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Care Bill [Lords]

Volume 577: debated on Monday 10 March 2014

[1 st Allocated Day]

Consideration of Bill, as amended in the Public Bill Committee

New Clause 1

Adult safeguarding access order

‘(1) An authorised officer may apply to a circuit judge authorised by the Court of Protection for an order (an adult safeguarding access order) in relation to a person living in any premises within a local authority’s area if the authorised officer has reasonable cause to suspect a third party is preventing access to allow enquiries to be made under section 42.

(2) The purposes of an adult safeguarding access order are—

(a) to enable the authorised officer and any other person accompanying the officer to speak in private with a person suspected of being an adult at risk of abuse or neglect;

(b) to enable the authorised officer to assess the mental capacity of a person suspected of being an adult at risk of abuse;

(c) to enable the authorised officer to ascertain whether that person is making decisions freely; and

(d) to enable the authorised officer properly to assess whether the person is an adult at risk of abuse or neglect and to make a decision as required by section 42(2) on what, if any, action should be taken.

(3) While an adult safeguarding access order is in force, the authorised officer, a constable and any other specified person accompanying the officer in accordance with the order, may enter the premises specified in the order for the purposes set out in subsection (2).

(4) The authorised circuit judge may make an adult safeguarding access order if satisfied that—

(a) the authorised officer has had regard for the general duty in section 1 (Promoting individual wellbeing) in making a decision under subsection (1);

(b) all reasonable and practicable steps have been taken to obtain access to a person suspected of being an adult at risk of abuse or neglect before seeking an order under this section;

(c) the authorised officer has reasonable cause to suspect that a person is an adult who is experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect;

(d) the authorised officer has reasonable cause to suspect that a person is unable to make decisions freely;

(e) it is necessary for the authorised officer to gain access to the person in order to make the enquiries needed to inform the decision required by section 42(2) on what, if any, action should be taken;

(f) making an order is necessary in order to fulfil the purposes set out in subsection (2);

(g) exercising the power of access conferred by the order will not result in the person being at greater risk of abuse or neglect; and

(h) all reasonable and practicable steps have been taken to serve notice of the intention to apply for an order on—

(i) the person suspected of being an adult at risk of abuse or neglect; and

(ii) any relevant third party who the authorised officer has reasonable cause to suspect is preventing access to allow enquiries to be made under section 42 and for the purposes set out in subsection (2);

(5) An adult safeguarding access order must—

(a) only be executed once;

(b) specify the premises to which it relates;

(c) provide that the authorised officer shall be accompanied by a constable; and

(d) specify the period for which the order is to be in force.

(6) An adult safeguarding order may attach other conditions, including—

(a) specifying restrictions on the time that the power of access conferred by the order may be exercised;

(b) providing for the authorised officer to be accompanied by another specified person;

(c) requiring notice of the order to be given to the occupier of the premises and to the person suspected of being an adult at risk of abuse; or

(d) such other conditions at the authorised circuit judge deems it necessary to attach.

(7) A constable accompanying the authorised officer may use reasonable force under section 117 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 if necessary in the circumstance in order to fulfil the purposes of an adult safeguarding access order set out in subsection (2).

(8) On entering the premises in accordance with an adult safeguarding access order the authorised officer must—

(a) state the object of the visit;

(b) produce evidence of the authorisation to enter the premises; and

(c) provide an explanation to the occupier of the premises of how to complain about —

(i) the decision to apply for an order; and

(ii) how the order has been exercised.

(9) In this section “an authorised officer” means a person authorised by a local authority for the purposes of this section.

(10) Regulations may set restrictions on the persons or categories of persons who may be authorised.

(11) Subsections 2(c) and 4(d) refer to a person under constraint, or subject to coercion or undue diligence, or for some other reason deprived of the capacity to make the relevant decision or disabled from making a free choice, or incapacitated or disabled from giving or expressing a real and genuine consent.’. —(Paul Burstow.)

Brought up, and read the First time.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

New clause 2—Review of the case for establishing a commissioner for older people in England

‘(1) The Secretary of State shall establish an independent review of the case for establishing a statutory office of Commissioner for Older People in England.

(2) The review will consider the—

(a) increasing diversity of the older population in England;

(b) UN Principles for Older Persons in 1991 (UN 1991) and other relevant developments in international policy on ageing;

(c) lessons from the establishment of such offices in Wales and Northern Ireland;

(d) balance of advocacy, investigatory and enforcement duties and powers to be granted to the office in statute;

(e) jurisdiction of the office in relation to other public bodies;

(f) relationship of the office to Ministers;

(g) accountability of the office to Parliament;

(h) appointment of the office holder;

(i) human and financial resources necessary to support the office; and

(j) any other matters the Secretary of State sets out in the terms of reference of the review.

(3) The review will report and make recommendations to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State by December 2014.’.

New clause 3—Duty to identify carers

‘Each NHS body in a local authority’s area, as defined in section 6(8), shall co-operate with the local authority to ensure that effective procedures exist to identify patients who are or are about to become carers and make arrangements for carers to receive appropriate information and advice.’.

New clause 4—Local authority duty to make reasonable charges

‘Where a local authority that meets an individual’s needs under sections 18 to 20 of Part 1 of this Act is satisfied that the individual’s means are insufficient for it to be reasonably practicable for the individual to pay the amount which would otherwise be charged, the authority shall not require the individual to pay more for it than it appears to them that it is reasonably practicable to be paid.’.

New clause 5—Portability of care

‘(1) The Secretary of State must prepare a report containing an assessment of what primary or secondary legislation would be required to ensure people in receipt of care and support in the community in the UK receive continuity of such care and support if they change their place of residence, with particular reference to moves between countries of the United Kingdom.

(2) The report under subsection (1) must be laid before each House of Parliament six months after this Bill receives Royal Assent.’.

New clause 7—Independent review of future demand for social care and healthcare

‘(1) The Secretary of State shall make arrangements for an independent review of, and report on, the likely demand for adult social care, public health and healthcare services in England over the next twenty years.

(2) The objective of the review mentioned in subsection (1) shall be to identify the key factors determining the financial and other resources required to ensure that social care and health functions as a cost effective, high quality, equitable, integrated and sustainable single system which—

(a) promotes individual well-being (as defined in Part 1 of this Act),

(b) enables access to be determined on the basis of need, and

(c) can meet forecast demand.

(3) The arrangements for the conduct of review shall include provision for a fully integrated modeling and analysis of health and social care including examination of—

(a) the technological, demographic and health status trends over the next two decades that may inform or affect demand for adult social care and health services;

(b) the inter-dependencies between adult social care, public health and healthcare and the appropriate balance between different types of intervention, in particular between:—

(i) health and social care,

(ii) primary and secondary care,

(iii) physical and mental health, and

(iv) treatment and prevention; and

(c) any other matter that the Secretary of State sets out in the review‘s terms of reference.

(4) The Secretary of State shall lay before each House of Parliament a copy of an interim report on emerging themes and trends identified by the first such review by the end of November 2014 and make arrangements for a consultation process to be undertaken in relation to those interim findings.

(5) The Secretary of State shall lay before each House of Parliament a copy of the final report by the end of July 2015.

(6) At no more than five year intervals, the Secretary of State shall make arrangements for the updating of the report of the review mentioned in subsection (1) with the same objective and approach as mentioned in subsections (2) and (3), and including such matters as are provided for in paragraph (3)(c), and shall prepare and lay before each House of Parliament a report on the outcomes.

(7) The Secretary of State shall prepare and lay before each House of Parliament, as appropriate, a statement on the extent to which the reports mentioned in subsections (1) and (6) inform the Government‘s wider fiscal and economic strategy and decisions in each public spending review.’.

New clause 9—Reporting on the funding for new costs arising from the Care Act

‘(1) The Joint Care and Support Reform Programme Board must inform the Secretary of State by an annual written report that it is satisfied whether sufficient funding is in place to ensure that social care is adequately funded and that the provisions in the Act can be implemented satisfactorily.

(2) In subsection (1), the “Joint Care and Support Reform Programme Board” means the board of that name consisting of representatives of (but not limited to): the Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and the Department of Health.

(3) The report mentioned in subsection (1) should include a statement of the satisfaction of the Joint Care and Support Reform Programme Board with (but not limited to)—

(a) adequacy of the funding of the provisions in this Act,

(b) on-going costs of implementation,

(c) an additional five yearly review of the short and medium term cost of setting the eligibility criteria at the level set out in regulations.’.

New clause 11—Provision of certain care and support services to be public function

‘(1) A person (“P”) who provides regulated social care for an individual under arrangements made with P by a public authority, or paid for by a public authority, is to be taken for the purposes of subsection (3)(b) of section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (acts of public authorities) to be exercising a function of a public nature in doing so.

(2) This section applies to persons providing services regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

(3) In this section “social care” has the same meaning as in the Health and Social Care Act 2008.’.

New clause 13—Deferred payment data

‘The Health and Social Care Information Centre shall make arrangements to collect and publish data including, but not limited to—

(a) the number of individuals entering into a deferred payment arrangement,

(b) the proportion of those individuals who received—

(i) regulated financial advice,

(ii) other forms of advice, and

(iii) no advice

before entering into a deferred payment arrangement,

(c) the average length of time a deferred payment arrangement is held,

(d) the numbers of individuals holding such arrangements broken down by different periods of time held, and

(e) the amount of money deferred under such arrangement.’.

New clause 15—National framework for local authority fees for care providers

‘(1) The Secretary of State shall establish an indicative national formula with which local authorities shall determine the costs of care provision in their area.

(2) In having regard to the matters mentioned in section 5(2)(b), a local authority must derive fee levels for independent providers of care and support services from the formula mentioned in subsection (1).

(3) The Secretary of State shall make arrangements for the audit of local authority fee levels to determine their compliance with the duty mentioned in subsection (2) and the extent to which this contributes to the effective delivery of the requirements of section 5(2), with particular reference to paragraphs (b), (d), (e) and (f).

(4) The formula in subsection (1) shall be made by regulations laid in pursuance of section 123(4) of this Act.’.

New clause 17—Duty to review economic, financial and other factors affecting provision of care services

‘(1) The Secretary of State shall make arrangements for—

(a) a review of the economic and financial factors affecting the employment (including recruitment, training and development, effective deployment and retention) of care workers and the extent to which current policies, mechanisms and relevant compliance by regulated providers of care services make it more or less likely that the objectives of this Act will be realised; and

(b) a public consultation on the conclusions and recommendations of the review.

(2) The Secretary of State shall lay a report of the review and public consultation before each House of Parliament by 1 September 2014.’.

New clause 18—Impact of working conditions on quality of care

‘(1) In exercising their functions under Part 1 local authorities must assess and consider how working conditions for people employed in care and support services impact on the fulfilment of local authority duties under Part 1 of this Act.

(2) “Care and support services” means—

(a) services provided by a local authority; and

(b) services commissioned by a local authority.

(3) Regulations may specify particular matters local authorities must have regard to in relation to subsection (1).’.

New clause 19—Promoting health of carers

‘(1) In exercising their functions health bodies shall—

(a) promote and safeguard the health and well-being of carers;

(b) ensure that effective procedures exist to identify patients who are or are about to become carers;

(c) ensure that appropriate systems exist to ensure that carers receive appropriate information and advice; and

(d) ensure that systems are in place to ensure that the relevant general medical services are rendered to their patients who are carers.’.

New clause 20—Local authorities: duties with respect to young carers

‘(1) A local authority must ensure that it takes all reasonable steps to ensure that in relation to—

(a) any school within its area and under its control; and

(b) any functions it discharges in pursuance of its responsibilities as a children’s services authority, there is in place a policy that both identifies young carers and makes arrangement for the provision of support for pupils who are young carers.

(2) In discharging its duty under subsection (1), a local authority must have regard to any guidance given from time to time by the Secretary of State.’.

New clause 21—Further and higher education: duties with respect of student carers

‘(1) The responsible body of an institution to which this section applies must identify or make arrangements to identify student carers and have a policy in place on providing support for student carers.

(2) This section applies to—

(a) a university;

(b) any other institution within the higher education sector; and

(c) an institution within the further education sector.

(3) A responsible body is—

(a) in the case of an institution in subsection (2)(a) or (b), the governing body;

(b) in the case of a college of further education under the management of a board of management, the board of management; and

(c) in the case of any other college of further education, any board of governors of the college or any person responsible for the management of the college, whether or not formally constituted as a governing body or board of governors.’.

New clause 22—Duty for Financial Services Consumer Panel

‘(1) The Financial Services Consumer Panel at the Financial Conduct Authority shall have a duty to review the availability, quality, adequacy and effectiveness of financial advice being provided to care users and their families on the implications of the relevant provisions of this Act, and make an annual report thereon to the Secretary of State containing recommendations for steps to take to remedy any deficiencies identified by the Panel.

(2) The Secretary of State shall lay a copy of the report mentioned in subsection (1) before each House of Parliament. The first such report must be so laid within 12 months of this Act receiving Royal Assent.’.

New clause 23—Financial advice for care users: qualification to provide

‘(1) The Financial Conduct Authority shall prepare and conduct a review of the implications of the relevant provisions of this Act for—

(a) training and development; and

(b) the level of the required qualifications

for advisers seeking licences to provide financial advice to care users and their families.

(2) The Authority shall submit a report of the findings of the review mentioned in subsection (1) to the Secretary of State, along with recommendations.

(3) The Secretary of State shall lay a copy of the report mentioned in subsection (2) before each House of Parliament. The first such report must be so laid within 12 months of this Act receiving Royal Assent.’.

New clause 24—Public awareness

‘(1) Local authorities shall have a duty to prepare, publish, consult on and implement a plan for raising and maintaining awareness amongst the residents of their areas of the arrangements for social care, and in particular of any changes to such arrangements brought about by Part 1 of this Act.

(2) The Secretary of State shall prepare and lay before each House of Parliament an annual report on the level of public awareness and understanding of the arrangements for social care, in particular—

(a) awareness and understanding of the changes brought about by the provisions of this Act; and

(b) the effectiveness of local authorities’ implementation of their plans for raising public awareness in their areas.’.

New clause 26—Declassification of a police station as a place of safety for the purposes of section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983

‘(1) The definition of a place of safety in section 135(6) of the Mental Health Act 1983 shall no longer be read to include a police station for the purposes of section 136 of that Act.

(2) With regard to persons removed to a place of safety under section 136(1) of the Mental Health Act 1983, subsection (1) above shall have effect from—

(a) 1 April 2015, where such a person is aged 18 years or under; and

(b) 1 April 2017, where such a person is aged over 18 years.

(3) By 31 March 2015 the Secretary of State shall prepare and lay before each House of Parliament a report setting out the progress made by that date towards fulfilling the objective set out in subsection (1) above.’.

New clause 31—Register of persons who provide regulated social care

‘(1) Health Education England must make arrangements for the compilation, publication and maintenance of a register of persons as set out in section [Provision of certain care and support services to be public functions] who provide regulated social care for an individual under arrangements paid for by a public authority that have undertaken education and training in accordance with the duty set out in section 95.

(2) This duty may be delegated by HEE to Local Education and Training Boards established under section 101.’.

New clause 32—Funding and remuneration of home care workers

‘(1) The Secretary of State shall establish an independent review of the funding and remuneration of home care workers with a view to a report making recommendations regarding—

(a) hourly salary,

(b) remuneration of travel time,

(c) remuneration of travel costs,

(d) minimum time required properly to fulfil each of the care tasks and duties to be performed,

(e) establishment of an efficient means of recording arrival and departure times at residential settings, and

(f) the charging basis of the agency employing the care worker with a view to ensuring that all the costs of providing for (a) to (e) above are adequately met.

(2) The Secretary of State shall lay a copy of the report of the review mentioned in subsection (1) before each House of Parliament.’.

Amendment 26, in clause 1, page 2, line 5, at end insert—

(j) the right to living independently and being included in the community.’.

Amendment 21, in clause 5, page 6, line 2, leave out from ‘must’ to end of line 4, and insert—

‘(a) have regard to the need to ensure that sufficient services are available for meeting the needs for care and support of adults in its area and the needs for support of carers in its area; and

(b) ensure that the fee levels provided to independent providers for the delivery of care and support services are derived from a national formula which determines the accurate cost of care in each local authority area, the result of which will mean that the provisions of paragraphs (2)(b), (d), (e) and (f) can be delivered effectively.’.

Amendment 20, in clause 12, page 11, line 31, at end insert—

‘(aa) require the local authority, when carrying out the assessment, to capture an individual’s main and other disabling conditions.’.

Government amendments 1 and 2.

Amendment 31, in clause 24, page 22, line 39, at end insert—

‘(3A) The Secretary of State shall, after suitable consultation, establish by regulation a specified timeframe for the conclusion of the steps required of local authorities by virtue of this section.’.

Government amendment 3.

Amendment 32, in clause 27, page 25, line 8, leave out ‘keep under review generally’ and insert ‘review regularly’.

Amendment 33, page 25, line 42, at end insert—

‘(5A) The Secretary of State shall, after suitable consultation, establish by regulation appropriate arrangements and timetable for the regular review of care and support plans and of support plans by local authorities provided for in subsection (a).’.

Government amendments 4 and 5.

Amendment 27, in clause 42, page 38, line 24, at end insert—

‘(2A) There are different types of abuse, as defined in guidance.’.

Amendment 28, page 38, line 29, at end add—

‘(4) A relevant partner, as defined in section 6(7) has a duty, where it has reasonable cause to suspect a person is an adult at risk of abuse or neglect, and the adult appears to be within the local authority’s area, to inform the local authority of that fact.’.

Government amendments 6 and 14.

Amendment 22, in clause 76, page 69, line 33, after ‘adults’, insert ‘and children’.

Amendment 23, page 69, line 37, after ‘adults’, insert ‘and children’.

Amendment 24, page 69, line 42, after ‘adults’, insert ‘and children’.

Amendment 25, page 69, line 44, after ‘adults’, insert ‘or child’.

Government amendment 7.

I hope that the House will forgive my having a number of new clauses to explain in the time available to discuss part 1 of the Bill. I will try to crack on as quickly as possible to explain the thinking behind each of them. I will do so not in numerical order, but in order of importance, starting with the new clauses on which I particularly want to hear the Minister’s response.

First, I wish to discuss new clause 11, which deals with the Human Rights Act 1998 and its application to social care. The Act has enormous potential to improve the lives of those most vulnerable to human rights abuses in social care settings. People who are being provided care in their own homes or in care homes face risks in respect of their privacy, their family life, being safe and not suffering degrading treatment. Such matters are all very much at the heart of how we ensure that we provide dignified care.

I am sure that the Minister knows, as do other hon. Members, that a loophole has opened up in our law as a consequence of a judgment made by the courts some years ago. It arose in 2007 following the decision by the House of Lords in the YL v. Birmingham city council case. The Law Lords held that a private care home providing residential care services under contract to a local authority was not performing a “public function”, so its residents were excluded from the protections of the Human Rights Act. In practice, that means that domiciliary care users, or their families or carers, can complain to the care company, depending on the terms of their contract, but in many cases they will not be able to take their complaint any further. Contractual terms and conditions are important, but they can often fail to give the protection that we would want to see, and residents in care homes have no security of tenure and are often afraid to complain because of fear of eviction. Many people with care needs face additional challenges asserting their contractual rights, particularly if they lack the capacity to do so because of dementia or learning disabilities.

The decision that private and third sector care home providers were not directly bound by the Human Rights Act meant that thousands of service users had no direct legal remedy to hold their providers to account for abuse, neglect and undignified treatment, even though the public body commissioning those services remains bound in law by the Human Rights Act. There is need for change in this area. The loophole was partly closed by the previous Government, with cross-party support, through section 145 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008, which covers residential care services. However, under changes that this Bill will introduce, it will need to be reinstated by order, but there is a far better and more elegant way in which that could be done—by implementing new clause 11.

New clause 11 seeks to clarify the law so that all providers of publicly arranged or paid-for care are within the scope of the Human Rights Act. Service users who experience serious human rights abuses will then have direct means of legal redress. However, this is not just about going to law; it is about what goes on in the hearts and minds of those organisations and the attitude they take towards how they provide services, so the Human Rights Act has a part to play in culture change as well. For example, the Act has been successfully invoked in an argument about a local authority’s refusal to place a married couple in the same nursing home.

The Government have accepted that there is a loophole, and we very much welcome that. We raised the matter during consultation on and scrutiny of the draft Bill, and we offered up a suggestion, which their lordships adopted. In response to the Joint Committee, the Minister told us that organisations that were not covered by the Act should none the less consider themselves bound by it. Lord Hope, the recently retired Deputy President of the Supreme Court had this to say about that:

“Comments of the kind that were made, that people should consider themselves bound by a convention right, however well intentioned, do not have the force of the law”.—[Official Report, House of Lords, 16 October 2013; Vol. 748, c. 549.]

That is why we need to give it the force of law, which is what new clause 11 attempts to do. It puts back the law to where Members of all parties expect it to be, and ensures that a poor judgment by the court is corrected.

New clause 1 deals with the issue of power of access. Last week, I handed in a letter to the Prime Minister, setting out the case for the measure. It was signed by 602 organisations and individuals, including Age UK, Mencap, the National Autistic Society and many others with expertise in the area of adult safeguarding. They all share a common concern that there is a gap in the law when it comes to protecting vulnerable people who have the ability to make decisions for themselves but who are living in a home with someone else who is abusing them or neglecting them and who is denying them, because of their ability to exert their authority over that person, the ability to get the protection that they need. The Law Commission took that view in its review of mental capacity legislation, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission also took that view in its analysis of the legislation.

In our debates in Committee, my hon. Friend the Minister of State said that when officials were asked to provide the evidence behind their advice that the new power was unnecessary, there was an opaqueness surrounding the issue. There was not the necessary level of clarity to understand what powers could be used and in what scenario. I must say to the Minister that the scenarios that have been offered up to justify the position that there is no need for legislation do not address the circumstance that I and my new clause 1 seek to address. I am talking about someone who legally has capacity but who is under duress and unable therefore to exercise their individual right to seek protection. As a consequence of that, we need this power.

I added my name to the right hon. Gentleman’s new clause. Does he agree that the Bill is putting in place a range of measures on new safeguarding boards, and that this power would complement the work that is now being done to raise the whole issue and to ensure that vulnerable people get the protection they need and their circumstances properly investigated?

The hon. Lady is right, and with her own experience in social work practice, she will know why this matters so much. She is right to say that in the Bill, for the first time, many aspects of adult safeguarding are put on a statutory basis, which is welcome. None the less, there is still a gap, which the Government with this Bill should seek to fill. We have had a lot of back and forth between the Minister of State and his officials, and I am grateful to him for the patience that he has shown. I just hope that the patience translates into something else. However, he has told Members that there is a balance of risks, and his judgment is that the powers are not needed. I say to him and to officials that if that is the case, why, in the scenario that I have described, can he not produce the evidence?

