On 23rd September 2020 the House of Lords was asked to approve the Government’s Restriction of Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations 2020. The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, spoke in the debate, highlighting the negative consequences of the Regulations for the pensions of longstanding and lower paid public sector workers:
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?
On 20th May 2020 the Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, received a written answer to a question on students enrolling on courses with a public service focus.
The Bishop of Winchester: HL3912 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have, if any, to increase the number of students enrolling on courses with a public service focus, in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 12th May 2014 Baroness Kennedy of Cradley asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps are being taken to ensure adequate levels of nursing staff in the National Health Service.”
The Bishop of Oxford asked a supplementary question, drawing parallels between staffing obligations and the situation of Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group, which had been warned about disregarding NICE guidelines on another case:
The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, given the court ruling last week against Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group, saying that it was obliged to follow NICE guidelines unless a special factor could be determined that would justify departure, will Her Majesty’s Government give an assurance that the same test will apply to NHS trusts in regard to the ratio of nurses and patients?
Earl Howe: The guidance issued today by NICE on staffing ratios, to which I think the right reverend Prelate is specifically referring, is in draft, but the deputy chief executive of NICE has stressed that there are no floor or ceiling numbers on the required number of nursing staff that can be applied either across the whole of the NHS or in a particular ward setting. What the profession is seeking, and what NICE is looking to give it, is a reference tool or guideline that will enable it to judge correct staffing levels in accordance with the particular circumstances of a ward and the skill mix of the staff on that ward. It is a guideline rather than a mandatory prescription.