§ Mr. Carter-Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give details of the criteria for the appointment of disablement resettlement officers and blind persons' resettlement officers and the arrangements that are made for their training; whether he is satisfied with them taking into account the increasing difficulty that blind and disabled people face in obtaining work at a time of high unemployment and the fact that technological advances have increased the range of special aids that are available to assist blind and disabled people in their work; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Alison
The Manpower Services Commission appoint disablement resettlement officers and blind persons' resettlement officers from staff who have already demonstrated during their time as employment advisers that they have the personal qualities and abilities to undertake the additional demands of this work.
Disablement resettlement officers all receive basic training as employment advisers. In addition to this basic training they receive seven weeks' specialist training designed to equip them to interview disabled people and assess their employment capacity; encourage employers to employ disabled people; and publicise the assistance the 344W Manpower Services Commission provides for disabled people. Further on-the-job training is provided on an individual basis by senior disablement resettlement officers.
Blind persons' resettlement officers who have been trained as disablement resettlement officers also receive additional on-the-job training. Further specific training in helping visually handicapped people is given, including visits to a wide a range of organisations concerned with helping the blind.
The Manpower Services Commission keeps training needs of disablement resettlement officers and blind persons' resettlement officers under review in order to ensure that they are kept abreast of technological and other changes.
§ Mr. Carter-Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what representations he has received about the dilution of the disablement resettlement officer and blind persons' resettlement officer services; if he will list the organisations which have expressed concern about such dilution; if he is aware of the possible hardships such dilution will cause to disabled people seeking employment; and if he will make a statement;
(2) how many full-time disablement resettlement officers and blind persons' resettlement officers have been employed by the Manpower Services Commission each year since 1970; whether the staffing levels of these specialist placing services are related to the numbers of blind, partially sighted and disabled people seeking employment, whether registered disabled or not, and to the general level of unemployment in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.