I welcome the fact that the Social Care Institute for Excellence has been commissioned to do work on this issue, but if there is a gap in the law, that will not fix it. It has been suggested that the problem is that practitioners are ignorant of the law. Again, I have to ask where the evidence is for that. Thanks to Action on Elder Abuse, which instituted a freedom of information request, we know that the evidence does not support that line either. So far, 84 out of 152 local authorities have responded. Twenty-nine councils have reported at least one instance in the past 12 months in which they have been unable to gain entry because a third party had denied them access. In 21 of those cases, they never gained access. Therefore, all the arts of negotiation and relationship building that are essential to good social work practice did not gain those people access, and who knows what happened to those individuals. Let us hope that they do not find their way on to the front page as a tragic story.

Not a single one of the 84 authorities that responded to that request have suggested that a failure to gain access was the result of a lack of knowledge. It is really about a lack not of knowledge but of that backstop power, which the new clause provides. In a survey of front-line practitioners, 365 of whom have responded, 82% believe that the power is necessary.

New clause 1 provides a proportionate power for a circuit judge, approved by the Court of Protection, to determine whether an entry warrant should be granted where a person is believed to be under duress and a victim of abuse. Let me be clear that the measure should be rarely used, but it is required for those circumstances in which a person is in the situation that I have described. I agree with the Minister about good social work, but just talking about good social work is not an adequate answer.

Organisations that have supported the new clause, which I have drafted, include people with a legal background, social workers, Age UK and Mencap—those who often provide a voice for the voiceless. One of my concerns is that the people whom the Bill seeks to benefit are very likely to be those who are under duress and therefore unlikely or unable to express an opinion. That is why the new clause has been crafted to try to ensure that the necessary safeguards are built in.

New clause 3 addresses the issue of carers, particularly the identification of carers. Carers are the backbone of our care and support systems. Without them, those systems could not function in delivering the quality of care that we would expect. Those carers make huge sacrifices to care for their loved ones. Their health, their wealth and their lives are often sacrificed as a result of what they do. We know from the census that a carer is twice as likely to be in bad health as a non-carer.

The Government should be applauded for the fact that in this Bill and in the Children and Families Bill they have taken great strides to improve the rights of adult carers, parent carers, and young carers. They have listened, engaged and responded to the concerns that Members in all parts of this House and in the other place, and many carers’ organisations, have raised with them. However, all this hinges on whether carers are aware of these new rights and whether their council is successful in its new duty of identifying them, as required under the Bill. The problem is that the NHS is still left untouched. Millions of people caring for someone with a health problem may never come into contact with their council or be aware that that would be the next step in coping with their situation.

I welcome the right hon. Gentleman’s conversion to the identification of carers by NHS bodies, because when he was in the role of Minister he did not support that. I hope that he can convert the current Minister. Is it not the case that, as Macmillan Cancer Support has said, 95% of carers for people with cancer, who may care for only a short time but for people with terminal illness, do not have any contact with local government and do not have a carers’ assessment, and is not that the key? Are we just going to let those people struggling in those difficult circumstances carry on doing so?

The hon. Lady is not a convert. She has been consistent and clear in her pursuit of this provision, both with her own Government and with this Government, and I hope that eventually her persistence will pay off. It has persuaded me, along with many carers’ organisations, of the need for such a change.

Institutionally, the NHS is not good at grasping the different responsibilities it has towards carers compared with those who are its immediate concern—the patients. As a result, it lets carers down institutionally, and that is what the new clause says we need to address. We need to change the NHS’s mindset institutionally to make sure that it recognises its responsibility for millions of people with caring responsibilities and asks the necessary questions. Macmillan Cancer Support has found that 78% of health care professionals have come across a cancer patient who has been admitted because their carer could not cope at home. Here is why the NHS must fully engage with carers: only one in three professionals who sees an accompanied patient always goes on to check whether the person with them is their carer.

I, too, have supported my right hon. Friend’s new clause, because this is an essential point. This Government should be proud of the support that they have introduced for the legion of unpaid carers who do such a fantastic job, but if their doctors, district nurses and health care professionals do not let them know about these rights, they are not really worth having.

That is absolutely right. This is not, as it can sometimes be portrayed, a case of “Let’s just have a tick-box”; it is about signalling a set of changes that need to happen in the culture of the organisation, so that when a patient visiting their GP or a consultant is accompanied by a member of their family or someone else who is supporting them, that instinctively forms part of the conversation about signposting and information about carers.

At the moment, just 7% of practitioners always signpost for a carers assessment. That is why we need to make sure, through this new clause, that we place a simple duty on the NHS so that it plays its part in identifying carers. One of the most shocking statistics is that 64% of health professionals think that that is necessary. They think that it will help them in their day-to-day practice and in ensuring that the issue is put up the agenda.

In Committee, the Minister talked about the work that NHS England is doing and its commitment to carers and the action plan that is being developed through consultation with carers and carers organisations. That is incredibly welcome and a good step in the right direction, but what are needed are effective procedures and systems to identify carers right across the NHS. The Government must make that a priority and the Bill provides an opportunity to do so; otherwise, only those places that get it will continue to do it, while those places that do not will not, and we will not see the progress we need.

The Minister also said in Committee that he would give consideration to statutory guidance. If there is to be such guidance, it has to have very clear requirements on the NHS. As I have said, it should be not a tick-box exercise, but a kick-start for the culture change to make sure that carers are properly valued and respected and given access to the support intended by the Bill.

New clause 4 is about charging. The change proposed is small, but its potential impact is huge. The Bill provides for regulations to be used to govern the way in which charges are set for local authorities with regard to providing or arranging care and support. In Committee, I raised a concern that I first raised in the Joint Committee’s scrutiny of the draft Bill—that the removal of section 17(3) of the Health and Social Services and Social Security Adjudications Act 1983, which requires that charges should not be more than is “reasonably practicable”, is an important issue of principle and of protection and safeguarding in the system. The Minister undertook to give the issue careful consideration and in a letter to members of the Committee on 12 February he offered some reassurance. He wrote that, under the Bill, a local authority would have to consider what a person

“would be likely to be able to pay towards the cost”.

Regulations would then go on to prescribe the formula for calculating the minimum amount of income with which a person should be left.

My hon. Friend also pointed to the duty on both the local authority and the Secretary of State to have regard to the duty for well-being, which is the first guiding principle of the Bill. Will he confirm, therefore, that, in coming to a view about the reasonableness or otherwise of a charge, a court would examine it against whether someone was

“likely to be able to pay”

and the duty under clause 1? It would be very helpful for future interpretation if he clarified that.

New clause 13 deals with another issue that was raised in Committee, but it takes a slightly different tack. Many, particularly the Local Government Association, have suggested that we should have a national scheme to operate deferred payments. However, they have also said—many think this is necessary—that at this stage, given that deferred payments can be equated with other financial instruments that are regulated in a more strict way than that intended for deferred payments, the Government should at the very least provide assurances that they will carefully monitor what will happen with the increased numbers of direct payments, not least because of the concern that we may wind up with people being mis-sold the products with less redress than they might have with regard to other financial products.

New clause 15 relates to fair fees and to new clause 9, which I will come on to in a moment. It was striking that in Committee we returned on a number of occasions to issues relating to procurement decisions by local authorities. I proposed a mechanism for adjudicating disputes between councils and providers about the fees on offer to the providers. However, it is not adjudication that we really need, because that is the wrong end of the pipe—it is what happens when things have broken down, relationships have not worked and fees have been set at an unsustainable level. What is needed is transparency and certainty in the way the fees are set.

The Bill provides for people paying for their own care to ask the council to arrange their care in return for a fee. The concern is that, without transparency on the rate setting, councils will drive the price for care to unsustainable levels. Indeed, that is already happening in some care markets around the country. Only providers that sacrifice quality, reduce staffing and generally cut corners would still be able to stay in the market. For those who rely on such services, the consequences would be higher staff turnover, limited choice and poorer quality.

In that regard, both Care England, which represents residential care providers, and the United Kingdom Homecare Association have grave concerns about the unintended consequences of some of the measures. When I met UKHCA members in February, they were very clear that below-cost pricing by local authorities was a growing problem. According to Laing and Buisson, English councils are paying £480 on average for residential care, although the assessment of a fair market price was about £651. The issue concerns the use and abuse of monopsony power in a financially challenged market. It also relates to new clauses 7 and 9, which I will come on to in a moment.

My right hon. Friend mentions Laing and Buisson. I believe that it has come up with a formula that should enable people to work out a fair funding system in advance. Is that something we could look at?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. That is the basis of the average fair rate, which I mentioned. New clause 15 would provide a mechanism for establishing a formula by which fee rates are set transparently for both domiciliary and residential care. The organisations representing the sector believe that that would lead to much greater transparency, and I think that it would deal with some of the rather toxic relationships that sometimes appear to exist, both nationally and locally.

New clause 2 is about older people, particularly the proposition that we should take a leaf out of the book of our colleagues in Wales and Northern Ireland in relation to having a commissioner for older people. Ageism and ageist attitudes are endemic in our society and, indeed, in public services. Our society is ageing, with life spans increasing, and that profound change will affect us all. It has implications for how the NHS and care services behave, but it goes far wider.

My new clause simply calls on the Government to work on the mechanics of establishing such a post so that there is someone to listen to and give a voice to older people; to champion their vital contribution to our economy—in work, as care givers and as volunteers, mentors and community leaders—rather than their being seen as burdens, which is how older people are all too often portrayed; to challenge the complacent and lazy stereotypes; and to hold public services to account.

Such a role already exists in Northern Ireland, Wales and other parts of the world. It would involve asking such questions as: why do the 360,000 cases of abuse suffered by older people every year lead to so few prosecutions, why are older people excluded from clinical trials and other research, and why do we stop reporting people’s cancer survival rates once they pass the age of 75? I hope that the Minister is open to the idea, and I look forward to his response.

New clause 26 deals with the issue of mental health, which came up very briefly in Committee. I know that the Minister is a passionate champion of mental health concerns. The new clause simply says that if a person has an accident—for example, breaks their arm—suffers a stroke or has a heart attack, the last place they would expect it to be sorted out is a cell in a police station, but that that is exactly where people who have a mental health crisis find themselves. The statistics are stunning: 36% of all people who are taken to a place of safety find themselves in a police station and stay there for more than 10 hours. Not only have adults been subject to that process, but 263 children, on the most recent figures. My new clause simply seeks to place a sunset provision on the definition of a place of safety, including a police station, which should create a way of concentrating minds to ensure that services are provided in the right place at the right time for children and adults.

I come to new clauses 7 and 9 last because they are about addressing what we might regard as the elephant in the room in any conversation about care services and the Bill’s noble intentions of improving the quality of care and of driving well-being into the heart of how care and support are delivered. The new clauses raise interconnected questions about the future funding of care and support, and about the independent nature of our health and care systems. Social care has for far too long—for decades—been the poor relation to health in decisions about public expenditure. Today’s funding challenges are chronic and are not simply the result of deficit reduction.

New clause 9 reflects the concern of a remarkable coalition of interests outside this place, including the Local Government Association, the Care and Support Alliance, hundreds of non-governmental organisations, directors of social services and chief executives, and many more besides. They all want to serve notice on the Government that they are concerned about the serious impact that the continuing pressure on local government spending will have on the ability of councils to deliver the care and support that everybody in this House wants to be delivered under the Bill. The picture is complex. Different councils are coping differently—some are overspending their care budgets and some are underspending them—but the trend is clear, despite the extra £7.2 billion that was allocated in the 2010 spending review and the transfer of money as part of the better care fund in the most recent spending review.

New clause 9 simply provides for an assessment to be made and signed off by the programme board that oversees the implementation of the Bill. It is not an unreasonable request that we check that the sums add up and that the money is sufficient to deliver what the Bill is about. I hope that the Minister will reassure us about how transparent that process will be. Impact assessments are one thing; this process would be another. I think that it would provide considerable reassurance to those who will have the job of implementing the legislation.

I apologise for breaking the right hon. Gentleman’s flow. I agree with virtually everything that he has said. On the need to ensure that the Bill does everything that it says on the tin, may I draw attention to the fact that when I met my constituent, Jason Roche, who is very active in the Royal National Institute of Blind People, he pointed out that 43% of blind and partially sighted people in England have lost access to adult social care services since 2005. Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that the Bill must address the needs of working-age adults who suffer from disabilities?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that intervention. He makes an important point. If one looks at the trends, one sees that there is no doubt that there are questions to be asked about why some people are not receiving the service that one would expect. Some of that—although I do not pretend that this covers anywhere near all of it—can be explained by the changes to the way in which services are organised. Some of it can be explained by the need to do more to re-able people and to enable them to maintain their independence. I do not say that to evade the question. That is why I have put new clauses 7 and 9 before the House. I genuinely think that whoever is in government in future will have to have a much more systematic approach to making decisions about how we meet demand.

That brings me on to new clause 7, which simply says that the Government should take a longer-term view. It states that every five years, the Government should look 20 years forward and take an independent assessment of the future demand for care and health services. That could be done by the Office for Budget Responsibility. It could provide modelling for the whole health and social care system that looks at the impact on demand, technology, demography and health status, and at the balance between all those factors. It could also look at the interactions between health and care, primary and secondary care, physical and mental health, and treatment and prevention. That would finally implement a recommendation that was made by Derek Wanless in his review for the Government in 2000. That is supported by the King’s Fund, which has suggested much the same thing.

In Committee, neither the Government nor the Opposition were able to make any funding commitments about part 1 of the Bill. I entirely understand why that is the case. However, we know that as the eligibility criteria are drawn more tightly, more people are excluded from help. In the long run, that does not save money, but shunts the costs. It pushes people away from living an independent life and towards a life of dependency. I hope that all parties will, in the end, sign up to something like new clause 7 as a good part of the future sound governance of our health and social care system. I hope that the Minister will support that.

I apologise to the House for speaking at such length, but I have put forward a number of issues that I hope will provide a framework for debating this important set of reforms. I look forward to the Minister’s response.

We are discussing a huge number of new clauses and amendments, and I will try to keep my comments brief to allow Back Benchers on both sides time to speak. I want to start with our new clauses 17 and 18, which deal with the critical issue of linking the quality of care with standards in the care work force. New clause 17 would require the Secretary of State to review the economic and financial factors affecting the employment of care sector workers, including their recruitment, training, employment and retention, and the extent to which the policies of care providers were making it more or less likely that the aims of the Bill were being achieved.

New clause 18 would ensure that local authorities assessed and considered how the working conditions of people employed in care and support were affecting the ability of councils to fulfil their duties under part 1 of the Bill. This would apply to staff who were directly employed by the councils as well as those working for private and voluntary organisations that councils had contracted out to. The two new clauses state that if we want to improve the quality of care, we need to take a serious look at what is happening in the care work force, and to assess how people’s pay, terms and conditions and training are impacting on the better provision of care and support that we all want to see.

We know that an increasing number of frail, elderly people are getting home visits that last barely 15 minutes. That does not give the carer enough time to make a cup of tea, never mind get a frail, elderly person up, washed, dressed and fed, particularly if that person has dementia. Anyone who knows someone with dementia will know that mornings are a particularly difficult time for people with that condition. Care staff are being forced to rush from one person to another because of the way the care is commissioned and because of the squeeze on council budgets. According to the United Kingdom Homecare Association, one in 10 visits is now only 15 minutes long, and Leonard Cheshire has found that the proportion of visits lasting that long has risen by 17% over the past five years.

Care workers often do not get the proper training that they need. Camilla Cavendish’s review found that for many staff no minimum educational training requirements had to be met before they started working in social care. She heard from some home care workers whose induction had consisted simply of their being given a DVD to watch before they were sent out to work.

It is estimated that about 300,000 care workers are on zero-hours contracts. Some people might genuinely want to be employed on that basis, but thousands do not, because it makes it virtually impossible for them to budget for themselves and their families, to secure a home—some cannot even afford to rent a home, never mind get on the housing ladder—or to plan their lives. Those arrangements are also not good for the people using the care services: they need to know who is coming to look after them. Imagine having someone different coming in each morning to get you out of bed, take you to the toilet and wash you. You would want to know who was coming in; you would want continuity of care.

The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill is going through the Welsh Parliament. My party tabled an amendment to the Bill that would have prohibited the use of zero-hours contracts in the care sector in Wales, but the Labour Government there voted against it. How disappointed is the hon. Lady with her colleagues in Wales?

I am sure that my colleagues in the Welsh Assembly want to do everything they can to improve care and support. Today we are discussing the care sector in England, and I hope that the hon. Gentleman will give his support to what we are proposing.

I am really sorry, but I want to make a bit more progress. I have a lot of new clauses to get through, and Back Benchers have also tabled new clauses and amendments.

We also know that many care workers do not even get the minimum wage at the end of the week, because they are not paid for their travel time, among other things. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs recently undertook an evaluation of minimum wage enforcement in the social care sector. It found that a staggering half of all care providers had failed to pay the minimum wage to at least one of their employees, yet despite Ministers’ insistence that such people will be named and shamed, not a single provider in the care sector has so far been identified.

We need to look at all those employment issues, which I think have a fundamental impact on the quality of care. If the Bill is to promote well-being, shift services towards prevention and improve standards, we must get to grips with those issues; otherwise, it will not work. New clause 17 would require the Secretary of State to conduct an overall review of the economic and financial factors affecting employment, publish the results and consult on the findings.

I quite agree that we need a high quality work force who are well trained and supported, but if the review concludes that they are not, is the hon. Lady saying that controls should be imposed on local authorities from the national level?

If the right hon. Gentleman reads our new clause 18, he will see what our approach is. Local councils commissioning social care and having to fulfil their obligations under the Bill will need to look at employment terms and conditions. We have tabled the new clause because unfortunately the Government are removing the Care Quality Commission’s role in assessing how well councils are commissioning services, which I think is a mistake.

Given the point my hon. Friend has just made, does she agree that it is all the more important that councils up and down the country follow the lead that Labour Wirral has shown in sticking to the principles of Unison’s ethical care charter, which tries to rid us of 15-minute appointments and limit zero-hours contracts?

I know about the approach that has been taken in Wirral and think that it is an excellent example. If we kept the CQC’s role in assessing how well councils are commissioning services, that is just the sort of thing that it would be able to spread. It is a real problem that that role is being removed. We will come later to our amendments that seek to return it to the CQC.

I will now turn to a group of new clauses on how better to identify and support carers. They stand in the name of Opposition Front Benchers, but really they are the work of my hon. Friend the Member for Worsley and Eccles South (Barbara Keeley), who has made sterling efforts in this regard. We have tabled them to give carers the focus and attention they deserve. They pick up on some of the points that the right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Burstow) made. New clause 19 would ensure that all health bodies have effective procedures in place to identify people who are or are about to become carers and ensure that they get the help and advice they need. New clause 20 would require local authorities to take all reasonable steps to ensure that schools in their area identify young carers and put support in place. New clause 21 would require universities and colleges to do the same.

As the right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam said, family carers—unpaid family members looking after the people they love—are the absolute backbone of our care system. They need and deserve more support. They are looking after their relatives because they want to, but they really need help. One in five family carers provide more than 50 hours of care every single week, and their own health suffers as a result. One in three have to give up work or reduce their hours, which means their income suffers and the cost to the taxpayer goes up.

The Bill puts in place welcome new rights for carers, building on the approach taken by the previous Labour Government, but they will be meaningless if carers are not identified in the first place. Many carers do not actually come into contact with local authorities. Macmillan Cancer Support has made a powerful case, showing that 95% of the over 900,000 carers of people with cancer in England have not received a carer’s assessment—only one in three of them have even heard of it. That is because they are mostly in touch with the health system. Unfortunately, hospitals and GPs still do far too little to identify carers of people who have cancer and other conditions, such as stroke and heart disease. I understand that GPs identify only around 7% of carers, and other health professionals, particularly in hospitals, identify only one in 10. We need clear duties on those bodies and proper processes in place, because too often at the moment there is just a tick-box approach. I recently had to move GP practice, and the form I filled out contained two pages on how much alcohol I drank, which was welcome, and a little box that asked, “Are you a carer?” I knew what that meant—but did it mean a paid care worker, or a health care worker? That is not good enough and needs to be thought through.

I also stress the need to do far more to identify young carers, who we know can see their lives and life chances suffer because of what they do to help look after sick or disabled parents. Many schools might not understand if kids are not doing their homework or not turning up on time because of their responsibilities. If young carers are lucky enough to get to university or college, they may find their studies hard because they are travelling to and from home to try to help support their loved ones. We believe there should be clear duties on those bodies to identify young carers.

New clauses 22, 23 and 24 are about getting people the right financial advice—an issue we discussed a lot in Committee. The Bill introduces a new and complicated system of social care funding with the so-called cap on care costs and new deferred payment schemes. It is complicated and I have lost track of the number of times people have said to me, “Well, it’s okay because at least my care costs will be capped at £72,000 now”, and I have to go through the process of explaining to them that that is not actually the case. People are unaware of the new system, and if they are looking at financial products to help them cope with later costs, they need decent financial advice.

Currently, financial advisers must have studied a range of different financial and regulatory subjects, and they must sign up to a statement of professional standing and a code of ethics and conduct. Has the Minister talked to the Financial Conduct Authority about whether the training of financial advisers should change as a result of the Bill? Is he confident that all financial advisers can give people advice about the products they might want to take out to protect themselves against future costs, on the basis of the Bill?

I am concerned that unless people get high quality, proper financial advice, we could be in for another mis-selling scandal because the issue is complicated. People will have to figure out how much their average local authority rate will be for their area in five, six or seven years’ time, and how different that will be from what private providers charge. Will people’s care needs enable them to start counting towards the cap on care costs if they are not defined as “substantial”, as under current eligibility criteria? I would struggle to figure out all those finances, and we must ensure that financial advisers are properly trained.

New clause 22 states:

“The Financial Services Consumer Panel at the Financial Conduct Authority”

should publish an annual report on the

“availability, quality…and effectiveness of financial advice”

available to care users and their families. New clause 23 states that the FCA should consider raising the level of qualifications that financial advisers must have. We must ensure that people get high quality financial advice so that they are not mis-sold any products.

We also want much greater efforts to raise public awareness of the new capped cost model introduced by the Bill. Under the Bill, local authorities have a duty to raise awareness, but new clause 24 would make that much stronger and require them

“to prepare, publish, consult on and implement”

a proper plan for raising awareness among their local residents. That is important so that people know about the new system and what it means for them.

