Clause 177 - Commencement

Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 19th June 2003.

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Photo of Mr Win Griffiths Mr Win Griffiths Labour, Bridgend

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: Government amendments Nos. 335 to 338, 451 and 561.

Government new clause 17—Amendment of provision relating to reform of Welsh health authorities.

Photo of John Hutton John Hutton Minister of State, Department of Health, Minister of State (Department of Health) (Health)

The amendments make changes to the commencement clause. Amendment No. 334 is consequential to amendments Nos. 279, 280 and 281, which as hon. Members will remember, removed clauses 46, 47 and 48 of the original Bill. The clauses relate to annual reviews, other reviews and investigations, and failures in compliance by NHS foundation trusts.

Amendment No. 335 inserts in the appropriate place a reference to clause 82 of the Bill to correct another error in the Bill. Amendment No. 336 also corrects an error in the original print of the Bill. Amendment No. 337 reflects the fact that the current clause relating to the Commission for Social Care Inspection's duty to have regard to Government policy is being replaced by a new clause. The provision provides for a commencement of that new clause.

Amendments Nos. 338 and 451 provide for the commencement of the new clauses in the Bill relating to CSCI's ability to provide advice and assistance to the Governments of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands at their request, and to publish reports of its inspections of boarding schools. New clause 17 and amendment No. 561 cover technical matters, which I hope will not take too long to go through.

New clause 17 corrects an error in the Government of Wales Act 1998, arising from an amendment to that Act made by the National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002. As it stands, section 27A of the 1998 Act refers to section 8(5)(b) of the National Health Act 1977, when it should refer to section 8(7)(b). The new clause corrects that error, which arose because of a renumbering of the provisions in the later Act.

Amendment No. 561 makes an amendment to clause 177 to provide for the new clause to come into force on Royal Assent, which will enable the statute book to be corrected as soon as possible.

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling Shadow Minister (Education)

I have two questions for the Minister. One relates to subsection (1), which states that the provisions

''shall come into force on such day as the appropriate authority may by order appoint.''

I am concerned that if the measures are introduced at separate times in Wales and England, we could end up with the curious anomaly of having a new Welsh inspectorate set up before the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection was set up. Therefore, the Welsh inspectorate would have to deal with the Commission for Health Improvement before CHAI was set up. It would seem illogical that there are separate commencement dates for measures that apply jointly to England and Wales, or where there is logical and obvious operational need for the changes to continue in parallel. I would also like to ask the Minister if he could explain the purpose of subsection (3).

Photo of John Hutton John Hutton Minister of State, Department of Health, Minister of State (Department of Health) (Health) 3:15 pm, 19th June 2003

Clause 177(3) is a traditional clause. He will find similar provisions in most commencement clauses. It is fairly evident what it means: different days may be appointed for different purposes in the context of commencement. In relation to the point about commencement in Wales, I hope that that situation will not arise, but I do not believe it would be a huge difficulty if it did. In this House we have all had to come to terms—the Government have done so willingly, the Opposition less so—with the fact that devolution means that in Wales, those decisions are taken by the National Assembly. We in this House make decisions for England, but that is the devolution settlement.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 335, in

clause 177, page 90, line 28, after '120', insert '82'.

No. 336, in

clause 177, page 90, line 28, after '120', insert '122, 124'.

No. 337, in

clause 177, page 90, line 28, after '120', insert

'(duty to have regard to government policy: CSCI),'.

No. 338, in

clause 177, page 90, line 28, after '120', insert

'(arrangements with the Isle of Man and Channel Islands: CSCI),'.

No. 502, in

clause 177, page 90, line 33, leave out 'section 42' and insert

'sections 42 and (CHAI fees: Wales)'.

No. 451, in

clause 177, page 90, line 36, after '105', insert

'and (boarding schools and colleges: reports)'.—

No. 561, in

clause 177, page 91, line 13, at end add

'or to section (amendment of provision relating to reform of Welsh health authorities)'.—[Mr. Hutton.]

Question proposed, That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.

Photo of George Young George Young Chair, Standards and Privileges Committee

The clause deals with the commencement orders. On what day does the Minister, as the appropriate authority, intend to introduce the various parts of the Bill?

Photo of John Hutton John Hutton Minister of State, Department of Health, Minister of State (Department of Health) (Health)

Yes, right. How much time does the right hon. Gentleman think we have to do that? I cannot give him a specific timetable for the introduction of every clause of the Bill, and he knows perfectly well why. Some of those decisions will be made on the basis of contingent events as yet unclear. We will introduce the Bill and commence the clauses, and we will keep him informed; obviously, he will want to know when we do all those things. We talked about our commencement intentions in many of our discussions on earlier clauses, and he will want to reflect on that. For example, in relation to the provisions that we discussed during this morning's proceedings—I do not know whether he was here—we have in mind to introduce and commence the dental provisions no later than April 2005.

There will be different dates for different parts of the Bill, depending on other developments. The clauses on foundation trusts will be commenced at the earliest possible opportunity.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 177, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill