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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 2:45 pm on 4th June 2003.

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health) 2:45 pm, 4th June 2003

First, I commend the principle behind the amendment: that CSCI decisions about children receiving social services should be based on the convention—that is admirable. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is aware that the UK is a signatory to that treaty—as are most other countries. I have no doubt that the management of CSCI, as experts in children's services, will be well aware of the principles of the treaty and that their day-to-day decisions will be informed by that.

The UN convention on the rights of the child is an international treaty that was signed between national Governments. Therefore, it would be totally inappropriate to give a public body the role of interpreting it—as the amendment would do. That is a matter for the Government of the day alone. If the National Care Standards Commission has decided to adopt the convention, that is its right, and is admirable. There is no reason why the new social services inspectorate could not do the same, but that could be done without legislation.

The hon. Gentleman asked about the children's rights director. He will continue with his functions, which are set out in current regulations, and the future role of that position will be decided by the chair and the board as part of their broader functions. We will be informed of their views and consequently we may amend regulations as necessary.

For the reasons that I have given, I shall urge right hon. and hon. Members to vote against the amendment if the hon. Gentleman presses it to a Division.