Clause 121 - Orders made in the Channel Islands

Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:30 pm ar 17 Ionawr 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

Lest we should finish at 3 o'clock, I should be grateful if the Minister would further explain the clause. This part of the Bill clearly amends existing relevant legislation. The clause refers to the Police Act 1997 and criminal records. I am curious as to what constitutes a criminal record as regards breaches of adoption procedure, given that we have debated class 5 offences contained in the Bill. This is an opportunity for the Minister to supply a few details, in case there is anything that we want to question.

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

The hon. Gentleman is right. Clause 121 deals with criminal records in relation to adoption and fostering and, in particular, is designed to ensure that the needs and welfare of children are safeguarded. The new Criminal Records Bureau is being established under the Police Act 1997 to provide—among other things—for a system for vetting those who work with children, and a one-stop shop will simplify and speed up that process.

The intention is that criminal record checks and enhanced criminal record checks should be available through the bureau on both prospective foster and adoptive parents and other adults in the same household as them. Such checks for the purpose of determining the suitability of persons to act as foster parents and adoptive parents are already specifically provided for under sections 113 and 115 of the Police Act 1997.

Criminal record certificates under section 113 cover both spent and unspent convictions and cautions, reprimands and warnings. Enhanced criminal record certificates under section 115 also include ''soft''

information from local police records that the chief officer of police considers relevant. That would include relevant matters that did not lead to a conviction. The process for both types of certificate would also include a check of lists maintained by the Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills of persons considered unsuitable to work with children, under the one-stop shop arrangement provided for by the Protection of Children Act 1999.

I hope that with that clarification, the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) will feel able to support clause 121.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 121 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 124 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 3 agreed to.