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her predecessor's Written Statement of 5 March 2019, Health and Disability Announcement, HCWS1376, if she will publish the independent research commissioned by her Department to understand the needs of disabled people to live independent lives and how health and disability benefits can better support them.

The Department commissions independent research with disability benefit claimants on an ongoing basis. The forthcoming Health and Disability Support Green Paper, will explore proposals to improve the health and disability benefit system in the short and long-term, which are grounded in research evidence, data analysis and consultation.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 17 May 2021 to Question 812 on Social Security Benefits: Disability and with reference to her predecessor's speech to Scope on 5 March 2019, whether her Department plans to include proposals on reforming the assessment processes for employment support allowance and personal independence payment in its forthcoming Green Paper on Disability Benefits.

The upcoming Green Paper on health and disability will explore how the welfare system can better meet the needs of disabled people and people with health conditions now and in the future. As part of this, we plan to seek views on how to improve assessments both in the short and longer term. This will cover the Work Capability Assessment for Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit as well as the Personal Independence Payment assessment.

25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what additional support the Government will provide to disabled people to support them to recover from the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.We are ensuring that disabled people continue to have access to employment support, disability benefits, financial support, as well as accessible communications and updated guidance.

We are actively working on policies to prevent health related job losses, and provide specific employment support for disabled people out of work. We are helping disabled people stay in work and enter work through initiatives like Access to Work and Disability Confident and employment programmes like the Work and Health Programme, and Intensive Personalised Employment Support.

25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans the Government has to measure the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on disabled people.

The Disability Unit is working with the Office for National Statistics to improve our understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people.

The impact of COVID-19 on disabled people, and those with health conditions, continues to be monitored across Government using a range of sources including regular engagement with disabled people and disability stakeholders to ensure the needs of disabled people are considered in the Government’s response to COVID-19.

We are learning as much as we can, as quickly as we can about this virus, who it affects and how best to keep everyone safe from it and protect those who may be more vulnerable than others.

24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 18 May 2021 to Question 1170 on Social Security Benefits, what her Department's rationale is for not undertaking an assessment of the adequacy of financial support provided to people who have moved from (a) severe disability premium and (b) other legacy benefits to universal credit; and if her Department will undertake such an assessment in order to better understand whether that financial support is adequate.

There is no objective way of deciding what an adequate level of benefit should be as everyone has different requirements. Income related benefit rates are not made up of separate amounts for specific items of expenditure such as food or fuel charges. There are no plans to undertake such an assessment.

The Government has given a commitment that no eligible claimant who has had no change of circumstances and who claims Universal Credit as part of the move to Universal Credit process will have a lower entitlement to Universal Credit than they had to their total legacy benefits at the point they claim. To ensure this commitment is met, Transitional Protection will be awarded where necessary.

Payments will continue to be available to those entitled to a relevant legacy benefit that includes a severe disability premium (SDP) and who move to Universal Credit following a change of circumstances on or after the removal of the SDP Gateway on 27 January 2021. These payments are subject to claimants continuing to meet the SDP qualifying criteria at the time they make their new Universal Credit claim. The transitional SDP element will be set at the same levels as now.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 23 March 2021 to Question 169910, what recent progress her Department has made towards (a) implementing the key areas identified in the review of the Special Rules for Terminal Illness, (b) a consensus to change the six-month rule, (c) improving consistency with other services used by people nearing the end of their lives and (d) raising awareness of the support that is available.

The Department is committed to delivering an improved benefit system for claimants that are nearing the end of their lives and is working across Government to bring forward proposals following the evaluation. The Department remains committed to implementing the key areas identified in the evaluation and will announce the outcome in due course.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 25 February 2021 to Question 155226, what further progress her Department has made in its discussions with representatives of (a) the Independent Assessment Service and (b) Capita on finding a suitable method of audio recording face-to-face assessments; and when those discussions will conclude.

The Department is currently working with both PIP Assessment Providers to deliver an audio recording service for face to face assessments that removes the requirement for the Claimant to provide the equipment. This will bring the audio recording of face to face assessments in line with the audio recording of telephone assessments.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 16 March 2021 to Question 166493 on Occupational Health, what further progress her Department has made towards publishing in full the survey entitled, Sickness absence and health in the workplace: understanding employer behaviour and practice employers relating to workplace health following the publication of the interim report of that title in June 2019.

As highlighted in our response to Question 166493, the forthcoming government response to the Health is Everyone's Business consultation draws on evidence in the ‘Sickness absence and health in the workplace’ report. It is therefore our intention for the research report to be published alongside the consultation response which we anticipate will be available shortly.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to Answer 169910 of 23 March 2021 on Social Security Benefits: Terminal Illnesses, what recent progress her Department has made towards the publication of its review of the Special Rules for Terminal Illness.

The Department is committed to delivering an improved benefit system for claimants that are nearing the end of their lives and is working across Government to bring forward proposals following the evaluation. I remain committed to implementing the key areas identified in the evaluation; a consensus to change the six-month rule; improving ​consistency with other services used by people nearing the end of their lives; and raising awareness of the support that is available.

22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the resumption of face-to-face assessments, what steps her Department plans to take to minimise the number of New Style and Contribution-based employment support allowance claimants reaching the 365 day limit without having received a work capability assessment.

Following their suspension in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be resuming WCA face-to-face assessments from next month. Initially, these will only be for those who we are unable to fully assess by other channels.

We are committed to assessing people as quickly as possible in order that they receive the benefit they are entitled to. The resumption of face-to-face assessments, together with our enhanced capability and improved processes for telephone assessments, will allow us to do this. Furthermore, we are prioritising for assessment contributory Employment and Support Allowance claims that have exhausted or are at risk of exhausting.

22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential meris of prioritising New Style and Contribution-based employment support allowance claimants nearing 365 days since starting their claim for face-to-face work capability assessments.

Following their suspension in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be resuming WCA face-to-face assessments from next month. Initially, these will only be for those who we are unable to fully assess by other channels.

We are committed to assessing people as quickly as possible in order that they receive the benefit they are entitled to. The resumption of face-to-face assessments, together with our enhanced capability and improved processes for telephone assessments, will allow us to do this. Furthermore, we are prioritising for assessment contributory Employment and Support Allowance claims that have exhausted or are at risk of exhausting.

22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department plans to take to identify claimants for face-to-face work capability assessments when they restart in May 2021.

Following their suspension in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be resuming WCA face-to-face assessments from next month. Initially, these will only be for those who we are unable to fully assess by other channels.

We are committed to assessing people as quickly as possible in order that they receive the benefit they are entitled to. The resumption of face-to-face assessments, together with our enhanced capability and improved processes for telephone assessments, will allow us to do this. Furthermore, we are prioritising for assessment contributory Employment and Support Allowance claims that have exhausted or are at risk of exhausting.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of Kickstart candidates are disabled.

I refer the honourable member to the answer given for PQ 143815.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that the Restart employment scheme is fully accessible for disabled people.

Restart will be fully accessible for all scheme participants, including those with health conditions and disabilities. At the core of Restart is the requirement on providers to design and deliver a personalised service that addresses individuals’ support needs.

The contracts also make specific requirements on providers regarding accessibility. Under the terms of the Equality Act, providers will be required to enable equal access to the provision. They will be required to fund additional support for anyone who needs extra help to attend and fully participate in Restart, which may include travel and specialist equipment. They must also take necessary steps to obtain and provide special aids or services that might be needed to enable participation.

Restart providers will also be required to be Disability Confident Leaders, and therefore to be fully aware of best practice in supporting disabled people.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants of (a) New Style and (b) contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance have been in the assessment phase when their payments stopped at the end of 365 days since March 2020.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

The available statistics for ESA WCA by month of claim start (to June 2020) for initial assessment outcomes, including those still in progress, and assessment outcome by month of decision to September 2020, are published here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-march-2021

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants of (a) New Style and (b) contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance are in the assessment phase; and of those claimants how many are awaiting a face-to-face assessment.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

The available statistics for ESA WCA by month of claim start (to June 2020) for initial assessment outcomes, including those still in progress, and assessment outcome by month of decision to September 2020, are published here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-march-2021

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to implement the Court of Appeal's decision in the case of R (TD & Ors) v Secretary of State for Work And Pensions [2020] EWCA Civ 618.

The Department is considering its response to the judgment and will communicate further details in due course.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 24 March 2021 to Question 169900 on Employment: Disability, whether the minutes of those meetings are publicly available.

This is an informal meeting. No minutes are recorded, therefore these are not publically available. Any actions arising are shared within the membership of the group.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason the UK Disability Survey includes a question on whether the respondent would be willing to have a physical relationship with a disabled person.

The content of the survey was informed by research conducted by the Cabinet Office’s Disability Unit and tested with disabled people and organisations prior to launch.

This question was included in the survey to improve our understanding of perceptions and attitudes towards disability and disabled people.

Insights from the UK Disability Survey - alongside our wider engagement and evidence gathering programme - will inform the National Strategy for Disabled People, including action to challenge negative perceptions of disabled people.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Social Security Advisory Committee’s Occasional Paper 25: how DWP involves disabled people when designing or evaluating programmes that affect them, if she will publish a plan to engage directly with disabled people on the forthcoming Green Paper on health and disability.

It is vital that the voices of disabled people are at the centre of health and disability policy development. Over the past 18 months I have personally led a series of events in which I have heard directly from disabled people about their lived experiences with the benefits system. We will continue this direct engagement with disabled people up to and following the publication of the Health and Disability Green Paper.

I am grateful to the Committee for their report and pleased to see that our sustained efforts to engage with disabled people have been recognised.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to implement the recommendations of the independent Social Security Advisory Committee in its Occasional Paper 25: how DWP involves disabled people when designing or evaluating programmes that affect them; and if she will make a statement.

It is vital that the voices of disabled people are at the centre of health and disability policy development. Over the past 18 months I have personally led a series of events in which I have heard directly from disabled people about their lived experiences with the benefits system. We will continue this direct engagement with disabled people up to and following the publication of the Health and Disability Green Paper.

I am grateful to the Committee for their report and pleased to see that our sustained efforts to engage with disabled people have been recognised.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the number of people in 2019 who were sanctioned while challenging a negative universal credit work capability assessment decision due to being unable to meet their claimant commitments.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claims were closed in 2019 as a result of claimants not accepting their claimant commitment before first being offered the opportunity to accept those commitments over the telephone.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

All Universal Credit claimants are required to accept a Claimant Commitment as a condition of entitlement. Claimants’ obligations are recorded in one place, clarifying both what they are expected to do in return for benefits and support, and exactly what happens if they fail to comply.

Claimant commitments will be reasonable for this unprecedented time, reflecting the reality of a person’s local jobs market, the local/national public health guidelines and personal circumstances to help prepare them for getting back into work. Those who have declared a health condition that restricts their ability to work, including those who are shielding and clinically extremely vulnerable, will not be required to be available for work. These claimants will have their conditionality tailored to ensure it is reasonable. This may includeswitching off conditionality altogether where appropriate.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 16 March 2021 to Question 166490 on Social Security Benefits: Disability, what additional support her Department offers to people to ensure that their access needs are met.

It is recognised that there are occasions when reasonable adjustments need to be offered and put into place to support customers.

In addition to services being available online, the facility for customers to make new claims by phone is available, face to face support in Jobcentres which can include the use of hearing loops and private rooms dependent upon the specific access needs of the customer.

For face to face interviews, staff will work with the customer to find the right environment to meet with the customer, and where required translation services such as British Sign Language that will be arranged.

Appointees can be nominated for customers who are unable to manage their claims independently, and can be either personal or corporate appointees. We will offer a home visit if the customer’s access need cannot be met after all other reasonable adjustments have been explored and deemed unsuitable.

If the adjustment required relates to the provision of information, in practical terms this means putting contact arrangements in place via alternative channels e.g. email or providing forms and letters in accessible formats.

17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 16 March 2021 to Question 166493 on Employment: Surveys, if she will provide further clarification as to what her Department means by shortly.

The Government is considering the timing of the response in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A response will be available as soon as possible.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2021 to Question 161811 on Personal Independent Payment, whether her Department has written to all individuals affected by the judgement to (a) inform them whether they were successful and (b) explain the appeals process.

Our progress update published on 25 February 2021 set out the number of cases cleared against the MH and RJ Upper Tribunal (UT) decisions. All these claimants will have been sent a decision letter, including next steps if they disagree with our decision. We are still reviewing claims and will send a decision letter to everyone we review.

As I explained in my previous answer (161810), we are writing to other claimants, explaining how we apply the UT decisions and letting them know they can get in touch with us if they think they are affected. We will review any claim where claimants ask us to and they will receive a decision letter.

This is a very complex and substantial exercise and we are committed to ensuring that claimants get the PIP they are entitled to.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2021 to Question 161811 on Personal Independent Payment, whether the guidance used to (a) produce the estimates and (b) process the backdated payments following the judgement is publicly available.

The Advice for Decision Making (memos 15/18 and 16/18) give guidance on applying the MH and RJ Upper Tribunal (UT) decisions. This is publically available through this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/advice-for-decision-making-staff-guide

The estimates in the Equality Analysis were based on medical and policy expert advice, as well as a small in-depth exercise to look at actual cases. This was before knowing the full detail of which claimants would be eligible for additional payments and producing the guidance to implement the MH decision.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of people who have found employment as a result of the Personal Support Package announced in the Improving Lives: the future of work, health and disability White Paper.

The Personal Support Package (PSP) introduced in 2017 has helped fund a range of new initiatives and additional voluntary support for claimants with long term health conditions and disabilities.

This has included additional work coach time, mental health training for work coaches and more than doubling the number of Disability Employment Advisors to approximately 685 across England, Scotland and Wales in the 19/20 financial year. We aim to increase this number further during the 21/22 financial year.

It has also funded a number of small scale tests of new interventions designed to help understand what works to support claimants with long term health conditions and disabilities.

The PSP was not designed as an impact evaluation with a robust counterfactual and therefore we are unable to quantify the number of employment outcomes due to the PSP.

In the Improving Lives: the future of work, health and disability White Paper in 2017, we set a goal to see one million more disabled people in work by 2027. In the first three years of the goal, between 2017 and 2020, the number of disabled people in employment increased by 800,000.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have received support from the Personal Support Package announced in the Improving Lives: the future of work, health and disability White Paper.

The Personal Support Package (PSP) introduced in 2017 has helped fund a range of new initiatives and additional voluntary support for claimants with long term health conditions and disabilities.

This has included additional work coach time, mental health training for work coaches and more than doubling the number of Disability Employment Advisors to approximately 685 across England, Scotland and Wales in the 19/20 financial year. We aim to increase this number further during the 21/22 financial year.

It has also funded a number of small scale tests of new interventions designed to help understand what works to support claimants with long term health conditions and disabilities.

The PSP was not designed as an impact evaluation with a robust counterfactual and therefore we are unable to quantify the number of employment outcomes due to the PSP.

In the Improving Lives: the future of work, health and disability White Paper in 2017, we set a goal to see one million more disabled people in work by 2027. In the first three years of the goal, between 2017 and 2020, the number of disabled people in employment increased by 800,000.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent progress her Department has made on the commitments set out in the Improving Lives: the Work, Health, Disability Green Paper.

In 2017 ‘Improving Lives’ set out the Government’s goal to see one million more disabled people in work by 2027. In the first three years of the goal, between 2017 and 2020, the number of disabled people in employment increased by 800,000.

We are continuing to build our evidence base on what works, through ongoing research, tests and large scale trials including of Employment Advice in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services and Individual Placement and Support in partnership with the health system.

In 2019, our ‘Health is Everyone's Business’ consultation set out proposals to support and encourage employers to minimise the risk of ill-health related job loss among their employees, including employers incentives and obligations, reforms to SSP, and Occupational Health reform. We intend to publish our response shortly.

The Department is bringing forward a Green Paper on health and disability support to consider how we improve our current service so it’s better and easier to use, explore how we provide extra support to navigate the system, and understand how we improve our employment support offer.

One of the commitments from Improving Lives was to publish annual statistics to support the monitoring of progress on disability employment. The most recent statistics, published in 2020, provide detailed analysis and break downs of the number of disabled people in employment. The latest statistics are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/the-employment-of-disabled-people-2019

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many times (a) she and (b) the Minister for Disabled People has attended the Reasonable Adjustment Forum over the last 12 months.

The Reasonable Adjustments Forum is a working level meeting that was established in order to identify, test and recommend service improvements for those with accessible communication needs.

Due to the informal nature of these meetings and the focus on processes, Ministers do not attend. However, they are aware of the important work of the group.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many times the Reasonable Adjustment Forum has met over the last 12 months.

The Reasonable Adjustments Forum has met three times since its creation in July 2020. The dates were 14 October 2020, 9 December 2020 and 24 February 2021.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 15 March 2021 to Question 166429, if her Department will remove the three-year award duration for claims made under the Special Rules for Terminal Illness.

The Department is committed to delivering an improved benefit system for claimants that are nearing the end of their lives and is working across Government to bring forward proposals following the evaluation. I remain committed to implementing the key areas identified in the evaluation; a consensus to change the six-month rule; improving ​consistency with other services used by people nearing the end of their lives; and raising awareness of the support that is available.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the reasons are for the delay to the publication of her Department’s review of the Special Rules for Terminal Illness.

The Department is committed to delivering an improved benefit system for claimants that are nearing the end of their lives and is working across Government to bring forward proposals following the evaluation. I remain committed to implementing the key areas identified in the evaluation; a consensus to change the six-month rule; improving ​consistency with other services used by people nearing the end of their lives; and raising awareness of the support that is available.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of the Health and Work programme announced in the Improving Lives: the future of work, health and disability White Paper in supporting individuals into work.

The response refers to the Work and Health Programme, which was announced in Improving Lives: the future of work, health and disability. The Work and Health Programme (WHP) is a national programme of employment support, which began in November 2017. It predominantly helps disabled people, as well as the long-term unemployed, and certain priority groups (known as early access groups) to enter into and stay in work.

Since, November 2018, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has released experimental statistics about the WHP. These provide information on a regular basis about referrals, starts and employment outcomes of WHP participants. WHP statistics are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/work-and-health-programme-statistics

The WHP has been delivered as a Randomised Control Trial, where a small percentage of claimants who were eligible for the WHP were randomly allocated to a control group and were given standard Jobcentre Plus support. This will enable a robust impact assessment of the programme.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2021 to Question 161811 on Personal Independent Payment, whether her Department carried out an equality impact assessment before drafting the renewed guidance following the MH and RJ decisions.

I can confirm an equality analysis was undertaken by the Department to enable Ministers to fulfil the requirements placed on them by the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) as set out in the Equality Act 2010 in relation to the approach to be taken for the MH/RJ administrative exercise.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to publish in full the survey entitled, Sickness absence and health in the workplace: understanding employer behaviour and practice employers relating to workplace health following the publication of the interim report of that title in June 2019.

In 2019, the Government consulted on ways to support and encourage employers to minimise the risk of ill-health related job loss among their employees in Health is Everyone's Business: proposals to reduce ill-health related job loss. The Government is considering the timing of the response in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; we anticipate that a response will be available shortly. The response draws on evidence in the ‘Sickness absence and health in the workplace’ report; it is therefore our intention for the report to be published alongside the consultation response.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the level of digital exclusion experienced by disabled people accessing (a) universal credit, (b) personal independence payments, (c) attendance allowance, (d) disability living allowance for children and (e) new employment support allowance.

