Clause 57 - Commission to exercise Privy Council's appointment functions

Health Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:15 pm on 10th January 2006.

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

Photo of Andrew Lansley Andrew Lansley Shadow Secretary of State for Health 6:30 pm, 10th January 2006

I just want to ask whether the bodies to which the appointment function particularly refers, which are those listed in schedule 6, have made any representations in relation to the transfer of the appointment functions to an Appointments Commission. I must confess that from my recollection of such matters in the Cabinet Office, the Privy Council appointments process is not necessarily one to which I would wish to have myself subjected as one of the bodies. However, they might have an attachment to it born of a sense of the independence of the Privy Council office as distinct from governmental appointments. I would be surprised if they had any objections, but it would be useful to know whether there were any objections to the transfer of the long-standing arrangement.

Photo of Caroline Flint Caroline Flint Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health)

To clarify the situation for the hon. Gentleman, the Privy Council has powers to direct the NHS Appointments Commission to exercise all or part of its functions relating to specified appointments to the health profession's regulatory bodies. In directions of 10 February 2005, the Privy Council directed the NHS Appointments Commission to exercise all its appointment functions relating to the General Chiropractic Council, the General Osteopathic Council, the Health Professions Council, and the Nursing and Midwifery Council. The directions also specified particular appointment functions for the General Medical Council, the General Dental Council, the General Optical Council and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. The clause gives the Privy Council the same powers to direct the new appointments commission to exercise all or part of the powers that it previously directed the NHS Appointments Commission to provide for. I am not aware of any concerns from any of the bodies that I have mentioned about that function being carried out.   If I am wrong about that, I will ask my officials to check and will get back to the hon. Gentleman.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 57 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 6 agreed to.

Clauses 58 and 59 ordered to stand part of the Bill.