HC Deb 08 July 2002 vol 388 cc679-80W
Mr. Heald

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 14 February 2002,Official Report, column 555W, on the Social Exclusion Unit, what progress has been made in respect of the Social Exclusion Unit's work on (a) mental health issues and prisoners, (b) mental health provision for cared for children and (c) elderly persons' mental health needs to get out of the house; and if he will publish reports in respect of the work. [68005]

The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State: (a) The Social Exclusion Unit's report on reducing re-offending by ex-prisoners was published on 1 July 2002 and copies of the report are in the Libraries of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

The report contains a detailed analysis of the mental health issues facing prisoners. It recommends that the Government develop and implement a national rehabilitation strategy, which should pull together the contributions of all relevant Government Departments. As part of this strategy, the report recommends improvements to key reception and release procedures in prison, and a `Going Straight Contract', which would deliver improvements in mental health outcomes, particularly in how they join up with many of the other factors affecting prisoners. An action plan setting out the Government's response to the report will be published later this year.

(b) The Social Exclusion Unit has consulted widely on all the factors impacting on the educational attainment of children in care. Mental health has been raised as an important issue, especially with regard to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). The project will be published later this year.

(c) In May 2002 the Social Exclusion Unit published its interim report on transport and social exclusion entitled "Making the Connections". The report is available on the Unit's website and in the Libraries of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

The interim report highlights that one third of older people say that there are one or more activities that they would like to be able to do more often; and that half of these involved family and other social visits. This suggests a significant degree of social isolation, which may have an impact on mental health.

The Social Exclusion Unit will publish its final report on transport and social exclusion later this year.