AND ANSWERS IN THE HOUSE
We feel that the following extracts from the Official Reports of the Debates in the House of Commons may be of interest to delegates " Mental Welfare." They indicate to the Conference and to readers of the interest aroused the intense by Report of the Joint Committee clearly and its on Mental importance to administrators, teachers Deficiency, and social workers concerned with the care of mental defectives. Parts I, II and IV of the Report have now been published and are being discussed at the Conference; publication of Part III has been delayed, but it is hoped that in view of the demand for its publication, the Minister of Health will authorise its issue as soon as possible. MONDAY,
Mr. Cove : To ask the President of the Board of Education, if he will state the names of the members of the special committee he has set up to explore the provision for mentally defective children; whether it invites evidence upon the subject; and if it is proposed to publish a Report on its
The Duchess of Atholl: The Committee, which is inquiring into certain questions relating to mental deficiency among adults as well as among children, consists of the following members: Professor Cyril Burt Mr. Arthur H. Wood, C.B. (Chairman) Dr. R. H. Crowley (Vice-Chairman) Dr. F. C. Shrubsall Mr. C. Eaton Dr. A. F. Tredgold Mrs. Pinsent, C.B.E. Dr. F. Douglas Turner Miss Evelyn Fox Mr. N. D. Bosworth-Smith Miss Redfern (Secretary) My Right Hon. Friend understands that evidence has not yet been invited. He cannot say at this stage whether the Committee's Report will be published.
THURSDAY, Mr. John Palin
if he will state what
To ask the President of the Board of Education, the precise terms of reference, or what is the
specific purpose, of the special committee appointed to consider the education of mentally defective children; if any member of the committee is a representative of local education authorities or of the teaching profession; and whether, if there be no such member, he will invite such representatives to act upon the committee.
Lord Eustace Percy : As regards the first two parts of the Question, I would refer the Hon. Member to page 139 of the Chief Medical Officer's Report for 1923, and pages 145 and 146 of his Report for 1924. None of the members of the Committee were appointed in a representative capacity, but two are officers of Local Authorities, and one is the head ?f a special school for defective children.
Mr. Harris : To ask the President of the Board of Education, whether he will state how the special committee of the Board on mentally defective children is constituted and what are the terms of reference to the committee; whether representatives of the Board of Control have been added to the Committee; and whether any other associations of persons interested in the care and treatment of mentally defective children are to be invited to join the Committee, or to give evidence before the Committee. The Duchess of Atholl: As regards the first part of the Question, Hon. Friend would refer the Hon. Member to the replies given by him to the Hon. Members for Wellingborough (Mr. Cove) and West Newcastle (Mr. John Palin) on the 21st February and the 24th March, respectively. If he will look at the passages in the Chief Medical Officer's Reports for 1923 and 1924 mentioned therein, he will see that the Committee includes among its members a Commissioner of the Board of Control as well as other persons with special knowledge and experience ?f the subject. My Right Hon. Friend understands that the Committee have not yet decided whether to invite evidence. my
Supplementary Questions. Mr. Harris
Will this Committee report
Duchess of Atholl: It is not possible to give an answer to that Question without notice. If the Hon. Gentleman will look at the Report he will see that the Committee is engaged on special investigation by an expert. Mr. R. Morrison : This Committee was set up in 1924. Can the Noble say whether any report has yet been issued which is available to Members of the House ?
Duchess of Atholl: I understand that the Committee is not in a Position to issue a report until the result of the expert investigation, to which I have just! referred, is available.
MONDAY, 27th JUNE,
Mr. Harris : To ask the President of the Board of Education, if he will state what are the terms of reference to the departmental committee appointed by the Board to consider matters relating to mentally defective children; has the committee taken any evidence from witnesses; when is
the committee likely to make its Report; and, having regard to the fact that the development of schools for mentally defective children is being held up pending the findings of the departmental committee, have the Board any intention of asking for an interim Report. Lord Eustace Percy : As regards the first part of the Question, I would refer the Hon. Member to the reply given by me on the 24th March last to the Hon. Member for West Newcastle (Mr. John Palin), a copy of which I am sending him. I understand that the Committee have not called witnesses and that they hope to be able to report early next year. There appears, therefore, to be no occasion to ask them to consider making an interim report.
Supplementary Questions. In view of the uncertainty of a large number of what exactly is the policy of the Board of Education towards the provision of special schools for mentally defective children, can the Rt. Hon. Gentleman facilitate the issue of this Report or make some further statement in order that Local Authorities may know Mr. R. Morrison
to do ?
Lord Eustace Percy : The Hon. Member is entirely mistaken. There uncertainty in the mind of Local Authorities, and any Local Authority who wishes to consult the Board can do so at any moment. is
Mr. Morrison : Am I to understand that the President of the Board of Education wishes Local Authorities to feel that no further provision should be made for special schools for mentally defective children ?
