HC Deb 26 July 1983 vol 46 cc1035-6
7. Mr. Key

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how he proposes to develop his strategy of improving co-operation between voluntary organisations and statutory services.

Mr. Newton

Recent legislation guarantees a place for voluntary organisations in joint planning by health and local authorities, where they will play a vital role in particular in our "Care in the Community" proposals. We shall continue to look for new ways to promote this partnership in which voluntary effort complements but does not replace statutory services.

Mr. Key

Does my hon. Friend agree that the voluntary sector is particularly good at raising capital funds but that there is much more of a problem with revenue transfers? Therefore, in line with his paper "Care in the Community", will he consider the problem of long-term revenue funding of capital projects such as the Salisbury hospice care trust?

Mr. Newton

Without commenting on the specific case mentioned by my hon. Friend, which I will gladly look into if he wishes, I should make the point that additional proposals for joint finance, including those in the last Parliament's Health and Social Services and Social Security Adjudications Act 1983, do provide for some improvements in the terms of joint finance and, as I said in my earlier answer, are very much aimed in part at voluntary organisations.

Mr. Home Robertson

Does the Minister recall the long caller office correspondence that I have been having with him ever since his Department suddenly curtailed the caller office services in the towns of Tranent and Haddington in my constituency? He knows that that has cast a considerably increased burden on to local voluntary organisations such as the citizens advice bureaux. Has he yet thought of a way of paying back the citizens advice bureaux for doing his Department's work?

Mr. Newton

I think that I have made the point to the hon. Gentleman in correspondence that while the Government provide some central funding, not through my Department but through another, to the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux, the funding of local citizens advice bureaux is a matter for local authorities.

Mr. Sims

Is my hon. Friend aware that if a housing association wishes to provide accommodation for elderly people with wardens on site it can do so with grants from the housing corporation? However, if it wishes to buy accommodation where frail, sick and elderly people may live and have medical attention, it does not qualify for housing corporation grants, and no similar grant is available from his Department. Could not this be considered as an area for more co-operation between the voluntary and the statutory sectors?

Mr. Newton

I should like to look into the particular point, but I refer again to the Act that I mentioned a moment ago. One of its purposes is to extend the scope for the use of joint finance in connection with housing in relation to care in the community.

Mr. Meadowcroft

Will the Minister concentrate on the problem that arises as between short-term and long-term aid for the voluntary sector? Does he accept that there are immense problems for the voluntary sector in coping with capital assets unless it has a guarantee of funding? Does the Minister accept that there is room for more long-term funding than the Government currently acknowledge?

Mr. Newton

Those problems are not confined to the voluntary sector. They are also raised with us by local authorities' social services departments. We are taking steps to try to improve the position and obviously we will consider further suggestions if and when they are made.

Mr. Alfred Morris

On this important question of cooperation between the voluntary and statutory sectors, the Minister will have seen the code of practice which the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation is recommending to local authorities in respect of the services they provide under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act. What is the Government's reaction to that important document?

Mr. Newton

I was interested to see the document. Indeed, I have written to RADAR to say that I have no doubt that local authorities will wish to consider it in considering how they, the local authorities, excercise their statutory responsibilities.