Clause 57

Health and Social Care Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 17th January 2008.

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Photo of Sandra Gidley Sandra Gidley Shadow Minister, Health

I beg to move amendment No. 239, in clause 57, page 28, line 23, leave out ‘may’ and insert ‘must’.

This is a simple probing amendment. As the Bill stands,

The Commission may publish a report prepared under subsection (2).”

I am curious about the circumstances under which a report would not be published. To my way of thinking, the more information in the public domain the better and the greater the transparency of any organisation, the greater the public trust in it. All reports should be published. However, subsection (3) seems to give some flexibility. I am not sure why that is needed. I seek an example from the Minister of where it would not be necessary to publish a report. It would be helpful to know why the word “may” was chosen.

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (South West), The Minister of State, Department of Health

This is a point on which I may at last be able to offer the hon. Lady some satisfaction. Although, under existing legislation, the CSCI and the Healthcare Commission are not explicitly obliged to publish inspections reports, in practice they do. However, they are careful at times about some details: we talked earlier about children and vulnerable adults. I agree that it is essential that the public should have access to the commission’s inspection findings: a concern also raised by Dame Denise Platt in her evidence to the Committee. We are therefore looking at whether there is an argument for strengthening the language in that regard.

Photo of Sandra Gidley Sandra Gidley Shadow Minister, Health

I am reassured by the Minister and have no desire to have an amendment achieved in my name. If the Government want to bring something forward that achieves that aim on a future occasion, I will be more than delighted. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 57 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

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