Lord Eustace Percy : The Hon. Member is not to understand that. He is to understand that Local Authorities are free to consult with the Board in connection with any project they have in mind for the provision of special schools for these children. Mr. Morrison : Is it not the case that a considerable number of Local Authorities have submitted plans for these special schools for mentally defective children, and, as they have not met with the approval of the Board, they are in some doubt on the matter? Lord E. Percy : After the communications they have had with the I do not think they can be in any doubt at all.
16th FEBRUARY, 1928.
Mr. Robert Morrison : To ask the President of the Board of Education whether the departmental committee appointed to consider matter relating to mentally defective children has concluded its task, and when its Report will be published. Lord E. Percy : I understand that the special investigations instituted the Committee have now been completed and that the Committee hope to be able to consider the results and to present their Report some time
Supplementary Question. Mr. Morrison : Can the Rt. Hon. Gentleman say when that Report will be published ? Lord E. Percy
I cannot say at this moment.
Mr. Harris: To ask the President of the Board of Education, if he Will state how many local education authorities have provided no accommodation up to the present for mentally defective and physically defective children; and are there any authorities without accommodation who are making provision during the current educational triennium. The Duchess of Atholl: According to the information in the Possession of my Department, there are 240 Local Education Authorities who have provided no special schools of their own for mentally defective children, and 257 who have provided no special schools of their own for physically defective children; but 131 of the former Authorities and 221 ?f the latter send children of these types to special schools provided by other Authorities or by Voluntary Managers, and some 200 Authorities make provision for the orthopaedic treatment of crippled children. In addition, about 50 Authorities have arranged for the supervision of mentally defective children in their areas. As to the second part of the Question, the Board already have before them proposals for the provision of five new schools for mentally defective children and 28 new schools for physically defective children. Supplementary Question. Mr. R. Morrison
: Is it the policy of the Board to urge the Local not yet making any provision for these unfortunate with making such provision as rapidly as possible?
The Duchess of Atholl: If the Hon. Member will look at the Board's he will see that very considerable progress has been made in the last three and a half years in the provision of schools for physically defective children; there has been a marked increase in the number of such schools for mentally defective children. The Hon. Member is aware that that matter is under consideration at the present time by a Special Committee which has not yet reported.
Mr. Harris : To ask the President of the Board of Education, whether he is now in a position to state when the Report of the Special Committee set up in 1923 to investigate various problems relating to mental deficiency will be ready; and whether it is proposed to issue the Report
The Duchess of AthoJl: My Rt. Hon. Friend hopes that the Report will be available before the end of the year and that it will be published, but he cannot, of course, give an undertaking at this stage.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19th,
Mr. Crawfurd : To ask the President of the Board of Education, if he will state why a request by the education authorities of Middlesex, Ealing, Brentford and Chiswick, Heston and Isleworth, and subsequently Twickenham, to open a day school for mentally defective children was refused in December, 1927, and again in June, 1928, there being no such school in any part of this large area. Lord Eustace Percy : The Hon. Member is under a misapprehension thinking that the proposals of the education authorities, to whom he refers, to open a day school for mentally defective children has been refused. The Board have, however, suggested that the proposal should be deferred pending the report of the special Committee on mental deficiency, which I hope to receive at an early date.
Supplementary Questions. Mr. Crawfurd : Is it not a fact that these authorities have suggested that, pending that report, there should be a temporary school for these
unfortunate children ?
Lord E. Percy : I do not know whether or not that is the I know, no such suggestion has been made.
Can the Noble Lord give
this report will be received ?
Lord E. Percy
approximate date when
afraid I cannot, but I hope to receive it very
Mr. Broad : Does the Noble Lord realise that age is tion in these cases?
Sir H. Brittain : Is it not a fact that there are very few mental defectives in the Conservative County of Middlesex. Mr. R. Morrison : Can the Noble Lord give any indication, in view of the interest taken in this question, whether before the Adjournment for Christmas he will be able to make any statement on this Report ? Lord E. Percy : I cannot make any statement on the Report until I have received it, and I have not yet received it, but I hope to get it as
6th DECEMBER, 1928.
Mr. Thomas Griffiths : To ask the President of the Board of Education, whether, in view of the fact that, according to the Hampshire County Council Education Report, 1927, there were 148 children notified during 1926-27 by the local education authority to the local authority under the Mental Deficiency Act, 1913, for which no provision has been inade for special care and instruction in special schools or other institutions, he will consider making a grant to the local authority to enable these children to be suitably attended to. The Duchess of Atholl: Grants are payable to Local Education in respect of the maintenance and provision of special schools for mentally defective children, but the difficulty in making special provision for such children in rural areas is not primarily a financial one, and the various administrative and medical aspects of the problem are under investigation by the Mental Deficiency Committee at the present time.
