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Written Question
Hospitals: Patients
Tuesday 12th March 2024

Asked by: Alan Campbell (Labour - Tynemouth)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will publish guidance on the rules for communication between hospitals on individual patient care.

Answered by Andrew Stephenson

NHS England has produced guidance on the rules for communication between hospitals for individual patient care, and it is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/long-read/data-and-clinical-record-sharing/


Written Question
Free School Meals
Wednesday 22nd November 2023

Asked by: Alan Campbell (Labour - Tynemouth)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of extending the eligibility for free school meals on (a) the economy, (b) public health and (c) educational attainment.

Answered by Damian Hinds - Shadow Secretary of State for Education

The provision of Free School Meals (FSM) to pupils from households who are on low income or out of work is important to the government. Over two million pupils are currently eligible for benefits based FSM. Close to 1.3 million additional infants receive free and nutritious meals under the Universal Infant Free School Meals policy.

The department does not have plans to change the current eligibility conditions for FSM, nor any plans to extend universal provision, but will continue to keep eligibility under review to ensure that these meals are supporting those who need them most. The department has set a threshold which enables more pupils to benefit, whilst remaining affordable and deliverable for the schools.

The department continues to work with other government departments to monitor the consequences of the rising cost of living and the impact on families.


Written Question
Free School Meals
Wednesday 22nd November 2023

Asked by: Alan Campbell (Labour - Tynemouth)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending universal free school meals across England.

Answered by Damian Hinds - Shadow Secretary of State for Education

The provision of Free School Meals (FSM) to pupils from households who are on low income or out of work is important to the government. Over two million pupils are currently eligible for benefits based FSM. Close to 1.3 million additional infants receive free and nutritious meals under the Universal Infant Free School Meals policy.

The department does not have plans to change the current eligibility conditions for FSM, nor any plans to extend universal provision, but will continue to keep eligibility under review to ensure that these meals are supporting those who need them most. The department has set a threshold which enables more pupils to benefit, whilst remaining affordable and deliverable for the schools.

The department continues to work with other government departments to monitor the consequences of the rising cost of living and the impact on families.


Written Question
Universities: Assessments
Wednesday 20th September 2023

Asked by: Alan Campbell (Labour - Tynemouth)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to support students who have not received a degree mark due to strike action by university staff; and if she will take steps to compensate those students affected by the time taken to provide a mark.

Answered by Robert Halfon

Unlike some other education sectors where the government has taken part in negotiations with trade unions, universities are autonomous. They are therefore responsible for the pay and pension provision of their staff.

The University and College Union (UCU) announced the end to the marking and assessment boycott on 6 September 2023. While the government plays no formal role in such disputes, the department has been deeply concerned about the impact of the marking and assessment boycott on students. It is unacceptable that students, many of whom have already suffered significant disruption to their studies over recent years, face further disruption and uncertainty. This disruption is particularly damaging to those students who have graduated and looking to enter the jobs market or progress to further study. The department has made clear that whatever the rights and wrongs of the current dispute, action that damages students' prospects is the wrong thing to do.

The majority of students have been unaffected by the industrial action and, in most cases, have received their full results on time, and progressed or graduated as normal. However, the department appreciates that, at some higher education (HE) providers, the impact of the boycott has been more significant.

This government believes students should be at the heart of the HE system. This is why the Office for Students (OfS) has been set up to regulate the HE sector in England, protect student rights and ensure the sector is delivering real value for money. The OfS have also published guidance to students on their rights during industrial action and will continue to monitor this ongoing situation through their normal regulatory mechanisms. Further information can be found here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/.

I held discussions with the Russell Group, Universities UK and the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) to better understand the impact on students and the mitigating actions their members have taken to minimise disruption. I also wrote to the Russell Group and Universities UK, encouraging them to continue to do everything within their powers to protect the interests of students during this phase of industrial action. On 11 August, I wrote to the UCEA and the UCU urging them both to resume negotiations to bring an end to industrial action.

Universities have worked to reduce the impact on students in a variety of ways, including reallocating marking to other staff members and hiring external markers. Moreover, many universities have awarded degrees when they have enough evidence of a student’s prior attainment to do so. Others have assigned provisional grades to students to allow them to progress, and, once all papers have been marked, most institutions will award degree classifications that either remain as provisionally assigned or are uplifted to reflect the student’s achievements.

Students who have complaints about their HE experience should contact their institution in the first instance. Students in England and Wales may also raise a complaint with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA), which was set up to provide an alternative to the courts and is free of charge to students. Depending on the complaint, the OIA may recommend that compensation be awarded. Whilst compensating students for disruption is the responsibility of HE institutions, the OIA expects institutions to comply with their recommendations. Further information on the OIA is available at: https://www.oiahe.org.uk.