I support new clause 11, which would ensure that all users of publicly funded or arranged care have direct protection under the Human Rights Act 1998. Under the law as it stands, the fundamental protection and access to individual redress offered by the Act are not applied equally in all care settings. In the other place, Lord Low tabled the former clause 48, which sought to close that loophole. There was a long discussion on it in Committee—the clause was passed in the House of Lords but the Government voted to remove it in Committee. The Minister’s argument was that it went too far, because it would mean that the Human Rights Act applied to entirely privately funded and arranged care. He also claimed that the clause was not needed because the CQC could deal with the problems.

Since that Committee, the Joint Committee on Human Rights has published its analysis of the measure. It states:

“The Bill provides an opportunity to fill the gaps in human rights protection for all those receiving publicly arranged care…and we recommend that the opportunity to legislate to this effect not be missed”.

The Joint Committee proposed new clause 11, to which the right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam and I have put our names. It differs from the former clause 48 by making it clear that its scope is confined to regulated care services that are either publicly arranged or publicly funded.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights says that the law must be clarified. Organisations including Age UK, Mind, the Alzheimer’s Society, Mencap, the Law Society and the Equality and Human Rights Commission agree. New clause 11 deals with the concerns that Ministers and others have raised. It is an important point. Why should people who have their care arranged by the local authority but pay for it themselves not have the same rights? Someone who has entirely publicly funded and arranged care can get redress under the Human Rights Act. We need to fill that gap.

I support new clause 9, which is an important one. It would require the Department of Health’s joint care and support reform programme board to produce an assessment of the adequacy of funding for the provisions of the Bill and the ongoing costs of implementation. It would also require the programme board to conduct a five-yearly review of the short and medium-term costs of setting the eligibility criteria at the level set out in the regulations, which, according to the Government, will be substantial.

Local councils will be required to take on substantial new work as a result of the Bill. That includes assessing thousands of additional users and carers, who currently do not get an assessment because they fund their own care; setting up new care accounts to keep track of how much money people have spent, in order to figure out when they reach the so-called cap on care costs; establishing and running the deferred payment schemes; running information campaigns about the new system; and training staff in the new capped-cost model of funding.

The Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services have strongly argued that there needs to be a thorough assessment—it is only an assessment—of the costs of delivering the new roles, so that the Bill can be properly implemented. Why is that so important? Many councils thought they would get additional resources to support the Bill’s provisions. In the spending review, the Government said that the money would be new funds for the Bill. However, when the details of the local government funding formula were revealed in July, it transpired that the money was not new money for the Bill—the Government were simply top-slicing existing council budgets. That means that councils will have to take money from existing care users, many of whom are desperately struggling with low levels of, and poor quality, care and support, to set up the extremely complicated new system of care accounts, the capped-cost model and deferred payments. We need openness and transparency about what the measure will cost and where the money will come from if we are to assess whether the priorities are correct.

The five-yearly review of the short and medium-term costs of the eligibility criteria for social care is extremely important. Hon. Members will know that many organisations that work with older and disabled people and their family carers welcome the framework set out in the Bill to promote well-being, to prevent the need for care and support, and to integrate local care and health services, but those organisations are very concerned that these objectives will not be achieved if the eligibility criteria are set too high, which will mean that people lose out on care and support. This is not good for them and does not make sense for taxpayers. If older people do not get the grab rail that helps to prevent them from falling, or decent care and support at home that helps them get up, washed, dressed and fed, and they end up having to go into hospital or more expensive residential care, it is not good for them and it costs us all more.

For working-age disabled people—

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will let me finish this point.

For working-age disabled people, the level at which the eligibility criteria are set is crucial and could mean the difference between being able not just to get access to training and a job but to spend time with their family or go out into their community—things that we take for granted. As hon. Members know, Scope and other organisations have warned that the Bill could risk shutting more than 100,000 disabled people out of the system, with all the human and economic costs that that entails.

The Minister will know that in Committee many hon. Members cited the economic modelling that has been done by organisations such as Deloitte, which shows that shifting the focus of investment and resources up front can save more money further down the line. The Deloitte modelling predicts that for every £1 invested in care for disabled people with moderate needs, savings of £1.30 per person are created. It predicts £700 million of savings for central Government from helping disabled people and their family carers to get work, and £570 million of savings to local NHS and local council services by avoiding the use of more expensive residential and crisis care and by reducing the need for more expensive medical care.

Such a long-term approach, whereby we assess the true costs and benefits over a longer term, is a good framework for making decisions about where priorities lie—

Order. Before the shadow Minister considers taking further interventions, she may not have realised that although the House appreciates that she is making some important points on a complex matter, she has spoken for some 24 minutes. She will not be aware, but I am, that a very large number of colleagues wish to speak in this debate and there is a limited time, so she might consider bringing her remarks to a close.

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I have two more paragraphs. I agreed that I would speak for 25 minutes, so at 24 minutes I am almost in.

New clause 9 would help secure that shift in approach. I ask hon. Members to consider the new clause seriously because we need to introduce the up-front prevention, help and support, which requires a change in the way we look at the costs and benefits in the system.

Order. Before I call anyone from the Back Benches, let me say that the shadow Minister has been most courteous in bringing her remarks to a conclusion when I indicated that that might be a good idea. It would also be a good idea, if Members wish to be courteous to their colleagues, if they would limit their remarks to some five minutes. That way everyone will get to speak. If anybody speaks for more than 10 minutes, I will remind them of the fact.

I am not quite sure who to be bad-tempered with. As the House knows, I am not characteristically bad-tempered, but I think my bad temper should probably be directed at the usual channels, given that the timetable motion went through on the nod. We have to deal with 21 new clauses and 20 amendments on an important Bill in two hours, which by my calculation allows three minutes per clause or amendment. The hon. Member for Leicester West (Liz Kendall) spoke perfectly reasonably, given the number of amendments that have been tabled, but it is impossible to do justice to all this in two hours. The usual channels should bear in mind that some of us feel rather bad-tempered about the time provision. These things, as we all know, are agreed between the usual channels; it is not one side or the other that is responsible.

I wish to speak briefly about new clause 3. The Bill does fantastic things for carers, and I think it would be a real tragedy if, once the Bill completes its passage, carers or their advocates felt that it was a missed opportunity. I shall not repeat what my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Burstow) said. The Minister will doubtless say that clause 6 and the duty to co-operate deal with this point. Clearly, the duty to co-operate is very important for local authorities and the NHS. In the past, GPs may not have sought to identify carers as well as they could because they did not think there was much they could do for them. Now they will be able to ensure that there is a carer’s assessment. If the Minister intends to resist new clause 3, could he seek to ensure that we have statutory guidance for the NHS on the services that it should provide for carers?

I fully understand that for those aged over 75 the aim will be to have named clinicians, and those clinicians should, as part of their duty, ensure that carers are identified, but of course many carers, including young carers, are under the age of 75. It would be a real pity if the Bill missed this opportunity on carers. If we could have some statutory guidance on what the Minister, the Department and all of us expect the NHS to do to identify carers, we can then have a quick rendition of the “Hallelujah Chorus” and I will not be so grumpy.

I shall do my best not to be grumpy and to be as quick as the right hon. Member for Banbury (Sir Tony Baldry). I wish to speak in support of new clauses 9 and 19. New clause 9 has support across the breadth of organisations from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services to the Care and Support Alliance. It makes fundamental good sense, when setting up a new system, to have the ability to have an annual report about whether there is sufficient money in the system. Whichever Government are in charge, we need to know that. We are in danger of willing the ends but not the means for social care, and we have to make sure that this issue is kept under close review.

We all support the two fundamental principles of the Bill, which are about promoting individual well-being and moving towards a more preventive system. Those are commendable and high ideals, but if we do not have the funding in the system to be able to deliver them, the Bill will not achieve the potential that we all know is there.

I spoke on Second Reading about transformation, and I look forward to welcoming the Minister to Salford on Wednesday to show him how we are transforming the system for dementia care in the city by bringing together £97 million of our total health and social care budgets to try to squeeze every bit of impact out of every last penny to give better care for people with dementia. I hope he will be impressed, but more than that I hope he will help us to do this with his better care fund. That fund should be used for the transformation of our services at a time of austerity when we need more money in the system.

The second part of the new clause is about having a five-yearly review of eligibility criteria, which is essential—to be frank, I would like to see that happen more often than every five years. Eligibility criteria are now set at “substantial” instead of “moderate”, which means that in Salford 1,000 fewer families are being helped, and the heartache and misery that that causes are enormous. It also goes against the second fundamental principle of the Bill. If we do not have eligibility criteria at the right level, how can we transform the system to be preventive? If we only pick up people when they are in crisis, they are escalated into the acute sector, which costs a fortune. If we invest in lower level community-based interventions by social enterprises and voluntary groups, we can save money in the acute sector.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that even when people’s needs are substantial, they are often not getting the support they need because the local authorities are not recognising that low level services, such as shopping and cleaning, help to support the care that is being provided by families? The Government need to have clear guidance on this.

My hon. Friend, as ever, makes an extremely worthwhile and practical point. Simply having the words in statute does not always portray the real position on the ground. A small intervention can often help to stop things becoming a crisis.

In Salford we are having to make cuts of £600,000 from transport for disabled people. For many, this could lead to family breakdown. We are in consultation to see whether we can alleviate the worst of the impact, but some of the most disabled people one can imagine, who have complex needs, face the possibility of not having transport.

I support new clause 19(1)(d), which would

“ensure that systems are in place to ensure that the relevant general medical services are rendered to their patients who are carers.’.”

I commend my hon. Friend the Member for Worsley and Eccles South (Barbara Keeley) for her commitment on this issue, and I want to give one brief, personal example. Last year, my father, who is 84 years old and a full-time carer for my mother who has dementia, had a medical problem. It took us some time to get him the simplest of medical attention, and in that time my mother had to be admitted to respite care. She was there for four weeks, during which time her condition declined dramatically. It would have made much more sense, as well as being in the economic interests of the health service, for my father to have received fast-track medical treatment.

Will the Minister consider having a system that flags up people who are 24/7 carers, so that when they need fast-track treatment they can receive it? That would save not just money, but misery and distress to the whole family. I therefore commend new clause 19(1)(d): its two lines could transform people’s lives. I ask the Minister to take this simple and practical step, which would make such a difference.

My amendments 27 and 28 are on safeguarding. Clause 42 contains a raft of measures that will go some way to enhancing the powers and role of the authorities in dealing with disturbing and worrying cases of abuse or neglect, which we hear about all too often when it comes to the care of vulnerable adults.

Amendment 27 relates to the definition of abuse in clause 42(3), which rightly makes reference to financial abuse. We are all aware of the rising phenomenon of financial abuse, where older people and those with learning difficulties have been preyed on, sometimes by their own family, for financial gain. My worry is that, while a distinct reference to financial abuse is welcome, there is a danger of creating an imbalance that will make other forms of abuse less relevant or important.

Statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre on the number of safeguarding referrals in the last year for which records are available show that the most common causes or types of abuse are physical abuse and neglect. My concern is that they do not appear in the Bill. It would perhaps be better to have an amendment, along the lines of the one I have tabled, that acknowledges different types of abuse and refers the matter to guidance that could be carefully and comprehensively drafted, so that practitioners can be safe in the knowledge that one type of abuse does not take precedence over another. This is an issue that has been raised in the other place and in Committee here. The Government have said they are concerned that defining abuse further might restrict the scope of a local authority’s duty to inquire, but my concern, and the concern of organisations such as Mencap, is that not having a reference to other forms of abuse might lead to an undue focus on financial abuse only, to the detriment of others.

Amendment 28 would place a duty on relevant partners, such as those providing care and support, to notify the local authority if they believe an adult is at risk of abuse. It is clear that local authorities cannot be expected to identify all types of abuse themselves, or to rely on the good will of other people or agencies. If relevant partners, including providers of care, had a duty to report that adults were at risk of abuse, that would make their responsibilities clear, and would help to secure greater transparency. I, and others, fear that leaving the matter to guidance would pose a risk that the duty would not be taken seriously enough. A legal duty for relevant partners has already been introduced in Wales, and the amendment seeks to mirror that.

We are familiar with the existing framework relating to adult safeguarding boards and the joint agency working that takes place, but concerns that arise day in, day out are not always reported, and, sadly, there is also under-reporting of concerns from hospitals. While there are many examples of local excellence in the development of safeguarding procedures, I fear, as do others, that there will be too much of a patchwork and not enough of a national framework. It is essential for us to know, wherever we live, that the standards of reporting and obligations placed on agencies and other partners to make that all-important report about abuse are consistent. Because adults are often much more isolated than children and young people who are surrounded by a framework, a duty to report when an adult is at risk could be considered to be more crucial.

I shall speak briefly about new clauses 17 and 18 and amendments 31 to 33, which stand in my name.

New clauses 17 and 18 go to the heart of the social care profession. They say a great deal about how much we value the care of vulnerable and older people. New clause 17 would reveal the full extent of poor employment practices in the care sector, including zero-hours contracts and failure to pay the national minimum wage. Good social care thrives on the provision of well-trained, motivated staff who can develop proper relationships with the people whom they visit, but we know that that does not happen. According to the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, more than 150,000 people in the care work force earn less than the national minimum wage. Poor pay not only affects employee morale, but makes it difficult to attract skilled staff and encourages high staff turnover. None of that is good for service users, who need to have confidence and trust in the people who visit them.

The Government promised to get tough on employers who do not pay the national minimum wage, but so far only five employers have been “named and shamed”. Not one of them was in the care sector, which is worrying given how widespread we know the problem to be. New clause 17 would give a clear picture of the state of the sector, and would create a foundation for possible action.

New clause 18 would create a requirement for local authorities to consider how the employment practices of providers they commission might affect the quality of care. The aim is to build checks into the system so that standards are not allowed to slip. Training is a particular concern: more than 40% of respondents to a Unison survey reported that they had not been given specialised training to deal with the specific needs of clients with conditions such as dementia. Nearly a quarter reported that they were required to carry out medical procedures or give medicine to clients when they had not been trained to do so. More worryingly, a care worker who spoke to me recently told me that it was standard practice in the agency to leave tablets for clients by their bedsides to save the cost of another visit later in the evening to ensure that the client had taken his or her medication. That means, essentially, that hundreds of vulnerable, confused people who are not in control of their own care are left to control their own medicine.

The issue of 15-minute care visits has rightly attracted considerable attention, not just because they often make the practicalities of care impossible, but because they eliminate almost any chance for a relationship to develop between carer and client. An under-reported crisis among older people is growing isolation, and the carer may be the only person to whom many of them speak on most days. That has real, measurable impacts on people’s well-being, and is made worse by those flying visits. New clause 18 would force authorities to take such factors into account when commissioning services.

A care worker on a zero-hours contract told me that it was common for 15 or 30- minute visits to be scheduled back to back, which gave him time to do only the bare minimum. He had no time to speak to his clients, or to go the extra mile to keep them comfortable. He often drops in on them in his spare time just to ensure that they are okay. On one occasion, he arrived at a client’s home to find that the man had fallen and needed to go to hospital. The man asked whether the care worker—a constituent of mine—could go with him, and my constituent rang his employers to see whether that was possible. He was told that it was not. It is extremely worrying to see cases in which social care has lost that basic element of compassion. Employers must be required to build some kind of flexibility into their practices.

My own experience in adult social care has convinced me that a general duty of well-being is simply not enough.

Because of the local government cuts, people are no longer thinking about that general duty of well-being. What is almost a “something is better than nothing” attitude has crept in and replaced concern for the well-being and care of the individual, who should be receiving quality care.

I entirely agree. The budgets of council adult social care departments are now so stretched that they fill a gap wherever they can, as cheaply as they can.

The hon. Lady is making an excellent point. In new clause 32, I propose that the Secretary of State should undertake a review of care standards, including hourly pay and other kinds of remuneration for home care workers. Does she agree that unless we have decent national standards for visiting times and remuneration, we shall be faced continually with a race to the bottom?

I apologise for not having read the hon. Gentleman’s new clause. I have been focusing on my own new clauses and amendments, but I will look at his new clause at a later stage.

Amendments 31 to 33 would establish firm time scales for assessments and reviews of service users’ care needs. During the Bill’s passage so far, the Opposition have repeatedly tried to raise the issue of the funding gap in adult social care, which threatens some of the positive changes that the Bill would bring about. In my constituency, our local authority has been forced to make £24.3 million-worth of savings, with predictable consequences. One of the consequences for local authorities has been a decline in the regularity of assessments and reviews. I have spoken to people whose assessments have been grossly delayed; I have also visited care homes in which some residents have not been reviewed for up to three years, during which time their needs may have changed dramatically and their support may have become inadequate.

It is easy to understand how that happens. Under-resourced departments must set priorities, and routine steps such as the reviewing of someone’s care plan are often at the bottom of the list because there is no pressure for them to be taken in a timely way. However, those steps are very important, because they identify changes in a person’s condition which, if ignored, might lead them to a crisis point. The amendments would reverse a worrying trend which has seen delayed assessments rise significantly since 2010, when 18.7% of new clients waited four weeks or more for an assessment. By 2011-12, the latest year for which figures are available, the figure had risen to 22.7%. In some individual local authorities, the change is even more worrying. In one authority, the number of new clients waiting to be assessed jumped from 12.6% to 70.7% between 2010 and 2012. It is important to remember that those are not just percentages, but represent vulnerable people whose needs are not being met.

In Committee, the Minister said that he was concerned about assessments being rushed to meet the timetable, and that a simplistic time scale would not be tailored to meet individual needs. I agree that that is of concern, but it should not be necessary for the time scale drawn up by the Secretary of State to be a “one size fits all”. The timetable for more complex cases could take into account the more complex nature of the assessment and allow more time for completion. It would be much more dangerous to have no benchmark at all and for those people to have their assessments delayed and their needs not met. The amendments would improve the situation for people with more complex needs, for whom putting support in place quickly is most important.

The Minister made two points on reviews: that a “regular” review would be too rigid and would impose an arbitrary time scale on clients whose needs might be very different from each other; and that clause 27’s introduction of a right to review on “reasonable request” would guard against the problem of clients going unreviewed for long periods. I do not believe that a timetable would need to be so rigid. As with assessments, the timetable would not need to be identical for all patients regardless of need. During the consultation, the severity of individual conditions could easily be addressed, as could other factors such as age, to ensure that local authorities use their time most effectively. A properly formulated time scale would not have the disadvantage of inflexibility that the Minister suggests. I hope he will agree that only through legislation can we really motivate local authorities to conduct a review in a timely manner.

On the Minister’s second point, I agree that a right of request is a step forward, but I worry that it does not address all, or even the majority of cases. Many of the people we are talking about live alone, or have issues with mobility or communication. They do not have a family member or other permanent carer to be an advocate on their behalf. Establishing a firm timetable would ensure that those people are not overlooked.

The Minister said in Committee that the Government would produce indicative time scales for support plans and reviews. Although that is helpful and shows that the Government recognise the problem, I do not think that indicators will provide enough motivation for local authorities to get on top of the issue. As I have explained, a measure already exists to show how quickly initial assessments are conducted. A measure also exists for reviews to be proportionate, but neither has stopped the gradual slide in performance of recent years. Informal measures simply do not carry much weight.

I will try to hit my five-minute target by excluding a lot of other comments, including on the eligibility criteria, which I have spoken about at length on other occasions.

The shadow Minister, the hon. Member for Leicester West (Liz Kendall) effectively made the case about the false economy, whereby the criteria are at the wrong level and people’s conditions deteriorate, so they and the state face a greater cost. My right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Burstow) referred to the provision to identify patients who are or may become carers. I am concerned about carers who end up becoming patients or needing care because of a lack of support. We need to consider that, too.

I will confine my comments to new clauses 7 and 9. Without those, the rest is almost irrelevant. My right hon. Friend referred to the elephant in the room. An elephant in the room is something we are vaguely aware of; we know it is there but we are not prepared to talk about it. Out there, people are talking about the crucial issue of whether these services can be afforded. So much in the Bill is so good, but we are in danger of casting doubt on the deliverability of what we know is good and on whether it can be implemented.

As is often the case, it is no use relying on the good old principle of localism and local authorities making the decision to pick up these things. There is a difference between localism that is freedom and localism that is an abrogation of responsibility by Government to fund services during a national crisis. If we get that wrong, we will simply give local authorities the freedom to fail. We need to ensure that that does not happen.

The sad thing is that, although there is so much good will out there for the Bill— we are in grave danger of not responding to the comments of the voluntary and community sector and the public sector generally on the principles of the Bill and many of its provisions—there is a suspicion that, at the end of the day, we cannot deliver on it. The question is why would we not support new clauses 7 and 9. We are asking for assurances, not for additional money, because the truth is we do not really know. We are asking for assurances through a review. We are asking not for additional funding but for a commitment to a review.

I was going to give a grand finale about the voyage into the unknown, but it is not unknown, is it? We know that huge demands will be placed on the system and that that will have grave implications for many people who are receiving and providing care. We know that that is on the way. We think we have a system in place through the Bill that will enable us to deliver on that. The big question is not an elephant in the room. The groups that I am working with on the Bradford Cares projects, Age Concern, Mencap, Scope and the Bradford and District Disabled People’s Forum say that this is good and they like so much of the Bill, but they raise their eyebrows and say, “Will the funding be there?” That is the big question that is asked over and again. Through new clauses 7 and 9, we can at least give them some faith that we recognise that it is a big issue and that we are seeking to identify and meet our responsibilities to fund what we all want to do and see.

In introducing new clause 3, the right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Burstow) said how he felt that the NHS institutionally must change to identify and support carers. Of course I agree with that. My hon. Friend the Member for Leicester West (Liz Kendall) introduced new clauses 19, 20 and 21. She mentioned my private Member’s Bill, which I feel is having its last outing today in these new clauses; it proposed measures on the identification of carers. I want to touch on how long these issues have been around.

Eleven years ago, I completed a project on identifying and providing support for carers and co-wrote a report on that. The report made recommendations to Government, NHS bodies, GPs and their teams on how important it was to identify and support carers. That project mapped 36 primary care support initiatives for carers run by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers. We are talking about a long time ago. We felt that the role of carers, including their contribution to the work of the NHS, had generally been under-recognised and under-valued.

Through the 1990s, to the point where I wrote that report, we had carers assessments following the excellent Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995, introduced by Malcolm Wicks. That was strengthened by the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000, which enhanced the carer’s right to an assessment. We even had in 1999 standard 6 of the national service framework for mental health, which said:

“all individuals who provide regular and substantive care for a person on the Care Programme Approach should have an assessment of their caring, physical and mental health needs, repeated on at least an annual basis”.

Even at that point, the Department of Health said that the implementation of the carers’ right to an assessment four years in was

“patchy. Assessments are not always carried out. Some carers are offered very sensitive practical and emotional support. But others receive very little, or no help”.

Fast-forward 15 years to the Care Bill, and carers are still in a similar situation. The identification of carers and referring them to sources of advice and support is still not happening on an adequate scale, and we have had all that legislation and good practice. Carers UK has told us that two thirds of carers that it surveyed said that, although their GP knew they had caring responsibilities, their GP did not give them any extra help. We have heard examples of what that can mean.

