Skip to main content

Written Statements

Volume 748: debated on Tuesday 16 April 2024

Written Statements

Tuesday 16 April 2024

Health and Social Care

Duty of Candour in Health and Social Care: Review

On 6 December 2023, I informed the House that the Department of Health and Social Care will lead a review into the effectiveness of the statutory duty of candour for health and social care providers in England.

The duty of candour is set out in regulation 20 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014. It has been in place for NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts since 2014 and for all other providers regulated by the Care Quality Commission since 2015.

The duty of candour is a crucial instrument for promoting an open and transparent culture in health and social care, ensuring patients and service users or their families receive a full account of events, and a meaningful, timely apology when things go wrong during the provision of health and care services. Providers must also provide those affected with reasonable support and details of further enquiries or investigations that need to be made. The duty is about providers taking reasonable steps to ensure they communicate with those affected in a way that is as accessible and supportive as possible.

Today, I wish to inform the House that we are publishing a call for evidence as part of the review. A call for evidence will allow my Department to capture and consider a wide range of views, including expert opinions, about how the duty is being honoured, monitored and enforced, and the extent to which the policy has met its objectives.

The call for evidence will run for six weeks and close on 29 May 2024.

We will consider all responses to the call for evidence and use them to inform our recommendations for better meeting the policy objectives of the duty of candour.

The call for evidence will be published on and a copy will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.


Home Department

Asylum Hotel Exits

The Government are committed to implementing effective measures to address the challenges posed by irregular migration, ensure the integrity of our borders, and reduce the burden on the taxpayer.

While allowing the Home Office to fulfil its statutory obligations towards destitute asylum seekers, Ministers have worked to cut reliance on hotels by expanding and driving efficiencies in the asylum accommodation estate. We have maximised the utilisation of bed spaces in the existing asylum estate, which has resulted in 72 fewer hotels being opened in 2023 than otherwise would have been required, and we are committed to going further to end our reliance on hotels.

We have undertaken work across Government to secure alternative sites that provide sustainable and cost-effective accommodation to house asylum seekers, with further sites in development. In addition, we continue with the implementation of the regional allocation plans for dispersed accommodation, which will further relieve pressure on communities through equitable dispersal.

The Prime Minister’s commitment to clearing the legacy asylum backlog has been met, further reducing the need to use hotels. By streamlining processes and increasing efficiency, over 74,000 initial decisions were made on asylum applications in 2023, which is four times more than in 2022.

We now have 20,000 fewer asylum seekers accommodated in hotels than in September 2023—a reduction of 36%.

This week we will have returned 50 hotels to their communities for commercial use since the start of March 2024, and since October last year will have ended the use of 150 hotels by the beginning of May.

In conclusion, the Government’s commitment to reducing hotel use for asylum seekers reflects our broader efforts to stop the boats, cut irregular migration, strengthen border security, and relieve pressure on local communities.


Science, Innovation and Technology

AI Safety Research: UK-US Partnership

I am pleased to inform the House that myself and US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, on behalf of the UK and the US, signed a memorandum of understanding on 1 April.

The MOU will enable our AI Safety Institutes to work together to follow through on commitments made at the AI Safety Summit held last November at Bletchley Park. It will allow us to develop an interoperable programme of work and approach to AI safety research. This will help us achieve our shared objectives of ensuring the safe development and use of advanced AI.

Specifically, through this MOU, we intend to engage in the following joint activities:

Develop a shared approach to model evaluations, including the underpinning methodologies, infrastructures and processes.

Perform at least one joint testing exercise on a publicly accessible model.

Collaborate on AI safety technical research, to advance international scientific knowledge of frontier AI models and to facilitate sociotechnical policy alignment on AI safety and security.

Explore personnel exchanges between the UK and US AI Safety Institutes.

Share information with one another across the breadth of their activities, in accordance with national laws and regulations, and contracts.

The institutes are already working together to align their scientific approaches, and to accelerate and rapidly iterate robust suites of evaluations for AI models, systems and agents. This will put us in a good position to evaluate the next generation of advanced AI models.

I launched the AI Safety Institute at the AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park in November last year, making it the first state-backed organisation focused on advanced AI for the public interest. At that time, we set out our ambition for the UK AI Safety Institute to advance the world’s knowledge of AI safety by carefully examining, evaluating, and testing new types of AI. We have delivered on this intention by developing the capabilities and capacity of our institute into a world-leading organisation. The AI Safety Institute is conducting the world’s first Government evaluations of advanced AI systems. We aim to push the frontier by developing state-of-the-art evaluations for safety-relevant capabilities and conducting fundamental AI safety research. The institute will share its progress with the world to facilitate an effective global response to the opportunities and risks of advanced AI.

This formal partnership provides the basis for further international AI safety co-operation. The UK and US AI Safety Institutes will work with other countries to promote AI safety, manage frontier AI risks, and develop linkages between countries on AI safety research. To achieve this, the institutes will work together to develop international standards for AI safety testing and other standards applicable to the development, deployment of use of frontier AI models. We will progress this international collaboration bilaterally and multilaterally in existing multilateral fora, including the upcoming AI Seoul Summit, to be co-hosted by the UK and the Republic of Korea next month.

In closing, I reaffirm this Government’s commitment to tackling the challenges posed by AI head-on. Through collaboration, innovation, and shared determination, we will continue to lead the way in ensuring a safer and more responsible AI landscape for generations to come.