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Social Services

Volume 407: debated on Thursday 19 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on why, under Clause 73 of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill, the Commission for Social Care Inspection will have a duty to keep only the Secretary of State informed about the provision of English local authority social services. [120279]

The Commission for Social Care Inspection will be under a duty to lay an annual report of its findings before Parliament and to make public the results of any reviews and investigations that it has carried out into English local authority social services. Since the Secretary of State for Health has overall responsibility for the provision of social care throughout England, Clause 73 of the Bill makes specific provision for the Commission to keep him informed. This is necessary for the Secretary of State to fulfil his accountability to Parliament for services and to make him aware of any issues on which he may need to take particular action.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons, under Clause 81 of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill, the Commission for Social Care Inspection must obtain the consent of the Secretary of State before publishing statements about the criteria to be used in the exercise of its functions. [120327]

It is the responsibility of Ministers to set priorities and standards for social services on behalf of service users and the public generally. The Commission for Social Care Inspection's (CSCI) inspection criteria must be approved by Ministers to ensure they reflect these priorities and standards.CSCI will, of course, be responsible for drawing up the criteria in the first instance. This will allow CSCI to satisfy itself that the criteria against which local authorities will be reviewed are appropriate and reflect the needs of service users.