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Schedule 6 - CSCI: supplementary

Part of Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 4th June 2003.

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health) 3:00 pm, 4th June 2003

The hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell (Chris Grayling) makes the point incredibly well. There is not much to add. The amendment would place an obligation on the new inspectorate to appoint a director of rights for vulnerable adults, and would provide an additional duty to have a regard for and to safeguard and protect the rights of vulnerable adults. I am sure that those motives are laudable, but they must be resisted for two reasons.

There is nothing to prevent CHAI or CSCI from having a director responsible for vulnerable adults but we do not see the need for legislation in that area. The original reasons for the role of a director of children's rights were very clear. Children in care who are looked after in boarding schools away from home are especially vulnerable and there is public consensus about that. There is not, however, public consensus about vulnerable adults, and it is unclear how we would define vulnerable adults, when social services are in the business of providing care standards services for vulnerable people.

The hon. Gentleman has a point, philosophically, but technically, we do not see the need to put this issue in the Bill. I would gently make the case that there is a view—as articulated so well by the hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell—that the rights of the child are well established. Vulnerable adults are a much larger group, and there is a point of view that having a director for vulnerable adults might mean that the case for vulnerable people achieving their rights might be undermined. After all, they are adults, and people might look to the director, not to themselves. For that reason, I resist the amendment.