DWP is continually reviewing and improving services and many of these are now ‘digital-first’, ensuring we make best use of technology to deliver a modern and effective welfare system which enables citizens to access services quickly and flexibly. This allows our colleagues to concentrate on those people who require additional support.

Although the Department offers support for claimants to use our digital services, we recognise that there are occasions where people are unable to access services online, for a range of reasons. As a result, we ensure that they can do so through alternative channels, such as by telephone or face-to-face in offices as well as providing documents in accessible format when requested. Throughout the pandemic, Jobcentre Plus offices have also remained open to support the most vulnerable claimants.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data the Government holds on the number and proportion of (a) employers who have paid and (b) employees who have received (i) statutory sick pay and (ii) occupational sick pay in the most recent period for which that information is available.

The first link refers to the 2018 employer survey (which tells us what % of employers pay what sick pay), second link refers to the 2014 employee survey (which tells us what % of employee are paid what sick pay).

Employer Survey interim report:​

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/810840/interim-report-sickness-absence-and-health-in-the-workplace.pdf

Employee survey:​

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/447127/rr901-health-and-wellbeing-at-work.pdf

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the Government plans to publish its response to the 2019 Health is everyone’s business consultation.

The Government is committed to reducing the disability employment gap and supporting disabled people and those with health conditions to thrive at work. We received a good response from a range of stakeholders. The Government is considering the timing of the response in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We anticipate that a response will be available shortly.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the reasons for the disparity between the equality impact assessment estimated 16 per cent of claimants due a backdated personal independence payment following the MH and RJ decisions and the number of people who have received those payments to date.

Our published estimates were for the MH legal judgment only. They were produced before knowing the full detail of which claimants would be eligible for additional payments. We were clear that these estimates were very likely to change once the guidance implementing the judgment was produced and data was gathered from the administrative exercise to implement it.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether it is her Department's policy that a deceased claimant's next of kin are entitled to their backdated personal independence payments following the MH and RJ decisions.

At the beginning of the administrative exercise the department had a dedicated resource for cases where the claimant was deceased to ensure their next of kin received payments as quickly as possible. Since then, regular checks are carried out for deceased claimants and these cases are prioritised for review.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure her Department contacts each person due a backdated personal independent payment.

Our progress update on the MH and RJ administrative exercise published on 25th February 2021 gives the number of cases that have been cleared following a review – approaching 1 million cases for both the MH and RJ Upper Tribunal decisions.

Through continuous monitoring of the exercise, we have been identifying claimants most likely to benefit, so that we can focus on paying these claimants backdated payments more quickly. We are writing to other claimants, explaining how we apply the Upper Tribunal decisions and letting them know they can get in touch with us if they think they are affected, and we will review their claim.

We have dedicated substantial resource to checking claims and are committed to ensuring that everyone with a health condition or disability gets the support they are entitled to.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department plans to launch the pilot of its integrated assessment service in autumn 2021.

We had started to test a single digital platform in a small number of assessment centres but this was paused due to the impact of COVID-19. We have been reviewing our delivery plans and expect the IT development to form part the work of the new Departmental Transformation Area (DTA). The DTA will provide a safe environment to test, adapt and learn from new ideas and processes before rolling out at a greater scale, and ultimately nationally. The first site in the DTA will be in London and is scheduled to start from April 2021. This approach recognises that our claimants include some of the most vulnerable in society and it is critical that we carefully develop the new integrated health assessment service.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has identified the Transformation Area in which the integrated assessment service will be piloted.

We had started to test a single digital platform in a small number of assessment centres but this was paused due to the impact of COVID-19. We have been reviewing our delivery plans and expect the IT development to form part the work of the new Departmental Transformation Area (DTA). The DTA will provide a safe environment to test, adapt and learn from new ideas and processes before rolling out at a greater scale, and ultimately nationally. The first site in the DTA will be in London and is scheduled to start from April 2021. This approach recognises that our claimants include some of the most vulnerable in society and it is critical that we carefully develop the new integrated health assessment service.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made with the Independent Assessment Service and Capita on finding a suitable method of audio recording ahead of the reintroduction of face-to-face assessments.

We have previously committed to developing a consistent approach for audio recording of assessments, by aligning to the Work Capability Assessment approach, however this work has been paused due to the impact of COVID-19. As face to face assessments are currently suspended, we continue to review our delivery options and plans, and updates can be provided once these have been finalised.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made in its discussions with representatives of (a) the Independent Assessment Service and (b) Capita on finding a suitable method of audio recording face-to-face assessments; and when those discussions will conclude.

We have previously committed to developing a consistent approach for audio recording of assessments, by aligning to the Work Capability Assessment approach, however this work has been paused due to the impact of COVID-19. As face to face assessments are currently suspended, we continue to review our delivery options and plans, and updates can be provided once these have been finalised.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made on securing new contracts for (a) personal independence payment and (b) work capability assessments from 1 August 2021.

We had previously announced that we would be undertaking a procurement exercise to establish contracts for conducting Work and Capability Assessments (WCA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP) from 1 August 2021. The impact of Covid-19 meant that it was not possible to launch that procurement.

WCA contract

We recognized that it is vital for our claimants to have a safe and stable service. Consequently, in July last year, the department announced via a VEAT Notice (link attached below) its intention to extend the current contracts for up to two years, which will ensure continuity of services when the current contract ends on 31 July 2021.

https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:333758-2020:TEXT:EN:HTML

The Commercial arrangements for the extension period are subject to ongoing negotiations, which are on plan to complete in the required timeframe.

PIP contract

The PIP Assessment Service Contracts are split into three Lots. An extension has been agreed with Independent Assessment Services for Lots 1 and 3, details of which can be viewed in the VEAT notices that were published in December (links attached below)

https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:622817-2020:TEXT:EN:HTML

https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:622816-2020:TEXT:EN:HTML

Commercial negotiations for the extension of the Lot 2 Contract with Capita are ongoing; our intention to extend these Contracts was issued in July 2020 (link attached below)

https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:333754-2020:TEXT:EN:HTML

The department intends to re-procure Health Assessment Services contracts during this extension period anticipates that these will commence in August 2023.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress his Department has made on piloting a new IT system to deliver assessments for personal independence payments and the Work Capability Assessments in employment support allowance and universal credit using a single digital platform.

We had started to test a single digital platform in a small number of assessment centres but this was paused due to the impact of COVID-19. We have been reviewing our delivery plans and expect the IT development to form part the work of the new Departmental Transformation Area (DTA). The DTA will provide a safe environment to test, adapt and learn from new ideas and processes before rolling out at a greater scale, and ultimately nationally. The first site in the DTA will be in London and is scheduled to start from April 2021. This approach recognises that our claimants include some of the most vulnerable in society and it is critical that we carefully develop the new integrated health assessment service.

4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant of the Answer of 9 June 2020 to Question 52280, whether her Department has set a budget for the formal consultation on the Health and Disability Green Paper.

We have undertaken engagement with a range of stakeholders, disabled people’s organisations and disabled people ahead of the forthcoming publication of the health and disability Green Paper. This will ensure the Green Paper focuses on the issues that are important to those who use our services.

This has included several consultation events, face to face prior to the pandemic and through video after, attended by disabled people, representatives from charities and disabled people’s organisations from across the country.

We will produce the Green Paper in a range of accessible formats. Engagement will continue alongside the formal consultation after publication where we will maximise the way we engage using a variety of digital methods such as on-line video platforms and Citizen Space. There is not a fixed budget for the public consultation, but it will come from the Department’s existing funding allocation.

4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant of the Answer of 11 January 2021 to Question 133065 on Social Security Benefits: Disability, if she will instruct her officials to explore opportunities to utilise digital technology to increase direct engagement with disabled and seriously unwell people during the formal consultation on the health and disability green paper.

We have undertaken engagement with a range of stakeholders, disabled people’s organisations and disabled people ahead of the forthcoming publication of the health and disability Green Paper. This will ensure the Green Paper focuses on the issues that are important to those who use our services.

This has included several consultation events, face to face prior to the pandemic and through video after, attended by disabled people, representatives from charities and disabled people’s organisations from across the country.

We will produce the Green Paper in a range of accessible formats. Engagement will continue alongside the formal consultation after publication where we will maximise the way we engage using a variety of digital methods such as on-line video platforms and Citizen Space. There is not a fixed budget for the public consultation, but it will come from the Department’s existing funding allocation.

4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant of the Answer of 11 January 2021 to Question 133065 on Social Security Benefits: Disability, if she will publish a list of the (a) disabled and deaf people's organisations and (b) other charities and organisations her officials have consulted with ahead of the forthcoming health and disability green paper to date.

We have undertaken engagement with a range of stakeholders, disabled people’s organisations and disabled people ahead of the forthcoming publication of the health and disability Green Paper. This will ensure the Green Paper focuses on the issues that are important to those who use our services.

This has included several consultation events, face to face prior to the pandemic and through video after, attended by disabled people, representatives from charities and disabled people’s organisations from across the country.

We will produce the Green Paper in a range of accessible formats. Engagement will continue alongside the formal consultation after publication where we will maximise the way we engage using a variety of digital methods such as on-line video platforms and Citizen Space. There is not a fixed budget for the public consultation, but it will come from the Department’s existing funding allocation.

4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the (a) former Chair of the Work and Pensions committee’s letter of 29 July 2019 on information posted on universal credit claimants’ journals as fit for work notifications and (b) Minister of State’s response of 22 August 2019, what assessment she has made of whether pro forma statements give adequate information for disabled and seriously unwell people to decide whether to request a Mandatory Reconsideration of her Department’s decision.

Since March 2020, in all cases where a claimant is found fit for work the claimant will receive a call to talk through the Work Capability Assessment outcome and to ask about any changes since the assessment.

There are currently no home visits, and the COVID easements in place do not allow for the claimant to have a face to face assessment, so full importance is put on the conversation the Decision Makers have with the claimant.

If the Decision Maker is not able to speak with the claimant a case conference is held, before the decision is uploaded, and in conversation with the Health Care Professional Advice line. If there is any doubt of risk with the claimant the case will be referred back for a face to face assessment when the easements are lifted.

If during the course of the decision making process a safeguarding issue is identified the Decision Maker will make a referral to a Senior Safeguarding Lead who will engage with other agencies to support the customer.

The decision outcome notifications provide adequate information for disabled and seriously unwell people to decide whether to request a Mandatory Reconsideration of the Department’s decision.

The notification clearly explains what information has been taken into account to decide whether the claimant would have difficulty in carrying out work related activities.

It explains that the claimant can ask for a more detailed written explanation either via the Journal or by Telephone. It also advises that this needs to be done within one month of the date of the letter, and that the claimant can ask someone who has authority to act for them.

It advises that if the claimant has further information or if they think the department has overlooked something they can ask the Department to reconsider the Decision. This has to be done within one month of the letter. Following this it explains they will receive a letter called a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice and if they disagree with the Mandatory Reconsideration they can appeal to the tribunal.

4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps are taken to inform a universal credit claimant who is vulnerable and unable to access their journal of the outcome of their Work Capability Assessment.

Since March 2020, in all cases where a claimant is found fit for work the claimant will receive a call to talk through the Work Capability Assessment outcome and to ask about any changes since the assessment.

There are currently no home visits, and the COVID easements in place do not allow for the claimant to have a face to face assessment, so full importance is put on the conversation the Decision Makers have with the claimant.

If the Decision Maker is not able to speak with the claimant a case conference is held, before the decision is uploaded, and in conversation with the Health Care Professional Advice line. If there is any doubt of risk with the claimant the case will be referred back for a face to face assessment when the easements are lifted.

If during the course of the decision making process a safeguarding issue is identified the Decision Maker will make a referral to a Senior Safeguarding Lead who will engage with other agencies to support the customer.

The decision outcome notifications provide adequate information for disabled and seriously unwell people to decide whether to request a Mandatory Reconsideration of the Department’s decision.

The notification clearly explains what information has been taken into account to decide whether the claimant would have difficulty in carrying out work related activities.

It explains that the claimant can ask for a more detailed written explanation either via the Journal or by Telephone. It also advises that this needs to be done within one month of the date of the letter, and that the claimant can ask someone who has authority to act for them.

It advises that if the claimant has further information or if they think the department has overlooked something they can ask the Department to reconsider the Decision. This has to be done within one month of the letter. Following this it explains they will receive a letter called a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice and if they disagree with the Mandatory Reconsideration they can appeal to the tribunal.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many housing benefit claimants have been evicted as a result of rent arrears in each of the last 10 years.

The Department does not collect this information.

We have provided an unprecedented package of support throughout the pandemic, injecting billions into the welfare system for those most in need, including uplifting the Local Housing Allowance to the 30th percentile of local market rents in each area, and are maintaining that uplift in cash terms for 2021/22.

In addition we have legislated through the Coronavirus Act 2020 to delay when landlords can evict tenants, a 6 month stay on possession proceedings in court and a pause on bailiffs enforcing eviction notices.

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 introduced the Duty to Refer, which came into force on 1 October 2018. This requires named public authorities, including jobcentres in England, to refer service users who they think may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to the local housing authority of the claimant’s choice. This earlier intervention is intended to give people the stability they need to move into, and remain in, work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many housing benefit claimants have been evicted as a result of rent arrears in each of the last 12 months.

The Department does not collect this information.

We have provided an unprecedented package of support throughout the pandemic, injecting billions into the welfare system for those most in need, including uplifting the Local Housing Allowance to the 30th percentile of local market rents in each area, and are maintaining that uplift in cash terms for 2021/22.

In addition we have legislated through the Coronavirus Act 2020 to delay when landlords can evict tenants, a 6 month stay on possession proceedings in court and a pause on bailiffs enforcing eviction notices.

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 introduced the Duty to Refer, which came into force on 1 October 2018. This requires named public authorities, including jobcentres in England, to refer service users who they think may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to the local housing authority of the claimant’s choice. This earlier intervention is intended to give people the stability they need to move into, and remain in, work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of changes to the way housing benefit is issued on the number of claimants renting from private landlords.

No such assessment has been made. Housing Support for claimants living in the Private Rented Sector has been paid directly to the claimant, rather than the landlord, since 2008 when LHA was introduced.

We strongly encourage landlords and agents to consider all potential and existing tenants in receipt of Housing Support on an individual basis, as everyone deserves a safe and secure home, regardless of whether they are in receipt of benefits.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of changes to the way housing benefit is issued on the number of private landlords renting to claimants.

No such assessment has been made. Housing Support for claimants living in the Private Rented Sector has been paid directly to the claimant, rather than the landlord, since 2008 when LHA was introduced.

We strongly encourage landlords and agents to consider all potential and existing tenants in receipt of Housing Support on an individual basis, as everyone deserves a safe and secure home, regardless of whether they are in receipt of benefits.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the (a) average processing time, (b) approval rate and (c) refusal rate is of requests for Alternative Payment Arrangements from private landlords where their tenant is in receipt of housing benefit.

There is no target timescale for processing applications for Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs). APAs are available at any point during Universal Credit claims where there is risk of financial harm to a claimant and/or their family.

APAs can help claimants who need additional support with:

  • paying housing costs of Universal Credit as a Managed Payment direct to the landlord;
  • more frequent than monthly payments; or;
  • split payment of an award between partners.

Universal Credit payment timeliness statistics are published in the Households on Universal Credit section on Stat-Xplore. These figures can be broken down by those with APAs and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/(opens in a new tab).

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Regarding (b) approval rate and (c) refusal rate, the information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of claims for (a) personal independence payment, (b) employment support allowance and (c) disablement pension which are pending due to a face-to-face health and disability assessment in (i) Lewisham Deptford, (ii) London and (iii) the UK which cannot be completed under covid-19 restrictions.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to Question UIN 141531.

The Department publishes Personal Independence Payment assessment data online which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/personal-independence-payment-statistics?_sm_byp=iVVWb5570W4jkbMj#content

The PIP clearance times are available to October 2020 and can be focused down to region level. Any further geographical breakdowns are not available and to provide them would incur disproportionate cost.

The Department publishes Employment Support Allowance (ESA) Work Capability Assessment (WCA) data online which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-january-2021.

The ESA clearance times are available to June 2020 at a national level only. The clearance times are only currently available to March 2020, but can be focused down to region and local authority level. Any further geographical breakdowns are not available and to provide them would incur disproportionate cost.

The question enquires into ‘disablement pension’, we have understood that to refer to the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) which this Department administers. The Department publishes quarterly statistics on claims and assessments under IIDB scheme in Great Britain here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/industrial-injuries-disablement-benefit-quarterly-statistics

The latest claims information is to March 2020, with the lowest geographical level available of Region. Statistics to June 2020 will be published on 23 February 2021

Further geographical breakdowns and average clearance times are not readily available and to provide them would incur disproportionate cost.

21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average waiting time from submission to payment of claims was in each of the last 12 months for (a) personal independence payment, (b) employment support allowance and (c) disablement pension in (i) Lewisham Deptford, (ii) London and (iii) the UK where a face-to-face health and disability assessment is required.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to Question UIN 141531.

The Department publishes Personal Independence Payment assessment data online which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/personal-independence-payment-statistics?_sm_byp=iVVWb5570W4jkbMj#content

The PIP clearance times are available to October 2020 and can be focused down to region level. Any further geographical breakdowns are not available and to provide them would incur disproportionate cost.

The Department publishes Employment Support Allowance (ESA) Work Capability Assessment (WCA) data online which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-january-2021.

The ESA clearance times are available to June 2020 at a national level only. The clearance times are only currently available to March 2020, but can be focused down to region and local authority level. Any further geographical breakdowns are not available and to provide them would incur disproportionate cost.

The question enquires into ‘disablement pension’, we have understood that to refer to the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) which this Department administers. The Department publishes quarterly statistics on claims and assessments under IIDB scheme in Great Britain here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/industrial-injuries-disablement-benefit-quarterly-statistics

The latest claims information is to March 2020, with the lowest geographical level available of Region. Statistics to June 2020 will be published on 23 February 2021

Further geographical breakdowns and average clearance times are not readily available and to provide them would incur disproportionate cost.

21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support her Department is providing for claimants of (a) personal independence payment, (b) employment support allowance and (c) disablement pension where the health assessors find that a face-to-face interview is required but cannot be completed under covid-19 restrictions.

The safety of our claimants and staff is our key priority. As a result, all face to face assessments for sickness and disability benefits have remained suspended since March 2020. Throughout the pandemic, for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)/Universal Credit (UC) we have continued to assess people on paper evidence where we can as normal. We have also introduced telephone assessments and are working to increase the number of these assessments in order that we can make the right decision for as many people as possible, while keeping people safe.

Where it is not possible to carry out a PIP telephone assessment we are making a decision based on all the evidence available to ensure any payment is not delayed. For ESA/UC, claimants will remain on their current award until we are able to gather the evidence needed for a recommendation to be made (or until contributory ESA ends)); any additional amounts the claimant may qualify for after their assessment will be backdated to ensure no long-term loss. Where an individual’s contributory ESA ends they may be able to claim Universal Credit, depending on their personal circumstances if they require further financial support.

