Clause 4 - Assessments etc. for adoption support services

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 6:45 pm ar 11 Rhagfyr 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Shadow Spokesperson (Health) 6:45, 11 Rhagfyr 2001

This is quite an extensive group of amendments; our amendments have been grouped with two tabled by the Liberal Democrats.

The lead amendment is absolutely essential and would be a test of the Government's genuineness to turn into reality the bold and well-guided intentions of clause 4. Earlier, I made the point that there is much detail about the duty on local authorities to carry out assessments—that is right for support services. However, there is no matching duty thereafter, if a need is identified, to provide support services to deal with the problem. If the latter does not follow the former, it makes a nonsense of the intentions of the clause.

Subsection (4) begins:

''Where, as a result of an assessment, a local authority decide that a person has needs for adoption support services'', but it continues:

''they must then decide whether to provide any such services to that person''.

We want to firm that up substantially by replacing it with the words,

''the local authority has the duty to provide suitable services to that person''.

Without that, providing an assessment could be seen as a handy way to escape the provision in the clause. That point was raised by a number of witnesses, in more detail, in many of the submissions. All the submissions welcomed support services being much more universally available, but most raised a concern that the assessments should be matched by support services that are forthcoming.