New clause 15 - Powers of the Secretary of State

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:45 pm ar 17 Ionawr 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Ceidwadwyr, North West Norfolk 4:45, 17 Ionawr 2002

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

I will be quick because I gather that we want to wind things up by ten minutes to five o'clock. That gives me about two minutes.

I remind the Committee of a key provision of the Bill, which was in clause 14 and concerned the default power of the appropriate Minister. How will the Minister discover any lack of compliance on the part of local authorities? He will have performance reports from the social services inspectorate, but how will he discover lesser degrees of failure in duty or individual cases? I am sure that the Minister will agree that local authorities are unlikely to point out problems or examples of poor performance, so there is a strong

argument for inserting the new clause. It makes it clear that anyone involved in the process has the right to be informed of the Secretary of State's powers. It would be a simple and straightforward addition. My hon. Friend the Member for East Worthing and Shoreham and I have put a lot of effort into drafting it, and we feel strongly that the Committee should accept it.