The question refers to ‘disablement pension’; we have understood that to refer to the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB). Following a successful trial, we have now begun paper based assessments in IIDB for certain prescribed diseases. To protect our most vulnerable claimants with the most serious health conditions we are continuing to process IIDB claims for people with terminal illnesses, and those for Fast Track prescribed diseases as they can be assessed without the need for a face to face assessment. Once face-to-face assessments resume, awards will be backdated to the date of application to ensure claimants do not lose out on funds they are entitled to.

21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance has been given to health assessors carrying out health and disability assessments for new claims for (a) personal independence payment, (b) employment support allowance and (c) disablement pension submitted during covid-19 national lockdown.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Health Professionals continue to deliver PIP assessments in accordance with the PIP Assessment Guide published on GOV.UK. The link to which I have included below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-assessment-guide-for-assessment-providers

Employment Support Allowance (ESA) Healthcare Professionals, continue to deliver ESA Work Capability Assessments (WCA) in accordance with the WCA Handbook published on GOV.UK. The link to which I have included below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/work-capability-assessment-handbook-for-healthcare-professionals

Our Assessment Providers, Independent Assessment Services (IAS), Capita and Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA) have supported their Health Professionals to carry out health and disability assessments throughout all COVID-19 lockdowns. Following the suspension of face to face assessments to ensure the safety of claimants, companions and staff, Health Professionals have been given additional training and guidance on conducting telephone assessments, which were introduced in PIP and ESA in response to COVID-19.

I have interpreted Disablement Pension to mean Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB). The suspension of face to face assessments for IIDB means the majority of new claims are not being assessed at present. We continue to test new ways to carry out IIDB assessments and have now begun conducting paper based assessments for certain prescribed diseases.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason the publication of the health and disability Green Paper and reform of the assessment processes for employment support allowance and personal independence payments, has been delayed.

Given the focus on the departmental response to Covid-19 and providing citizens with the support they need, we are working to a longer timescale than previously anticipated. We will continue to develop the Green Paper, supported by virtual engagement with charities and disabled people, and plan to publish the formal consultation later in 2021. The Green Paper aims to better understand the needs of disabled people and will seek views and ideas on what improvements should be made to the health and disability benefits system.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to engage directly with (a) disabled and (b) seriously unwell people who have been through its assessments for (i) employment support allowance and (ii) personal independence payment during the consultation on the Health and Disability Green Paper.

The Green Paper aims to better understand the needs of disabled people and will seek views and ideas on what improvements should be made to the health and disability benefits system.

The Department has ensured a strong emphasis on engaging with stakeholders and we have hosted a series of workshops across the country with local disability organisations, disabled people and people with health conditions. This engagement has continued virtually during the Covid-19 pandemic and will continue until publication and during the consultation period.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Gunning Principles will be applied to the consultation on the Health and Disability Green Paper in the event that paper is published during a period when covid-19 lockdown restrictions are in place.

The consultation on the Health and Disability Support Green Paper will follow the Government consultation principles which provide clear guidance to Government departments on conducting consultations. These principles are published on gov.uk. We will be mindful of any covid-19 restrictions that are in place at the time of publication.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure the Access to Work fast track scheme is available to all disabled workers who need reasonable adjustments to be able to work during the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the Member for Ceredigion on 30 November 2020, UIN 120973.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to integrate the Access to Work fast track scheme into the Kickstart scheme.

Job placements created through the DWP’s Kickstart Scheme are normal jobs, and so young people finding work through the Kickstart Scheme can get advice from their Work Coach about making the transition into employment. This may include support with the Access to Work process.

Young people who are successful in securing a job offer through Kickstart, and submit their application to Access to Work within 4 weeks of their start date, will have their application automatically prioritised by Access to Work.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to integrate the Access to Work fast track scheme into the Job Entry Targeted Support scheme.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the Member for Ceredigion on 30 November 2020, UIN 120975.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that universal credit assessment periods that include two wage payments dates do not include both of those payments in the calculation of a claimant's universal credit payment.

The legislation we introduced to remedy the Court of Appeal Judgment in the case of Johnson and Others came into force on 16th November and means that in future, for cases affected by this issue, monthly earnings can be reallocated to another assessment period, which means that only one set of earnings should be taken into account rather than two.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions her Department has had with the Scottish Government on the devolution of non-reserved benefits under the Scotland Act 2016.

My Department works closely with the Scottish Government to bring about the safe and secure transition to a new devolved social security system. Ministerial oversight is provided by the Joint Ministerial Working Group on Welfare, which is supplemented as necessary by ad hoc Ministerial discussions. At senior official level, each Government has observer status on the other’s monthly Devolution Programme Board. At working level, both Governments have teams dedicated to the transition to the new system, and contact at official level is constant.

7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made on updating the timetable for the migration of people in receipt attendance allowance to disability assistance for older people in Scotland under the (a) Scotland Act 2016 and (b) Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018.

These are matters for the Scottish Government, with which my Department works closely.

7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made on updating the timetable for the migration of people in receipt of carer’s allowance to carer’s assistance in Scotland under the (a) Scotland Act 2016 and (b) Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018.

These are matters for the Scottish Government, with which my Department works closely.

7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Scotland Act 2016 and Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018, what progress her Department has made on an updated timetable for the migration of individuals in receipt of personal independence payment to disability assistance for working age people in Scotland.

These are matters for the Scottish Government, with which my Department works closely.

7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Scotland Act 2016 and Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018, what progress her Department has made on an updated timetable for the migration of individuals in receipt of disability living allowance to disability assistance for children and young people in Scotland.

These are matters for the Scottish Government, with which my Department works closely.

7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Scotland Act 2016 and Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018, what progress her Department has made on an updated timetable for the migration of individuals in receipt of industrial injuries disablement benefit to employment injury assistance in Scotland.

These are matters for the Scottish Government, with which my Department works closely.

29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, further to the High Court judgment in the case of Connor v SSWP, how many people have had employment and support allowance payments withheld while awaiting a mandatory reconsideration of her Department's decision to refuse that benefit since 2013.

In law there is no entitlement to Employment and Support Allowance during the Mandatory Reconsideration period, therefore benefit is not being withheld.

24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average length of time taken was for her Department to undertake a mandatory reconsideration of its decision to refuse employment and support allowance in each year since 2013.

Statistics on Employment and Support Allowance Work Capability Assessment (WCA) Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) clearance times by reason for raising an MR are published quarterly and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

The relevant table is: ESA Work Capability Assessments – Mandatory Reconsideration Clearances – Table 4, Median Clearance Times by Date of Decision.

Guidance for users is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

The MR average clearance times is derived using calendar days by calculating the median of the time taken from the date the Benefit Centre (BC) has decided the MR to be valid, having considered any new information, until the date the decision is cleared by the decision maker at the Dispute Resolution Team (DRT).

24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether (a) she or (b) the Minister of State for Disabled People authorised her Department’s decision to contest Mr Connor’s legal challenge against its policy of withholding payment of employment and support allowance while it determines a request for mandatory reconsideration of that benefit.

The Department for Work and Pensions has not appealed against the High Court judgment in the case of Connor v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and is in the process of implementing the judgment. Claimants who are entitled to ESA payment pending appeal will no longer need to pursue a mandatory reconsideration before lodging an appeal at the First-tier Tribunal.

As with all such challenges against a departmental policy, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is the Respondent.

24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the High Court judgment in the case of Connor v SSWP, if she will take steps to ensure that people who have requested a mandatory reconsideration of her Department’s decision to refuse their claim for employment and support allowance (ESA) are paid the assessment rate of ESA while they await the outcome of that mandatory reconsideration.

The Department for Work and Pensions has not appealed against the High Court judgment in the case of Connor v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and is in the process of implementing the judgment. Claimants who are entitled to ESA payment pending appeal will no longer need to pursue a mandatory reconsideration before lodging an appeal at the First-tier Tribunal.

As with all such challenges against a departmental policy, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is the Respondent.

22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the cost to the public purse has been of the Access to Work scheme in each year since 2010.

The 2019/20 Access to Work statistics show that 43,000 people with disabilities and health conditions are receiving tailored and flexible support to do their job.

During this period Access to Work has continued to expand its reach to underrepresented groups including those with Mental Health conditions, seeing the highest ever number of people approved for support: up 95% on the previous year.

Full details of Access to Work expenditure is published here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/915547/access-to-work-statistics-april-2007-to-march-2020-tables.ods

10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 13 July 2020 to Question 72774 on Universal Credit, what estimate her Department has made of the cost of providing information on the number of payments of financial redress her Department has made since March 2019 to claimants who moved from legacy benefits to universal credit on her Department's advice and became worse off.

When considering our response to PQ 72774, the Department undertook a sampling exercise that indicated an estimated cost in excess of £850 for providing the requested data. For this reason, the Department considered that the information could only be provided at a disproportionate cost.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 4 June 2020 to Question 52243 on Social Security Benefits: Terminal Illness, when her Department plans to publish the outcome of the review into how the benefits system supports people who are terminally ill, announced in July 2019.

As I stated during recent oral questions [Hansard, 14 September 2020, Column 3]. The evaluation took longer due to covid-19. It has shown that there are three themes: the need to change the six-month rule, to improve consistency and to raise awareness of the support. The Department is working at pace across government to bring forward proposals.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister for Disabled People to the Work and Pensions Committee on 29 October 2014, Qq275-6, what estimate she has made of the contribution to the public purse for every £1 spent on the Access to Work programme.

Access to Work is a demand-led, discretionary grant to de-risk the recruitment and retention of disabled people for employers. The grant contributes to the disability related extra costs of working faced by disabled people and those with a health condition that are beyond reasonable adjustment, but it does not replace an employer’s duty under the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments. Access to Work is a popular and well regarded programme, and in 2018/19 the official Access to Work statistics illustrated the increase in support provided by Access to Work, as the highest ever number of people received payments, 36,240, up 7% on 17/18. Expenditure increased to £129.1 million, equating to a 14% increase in real terms expenditure on 17/18.

A number of studies have explored various aspects of Access to Work but no definitive impact evaluation has taken place. Being in work brings advantages for disabled people, including independence, income, improved confidence, social interaction and mental health and wellbeing, and if the benefits of the Access to Work programme exceed its costs the whole economy will benefit from a financial boost. The 2018 Access to Work Qualitative Research found that the support provided was especially valued and often came at a point of crisis when people might otherwise have fallen out of work. But currently there is no robust cost benefit analysis available, the 2018 ‘Feasibility of Evaluating the Impact of the Access to Work Programme’ Report (please see link below), found that to pursue this analysis would be expensive and require a very large survey sampling exercise which is not feasible at present.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/756442/Feasibility_of_evaluating_the_impact_of_the_Access_to_Work_programme.pdf

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to monitor the effect of the ending of the shielding programme on levels of employment among disabled and vulnerable people.

We are monitoring the employment of a number of groups, including disabled people, using the quarterly Labour Force Survey along with other relevant sources throughout the pandemic. There will however be a lag until the data needed to fully assess any effects of easing lockdown restrictions on disabled and vulnerable people’s employment becomes available. We do know from Opinions and Lifestyle Survey * that lower proportions of disabled people report that COVID-19 has affected their job in comparison to non-disabled respondents (27.1% vs 50.2%). This may reflect a lower proportion of disabled people are in work. We will continue to monitor these issues alongside the wider labour market experiences of both disabled and vulnerable people.

When out of work, we know that disabled people tend to find it more difficult to get jobs. That is why we are actively working on policies to prevent ill-health related job losses, and to provide specific employment support for disabled people both in and out of work.

* https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/disability/articles/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsondisabledpeopleingreatbritain/may2020

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how her Department monitors whether disabled workers receive the reasonable adjustments that they are entitled to under the Equality Act 2010 as distinct from the adjustments that her Department funds through the Access to Work scheme; and whether her Department collects or holds data that provides assurance that disabled workers receive those reasonable adjustments in a timely manner.

Periodically, the Department undertakes research which enables activity on workplace adjustments to be examined. For example, a 2014 survey of employees found that 61 per cent of those who reported having a health condition and/or a sickness absence lasting more than two weeks had received workplace adjustments of some kind.

Among employees who had adjustments made, just over half (55 per cent) reported that their employer made adjustments as soon as they were made aware of their health condition. A further third (33 per cent) of employees reported that their employer did not make adjustments until after a period of sickness absence, and 20 per cent only after their GP recommended changes.

Source: Health and wellbeing at work: a survey of employees, 2014. Research Report 901. DWP; 2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-and-wellbeing-at-work-survey-of-employees

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of trends in the (a) number and (b) types of applications to the Access to Work scheme since March 2020 as a result of the imposition of covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Statistical information about Access to Work is published annually. The most recent data were published in September 2019 and can be viewed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/access-to-work-statistics-april-2007-to-march-2019

The next set of statistics are due to be published in September 2020, and will cover the twelve months to March 2020.

Under the Code of Practice for Statistics, the figures for 2020/21 cannot be released ahead of the official publication date. For this reason, it is not possible to provide figures for the period you have requested.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of whether there is a need to increase funding for the Access to Work scheme in response to the increase in the volume of applications to that scheme as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Access to Work is a demand-led scheme. The measures that DWP has put in place during the COVID-19 outbreak have allowed the scheme to continue to support both existing and new customers.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people who applied to the Access to Work scheme in the last 12 months (a) classified themselves as disabled or with a long-term health condition, (b) were in full-time employment at the time of their application and (c) were asking to work from home as part of their Access to Work support; how many of those applicants received some or all of the support that they asked for; and what the average time frame was for the delivery of that support.

Statistical information about Access to Work is published annually. The most recent data were published in September 2019 and can be viewed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/access-to-work-statistics-april-2007-to-march-2019.

The next set of statistics are due to be published in September 2020, and will cover the twelve months to March 2020. Under the Code of Practice for Statistics the figures for 2020/21 cannot be released ahead of the official publication of the Access to Work Statistics. For this reason, it is not possible to provide figures for the period you have requested.

(a) Access to Work does not ask applicants whether they are in full time work. The employment criterion for eligibility is that the applicant has a paid job or is about to start or return to one.

(b) Access to Work does not ask applicants to specify whether they would describe themselves as a disabled person. The eligibility criteria for the scheme include the requirement that the applicant is affected by a health condition or disability that makes it hard for them to do parts of their job or get to and from work. The annual published statistics report the number of people who have received at least one Access to Work payment in a given financial year, including a breakdown by primary medical condition. More detail about the eligibility criteria for Access to Work may be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work/eligibility

(c) The data requested regarding how many Access to Work customers ask to work from home are not centrally held.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate her Department has made of the average length of time taken by her Department to process an Access to Work scheme application from a disabled person; and what the longest average length of time taken by her Department has been to process an Access to Work scheme application from a disabled person since 19 December 2019.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to respond to increases in the volume of claims for the Access to Work grant scheme as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

In recognition of the challenges COVID-19 may present, Access to Work has introduced a number of measures to support disabled people whether they are working from home, or returning to their workplaces. The new Blended Offer complements support provided by employers and contains a flexible mix of support, including support to work from more than one location, a package of home working support which can be blended with workplace support, mental health support for people returning to work after a period of furlough or shielding, travel-to-work support where the individual’s disability means social distancing on public transport is too risky and the prioritisation of applications from disabled people in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Group.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information her Department holds on what the average length of time is for a worker applying for reasonable adjustments to receive a response to that request in the last 12 months.

We do not hold the information requested.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people applied for reasonable adjustments from their employer in the last 12 months; and what number and proportion of those applying for reasonable adjustments were (a) granted those adjustments and (b) did not receive a response from their employer.

We do not hold the information requested.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance her Department has issued to employers on reasonable adjustments for disabled people in the event that employees are working from home as a result of the Government's covid-19 guidance during the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the Hon. Members to question 62298 answered by my Hon. Friend the Minster for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets on 30th June. https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-06-22/62298/

I can further advise, DWP’s new Employer Help site provides advice on employment of disabled people, explaining how Access to Work and Disability Confident can help businesses to ensure their practices are fair and inclusive.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 13 May 2020 to Question 43084, how many requests for mandatory reconsideration of (a) employment support allowance and (b) personal independence payment were completed by her Department in (i) March, (ii) April and (iii) May 2020.

Statistics on Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) clearances for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Work Capability Assessments (WCA) covering the period up to April 2020 are published and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/jsf/login.xhtml

Guidance for users is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Statistics for May 2020 are due to published in September 2020.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 13 May 2020 to Question 43084, how many requests for mandatory reconsideration of universal credit were completed by her Department in May 2020.

In 2019 there were 144,790 completed Universal Credit (UC) Mandatory Reconsiderations (MR). The information requested on the issue the UC MRs relate to, is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

In May 2020 there were 12,740 completed UC MRs.

This information is for Great Britain and is rounded to the nearest 10.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will place in the Library each internal memorandum circulated to Departmental staff in relation to applications and mandatory reconsiderations of personal independence payments since 1 March 2020.

The Department continues to engage and update stakeholders on support for people with a health condition or disability during the Covid-19 pandemic.

There is no plan to place each internal memorandum in the Library.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit mandatory reconsiderations were processed in 2019, by the main issue they related to.

In 2019 there were 144,790 completed Universal Credit (UC) Mandatory Reconsiderations (MR). The information requested on the issue the UC MRs relate to, is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

In May 2020 there were 12,740 completed UC MRs.

This information is for Great Britain and is rounded to the nearest 10.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 22 May 2020 to Question 47371, for what reasons personal independence payment (PIP) claimants whose award was made following an appeal to the First Tier Tribunal and was due to expire before 24 March were excluded from the policy of automatically extending PIP awards in line with her Department's press release entitled Coronavirus Update – Benefits reviews and reassessments suspended.

As previously announced, since 24 March the Department has been extending awards of Personal Independence Payment due to end from that date onwards, regardless of whether the final decision on the award was made by a Case Manager or a Tribunal.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy that existing disability living allowance recipients who are awarded a higher rate of Mobility or Daily Living allowance after applying for personal independence payment (PIP) because their health has deteriorated are awarded those higher rates from the date of their PIP application.

When existing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) recipients begin to get paid a new award of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) a single rule is applied, which is the subject of statutory Regulations, regardless of their circumstances or the outcome of the claim. PIP is a different benefit to DLA and the statutory arrangements maintain the level of DLA paid while the claim to PIP is being processed to ensure continuity of payment. The arrangements also provide for a minimum four week run on to provide additional, limited support to those seeing a decrease in financial support. For those entitled to PIP, the rules also operate to allow a smooth transition without running the risk of over or underpaying anyone and represent the fairest outcomes for the majority of claimants going through the process of being reassessed for PIP.

These arrangements have been in place since DLA to PIP reassessment activity commenced from October 2013 and we have no plans to change them.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to publish data on the effectiveness of the legacy benefits system in responding to increased demand for work capability assessments including the (a) number of referrals for work capability assessments and (b) average length of time between notification of a health condition and referral for that work capability assessment being made during the covid-19 outbreak.

Statistics on Employment and Support Allowance Work Capability Assessment (WCA) outcomes are published quarterly. The latest figures covering a) the number and outcome of completed initial and repeat WCAs by month of claim up to September 2019 and b) the median end-to-end clearance time which includes ‘claim registration to WCA referral’ by month of clearance up to December 2019 can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/employment-and-support-allowance-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessment

Additional breakdowns of the ESA WCA figures can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance for users is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

The statistics for completed assessments to March 2020 and June 2020 will be published in September and December 2020 respectively and there are currently no plans to publish any additional statistics in those releases.

