Tag Archives: claire tyler

26 February – 1 March 2024 – this week in the Lords

Welcome to another preview of the week’s events in the Upper House, one in which a space will become apparent following the loss of Conservative Peer, Patrick Cormack, who passed away over the weekend.

But on to business in what is another long week for the denizens of the red benches. Monday starts with a Liberal Democrat Oral Question – Lorely Burt will be asking the Government what is being done to encourage businesses to employ people with criminal convictions.

The Victims and Prisoners Bill reaches Day 6 of its Committee Stage but the …

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22-26 January 2024 – this week in the Lords

Hello, dear readers, and we meet again for another episode of the costume drama that is the House of Lords. And this week, it’s a “Rwanda week” even though the Rwanda Bill only received its formal First Reading on Thursday and isn’t due back until next Tuesday.

Even a relatively keen observer like myself is often surprised by the working of the Lords and, this week, the International Agreements Committee takes centre stage. I suppose, having thought about it, that any Parliamentary chamber would want to take a close look at international agreements signed in its name, and the House of Lords is no different. Chaired by Peter Goldsmith, the former (and rather controversial) Labour Attorney General, the Committee published its report on the UK-Rwanda Agreement on an Asylum Partnership. It doesn’t make good reading for the Government and, in typically courteous Lords fashion, accuses James Cleverly of effectively attempting to mislead the Committee (see paragraph 44). The report, including a series of recommendations, is to be debated on Monday and there will then be a motion, moved by Lord Goldsmith, resolving that:

His Majesty’s Government should not ratify the UK-Rwanda Agreement on an Asylum Partnership until the protections it provides have been fully implemented, since Parliament is being asked to make a judgement, based on the Agreement, about whether Rwanda is safe.

You can expect contributions from the two Liberal Democrat members of the Committee, Chris Fox and Tim Razzall, and there is every possibility of a Government defeat if Labour whip their members to vote for the motion.

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Part 2: Lib Dem Peers call for improved mental health services for young people

Yesterday we reported on the debate in the House of Lords on mental health services for children and young people secured by Earl Russell.

We thought you might like to read the other Lib Dem contributions to the debate. First up, Richard Allan who talked, among other things, about the effect of bullying on mental health:

My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Russell for securing this debate. Like many others, I am impressed by how quickly he has brought value to the work of this House and by the combination of passion and reasoned argument that he brought to today’s debate.

I congratulate the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Hale, on her maiden speech. I had not realised that she is from Yorkshire but, based on the comments of the noble Baroness, Lady Hollins, I can say, as a Sheffielder, that we are now on a Yorkshire hat trick as a group of three speakers. In my household, it is not often that we talk about the law as a cool and attractive profession, but the activities of the noble and learned Baroness in her previous role triggered such comments. Based on her contribution today, I am sure that, in future, she will provide examples of how our words here can be both impactful and entertaining. I hope that she does not let her natural diffidence get the better of her too often.

Turning to the subject of the debate, I start with a question: what do we call a family with experience of child mental health issues? The answer is “a normal family”. That has been reflected in the debate, as well as in my noble friend’s contribution as he related his own experience, but I suspect that every person sitting here today has their own direct personal experience of a young person suffering from mental health issues during their childhood, whether through their children, their nieces and nephews, their grandchildren or those children’s cousins. This understanding is necessary not to trivialise the matter—quite the opposite. If we normalise it, we may get to a position where we understand that child mental health issues need to be treated as seriously as other child health conditions, with an infrastructure and an understanding that, as my noble friend said, it is unacceptable to ignore them or somehow treat them as less serious.

The tools that we need to help people are common to all kinds of healthcare. First, we need early and accurate identification of problems. Secondly, we need good availability of the right treatment options; that is the case whether it is a physical issue or a mental health one. There are also four settings that need to work for young people in order to achieve these goals of the identification and treatment of the issues with which they present. The first is families themselves; the noble Baroness, Lady Hollins, referred to the importance of family as the primary setting. The second is the educational institutions in which children find themselves; the third is primary healthcare; and then there are the acute services to which children may need to turn. I will not go into the issues around family support in any depth today other than to flag the fact that families and the care they provide must be recognised and supported. There is an important objective for government in supporting families who provide care for somebody, whether they have a physical condition or a mental health one; that care provides enormous value to the individual but also to society. There are questions around the extent to which, today, government provides the support that those families need.