Carers week is in June, and we look forward to that. We know that in that week we meet carers at events. There is a common theme: they tell us repeatedly they are not getting advice and information to help them care. They can be carers of people with cancer, carers for people with terminal illness, carers of people with Parkinson’s or of people with dementia. Does the Minister want to start changing that for carers week this year? Does he want to go along to carers week events and have carers start to say to him, “I have been identified by my GP and my GP does recognise my caring role”? I hope he does, because I have heard so many people say how much it would have meant to them and what a difference it would have made to their caring if their GP had recognised it.

Even for conditions such as Parkinson’s, only one in 10 carers has been offered an assessment. These are people who are caring very often more than 50 hours a week, and, as a disease such as Parkinson’s progresses, up to 24 hours a day. They and the people caring for somebody who has had a stroke or who has dementia are the people who really need advice, support and breaks. These are the reasons we must support new clauses 3, 19, 20 and 21.

The Care Bill puts great emphasis on carers assessments rather than on the identification of carers, and I introduced a private Member’s Bill on that in September 2012. The clauses in that Bill, which we see again today, would have ensured that NHS bodies had procedures in place to identify carers and to promote their health and well-being and ensure they receive information and advice. I believe the key reason in identifying carers should be because we have a concern for their health, particularly those with the heaviest caring commitments. That is one in five of all carers, and that is more than 1 million people, which is just too many.

Those caring for more than 50 hours a week are twice as likely to suffer ill health, particularly those caring for a person with dementia or stroke. My right hon. Friend the Member for Salford and Eccles (Hazel Blears) has just talked to us meaningfully and movingly about the impact of that caring role on her family. We want early identification and support for those carers so they can maintain their health and manage and sustain their caring role. I agree with my right hon. Friend that they should be fast-tracked for appointments. As hopefully we move towards integration and, beyond that, whole-person care, local authorities cannot be expected to act alone to identify and support carers.

As has been touched on in this debate, we also have to face the fact that the number of people receiving social care services is shrinking. In Salford this year, because of budget cuts, 1,000 people are going to lose their eligibility for social care services and 400 people who would have become eligible for care will not become eligible. The unpaid carers in those families will be taking on that substantial burden, yet, sadly, the GPs and doctors around them will not identify them, will not help them, will not make sure they get advice and support.

This Care Bill is the place to make the change, and I say to the Minister let us not wait another 15 years to make the change and place such a requirement on health bodies—and schools, universities, colleges and further education colleges in the case of young and student carers. Let them just have policies in place to identify carers and to provide support for them.

I would like to speak briefly to new clauses 1, 26 and 9. I hope new clause 1 on the adult safeguarding access orders would rarely ever be necessary because, as the Minister knows, the vast majority of carers are out there day in, day out, night after night providing dedicated care, often at the expense of their own health. There is a tiny minority of people, however—and I am afraid I have met some of them—who are coercive, controlling and manipulative, particularly if there is money at stake. At the moment there is no right of entry even if other relatives or neighbours and friends have raised concerns, and even if clinicians have concerns. Of course in most cases a negotiation can take place and access can be gained, but very often that access is only with a rather controlling person in the room as well, and it can be very difficult to make a full assessment of capacity under those circumstances, as I am sure the Minister is aware. There are people who are at risk. We know that 29 local authorities have identified that there have been vulnerable adults for whom they have been unable to gain access.

New clause 1 is about stating that there needs to be a final backstop in circumstances where it is clear that the safeguarding of a vulnerable adult at risk is paramount. I know there are those who say we already have right of access under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, but unfortunately the bar is set too high and there is uncertainty about the ability to gain access. New clause 1 sets out very clearly the thresholds, and also the safeguards, because this is not about riding roughshod over individuals who do not wish to have a social worker entering their home. Instead it is about setting out the rights of an individual who may be under the control of a coercive third party. We need to have greater clarity and I hope the Minister will consider this new clause. Having a final backstop works well in Scotland; it is very rarely used but we need to have it in place as a final resort.

On new clause 26, I asked the Minister to imagine a circumstance when he might have crushing central chest pain and the ambulance takes him not to a casualty department but to a police cell because a cardiologist is not available to make the assessment or a bed is not available on a coronary care unit. That is completely unthinkable yet that is the reality in the UK for people experiencing a mental health crisis. It has gone on for far too long. I am perhaps one of the few Members of this House who has been in a police cell in the middle of the night because I was a forensic medical examiner for several years. These are extraordinarily scary places for anyone, let alone an individual experiencing an acute mental health crisis.

I, too, have had experience of being in a police station, as a duty solicitor in my case, and therefore have seen for myself that the very last place these most vulnerable of people should be is a police station. Given that the Government have made commitments—indeed, financial commitments—on a diversion service, to ensure that the principle of diverting these vulnerable people is recognised, surely the next step is to support the principle of my hon. Friend’s new clause?

I thank my hon. Friend for those comments and I welcome the mental health crisis care concordat, and what is being done to emphasise that prevention is by far the best way forward, but even with those prevention measures in place I think we would all accept there will still be circumstances where people will reach crisis, and unfortunately a police station is absolutely the last place anyone, let alone a child, would wish to be in crisis. In Devon and Cornwall alone, 27 children last year were taken to police cells for long periods of time. On three occasions those children were as young as 12 and 13. That is simply unacceptable. One of the reasons it is likely to continue is that there is no penalty currently for the NHS in continuing to use such facilities. It does not have to pick up any of the financial tab. That is putting enormous pressure on our police forces. They do not wish this to happen, of course. If we cannot at least have this sunset clause, which I think is eminently sensible, I hope the Minister will consider making sure that the NHS has to pay to use the police cells, and that there is a significant financial penalty, because that would be a driver. That would make it financially much more sensible for the NHS to put in place measures for these vulnerable people—who often have been found by the police at the point where they are about to take their own lives. It cannot be acceptable for this situation to continue.

Moreover, the variation in such use of police cells is extraordinary. There are some areas where that is not used at all and others where it is very heavily relied on. I hope the Minister will say in his response that he is prepared to consider a sunset clause, or at least a financial penalty, so we see drivers in place and we continue to move away from such a practice. However, I absolutely recognise the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, Southgate (Mr Burrowes) that prevention is far better, and I know all areas are working towards that and that the Minister fully supports it.

New clause 9 is an extraordinary measure that is widely welcomed because of the principles to which the right hon. Member for Salford and Eccles (Hazel Blears) referred about well-being and prevention. These are at the heart of the Bill and everybody welcomes them. However, I think the Minister recognises that there could be unintended consequences if we were to introduce many new statutory obligations without their being funded fully. As he will know, we have two tests—a needs test and a means test—for people to pass in accessing social care, and 88% of needs tests are now set at a substantial level, which has been quite a considerable change. There is also the means test, which stands at £23,250. On many occasions as a GP, I remember coming across the absolute shock encountered by people when they realised that they would get no help whatever.

The change under the Bill will be extraordinarily welcome, although we should be under no doubt about the burdens that it will place on local authorities, in particular in my area. Devon has the third oldest demographic in the country, but funding of local authorities for health care does not have sufficient emphasis on the age structure of the population. There will be great impact on Torbay and on other areas in Devon, such as my constituency.

New clause 9 is a sensible measure about how we plan for the future and make an appraisal of whether we are fulfilling the important provisions in the Bill, ensuring that we have sufficient resources directed towards prevention and well-being. I hope that the Minister will see the new clause as helpful and as one that will assist us in planning for the future.

I will speak to the amendments in my name. I share the view of the right hon. Member for Banbury (Sir Tony Baldry) that we should not have nodded the programme motion through blithely. Many of my constituents have contacted me about the Bill, because care in my area is on the edge of crisis, with the new threshold rolling it back for many people. That is why I support new clause 11; people need their human rights to be ensured in the Bill. New clause 2 is important, because we have a Children’s Commissioner and we need a commissioner for the elderly and other care services, so that there is someone to speak out for people. I support new clauses 7 and 9, because I agree that introducing legislation without funding is meaningless. We place local authorities in an impossible position, as they struggle to provide the services.

With regard to the work force, we need to ensure pay and adequate training, so that we fully professionalise the work force. In my area, we have a high turnover of care workers, which leads to distressing results. In one case, an elderly lady was burgled and on the next day a new carer came in, but she thought that she was being burgled all over again, because she did not recognise the person. That is the instability in the industry at the moment. That is why I support new clauses 17 and 18.

On the amendments in my name, new clause 31 is generated by one of my constituents called Jonathan Kay, who asked me to get the matter dealt with in the Bill. For many years, Jonathan has been funded by the local authority to employ a personal assistant to enable him to carry out his day-to-day tasks—he is a disabled person—but he has experienced serious problems with personal assistants in the past, even suffering abuse on more than one occasion. When employing personal assistants, Jonathan has found assessing the suitability of candidates extremely difficult, and he has not been able to obtain reliable recommendations from any public body, despite using public funds to employ them.

Part 3 of the Bill provides that the training and education —but no qualifications—of carers will be undertaken by Health Education England. The purpose of my new clause is for Health Education England to allow scope for the local education and training boards to do such work and to compile, publish and maintain a register of all persons who provide regulated social care for individuals under arrangements made by or paid for by a public authority. That would allow people such as Jonathan to access a list of trained professionals whom they can employ with confidence, we hope, in future.

With amendment 26, I am simply seeking to install into the Bill a provision on the right to live independently, as recommended by the Joint Committee on Human Rights, but dismissed by the Government. The Government might well have been concerned about the legal actions that were taking place with regard to the independent living fund, but the Committee’s report made its disappointment very clear that the Government had not taken the opportunity of the Bill to be explicit about their support for the convention on the rights of people with disabilities and article 19—“Living independently and being included in the community”—being a human right. It should therefore be included in the Bill. The Government have given assurances that the general direction of the Bill might achieve the same ends, but that is not good enough in that it does not enforce the rights in law.

My amendment 21 covers the same ground as new clause 15, so I will not dwell on it in any depth, but I will give an example. Whether with our parents or in our community, we all know about the uncertainty of charges for residential care. They cause real concern and anxiety among families. Yes, the ability of local authorities to negotiate rates influences the overall market, but that is why there is a need for some form of indicative price. A care funding calculator is used to set the care of people with learning difficulties, and that model has worked and saved public funds. We should at least be considering in the Bill that sort of process for care overall.

My proposals in amendment 20 would

“require the local authority, when carrying out the assessment, to capture an individual’s main and other disabling conditions”.

A whole group of organisations, including the Parkinson’s Disease Society, Sue Ryder, the Motor Neurone Disease Association, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Epilepsy Society, the Neurological Alliance and the Alzheimer’s Society, have all campaigned for this simple change in the assessment process, which merely requires local authorities to collect and record information about an individual’s main and other disabling conditions when they are conducting their social care assessments and arranging care packages. Why is that important? It is important for local authorities to be aware of the different conditions in their community, so that they can plan long-term services, but it is also important for us to be aware of the information nationally, so that care services and our investment can be planned in the long term. Taking that into account seems to be a minor amendment.

Amendment 22, which I also tabled, was proposed by the Royal National Institute of Blind People and lobbied for by a number of my constituents. In clause 76, the duty is placed on the local authority to establish

“a register of sight-impaired and severely sight-impaired adults who are ordinarily resident in its area.”

The existing provision relates only to adults and does not include children. My amendment simply ensures that the local authority is required to collect information on both adults and children. The reason for this is that, under the Children Act 1989, there is a requirement on local authorities to collect information with regard to blind and partially sighted children, but 20% of local authorities admitted failing to meet that legal requirement. Furthermore, 20% of local authorities have no register; three councils include just 1% of disabled children known to the authority on the registers; one in four authorities have whole registers with fewer than 2% of disabled children known to the council; and almost six in 10 councils include 10% or fewer of the disabled children. The RNIB therefore emphasises that in clause 76 we should place on local authorities a duty, when collecting information, to include children ordinarily resident in their area. Again it is the same mechanism; it is about the planning of services to ensure that they are properly invested in over the long term.

Overall, I welcome the Bill, but I fear that it will disappoint many as a result of the failure to address some of the considerable issues with regard to funding, rewards to the work force and professional training, and the appropriateness of the cap on costs.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to new clause 5, which is in my name. I thank the many Members who have supported the clause.

I have been pursuing the issue since 2011, initially on behalf of a constituent, a Mr Kenny, who suffered an injury when he was serving in the Army and is paralysed from the waist down. He originally lived in the London area, but his family is from Edinburgh and he wanted to move back to his family. For four years, he got absolutely nowhere, because neither authority would take responsibility for him being able to move. They argued backwards and forwards. Eventually, his family helped him to move physically, but for a period none of his care costs was being met, until Edinburgh relented and began to meet those costs. By that time, he had incurred quite a lot of debt.

I first raised the issue in 2011. The right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Burstow), who was then the Minister, said that it should be covered in the White Paper, but when that came out it only related to portability of care within England and not to the devolved authorities. I kept raising the matter and I was assured that something would be in the Bill, but when it was published the measures related to the portability of residential care packages but not home care packages.

I did not serve on the Public Bill Committee, but I know that this matter was examined there. Warm words have been spoken, but I tabled the new clause because I hope to tie the Government down to a timetable. I want them to make some progress and report back in six months on what further legislative or regulatory changes are needed to make this portability of care a reality; I do not want this to keep being argued backwards and forwards, as has happened for such a long time. As my new clause is modest, I hope the Government may be prepared to accept it at this stage, so that six months after Royal Assent we will be coming back with practical steps that can be taken to move this on. In that way, I hope that people such as Mr Kenny will not in the future be faced with having this argued over their head, with their not being able in the meantime to have the care they need—care near to their family, which of course will probably, in the end, result in a saving to everyone.

I echo the sentiments of other hon. Members about the lack of time we have been allocated. I appreciate that it is not your fault, Madam Deputy Speaker, but we have so much to get through and the shortage of time means that although I would like to speak in support of a raft of amendments and new clauses, I will limit my remarks to a discussion of new clause 9.

I am supportive of the Care Bill—changes that make care simpler and fairer are to be welcomed—but there are real concerns about the sustainability of the changes this Bill seeks to make. I do not doubt the integrity and good will of the Minister of State, Department of Health, the hon. Member for North Norfolk (Norman Lamb), but with all the good will in the world the proposals in the Bill can be implemented successfully only if they are properly funded.

Other hon. Members have raised concerns about the funding implications, and the original Dilnot report, one of the foundation stones of the Bill, made it clear that insufficient funding would hamper the effectiveness of any attempts to implement reforms, including the ones in this Bill, and that long-term social care funding will work only if the current crisis in social care is addressed first. So we must not forget that the success of the Bill will be jeopardised by laying reforms over a system that is underfunded. I do not have time to go into the figures, save to say that adult social care budgets alone have been reduced by £2.7 billion over the past three years—that amounts to 20% of average council budgets.

The impact of such cuts is compounded by rising demand resulting from demographic changes. It has been estimated that to meet the demographic pressures the nation needs to spend another £400 million a year. So local government has real concern that the implementation costs and ongoing running costs of the reforms being implemented through this excellent Bill have not been fully costed and will not be funded, other than as new burdens.

It is unacceptable—and it will damage public confidence and trust—to pretend that new standards will be able to be met if the resources are not in place to deliver them. That is why it is so important that an additional reporting mechanism is in place, such as new clause 9 would establish, to provide assurance that the social care system and reforms in the Bill are adequately funded. If the Government really intend the Bill to be their flagship piece of legislation on social care, we need to know that the numbers add up. Despite councils’ best efforts to protect front-line services, the reality of cuts on this scale has meant that adult social care has not been immune to their impact.

A number of hon. Members have indicated the scale of the impact in their own areas, but the eligibility criteria level for social care has risen dramatically across a range of authorities. It is unclear how the new eligibility threshold will work in practice, both in terms of the effectiveness of care that older and disabled people will receive and the impact that the threshold will have on local government finances. But it is a concern that an eligibility threshold set at “substantial” will, as the hon. Member for Totnes (Dr Wollaston) has said, fail to create a preventive care system—that is what we all want, along with well-being.

A failure to create a preventive care system could result in a false economy in the long term—my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester West (Liz Kendall) mentioned the figures from the Deloitte study. By not delivering the £1.2 billion of investment needed to lower the national eligibility threshold, central Government could be missing out on savings as great as £700 million. The well-being principle of the Bill will fail to become a reality as many old and disabled people will be ineligible to have their needs met, so it is important that the effectiveness and sustainability of the eligibility threshold is reviewed and changed when appropriate.

We have a unique opportunity to improve care, which is why I am in favour of establishing the joint care and support reform programme board set out in our new clause 9, which provides for a report on performance and implementation. A failure to do so could render the well-intentioned reforms in the Care Bill meaningless.

Social services are under huge funding pressure, which has a knock-on effect on the NHS. New clause 9 highlights the crucial issue of funding and will contribute to addressing it. Just 10 days ago, I experienced at first hand those pressures on the NHS. I would have added my name to this new clause, but I was unable to be here because I spent three days in Southport and Formby district general hospital. I saw the pressures in the accident and emergency department resulting from beds not being available for the transfer of patients to the wards; the pressures arising from chronic staff shortages; the difficulty in helping patients to return home because of a lack of support in the community; and general practitioners sending older people to A and E with complex needs as there was a lack of other choice or care available. In large part, the cuts in social services funding meant that I saw all those things. Meanwhile, staff in the NHS are working incredibly hard, often doing double shifts to look after patients, for which I am extremely grateful, as are many others. I take this opportunity to thank them and everybody in the ambulance service for what they did for me and have done for many other people.

The evidence I collected during those three days shows just why we need to be confident that funding is in place. Unless the funding is adequate, both in social care and in the NHS, the challenges faced day by day, hour by hour in our NHS will grow worse. We need greater integration, provided through the all-party approach advocated by Sir John Oldham in the report by his Independent Commission on Whole Person Care. As the report says, practice needs to move on so that we can see more care provided at home, with professionals working closer together in the interests of the individual. The whole-person care approach would reduce the number of hospital admissions; it would keep more people at home for longer, reducing hospital admissions and avoiding the huge pressures that I witnessed. In the context of the Bill, we need to be confident that the funding is sufficient to deliver the new responsibilities, which is why we tabled new clause 9. I hope that Members will support it this evening.

New clause 19 calls for health bodies to promote the health and well-being of carers. As the independent commissions report states:

“Most care is delivered by people themselves and their families.”

That makes the health of carers vital. My dad cares for my mum, and his health is a major concern. Carers up and down the country face declining health as they care for loved ones. Caring for the people who care is also a vital aspect of care provision, and paid staff in the health and social care sectors are also carers. My right hon. Friend the Member for Salford and Eccles (Hazel Blears) talked about priority treatment going to volunteer carers—family members, friends and other volunteers. We should also consider that approach for everyone who works in the NHS or in social care. If we read the new clause in its widest sense, we should consider paid carers too, be they in the NHS or in social care.

Some 1.3 million people work in the NHS, and 1.5 million in social care. We should promote the health of NHS and social care staff as well as that of unpaid carers who do a fantastic job up and down the country. I hope that new clauses 9 and 19 receive the support of the House.

I share the frustration of many Members at the shortness of time that we have had to discuss such important issues.

Part 1 of the Bill brings in a long overdue and fundamental reform of care and support. It has been brought before the House after around five years of one of the most collaborative processes ever used to develop legislation, and I am very proud of this historic set of reforms.

I hope to have time to explain Government amendments 1 to 7 and 14, relating to clause 123 on regulations, but before that I shall try to address some of the key points that have been made. I fear that I do not have time to do justice to all the points, but I shall do my best.

On new clause 1 on power of access, which was tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Burstow), it is my view that there is no gap in powers that would prevent care or other professionals from accessing those in urgent need of assistance. I am not alone in that view. The Association of Chief Police Officers says:

“Powers of entry are provided to us under both common law and PACE and I am satisfied that these would afford us access to premises where vulnerable individuals are considered to be at risk.”

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, which is an important organisation, agrees:

“We have no evidence that the proposed powers of entry would add significantly to the range of tools currently available to practitioners, rather we are concerned that this would encourage a coercive rather than negotiated approach to complex and difficult situations, and increase risk of harm or abuse. Any such power would not assist the complex next steps in assuring and supporting individuals, who have capacity, to stay safe.”

That view is confirmed by the chief social worker for adults, who said:

“An additional power of entry or access on its own would be insufficient, and indeed could make the situation worse.”

The inherent jurisdiction of the High Court to intervene provides a crucial final safety net. Beyond that, the critical thing is to issue, as we intend to do by the end of March, clear guidance on existing powers to ensure that all professionals working in this important area understand what powers they have available to them. I know that my right hon. Friend has been assiduous in pursuing that issue, and I am happy to involve him in the process of confirming those final guidelines that we intend to publish by the end of March.

On amendment 27 about the definition of abuse, the Joint Committee on the Draft Bill stated:

“Abuse is an ordinary English word, capable of being understood without being defined…to attempt an exhaustive definition always has the danger of omitting something which, as subsequent events make clear, should have been included.”

We agree and believe that the Bill is clear as drafted. Last week, I spoke to the all-party group, which is chaired by my hon. Friend the Member for South Swindon (Mr Buckland). I promised to go away and look at the matter and to talk to officials, but I am absolutely satisfied that the plain English words are very clear. The explanatory notes will be expanded to ensure that it is made clear. The guidance and explanatory notes will both have legal force, and courts will use them to interpret the intentions of the Bill.

Turning to amendment 28, the overarching well-being principle applies to safeguarding duties. Where partners become aware of abuse or neglect, it is imperative that they act, and the guidance will be absolutely clear on that point.

On new clause 26, I completely agree that police cells are a totally inappropriate place for someone in a mental health crisis. The crisis care concordat, which, for the first time ever, sets standards of crisis care, lays out our clear expectation that the use of police cells will drop by half by 2014-15. However, that must only be a start. The Home Secretary announced last year that there will be a review of the operation of sections 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 on places of safety, and that is the right approach to take. However, I agree that we must end this awful practice of people ending up in police cells completely inappropriately.

I sympathise with new clause 11 on the Human Rights Act, but do not feel that it adds anything in terms of protection for individuals. None the less, I recognise the strength of feeling on the matter, so I expect that it will be discussed further in the final stages of the Bill’s passage in the other place. In the meantime, I am prepared to reflect on the points made and consider whether legislative clarification might be justified in order to make the Government’s position clear.

On new clause 2, I sympathise with the case for an older person’s commissioner. I have communicated with the Care Quality Commission, Healthwatch England and NHS England to ensure that the organisations that are responsible for functions that guarantee, or seek to guarantee, good care for people take absolutely seriously their responsibilities towards older people. I have had initial responses that I am happy to share with hon. Members. I am also happy to set up a round table meeting with our system partners and interested parties to discuss this matter further if that would be helpful.