The following special points should be noted:

We have no plans to publish any additional statistics beyond the already agreed ESA WCA publication schedule.

The published statistics include:

a) WCA numbers and outcomes for completed initial and repeat assessments up to end of December 2019;

b) WCA outcomes by claim start date (up to September 2019) or WCA date (up to December 2019). WCA outcome information is only published for referrals that have completed the WCA and have an outcome;

c) Median end-to-end clearance time which includes ‘claim registration to WCA referral’ by month of clearance up to December 2019. The definition is shown below:

‘Claim registration to WCA referral' measures the time taken from claim registration date to the case's referral date to the WCA assessment provider. Only claims that have completed the WCA process and have an outcome are included. The claim registration date is the date the claimant has first contact with the Department when making a claim to ESA. Referral start date is the date the claimant is referred to the healthcare provider for assessment.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the financial effect of the covid-19 lockdown restrictions on people who are (a) shielding, (b) isolating with someone who is shielding and (c) social distancing as a result of being clinically vulnerable.

The public health guidance is clear. People are encouraged to work from home where they can. If they cannot, they can still go to work, but need to follow the guidance, for example about social distancing and hand washing. Only those in the shielding group or who are isolating because they or someone in their household has symptoms, or are isolating because they have been contacted by the test and trace service, are advised not to go to work.

A range of support has been made available for people who cannot work. For example:

  • Employees who are unable to work because they are shielding in line with public health guidance, or who need to stay home with someone who is shielding, can be furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Those who are clinically vulnerable but not shielding are eligible for furlough on the same grounds as other employees. The decision to access the CJRS is at the employer’s discretion. The CJRS will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30 June.
  • We have introduced new provisions making Statutory Sick Pay payable from day 1 – as opposed to day 4 – where an eligible individual is sick, self-isolating or shielding.
  • People who are not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay may be able to claim Universal Credit or New Style Employment and Support Allowance, and this will include those people who are self-isolating in accordance with government guidelines.
  • We have relaxed the seven waiting days for Employment and Support Allowance for new claimants who may have coronavirus, or isolating in accordance with the government guidelines, or caring for a child (or qualifying young person) who falls into either of those categories, or those extremely vulnerable individuals who have been advised to shield because they are at high risk of severe illness, so they will be entitled from day one of their claim.
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of uprating (a) disability and (b) carer benefits to reflect potential additional costs for people who are (i) shielding and (ii) clinically vulnerable but not shielding during the covid-19 lockdown.

The personal allowance in Employment and Support Allowance was increased by 1.7% from 6 April, following the Government announcement to end the benefits freeze in November 2019. The rates of additional-needs disability benefits and of carers’ benefits, which were not subject to the benefit freeze, were increased by the same percentage. Carers on low incomes can receive around an additional £1,950 a year through the Carer’s Element in Universal Credit, and those with health conditions and disabilities can receive an additional £4,100 through the Limited Capability for Work and Work-Related Activity Element.

In addition, the Government has announced a suite of measures that can be quickly and effectively operationalised to benefit those facing the most financial disruption during the pandemic. This includes providing an uplift equivalent to £20 a week to the standard allowance in Universal Credit. The Universal Credit IT system is more flexible than the Department’s legacy systems. It also uses different technology from other DWP systems, and these older systems have complex interactions and interdependencies.

Taken together, DWP’s pandemic measures represent an injection of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system and, along with the other job and business support programmes announced by the Chancellor, represent one of the most comprehensive packages of support introduced by an advanced economy in response to COVID19.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to publish the outcome of review into how the benefits system supports people who are terminally ill, announced in July 2019.

The evaluation remains a priority for the Department. However, we are in unprecedented times and the Government’s immediate focus is on supporting people affected by Covid-19 and getting support to them as quickly as possible. We will keep stakeholders updated with developments.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department are taking to ensure applicants for disability benefits during the covid-19 outbreak are offered (a) a remote benefits assessment and (b) the choice between completing remote benefits assessment over the phone or on paper.

All face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits are currently suspended in line with public health advice. We continue to complete paper-based assessments and make recommendations based on written evidence available, where possible.

Where a case cannot be progressed by a paper-based assessment, a telephone assessment will be conducted, where appropriate to do so. This decision falls to the Health Professional, rather than the individual.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure people with mental health problems are aware of their right to have a friend, family member or support worker on a phone assessment through a conference call.

Companions are able to join the telephony assessment, as they would have done for the face-to-face assessment. This is confirmed to the individual in the initial invitation to assessment letter for all phone assessments. If choosing to request a companion, they will be added to the call by the Health Professional at the start of the assessment.

The department is committed to providing a quality, sensitive and respectful service to everyone. Individuals are encouraged to alert their assessment provider of any additional requirements they may have and providers will endeavour to meet any such reasonable requests.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will extend the temporary suspension of mandatory face-to-face assessments for benefit applications (a) beyond 17 June 2020 and (b) indefinitely.

As previously announced, all face-to-face assessments for health and disability benefits were suspended from 17 March 2020 for an initial period of three months. We are currently in the process of reviewing this measure in light of the latest public health advice and will confirm next steps as soon as possible.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what mitigation her Department has put in place to ensure that hospital stays during the covid-19 outbreak period do not affect a person's benefits.

When a person aged 18 or over is admitted to hospital, any benefits and allowances they are receiving continue to be paid for 28 days.

At that stage, payment of certain benefits and additions may be suspended on the basis that the NHS is responsible for the person’s disability-related extra costs and to pay certain benefits in addition would be a duplication of public funds intended for the same purpose. Provided the person’s circumstances are unchanged, payment of the benefits and additions in question are reinstated as soon as the person is discharged. There is no need for the person to re-apply for the benefits.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the reasons for the increase in the number of claimants who are in receipt of Severe Disability Premium making a claim for universal in error despite the existence of the Severe Disability Premium gateway.

The Department is not aware of any increase in claims to Universal Credit from those entitled to the Severe Disability Premium, nor do we hold information on the number of people who have made a claim to Universal Credit within the last 3 months despite the Severe Disability Premium gateway being in place. This information could not be provided without disproportionate cost.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people with a Severe Disability Premium have made a claim for universal credit despite the existence of the Severe Disability Premium gateway in the each of the past three months.

The Department is not aware of any increase in claims to Universal Credit from those entitled to the Severe Disability Premium, nor do we hold information on the number of people who have made a claim to Universal Credit within the last 3 months despite the Severe Disability Premium gateway being in place. This information could not be provided without disproportionate cost.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many new claims for personal independence payment have been rejected since 1 March 2020.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of new personal independence payment claims carried out over the phone have been rejected since 1 March 2020.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to tackle the under-payment errors in benefits.

The Department understands the importance of paying the right money to each of its customers and will continue to tackle the causes of underpayments, as part of the wider approach to ensure claimants are paid the amount that they are entitled to.

The majority of underpayments arise through claimants failing to correctly report their circumstances to the Department. We work hard to make it as easy as possible for claimants to understand their obligations.

We also make use of data matching which allows us to identify potential discrepancies in claims. This allows us to ensure these claims are updated, and that claimants receive their correct entitlement.

In addition, the Department is focused on reducing Departmental error. Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Department’s Quality Assurance Team reviewed a sample of all cases to help better understand the cause of Departmental error and identify the highest risk errors so action could be taken. However, in order to deal with the significant increase in the number of claims being made for Universal Credit and other benefits, many of these staff were redeployed to support benefit paying operations. This work will recommence as soon as resources allow.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the press release entitled Coronavirus update - benefit reviews and reassessments suspended, published by her Department on 23 March 2020, for what reasons applications for extensions of personal independence payments awards made by the First Tier Tribunal are not eligible for automatic extension.

Since 24 March the Department has been extending awards of PIP due to end from that date onwards, regardless of whether the final decision on the award was made by a Case Manager or a Tribunal.

There were a small number of claimants who had previously been awarded short-term fixed awards with no review who had made subsequent new claims to PIP, where safeguards in the system originally prevented us from extending their previous award. I can however now confirm that we have amended the system to correct this and all claimants whose awards were due to end or due for review from 24th March onwards will have had their benefit extended.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many personal independence payment claimants have been refused a three month extension of their award on the basis that it was made by the First Tier Tribunal since 23 March 2020.

Since 24 March the Department has been extending awards of PIP due to end from that date onwards, regardless of whether the final decision on the award was made by a Case Manager or a Tribunal.

There were a small number of claimants who had previously been awarded short-term fixed awards with no review who had made subsequent new claims to PIP, where safeguards in the system originally prevented us from extending their previous award. I can however now confirm that we have amended the system to correct this and all claimants whose awards were due to end or due for review from 24th March onwards will have had their benefit extended.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she has taken to ensure that disabled people have received support to work from home through (a) Access to Work and (b) other measures since 23 March 2020.

DWP remains committed to ensuring disabled people continue to receive support they need to move into and maintain employment while working from home through Access to Work. Access to Work is working with employers to ensure assistive technology can be transported from the workplace to support home working. And where support cannot be removed from the workplace, Access to Work will work with the disabled person to consider new adjustments or support adaptations to standard equipment.

During COVID-19 Access to Work has introduced various measures to further support disabled people. These include:

  • Accepting email claim forms from customers who request this as a reasonable adjustment
  • Accepting employer and support worker signatures via email;
  • Extending Support Worker awards that are coming to an end by 6 months;
  • Extending the timeframe customers have to submit payment claim forms to 9 months;
  • Adapting the way our assessments are undertaken to support customers who don’t know what support they need and/or where coping strategies are required as part of the Mental Health Support Service;
  • Flexing support and supporting the moving of special aids and equipment from the workplace to home, and providing new equipment for employees working from home where necessary;
  • Prioritising new applications from key workers and those with jobs starting within the next 4 weeks.
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many disabled people have made new claims for universal credit since 23 March 2020.

Currently we do not report aggregate information about whether or not a claimant has a disability or a specific health condition and to collate and quality assure this information would incur disproportionate costs. We do not store whether a claimant meets the legal definition of having a disability in a way that is readily available to analysts, however claimants are invited to provide The Department with the details of any health conditions that restrict their ability to work and this information, when verified, will be used to tailor the available support.

The Department takes seriously the need to support claimants with a disability. We are committed to supporting those with disabilities or those with a restricted ability to work, by ensuring that claimants are treated with the utmost sensitivity and care, when making a claim to Universal Credit. Universal Credit provides enhanced, personalised support for all claimants, including those with disabilities. Our work coaches receive training to ensure they can offer effective support to different claimant groups. This enables them to provide tailored support and gain an excellent understanding of whether their claimants have conditions that require extra support.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many disabled people are (a) in receipt of universal credit, (b) have received the coronavirus uplift to universal credit and (c) are in receipt of (i) Employment and Support Allowance, (ii) Housing Benefit and (iii) Jobseekers’ Allowance.

The information for Employment & Support Allowance, Housing Benefit and Jobseeker’s Allowance is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. However, figures are available by medical condition for Employment and Support Allowance claimants, and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/.

The Department does not hold information on the disability status of Universal Credit claimants. However, figures are available at a household level for Universal Credit claims containing a ‘Limited Capability for Work element’, and can be found at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/.

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to publish the outcome of its review on how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their life and living with severe health conditions.
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he has taken to ensure that benefits helplines are fully accessible to people with physical and learning disabilities.

If customers have difficulties using the phone, they can use the following services:

  • Relay UK which is a national service provided by BT that helps people with hearing and speech difficulties communicate with people over the phone. This can be used to contact all of our benefit and pension services.
  • Textphone which is available for all benefits and pensions services. The textphone number is given with the other contact details in benefits and pensions guides.
  • Video Relay Service (VRS) which is available to customers claiming Universal Credit, in disability benefits and Access to Work. By October we will further extend VRS into all DWP services. VRS enables British Sign Language (BSL) users to contact DWP via a BSL interpreter. The customer uses a video link accessed through their own computer, smartphone or tablet. The interpreter will then speak to a DWP agent relaying the conversation by phone. There is no need for anyone to be in the same location and the customer does not have to book the service in advance. This means that the customer and DWP agent can have a telephone conversation in real time.

If customers cannot use these, they can ask for:

  • communication by email –if they tell us this is because of their disability or health condition.
  • support from a family member, a friend or someone else such as a welfare rights adviser – as long as they have the customer’s permission to help them.
  • a home visit.
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress she has made on the National Disability Strategy; and what the timeframe is for that strategy to be published.

This remains a priority for the department, and we will plan the extensive stakeholder engagement once it is safe to do so.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data her Department holds on the average processing time for new personal independence payment claims for each month from April 2019 to April 2020 in (a) Lewisham Deptford, (b) London and (c) the UK.

Data on the average processing time (Average Actual Clearance Time) for new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims for each month from April 2019 to January 2020 (the latest available data) in Great Britain and broken down by region (including London) is included in the Data Tables:

Data tables: PIP award rates, clearance/outstanding times, and tracking of initial decisions following a PIP assessment through to Mandatory Reconsiderations or Appeals, to January 2020 (XLS)” which are published here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/personal-independence-payment-april-2013-to-january-2020

Data for Lewisham Deptford is presented in the table below.

Table: PIP Average Actual Clearance Times (Median number of weeks) from registration to DWP decision for New Claims (Normal Rules) for Lewisham Deptford, April 2019 to January 2020.

Month

Median Number of Weeks

Apr-19

17

May-19

-

Jun-19

17

Jul-19

-

Aug-19

20

Sep-19

14

Oct-19

15

Nov-19

18

Dec-19

-

Jan-20

20

Source: PIP Computer System claimant records.

Notes:

1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest whole number of weeks.

2. The status of claims as 'normal rules' and 'new claim' is shown as at the point of the DWP decision, in accordance with the measure. It is possible for claims to transition between normal/special rules and new claims/reassessments during the course of the claimant journey.

3. The figures in the table are the average clearance time of claims cleared within that calendar month.

4. The median time is the middle value if you were to order all the times within the distribution from lowest value to highest value. The median is presented here instead of the mean because the mean can be unduly affected by outlying cases (e.g. cases where the person has been hard to reach due to being in prison, hospital, failed to attend the assessment on numerous occasions etc.)

5. The 'Registration to DWP decision' clearance time is measured as the average time between the date of registration of the claim and the date of the DWP decision to either award or disallow the claim. It does not include claims that were withdrawn by the claimant or claims that were disallowed by DWP pre-referral to the Assessment Providers (e.g. for failure to meet basic eligibility criteria or failure to return the Part 2 form within the time limit).

6. '-' Fewer than 50 claims in this category.

The information requested for February to April 2020 is not yet readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. It is due for future publication in the PIP Quarterly Official Statistics which will be released on 11 June 2020.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many new personal independence payment claims were accepted (a) with and (b) without a telephone assessment in each week since 1 March 2020.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Serious Case Panel review into the death of Errol Brown has been concluded; and whether her Department plans to publish the conclusions of that review.

We are absolutely committed to improving our services, especially to the most vulnerable, which is why we have set up the Serious Case Panel. The panel does not consider individual cases and instead takes themes and systemic issues that come out of various case reviews to make recommendations for improvements.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many prevention of future deaths reports have been submitted by coroners to her Department in each of the last 10 years.

The Department established the coroner focal point in March 2016, aiming to provide a single point of entry for coroner communications. Before this point there were multiple routes by which coroners might contact the department, including locally. To try to collate information over the past 10 years would require going out to all business areas for historical information which may not be comprehensive and would incur disproportionate cost. The figures available are below in table 1.

Table 1

Year

Number of Prevention of Future Death reports received

2019

1

2018

0

2017

0

2016

1

2015

1

2014

1

N.B. This does not include PFDs for the Health and Safety Executive.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish all prevention of future deaths reports submitted to her Department since 2013.

DWP considers the information confidential and it is the Chief Coroner’s decision whether to publish these reports. Published reports are available on the judiciary.uk website, and details of the procedures are set out in Regulations 28 and 29, Coroners (Investigations) Regulations 2013.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what additional resources her Department is allocating to ensure the timely processing of new claims for universal credit during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is doing all we can to deal with exceptional levels of demand. Our priority is ensuring people get their benefit payments and that we can continue to support those who need them most. The Department has mobilised robust business continuity plans to ensure we can do just that. We are already redeploying 10,000 staff from other parts of DWP and are also recruiting additional staff to assist with the processing of claims, including support from other government departments and the private sector.

We have also introduced new processes to ease pressure on waiting times for identity verification over the phone and other processes. People making new claims for Universal Credit no longer need to call the Department as part of the process. Once they have completed their online application we will call them if we need to check any of the information they have given us

The Universal Credit system is facing extraordinary pressures exerted by the unprecedented volume of new claims, but it is standing up to this challenge. The agility of the system means that capacity can be built rapidly and this has enabled it to cope in the face of demand which would have overwhelmed the complex legacy benefit regime.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government plans to extend eligibility for universal credit to full-time students in higher education during the covid-19 pandemic.

Students who do not ordinarily have entitlement to Universal Credit (UC) and who receive a maintenance loan or grant through the student finance system, will continue to be able to draw upon this financial support until the end of this academic year.

Those who do not receive student finance and who would ordinarily not have entitlement to UC, such as those undertaking a part-time course which would otherwise not be considered as compatible with the requirements for them to look for and be available for work, will have entitlement to UC. We have disapplied UC and both legacy and new style JSA work preparation, work search and availability requirements and related sanctions. This will initially be for a three-month period. After three months, consideration will be given as to whether a further extension is required.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of local housing allowance rates in (a) the London Borough of Lewisham, (b) London and (c) England.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) determines the maximum financial support available for renters in the private rented sector. In response to COVID-19, this Department has increased LHA rates to the 30th percentile of local market rents from April for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants, giving additional financial support for private renters.

All LHA rates are now at the 30th percentile including those in the London Borough of Lewisham, with the exception of 15 LHA rates in Central and Inner London where the national maximum caps continue to apply. The national caps have also been increased and are now based on the Outer London LHA rate plus 20%.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 4 November 2019 to Question 5467 on Loneliness, whether her Department has published the refreshed government guidance on the Family Test.

We have been working very closely with our cross-government Family Test Network, including officials from DCMS on the refreshed guidance on applying the Family Test. We intend to make the improved guidance available by March 2020.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people in South East London CCG were waiting 52 weeks or more for (a) hip and (b) knee replacement surgery in each month from February 2020 to July 2021.

The number of people waiting for hip and knee replacements is not captured separately but is a sub-set of trauma and orthopaedic data.

The number of people in South East London CCG waiting 18 weeks or more or 52 weeks or more for trauma and orthopaedic treatments in each month from February 2020 to July 2021 has been presented in the table below.

Data is only available from April 2020 as this was the point that the South East London CCG was formed.

Number of patients waiting for trauma and orthopaedic treatment (includes hip and knee replacements) for the South East London CCG

Date

18+ week waiters

52+ week waiters

February 2020

-

-

March 2020

-

-

April 2020

5,012

148

May 2020

6,168

294

June 2020

7,930

521

July 2020

8,932

690

August 2020

7,922

746

September 2020

6,345

753

October 2020

4,958

663

November 2020

4,061

650

December 2020

3,830

759

January 2021

4,490

1,078

February 2021

5,559

1,422

March 2021

6,257

1,490

April 2021

6,730

1,248

May 2021

6,106

1,056

June 2021

5,792

979

July 2021

5,482

803

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people in South East London CCG were waiting 18 weeks or more for (a) hip and (b) knee replacement surgery in each month from February 2020 to July 2021.