I turn to educational settings. These are generally schools for younger children but we should not forget the significant role of universities and colleges. That is important because we are talking today about children and young people; to me, that extends through into those university years. It is another period of transition. For many of the young people who reach the age of 18 or 19 and transition to university, that is when the crisis hits. Again, universities have a critical role to play in this.

Major shifts are needed to improve staff training. Staff across all these different kinds of establishment need to be trained in such a way that they can help identify problems, because problems may first present themselves in an interaction between a young person and a professional in an institution. We also need to make sure that counsellors are available when they represent an appropriate form of treatment; they are frequently the first line. The Minister has made commitments around both those aspects previously—the training of all staff in educational establishments where that may be useful in identifying problems; and the provision of counselling services to the right degree so that, when issues have presented themselves, that first line of treatment is available—so I hope that he will be able to demonstrate progress.

I am interested to understand from the Minister how budgets will operate in this space given that it sits between different government departments. The young person does not care that one thing sits with DHSC and another sits with DfE, or whatever acronyms we are using now; they care about whether treatment is available. I hope that the Minister can indicate how we will ensure that budgets follow need rather than being stuck in departmental silos.

I want to touch on bullying, which can be both a cause and an exacerbating factor for somebody with mental health issues: it can trigger the mental health issue but, sadly, the start of bullying can also sometimes be the response of young people to someone in their school who has a mental health issue. It then compounds the crisis that a young person is suffering. The challenge is to have an effective response because these issues are often labour intensive, requiring engagement—often over a long period—with the children and families involved.

As noble Lords may be aware, I have professional experience of the online component of this as I spent many years working at a large online platform. It seems obvious that the nature of bullying has changed with ubiquitous connectivity. However, sometimes, there is also the risk of us seeing the solutions as entirely within the domain of technology. People report bullying to a platform, which can result in the removal of the content and sometimes the closure of the bullying account, but it rarely solves the underlying problem.

In some cases, the bullying is entirely within an online community, but much more typically the online activity is an extension of something that is happening offline in the real world. The intervention that resolves the problem is one that brings young people, parents and others together to discuss the offline and online activity. I understand the challenges for school staff in resourcing this, but some option will have to be found or we will simply be playing whack-a-mole on the online platforms, knocking down individual instances while the young person’s mental health continues to deteriorate because the bullying is moving from place to place and never being addressed at its root causes.

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4 April 2019 – today’s press releases (part 2)

And, in part two…

  • Lib Dems call for mental health support to be included in Ofsted Inspections
  • Moran: SEND funding crisis a moral failure of Government
  • Welsh Lib Dems: Embrace Green Tech to Tackle Climate Change
  • Lib Dems lead Eating Disorder Campaign in Parliament

Lib Dems call for mental health support to be included in Ofsted Inspections

The Liberal Democrats have written to the Chief Inspector of Ofsted to urge her to include assessments of mental health support in schools in Ofsted Inspections.

The Liberal Democrat lead on Mental Health, Claire Tyler, has written to the Chief Inspector as the new draft Ofsted framework does …

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Claire Tyler writes: Children need better access to mental health care

Mental health care in this country needs radical transformation.  Both adult and children’s mental health services continue to be plagued by long waiting times, lack of access to treatment and chronic staff shortages. For children, the average wait between their first symptoms developing and being able to access treatment is estimated to be a horrifying 10 years. Once a referral has been made, The Children’s Society estimate that young people wait an average of 58 days until they are assessed and then a further 41 days until they begin treatment. 

In a recent survey, a thousand GPs across the country expressed their concerns about access to Children’s Mental Health Services. It found that 78% of GPs are worried that too few of their young patients can get treatment for mental ill-health and a staggering 99% of them feared that under 18 years old will come to harm as a direct result of these delays in care. 

For many of these children, the only way to access the care they need is for their mental health to deteriorate to crisis point or to turn to private care. In fact, almost two-fifths of GPs surveyed said they would recommend patients whose families can afford it to go private. It is completely unacceptable that we have such a growing divide between those who can pay for treatment and others who are left waiting.  Seventy years after the creation of the NHS, families should not be forced to pay for the mental healthcare their children so desperately need.  