That is a helpful way forward, but I ask the Minister to say a little bit more about new clause 11 and the Human Rights Act issue.

I have already confirmed that we will return to the matter later in the process, and I hope that we will then end up in a satisfactory place.

Turning to new clauses 7 and 9 to which a number of hon. Members have spoken, the spending review considers spending pressures across adult care and support, the NHS and public health. In the current spending review period, we allocated significant additional funding to local authorities for adult care and support, including a transfer from the NHS of £1.l billion a year by 2014-15 to be spent on social care with a health benefit. That is not to say that I do not recognise how challenging the financial environment is for local authorities, but we know from figures provided by the local authorities themselves that the vast majority of cost savings have been achieved as a result of efficiencies and not of cutting services for people.

However, as the hon. Member for Leicester West (Liz Kendall) said in Committee, the answer is not just to throw more money at the system, but to look at how public funding is spent and to deliver a more radical reform of health and social care. That is why, in the spending review for 2015-16, we announced the better care fund, which is a £3.8 billion pooled budget for health and social care. That not only provides the resources needed to protect access to social care, but breaks absolutely new ground in establishing structures that will drive further and faster integration between health and social care.

As hon. Members have noted, the better care fund includes £135 million of additional funding for implementing the Bill in 2015-16. Some have argued that including that in the better care fund means that local authorities will face a choice between implementing the Bill and investing in integrated services. In my view, that is a false choice. On the contrary, our reforms are part of the same agenda, and we cannot afford to see those as separate issues. Both systems need to work more effectively together to help people live independently for longer.

I am conscious that I owe it to hon. Members to respond to all the issues that have been raised.

The reforms in the Bill to extend assessments and support for carers can play a big part in keeping people out of hospital. The spending review provided £335 million in 2015-16 to help local authorities’ transition to the capped cost system and to offer universal deferred payments. Locally, health and wellbeing boards have a statutory responsibility to analyse current and future health and care needs and to develop a strategy to address them. Given such an approach, there is no need for the proposed amendments.

I am sorry; I must ensure that I get through all the amendments.

On new clause 13, I am clear that the current lack of good information on deferred payment agreements is not acceptable, given the importance of the scheme. That is why we are working with national partners in local government and the National Association of Financial Assessment Officers to develop a range of questions that will improve and expand the data we already have. The new clause is therefore unnecessary as we already have plans under way to achieve a similar goal.

On new clause 4 on local authorities making “reasonable charges”, the Government’s proposal to set a clear amount beyond which a person’s income cannot be reduced is much clearer and provides stronger protection. I have written to my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam and other Committee members on this subject, and I would be happy to share the letter with other Members. I have nothing to add to that analysis and do not agree that the new clause is required.

On amendment 21 and new clause 15, the Bill makes it clear that local authorities must work to maintain a sustainable market that delivers a wide variety of high quality services for people who need care and support in the local area. Local authorities’ own commissioning is an important part of this process. Additionally, local authorities will have to have regard to the well-being of individuals when commissioning services. Therefore, any local authority that commissions inappropriately short care visits or does not consider the actual cost of care when setting fee levels is highly unlikely to be fulfilling their duties. These matters will be set out fully in statutory guidance. It would not be appropriate to have a nationally set formula that would lead to standard rates or “tariff prices” for care and support, as this is best left to local negotiations in the open market.

On new clause 24, local authorities are already under a duty to work with their local clinical commissioning groups and others through the health and wellbeing boards to undertake joint strategic needs assessments and to develop joint health and well-being strategies. Statutory guidance published in March 2013 makes it clear that these must be published and have specific regard to

“what health and social care information the community needs, including how they access it and what support they may need to understand it”.

Awareness-raising will be an important part of the Bill’s implementation. The Department will co-ordinate involvement of wider interests, including local authorities and the private and voluntary sectors, to raise the public’s awareness of the new arrangements, specifically on the need for people to plan for care costs. We will add to what is already available to monitor the effectiveness of information and advice, public accessibility and public awareness.

On new clauses 22 and 23 about financial advice, the Financial Conduct Authority already has a responsibility to keep under review the financial advice market as regards how it is serving customers, and qualifications for advisers, and this includes those looking to fund long-term care costs. These requirements are published in FCA rules. Such an addition to the Bill would therefore be unnecessary.

I understand the intention behind new clauses 17, 18 and 32—it is to ensure fair payment for care sector workers. In response to the Cavendish review, statutory guidance for the Bill will include guidance to local authorities on commissioning services and arranging contracts that will explicitly require them to have regard to ensuring that provider organisations adhere to minimum wage legislation, including, crucially, the payment of travel time between social care visits. We are also working closely with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to ensure that the national minimum wage guidance is appropriate to the care sector. We have amended the Bill to enable specified bodies to provide training standards for groups of workers, initially focusing on health care assistants and social care support workers. This will form the core of the new care certificate.

New clause 31 is outside the remit of Health Education England, which has a delegated duty under the National Health Service Act 2006. The duty relates to education and training in relation to persons working, or considering working, in connection with the provision of services as part of the health service in England. The duty does not extend to regulated social care, which is taken to mean social care delivered by providers registered with the Care Quality Commission.

On new clause 5, given the inherent complexity presented by the different legislative frameworks operating in the different territories of the United Kingdom, we will look to develop principles on cross-border continuity of care that achieve the same practical effect as further legislation. I absolutely agree with the hon. Member for Edinburgh East (Sheila Gilmore) about the importance of this issue. We have started discussions with colleagues in the devolved Administrations and we will aim to publish the principles by November. I hope that that helps her.

On new clauses 3 and 19 about NHS work to identify and promote the health of carers, I can confirm that the guidance will absolutely reinforce the importance of co-operation between the NHS and local authorities on local authorities’ duty to identify carers. NHS England is developing its own action plan for identifying and supporting carers. In addition, our vision for out-of-hours hospital care, which will be published in April, will build on changes to the GP contract for 2014-15. All patients aged 75 and over will have a named accountable GP with responsibility for their care, and we will consider how we can extend this approach to all people with long-term conditions. The plan will emphasise the importance of GPs identifying carers and supporting them in their caring role by directing them to information, advice and support.

On new clauses 20 and 21, a legislative approach that compels schools, universities and colleges to identify young carers and student carers would not be in keeping with the Government’s drive to reduce burdens. The Department for Education has already been doing a lot in this regard, and it is now working with the National Governors Association in raising awareness in schools. The Department of Health has invested in many initiatives to help to identify and support young carers. We have trained over 150 school nurses as young carers’ champions. Along with other Departments, we will also explore the factors that are challenging in young adult carers’ transition from school to college or university. Along with ministerial colleagues, I will shortly write to Universities UK and the Association of Colleges to seek their engagement in this work.

Amendment 20, tabled by the hon. Member for Islington North (Jeremy Corbyn), is not required because the scope of the new powers in clause 12 already allows for the collection of such information if we choose to require it.

On amendments 31 to 33, we have carefully considered the issue of time frames in the care planning process, including reviews. On balance, we feel that a flexible approach is best. It is important for local authorities to retain the ability to be proportionate to the needs to be met. For some people—[Interruption.]

Thank you very much, Madam Deputy Speaker.

For some people, the care planning process may be relatively simple, but for people with complex needs it is important that the plan is carefully produced and agreed with the person in order to meet their care and support needs effectively and appropriately.

I do not have time, I am afraid.

We will set out in guidance best practice on conducting care plans. I hope that that reassures the hon. Member for South Shields (Mrs Lewell-Buck).

Amendment 26 is unnecessary because the concepts of independent living and inclusion in the community are already core parts of the duty to promote individual well-being. We have merely captured them in more concrete ways rather than using those terms, which are too unclear, as the Law Commission agreed.

Schedule 2 to the Children Act 1989 requires local authorities to keep registers of sight-impaired children, and amendments 22 to 25 would only duplicate that. We have committed to explicitly reinforcing this duty in the forthcoming code of practice for children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities.

I turn briefly to the Government amendments. Amendments 1 and 2 simply clarify the scope of the regulation-making powers as set out in the other place by Lord Howe, the Under-Secretary with responsibility for quality. They ensure that regulations can specify where local authorities do have the power to be more generous and contribute to the costs of an adult with resources above the financial limit, as well as where they do not.

Amendment 3 allows regulations to specify where certain costs do not have to form part of the personal budget and thus do not count towards the cap on care costs. It has always been the intention that some provision, such as reablement, should be a universal, free service and therefore should not be incorporated in the personal budget. Such exemptions will not apply to general care and support that a local authority can charge for.

Amendments 4 and 5 correct small drafting omissions in clause 34. Amendment 6 will enable us to make provision in the regulations for the appeals system for the investigation of the appeals body itself—for example, regarding allegations of maladministration. Amendment 14 sets out that, as per usual practice, we will use affirmative regulations if we need to amend primary legislation as part of the appeals regulations.

Finally, on amendment 7, the feedback from local authorities is that it would make sense for them to have flexibility to be able to delegate functions relating to direct payments if they so wish. We agree and have accordingly tabled an amendment to remove the prohibition related to that.

I give notice that I would like to press new clause 9 to a vote and beg leave to withdraw new clause 1.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Proceedings interrupted (Programme Order, this day).

The Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Standing Order No. 83E).

New Clause 9

Reporting on the funding for new costs arising from the Care Act

‘(1) The Joint Care and Support Reform Programme Board must inform the Secretary of State by an annual written report that it is satisfied whether sufficient funding is in place to ensure that social care is adequately funded and that the provisions in the Act can be implemented satisfactorily.

(2) In subsection (1), the “Joint Care and Support Reform Programme Board” means the board of that name consisting of representatives of (but not limited to): the Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and the Department of Health.

(3) The report mentioned in subsection (1) should include a statement of the satisfaction of the Joint Care and Support Reform Programme Board with (but not limited to)—

(a) adequacy of the funding of the provisions in this Act,

(b) on-going costs of implementation,

(c) an additional five yearly review of the short and medium term cost of setting the eligibility criteria at the level set out in regulations.’.—(Paul Burstow.)

Brought up.

Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.

New Clause 11

Provision of certain care and support services to be public function

‘(1) A person (“P”) who provides regulated social care for an individual under arrangements made with P by a public authority, or paid for by a public authority, is to be taken for the purposes of subsection (3)(b) of section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (acts of public authorities) to be exercising a function of a public nature in doing so.

(2) This section applies to persons providing services regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

(3) In this section “social care” has the same meaning as in the Health and Social Care Act 2008.’.—(Liz Kendall.)

Brought up.

Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.

New Clause 19

Promoting health of carers

‘(1) In exercising their functions health bodies shall—

(a) promote and safeguard the health and well-being of carers;

(b) ensure that effective procedures exist to identify patients who are or are about to become carers;

(c) ensure that appropriate systems exist to ensure that carers receive appropriate information and advice; and

(d) ensure that systems are in place to ensure that the relevant general medical services are rendered to their patients who are carers.’.—(Liz Kendall.)

Brought up.

Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.

Clause 17

Assessment of financial resources

Amendments made: 1, page 16, line 40, leave out ‘will not’ and insert

‘is not permitted to, or may (but need not),’.

Amendment 2, page 17, line 4, leave out ‘will not’ and insert

‘is not permitted to, or may (but need not),’.—(Norman Lamb.)

Clause 26

Personal budget

Amendment made: 3, page 25, line 5, at end insert—

‘(4) Regulations may make provision for excluding costs to a local authority from a personal budget if the costs are incurred in meeting needs for which the authority—

(a) does not make a charge, or

(b) is not permitted to make a charge.’.—(Norman Lamb.)

Clause 34

Deferred payment agreements and loans

Amendments made: 4, page 31, line 5, after ‘amount’ insert ‘or loan’.

Amendment 5, page 31, line 7, after ‘amount’ insert ‘or loan’.—(Norman Lamb.)

Clause 72

Part 1 appeals

Amendment made: 6, page 64, line 31, at end insert—

‘(k) investigations into things done or not done by a person or body with power to consider an appeal.’.—(Norman Lamb.)

Clause 78

Delegation of local authority functions

Amendment made: 7, page 70, line 27, leave out paragraph (d).—(Norman Lamb.)

New Clause 8

CQC thematic review of local authority commissioning practices

‘(1) The Secretary of State shall require the Care Quality Commission to conduct a special review and investigation under section 48 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 into the impact of local authority commissioning and procurement practices on the quality and sustainability of adult social care.

(2) The review shall examine the—

(a) implementation and operation of sector-led improvement;

(b) transparency of decision-making in determining rates for care and support services including the setting of arbitrary ceilings on the amounts local authorities will pay for care and support services and the use of time and task-orientated contract specifications;

(c) impact of procurement action on the diversity and quality of care and support services;

(d) transparency and fitness for purpose of resource allocation and similar methodologies for determining the level of personal budgets and direct payments;

(e) type and quality of engagement by local authorities with provider organisations, service users and carers, prior to procurement action; and

(f) ability of provider organisations to meet their statutory obligations, in particular paying employees at or above the national minimum wage.

(3) The review will report and make recommendations to the Secretary of State within twelve months of Commencement of Part 1 of this Act.’.—(Paul Burstow.)

Brought up, and read the First time.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

New clause 10—Exercise of functions—

‘When exercising functions under section 31 (Urgent procedure for suspension, variation etc.) of the Health and Social Care Act 2008, the Care Quality Commission may not take account of its functions under section 83 (Trust special administration: appointment of administrator) of this Act.’.

New clause 12—CQC duty to support integration of social and health care—

‘In exercising the functions and duties set out in section 90 (Performance ratings), the Commission must act always to require, enable and encourage the provision of health services in ways that support and facilitate the functions and duties of—

(a) local authorities set out in section 3 (Promoting integration of care and support with health services etc.) of this Act,

(b) the NHS Commissioning Board set out in section 23(1) 13N (The NHS Commissioning Board: further provision) of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, and

(c) clinical commissioning groups set out in section 26 (14Z1) (Clinical commissioning groups: general duties etc.) of the Health and Social Care Act 2012

where it considers that this—

(i) improve the quality of those services (including the outcomes that are achieved from their provision),

(ii) reduce inequalities between persons with respect to their ability to access those services, or

(iii) reduce inequalities between persons with respect to the outcomes achieved for them by the provision of those services.’.

New clause 27—Corporate responsibility for neglect—

‘(1) This section applies where a person registered under Chapter 2 of Part 1 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (a “registered care provider”) in respect of the carrying on of a regulated activity (within the meaning of that Part) has reasonable cause to suspect that an adult in their care is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse and neglect.

(2) The registered care provider must make (or cause to be made) whatever enquiries it thinks necessary to enable it to decide whether any action should be taken in the adult’s case and, if so, what and by whom.

(3) Where abuse or neglect is suspected, the registered care provider is responsible for informing the Safeguarding Adults Board in its area and commits an offence if (without reasonable cause) it fails to do so.

(4) A registered care provider is guilty of an offence if the way in which its activities are managed or organised by its board or senior management neglects, or is a substantial element in, the existence and or possibility of abuse or neglect occurring.

(5) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to a fine, the range of which will be specified by regulations, or to both.’.

New clause 28—Review of protections for persons in the health and social care sector making disclosures in the public interest—

‘(1) Within six months of this Act receiving Royal Assent, the Secretary of State must make arrangements for an independent review of—

(a) the adequacy and effectiveness of provisions for the protection of persons employed within the health and social care sector who make disclosures in the public interest (whistleblowers) about matters of concern to their employer, a prescribed person or body or another person or body;

(b) the treatment and experience of past whistleblowers; and

(c) the need and opportunities to improve existing protections.

(2) The review shall take account of—

(a) the efficacy of existing legal provisions, policies, procedures and practices for the protection of whistleblowing and whistleblowers and access to redress for whistleblowers who suffer adversely consequent upon their disclosures;

(b) the available evidence on—

(i) the impact of whistleblowing on changes in health and social care standards; and

(ii) the treatment of whistleblowers over the last 20 years; and

(c) other matters as required by the Secretary of State.

(3) The Secretary of State shall arrange for a report with recommendations (or an interim report as may be required) from this review to be prepared and laid before each House of Parliament within 12 months of the review commencing.’.

New clause 29—Duty to minimise harm—

‘In section 20 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (regulation of regulated activities), after subsection (2)(b) insert—

(c) ensuring that the likelihood of harm befalling persons in respect of whom a regulated activity is taking place is reduced as far as possible.”.’.

New clause 30—Mandatory incident reporting and patient safety management systems—

‘In section 20 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (regulation of regulated activities), after subsection (3)(k) insert—

(l) impose requirements as to the reporting by all providers of regulated activities to the affected persons or their representative and family of incidents occurring in the carrying out of such activities which lead to the—

(i) death;

(ii) unexpected deterioration of condition; and

(iii) introduction of a new adverse condition in respect of the person, regardless of the severity of the new condition and the short and long term impact on the person;

(m) impose a requirement for the preparation and publication by all providers of regulated services of a safety management system plan.”.’.

New clause 33—Candour Commissioner—

‘(1) The Secretary of State shall establish an Office of the Care Commissioner for Candour and Disclosures in the Public Interest (the “Candour Commissioner’s Office”).

(2) The Candour Commissioner shall have duties to—

(a) protect and promote a culture of candour and disclosure in the public interest in the health and care services sector,

(b) provide or arrange confidential advice and support for persons working in the health and social care sector considering making a disclosure in the public interest,

(c) provide or arrange advice and support for persons in the sector who have made such a disclosure, and

(d) monitor the treatment, employment and re-employment of persons mentioned in paragraph (c) within the sector.

(3) The Commissioner shall report to the Secretary of State, with recommendations—

(a) on any issue within the Commissioner’s remit as she/he sees fit,

(b) making an assessment of the extent to which persons and bodies within the sector are protecting and promoting a culture of candour, with particular reference to the treatment, employment and re-employment within the sector of persons who have previously made a disclosure in the public interest.

(4) The Secretary of State shall lay a copy of the Commissioner’s annual report before each House of Parliament accompanied by an explanatory statement setting out the steps that the Government plan to take to remediate any shortcomings identified by the Commissioner.’.

Amendment 19, in clause 90, page 81, line 27, at end insert—

‘(2A) The Commission must, in respect of such English local authorities as may be prescribed—

(a) conduct reviews of the provision of such adult social services provided or commissioned by the authorities as may be prescribed;

(b) assess the performance of the authorities following each such review; and

(c) publish a report of its assessment.

(2B) Regulations under subsection (2A) may prescribe—

(a) all adult social services of a particular description; and

(b) all local authorities or particular local authorities.’.

This part of the Bill and this group of new clauses and amendments are all about ensuring that the system delivers the best possible quality of care and that, when things go wrong, it is clear how the situation is to be corrected and what penalties will be faced by those who have let people down and, in some cases, treated them in an appalling way. There is much in this part of the Bill that is to be applauded, although the nature of the Report stage of a Bill means that we often do not applaud a Bill much, because we are focusing on the things that we want to amend further.

New clause 8 deals with a subject that was also a feature of our discussions in Committee—namely, the concern that the commissioning role of too many local authorities, and the discharge of their responsibilities for planning for the care and support needs in their communities, had degenerated into little more than crude procurements and, worse still, in some cases just spot purchasing of care services. In some local authorities, there was no sense of strategy or of engagement with the local population, and there were no pragmatic conversations with provider organisations ahead of a procurement process. There was no real sense of how to shape the market to deliver the best possible outcome from the point of view of the wider public interest.

Those concerns were expressed a number of times in Committee, and they have been echoed throughout all the stages of the Bill. They were certainly strongly expressed by a number of the representative bodies of provider organisations when they gave evidence to the Joint Committee scrutinising the Bill. Of all the evidence sessions in that Joint Committee, the one that sticks with me is the one at which the provider organisations gave evidence. There was a palpable sense of the deterioration, and even the collapse, of relationships between local authorities and providers as a consequence of the commissioning not being done well in some organisations.

My new clause is designed to address a concern expressed by a number of organisations about a change that the Government made to the Bill in the other place. In that change, they removed from the legislation that established the Care Quality Commission the provision for periodic reviews of the performance of local authorities in regard to their statutory duties on care and support. I am prepared to accept the arguments that the Minister made before removing that provision, but only if we can have much greater certainty that the Care Quality Commission will undertake regular thematic reviews of care and support services.

New clause 8 sets out a number of the things that I think such a thematic review should include. For example, we have established a regime for sector-led improvement whereby local authorities can seek peer review of their delivery of quality commissioning of care and support services. It is working well in some places, but there is certainly evidence that it is not in others. There is a concern that arrangements will be made that allow an inadequate level of peer review and, frankly, people to get away with not doing the right thing. That is why a back-stop provision allowing thematic reviews is absolutely essential, and why ideally I would like the CQC to be independent in its judgment on that, rather than beholden to Ministers to authorise it. That is not the situation we are in, but the new clause would have us look at those issues.

I was told by a provider that I met at an event which the United Kingdom Homecare Association organised with me that CQC inspectors positively discourage comments about local authority commissioning. If a provider has a concern about how they are being constricted, arguably inappropriately, by a commissioner’s decision or practice and tries to raise that with an inspector, they are told, “That is not a matter for us.” It is absolutely a matter for the CQC. I hope the Minister can say something about what he will say to the CQC on that issue. It seems to me that understanding the intervention of commissioners is a really important part of gathering intelligence about the robustness of a local care economy, and the best way to gather that intelligence, at least in part, is by inspectors being open to being told about that.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is a matter of not only looking at how competently a local authority commissioning process is commissioning the service as we know it, but thinking beyond that and enlarging the role of commissioning in changing the balance in the system of care delivery?

Absolutely. That is why the duty on market shaping set out in the Bill is about stretching the local authority to take that wider population-level interest, and not only for the people for whom they will arrange care and for whose care and support needs they will pay, but for the whole population who might need care and support but will be funding it themselves. I do not see how local authorities can satisfactorily discharge that new and important responsibility if there is not also a fairly critical examination of commissioning practices themselves. That is why I have tabled the new clause.

My right hon. Friend is making an excellent case. There is another reason why it is essential that inspection in that area becomes paramount, and that is because of the drivers in the system itself that discourage avoidable hospital and community hospital admissions and seek the earliest possible discharge into the community. What we have is a scenario in which people are being cared for in their homes, in an “out of sight, out of mind” environment, so inspections become all the more important because of the need to ensure that they are safe—

I defer to you on that point, Mr Deputy Speaker.

New clause 8 would ensure first, that there is an examination of how sector-led improvement is working; secondly, that the concern about rates for care, which we touched on when we debated new clause 15, is looked at, particularly time and task commissioning and procurement; and thirdly, that the way in which resource allocation formula are drafted and how they operate—an issue that came up in my Committee’s inquiry into the Bill—and the fact that they are often very opaque to the public, with regard to what is and is not in them when it comes to determining the level of a personal budget, are absolutely crucial to the quality of the care someone might be able to receive.