The number of people waiting for hip and knee replacements is not captured separately but is a sub-set of trauma and orthopaedic data.

The number of people in South East London CCG waiting 18 weeks or more or 52 weeks or more for trauma and orthopaedic treatments in each month from February 2020 to July 2021 has been presented in the table below.

Data is only available from April 2020 as this was the point that the South East London CCG was formed.

Number of patients waiting for trauma and orthopaedic treatment (includes hip and knee replacements) for the South East London CCG

Date

18+ week waiters

52+ week waiters

February 2020

-

-

March 2020

-

-

April 2020

5,012

148

May 2020

6,168

294

June 2020

7,930

521

July 2020

8,932

690

August 2020

7,922

746

September 2020

6,345

753

October 2020

4,958

663

November 2020

4,061

650

December 2020

3,830

759

January 2021

4,490

1,078

February 2021

5,559

1,422

March 2021

6,257

1,490

April 2021

6,730

1,248

May 2021

6,106

1,056

June 2021

5,792

979

July 2021

5,482

803

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to ensure that medical practitioners cease to recommend graded exercise therapy to myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome patients following the publication of the updated NICE guidelines on myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome.

The Department has made no assessment. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for developing authoritative, evidence-based guidance for the health and care system. NICE published its updated guideline on the diagnosis and management of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) on 29 October. The updated guideline does not recommend the use of graded exercise therapy in the management of ME/CFS. NICE’s full guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng206

NICE’s guideline describe best practice and should be taken fully into account in the care and treatment of individual patients. However, it is not mandatory and do not override a medical practitioner’s clinical judgement.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the benefits and dis-benefits of graded exercise therapy for myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome patients.

The Department has made no assessment. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for developing authoritative, evidence-based guidance for the health and care system. NICE published its updated guideline on the diagnosis and management of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) on 29 October. The updated guideline does not recommend the use of graded exercise therapy in the management of ME/CFS. NICE’s full guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng206

NICE’s guideline describe best practice and should be taken fully into account in the care and treatment of individual patients. However, it is not mandatory and do not override a medical practitioner’s clinical judgement.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to put in place a new reporting system to enable myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome patients to report harms resulting from graded exercise therapy following the publication of the updated NICE guidelines on myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome.

There are no plans to put in place a new reporting system to enable myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) patients to report harms resulting from graded exercise therapy. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s updated guideline does not recommend the use of graded exercise therapy in the management of ME/CFS and clinicians are expected to take this recommendation fully into account in the care and treatment of individual patients.

All patients have the right to make a complaint about any aspect of National Health Service care, treatment or service, and this is firmly written into the NHS Constitution. Most hospitals have a Patient Advice and Liaison Service which can be contacted if there is a problem with the treatment or care received while in hospital.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to protect patients from (a) private health and (b) social care companies that have been found guilty of neglecting patients.

Under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 all providers of regulated activities, including National Health Service and independent providers, must register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and follow a set of fundamental standards of safety and quality. The CQC uses its enforcement powers to address failings in poor care and to remove organisations that are not meeting the fundamental standards of care from the provider marketplace. The enforcement action can range from issuing cautions, fines to prosecuting cases where people are harmed as a result of neglect or placed in danger of harm.

In any setting, local authorities have a statutory duty to safeguard adults with care and support needs and should take swift action to investigate where anyone alleges poor care, abuse or neglect. The Health and Care Bill will introduce a new duty for the CQC to assess local authorities’ delivery of their adult social care duties, including safeguarding. The Department is working closely with the CQC and other key stakeholders to design a system to ensure the best possible outcomes for care users.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to provide high quality care within communities for vulnerable people.

Local authorities are best placed to understand and plan the care and support needs of their local populations and must ensure a diverse range of quality, sustainable care and support services are provided.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) commission high quality community health services to meet health needs of people living at home, helping recovery or maximising health and wellbeing for people with disability or long-term conditions, including nursing care. CCGs must also commission specialist health services for people with learning disabilities and mental health conditions. All service must be delivered to address health inequalities and provide access for marginalised and vulnerable groups.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has taken steps to introduce mandatory basic training for those working in private healthcare with people with (a) learning disabilities and (b) autism.

There is a mandatory requirement under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 for all Care Quality Commission regulated providers, including those in private healthcare, to ensure that their employees have the appropriate support, training, professional development, supervision and appraisal necessary to carry out the duties they are employed to perform.

As set out in ‘‘Right to be heard’: The Government’s response to the consultation on learning disability and autism training for health and care staff’ published in 2019, we have allocated £1.4 million to develop and trial the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training in learning disability and autism for all health and social care staff. This training is intended to ensure that health and social care staff have the skills and knowledge to provide safe, compassionate and informed care.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what resources his Department plans to provide to clinically extremely vulnerable people to improve their awareness of rates of covid-19 in their community; and what steps his Department is taking to protect the health and wellbeing of those people since the end of covid-19 shielding guidance.

There are no plans to provide specific resources. However, more information about the rates of COVID-19 in the last seven days in local authority areas is available at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/

The COVID-19 vaccination programme is playing a key role in protecting the health and wellbeing of people formerly considered as clinically extremely vulnerable, most of who will be well protected by the vaccine. The vast majority of people who were on the Shielded Patient List will also be eligible for a booster vaccine to help maintain their protection against severe COVID-19. In addition, a range of mental health and wellbeing support is available to everyone, including those previously considered as clinically extremely vulnerable.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of reports of inappropriate behaviour from G4S staff assigned to UK quarantine hotels housing refugees from Afghanistan.

We have a dedicated complaints team which received one such complaint which did not involve security staff. However, we regularly meet with security companies to ensure all staff adhere to the highest professional standards. It is a requirement that our contracted security staff have passed the Security Industry Accreditation process. If staff fall below these standards, we demand an immediate investigation by the company, including police involvement where necessary, resulting in the suspension and/or dismissal of individuals where appropriate.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 12 July 2021 to Question 28267, on DNACPR Decisions, whether the terms of reference and meeting summaries of the Ministerial Oversight Group have now been published.

The terms of reference and first meeting summary note have been published at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/ministerial-oversight-group-on-do-not-attempt-cardiopulmonary-resuscitation-dnacpr-decisions

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued on the blood tube shortage to (a) GPs and (b) the NHS on how to prioritise patients' blood tests to ensure a parity in service across the country.

Guidance has been issued to the National Health Service on 10 August recommending actions for medical directors, nursing directors, general practitioners and pathology laboratories to optimise resources for pathology laboratory work. Further guidance was issued on 26 August advising of anticipated short-term shortages on certain product types and how to safely reduce demand of all tubes in order that clinically urgent testing can continue.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the availability of blood test tubes.

We have secured tens of millions of additional blood test tubes, including importing additional supplies from the European Union and the United States of America, which are now in NHS use. There continues to be stock in place to ensure clinically urgent testing continues. The Department is working closely with NHS England, the devolved administrations and the National Health Service to minimise any impact on patient care.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Lewisham, Deptford of 16 April 2021 on metabolic malodour conditions.

I replied to the hon. Member on 24 August 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the status is of the Government order for the AstraZeneca synthetic monoclonal antibody treatment which could be used as a prophylactic treatment against covid-19 for patients whose immune systems do not respond to covid-19 vaccines.

We are unable to provide the information requested on the AstraZeneca synthetic monoclonal antibody treatment as it is commercially sensitive.

The Therapeutics Taskforce and the cross-agency United Kingdom-wide group RAPID C-19 are monitoring clinical trials of monoclonal antibodies. We are in contact with a number of manufacturers and encourage others to come forward, to ensure that United Kingdom patients have access to COVID-19 therapeutics as evidence continues to emerge. The final decisions on any procurement for therapeutics will be dependent on there being evidence to support safety and efficacy, and on value for money and the licensing approval.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the efficacy of covid-19 vaccines for recipients of solid organ transplants.

Public Health England has been monitoring the effectiveness of vaccinations in clinical risk groups with immunosuppression, which includes recipients of solid organ transplants. From the evaluation of the vaccine programme, the data shows that completion of the two dose schedule correlates well with protection from both disease and severe outcomes, including hospitalisation and death.

Virus Watch, supported by the UK Research and Innovation and National Institute for Health Research COVID-19 Rapid Response initiative and NHS Test and Trace, provided information regarding patients’ antibodies and included immunocompromised patients as part of their cohort. This suggests some protection against COVID-19 but is only one measure of protection and excludes cellular immunity.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the additional risks posed by covid-19 to people in receipt of a solid organ transplant.

NHS England and NHS Improvement, NHS Blood and Transplant and transplant centres are carefully managing organ donation and transplant services. Transplants will only take place if it is safe and appropriate to do so, with transplant clinicians assessing individual cases in the current situation. As transplant patients are immunosuppressed, any risks must be minimised. Potential organ donors are tested for COVID-19 and if positive, they are not able to donate. Potential recipients are also tested when they are admitted for a possible transplant.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether anyone has been appointed to take over the responsibilities that Dr Jenny Harries held, in terms of shielding and other policies to help the clinically extremely vulnerable in her previous position as deputy chief medical officer, following her appointment as chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency and head of NHS Test and Trace in April 2021.

Senior officials oversee the development and implementation of policy drawing on clinical expertise as required.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to offer people who are immunosuppressed, but not identified as extremely clinically vulnerable, a booster covid-19 vaccination as part of the covid-19 vaccination booster programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published interim advice on a potential COVID-19 booster vaccination programme on 30 June, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-5-year-action-plan-for-antimicrobial-resistance-2019-to-2024

The JCVI advises a two staged approach, with individuals in stage one offered a booster and flu vaccine as soon as possible from September. Individuals in stage two should be offered a booster vaccine as soon as practicable after stage one, with equal emphasis on deployment of the flu vaccine where eligible. The JCVI suggests that adults aged 16 years old and over who are immunosuppressed are offered a booster vaccine in stage one.

Final decisions on the timing and scope and cohort eligibility of any COVID-19 vaccine booster programme will be confirmed once the JCVI has provided their final advice.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 2 June 2021 to Question 6381 on DNACPR Decisions, what decisions were made at the first meeting of the Ministerial Oversight Group on 8 June 2021 on the publication of the terms of reference and minutes of that group.

The terms of reference were agreed by attendees and will be published, along with meeting summaries, in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to make extra support available to (a) local authorities and (b) disabled people who hire social care support directly following the UK's departure from the EU.

Local authorities and individuals hiring social care support directly can continue to recruit staff domestically and we are supporting recruitment into the sector such as our recent national recruitment campaign highlighting the vital work care workers do. People who hire social care support directly can also access information and support from third parties such as Skills for Care and Think Local Act Personal.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on reviewing the effect of EU withdrawal and the end of free movement on social care staffing levels.

While 7% of the existing workforce identify as European Union citizens, they have been able to apply to remain in the UK under the EU settlement scheme and so we do not expect a sudden loss of this workforce. The flow of EU workers into the sector annually is small comparable to the size of the workforce; fewer than 5% of all workers joining the sector in a direct care role in 2019/20 had arrived from the EU in the previous 12 months. Therefore, we do not anticipate that the end of transition will have an immediate impact on workforce supply. We are confident that employers will be able to recruit domestically to outnumber any decreased flow of workers from the EU and we are working closely with counterparts across Government to encourage people with the right skills and values to work in the sector.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answers of 24 July to Questions 18543 and 18545 on Vision Impairment: Rehabilitation, whether specific reference to local authority tertiary rehabilitation services, as set out in Care and Support Statutory Guidance, will be included as a new responsibility for the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to monitor and inspect as part of the CQC's assessments of local authorities’ delivery of adult social care duties.

The Health and Care Bill will introduce a new duty for the Care Quality Commission to review and make an assessment of how local authorities are undertaking their adult social care duties to drive quality and outcomes for people across England. The assessment function is in the early stage of development and the Department will work with a wide range of stakeholders across the sector to inform detailed system design and practice.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the priorities will be of the newly established Best MSK Health programme; and whether that programme will include a focus on supporting people with rheumatoid arthritis to achieve disease remission.

The Best MSK Health programme was recently launched by NHS England and NHS Improvement and covers the breadth of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions, spanning primary, secondary and community services.

One of the four key rheumatology pathways in the Best MSK Health collaborative specifically addresses care for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. This pathway provides for early diagnosis and treatment for people with rheumatoid arthritis and therefore increases their prospects of achieving remission. The pathway also addresses key features in their follow-up care which will help to maintain remission, such as prompt access to clinical staff through advice lines, patient initiated follow up and access to ongoing physiotherapy, occupational therapy and psychological support.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of immunosuppressive medication on the effectiveness of covid-19 vaccinations; and whether those living with inflammatory immune-mediated conditions taking such medication should be advised to shield as a result.

The Virus Watch study, supported by NHS Test and Trace, shows a modestly reduced antibody response after one COVID-19 vaccine dose among individuals with immunosuppression, including those on immunosuppressive therapy. However, this is not a direct measure of protection and it is still early to determine impact on clinical disease or whether the antibody response remains after a complete course of vaccination.

Shielding was paused on 1 April 2021. Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to take the extra precautions provided by the Government to reduce their chance of infection and must continue to follow the current regulations.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that operational challenges do not delay the timely NICE assessment of new medicines for (a) rheumatoid arthritis, (b) axial spondylarthritis and (c) psoriatic arthritis.

We have made no such assessment. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for providing evidence-based guidance for the NHS on whether new medicines represent a clinically and cost-effective use of resources. NICE is committed to publishing draft guidance on all new medicines at the time of licensing with final guidance published within three months of licensing wherever possible. The National Health Service in England is legally required to fund medicines recommended in a NICE appraisal, usually within three months of final guidance.

NICE has recommended a number of medicines for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis for some or all of the eligible patient population, including upadacitinib for treating severe rheumatoid arthritis in December 2020 and filgotinib for treating moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis in February 2021. NICE expects to publish further guidance on treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, axial spondylarthritis and psoriatic arthritis in the next few months.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect of access to multiple innovative advanced therapies on supporting people with moderate rheumatoid arthritis to achieve disease remission.

We have made no such assessment. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for providing evidence-based guidance for the NHS on whether new medicines represent a clinically and cost-effective use of resources. NICE is committed to publishing draft guidance on all new medicines at the time of licensing with final guidance published within three months of licensing wherever possible. The National Health Service in England is legally required to fund medicines recommended in a NICE appraisal, usually within three months of final guidance.

NICE has recommended a number of medicines for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis for some or all of the eligible patient population, including upadacitinib for treating severe rheumatoid arthritis in December 2020 and filgotinib for treating moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis in February 2021. NICE expects to publish further guidance on treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, axial spondylarthritis and psoriatic arthritis in the next few months.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NICE technology appraisals have been delayed as a result of operational challenges in 2021; and if he will place in the Library a list of the affected appraisals.

The 19 topics listed as follows have been delayed as a result of operational challenges in 2021.

- Tuberous sclerosis complex (seizures) – cannabidiol;

- Waldenstrom's macroglobulinaemia – zanubrutinib;

- Head and neck cancer (untreated, metastatic squamous cell) - nivolumab (with ipilimumab);

- Breast cancer (triple negative) - pembrolizumab (neoadjuvant, with chemotherapy);

- Renal cell carcinoma (metastatic, untreated) - nivolumab (with cabozantinib);

- Multiple sclerosis (relapsing-remitting) - diroximel fumarate;

- Upadacitinib for treating active psoriatic arthritis after inadequate response to disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs);

- Gastric cancer (resect) - pembrolizumab (with chemotherapy and surgery);

- Dermatitis (atopic, moderate, severe, aged 12 and over) – upadacitinib;

- Tralokinumab for treating moderate to severe atopic dermatitis;

- Dermatitis (atopic, moderate, severe, aged 12 and over) – abrocitinib;

- Cough (refractory, chronic) – gefapixant;

- Renal cell carcinoma - pembrolizumab (adjuvant);

- Polyps (nasal), rhinosinusitis (chronic, severe) – mepolizumab;

- Ulcerative colitis (moderate, severe) – ozanimod;

- Ankylosing spondylitis (active) – upadacitinib;

- Lung cancer (non-small-cell, resected) - atezolizumab (adjuvant);

- Ankylosing spondylitis (active) – tofacitinib; and

- Hepatocellular carcinoma (advanced, treated) - cabozantinib (review of technology appraisal 582).

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Women’s Health Strategy will include a focus on the increased prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis among women; and whether that strategy will increase the tailored support available to women living with that condition.

The exact topics that will be addressed by the Women’s Health Strategy have not yet been decided. The information gathered through the call for evidence will inform the priorities, content and actions in the new Women’s Health Strategy for England.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the findings of the report Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain: February 2021 published 09 April 2021 by the Office of National Statistics that after allowing for factors such as underlying health conditions, socio-economic and geographic factors, disabled people were significantly more likely to have died from coronavirus between 24 January 2020 and the end of February 2021, what steps his Department is taking to investigate fully the causes of that increased risk of death.

New research from the Office for National Statistics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine published on 16 June 2021, which also considers deaths from COVID-19 by disability status, concludes that a combination of circumstances explain the increased risk to disabled people but more information is needed to ascertain whether the findings are robust as well as which protective and policy measures should be put in place. We will continue to monitor the latest research and draw on the latest available evidence to inform policy-making.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report by the Office for National Statistics, Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain: February 2021, published 9 April 2021, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that disabled people will be adequately protected in the event of a further wave of covid-19.

Rapid vaccine deployment is the most important means to protect people in the event of a further wave of COVID-19. We will continue to prioritise vaccines for those who are deemed to be most at risk, following the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. NHS Digital’s data shows that as of 13 June, 93.6% of the clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) population, which includes many disabled people, have been vaccinated with at least one dose. Of those, 95.7% have received a second dose.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of neonatal services are unable to allow parents to be present together for (a) any length of time, (b) four hours or less, (c) 8 hours or less and (d) 12 hours or less.

The information is not held in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of neonatal services are providing (a) unrestricted 24 hour access for both parents, (b) 24 hour access for both parents but with restrictions on how long parents can be present together, (c) 24 hour access for one parent and (d) time-limited access for both parents.

The information is not held in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to commission the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence to develop guidance and quality statements for local authority tertiary preventative services, including for specialist services such as vision rehabilitation.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) guidelines and quality standards cover the full patient pathway. NICE has issued a number of guidelines and quality standards that include recommendations that relate to local authority tertiary preventative services where relevant.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how his Department is planning to monitor the quality of local authority rehabilitation services for blind and partially sighted people across England.

Under the Care Act 2014, local authorities are responsible for making sure people who live in their areas have access to timely, high quality and appropriate adult social care services, including specialist vision rehabilitation. The forthcoming Health and Care Bill will introduce the Department’s plans to develop an enhanced assurance framework to improve adult social care oversight across England. This includes a new duty for the Care Quality Commission to review and make an assessment of local authorities’ delivery of their adult social care duties to help drive quality and outcomes for care users.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how local authority rehabilitation services, such as specialist vision rehabilitation will be included in the proposed new Health and Care Bill duty for the Care Quality Commission to assess how local authorities are meeting their adult social care duties.

