Report (6th Day)

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in the House of Lords at 3:00 pm on 8th March 2012.

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Photo of Baroness Northover Baroness Northover Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Department for International Development) 3:00 pm, 8th March 2012

I am so glad. Both have statutory forms and functions so they cannot simply disappear in the way that he fears. I pay credit to him for all his work in this area over many years.

It was a shame that the noble Lord, Lord Harris, was not at the meeting yesterday to which the noble Baroness, Lady Murphy, has referred. With his formidable local government experience, I am quite surprised that he does not welcome the local authority involvement in the arrangements that we are putting forward. Had he been there yesterday, he would have heard the enthusiasm of the LGA, the chief executive of East Sussex County Council and others for their new involvement in health services. They are extremely keen to be best informed by flourishing local healthwatches. As they take on their new task, they see having that information as very important.

The noble Lord, Lord Harris, asked about the funding formula. Funding for local healthwatch will continue in a very similar fashion to LINks. It will be allocated primarily through the formula-based grant. Like LINks, this funding will not be ring-fenced, but each local authority's allocation through the formula-based grants will be publicly available. I hope that that is of help to him. In addition, local healthwatch will receive additional funding through the DH learning disabilities and NHS reform grant.

I have various other responses to various other people, but perhaps the noble Lord wishes to put a question to me.