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 Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Minister of State, Department of Health 4:45, 17 Ionawr 2002

Ably prompted by my hon. Friend, I also want to put on record the support of officials across government, particularly from the Lord Chancellor's Department. As the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham pointed out, the Special

Standing Committee gave us the opportunity to consider the Bill in greater detail and to receive information from stakeholders more effectively than would have been possible without it. The hon. Gentleman is right to thank the stakeholders and lobby groups for their commitment.

Finally, we can be proud that we are sending on its way a Bill that will put the welfare of children at the heart of the adoption system, cut out delays, place a clearer duty on local authorities to provide adoption support services, give adopters a better deal, provide new rights to be reviewed after assessment, introduce special guardianship orders that will legally underpin the adoption register, and address the concerns expressed by members of the Committee.

We said at the outset that we were engaging in a ''once in a generation'' opportunity to modernise adoption legislation and I want to thank all those who have been involved in ensuring that the Committee stage has been particularly constructive and has made the legislation as good as possible.