§ 30. Helen Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps he is taking to ensure that Benefits Agency staff are trained in dealing with clients with mental health problems; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Angela Eagle
The programme of training, available to all BA staff, includes a range of customer service and interpersonal skills courses. They all include training on the needs of special groups within the community, including people with mental health problems.
We are currently working in partnership with groups representing people with mental health problems. They hold workshops specifically geared to meet the needs of staff who have contact with the mentally ill. From April 1999 we intend to extend this partnership by jointly developing and delivering courses where this can add value to our training products.