Covid-19 (Public Services Committee Report) - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:39 pm on 22nd July 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top Chair, Public Services Committee, Chair, Public Services Committee 4:39 pm, 22nd July 2021

My Lords, I thank everyone for their contribution to today’s debate. I said at the beginning how privileged I was to chair this committee, and I know that the speeches that its members have made will have reinforced for noble Lords their quality, expertise and enthusiasm. I thank them again for the contribution that they have made in the past and today. I thank everyone else who contributed too; everyone brought something specific to the debate that meant it reflected the work of the committee and the work that went into its first report.

Running through the speeches today, I was very pleased to hear, was a thread that reinforced that the report offers practical ways forward—through decentralisation of power, longer-term investment in early intervention and preventive work, more effective activity across services; and by the involvement of the voluntary sector, the community sector, civil society and the private sector in helping to make places work for people, wherever they live.

Of course, we also heard from lots of Members today about the importance of hearing the voices of people with lived experience. This is a really important issue for the House, as well as the Government. We had enormous support from the teams in the House to engage people with lived experience and the organisations that they often work with to bring them to the committee to give evidence. My colleague, the noble Lord, Lord Davies, mentioned Debra from Wigan, who has cerebral palsy and is very much a community activist in Wigan but has really struggled. Her words give us a real call to action. She said that, from her experience of the NHS and social services in the past 16 months, services were delivered at her rather than with her, and, when she attempted to discuss her needs, she felt belittled, patronised and ignored. That should be a wake-up call to all of us.

I thank the Minister for his response. I think he knows that the committee worked in a very cross-party way, and we look forward to engaging with him and other Ministers on how we can properly prioritise what is needed in public services so that they work for Debra and others. I look forward to making sure that we establish good relationships with him and his colleagues so that we can all take this work forward. There is a lot to do, and we all have a responsibility to play our part in making sure it happens. I commend the report to the House.

Motion agreed.