Written Question
Tickets: Sales
Friday 8th September 2023

Asked by: Alan Campbell (Labour - Tynemouth)

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether she plans to introduce legislation for the uncapped secondary ticketing market.

Answered by John Whittingdale

We are committed to supporting fair and transparent ticket pricing and tackling unacceptable behaviour in this market.

We have strengthened the law in relation to ticketing information requirements and have introduced a criminal offence of using automated software to buy more tickets online than is allowed. We also support the work of enforcement agencies in this area, such as the Competition and Markets Authority, National Trading Standards, and the advertising industry's own regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority.

Ultimately, ticket pricing strategies are a matter for event organisers and ticketing platforms, providing they comply with relevant legislation, particularly regarding transparency to customers on how tickets are priced, in order to help consumers make a fair and informed decision.


Written Question
Homes for Ukraine Scheme
Thursday 13th July 2023

Asked by: Alan Campbell (Labour - Tynemouth)

Question to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities:

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making thank you payments to those families who opened their homes to Ukrainians through the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Answered by Felicity Buchan

Sponsors receive an optional ‘thank you’ payment of £350 for the first 12 months from the date that a guest first arrived in the UK, and £500 from 12 months thereafter. Further information about thank you payments can be accessed here.


Written Question
Civil Servants: Pay
Friday 23rd June 2023

Asked by: Alan Campbell (Labour - Tynemouth)

Question to the Cabinet Office:

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reasons the cost of living bonus for civil servants is pro rata.

Answered by Jeremy Quin

Civil Service pay below the Senior Civil Service is delegated to individual departments to determine, subject to adherence with the Civil Service Pay Remit Guidance which is a cost control document. An Addendum to the 2023/24 Pay Remit Guidance was issued on 2 June 2023 to enable departments to make a one-off payment of £1500 per full-time employee. The Addendum stated that departments should have regard to their policies on part time working and making the non-consolidated payment on a pro rata basis.


Written Question
Social Security Benefits: Tribunals
Thursday 22nd June 2023

Asked by: Alan Campbell (Labour - Tynemouth)

Question to the Ministry of Justice:

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what guidance he has issued on the use of unlicensed doctors in his Department's tribunals.

Answered by Mike Freer

Medical Members principally sit on cases in the Social Entitlement and Health, Education and Social Care (Mental Health) and War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Chambers.

Members of the Tribunals, who are not judges, are appointed by the Senior President of Tribunals under either Schedule 2 or 3 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. Required qualifications for these appointments are specified in the Qualifications for Appointment of Members to the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal Order 2008, which sets out that a person who is not a judge is only eligible for appointment as a member of the First-tier or Upper Tribunal if they are, amongst other listed professions, a Registered Medical Practitioner. The Order also clarifies that a Registered Medical Practitioner means a fully registered person within the meaning of the Medical Act 1983, whether or not they hold a licence to practise under that Act.

This requirement is included in the information for candidates issued by the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) for Medical Member recruitment. As part of the selection process, the JAC checks and validates each candidate’s registration against the General Medical Council’s online register.

Following appointment, General Medical Council registrations are checked, at least annually, by the Tribunals as part of the appraisals process. All Tribunal Members, including Medical Members, are subject to the judicial conduct guidance issued by the Lord Chief Justice and Senior President of the Tribunals, and are expected to notify the relevant leadership judge immediately of any change in circumstances.


Written Question
Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre
Wednesday 24th May 2023

Asked by: Alan Campbell (Labour - Tynemouth)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has for the future management of Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre when the current contract ends.

Answered by Robert Jenrick

Derwentside IRC is in the latter stages of the formal procurement process.

Heathrow and Derwentside Immigration Removal Centres Procurement - Find a Tender (find-tender.service.gov.uk);

Heathrow and Derwentside IRCs Procurement - Contracts Finder.


Written Question
Child Maintenance Service
Tuesday 23rd May 2023

Asked by: Alan Campbell (Labour - Tynemouth)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Sixth Report of the Work and Pensions Committee of Session 2022-23, Children in poverty: Child Maintenance Service, HC 272, published on 27 April 2023, if he will take steps to create a compensation package for people incorrectly assessed by the Child Maintenance Service.

Answered by Mims Davies - Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities

The Child Maintenance Service welcomes the Work and Pensions Select Committee report and are considering the recommendations. We will provide a response in due course.