Clause 11

Children and Young Persons Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 26th June 2008.

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Independent reviewing officers

Photo of David Kidney David Kidney PPS (Rt Hon Rosie Winterton, Minister of State), Department for Transport

I beg to move amendment No. 35, in clause 11, page 10, line 13, leave out from beginning to ‘it’ in line 14 and insert

‘Whether or not the independent reviewing officer is an officer of the local authority,’.

Photo of Hywel Williams Hywel Williams Shadow PC Spokesperson (Education), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Health), Shadow PC Spokesperson (International Development)

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments: No. 12, in clause 11, page 10, line 18, at end insert—

‘(5) A local authority must ensure that the independent reviewing officer appointed under this section is sufficiently independent.

(6) In this section ‘sufficiently independent’ means—

(a) having minimal connection to the local authority in question;

(b) having not worked for the local authority in question in the last 10 years;

(c) being previously unconnected to the particular child in question; and

(d) having no conflict of interest.’.

No. 33, in clause 11, page 10, line 18, at end insert—

‘(5) In carrying out his functions in relation to subsection (1)(c) above the independent reviewing officer must—

(a) give information to the child about independent advocacy;

(b) where the need for independent advocacy is identified, require the local authority to make arrangements for the provision of independent advocacy for the child.

(6) For the purposes of this section—

(a) “advocacy” means the provision of independent and confidential information, advice, representation and support to a child;

(b) “independent” means that the person appointed is not connected with the local authority by virtue of being—

(i) a member of the local authority or any of their committees or sub-committees, whether elected or co-opted; or

(ii) an officer of the local authority employed by the Children’s Services Department of that authority; or

(iii) a spouse or civil partner of any such person.’.

No. 36, in clause 11, page 10, line 18, at end insert—

‘(5) In carrying out his functions in relation to subsection (1)(c) above the independent reviewing officer must—

(a) give information to the child about independent advocacy; and

(b) where the need for independent advocacy is identified, require the local authority to make arrangements for the provision of independent advocacy for the child.

(6) For the purposes of this section—

(a) “advocacy” means the provisions of independent and confidential information, advice, representations and support to a child;

(b) “independent” means that the local authority has arrangements in place to ensure that the child is protected from any conflict of interest on the part of the advocate appointed.’.

Photo of David Kidney David Kidney PPS (Rt Hon Rosie Winterton, Minister of State), Department for Transport

In the clause, the Government are again boldly attempting to improve matters for looked-after children and, in particular, to beef up the role of the independent reviewing officer. That post is quite new to social work practice anyway, so people are already finding their feet with the role.

It being twenty-five minutes past Ten o’clock, The Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned till Tuesday 1 July at half-past Ten o’clock.