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LibLink: Claire Tyler on Equality4MentalHealth

Baroness-Claire-Tyler-1We have covered the launch of the Equality for Mental Health Campaign this week and we also linked to Norman Lamb’s account of his son’s struggles with mental health. And now our spokesperson in the Lords on Mental Health, Claire Tyler, has written an article in Politics Home.

She outlines the campaign then writes:

Our job now is to hold this Government’s feet firmly to the fire and make sure the promised money finds its way into the system and, crucially, that money earmarked for mental health services is indeed spent on mental healthcare by Clinical Commissioning Groups. In a recent, and very welcome, spate of debates and questions in the Lords I have pushed for more details about where and when the additional £1.25 billion promised for young people’s mental health during this Parliament is going to be spent.

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LibLink: Claire Tyler delivers the William Beveridge Memorial Lecture

Baroness-Claire-Tyler-1Baroness Claire Tyler is our spokesperson for mental health in the Lords, and on Saturday she gave the William Beveridge Memorial Lecture at the Social Liberal Forum conference. The full text has now been published, but we can give you a taster here.

The title of the lecture was ‘Wellbeing – a modern take on Beveridge’ and she began by saying:

I think it is entirely appropriate to be revisiting Beveridge at a conference entitled ‘Rebooting Liberalism’. It’s neither regressive nor intellectually lazy to be looking to the past as we seek to move forward. Far from it – we are fortunate to have an incredibly strong intellectual tradition within the party and in seeking to both clarify and communicate exactly what we stand for, we could do much worse than draw on the ground-breaking work of one of the grandfathers of modern Liberalism.

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LibLink: Baroness Claire Tyler – Mental health matters

Writing on the Liberal Democrat website, Baroness Claire Tyler sets out detailed ways in which government can radically improve the treatment of mental health problems:

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Ros Scott writes… The spirit of philanthropy

Christian Aid Week collector, WaterlooThree hours passed in the House of Lords yesterday without a single party political point made by any of the 21 speakers taking part in the discussion. The occasion for this unusual occurrence was my debate on the contribution made to society by the voluntary and charitable sector, held as one of three Liberal Democrat sponsored debates taking place yesterday.

Charitable giving from the public has held up remarkably well despite the long recession, although we should all be concerned that what my colleague Baroness Claire Tyler …

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Next week in the Lords: 15-18 October

It looks as though this column may be going down in flames, now that the Lords have appointed a new Media & PR Officer, but until we do…

Days 7 and 8 of the Committee Stage of the Financial Services Bill dominate the week. And, as I still don’t understand it, I’m going to see if I can get an explanation. Watch, hopefully, this space… However, Amendment 197, to be moved by Lord Flight, requires banks to transfer accounts to a new institution, if requested, within ten working …

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Opinion: “I don’t like them, you don’t like them… We have to have them”

This Saturday, Conference has the opportunity to show that Liberal Democrats are genuinely committed to achieving gender balance in our own distinctively liberal and democratic way.

Conference will debate an amendment which Jo Shaw and I have put forward to Mark Pack and Paul Tyler’s Lords reform motion. Our amendment builds on the approach taken by our party in the late 1990s, when one-off zipping was used to deliver a gender-balanced cohort of Lib Dem MEPs in the first PR elections to the European Parliament.

In an ideal world we wouldn’t need these kinds of measures. But with just 12% women …

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Fifteen new Liberal Democrat Peers appointed

Fifteen new Liberal Democrat working peers have just been announced…

  • Dr Sarah (Sal) Brinton – Executive Director of the Association of Universities in the East of England
  • Dee Doocey OBE – Chair of the London Assembly
  • Qurban Hussain – Deputy Group Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Luton Borough Council
  • Judith Jolly – Chair of Executive Committee of Liberal Democrats in Devon and Cornwall
  • Susan Kramer – former Liberal Democrat MP
  • Raj Loomba – businessman and campaigner for widows’ rights
  • Jonathan Marks – commercial and family law QC with specialist interest in human rights and constitutional reform
  • Monroe Palmer OBE – Liberal
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