HC Deb 08 December 1992 vol 215 cc641-2W
Mr. McMaster

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to ensure that education opportunities paid for by her Department for people returning to the community from long-stay institutions are not reduced when responsibility for funding further and continuing education is transferred from local authority control in April 1993; what plans she has in place to monitor such provision; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Yeo

The establishment of the further education funding councils, from April 1993, and the transfer to them of some of the local education authorities' statutory duties to secure the provision of further education, has not changed local authorities duties towards disabled people under section 2(1)(c) of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970. Local authorities have a clear duty under this Act to make arrangments for assisting a disabled person, who is ordinarily resident in their area, in taking advantage of educational opportunities available to him or her, if they are satisfied that it is necessary in order to meet that person's needs. Such assistance might, in appropriate cases, include the funding by the local authority of the personal care required to enable the student in question to pursue his or her studies. It is, of course, for the authority to decide in each case, what the individual's needs are, and how they are to be met.

Prime responsibility for monitoring the implementation of the Act rests with local authorities themselves, to ensure that their policies are compatible with their legal obligations. The Department receives regular returns on certain services provided by local authorities under the Act, as well as information from other sources including the social services inspectorate. We follow up specific cases, referred to the Department, where it is alleged that a local authority is in breech of its statutory duties.

Mr. Hinchliffe

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations she has received concerning her requirement for local authorities to spend a fixed percentage of community care funding on independent sector provision after April.

Mr. Yeo

We have consulted widely on our proposals for funding community care. I received a number of representations on this particular point, all of which were carefully considered before the final decision was reached.