New Clause 11

Children and Young Persons Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 3rd July 2008.

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Scope of inspections by the chief inspector

‘In section 147 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 (c. 40) (inspection of premises in connection with adoption and fostering functions) after subsection (2) insert—

“(2A) The Chief Inspector must consider the promotion of the welfare and safety of a child when carrying out the inspections mentioned in this section.”’.—[Tim Loughton.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Shadow Minister (Children)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Very briefly, the issue dealt with in new clause 11 was debated and taken up in another place by my noble Friend Baroness Morris of Bolton, who was supported by the noble Lord Ramsbotham. It would ensure that the chief inspector considers the suitability of the accommodation not only in terms of door sizes and facilities and so on, but whether it is conducive to supporting the welfare and safety of a child. The new clause would broaden the scope of what is taken into account in an inspection of children’s homes. As my noble Friend said in the House of Lords, essentially the measure would place a duty on an inspector to make inspections about more than just the number of beds that a children’s home provides and the average costs of meals for children per day. There is a fear that the inspections are a bit of a tick-box exercise in some cases. In an earlier debate, I mentioned some of my experiences of children’s homes in my constituency at which, clearly, the level of care and supervision of the children was woefully inadequate. In one case, an Ofsted inspection had said that everything was okay with the physicality of the accommodation, but everything was clearly not okay with the children’s welfare.

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

Adjourned till this day at One o’clock.