Clause 19

Part of Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:15 pm on 13 July 2006.

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Photo of Ivan Lewis Ivan Lewis Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health) (Care Services) 2:15, 13 July 2006

I will try to help the hon. Gentleman. He accepts, to some extent, that these are probing amendments. Controlled activity will include access to the health records of a vulnerable adult. Amendment No. 142 would add the words “or personal” after the word “health”. “Health records” is a clearly understood term and is intended to cover all records that relate to a person’s physical and mental condition. The amendment would extend that to other personal records.

I understand that the intention is to ensure that access to records of a similar level of sensitivity is included in controlled activity. The problem is that the additional words are wide and nebulous and might cover things, such as bank records, that we do not intend to catch.

That said, I will offer the hon. Gentleman some assurances on the regulation-making power in subsection (5)(c). That gives the Secretary of State the power to prescribe

“other information...relating to a vulnerable adult.”

We intend to use that power to prescribe clearly and accurately social care records relating to a vulnerable adult. Such records are clearly of a personal nature, but will be described in regulations so as to make them clearly identifiable. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will accept that reassurance. We will use the power to be clear about what “other information” means.