THURSDAY, Sir Leslie Scott:
To ask the President of the Board of Education
whether the Report of the Mental Deficiency Committee, which on 9th July last he informed the House he hoped would be available before the end of the.year, has been signed; and when it will be published. Lord Eustace Percy : The Report has just been presented. I hope to publish it as soon as practicable but I understand it is a very long document and I should not like to give an undertaking to publish until I have had
opportunity of considering it.
Sir Leslie Scott: May we know whether "as soon as possible" means on this side of Easter, because there are important conferences to be held in April which will be attended by many people anxious to know about this matter ? well
Lord E. Percy
Mr. Morrison : Will the Noble Lord give an undertaking that 110 Proposals made by the Committee will be carried into effect until the Report has been published ? Loid E. Pcrcy : Certainly 110 proposals will be carried into effect until the direct recommendations have been published.
Mr. R. Morrison asked the President of the Board of Education has now decided to publish the Report of the Departmental Committee upon Mental Deficiency, and when it will be available ?
The President of the Board of Education (Lord Eustace Percy) : I am for the publication of the first section of the Report which will include all the Committee's findings and recommendations on matters falling within the scope of my Department and the local education authorities, together with the report of a survey of the incidence of mental deficiency in certain tj^pical areas which was carried out for the Committee by one of the medical officers of the Board of Control. These documents are not yet in print, and in view of their length I am afraid that they will not be available before Easter. I should like to take this opportunity of thanking the Committee for a most valuable Report which I believe will be of the greatest assistance to mentally deficient children.
interested in the
I take it that the Report will be available for those somewhere about Easter ?
Lord E. Percy : I cannot undertake to say that it w7ill be physically to get the Report through by a particular date. It cannot be got before Easter, but I hope it will be got through not long
Mr. Crawfurd : Is there any truth in the rumour that the Government propose to suppress this Report until after the General Election ? Lord E. Percy : Clearly from what I have said there can be no truth in it.
Lieut. Col. Fremantle asked the President of the Board of Education whether he can give any information as to the date of the publication of the second section of the Report of the Departmental Committee on Mental Deficiency. The Minister of Health [Mr. Chamberlain) : I have been asked to reply. I am not at present prepared to give any undertaking as to any portions of this Report other than those referred to by my Right Hon. Friend the President of the Board of Education in reply to a question by the Hon. Member for Tottenham North (Mr. R. Morrison) on the 21st February.Lieut-Col. Fremantle : May I ask when the Right Hon. Gentleman will be able to give authority for the publication of this Report, which is extraordinarily important ?
I have not yet had time to consider it
Mr. Morris asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the fact that the Report of the Mental Deficiency Committee was presented as longago as 24th January, that the President of the Board of Education has authorised the publication of the portions relating to children, and that general interest is taken in this Report he will say when he will have completed his consideration of the portions relating to adults and will be in a position to authorise their publication ?
Mr. Chamberlain,: .1 would refer to the repfy which I gave to a similar question by my Hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the St. Albans Division (Lt.-Col. Fremantle) on the 7th March. Mr. Morris : If I put a question this day week, will the Right Hon. be able to give me an answer ?
to that effect.
26th MARCH, 1929.
Mr. Morris asked the Minister of Health the reasons for delaying the publication of that section of the Report of the Mental Deficiency Committee dealing with adults which was presented on 24th January, and whether in view of the conference on the subject to be held next month he will expedite the issue of the Report ? Sir J. Sandeman Allen asked the Minister of Health whether, having regard to the increasing anxiety caused by the delay in the publication ?f the section in the Report of the Departmental Committee on Mental Deficiency which relates to adults, he will see his way to authorise publication at any early date ? Sir K. Wood : My Right Hon. Friend will not be in a position to decide whether or not this part of the Report of the Departmental Committee will be published until he has had the opportunity of considering
Mr. Morris : Seeing that this Report was presented on 24th January, the Right Hon. Gentleman say when his Right Hon. Friend will have had sufficient time to consider it ?
Sir K. Wood : As the Hon. Gentleman knows, my Right. Hon. has been very much occupied, but I have 110 doubt that he will give this matter his early consideration.
Mr. Morris : In view of the conference which is to be held some time week, is it not desirable that this Report should be published as soon possible ?
Sir K. Wood
sorry if the conference should be inconvenienced.
Mr. R. Morrison : Do I understand from the indefinite answer to the question that it is still in doubt whether the Report will be published at all, and, in view of the great importance of this question should not the Report be published ? Sir K. Wood
My Right Hon. Friend is considering it personally.
Mr. Ernest Brown : Is the ?f the Local Government Bill ?
in connection with the
Wood : I could not undertake to answer what was in my Hon. Friend's mind. I stated that he is otherwise occupied.