Clause 6

Part of Children and Young Persons Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:45 am ar 24 Mehefin 2008.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Shadow Minister (Children) 11:45, 24 Mehefin 2008

Now we have some real amendments—well, they are probing amendments, rather than real ones, so I shall not detain the Committee too long. We have had a good debate on the concept of social work practice already, but I am concerned about getting on with it. Amendment No. 1 would reduce, therefore, the duration of the pilots from five to three years, and amendment No. 2 deals with a technicality that the Minister will probably say is not required. In the working party report, which Professor Le Grand chaired, the time recommended for pilots was at least two years. The recommendation stated:

The Group’s view is that pilots would need to run for at least two years, if not longer, to provide a sufficiently robust assessment. Also, the Group proposes that there should be nine pilots to provide a robust assessment”.

I am concerned that it will take too long. Why should it take at least five years to assess whether the pilots have worked? Would it not be possible to speed things up by having an assessment after three years? Those three years may turn out not to be long enough—all sorts of reasons for extending the period might be raised during the development of the schemes—in which case there is nothing to stop the Government asking for more time. It could probably be done by regulation. However, I to do not want to see the pilots eventually being set up and running for at least five years, with a further period of assessment being required, further queries bring thrown up and further legislation being required in order to give force to the status of these social worker practices.

On the basis that we could find out whether or not the schemes will be a success, the amendment would reduce the time specified from five years to three. It is a probing amendment, and if the Minister can give us good reasons for why five years has to be the absolute minimum, I shall be happy to take it as read. The purpose of the amendment is to put the Minister on the spot, to challenge the time scale and not the principle.