§ Mr. Irving
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action has been taken to improve the training of his Department's staff in the recognition and appropriate handling of mentally ill clients.
§ Mr. Major
The initial and subsequent developmental training of all the Department's Social Security local office staff who deal with the public, is geared to the recognition and appropriate handling of clients with particular problems, including the mentally ill.
To reinforce this message, in April this year, a specially commissioned video training package entitled "Ready, Willing and Able" was issued for use to all local offices. The aim of the material is to produce a heightened awareness of the differing needs of clients with disabilities, and to provide practical advice on improving the service 211W provided. It includes specific coverage of the particular needs of people with mental handicaps. The video film was produced with the valued assistance of several voluntary organisations, including MENCAP, and the film commentary was read by Sir Brian Rix.