New clause 10 deals with an interesting unintended consequence of some of the changes the Government have made to this part of the Bill. The new clause is intended to bring some clarity to the process whereby the CQC decides that there is an urgent requirement to take regulatory action to protect the safety of patients. The powers it has in that respect are set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2008. The new clause is needed because the Bill establishes a parallel enforcement regime for NHS trusts and foundation trusts, under which the CQC has the power to make a recommendation to the NHS Trust Development Authority or Monitor that a trust be placed in special administration. The CQC therefore has two enforcement regimes at its disposal: first, the one set out in the 2008 Act, which allows it to take enforcement action; and secondly, the one that the Care Bill introduces, which will allow it to request another organisation to take enforcement action instead.

I made a number of points in Committee about the attempt to use the special administration regime on quality grounds. I made three simple arguments. First, special administration is not a particularly suitable process for addressing quality failures, and I suspect that it will never be used in that way in practice. Secondly, on a related point, the triggers for using the special administration regime on quality grounds are not clear, which introduces an element of uncertainty into the regulatory process. I think that a lack of clarity and consistency in enforcement powers is a hallmark of an ineffective regulation system in the first place. Thirdly, special administration is intended to be used in the Care Bill only for NHS-owned organisations, which introduces a rather odd asymmetry in regulatory powers, which is not underpinned by any evidence that I have seen in arguing for the change.

Whatever the merits of those arguments, however, I believe that the Minister needs to address the extra layer of complexity that is being added to the enforcement regime through the Bill. Where once the CQC alone could take action to address quality failures, now the CQC, Monitor or the NHS Trust Development Authority can take action on NHS organisations. I think that that complexity, which was a cause of concern in the Francis review, needs to be addressed further. I hope that the Minister will be able to address that.

The purpose of new clause 10 is simple: to ensure that in the most serious cases of failure, when the CQC believes that there is a risk to patient safety, it can, should and must ignore all the added complexity created by the measure in the Bill and default to its powers to protect patients as set out in the 2008 Act. I hope that the Minister will be able to confirm that there is a clear order of precedence for how the regulator should act.

Finally, new clause 12 deals with the CQC and integration. It simply seeks to do something that we did not do in the Health and Social Care Act 2012. That Act, largely because of colleagues on the Government Benches and concerns from the Health Committee and others, has built into it duties on every part of the system to integrate wherever possible, with health and wellbeing boards, clinical commissioning groups, NHS England, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and so on—it is hard-wired into the system. However, because the Bill we were taking through Parliament in 2011 was not really focused on the role of the CQC, we did not add that clarity of purpose on integration into its DNA. I think that is something the CQC wants to do. I know that the Minister has been sympathetic to that in the discussions we had in Committee. This is simply about saying that it is not good enough for a regulator simply to regulate institutions in the interests of patients. The interests of patients are the journeys they have through the system and the quality and experience of the care they receive. That is better defined by the way in which different organisations that they will rely on for that care are collaborating and working together. Therefore, we need to see the creation of more measures along those lines.

I could elaborate further on these points, but I am conscious of the time. I hope that the Minister will be able to give us some further words of reassurance, not least about the discussion that I think he has had with the chair of the CQC since our deliberations in Committee.

I thank the right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Burstow) for getting this extensive group of new clauses and amendments under way. I understand that he shares a lot of the concerns felt by Labour Members, and the concerns of the Chair of the Health Committee have also been illustrated, as have those of other Government Members. It is essential that the Government take action to address the issues before the House.

The main issue I wish to raise this evening is the ability of the Care Quality Commission to inspect the commissioning of adult care services by local authorities. A number of new clauses and amendments have been tabled, and rather than examine each in extensive detail, it will be better for colleagues if I speak to the principles at the heart of the issue. It is, however, crucial that we understand the background to this group of new clauses and amendments.

In 2010, the Government announced the cessation of annual performance assessments. On application that has resulted in the CQC no longer inspecting the commissioning practices of local authorities. One consequences of that has been for local authorities to peer review voluntarily the services provided by neighbouring local authorities, and that in turn has resulted in the creation of a kind of opacity, or a climate of perverse incentives. Local authorities are more likely to give a neighbouring authority the benefit of the doubt on such issues. Co-operation has become the default in the sector, and although that should be welcomed to a degree, there is a disincentive for any local authority to raise issues of poor care in an adjoining local authority on which it might rely for assistance and other services. Given the financial strain on local authorities as austerity bites, they are forced to merge functions—and more—with each other, meaning that the disincentive is likely to persist for the time being at least.

As was pointed out and discussed in some detail in Committee, a strong effective regulator is as essential in the health and social care system as in any other sector—perhaps even more so. Only through thorough and effective monitoring and enforcement can patients have confidence in the services they receive, or exercise an informed choice when choosing those services. That is why the previous Government legislated for the creation of the first ever independent regulation of the NHS, and what is today the Care Quality Commission.

Regulatory oversight is an iterative process that by its very nature tends to be more active in taking remedial action than preventive action. It is the responsibility of every Member of the House to ensure that the regulator is given the tools and resources it requires to be as proactive as possible in preventing problems not just in the future following care failures, but before any failures occur in the first place. In short, the best regulatory systems are intelligent and proactive. That is why it is essential that the Care Quality Commission should be allowed proactively to inspect and review the commissioning of adult social care undertaken by local authorities. It is one thing to inspect the service provided—clearly that is important—but more information could be revealed, and better regulation resulting in better services would be enabled, if the regulator could inspect the process of service commissioning.

When a service fails, we need to understand the root causes of such a failure. How has a poor service come to pass? Is it down to a poor operator, a poor service provider, or is the local authority not commissioning the right service in the right way? Under the Bill, only once a pattern of poor care is identified can the CQC apply to the Secretary of State for permission to undertake a special review. There are a number of issues with that. First, the quality of care would have to be extremely low for a consistent period to allow a pattern of poor care to be identified, and that does not provide the best level of protection for service users suffering from inadequate care services. Secondly, the CQC would have to bear a significant burden to prove such a pattern before undertaking a special review. Such a burden will consume time and resource, while again prolonging the time during which service users may be receiving inadequate levels of care.

When the Minister responds, will he outline what threshold of proof would be required for a Secretary of State to grant the CQC permission for such a review, and say whether that has been modelled within the Department at any stage? Surely such issues have been considered. What mitigation does the Bill contain to prevent poor levels of care from continuing to be provided while investigations into care standards are ongoing? How does the proposed model fit the Ofsted model? On the face of it, it does not appear to fit it at all, because Ofsted does not wait for schools to fail before stepping in. I think—the Minister knows my views on this—that such a comparison has never been accurate and that strained and unnatural is a more precise description. The whole House will appreciate hearing the defence of a regulatory system that regulates only once failure has occurred.

As the Bill stands, it would appear that current provisions are best suited for remedial action to address instances of failure. The Bill addresses only actions to be taken following poor care, but does not give the necessary freedom to the CQC to act to prevent poor care from occurring in the first instance. That puts a limit on the practices of the CQC, and on application would mean that the inspection of commissioning would take place only in special circumstances. My fear is that we are knowingly legislating for a leaden-footed regulatory regime—hence the need for amendment 19.

The roots of care failures could be lodged firmly in the process of commissioning, and it is right that an independent regulator has the ability and duty to inspect all issues relating to the quality of provision before failures occur. Amendment 19 seeks to address the Government’s clear oversight in that regard. It would give the CQC more freedom to explore all aspects of care provision, rather than just quality, at the point where care is administered, and it would provide the scope for whole-system inspection. Problems can manifest much earlier in the process of care provision than the point at which care is received, and as such those problems must be dealt with earlier. The only way that is possible is for the CQC to be able to assess the quality of local authority commissioning.

If the Government seek to oppose amendment 19, I would be grateful if the Minister would explain why he thinks that the rather fudged clause in the Bill should remain unamended. The commissioning of services is clearly linked to the quality of service provided, so to limit CQC oversight to just one aspect, as in the Bill, is a flawed approach that knowingly turns a blind eye to other parts of the system, which are ultimately responsible for the standard of care provided.

The consequence of refusing to address the issues surrounding commissioning clearly results in the problems illustrated earlier by my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester West (Liz Kendall). A lack of oversight has meant that 15-minute visits and zero-hours contracts are quickly becoming the default option for care, rather than being used in extreme circumstances—we must all surely hear complaints about the consequences and effects of such an approach in our surgeries; I certainly do so.

Amendment 19 would give the CQC oversight of commissioning practices and lead to an improvement in care, and new clause 8 would put a duty on the CQC to undertake a review into commissioning practices within a year of the commencement of part 1 of the proposed Act. While that would be worth while in the short to medium term, to be useful in the longer term the CQC must be able to repeat inspections when it deems appropriate, not just when the Secretary of State requires it.

Clause 89 is entitled:

“Independence of the Care Quality Commission”.

Everyone across the House agrees with that principle except, it would appear, the Government in relation to this part of the Bill. Rather than giving the CQC independence to inspect commissioning services routinely, they are placing a shackle of ministerial approval on inspections that the CQC may deem necessary. That cannot be right, and to my mind it contradicts everything that the Government have said over the past 12 months regarding the need for CQC independence.

New clause 27 is tabled in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Blaenau Gwent (Nick Smith). It would create an offence of corporate responsibility for neglect, which could see directors of care providers face jail if their management of a service led to abuse or neglect. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend’s work on this issue, and I know he works tirelessly helping those who have suffered as a result of neglect in the adult social care system. He does superb work in the House and is a credit to his constituency and his illustrious predecessors. It is right that we do everything in our power to ensure that those who abuse or neglect people in care are held to account. We put an inordinate amount of trust and faith in care providers, and if that trust is betrayed by wilful neglect or mismanagement, the perpetrators should face real punishment. These services are provided for some of the most vulnerable people in our society, and harm brought about by neglect must be punished. I would be grateful if the Minister would speak more about those issues, and say how the Government intend to address them.

I shall speak to new clauses 28, 29, 30 and 33, which stand in my name and those of other hon. Members from both sides of the House.

There is a huge amount to welcome in the Bill, and on Second Reading I welcomed the steps in part 2 to implement many of the recommendations in the Francis report. I said at the time that although there has been good progress, there remains a lot more to do, which is the reason behind the new clauses. I have tabled four new clauses—two on whistleblowing and two on patient safety. Those are both vital areas that we must get right.

I welcome the measures that the Government have taken to improve protection for whistleblowers, including changes to the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 and the banning of gagging clauses. Whistleblowers are not only individuals who are able to see where things have gone wrong when others around them have perhaps gone native and begun to accept the unacceptable, but they are people with the moral backbone and courage to speak out when things are wrong. It is hugely important that we have a culture where people do not need to become whistleblowers, because their complaints are taken up far earlier and they do not need to go down routes outside the usual complaints process. We should have a culture where people are encouraged to speak out, and where raising concerns is seen as a good thing.

As I have said, there are still far too many whistleblower cases and there is a lot more to do. That is illustrated by the fact that the Secretary of State had to step in last week to intervene in a whistleblower case. The Select Committee on Health was told that the chief executive of NHS England, Sir David Nicholson, will personally intervene in such cases to champion whistleblowers. It is interesting that Sir David is revelling in his imminent freedom to mock the Secretary of State and some of his NHS England colleagues when he does not seem to have been that proactive in stepping in to champion whistleblowers previously. I very much hope that his successor proves more effective on that front, but I digress.

There is an awful lot more to do. The key thing about new clause 28 is that it would introduce a report on whistleblowing. That would provide an audit of how the Government’s recommendations and new policy affect things on the ground, which would be welcome to the Government, whistleblowers and hospitals in general. It would also provide a valuable arena in which historical whistleblowing cases can be looked at. That would provide a kind of truth and reconciliation process for many who have not seen justice, including victims of bad care and their families, and whistleblowers who have tried to highlight cases. Crucially, we could look at how those whistleblowers were treated and where they are now. Far too many do not go on to be gainfully employed, but they should be the first people to be employed in their sector—I will say more on that in a moment. We can also look at whether their concerns have been taken up and whether anything has changed. One of the most common complaints is that nothing changes after whistleblower cases, when people have risked their livelihood to speak up against something and try to change things. The proposal would provide an opportunity to look at why those changes are never made and what we can do about it. The report could make recommendations to the Secretary of State on how to ameliorate that.

New clause 33 deals with what happens to whistleblowers and the role of candour. It would introduce a candour commissioner for health and social care to report annually on the culture, which is so damaging to our NHS, whereby problems are hidden as opposed to being brought out into the disinfectant of sunshine. The annual review would give confidence to whistleblowers that someone independent takes them seriously. The measure might begin to deal with the toxic problem of whistleblowers being effectively surreptitiously blacklisted because they are not re-employed in their sector.

One amendment I wanted to table—it was outside the scope of the Bill—would have meant that, instead of a blacklist, there would be a white list of whistleblowers. If a whistleblower’s complaint were vindicated, a white flag would go up next to their name. Any employer within the sector who did not give the whistleblower a job would have to say why they are not the right person for the job. I was hoping that such an amendment would go some way to working against the unofficial blacklist that so many of our brave whistleblowers face.

My other proposals are on patient safety. New clause 29 is on zero harm. We have learned, tragically, in the past few months of things that happened over the past decade. We would not have expected to have to put minimum requirements of care in law, but they should have been put down in law, because, sadly, on too many occasions, those basic standards and requirements of humanity were breached. New clause 29 would put zero harm—the Hippocratic oath—into law to ensure that they are not breached.

New clause 30 would introduce mandatory incident reporting and patient safety management systems. It would permit the Government to introduce regulations to ensure that all health care providers tell the patient or their family during a patient’s care when death, deterioration of condition or the introduction of a new condition occurs. That is not necessarily for blame, but simply for information. The worst thing is that when mistakes happen—they will; that is natural in something as difficult as health care—families are not told. That is damaging to our NHS. If mistakes happen, families must be told. Even if a deterioration occurs and is not a mistake but a natural course of events, the family should be told clearly what has occurred. The new clause would place a requirement on all providers to publish a patient safety management system, which many good providers do, to describe clearly their procedures for ensuring that patients are kept safe. Good providers already do that, but it should be a minimum requirement for all providers.

Those would be valuable added safeguards to clause 80. As we have seen, with the best of intentions and optimism, minimum humane standards have not been met. I believe that the proposals should be included in the Bill to provide a facility by which those who do not abide by such minimum care standard are held to account.

New clause 27 would establish an offence of corporate neglect. The problem needs to be tackled following police Operation Jasmine in south-east Wales. That six-year investigation of care-home abuse cost £11.6 million. Three care workers were prosecuted, but the owners—in my view, they were the real culprits—escaped punishment owing to legal hurdles. That is not acceptable. One patient had appalling sores. They were so infected that the bone underneath was visible. I was deeply shocked at the photographs of neglect I was shown from the case. The then deputy chief constable of Gwent police said:

“There is a likelihood that there are cases like this occurring every day…across the country”.

New clause 27 would ensure that care providers are in no doubt that their primary responsibility is the care of their residents. It is supported by Age UK and was recommended by the Joint Committee on the draft Care and Support Bill, which conducted pre-legislative scrutiny.

I accept that the Government’s proposals to strengthen the Care Quality Commission will go a significant way to preventing horrific abuses such as those at Winterbourne View, but without the offence of corporate neglect, the proposals do not do enough. In the Winterbourne View case, the longest sentence for a staff member—they pleaded guilty to nine charges of ill treating patients—was two years. That sentence is mirrored in other cases. It is only fair that an equal sentence is available in cases of corporate neglect.

I have listened with great interest to my hon. Friend, as I did to the hon. Member for Bristol North West (Charlotte Leslie). Given that many such awful incidents involve people with learning disabilities, will he assure me that he has very much in mind their views as well as those of their advocates and families, and that they will be embraced by the legislation, particularly if his proposals are agreed to?

I assure my right hon. Friend that the new clause refers to all adults, so takes on board the people he mentions.

Subsection (4) of the new clause seeks to strengthen protection. It would ensure that, if abuse were found to have an element of corporate responsibility, and if systems or the approaches taken by the care provider are a contributory factor in the abuse or neglect, the new offence would allow the prosecution of a registered care provider. The Government have the opportunity to shape the culture of the care sector in the Bill tonight.

In Committee, the Minister said that he supported the sentiment of the proposal. Does my hon. Friend accept that, although the new fit and proper person test and the new fundamental standards are important, they do not make provision for a custodial sentence for proprietors, managers and directors of such establishments in such cases?

My hon. Friend has got to the nub of the issue. Managers and directors of organisations such as care homes have to accept that they set the culture of those places, and that they are responsible for looking after the residents in their care, and for avoiding neglect and abuse. If they get it wrong, they should face the possibility of a jail sentence. That is what the new clause would do.

We must go that extra mile to ensure that our safeguards deliver for care home residents. New clause 27 would greatly help that cause. I intend to divide the House on the measure.

I want to speak primarily to the new clauses moved by my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond, but first I wish to comment on the speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol North West (Charlotte Leslie), who has been a consistent advocate of the importance of ensuring that we have a culture in our health and care system that creates space for whistle- blowers, not because we want a world full of whistleblowers, but because we want an open culture—as she rightly says—in which the whistleblower is redundant.

The example often cited in this area comes from the US Navy. A junior rating prevented flying from an aircraft carrier because he was concerned about a safety element. As it happened, the concern was misplaced, but the rating was celebrated because he had the courage to raise it. The culture of the ship was such that it allowed that individual to take the steps necessary to cover the risk. In a sense, the story is most telling because the concern was misplaced but the individual was celebrated for having had the courage to take action. That is the kind of culture that we should have in the health and care system.

I do not agree that we need a candour commissioner: it is part of the core function of the Care Quality Commission’s inspections of health and care provider institutions to make an assessment of whether that culture exists in an institution. If that culture does not exist, it is hard to see how that institution can deliver the standards of care that we would all want to see.

My main reason for speaking is to pick up the points raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond—

Forgive me—the right part of London, but the wrong constituency.

My right hon. Friend is on to an important point and I shall listen with care to what the Minister has to say in reply. We have been arguing for the best part of a quarter of a century about the role of commissioners, not just in the social care sector but across the health and care sector. As my right hon. Friend said, in different parts of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 this commitment to what is, in the jargon, called integration, but what I prefer to call joined-up services, is introduced into different parts of the system. Rightly, my right hon. Friend wants to include it in the terms of reference of the Care Quality Commission, but we need to think beyond just introducing it as an add-on into bits of legislation, the prime purpose of which lies elsewhere.

In my view we have no choice—and I do not particularly want a choice—but to create a health and care system that puts more emphasis on prevention, on community services and on joining those services to the rest of the health and care provider network. For a quarter of a century we have been seeking, rather spasmodically and under Governments of all political complexions, to build a commissioner system charged with delivering that type of care system. Ministers need to rise to the challenge of showing how we move from where we are today towards a commissioning system that is fit for purpose to deliver that type of care outcome. The system that we operate is often described as fragmented, and we all know that different parts of the system are indeed fragmented. But the fragmentation is worst in the commissioning institutions. We have social service authorities that are responsible for commissioning social care, and in the next sentence of our speeches we say that that is the same thing as community services, but those are commissioned by CCGs. In the next breath, we say that community health is the same as primary health, but that is commissioned by NHS England. As they say in the modern jargon, “Talk me through it.” How do we deliver properly joined-up services if the people responsible for commissioning the service are so fragmented?

My right hon. Friend is making a very important point, which he has pursued vigorously as Chair of the Select Committee. Does he agree that part of the evolution that needs to take place is an extension of the role that we originally envisaged for health and wellbeing boards, so that they become the place where these matters come together? The default should be changed to one that presumes integration and joined-up services, rather than the other way around.

I agree with the thought that my right hon. Friend identifies. I have been choosing my words with care—I hope—in inviting the Minister to chart a course towards a more joined-up concept of commissioning. Almost as I offer my critique of the commissioning structures, I can feel officials in the Box writing the next version of the legislation that will have another go at providing the perfect solution to deliver something that is better than we have ever dreamt up before. I emphasise that what I am looking for from the Minister is a route map or journey—a process, not an event—and preferably one that builds on existing institutions rather than committing what I regard as the mistake of starting again with a clean sheet of paper.

The idea that the right hon. Gentleman propagates, which he has long held—that fragmentation is a bad thing and integration and joined-up services are a good thing—is one that I subscribe to, but does he share my concerns at reports that the commissioning functions through the clinical commissioning groups are to be privatised? Is that likely to make for more joined-up services or greater fragmentation?

The hon. Gentleman knows that I do not entirely share his concern about who holds the share certificate for a particular service. I am more concerned about the accountability of a public authority for the use of public money to deliver a public service. On that, the hon. Gentleman and I are probably as one. I am also concerned that the system, from the perspective of the patient and service user, does not rely on them finding their way under their own steam through an impenetrable morass, but is designed with their needs and instincts in mind. That is a test that our current system simply does not pass and has not passed for many years.

The right hon. Gentleman speaks with enormous authority on these matters. On the issue of community care, does he agree that for many years we have talked about joint planning, which is essential if community care is to be delivered? Does he feel that, even with the Bill and the proposed new clauses, the commission would have sufficient authority to ensure that it works as efficiently and sensitively as the House would expect?

No, I do not believe that simply empowering the Care Quality Commission to go into that space is the answer to the question that I am posing. My right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Burstow) is closer to the right answer in identifying the health and wellbeing board at a local level as the beginnings of an organisation that can deliver a more joined-up commissioning process, joining up the social care system, the community health system, the primary health system and, of course, the hospital service—and I always add the social housing people. In a properly joined-up service, they would focus their attention on the needs of the individual patient service user—an awful piece of terminology; we cannot work out precisely what to call them.

I wish to highlight a bit of institutional tension. My right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam proposes that this is a function for the CQC, but I am not entirely convinced. A tension underlying several contributions this evening relates to whether the CQC is the regulator of a provider, or an organisation with responsibility for charting the course, which I am looking for from the Minister, towards a new form of commissioning. The CQC has a full job to do responding to some of the things that my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol North West was talking about—culture and service quality on the provider side—and I am not persuaded that trying to manoeuvre it into the space of developing the kind of joined-up commissioning service I am describing is the right answer to that question.

I reassure my right hon. Friend that I want to chart the course with him. I completely agree on the need to bring commissioning together. The better care fund is a good nudge in the right direction, but we need to go much further in due course.

I am grateful to the Minister for his encouragement that I am on the right path.