Under the Care Act 2014, local authorities are responsible for making sure people who live in their areas have access to timely, high quality and appropriate adult social care services, including specialist vision rehabilitation. The forthcoming Health and Care Bill will introduce the Department’s plans to develop an enhanced assurance framework to improve adult social care oversight across England. This includes a new duty for the Care Quality Commission to review and make an assessment of local authorities’ delivery of their adult social care duties to help drive quality and outcomes for care users.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to promote physical activity programmes that can help people with arthritis stay active and prepare for surgery.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with professional stakeholders, patient organisations and lived experience groups to develop regional and system support strategies for those waiting for surgery. The focus of this work is on those with musculoskeletal conditions, including people with arthritis.

Public Health England (PHE) is also providing training and resources to support healthcare professionals to have conversations with their patients about the benefits of keeping active. The training forms part of the PHE-led Moving Medicine programme, which is available at the following link:

https://movingmedicine.ac.uk/

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Government plans to expire the Care Act easements under the Coronavirus Act 2020 as recommended in its One Year Report on the status of the non-devolved provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 published in March 2021.

A decision was made to expire the Care Act 2014 easements provision following our review of the provision in March, taking account of views from across the adult social care sector. As per the recommendation in the Coronavirus Act 2020 one-year report published in March 2021, regulations to expire the provision were laid on 21 April 2021, subject to approval by Parliament.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to respond to the letter of 11 January 2021 from the hon. Member for Lewisham Deptford on rheumatoid arthritis.

We replied to the hon. Member on 10 June 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the findings of the report entitled Locked Out: the impact of COVID-19 on neonatal care, published by Bliss in May 2021 on the increased likelihood of mental health difficulties for parents with restricted access to neonatal units, what support his Department is providing to NHS Trusts to help ensure that they can facilitate full parental presence on neonatal units.

Current guidance, published on 15 April 2021, sets out that Trusts should undertake a risk assessment, make changes to the configuration of space used to provide care, and use any available testing capacity to maximise opportunities for parents to be with their babies and to identify how to facilitate parental presence at all times of day.

NHS England and NHS Improvement has worked closely with Trusts to adopt the actions set out in current guidance, and to remove barriers which prevent Trusts being able to facilitate parental presence in neonatal units.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report by the charity Bliss, entitled Locked Out: the impact of COVID-19 on neonatal care, if he will publish a National Neonatal Roadmap to help neonatal units to return to full parent access.

Updated guidance published on 15 April 2021 is clear that parents of babies in neonatal critical care need to be involved in their baby’s care as much as possible and should not be considered as visitors, and is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/12/C1243_Supporting-pregnant-women-using-maternity-services-actions-for-providers_150421.pdf

The guidance also sets out that trusts should undertake a risk assessment, make changes to the configuration of space used to provide care and use any available testing capacity to maximise opportunities for parents to be with their babies and to identify how to facilitate parental presence at all times of day.

To facilitate full parent access in all neonatal units in England, NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked closely with trusts to adopt the actions set out in the updated guidance and to remove barriers which prevent trusts being able to facilitate parental presence in neonatal units.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 26 April 2021 to Question 185441 on the Ministerial Oversight Group for DNACPR: whether a date for the oversight group to convene has been set; and where the minutes and terms of reference of that group will be published.

The first meeting of the Ministerial Oversight Group is scheduled for 8 June 2021. Decisions on the publication of the terms of reference and minutes will be made at the first meeting of the Group.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the Visit out of Care Homes guidance states residents must self-isolate for 14 days rather than the standard 10 days.

The 14-day isolation requirement in the guidance was agreed by senior clinicians and reflects current understanding of clinical vulnerability and the potential for longer incubation periods in care home residents.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Harm of 13 April 2021, Official Report, column 281, if he will publish a timetable for the report of the ministerial oversight group considering the use of do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation decisions during the outbreak of covid-19.

Following the Care Quality Commission’s review into Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department committed to the establishment of a Ministerial Oversight Group to drive forward the report’s recommendations. The Ministerial Oversight Group will be convening in due course. The terms of reference for the Group will be agreed by all relevant stakeholders at the inaugural meeting, along with a timetable for delivery of the recommendations.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Harm of 13 April 2021, Official Report, Volume 682, Column 281, what the terms of reference will be for the ministerial oversight group considering the use of do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation decisions during the outbreak of covid-19.

Following the Care Quality Commission’s review into Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department committed to the establishment of a Ministerial Oversight Group to drive forward the report’s recommendations. The Ministerial Oversight Group will be convening in due course. The terms of reference for the Group will be agreed by all relevant stakeholders at the inaugural meeting, along with a timetable for delivery of the recommendations.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Harm of 13 April 2021, Official Report, Volume 682, Column 281, when the ministerial oversight group considering the use of do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation decisions during the outbreak of covid-19 will commence its programme of work.

Following the Care Quality Commission’s review into Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department committed to the establishment of a Ministerial Oversight Group to drive forward the report’s recommendations. The Ministerial Oversight Group will be convening in due course. The terms of reference for the Group will be agreed by all relevant stakeholders at the inaugural meeting, along with a timetable for delivery of the recommendations.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to support children who need to interpret for their parents during medical appointments.

Appropriate interpreting services should be provided to all patients requiring them and responsibility for meeting patients’ communication needs within the National Health Service rests with local providers. The NHS provides interpreting services to patients where applicable to ensure that patients are able to communicate effectively and appropriately with clinicians and other health service professionals.

NHS England’s guidance on commissioning interpretation services in primary care states that children under 16 years old should never act as interpreters, due to serious concerns around Gillick competence and safeguarding. Their guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/guidance-for-commissioners-interpreting-and-translation-services-in-primary-care.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that British Sign Language interpreters are available to people who need to access medical care.

All National Health Service organisations are required to comply with the Accessible Information Standard and meet the information and communication support needs of patients, service users, carers and parents with a disability, impairment or sensory loss, including providing British Sign Language (BSL).

NHS England and NHS Improvement have put in place several measures to ensure disabled people’s communications needs have not prevented them from receiving the care and treatment they need. This includes a BSL interpreter for NHS 111, access to interpreters, communication toolkits for staff, clear mask personal protective equipment as well as a range of easy read materials to simplify communications.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is providing to clinically extremely vulnerable people who have been unable to work from home and will be returning to their workplace once shielding pauses on 31 March 2021.

On 17 March the Government issued a letter to all clinically extremely vulnerable people on the Shielded Patient List, containing guidance about the changes from 1 April and the support available.

All employers are required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace and should be able to explain what measures they have put in place to keep their employees safe at work. The Health and Safety Executive has also published guidance on protecting vulnerable workers, including advice for employers and employees on how to talk about reducing risks in the workplace.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of (a) people with cystic fibrosis other respiratory conditions and (b) other clinically extremely vulnerable people in England have been vaccinated against covid-19.

We do not hold data on vaccination totals by specific medical condition, such as cystic fibrosis or other respiratory conditions.

NHS England and NHS Improvement do provide a weekly breakdown of data on vaccinations administered to clinically extremely vulnerable people. This information is updated on Thursdays, and can be found at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many do not attempt CPR decisions were taken annually across the health and social care sector from 2010 to 2021; and how many of those decisions were taken in each of those years without being signed off by a senior clinician.

The Department is committed to driving forward the recommendations set out in the Care Quality Commission’s report through the establishment of a Ministerial Oversight Group. This group will bring together partners across health and social care to implement improvements in Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions and ensure everyone receives the compassionate care they deserve.

The Department does not hold data on the numbers of DNACPR decisions. However, we remain clear that it is unacceptable for DNACPR decisions to be applied in a blanket fashion to any group of people and have taken continued action over the last year, alongside clinical leaders, to clarify best practice. The Adult Social Care Winter Plan reinforces that any advance care decision, including DNACPR decisions, should be fully discussed with the individual and their family where possible and appropriate, and signed by the clinician responsible for their care.

The 2020/21 General Medical Services contract Quality and Outcomes Framework includes a requirement for all DNACPR decisions for people with learning disabilities to be reviewed. We continue to monitor the situation and have invited charities to inform us where cases of inappropriate practice are identified so that action can be taken.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the CQC's report, entitled Protect, respect, connect: decisions about living and dying well during COVID-19, published on 18 March 2021.

The Department is committed to driving forward the recommendations set out in the Care Quality Commission’s report through the establishment of a Ministerial Oversight Group. This group will bring together partners across health and social care to implement improvements in Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions and ensure everyone receives the compassionate care they deserve.

The Department does not hold data on the numbers of DNACPR decisions. However, we remain clear that it is unacceptable for DNACPR decisions to be applied in a blanket fashion to any group of people and have taken continued action over the last year, alongside clinical leaders, to clarify best practice. The Adult Social Care Winter Plan reinforces that any advance care decision, including DNACPR decisions, should be fully discussed with the individual and their family where possible and appropriate, and signed by the clinician responsible for their care.

The 2020/21 General Medical Services contract Quality and Outcomes Framework includes a requirement for all DNACPR decisions for people with learning disabilities to be reviewed. We continue to monitor the situation and have invited charities to inform us where cases of inappropriate practice are identified so that action can be taken.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the CQC report, Protect, respect, connect – decisions about living and dying well during covid-19, published 18 March 2021, what steps she will take to address outstanding inappropriate or blanket do not attempt CPR decisions taken as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is committed to driving forward the recommendations set out in the Care Quality Commission’s report through the establishment of a Ministerial Oversight Group. This group will bring together partners across health and social care to implement improvements in Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions and ensure everyone receives the compassionate care they deserve.

The Department does not hold data on the numbers of DNACPR decisions. However, we remain clear that it is unacceptable for DNACPR decisions to be applied in a blanket fashion to any group of people and have taken continued action over the last year, alongside clinical leaders, to clarify best practice. The Adult Social Care Winter Plan reinforces that any advance care decision, including DNACPR decisions, should be fully discussed with the individual and their family where possible and appropriate, and signed by the clinician responsible for their care.

The 2020/21 General Medical Services contract Quality and Outcomes Framework includes a requirement for all DNACPR decisions for people with learning disabilities to be reviewed. We continue to monitor the situation and have invited charities to inform us where cases of inappropriate practice are identified so that action can be taken.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the CQC report, Protect, respect, connect – decisions about living and dying well during covid-19, published 18 March 2021, what estimate he has made of the number of inappropriate or blanket Do Not Attempt CPR decisions taken during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is committed to driving forward the recommendations set out in the Care Quality Commission’s report through the establishment of a Ministerial Oversight Group. This group will bring together partners across health and social care to implement improvements in Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions and ensure everyone receives the compassionate care they deserve.

The Department does not hold data on the numbers of DNACPR decisions. However, we remain clear that it is unacceptable for DNACPR decisions to be applied in a blanket fashion to any group of people and have taken continued action over the last year, alongside clinical leaders, to clarify best practice. The Adult Social Care Winter Plan reinforces that any advance care decision, including DNACPR decisions, should be fully discussed with the individual and their family where possible and appropriate, and signed by the clinician responsible for their care.

The 2020/21 General Medical Services contract Quality and Outcomes Framework includes a requirement for all DNACPR decisions for people with learning disabilities to be reviewed. We continue to monitor the situation and have invited charities to inform us where cases of inappropriate practice are identified so that action can be taken.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to implement the recommendations of the Care Quality Commission report, Protect, respect, connect – decisions about living and dying well during COVID-19, published 18 March 2021.

The Department is committed to driving forward the recommendations set out in the Care Quality Commission’s report through the establishment of a Ministerial Oversight Group. This group will bring together partners across health and social care to implement improvements in Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions and ensure everyone receives the compassionate care they deserve.

The Department does not hold data on the numbers of DNACPR decisions. However, we remain clear that it is unacceptable for DNACPR decisions to be applied in a blanket fashion to any group of people and have taken continued action over the last year, alongside clinical leaders, to clarify best practice. The Adult Social Care Winter Plan reinforces that any advance care decision, including DNACPR decisions, should be fully discussed with the individual and their family where possible and appropriate, and signed by the clinician responsible for their care.

The 2020/21 General Medical Services contract Quality and Outcomes Framework includes a requirement for all DNACPR decisions for people with learning disabilities to be reviewed. We continue to monitor the situation and have invited charities to inform us where cases of inappropriate practice are identified so that action can be taken.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to renew funding for BSL Health Access.

There are no current plans to extend funding for the British Sign Language (BSL) Health Access service. It was established independently of the National Health Service by SignHealth in April 2020 as part of the charity’s response to COVID-19. NHS England and NHS Improvement provided a one-off grant so this service could continue until the end of March 2021 to provide additional BSL interpretation in health services during the second wave of COVID-19.

All NHS providers must comply with the public sector equality duty set out in the Equality Act 2010 and the Accessible Information Standard to ensure that deaf people who wish to communicate using BSL can do so. NHS England and NHS Improvement have extended access to BSL interpretation of their 111 service via Interpreter Now. They have also commissioned a rapid review into access to BSL interpretation in NHS services, which is near completion.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department was informed by the expert advisory group that an extra 1.7 million people would need to be added to the clinically extremely vulnerable list.

An expert subgroup of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group was commissioned by the Chief Medical Officer to develop a predictive risk model to enable a more sophisticated approach to clinical risk.

In February 2021, the expert advisory group commissioned NHS Digital to apply the model to medical records of adults in England to identify those at highest risk. Those identified were subsequently added to the Shielded Patient List as a precautionary measure.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that directly employed personal assistants carers are aware they can access covid-19 vaccines as frontline social care staff.

The  Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.

Those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill, will be offered vaccination in priority group six in line with the JCVI’s advice.

Information on identifying and vaccinating social care workers, including those providing direct care to people who need care and support, was published on 14 January and is available at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/vaccinating-frontline-social-care-workers/

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who was responsible for the distribution of letters offering clinically extremely vulnerable people a four-month free supply of vitamin D supplements; and how many people received those letters.

On 27 November 2020 the Department of Health and Social Care and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government wrote to all 2.24 million people on the shielded patient list, providing information regarding the return to a tiered system of guidance for those considered clinically extremely vulnerable. In addition, this letter outlined the offer of a free four-month supply of vitamin D and contained information on how to register for this service.

A subsequent letter was sent to all clinically extremely vulnerable individuals on 7 January 2021, advising that the registration period for the provision of free vitamin D had been extended. Those considered clinically extremely vulnerable now have until 21 February to register for the service.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that clinically extremely vulnerable people have access to vitamin D supplements.

From January 2021, the Government is providing a free four-month supply of daily vitamin D supplements to adults on the clinically extremely vulnerable list that have opted in to receive the supplements and residents in residential and nursing care homes in England. The registration period for this scheme has been extended to 21 February. For those who have opted into the scheme and are eligible, supplements will be sent directly to their homes.

The Government has prioritised groups that were asked to stay indoors more than usual over the spring and summer due to national restrictions. Through this commitment, 2.7 million vulnerable people in England will be offered free vitamin D supplements for the winter by the Government. As of 1 January, 320,000 applications had been received and approved for free vitamin D supplements for individuals on the clinically extremely vulnerable list.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of clinically extremely vulnerable individuals who have accessed the four-month free supply of vitamin D supplements.

From January 2021, the Government is providing a free four-month supply of daily vitamin D supplements to adults on the clinically extremely vulnerable list that have opted in to receive the supplements and residents in residential and nursing care homes in England. The registration period for this scheme has been extended to 21 February. For those who have opted into the scheme and are eligible, supplements will be sent directly to their homes.

The Government has prioritised groups that were asked to stay indoors more than usual over the spring and summer due to national restrictions. Through this commitment, 2.7 million vulnerable people in England will be offered free vitamin D supplements for the winter by the Government. As of 1 January, 320,000 applications had been received and approved for free vitamin D supplements for individuals on the clinically extremely vulnerable list.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the findings of the National Neonatal Audit Programme, published November 2020, that 37 per cent of neonatal intensive care unit shifts met the qualified in speciality (QIS) specification for neonatal nurses in 2019, how many QIS trained neonatal nurses have been redeployed to the covid-19 vaccine programme; and what steps he plans to take to support units to backfill those specialist roles while vaccine rollout is ongoing.

Data on the number of qualified in specialty trained nurses redeployed to the COVID-19 vaccine programme is not held centrally. To avoid the need for specialist roles to be backfilled, NHS England and NHS Improvement set out the expectation that local units take into account safe staffing levels when releasing members of staff to assist in the vaccination programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December 2020 to Question 94484 on Baby Care Units: Coronavirus, what steps he is taking to ensure that covid-19 testing is made available to parents of babies in neonatal care.

NHS England has published updated guidance asking all National Health Service trust boards to urgently complete any further action needed so that partners can accompany women to all appointments and throughout birth. The guidance sets out three key actions for trusts, including undertaking risk assessments, configuring the space used in providing care alongside infection prevention and control measures and using available testing capacity


The guidance specifically references using testing capacity for neonatal care and recommends use of available testing capacity to test women and their support people to help mitigate infection risks - in particular for scan appointments, for fetal medicine appointments, at birth and for parents whose babies require neonatal care.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether parents of babies in neonatal units will be given priority access to a covid-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. They advised that phase one of the vaccination programme should have the prevention of mortality at the forefront of its objectives, as well as supporting the National Health Service and social care system.

Parents of babies in neonatal units who are aged over 50 years old or who have underlying health conditions which make them clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 are being given priority access to a COVID-19 vaccination in the first phase, which we are aiming to complete by the middle of April. All other parents of babies in neonatal units will be offered the vaccine in priority order, with a target date of the end of July, in line with advice from the JCVI.

The JCVI has recommended that access to the COVID-19 vaccines should continue to be prioritised by age as this is the biggest determining factor to increased mortality from the disease.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will give unpaid carers priority access to a covid-19 vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. The JCVI has advised that the vaccine should be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 years old and health and social care workers.

We recognise the vital role unpaid carers play in caring for vulnerable individuals. JCVI recommends that carers who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill, should also be offered vaccination alongside people with underlying health conditions.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department will take to ensure that people who are housebound receive a covid-19 vaccination.

We have worked to ensure that we have the logistical expertise, transport, and workforce in place to rollout a vaccine at the speed at which it can be manufactured. In line with the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the vaccine will initially be rolled out to priority groups, including care home residents and staff, people over 80 years old, and health and care workers. The vaccine will then be prioritised amongst the rest of the population in order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and all individuals aged 16-64 years old with underlying health conditions.

The JCVI appreciates that operational considerations, such as minimising wastage, may require deviation from the prioritisation order as outlined in the statement, where decisions are taken in consultation with national or local public health advice. We will follow the advice of the JCVI on clinical prioritisation which supports vaccinating those most at risk of death from COVID-19. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine involves some logistical challenges and we are working hard to ensure that it is available to those most at risk.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 10 November 2020 to Question 105458 on Arthritis, whether NHS England plans to collect data on the proportion of people living with rheumatoid arthritis in England that are in remission.

Data is not collected centrally on the number of patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or the proportion of these who are in remission and there are no plans to do so in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has been made of the reasons for the greater prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis among women; and what bespoke support is made available to women as a result of that increased prevalence.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are aware that women are three times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA) compared to men. Research to date has revealed factors and characteristics that may explain these differences, including hormone production, genes, physiological features, gender-based roles and behavioural expectations. Research remains ongoing, with a particular emphasis on genetics.

