The amendment amends section 227 of the 2007 Act to clarify reporting responsibilities for hosts. A host organisation is a body that a local authority currently contracts with for the purpose of ensuring that local involvement networks’ functions are carried out. The Bill allows a local authority to decide whether to keep the existing host arrangements or contract directly with a local healthwatch organisation. If a local authority decided to continue the existing host arrangements, amendment 434 will ensure that the arrangements do not need to require the host to prepare annual reports on the provision by local healthwatch of independent advocacy services or other services under section 223A of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. That is because arrangements for the provision of such services by local healthwatch would be separate to any arrangements under section 221 with the host to arrange for the local healthwatch to carry out its functions. The amendment makes it clear in the Bill that it is local healthwatch that discharges the function, not the host.
To ensure accountability and transparency, local healthwatch organisations will have to produce annual reports each financial year. Those reports will be sent to certain bodies, including HealthWatch England. The amendments clarify the requirements relating to the annual reports of local healthwatch organisations and are minor and technical. For those reasons, I hope that the Committee will support the amendments.