The Committee consisted of the following Members:
Chair: Mr Laurence Robertson
† Bradshaw, Mr Ben (Exeter) (Lab)
† Bruce, Fiona (Congleton) (Con)
† Chalk, Alex (Cheltenham) (Con)
† Garnier, Mark (Wyre Forest) (Con)
† Jones, Andrew (Harrogate and Knaresborough) (Con)
† Killen, Ged (Rutherglen and Hamilton West) (Lab/Co-op)
† Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma (South Shields) (Lab)
† Milling, Amanda (Cannock Chase) (Con)
† O'Brien, Neil (Harborough) (Con)
Platt, Jo (Leigh) (Lab/Co-op)
† Rowley, Lee (North East Derbyshire) (Con)
† Shah, Naz (Bradford West) (Lab)
Siddiq, Tulip (Hampstead and Kilburn) (Lab)
† Smith, Jeff (Manchester, Withington) (Lab)
† Snell, Gareth (Stoke-on-Trent Central) (Lab/Co-op)
† Swayne, Sir Desmond (New Forest West) (Con)
† Zahawi, Nadhim (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education)
Rob Cope, Committee Clerk
† attended the Committee
Seventh Delegated Legislation Committee
Wednesday 16 May 2018
[Mr Laurence Robertson in the Chair]
Draft Restriction on the Preparation of Adoption Reports (Amendment) Regulations 2018
I beg to move,
That the Committee has considered the draft Restriction of the Preparation of Adoption Reports (Amendment) Regulations 2018.
The Adoption and Children Act 2002 provides that only a person within a prescribed description can prepare a report on the suitability of a child for adoption or a person to adopt a child. The Restriction on the Preparation of Adoption Reports Regulations 2005 prescribe, for the purposes of the 2002 Act, those persons who can prepare adoption reports and in what circumstances. Those persons are social workers employed by or acting on behalf of an adoption agency, or a person who is participating in a social work course and is employed by, or placed with, an adoption agency as part of that course, subject to certain conditions.
This draft statutory instrument will make consequential amendments to the descriptions of persons who can prepare reports and update the references to the register of social workers in England and Wales. The changes are purely consequential in nature and do not provide for any new categories of persons who are able to prepare adoption reports. Given the consequential and technical nature of the amendments, no impact assessment has been prepared.
The Health and Social Care Act 2012 requires all social workers in England to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council—the HCPC—and the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 provides for the keeping of a register of social workers in Wales. This statutory instrument brings the 2005 regulations up to date by amending the references to the regulators in line with those two Acts. Although the Welsh Government would have been able to amend the 2005 regulations to update the references relating to Wales, they would not have been able to make the amendments relating to England using the powers in their 2016 Act. With support from the Welsh Government, it made sense for the Department to make all the necessary changes in this set of amending regulations.
We have ambitious plans for a new social work regulator in England—Social Work England. That fundamental part of our social work reform programme will be able to develop an in-depth understanding of the profession and set profession-specific standards that clarify expectations of the knowledge, skills, values and behaviours required to become and remain registered as a social worker in England.
We will have to amend these regulations again when Social Work England takes over as the regulator, but it is important that we make these amendments now to ensure that the 2005 regulations continue to operate effectively and without confusion in both England and Wales. I therefore commend these regulations to the Committee.
Good morning, Mr Robertson. It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship.
I have never made any secret of my distrust and suspicion of this Government, and despite studying this instrument at great length, I am unable to see anything at all contentious in it. As the Minister said, it simply updates the legislation on the creation of adoption reports via the inclusion of the English and Welsh social work regulators in the Health and Care Professions Council and Social Care Wales respectively.
With that in mind, I advise Members not to get too comfortable. The regulations are very minor. As a result, I will not engage the Minister in further debate or divide the Committee.
I thank the Committee for their contributions to the debate. Despite the consequential nature and limited impact of the regulations, it is important that the changes are made and that the Committee had time to consider them. I commend the regulations to the Committee.
Question put and agreed to.