Services for people with RA are a matter for local clinical commissioning groups. Advice and support for people with RA is available via commissioned rheumatology services with multi-disciplinary teams, departmental advice lines and patient charities such as Versus Arthritis and the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase funding for research into innovative advanced therapies and medicines for (a) rheumatoid arthritis and (b) other inflammatory immune-mediated conditions.

The Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including innovative advanced therapies and medicines for rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory conditions. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality. Information on individual projects funded by the NIHR can be found at the following link:

https://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/programmes/

Advanced cellular, molecular and gene therapies will play an increasingly important part in the future of healthcare in the United Kingdom. The Stem Cell Strategic Forum has included advanced therapies in its remit since 2019; it provides high quality clinical and scientific advice to the Department.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many new First Contact Practitioners have been employed by GP practices since 2019.

The Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme in general practice requires physiotherapists to be qualified first contact practitioners. It has reimbursed the recruitment of first contact physiotherapists since 31 March 2019.

The latest data from National Workforce Reporting System administered by NHS Digital reported 69 physiotherapists working in general practice as of June 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people living with rheumatoid arthritis accessed mental health services through the Adult Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme in each of the last five years.

Information is not collected in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of people living with rheumatoid arthritis in (a) England, (b) London and (c) Lewisham constituency are currently in remission.

This data is not held.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are being taken to improve training for GPs on the early identification of rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is identified as a key area of clinical knowledge in the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Advanced Knowledge Test (AKT) content guide. The AKT is a summative assessment of the knowledge base that underpins general practice in the United Kingdom within the context of the National Health Service and is a key part of GPs’ qualifying exams.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 1 October 2020 to Named Day Question 96122 on Influenza: Vaccination, when he plans to publish a substantive response to that Question.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave to Questions 96118, 96119, 96120, 96121 and 96122 on 23 October.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 1 October 2020 to Named Day Question 96121 on Influenza: Vaccination, when he plans to publish a substantive response to that Question.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave to Questions 96118, 96119, 96120, 96121 and 96122 on 23 October.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 1 October 2020 to Named Day Question 96120 on Influenza: Vaccination, when he plans to publish a substantive response to that Question.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave to Questions 96118, 96119, 96120, 96121 and 96122 on 23 October.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 1 October 2020 to Named Day Question 96119 on Influenza: Vaccination, when he plans to publish a substantive response to that Question.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave to Questions 96118, 96119, 96120, 96121 and 96122 on 23 October.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 1 October 2020 to Named Day Question 96118 on Influenza: Vaccination, when he plans to publish a substantive response to that Question.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave to Questions 96118, 96119, 96120, 96121 and 96122 on 23 October.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department provides to support local services to assist with the effective assessment of the psychological support needs of bereaved parents.

The Government has funded Sands, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity to work with other baby loss charities and Royal Colleges to produce and support the roll-out of a National Bereavement Care Pathway to reduce the variation in the quality of bereavement care provided by the National Health Service. The pathway covers a range of circumstances of a baby loss including miscarriage, stillbirth, termination of pregnancy for medical reasons, neonatal death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has taken steps to develop quality standards and national guidance to support people planning, funding and delivering specialist psychological support services for bereaved parents.

The national bereavement care pathway for pregnancy and baby loss was launched in 2017 and seeks to increase the quality of, and reduce the inequity in, the bereavement care provided by healthcare professionals after the loss of a baby or pregnancy at any gestation based on nine bereavement care standards which can be accessed at the following link:

https://nbcpathway.org.uk/sites/default/files/2019-05/Bereavement%20Care%20Standards.pdf

A key element of this is the requirement for a key worker who acts as a single point of contact for the bereaved family, who they can turn to for information on the child death review process, and who can signpost them to sources of support such as specialist psychological support.

In December 2018, NHS England published ‘When a child dies - a guide for parents and carers to support parents through the child death review process’ and help them understand the support that is available.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that relevant professionals across health services receive training in the identification of psychiatric illness in parents who have experienced pregnancy and baby loss.

Training programmes for healthcare professionals must meet the standards set by the regulatory body for their profession.

Whilst not all curricula may necessarily highlight a specific condition, they all nevertheless emphasize the skills and approaches a healthcare practitioner must develop in order to ensure accurate and timely diagnoses and treatment plans for their patients.

Curricula for specialities and roles that regularly treat pregnant and post-partum patients will contain competencies relating to understanding and identifying the psychological and mental health impacts of pregnancy, birth and baby loss, and assessing the health of women.

An example is outlined in the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s ‘Standards for competence for registered midwives’ requirement: providing care for women who have suffered pregnancy loss which is available at the following link:

https://www.nmc.org.uk/globalassets/sitedocuments/standards/nmc-standards-for-competence-for-registered-midwives.pdf

Employers in the health system are responsible for ensuring that their staff are trained to the required standards to deliver appropriate treatment for patients.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the value of providing clear referral pathways to high quality, effective and evidence-based specialist psychological support for those experiencing pregnancy and baby loss.

Every part of the country has perinatal mental health services in place and we remain committed to improving and expanding these services. By 2023/24, at least 66,000 women in total with moderate to severe perinatal mental health difficulties will have access to specialist perinatal mental health services. The new services will integrate maternity, reproductive health and psychological therapy for women experiencing moderate-severe or complex mental health difficulties directly arising from, or related to, the maternity experience, including perinatal loss.

The national bereavement care pathway brings together information, tools and resources to support the provision of high quality care for women and their families who experience pregnancy or baby loss, as well as linking to online learning for all healthcare professionals and staff who are involved in the care of a woman who experiences perinatal loss. This can be accessed at the following link:

https://nbcpathway.org.uk/

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of (a) women and (b) men who have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in each year since 2010.

This data is not held.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of people who will be aged 65 by 31 March 2021 who have received a 2020 NHS flu vaccine to date.

Public Health England (PHE) publishes weekly influenza vaccine uptake reports throughout the flu season for general practitioner (GP) patients, including those aged 65 and over on 31 March 2021. This data is based on automated returns from GP practices. The first weekly report will be published on 8 October on GOV.UK.

PHE also publishes monthly influenza vaccine uptake data on the number of individuals who are aged 65 and over on 31 March 2021 who have been vaccinated with an influenza vaccine. This data will be published on GOV.UK on 26 November 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of flu vaccine supplies.

General practitioner (GP) practices and community pharmacies are responsible for ordering flu vaccine directly from suppliers for the adult programme.

This season, to support expansion of the programme, the Department has procured additional flu vaccine supplies that will be available from November. Information has been issued on how GP practices and community pharmacies can access additional central stock.

Discussions have been held with the General Practitioners Committee and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee in relation to GP practice and community pharmacy flu supplies.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with (a) general practitioners and (b) pharmacies on the adequacy of their 2020 flu vaccines supply.

General practitioner (GP) practices and community pharmacies are responsible for ordering flu vaccine directly from suppliers for the adult programme.

This season, to support expansion of the programme, the Department has procured additional flu vaccine supplies that will be available from November. Information has been issued on how GP practices and community pharmacies can access additional central stock.

Discussions have been held with the General Practitioners Committee and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee in relation to GP practice and community pharmacy flu supplies.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of people in long-stay residential care who have received a 2020 NHS flu vaccine to date.

Public Health England (PHE) does not collect data on the number of individuals in long-stay residential care who have received an influenza vaccine.

The flu vaccine uptake data collected by PHE is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/vaccine-uptake#seasonal-flu-vaccine-uptake:-figures

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of people living with someone who is at high risk from covid-19 who have received a 2020 NHS flu vaccine to date.

Public Health England (PHE) does not collect the data requested.

The influenza vaccine uptake data collected by PHE is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/vaccine-uptake#seasonal-flu-vaccine-uptake:-figures

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of frontline health and social care workers who have received a 2020 NHS flu vaccine to date.

Public Health England publishes data on cumulative influenza vaccine uptake for frontline healthcare workers on a monthly basis. The first monthly data will cover the period between 1 September to 31 October 2020. This will be published on GOV.UK on 26 November.

This season, data is being collected by Skills for Care on flu vaccine uptake rates for social care workers. The Department is currently discussing arrangements to publish this data.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of people who are in receipt of carer's allowance or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if they get sick who have received a 2020 NHS flu vaccine to date.

Public Health England collects data on influenza vaccine uptake in carers. Data will be available in the 2020/2021 end of season vaccine uptake report, due to be published on GOV.UK in spring 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of pregnant women who have received a 2020 NHS flu vaccine to date.

Public Health England (PHE) publishes weekly influenza vaccine uptake reports throughout the season for general practitioner (GP) patients, which include data on the percentage of pregnant women, who have received the flu vaccine. This data is based on automated returns from GPs and includes data on women vaccinated in pharmacy and maternity services. The first weekly report will be published on the 8 October on GOV.UK.

PHE also publishes monthly vaccine uptake data on the number of GP patients, including the number of pregnant women, who have received the flu vaccine. This includes data from automated and manual returns. The first monthly report will be published on the 26 November 2020 at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/vaccine-uptake#seasonal-flu-vaccine-uptake:-figures

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of individuals with qualifying serious long term health conditions who (a) are entitled to an NHS flu vaccine in 2020 and (b) have received one to date.

Public Health England (PHE) publishes weekly influenza vaccine uptake reports throughout the flu season for general practitioner (GP) patients who are entitled to a National Health Service flu vaccine, including those with one or more serious long-term health conditions. This data is based on automated returns from GP practices. The first weekly report will be published on 8 October on the GOV.UK website.

PHE also publishes monthly influenza vaccine uptake data on the number of individuals who are entitled to a flu vaccine and who have received one. This data will be published on GOV.UK on 26 November 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of individuals who (a) are entitled to an NHS flu vaccine in 2020 and (b) have received one to date.

Public Health England (PHE) publishes weekly influenza vaccine uptake reports throughout the flu season for general practitioner (GP) patients who are entitled to a National Health Service flu vaccine, including those with one or more serious long-term health conditions. This data is based on automated returns from GP practices. The first weekly report will be published on 8 October on the GOV.UK website.

PHE also publishes monthly influenza vaccine uptake data on the number of individuals who are entitled to a flu vaccine and who have received one. This data will be published on GOV.UK on 26 November 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of people entitled to an NHS flu vaccine in 2020.

Public Health England (PHE) publishes weekly influenza vaccine uptake reports throughout the flu season for general practitioner (GP) patients who are entitled to a National Health Service flu vaccine, including those with one or more serious long-term health conditions. This data is based on automated returns from GP practices. The first weekly report will be published on 8 October on the GOV.UK website.

PHE also publishes monthly influenza vaccine uptake data on the number of individuals who are entitled to a flu vaccine and who have received one. This data will be published on GOV.UK on 26 November 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will nominate a policy lead in his Department for working age social care who can engage with stakeholders on an action plan which assesses the effect of covid-19 on disabled people and their families.

The Department frequently engages with social care stakeholders including those who provide care to working age disabled people and those who receive this care or their representatives. For example, officials participate in fortnightly webinars with learning disability and autism stakeholders to discuss the response to COVID-19.

The ‘Adult Social Care Winter Plan 2020 to 2021’, includes support and guidance for this part of the social care sector. The Winter Plan drew on recommendations from the social care COVID-19 taskforce, which was in turn informed by advisory groups – including a learning disability and autism advisory group involving people with lived experience.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the finding by Sense that a third of disabled people and their families have not had social care or support services reinstated since covid-19 lockdown restrictions have been lifted; and what steps the Government will take to reintroduce that community social care.

We are aware that during the national lockdown a range of community social care providers ceased provision of services. In July, the Social Care Institute for Excellence published guidance on the safe re-opening of services.

In addition, a proportion of the £546 million Infection Control Fund extension announced in September can be used by local authorities to fund expenditure on Infection Prevention and Control measures needed to safely reopen day and respite services.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 30 June 2020 to Question 64381 on Baby Care Units: Coronavirus, if he will make it his policy for rapid testing for parents of babies in neonatal care to be prioritised in line with the recommendations of the First Report of the Petitions Committee of Session 2019-21, entitled The impact of Covid-19 on maternity and parental leave, HC 526, published on 6 July 2020.

It is essential that the mother and her partner are never considered to be visitors within the neonatal unit – they are partners in their baby’s care and their presence should be encouraged. The mother and her newborn should have unrestricted contact when admission to a neonatal unit is unavoidable.

The same arrangements for COVID-19 testing should be offered to parents as are applied to staff, in order to minimise unnecessary separation. This includes testing of symptomatic parents and testing of suspected contacts.

An asymptomatic mother who is awaiting the result of routine COVID-19 admission screening should usually be allowed to attend her baby in the neonatal unit and to provide skin to skin care.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to promote the development of specialist pre-term birth clinics.

Reduction of pre-term births is a new element in the Saving Babies Lives’ Care Bundle version 2. The aim of this element is to reduce the number of pre-term births and to optimise care when pre term birth cannot be prevented. The establishment of pre-term birth clinics is outlined in the Care Bundle and has been widely promoted across all Local Maternity Systems, provider trusts and clinical networks.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on the NHS Long Term Plan commitment to support maternity services to implement fully an expanded Saving Babies’ Lives care bundle across every maternity unit in England by 2020.

Implementing the second version of the Saving Babies’ Lives care bundle is a priority for NHS England and NHS Improvement. The quarterly implementation survey, which is used to monitor progress, was suspended during the earlier phases of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to minimise the burden on frontline services. This was reinstated this month.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on the NHS Long Term Plan commitment to provide an additional 24,000 women with access to specialist perinatal mental health support.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to increasing access to evidence-based care for women experiencing moderate, severe and complex mental health issues. This will benefit an additional 24,000 women per year by 2023/24, in addition to the extra 30,000 women getting specialist help by 2020/21.

NHS England continues to expand capacity of inpatient mother and baby units, which support women with serious mental health issues, keeping them together with their babies.

From 2020/21 there will be a requirement for general practitioners to offer a six-eight week maternal postnatal health check for new mothers as an additional appointment to that for the baby. This should include a review of the mother’s mental health and wellbeing, in line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidance. Five years ago, 40% of the country had no access to specialist perinatal mental health care. Now, there is full geographical coverage for the first time, with specialist community perinatal mental health services in every one of the 44 local National Health Service areas.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the nationality of people employed in care work sector in each year since 2015.

Skills for Care collects data on the nationality of people employed in adult social care in England. The following table details the nationality trends from 2014/15 to 2018/19.

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

All job roles

1,320,000

1,330,000

1,340,000

1,355,000

1,370,000

British

83%

83%

83%

83%

83%

European Union

6%

7%

7%

8%

8%

Non-EU

11%

10%

9%

10%

10%


Source: Skills for Care’s adult social care workforce estimates 2014/15 to 2018/19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department collects on the number of people with mental health problems with unmet social care needs in England; and what recent assessment his Department has made of trends in the level of unmet social care needs of people with mental health problems.

Information is not available in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people with mental health problems who accessed publicly funded social care in each year since 2015.

Information is not available in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the number of people working towards social care qualifications.

The Department does not hold this information centrally.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of people who have attained social care qualifications in each year since 2010.

The Department does not hold this information centrally.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what mental health assessment tools are clinically effective for adults living with cerebral palsy.

No specific assessment has been made. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guideline ‘Cerebral palsy in adults’, published in January 2019, and quality standard ‘Cerebral palsy in adults’, published in January 2020, set out best practice guidance for clinicians assessing and monitoring the mental health of adults living with cerebral palsy. They recommend that specialist multidisciplinary teams identify and address mental health problems alongside physical health problems at reviews, exploring with the patient (and their family and carers, if agreed) whether they have any concerns about their mood, irritability, behaviour, social interaction, sleep or general level of function. The guidance can be found at the following links:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/NG119

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs191

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) assessment he has made and (b) monitoring he undertakes of the mental health of adults living with cerebral palsy.

No specific assessment has been made. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guideline ‘Cerebral palsy in adults’, published in January 2019, and quality standard ‘Cerebral palsy in adults’, published in January 2020, set out best practice guidance for clinicians assessing and monitoring the mental health of adults living with cerebral palsy. They recommend that specialist multidisciplinary teams identify and address mental health problems alongside physical health problems at reviews, exploring with the patient (and their family and carers, if agreed) whether they have any concerns about their mood, irritability, behaviour, social interaction, sleep or general level of function. The guidance can be found at the following links:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/NG119

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs191

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to reduce the barriers adults living with cerebral palsy face in accessing national health screening programmes.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are continuously investing in initiatives to help ensure equality of access to screening for those with disabilities, including cerebral palsy. For example, general practices are required to ensure that their premises sufficiently meet the reasonable needs of its patients. This involves making any reasonable adjustments necessary or making alternative arrangements such as referral to a specialist screening provider or undertaking the procedures in another setting that is more suitable. Guidance also states that patients should be given an opportunity to express a preference in order to access a setting most appropriate to their needs.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the transition from specialist cerebral palsy services provided for children and young people to adult services.

No specific assessment has been made. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline ‘Transition from children’s to adults’ services for young people using health or social care services’, published February 2016, covers the period before, during and after a young person moves from children's to adults' services. Addressing both health and social care, it aims to make young people and their carers’ experience of transitioning between services better by improving the way it’s planned and carried out. The guideline is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng43

This guideline is used by the Care Quality Commission to inform the inspection process. NICE updated its pathway on the topic in June 2020, bringing together all relevant guidance and quality standards for cerebral palsy. The pathway is available at the following link:

http://pathways.nice.org.uk/pathways/cerebral-palsy

The ‘Cerebral palsy in under 25s: assessment and management’ guideline was published by NICE in January 2017, and covers diagnosing, assessing and managing cerebral palsy in children and young people from birth up to their 25th birthday. The guideline is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng62

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of medication used to manage motor function on the mental health of adults living with cerebral palsy.

No specific assessments have been made. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guideline ‘Cerebral palsy in adults’, published in January 2019, sets out best practice guidance for clinicians in considering the effects of medication for adults living with cerebral palsy. It recommends that clinicians should consider the specific factors that might affect identifying, assessing and managing mental health problems and emotional difficulties in people with cerebral palsy. These include the adverse effects of medicines, including the effects of medicines used for managing mental health problems on motor function, or those used for managing motor function on mental health. This guidance is available at the following link:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/NG119

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of mental health medication on the motor function of adults living with cerebral palsy.

No specific assessments have been made. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guideline ‘Cerebral palsy in adults’, published in January 2019, sets out best practice guidance for clinicians in considering the effects of medication for adults living with cerebral palsy. It recommends that clinicians should consider the specific factors that might affect identifying, assessing and managing mental health problems and emotional difficulties in people with cerebral palsy. These include the adverse effects of medicines, including the effects of medicines used for managing mental health problems on motor function, or those used for managing motor function on mental health. This guidance is available at the following link:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/NG119

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effects on people who have previously shielded of recent trends in the number of (a) daily covid-19 cases and (b) local covid-19 lockdowns.

The Shielded Patient List (SPL) is comprised of individuals nationally identified as clinically extremely vulnerable using clinical criteria based on data from general practitioner (GP) and hospital electronic records. The SPL also includes those added individually by their GP or hospital doctor after caseload checking and individual consultation.

