Clause 16 - Joint area reviews

Children Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:30 pm ar 19 Hydref 2004.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Minister of State (Education and Skills) (Children) 4:30, 19 Hydref 2004

I beg to move amendment No. 137, in

clause 16, page 13, line 3, leave out subsection (1).

Photo of Mrs Marion Roe Mrs Marion Roe Ceidwadwyr, Broxbourne

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government amendment No. 138.

Amendment No. 45, in

clause 16, page 13, line 13, at end insert

'having regard to reviews already carried out by other persons and bodies'.

Government amendment No. 139.

Amendment No. 69, in

clause 16, page 13, line 32, after 'consult', insert 'the Children's Commissioner and'.

Government amendments Nos. 140 to 142.

Clause stand part.

Amendment No. 70, in

clause 17, page 14, line 31, at end insert 'Children's Commissioner and the'.

Photo of Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Minister of State (Education and Skills) (Children)

My amendments are technical, and I shall respond to any comments on the other amendments if necessary.

Photo of Mr Hilton Dawson Mr Hilton Dawson Llafur, Lancaster and Wyre

My amendments are entirely sensible; they are designed to ensure that the Children's Commissioner has a role in developing the arrangements for the fundamentally important joint area reviews and a framework for inspection. It seems to me that a commissioner whose role is to promote awareness of the interests and views of children should be firmly involved in developing such important work alongside the other extremely worthy people on the list in the clause.

Photo of Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Minister of State (Education and Skills) (Children)

I have some sympathy with what my hon. Friend wants to achieve. On his amendment concerning the arrangements for joint area reviews, I can tell him that there are about 50 such reviews a year—we are going to carry out 150 in three years. The idea that the commissioner should get involved in precise arrangements, such as which teams go where, is a bit over the top, and does not meet my hon. Friend's objective. It would be incredibly bureaucratic, and it would lead to the wrong focus. I hope that he will let that amendment lie.

On the amendment relating to the framework, I can tell my hon. Friend that we have already developed a draft framework published by Ofsted, which he will have seen, and we want to get on with that. The framework will be established, and the first inspections will start in September 2005, whereas the commissioner, even with our best endeavours, will probably not be appointed before the spring of next year. It would therefore be difficult to engage the commissioner in the first framework.

I give my hon. Friend the undertaking that when the Secretary of State gives his consent, which he must, to any amendments or adjustments to future frameworks, he will absolutely ensure that there has been proper consultation with the commissioner so that we can give proper emphasis to children's views as we establish the framework against which services must be inspected.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 138, in

clause 16, page 13, line 8, leave out from 'State' to end of line 10 and insert—

'(a) conduct, in accordance with a timetable drawn up by them and approved by the Secretary of State, a review of children's services provided in—

(i) the area of every children's services authority in England;

(ii) the areas of such children's services authorities in England as may be specified in the request;

(b) conduct a review of such children's services provided in the area of such children's services authority in England as may be specified in the request.'.

No. 139, in

clause 16, page 13, line 16, at end insert

'(and in particular to evaluate how those services work together to improve their well-being)'.

No. 140, in

clause 16, page 14, line 6, at end insert—

'(da) for the provision to members of the public of copies of reports and statements made under paragraphs (c) and (d), and for charging in respect of any such provision;'.

No. 141, in

clause 16, page 14, line 10, leave out 'subsection (9)(a) and (b)' and substitute 'subsection (9)'.

No. 142, in

clause 16, page 14, line 15, at end add—

'(12) Regulations under subsection (9) may make provision authorising or requiring the doing of anything by reference to the determination of a person of a description specified in the regulations.'—[Margaret Hodge.]

Clause 16, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.