There is a serious question here. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam that, at a local level, the health and wellbeing board is the organisation best placed to move forward with the process of more joined-up commissioning. How we, as MPs, satisfy ourselves that this is happening to the required standard, with the required levels of economic efficiency across the system as a whole and above the level of the health and wellbeing board, is one of the questions left unanswered by the institutions we currently have. I am not entirely persuaded that the CQC should be encouraged into what I regard as a vacuum.

I will speak to amendment 19 and echo some of the excellent comments made by my hon. Friend the Member for Copeland (Mr Reed).

Amendment 19 would reinstate the Care Quality Commission’s duty to inspect the commissioning of adult social care services by local authorities. The case for the amendment is very simple: the quality of commissioning has a huge impact on the quality of care that people receive. It is extremely important that our adult social care system includes checks to ensure that commissioning is of a high standard. At present, this is not the case.

The current model of sector-led improvement introduced by this Government in 2010 leaves it to local authority peer reviews to identify failure. In practice, this means that neighbouring authorities that already work in close collaboration inspect each other, but only when a neighbouring authority volunteers for inspection. Of course, local authorities that are confident in their commissioning practices are happy to volunteer themselves for scrutiny, but what about those that do not volunteer? It is surely those authorities that we should be most concerned about, yet under the current system they are not subject to proper oversight. Worryingly, the majority of authorities have not been assessed under the peer review scheme. In total, 127 local authorities have not had their commissioning reviewed since 2010. We would not allow this type of reckless leniency with any other service that looks after our most vulnerable. I am certain that it should not continue.

It is clear that when it comes to inspecting local authorities’ commissioning practices, some uniformity and impartiality are needed. The CQC is best positioned to carry out that duty. Certainly, the chief executive of the CQC thinks so, commenting that he has not

“spoken to any national provider association who doesn’t think councils should be inspected”

and believes that

“the removal of that power from CQC was seen as a retrograde step”.

When this proposal was raised in Committee, the Minister insisted that it was unnecessary. He argued that CQC inspection of providers could identify patterns of poor commissioning that would be grounds for a special review.

My hon. Friend is making a convincing case. I have a background in local government. Does she agree that if statutory obligations are placed on local authorities, it is important that that they should be followed by the appropriate resources, but that that is not always the case?

I agree completely, and I will echo my right hon. Friend’s comments later in my speech.

I have some doubts about how effective CQC inspection of providers would be in practice. It is not clear at what point the CQC would recognise that poor provision was caused by poor commissioning practices. A handful of poor examples could be just that, or it could be evidence of a more systemic problem. Given the need for the Secretary of State’s approval before a special review is undertaken, I am concerned that the threshold of proof needed will be extremely high. Furthermore, CQC inspectors will not visit all providers in a single local authority area at the same time. In practice, it could take some months before information is collated and a pattern of failure detected that might indicate sub-standard commissioning. There is also a doubt about who will be joining up the dots to link months’ worth of inspections to a local area’s commissioning practices. In short, how will anyone ever know that poor providers are linked to poor commissioning by a particular local authority? The reality is that by the time the CQC recognises that there is a case for a special review, numerous safeguarding issues could have arisen.

I am concerned that, under the model the Minister advocated in Committee, action will be taken only once patterns of poor care have already taken root in a local authority. Surely that is the wrong way round. We need to prevent poor care arising from substandard commissioning, rather than wait for problems to become embedded in the system. This not only makes sense financially: from a safeguarding perspective, it is essential. I am concerned that without rigorous oversight, social care departments will find it easier to allow standards to slip.

In Committee, the Minister argued that the duty for local authorities to consider well-being would incentivise good practice. I do not believe that this is enough. I do not want to be critical of any local authority’s will to ensure the well-being of their service users, but I know from personal experience that these departments face intense pressure. If something is not built into the system, it is less of a priority. If departments know that the CQC will not be knocking on the door this year, they will concentrate on more urgent matters—trust me, in adult social care there are always urgent matters. Knowing that they are subject to regular oversight makes departments foster a culture of good practice.

In discussions I have had with providers and commissioners, they say they are in favour of reinstating the clause. Commissioners, whose day job is to fill gaps in services and to do so in the most cost-effective way, are worried that their decisions are not properly scrutinised, and that any mistakes they may unwittingly make will go unchallenged. Providers want it to be clear when they are at fault or when failure is down to poor commissioning. They do not want under-resourced providers to be punished simply because the rates that they receive from the local authority are too low to provide decent care.

I remain puzzled about why, although in June last year the Minister admitted that sector-led improvement had serious shortcomings for weaker-performing councils and, presumably because of his doubts, the Bill originally included the new clause, yet in October, for some reason, it was removed on Report in the other place, and the Minister has now moved from being in favour of CQC inspection of commissioning to being against it. I was also puzzled when the Minister repeated his concern about sector-led improvement in Committee. Following an intervention from the right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Burstow), he said that he shared the right hon. Gentleman’s view that

“the danger with sector-led improvement is that those bodies who are up for change and improvement take part and those who are dysfunctional and failing do not engage.” —[Official Report, Care Public Bill Committee, 28 January 2014; c. 442.]

Given that the CQC, providers and commissioners—along with the Minister— recognise the blind spots that exist in the sector-led improvement system, I hope that the Minister is open to convincing on the issue. If he is not convinced, I hope that he will be able to explain what he could not explain in Committee, namely why he and the Government changed their minds.

Let me begin by thanking all Members for their contributions to the debate.

Part 2 of the Bill contains a range of measures to implement the Francis recommendations following the awful events at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. The changes that we are introducing are intended to make a reality of Robert Francis’s recommendation that the NHS, and indeed all care services and those who work in them, should adopt and demonstrate a shared culture in which the patient is always the priority.

I accept the principle that lies behind new clause 8 and amendment 19, but the oversight of commissioning is not the core purpose of the CQC. I want the CQC’s main focus to be on providers and the quality of care provided for patients and service users. Any review or investigation of commissioning of services by the CQC will have an impact on its capacity to oversee service provision, and should be selected with care. It is therefore right for any CQC special review or investigation of commissioning to continue to be either at the request of, or subject to the approval of, Ministers—in the case of reviews of local authority commissioning, the Secretaries of State for both Health and Communities and Local Government.

I want to make my position absolutely clear. If there is strong evidence of a link between commissioning and poor care, the CQC will be able to examine it.

I apologise for getting in just before the hon. Lady.

May I return to a point that I raised in my opening remarks? At present, inspectors disavow the opportunity of providers to give them the evidence to which the Minister has referred. They say that they are not interested in it. Will the Minister ensure that the CQC and its inspectors are open and receptive to such evidence when providers offer it to them?

Subject to the fact that the CQC is an independent body, I will certainly reinforce that point in my discussions with it. In the context of mental health, we were discussing with the CQC only last week the importance of the role of commissioning as well as that of provision. I entirely accept that good care can be provided only if we get both the commissioning side and the provider side right: the two must go together.

Is it appropriate to set out the specifics of a review of commissioning in the Bill? I do not believe that it is. Flexibility is vital. While the CQC has a power to conduct special reviews and investigations of commissioning, that must be set in the context of other measures in the Bill that will strengthen the duties that local authorities must fulfil in exercising their care and support functions.

Perhaps I am being impatient—the Minister may deal with this point later in his speech—but I should like to know who will routinely review local authority commissioning. If no one will be doing that, how will the CQC know that poor commissioning is taking place in a local authority area?

I take very seriously the point that the hon. Lady has raised, but if she will allow me to continue to present my argument, I shall be happy to return to it later if necessary.

The important new measures include an express duty to promote people’s well-being—a duty to shape local care markets to ensure that they are sustainable and diverse, and offer high quality care and support. The Department will work with the local government and adult social care sector to produce statutory guidance on local authority commissioning of care and support. However, a CQC review of commissioning remains an option. I reassure right hon. and hon. Members that we will review evidence of concerns about local authorities’ commissioning practice to establish whether it is appropriate to ask the CQC to undertake a targeted review under section 48 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008. Getting the message out to commissioners that the powers will be used is important in itself to concentrate minds. They will be under the spotlight if they fail in their commissioning responsibilities.

New clause 12 would require the CQC to consider integration of care as part of its performance assessments of registered providers of health and adult social care. In Committee, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam made a strong case for the new system of performance ratings to be carried out by the CQC to look at care pathways, rather than focusing on separate institutions in isolation. He makes a very good case. I explained that a central tenet for the Government is that the independence of the CQC improves its effectiveness as a regulator. Clause 89 removes nine separate powers for the Secretary of State to intervene in the day-to-day workings of the commission, and we have deliberately removed the Secretary of State’s power to devise or approve the system for performance assessments and ratings.

The CQC has to be responsible for the system of performance assessment that it introduces, and placing specific requirements on the commission in legislation would not help in that regard. That is not to say that the CQC should not look into the integration of care. I told the Committee that I would pursue that matter in my discussions with the CQC, and I have done so. I have spoken to the CQC chair, David Prior, and to the chief executive. I am pleased to say that in that regard we are pushing at an open door. They absolutely understand the case that my right hon. Friend makes.

In recent weeks, the commission’s chief executive, David Behan, has set out plans for the CQC to carry out thematic inspections to look at the care pathways for different conditions. One such thematic programme will look at how people with dementia are handled by relevant services in a geographical area—acute health care, primary health care and adult social care, for example. Another is looking at how people move across transition points, such as when a disabled child becomes an adult—a point at which too often services fall down.

The Minister has outlined that he wants to work with the commission, local authorities and others in these important matters. Does he agree that there are issues on which organisations such as Mencap have a lot to contribute? Would he see the Government’s approach on those matters as being inclusive in that respect?

I totally agree with the right hon. Gentleman. The more that we talk to organisations with expertise such as Mencap when we are designing the commissioning and inspecting of facilities, the better we are at the job that we do. We must not think that we have all the answers in Whitehall.

A future thematic review could consider the integration of health and social care services either in a particular location or across a particular condition. I am keen that the commission pursue that further, but, as I say, I think that we are pushing at an open door in that regard.

New clause 33 would create the new post of candour commissioner for England. The commissioner would be tasked with protecting and promoting a culture of candour and disclosure in the health and social care sectors, an ambition that I think we would all share. The Government are taking steps to make a culture of candour and openness a reality. We will put in place a statutory duty of candour on providers registered with the CQC—I am personally delighted that we are doing that. That will require providers of health and social care to be open with patients and service users where there are failings in care.

I commend to the House the excellent review of the duty of candour by Professor Norman Williams and Sir David Dalton, which was published last week. We will consider the recommendations of the review—I repeat that I thought it was excellent—as we develop regulations to implement the duty of candour as a requirement for registration with the CQC. We are also enhancing the professional duty of candour through changes to professional guidance and codes.

Effective whistleblowing and complaints systems are vital parts of an open and transparent culture. As the Committee Chair, my right hon. Friend the Member for Charnwood (Mr Dorrell), pointed out, what we are after is a system in which whistleblowing is no longer necessary because the culture is open. That will help to improve public and patient safety and the quality of services provided.

This Government support the right of staff working in the NHS to raise concerns and expect all NHS organisations to support staff who wish to do so. NHS organisations have to have in place policies that are compliant with whistleblowing legislation. Also, the CQC’s new inspection system will include discussions with hospitals about how they deal with whistleblowers, and the CQC is reviewing its arrangement for handling whistleblowing concerns. The CQC’s national adviser for patient safety has recently established, and chairs, a forum of whistleblowers, so the CQC understands the issue and recognises its central role in this regard.

I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol North West (Charlotte Leslie) will agree with me that we will only achieve the change in culture that we are seeking by creating champions for candour and openness throughout every tier of every organisation—people who really believe in openness in both health and adult social care. Promoting and protecting candour is the business of every member of staff in health and social care. Indeed, the Dalton-Williams review prefaced its discussion of the candour threshold with a clear recommendation to establish a culture of candour based on training and support of staff and more accurate reporting of safety incidents.

I would also point out that the creation of a new office of candour commissioner would need funding. Given the measures we are already putting in place to support candour, I am not convinced that a candour commissioner would be the best use of finite resources.

New clause 28 would require the Secretary of State to commission an independent review of whistleblowing arrangements within six months of this Bill coming into force. I recognise that reviews, as suggested in this amendment, can play a key role in ensuring that legislation is operating as intended—a form of post-legislative scrutiny. It is for this reason that the Government, through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, have recently carried out “The Whistleblowing Framework: Call for Evidence”. This call for evidence is part of a review of the effectiveness of the legislation around whistleblowing, specifically considering whether the protections available in the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 for those wishing to raise concerns are effective. Members of the public and experts have been asked to submit evidence to BIS’s review. The findings will be published this spring. My Department has submitted evidence to this review on behalf of the health and care sectors, having taken the views of the professional regulatory bodies, but I do not support putting a commitment in primary legislation to undertake a review such as the one suggested in the amendment.

New clause 10 relates to the single failure regime for NHS trusts and foundation trusts. I repeat the assurance given in Committee that where the chief inspector of hospitals finds that patients are exposed to an immediate risk of harm, he will continue to be able to take swift and decisive action under section 31 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008. This new clause would prevent the CQC from being able to trigger trust special administration on quality grounds while it was using its powers under section 31. The chief inspector needs to be able to draw on the full range of the CQC’s powers to ensure regulatory action is appropriate in each case. We must not set unnecessary constraints on the CQC’s ability to address failings in quality. There may well be situations where the CQC needs urgently to suspend a particular service and also to consider trust special administration to ensure that high quality services can be sustained.

Let me make it clear that the CQC will be able to trigger trust special administration only where there has been a serious failure of quality and it is appropriate to do so. There are a number of ways to support trusts to improve, ensuring that special administration is only the last resort. Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority have a range of intervention powers and can also place trusts and foundation trusts in special measures to provide a package of measures to support improvement.

The Minister mentioned that a number of measures may be taken pre-failure in order to avoid the failure regime being triggered. Before tomorrow’s debate on clause 119, will he supply the measures by way of example, so that we can debate those very issues?

I am happy to ensure that a note goes to my right hon. Friend and other Members, as he requests.

New clauses 29 and 30 would introduce a power to create new requirements for registration with the CQC, one requiring providers to minimise the risk of harm to patients and service users, and the other requiring providers to inform patients and their representatives where treatment leads to harm, and to prepare a safety management plan. Section 20 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 sets out the areas in which the Government may impose, through regulations, requirements on providers registered with the CQC. It is a broad power and expressly allows regulations for

“securing the health, safety and welfare of persons”

for whom services are provided. This is broad enough to include minimising harm to patients. In addition, it expressly includes a power for the registration requirements to cover

“the manner in which a regulated activity is carried on”,

which would cover a requirement to prepare a safety management plan.

Clause 80 also places a duty on the Government to introduce a new registration requirement of informing patients and service users where there have been failings in their care—the duty of candour. I hope that I have reassured my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol North West that the power already exists to include the proposed areas in the CQC registration requirements.

My Department is consulting on draft regulations to put in place new fundamental standards as requirements for registration with the CQC. These would require providers to take “appropriate steps” to mitigate the risks of service users receiving care that is “inappropriate or unsafe”. We plan to consult shortly on a new duty of candour requirement. We will, of course, develop the final regulations, which will be subject to the affirmative procedure, in the light of the comments received in the planned consultation.

Finally, I support the sentiment behind new clause 27, that providers of care services should be held to account where they allow abuse or neglect, and that there should be serious consequences where this occurs. Under the fundamental standards on which we are consulting at the moment, all providers registered with the CQC must take steps to avoid abuse and neglect, and take action where those occur. Where providers are responsible for abuse, the CQC will be able to prosecute them. In fact, in response to Winterbourne View, I took the view that there was a gap in the regulatory framework, which did not allow for proper corporate accountability. I felt that we had to change the arrangements to ensure that companies, trusts and other providers were held to account where they were responsible for abuse or neglect. We are achieving that objective.

In addition, we have brought forward proposals to respond to the most egregious failures of care. On 27 February, we published our consultation on the detailed proposals for a new criminal offence of ill-treatment or wilful neglect. The Berwick report was clear that this offence should apply to individuals and organisations, whether or not they are registered with the CQC. We agree with that approach, and are consulting on the proposal. The new criminal offence, together with the CQC’s responsibility to respond to poor quality care, is sufficient to ensure that action is taken against unacceptable standards of care, and that there are serious consequences where this occurs.

I am grateful for the Minister’s responses to my three new clauses. I look forward to hearing what other hon. Members have to say about their provisions, but on the basis of the assurances I have been given, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the clause.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

New Clause 27

Corporate responsibility for neglect

‘(1) This section applies where a person registered under Chapter 2 of Part 1 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (a “registered care provider”) in respect of the carrying on of a regulated activity (within the meaning of that Part) has reasonable cause to suspect that an adult in their care is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse and neglect.

(2) The registered care provider must make (or cause to be made) whatever enquiries it thinks necessary to enable it to decide whether any action should be taken in the adult’s case and, if so, what and by whom.

(3) Where abuse or neglect is suspected, the registered care provider is responsible for informing the Safeguarding Adults Board in its area and commits an offence if (without reasonable cause) it fails to do so.

(4) A registered care provider is guilty of an offence if the way in which its activities are managed or organised by its board or senior management neglects, or is a substantial element in, the existence and or possibility of abuse or neglect occurring.

(5) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to a fine, the range of which will be specified by regulations, or to both.’.—(Nick Smith.)

Brought up, and read the First time.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time.

Proceedings interrupted (Programme Order, this day).

The Speaker put forthwith the Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Standing Order No. 83E).

Clause 90

Reviews and performance assessments

Amendment proposed: 19, page 81, line 27, at end insert—

‘(2A) The Commission must, in respect of such English local authorities as may be prescribed—

(a) conduct reviews of the provision of such adult social services provided or commissioned by the authorities as may be prescribed;

(b) assess the performance of the authorities following each such review; and

(c) publish a report of its assessment.

(2B) Regulations under subsection (2A) may prescribe—

(a) all adult social services of a particular description; and

(b) all local authorities or particular local authorities.’.—(Mr Jamie Reed.)

Question put, That the amendment be made.

New Clause 34

The Health and Social Care Information Centre: restrictions on dissemination of information

‘(1) Chapter 2 of Part 9 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (the Health and Social Care Information Centre) is amended as follows.

(2) In section 253(1) (general duties), after paragraph (c) (but before the “and” after it) insert—

“(ca) the need to respect and promote the privacy of recipients of health services and of adult social care in England,”.

(3) In section 261 (other dissemination of information), after subsection (1) insert—

“(1A) But the Information Centre may do so only if it considers that disseminating the information would be for the purposes of—

(a) the provision of health care or adult social care;

(b) the promotion of health.”.

(4) After section 262 insert—

“262A Publication and other dissemination: supplementary

In exercising any function under this Act of publishing or otherwise disseminating information, the Information Centre must have regard to any advice given to it by the committee appointed by the Health Research Authority under paragraph 8(1) of Schedule 7 to the Care Act 2014 (committee to advise in connection with information dissemination etc).”’.—(Dr Poulter.)

Brought up, and read the First time.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment (a) to Government new clause 34, in subsection (3), after ‘of’, insert ‘improving’.

Amendment (b) to Government new clause 34, in subsection (3), after ‘adult social care’, insert

‘; and if it has satisfied itself that the recipient is competent to handle the data in compliance with all statutory duties and to respect and promote the privacy of recipients of health services and adult social care.”.’.

New clause 25—Misuse of data provided by the Health and Social Care Information Centre: offence

‘(1) A person or entity commits an offence if they misuse, or negligently allow the misuse of information they have requested and received from the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

(2) “Misuse” means—

(a) using information in a way that violates the agreement with the Health and Social Care Information Centre;

(b) using information in a way that does not violate the agreement with the Health and Social Care Information Centre, but that gives rise to use that is outside the agreed limits of use; or

(c) using information supplied by the Health and Social Care Information Centre in such a way as to allow or enable individual patients to be identified by a third party.

(3) A person who is guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to an unlimited fine;

(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for not more than two years or a fine, or both.

(4) An entity who is guilty of an offence under subsection (1)—

(a) is liable to an unlimited fine; and

(b) must disclose the conviction on all future applications to access data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre.’.

Government amendment 8.

Amendment 29, in clause 116, page 100, line 29, after ‘Authority’, insert

‘and the Secretary of State’.

Government amendments 17, 18, 15 and 16.

The Government are fully committed to the programme and to the core principles that underpin its use, which are to present and promote transparency in the quality of health and care services to patients and the public, while protecting their privacy and confidentiality; to promote health and care research to help us to understand how to fight disease, cure illness and improve care; and to better integrate health and care services by using the data and information to understand what good, joined-up and integrated care looks like.

The data that are collected across the health and care system in England are the envy of the world. The programme, which draws on the new Health and Social Care Information Centre, offers the ability to link existing data securely and safely to produce information that can save lives, quickly find new treatments and cures, and support research to benefit us all.

I want to say at the outset that, in my view, the programme is good news and offers a great deal to help to improve our country’s health and care system in a gradual and progressive way. is evolution and not something fundamentally new. We started to collect hospital episode statistics for in-patient data in 1989, for out-patient data in 2003 and for accident and emergency data in 2007-08. The aim is to add primary care data to that list in 2014.

I have not said anything controversial yet, so if the hon. Gentleman will let me make some progress, I will happily give way later.

To realise the huge potential of health care data, patients and professionals must have absolute trust in the way that the data will be protected and used, together with an understanding of why collecting the data on such a scale is important. I absolutely understand that many people have concerns about how the process might work, but I am confident that the Government amendments will bring further reassurance to the House about the programme.

The Government fully support NHS England’s decision to delay the start of the programme so that more work can be done to build understanding and confidence. NHS England will be leading that work. In parallel, having listened to key stakeholders and to discussions in this place, the Government have brought forward a package of measures, including amendments to the Bill, to respond to concerns and to give the public greater clarity and reassurance that their data are safe.

The Health and Social Care Act 2012, which established the Health and Social Care Information Centre, introduced a raft of safeguards to balance the huge benefits that linking health and care data can bring. That offered people greater protection than was previously available. It is worth highlighting some sections of the 2012 Act as examples of that.

Under section 260, the Health and Social Care Information Centre must not publish the information that it obtains in a form that would enable an individual, other than a provider of care, to be identified. Similarly, under section 261, the HSCIC cannot disseminate share data that could be used to identify an individual, other than a provider of care, except when there is another legal basis for doing so, which could happen in the event of a civil emergency or public health emergency, such as a flu pandemic. Under section 263, the HSCIC must publish a code of practice that makes it clear how it and others should handle confidential data. Under section 264, the HSCIC must be open and transparent about the data it obtains by publishing a register with descriptions of the information. Indeed, the HSCIC is currently working to ensure that it is transparent about all the data it has released to others.

Moreover, the Government have made the commitment that if someone has concerns about data being used in this way, they can ask their general practice to note their objection and opt out of the system. Following that, no identifiable data about them will flow from their GP record to the HSCIC. Directions to the HSCIC under section 254 of the 2012 Act—separate from the amendments that the House is considering—will ensure that that commitment to patients has legal force.