NHS Digital has published management information on the outcomes for the shielding population which is available at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/mi-tracking-healthcare-activity-and-outcomes-for-shielded-patients-england

However, the published data states that it cannot be used for evaluation purposes. This is because it is not possible to reliably estimate what the emergency admission and mortality rates would have been if shielding had not been implemented. We also do not know whether those who were advised to shield responded to this advice and whether any effects of shielding were due to this or the wider set of social distancing measures that were also in place at the time.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the Government's policy is on the number of daily cases of covid-19 that would result in reintroduction of shielding advice and support.

Shielding is an intervention of last resort, due to the potential mental, physical and other harms caused by social and financial isolation.

To date, clinical advice has not set a threshold for reintroducing shielding. The Chief Medical Officer include multiple factors when considering the need for the reintroduction of shielding advice, of which incidence rates are one element.

Although shielding guidance is currently paused, the National Health Service will continue to maintain the Shielded Patient List allowing us to maintain targeted advice and support to those who are most vulnerable and to change advice and support if necessary. We will continue to listen to medical advice on the level of clinical risk the virus presents to different groups of people at different points in time.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to work with disabled people, their families and social care providers to develop an action plan to reintroduce safe and flexible community care and support services.

Local authorities and service providers should have maintained contact with carers and those receiving services throughout the lockdown. They will now be discussing arrangements to reintroduce care packages where these had been limited due to lockdown restrictions.

Understanding and mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people was a focus of the Social Sector COVID-19 Support Taskforce. The Taskforce was supported by several advisory groups, one of which was the learning disability and autism advisory group. The group included members with lived experience.

The recommendations of the Taskforce will shape our approach to COVID-19 in the adult social care sector and, in particular, the plans we put in place for winter which we will set out in the Adult Social Care Winter Plan, being published later this month.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of ring-fencing ventilator supply budgets to help ensure the adequacy of supplies for the treatment of children requiring long-term ventilation in the winter months of 2020-21.

We understand how challenging this period has been for children who rely on ventilation and their families and we are doing everything we can to support patients, led by clinical advice.

On 17 July, the Prime Minister confirmed an additional £3 billion of funding to the National Health Service in England to prepare for winter.

COVID-19 has caused a significant increase in demand for clinical consumables and has disrupted international supply chains, making it more difficult to source products, including a small number of products for children’s ventilators.

The Department, working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, has put in place a range of measures to address these challenges, including making it easier for clinicians to report shortages and identifying opportunities to open up new supply options and using additional brands.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are also working closely with clinicians, trusts and suppliers to prepare for winter and ensure there are sufficient stocks of these consumables to meet the need of all patients who require home ventilation as well as for any future spike in COVID-19 cases going forward.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to issue guidance on the creation of cohort bubbles in adult day and social care centres as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Government is keeping its social distancing measures under continual review. The Government will only make changes when we are confident we can do so safely. The Secretary of State for Health keeps the restrictions and requirements under constant consideration, to ensure the measures continue to be both proportionate and necessary. The Government continues to issue guidance to support the public.

Since 4 July one household will be able to see another household inside or outside, while maintaining social distancing measures. People should limit indoor meetings so they are only meeting one other household at a time, in addition to their support bubble (if they have one). There is no limit on the size of either household.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of relaxing the covid-19 lockdown restrictions to enable adults from different households to meet indoors in social care and day care settings.

The Government will continue to review the measures, assessing them to ensure that they continue to be necessary and proportionate based on available scientific evidence, which includes up to date data.

All our guidance is designed with care users in mind, to ensure that individuals are treated with dignity and respect and that their particular needs are addressed. We are reviewing our policy on visitors in social care and are looking to update our guidance shortly.

The changes that came into effect on 4 July mean people can expand their support network and meet in a group of two households indoors. People should continue to protect themselves and others following social distancing guidance when meeting people that they do not live with in order to keep people around them safe, limit the risk of the transmission of the virus and limit chains of transmission.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure an adequate supply of (a) bacterial filters, (b) circuits and (c) other ventilator consumables for the treatment of children requiring ventilation.

We understand how challenging this period has been for children who rely on ventilation and their families and we are doing everything we can to support patients, led by clinical advice.

COVID-19 has caused a significant increase in demand for clinical consumables and has disrupted international supply chains, making it more difficult to source products, including a small number of products for children’s ventilators.

The Department, working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, has put in place a range of measures to address these challenges, including making it easier for clinicians to report shortages and identifying opportunities to open up new supply options and using additional brands.

We have received assurances from the key supplier of filters for children’s ventilators that supply chains are now restored and they have resumed processing orders and working through the backlog. Currently none of the National Health Service trusts who supply patients in the community with these consumables are reporting critically low stock levels. However, we will of course keep this under very close review and, if necessary, work with suppliers to prioritise deliveries to areas with the greatest clinical need.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are also working closely with clinicians, trusts and suppliers to prepare for winter and ensure there are sufficient stocks of these consumables to meet the need of all patients who require home ventilation as well as for any future spike in COVID-19 cases going forward.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of ventilator stock for long term ventilated children.

We understand how challenging this period has been for children who rely on ventilation and their families and we are doing everything we can to support patients, led by clinical advice.

COVID-19 has caused a significant increase in demand for clinical consumables and has disrupted international supply chains, making it more difficult to source products, including a small number of products for children’s ventilators.

The Department, working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, has put in place a range of measures to address these challenges, including making it easier for clinicians to report shortages and identifying opportunities to open up new supply options and using additional brands.

We have received assurances from the key supplier of filters for children’s ventilators that supply chains are now restored and they have resumed processing orders and working through the backlog. Currently none of the National Health Service trusts who supply patients in the community with these consumables are reporting critically low stock levels. However, we will of course keep this under very close review and, if necessary, work with suppliers to prioritise deliveries to areas with the greatest clinical need.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are also working closely with clinicians, trusts and suppliers to prepare for winter and ensure there are sufficient stocks of these consumables to meet the need of all patients who require home ventilation as well as for any future spike in COVID-19 cases going forward.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to issue guidance on minimising the risk of covid-19 infection in disability transport service settings.

The Government continues to publish a range of guidance on minimising the risk of COVID-19 infection in specific settings which includes support and services for disabled people.

The Department commissioned the Social Care Institute for Excellence to publish guidance on delivering safe, face-to-face adult day care which includes advice on transport services which is available at the following link:

https://www.scie.org.uk/care-providers/coronavirus-covid-19/day-care/safe-delivery/practical-information

The Department for Transport has published guidance for transport providers and users which outlines measures to assess and address the risks of COVID-19.

Guidance for transport providers is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators

Guidance for transport users is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers

Guidance for using private cars and other vehicles is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers#private-cars-and-other-vehicles

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that parents with babies on neonatal units have urgent access to covid-19 testing.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, services have been working hard to support parents to care for their babies as much as possible while still ensuring that services are safe.

Testing is a key part of the United Kingdom’s response to COVID-19, and, following the publication of the Government’s Testing Strategy we have rapidly expanded our capacity.

We are now providing testing to anyone with symptoms (England and Northern Ireland; over fives in Wales and Scotland) Current clinical advice is that asymptomatic testing can be conducted where clinically appropriate, for outbreak investigation and infection control. These decisions are made by local decision makers based on patient and procedural risk.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the answer of 18 June to Question 52245 on Coronavirus: Visual Impairment, where the guidance and advice on guiding for blind and partially sighted people has been published; and what steps he has taken to promote that guidance to the blind and partially sighted community.

Public Health England (PHE) has previously supported the Royal National Institute of Blind People with their own guidance and this included guidance on safe guiding.

Further information and advice surrounding COVID-19 on how people can be guided safely and how to practice social distancing is available from our partners and can be accessed at the following link:

https://www.sightadvicefaq.org.uk/coronavirus-information

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that any future reviews of guidance on shielding are undertaken in consultation with charities working with shielded groups and patient organisations.

From 1 August 2020, clinically extremely vulnerable people in England were no longer advised to shield. National advice for people at high risk from COVID-19 remains available at the following link:

www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/advice-for-people-at-high-risk/

We continue to engage with key stakeholders, including charities and patient groups.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding has been allocated to supporting people with a learning disability and autistic people move from inpatient settings into the community for the financial year 2020-21.

For 2020-21, NHS England and NHS Improvement have allocated £30 million to continue the delivery of NHS Long Term Plan commitments for people with a learning disability and autistic people. This funding includes the allocation of £22 million to support a further reduction in reliance on specialist inpatient care.

In the Budget 2020, announced on 11 March, the Government committed to providing funding over the three years from 2020-21 to support discharge of individuals with learning disabilities or autism into the community. Allocations to local government will be confirmed in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will conduct a review into the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on disabled people’s health outcomes.

We are committed to supporting disabled people and those with long-term conditions through every stage of the COVID-19 pandemic and are working across Government to ensure that disabled people are able to get the support they need. The steps we are taking include:

- Provision of guidance and advice for health and social care providers and disabled people, with disabled people who are deemed to be extremely clinically vulnerable advised to shield;

- Ensuring that there are now dedicated shopping hours for disabled people;

- Making available the NHS Volunteer Responders programme to help support people who are vulnerable but not shielding, including disabled people;

- Local authorities have set up dedicated helplines to help connect people with local level support or signpost people to local support programmes;

- Working across Government on the accessibility of COVID-19 public health information guidance and other reasonable adjustments that may be needed for disabled people during the pandemic. This includes exploring the safety and use of transparent personal protective equipment face masks in health and social settings; and

- The Department has announced £22 million of Government funding will be awarded to mental health, ambulance, social care, learning disabilities, autism and dementia charities to help support their work during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

We are urgently working to better understand the effect of COVID-19 on disabled people’s health outcomes by identifying the current data available, any gaps and how these could be addressed, including exploring research opportunities.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure people with disabilities and long-term health conditions can have independent lives and are not marginalised by the covid-19 outbreak.

We are committed to supporting disabled people and those with long-term conditions through every stage of the COVID-19 pandemic and are working across Government to ensure that disabled people are able to get the support they need. The steps we are taking include:

- Provision of guidance and advice for health and social care providers and disabled people, with disabled people who are deemed to be extremely clinically vulnerable advised to shield;

- Ensuring that there are now dedicated shopping hours for disabled people;

- Making available the NHS Volunteer Responders programme to help support people who are vulnerable but not shielding, including disabled people;

- Local authorities have set up dedicated helplines to help connect people with local level support or signpost people to local support programmes;

- Working across Government on the accessibility of COVID-19 public health information guidance and other reasonable adjustments that may be needed for disabled people during the pandemic. This includes exploring the safety and use of transparent personal protective equipment face masks in health and social settings; and

- The Department has announced £22 million of Government funding will be awarded to mental health, ambulance, social care, learning disabilities, autism and dementia charities to help support their work during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

We are urgently working to better understand the effect of COVID-19 on disabled people’s health outcomes by identifying the current data available, any gaps and how these could be addressed, including exploring research opportunities.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will match his funding for care homes with emergency funding for homecare and supported living providers to help those settings meet extra costs associated with responding to the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise that COVID-19 is imposing pressures on the social care sector. We have now made £3.2 billion available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care.

On 13 May we announced a care home support package, supported by a new £600 million Infection Control Fund, to take specific actions to reduce the rate of transmission within and between care homes in line with public health advice. While this funding is primarily for care homes, local authorities may allocate 25% of the funding flexibly, in light of local pressures and need. This may involve support for domiciliary care workforce measures.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Alzheimer’s Society research showing that 43 per cent of care homes are not fully confident in their supply of personal protective equipment, what plans he has to ensure the safety of and support for care home residents and workers.

During this unprecedented global outbreak, we have kept our social care guidance under constant review and have been working tirelessly with the sector to reduce transmission and save lives. The Government is fully committed to ensuring care homes feel confident in their personal protective equipment (PPE) supply. We are now confident in the stocks and sources of supply of PPE to meet the needs of health and social care over the next seven and 90 days.

More widely, we have set out a comprehensive action plan to support the adult social care sector throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. This has included £3.2 billion of funding for councils and providing millions of items of PPE.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department's policies of ONS data showing that in March and April 2020, 20 per cent of those dying with covid-19 had dementia as a main underlying condition.

Keeping people safe throughout this period is the Government’s top priority.

We are monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on people with dementia. Informed by the Office of National Statistics 15 May publication ‘Deaths involving COVID-19 in England and Wales: deaths occurring in April 2020’, we are working with our partners to understand what additional mitigating actions may be required to ensure the safety of people with dementia. We are working closely with local authorities, the care sector and NHS England to understand the impact of COVID-19 and ensure everyone has access to the right care.

We have commissioned research on how to manage or mitigate the psychological, physical and social impact of COVID-19 on people with dementia living in the community and their carers. Work has already started with phased outputs to August 2020.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she has taken to ensure that blind and partially sighted people can be guided safely during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are committed to supporting blind and partially sighted people through every stage of the COVID-19 pandemic and are working across Government to ensure that all disabled people are able to get the support they need. The steps we are taking include:

- Provision of guidance and advice, including in relation to guiding;

- Ensuring that there are now dedicated shopping hours for disabled people and supermarkets are making reasonable adjustments such as making audio announcements and making staff available to provide support if needed; and

- Working across Government on the accessibility of COVID-19 public health information guidance and other reasonable adjustments that may be needed for disabled people during the pandemic, including blind and partially sighted people.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance on social distancing is available for blind and partially sighted people.

The Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, (Justin Tomlinson MP) has confirmed the appointment of a senior lead for accessible information. This will help to make sure that blind and partially sighted people can access the latest Government guidance about COVID-19, including what to do if someone in a household is unwell, what social distancing means and general advice on the Government website. All COVID-19 guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the rise in monthly increase in deaths of people with (a) autism and (b) learning difficulties during the covid-19 outbreak.

Data on the number of deaths of people with a learning disability and/or autism as a result of COVID-19 has now been published by NHS England. We will continue to monitor this data to assess the impact of COVID-19 on people with a learning disability and/or autism.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of people in receipt of a shielding letter sent by the Government in response to the covid-19 outbreak have severe asthma.

This information is not held in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the average cost of supplying personal protective equipment to personal carers for disabled people funding their own care.

We continue to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) to selected wholesalers to support social care and additionally, we are pushing PPE to all Local Resilience Forums (LRFs). These multi-agency LRF partnerships are made up of representatives that include local public services and local authorities. This is intended to help LRFs respond to urgent local spikes in need across the adult social care system and other front-line services, where providers are unable to access PPE through their usual routes. LRFs have not been charged for the stock of PPE provided to them for onward distribution to local service providers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the provision of adequate care services for disabled people during the covid-19 pandemic.

We have set out a comprehensive action plan to support the adult social care sector in England throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, including ramping up testing, overhauling the way personal protective equipment is being delivered to care homes and helping to minimise the spread of the virus to keep people safe.


On 19 March we announced £1.6 billion to help local authorities deal with the immediate impacts of COVID-19, which many councils will have directed towards the adult social care services required to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 18 April we announced an additional £1.6 billion of funding to support councils delivering essential frontline services.

This funding is part of the Government’s commitment to ensure the National Health Service and social care system, and other public services, have the resources required to tackle COVID-19. The government will continue to monitor pressures in the NHS and local government and will keep future funding under review.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to fast-track the registration of healthcare professionals trained overseas to enable them to assist the NHS during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the valuable contribution that healthcare workers who have trained outside of the United Kingdom are making to assist the National Health Service during the COVID-19 outbreak. Collective work is being undertaken by the Department, NHS England and the healthcare regulatory bodies to plan for additional NHS workforce capacity as part of the COVID-19 response. This includes the possible increased use of healthcare professionals trained overseas.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is exploring extending its emergency temporary register to nurses and midwives from overseas given the expected escalation in coronavirus cases in the UK. This may mean that candidates are already in the UK who have successfully completed part of their NMC registration process would be granted temporary registration.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to help ensure that people with symptoms of covid-19 are tested quickly.

Public Health England (PHE) has developed a highly sensitive test to detect the virus, one of the first countries in the world to do so, which has been rapidly rolled out to their regional labs across the country and to National Health Service labs. PHE and NHS England have a combined capacity to process approximately 3,500 tests per day. PHE has processed over 25,000 tests as of 10 March and has not exceeded capacity during this time. The NHS is planning to bring new capacity online in the coming weeks which will help those who are hospitalized or most at risk from COVID-19.

We do not intend to test those self-isolating with mild symptoms. The advice at the following link is designed to help people prevent the spread:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of A&E waiting times at (a) University Hospital Lewisham and (b) Kings College Hospital since 2010.

The information is not available in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the detention of Uighur Muslims in camps in Xinjiang, China; and what plans he has to seek international support for an impartial investigation into the situation of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

We have serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang including the extra-judicial detention of over a million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in "political re-education camps", systematic restrictions on Uyghur culture and the practice of Islam, and extensive and invasive surveillance targeting minorities.

On 28 July, the Foreign Secretary raised our serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang with his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi. On 30 June, the UK read out a formal statement on behalf of 28 countries at the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council highlighting arbitrary detention, widespread surveillance and restrictions, particularly those targeting Uyghurs and other minorities, and urging China to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights meaningful access to Xinjiang. We will continue to raise our concerns with China bilaterally, and through the UN working with international partners.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support his Department is offering to people from Cameroon who have been displaced by the ongoing conflict in that country.

The British Government remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon. These regions suffer from high levels of violence, which have driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. We have consistently called for restraint, an end to the violence, and for investigations into all reports of human rights violations. On 23 April, I publicly welcomed publication of the findings of the investigation into the appalling violence in Ngarbuh and reiterated our call for the Cameroonian authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice, ensure respect for human rights and redouble their efforts to resolve the conflict.

The UK continues to call for inclusive dialogue, and we welcomed the passing of legislation concerning bilingualism and special status for the North-West and South-West regions in December 2019. Commitments and legislation now need to be implemented in a timely manner to support genuine decentralisation of power and to tackle the root causes of the conflict. The British High Commissioner to Cameroon regularly engages in high-level discussions with the Government of Cameroon on the Anglophone crisis, including the mediation process led by the Swiss Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. We continue to shine a spotlight on the crisis and raise our concerns in multinational fora and with international partners. At the UN Security Council on 12 February, the UK highlighted the significant impact of the crisis on children. At the UN Human Rights Council on 27 February, the UK raised concerns about the protection of civilians in Cameroon.

The UK is committed to supporting civilians affected by the ongoing crisis in the North-West and South-West regions and we have made a £2 million contribution to the UN response, supporting 34,000 people with essential supplies, such as mosquito nets, hygiene kits and nutrition support. We continue to call for unhindered humanitarian access to the affected population. The UK stands ready to support all credible peacebuilding initiatives and believes that the regional and wider international community has an integral role to play, including in responding to the growing humanitarian need.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Cameroonian counterpart on a peaceful solution to the conflict in that country.

The British Government remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon. These regions suffer from high levels of violence, which have driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. We have consistently called for restraint, an end to the violence, and for investigations into all reports of human rights violations. On 23 April, I publicly welcomed publication of the findings of the investigation into the appalling violence in Ngarbuh and reiterated our call for the Cameroonian authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice, ensure respect for human rights and redouble their efforts to resolve the conflict.

The UK continues to call for inclusive dialogue, and we welcomed the passing of legislation concerning bilingualism and special status for the North-West and South-West regions in December 2019. Commitments and l