§ Mr. Judd
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what evaluations have been made by his Department of warning devices, especially inertia systems, which could be installed in the homes of elderly people living alone; and whether he will make a statement on the policy of his Department towards encouraging local authorities to make use of them.
§ Sir K. Joseph
My Department is closely involved with two current research projects which are designed to provide objective evaluation of emergency warning devices now available, and is represented on a committee set up by the British Standards Institution to try to achieve a minimum standard specification for them.
The work in progress gives scope for cautious optimism for the future but a number of fundamental problems remain to be solved before definitive guidance can be given to local authorities on the use of these devices. In these circumstances, it would be counter-productive to encourage authorities to purchase on any scale equipment that remains of unproven reliability save where elderly people are living in warden-serviced grouped housing.