We are going further than that. Having listened to key stakeholders and to discussions in Parliament, we have a further package of measures that, in parallel with NHS England’s further engagement activity, will respond to the concerns that we have heard and give the public additional reassurance that their data are safe. Of course, aggregated and anonymised data, which cannot be used to identify any individual person, should and will be made generally available. Indeed, a great deal of research relies on data of this type, where researchers do not need to see any data at the individual person level. Such aggregated and anonymous data are available now, and were available previously through the predecessor body to the HSCIC.

New clause 34 sets out a number of changes to the 2012 Act which, taken together, clarify when the HSCIC can and cannot release data. The new clause expressly prevents the HSCIC from using its general dissemination power where there is not a clear health care, adult social care or health promotion purpose—for example, for commercial insurance purposes. I am happy to confirm that the new clause enables anonymised information to be disseminated under the HSCIC’s general dissemination power for a wide range of health and care-related purposes, including for commissioning for a wide range of public health purposes and for research relating to health and care services such as the epidemiological research that is needed at the earliest stages of developing new treatments.

Can the Minister reassure us that there will be no possibility of private companies obtaining the data and using them for their own purposes, instead of their being used for their original purposes in accordance with NHS data protection regulations?

I hope that I have already given the hon. Gentleman some reassurance that the data will have to be used for the benefit of the health and care service, or for the purposes of public health. They are not to be used for insurance purposes, for example. I will go on to outline some of the safeguards involved.

Would the Minister like to comment on an announcement made at the launch of the MedRed BT health cloud—a cloud data system that is using our hospital episode statistics data—in the United States? At the launch, it was stated:

“People are using foreign data because it’s available. The UK made some gutsy decisions about data liberation. There’s political risk associated and they have a more tolerant climate over there.”

Will the Minister comment on the fact that we apparently have such a tolerant climate that MedRed and BT are now charging for access to our data on that cloud system in the United States?

I am not going to be drawn into commenting on an American system. The point is that there are strong safeguards under the 2012 Act to ensure that confidential data can be used only for the benefit of the health and care system. Of course, data that do not identify patients need to be used in a transparent way that can help to drive up care and services.

I have been generous in giving way to the hon. Lady; I hope that she will let me address her point. It is important that we have data that are open and transparent and that are used to expose the quality of care that is available from different health care providers. We are one year on from the Francis inquiry, and we need open and transparent data in order to understand and compare the quality of care services in hospitals and in different NHS health and care providers. This is about helping us to recognise what good care looks like, so that we can extend it throughout the system. It is also about exposing the few examples of bad care in an open and transparent way. If we had—

I am not going to give way. I am still addressing the hon. Lady’s point, and I am not saying anything controversial. If we had had better, more joined-up data that could have been used in a more transparent way beforehand, we might have been able to head off the events that we saw at Mid Staffs much earlier. This is about protecting patients and the public, and about using population-level data in an open and transparent way. Under the safeguards that we are introducing in the new clause, data will not be used for commercial insurance purposes. Let me give that reassurance.

Where in the new clause does it say that? Nowhere does it say that the data cannot be passed to private health insurance companies. Proposed new subsection 1A states that such information could be passed on

“for the purposes of…the provision of health care or adult social care”.

This is a very wide provision, and I see no clarity in it that delivers on the commitment that the Minister is giving to the House.

Hopefully, if I am allowed to make some progress and address the points that have been raised, I will give further reassurances a little later. It would be useful—[Interruption.] I will answer the question a little later, so there is no point in heckling or being abusive. If the right hon. Gentleman will wait, I will talk him through the Government’s amendments so that he can gain a better understanding —

No, I am not afraid to give way. The hon. Gentleman should sit down, because he often has quite enough to say, and it is not always a very valuable contribution. In this context, he may do well to listen to some of the purposes of the amendments. As I have already outlined, there are strong safeguards set out in the 2012 Act on how data can be used. Data can be used only for the benefit of the health and care system. In order to reassure the public, we have tabled amendments to clarify further how data may be used.

Speaking to a great many people in recent days, as well as considering amendments tabled by other Members, has prompted the Government to re-table the new clause in order to clarify that these kinds of data may also be disseminated for other wider public health purposes, such as research into environmental factors associated with asthma, or for healthy eating. We have ensured that those other kinds of research can benefit from the data by changing the wording in the new clause to make it clear that information may be disseminated for the purposes of

“the provision of health care or adult social care”

or “the promotion of health”. I am sure that the House will agree that it is essential that that valuable data resource is available to support a broad range of health research.

New clause 34 clarifies that in disseminating information, and indeed in carrying out any of its functions, the Health and Social Care Information Centre must have regard to the need to promote and respect the privacy of those receiving health services and adult social care in England. It also requires the HSCIC to take into account advice from the advisory committee that the Health Research Authority is required to appoint under paragraph 8 of schedule 7 to the Bill. The advice from that committee, known as the confidentiality advisory group, will provide a new level of independent scrutiny of the HSCIC’s decisions to publish or disseminate information.

Amendment 17 would also enable the confidentiality advisory group to advise the HSCIC on the exercise of functions conferred in regulations under section 251 of the National Health Service Act 2006, or more generally on decisions to disseminate information that could be used to identify individual patients. For example, when new regulations are made under section 251 of the 2006 Act that confer functions on the HSCIC, the confidentiality advisory group could advise the HSCIC on proposals to release data. New clause 34 requires the HSCIC to have regard to that external advice on its exercise of any function under the 2012 Act of publishing or otherwise disseminating information.

Amendment 18 gives the Secretary of State regulation-making powers to set out the specific criteria that the confidentiality advisory group will be required to take into account in giving advice to the Secretary of State, the Health Research Authority or the HSCIC in carrying out their duties. That provision is intended to enable regulations which would require that the confidentiality advisory group considers: that the purpose for which the data will be used should be in the public interest and for the provision of health and care services; that any approved processing must respect and promote the privacy of patients and care service users; that the purpose cannot be achieved using suitably anonymised data, rather than identifiable data; that it is not reasonably possible to gain explicit patient consent to achieve that purpose; and that the applicant requesting the data has not misused those kinds of data in the past.

That last criterion would effectively introduce a new “one strike and you’re out” deterrent. Potentially, for some organisations, the risk of no longer being able to access those kinds of data may prove a more effective sanction than the current maximum monetary penalty of £500,000 that can be imposed under the Data Protection Act 1998. Taken together, those measures provide an additional level of scrutiny and assurance to the processes of the HSCIC in publishing or disseminating information. The Government’s amendments—new clause 34 and amendments 17 and 18—provide robust assurance that those kinds of data cannot be disseminated for purposes such as commercial insurance or for assessing an individual’s mortgage application.

Before the Minister sits down, I would be very appreciative if he could direct me to the precise part of new clause 34 that prevents a private health insurance company accessing data.

It is clear that the information can be used only for the benefit of the health and care service or for the purposes of promoting health. It is about benefits to the NHS or to the health and care system. That is also what the 2012 Act identifies regarding provision of data. Let us not forget that we had to put safeguards in place because at no point did the previous Government place any restrictions on the use of data. Under the previous Government’s regulations, before this Government came to power, there was greater potential for abuse of the system. Although I am sure the previous Government would not have intended data to be used by private health care companies for insurance purposes or by others, less rigid safeguards were in place to prevent that from happening.

This Government, both with the amendments and the 2012 Act, have clearly stipulated that the information can be used only for the benefit of the health and care system or the health service. That is very clear and the previous Government never put such a provision in place. This Government have also given patients an opt-out in the use of data—something the previous Government never properly put in place. We have introduced good provisions about protecting confidentiality and using information in the NHS in a responsible manner. If the previous Government had been concerned about the use of data, they should have put in place more robust safeguards when they were in power, but they did not.

No, the hon. Lady has had many interventions; I have been very generous—[Interruption.] I know she does not like hearing about Labour’s record in government on these issues, but I am afraid she needs to. This Government are putting in place safeguards to protect patient confidentiality. The previous Government failed on that agenda, and I am proud that we are able to table these amendments, which will lead to greater reassurance.

The amendments also help to clarify how data can be disseminated to support research for health and care commissioning, health and public health purposes, medical purposes, or other purposes relating to the provision of health care, adult social care or the promotion of health.

Government amendment 8 relates to the remit of the Health Research Authority. It has always been our intention that the HRA’s functions relate to health research and adult social care research, and the amendment clarifies that remit. It makes explicit that the HRA’s functions do not generally extend to research that relates to children’s social care, if that research is solely for the purposes of children’s social care. We must recognise that research may take place across the boundaries between health or adult social care and children’s social care, and the amendment will not inhibit such research. Although the HRA’s functions will not generally extend to children’s social care, the research ethics committees that the HRA establishes or recognises under clauses 113 and 114 will be able to consider children’s social care research in the round when considering a study that also involves health research or adult social care research.

A lot of research crosses health and social care, and some of it involves children. Where such research includes health elements, it already comes to the HRA special health authority for ethical consideration. Many university ethics committees accept HRA ethics committee approval and do not require separate approval by their own ethics committees. That will continue when the HRA becomes a non-departmental public body.

Paragraph 12(5) of schedule 7 gives the HRA a general power to do anything that appears to be necessary or desirable for the purposes of, or in connection with, the exercise of its functions. That power means that HRA can, if it feels it necessary or desirable, publish guidance that relates to children’s social care research where there is also an adult social care element or a health element that falls within the HRA’s remit.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I understood that this debate was scrutiny of the remaining stages of an important Bill. The Minister seems to be reading his speech into the record, which for me does not stack up as a debate on the remaining stages of a very important Bill, and an aspect of it—care data—that is crucial to every NHS patient in the country.

The Minister is certainly in order and there is a continuation of Report stage tomorrow. I am sure he will want to be sensitive to the fact that other Members wish to contribute.

Indeed, Mr Speaker, and I hope that other Members will also be sensitive to that. The more interventions I take, the less opportunities there are for Members to speak. I have been very generous. I have taken interventions on a number of occasions from those on the shadow Front Bench, and from the hon. Member for Worsley and Eccles South (Barbara Keeley) and others. I have been generous with my time, but I want to preserve time for other Members to contribute to the debate, as I see you are keen for me to do, Mr Speaker.

Although the HRA amendments are important in ensuring that its remit is clearly and accurately defined, it will be able to work with those with an interest in children’s social care research when research crosses boundaries, to seek consistency in standards and to avoid unnecessary duplication.

Government amendments 15 and 16 are minor and technical. Amendment 15 is consequential to the addition of provisions on the better care fund—part 4—in Committee. It ensures that provisions on commencement cover the better care fund. Amendment 16 removes the privilege amendment inserted in the other place in accordance with the Commons’ sole privilege to deal with monetary matters.

The Government’s proposals ensure that we correct the difficulties we inherited from the previous Government in preserving confidential patient data. They ensure that we have in place a system in which NHS and care data must be used for the benefit of the health and care system and for public health purposes. They put us in a much better place to ensure that we enhance transparency and better use information to benefit patients. They ensure that we have a better basis on which to understand the basis of disease. If in the first place we had had the Health and Social Care Information Centre and the benefits we know will come from, we would have been able to deal with and better combat many diseases while protecting patient confidentiality. We would have understood much more quickly the dangers of thalidomide and other drugs that were harmful to babies in utero. We would have been in a much better place to expose those examples of poor care, such as Mid Staffs; to develop national frameworks for treating diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart disease; and to understand what good care looks like in the treatment of those conditions by collecting data in a fundamentally better and joined-up way.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre will, for the first time, provide us with a repository for joined-up, integrated data across health and care. Hon. Members often rightly talk of integrated care, and of the benefits of joining up health and care. Unless we have the data collected to understand what good integrated care looks like, and unless we understand what measures of integration are right, we will not be able properly to inform the debate on delivering integrated care or break down the silos that have sometimes existed to the detriment of patients across the health and care system. I hope hon. Members on both sides of the House can support that. I hope they decently recognise that this Government have put in place not just a patient opt-out if they do not want their data to be shared, but strong safeguards—much stronger safeguards than the previous Government —to protect patient confidentiality.

In principle, I support the utilisation of truly anonymised patient data sharing for the purposes of improving public health, but I take issue with a number of the Minister’s points, not least in relation to new clause 25, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Copeland (Mr Reed). Accountability is important. If the Minister and the Government are serious about addressing the public’s concern, they would ensure that the Secretary of State and Ministers are responsible rather than an unelected quango. Frankly, the Minister’s assurances at the Dispatch Box this evening, and those given to the Health Committee just a week or two ago, need to be in the Bill, so that there is a level of accountability and some comeback.

When we debated patient data sharing in Committee and, more recently, in Westminster Hall, my impression was that Ministers have tended to conflate legitimate patient privacy concerns, which are shared by hon. Members and members of the public, with the general lack of support for the utilisation of patient data for further research. They are mistaken, because right hon. and hon. Members are more or less unanimous in supporting any move that can lead to better research, improved care and increased safety.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way, because the Minister was clearly frightened of answering questions from me and from my right hon. Friend the shadow Health Secretary. The Minister refused even to listen to the question, so I shall ask my hon. Friend: does he think that there is scope for confusion because some companies are in the market of insurance products and health and social care? The Minister would not take the question, so we do not have any answers on how a firm such as BUPA, which is already involved in research and already using the data, could be dealt with.

That is a perfect example and an important question that the Minister and the Government should answer. If we are to ensure that we have public trust in the data and who will use them, such questions must be answered and people be given the opportunity to consider what the Government propose.

It has become clear in recent months that the public lack confidence that the implementation of the scheme as currently proposed would protect the data from inappropriate use, not least because of the point that my hon. Friend has just made. I am sure she would recall that we recently had a Health Committee session on this issue—in fact, the Minister was present—and certain assurances were given, not by the Minister but by one of his officials, that companies outside the United Kingdom would not have access to such data. The thought ran through my mind that many private health companies are global in their operations.

To add to the theme that my hon. Friend is developing, is not one of the problems with that we have had so many statements from Ministers and officials that have not in the end come to be true? At the last Health questions, the Secretary of State said that a leaflet would be sent to every home in the land to explain what was happening. That also was not true. Does my hon. Friend agree that this is bringing the whole scheme into disrepute?

My right hon. Friend has hit the nail on the head, because there has been a catalogue of mismanagement. What we need to do if we believe in the importance of such a database is to ensure that we rebuild public trust. The Government have an opportunity to do that, but it will not be a simple matter. We have to look carefully at the implications of what the Government propose and give the necessary assurances.

The assurance that the official gave to the Health Committee had a gap that a coach and horses could be driven through. Several multinational companies could get round it by establishing a subsidiary based in the UK that would have access to the data, if that were the only safeguard.

I want to return to a theme that we were discussing in an earlier debate this evening. The true nature of the hon. Gentleman’s concern is unclear. If his concern is that sensitive patient information should be made available only on the basis that the identity of the individual can never be traced and the data remain properly anonymised and confidential, I think that concern would be shared on both sides of the House. But is that his real concern, or is it that the information might be used by a private sector body for the purpose of improving the delivery of health care? I am not clear, provided that the information is anonymised and patient identity is properly secured, what his objection could be.

I thought I was being fairly clear. In the debate on the earlier group of amendments, we discussed the privatisation of the clinical commissioning function. My concern is that that would lead to greater fragmentation, not greater co-operation. On data sharing, I think it was my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester West (Liz Kendall) who gave the example of a questionnaire she was asked to fill in by her GP, which contained questions relating to alcohol consumption, smoking and so on. If that information was made available to a private health care company and, as a consequence, premiums were increased, people would have concerns. The Minister said that that has been ruled out and that it would not happen, but it is an example of why such concerns have been raised.

It is very important for there to be as much protection for the individual and the patient as possible. I assure the hon. Gentleman that my medical records are particularly uninteresting, but I would not want them to be leaked to an insurance company seeking to make money out of them or trying to change my premium. I am sure that that is very important in people’s minds.

The hon. Gentleman makes an interesting point which echoes a point made on the Labour Benches a few moments ago. The problem is that a number of private health care companies are also insurance companies, so it would be quite a task to ensure that data are not shared with companies that might have a commercial interest in them. To restrict access in the way we would all want is not as simple as the Government would have us believe.

The hon. Gentleman and I often agree on these issues, but I am slightly concerned. Of course we want reassurances, and while we have the pause we should seek further reassurances on the anonymisation of data and that they will not be misused. How far is he prepared to push this point? Is he prepared to push it to the extent that the initiative falls, with all the consequences for the lack of progress in advances in medical care? In 10 years’ time we could be talking about hundreds of thousands of lives that could have been saved as a result of pressing on with this very important development.

The hon. Gentleman makes an excellent point. It is not my intention to do that, but we have to recognise that the public awareness campaign—the Government’s early assurances about leaflets and letters—has been wholly inadequate. At a time when it is important for the Government to instil public confidence in the scheme, they keep doing things that undermine public confidence, for example by giving the hated company Atos—if you do not mind me using the term, Mr Speaker, because of the debacle in the Department for Work and Pensions—the contract to extract the data. There seems to have been a catalogue of errors.

I accept that this proposal has the potential to be a huge step forward. The Minister said it was not revolutionary, but I am quite often in favour of things that are revolutionary. It is revolutionary, because previous data collections from a hospital-based setting, from secondary care, have been largely episodic. This scheme will harvest data from GPs and primary care to follow the whole of the patient journey, and to identify trends and follow-ups. That is a revolutionary step forward, provided we have the necessary safeguards and assurances, and that we rebuild public trust. I am not suggesting that the scheme is unworkable and cannot be reformed, but there is a huge job to do to ensure that we restore public confidence.

I wanted to mention an example that has been presented to me in relation to rare illnesses. It is suggested that a patient could never be identified from the data, but identification might be possible in the case of very rare conditions, particularly if pharmaceutical companies had their own databases. We need some form of protection to cover those circumstances as well.

I thank my hon. Friend: he is being very generous in giving way. Does he agree that scope is an issue? The Hospital Episode Statistics database was an administrative database, and that is what our data were being used for. My hon. Friend has made an important point about the loss of trust. When did any of us sign up to having our data used to recalculate the cost of insurance cover for long-term illness? When did we sign up to have it sold on a chargeable basis by BT and by MedRed, on its cloud system in the United States? Once control has gone, it is possible for the scope to vary all over the place.

That is a good point. It is very important for the Government to lay down parameters for the scope.

The sharing of medical data has a fantastic potential to do good, as long as the necessary safeguards are there, but if it is mishandled, it also has the potential to do great harm. Patient data consist of very confidential information, which could prove damaging to the public if it were to end up in the wrong hands. We have already seen examples of that. I share the public’s fear that the Government are not seeking appropriate safeguards in respect of highly personal and sensitive information. Despite the Minister’s assurances about new clause 34, I do not think that it goes far enough.

Let me return to the issue of accountability. The benefits for companies that seek to misuse or leak patient data, for example, are considerable. The Minister has ruled out insurance companies, but I am worried about private health care firms. The pharmaceutical industry could profit from the re-identification of patient records, and I believe that the absence of parliamentary accountability to which I referred earlier, and a lack of clear and harsh penalties for those who misuse data, are undermining trust in what could be a highly beneficial scheme. Subsection (2) of new clause 25 defines misuse, and subsection (3) gives an indication of the penalties that would be applied. I think that they might act as a deterrent.

My hon. Friend is making an excellent, intelligent and informed speech. The charge has been made that pushing our proposals too far risks scuppering the project, but is it not the case that the more safeguards we can introduce to reassure the public, the better the prospects of its success will be—and, moreover, the greater the data sample will be, and the better the system will be as a result?

I entirely agree. I think that that is vital, because, as we have seen in the case of politicians following the expenses scandal, once public trust has been lost, it is a huge task to win that trust back. There is a mountain to be climbed. I therefore think it important that we get this right.

The Government have an opportunity to pause the implementation of the Bill in order to consult properly, and, in the Bill itself, to address issues that have been raised by Members in all parts of the House and by other interested parties. I believe that if there is to be public confidence in the scheme, the Government should make a gesture by supporting Labour’s new clauses, particularly new clause 25. Given that the misuse and identification of data are the prime concerns of the public, I think that it would be eminently sensible to make them an offence. That is not rocket science, is it? If that is the problem, why do we not address it directly by creating an offence? Similarly, if an organisation makes applications for data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, it should have to disclose any previous convictions under that offence. I am a big supporter of transparency and the extension of freedom of information. Private health care companies should disclose information that is relevant in those circumstances.

It seems bizarre to insist that the public should allow their private information to be shared with organisations that are allowed to hide their chequered pasts in some cases behind the cloak of commercial confidentiality. Parliamentary accountability, too, should be introduced to the decision-making process. The Secretary of State should retain the duty to approve any applications. The buck should stop with the Secretary of State. If there is a serious commitment to win back the public’s trust on, the buck should stop with the Secretary of State, rather than with a big and unaccountable quango.

It would be of great benefit to the public if data sharing were exercised in an accountable and secure manner. I have always been an advocate of investment in public health. For that to be effective, we need an evidence base on which to plan interventions. The scheme is set to be disrupted unless the Government can demonstrate that they are serious about protecting patients’ privacy.

Does the hon. Gentleman think that there will be a problem with patients sharing that information with their pharmacists if that meant that they were going to get better more quickly?

On an individual basis, I do not see a problem with that. The problem arises when dealing with large volumes of harvested data that include not just primary care records of patients in the community but hospital records, where pharmaceutical companies are perhaps able to benefit. Whether that is in patients’ best interests needs further consideration. I do not think that there is any such concern about individual conversations with GPs or pharmacists, but there are still major holes in the Government’s proposals. They need to be tightened further. A good starting point would be Labour’s new clause 25.

The hon. Gentleman has been incredibly gracious in giving way on several occasions. He has said that new clause 25 should be commended. I wonder whether he has considered amendment (b), which suggests that one of the other issues about safeguarding data is people being satisfied of the competence of the organisations that will receive that data and that they comply fully with the data protection obligations.

I have considered that, and that is an important point. Compliance is important. Those issues should be addressed in the Bill. If we are to ensure that there is public trust, those points must be addressed.

Does my hon. Friend share my concern and that of many GPs that the lack of necessary safeguards in the Bill may have an unintended consequence, particularly among the hardest to reach groups in society? Fear about the lack of safeguards in the Bill may stop them from accessing GPs and sharing their details and problems with them.

That is a huge danger. We have an opportunity to address that in this House this evening and when we consider the Bill further tomorrow. I personally am not advocating that people sign up to the opt-out clauses. That is important, but we need assurances to be able with confidence to support the Bill and the data collection proposals.

Order. One might have thought the intervention of the hon. Member for Copeland (Mr Reed) was exquisitely timed.

Bill to be further considered tomorrow.