Clause 6 - Arrangements on cancellation of registration

Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:15 pm ar 13 Rhagfyr 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Ceidwadwyr, North West Norfolk 4:15, 13 Rhagfyr 2001

I beg to move amendment No. 188, in page 6, line 19, at end add

'and the relevant body will be under an obligation to at all times retain full records.'.

The clause points out that, by virtue of the cancellation of its registration under part 2 of the Care Standards Act 2000,

''a body has ceased to be a registered adoption society'',

and that

''the appropriate Minister may direct the body to make such arrangements as to the transfer of its functions relating to children and other transitional matters as seem to him expedient.''

That makes sense, but I am concerned about the retention of records. The relevant body may be wound up or may disappear and the records may be lost, when they should be retained and passed on to the successor body.

The amendment would make it crystal clear that records must be retained. If they are not, it could cause problems for the successor body. The amendment is simple and straightforward and I hope that the Minister will accept it.

Photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Minister of State, Department of Health

As the hon. Gentleman said, the clause enables the appropriate Minister to issue directions to the voluntary adoption agency that require it to make appropriate arrangements for the transfer of its functions relating to children. Those directions will ensure that the voluntary adoption agency's records are transferred to another adoption agency and that an appropriate continuity of service provision is preserved for those receiving services from the agency before it ceases to be registered.

This clause is linked to clause 7, under whose provisions the appropriate Minister may direct the relevant local authority to take action when a voluntary adoption agency is inactive, defunct or has ceased to be registered. Directions may be used to require the local authority to take over the voluntary adoption agency's records.

The amendment is unnecessary, therefore, and problematic in that it would place an obligation on

''the relevant body . . . to . . . retain full records.''

It does not make it clear what the relevant body may be. On the basis that it is flawed and that the points made by the hon. Gentleman are covered, I hope that he will withdraw the amendment.

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Ceidwadwyr, North West Norfolk

Will the Minister give more detail? She says that the question of records is covered, but will it be covered in the regulations, as it does not seem to be covered in the Bill? The records will obviously be kept by the successor body, but will she make clear the mechanism for ensuring that those records are maintained and kept intact?

Photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Minister of State, Department of Health

I think that it is clear in the Bill. I outlined that directions would make explicit the responsibilities in relation to clauses 6 and 7, and gave the hon. Gentleman the assurances that he sought.

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Ceidwadwyr, North West Norfolk

With that assurance, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 6 ordered to stand part of the Bill.