On Wednesday 9th November, Bishop Sarah asked an oral question about the UK Commission on Bereavement.
The Lord Bishop of London: To ask His Majesty’s Government what steps they plan to take in response to the report by the UK Commission on Bereavement, Bereavement is Everyone’s Business, published on 6 October, which found that over 40% of respondents who wanted formal bereavement support did not get any.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Care, Lord Markham: Ensuring that bereavement support is available to those who need it when they need it remains a priority for the Government. The Government have set up a cross-government bereavement working group to ensure better join-up across government. We will use this group to address the recommendations raised in this report, and we will continue to work with the voluntary sector and across all four nations to improve access to support for bereaved individuals.
The Lord Bishop of London: I thank the Minister for his response. During a Westminster Hall debate on 5 July this year, the former Minister for Care and Mental Health, now the Secretary of State for Education, made a commitment that the Government will formally respond to the commission’s report. Now that the commission has published its findings, highlighting the challenges that bereaved people face today and setting out our detailed recommendations for improving support in the future, will the Minister reaffirm the Government’s commitment formally to respond to the commission’s report?
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Care, Lord Markham: First, I say on the record that I welcome the support in this area—the title of the report encapsulates the whole issue, in that bereavement is everyone’s business. That sums up the whole approach, which is one I totally agree with. We have set up a new policy team to work in this area, and it is meeting with the commission next week to talk about how to address those recommendations. The right reverend Prelate and I have a meeting shortly afterwards, to which I am intending to bring some members of that team so that we can discuss it further.