Bishop of St Albans asks Government about data on racial bias in criminal justice system

On 2nd July an answer to an Urgent Question in the Commons on the Lammy Review was given in the House of Lords. The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, asked a follow up question focusing on data analysis.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, one of the important ideas found in the Lammy report is the use of relative rate index analysis, which provides important data on the way decisions at various points of the criminal justice system take place. This is the sort of tool we will need if we are to address this deeply embedded problem. Will the noble and learned Lord tell the House whether this relative rate index analysis has been a repeated and whether the lessons are being implemented?

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Bishop of Coventry asks Government about the role of faith communities in mental health care

On 2nd July Baroness Barker asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to ensure that mental health services are available in (1) acute, and (2) community, care settings (a) during, and (b) after, the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, asked a follow up question focusing on the role of faith communities in supporting those with poor mental health due to Covid-19.

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, at least one of the churches in my diocese recently set up a mental well-being centre, providing support groups, a helpline and signposting to professional services. Has the Minister considered inviting churches and other faith communities, with their knowledge of, trust within and connections to the local community, including networks of young people, to participate in the response to the mental health needs caused by Covid-19?

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Time to act to reduce gambling-related harm, says Lords report

On 2nd July 2020 the House of Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry published its findings. The Bishop of St Albans had served as a key member of the Committee. The press notice from the Committee website is reproduced below:

Time to act to reduce gambling-related harm, says Lords report

2 July 2020

The House of Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry today warns that more needs to be done to prevent gambling-related harm. The liberalisation of gambling by the Gambling Act 2005, the universal adoption of smart phones, and the exploitation of soft-touch regulation by gambling operators has created a perfect storm of addictive 24/7 gambling. The Committee expects the Government and the regulator to make changes now. Many of the report’s recommendations do not need legislation, and all of them are urgent if consumers are to be protected and lives saved.

The report can be downloaded from the Parliament website here.

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Bishop of Coventry asks Government about data sharing during the Covid-19 pandemic

On 1st July a statement was given updating the House of Lords on the Covid-19 situation in the UK. The Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, asked a follow up question focusing on data sharing.

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, the Minister said that data required by local authorities is given to them, but I am told by the leader of Coventry City Council and our director of public health that, although data sharing has improved over the past two weeks, it still comes from different sources and does not include data on workplaces and other settings that people regularly visit or, as we have heard, on ethnicity. Can the Minister provide further assurances that local authorities will be supplied with the full data that they need to respond to local outbreaks in a streamlined form and at an early point?

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government about performing music during Covid-19

On 1 July Lord Berkeley of Knighton asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is their response to reports that orchestras and cultural venues are facing permanent closure as a result of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, asked a follow up question focusing on performing music during Covid-19.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, it is not just the performance venues that are suffering but many churches and halls rented out for rehearsal space. Will the Minister update the House on the progress of research undertaken into singing and playing woodwind and brass instruments, to see how these activities might be safely undertaken while minimising the risk of spreading Covid-19?

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Bishop of London asks Government about mental health provision for care workers

On 1st July Lord Bradley asked Her Majesty’s Government “what action they are taking to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health”. The Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, asked a follow up question focusing on mental health care for care workers.

The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, the Government are providing NHS staff with free access to online therapy and group counselling sessions, among other things, which is much needed and very welcome. Can the Minister say whether the same quality of care, recognition and access to mental health support is being given to parts of the social care sector such as nursing homes, care homes and home care workers, who have faced similar traumatic experiences to those of NHS staff?

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Bishop of Coventry asks Government about support for asylum seekers during Covid-19

On 30th June there was a repeat of an Urgent Question in the House of Commons on support and accommodation for Asylum Seekers during Covid-19. The Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, asked a follow up question focusing on supporting vulnerable people with wrap around care.

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, vulnerability assessments are so important. There are questions about when they happen and the need for them to be ongoing and serious. There is also a question about how. Is the Minister satisfied that the vulnerability assessments are sufficiently tuned to the experiences and needs of asylum seekers in their extremity, and take into consideration the whole person and the impact of the ongoing experience of lockdown?

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Bishop of Winchester asks Government about widening access to university

On 30th June Baroness Randerson asked Her Majesty’s Government “what support they are providing to universities to assist them in dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic”. The Rt Revd Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, asked a follow up question focusing on students preparing to enter into key public service roles.

The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, universities make a significant contribution to their local communities and economies, particularly smaller institutions that attract a larger proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. These make a significant contribution to their local context, particularly in this pandemic. In particular, several Cathedrals Group universities during the 2018-19 academic year had 20% undergraduate students from low-participation—POLAR4—backgrounds. How will the Government work with higher education institutions to maintain the widening of access and retention of students, especially those preparing for key public service roles that have been so important during this pandemic crisis?

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Bishop of Rochester asks Government about Covid-19 cases in prisons

On 30th June the Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, received a written answer to a question from Lord Keen of Elie on Covid-19 in prisons.

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: HL5099 To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) prisoners, and (2) staff, were (a) suspected of having, (b) confirmed as having, (3) hospitalised as a result of, and (4) died from, COVID-19 in prisons in England, broken down by region.

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Bishop of Newcastle asks Government about PPE procurement approach

On 30th June the Rt Revd Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle, received a written answer to a question from Lord Bethell on the Government’s approach to PPE procurement.

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: HL4148 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the reply by Lord Bethell on 23 April (HL Deb, col 90), whether their approach to personal protective equipment procurement remains one of collaboration with local initiatives following the report in the Financial Times on 4 May that procurement is being nationalised.

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