We have dealt with the heart of the Bill in clause 1. The subsequent clauses, while important, are not so detailed.
The purpose of clause 2 is to define some of the important terms used in clause 1. For instance, subsection (3) defines “adult social care”. I would clarify that children’s social care data, as has already been mentioned, is not within the scope of the Bill. It is covered via a different legislative framework and that framework has safeguards in place to protect children’s social care data from inappropriate use.
I would also point out that clause 2(7) provides that “processing” has the same meaning as given in section 1(1) of the Data Protection Act 1998. That definition has been used as it is a broad definition that captures a whole range of activity involving data, including obtaining, holding, recording, using and sharing.
I wish to raise a point on the exclusion of children’s data. I appreciate that hon. Members have referred to it already, but we are slightly concerned that although children’s data may be covered elsewhere, the guardian does not have any ability to write to bodies in that respect. It is perfectly reasonable for that to be included; indeed, I think it was included in the original Bill as drafted. We see it as a safety net, rather than an added complication.
I confirm that the Government support the clause. On the point about children, it is our interpretation that the provisions do not prevent the National Data Guardian from engaging constructively with the Department for Education on adult social care data and its interaction with or effect on children’s data. Clearly, this is something we will monitor, but, bearing in mind that the whole ethos behind the creation of the National Data Guardian is to spread good practice and make representations rather than regulations, the concern that the hon. Gentleman has expressed is important, but we do not think it will get in the way of sensible engagement.
If I may, I will come back to the hon. Gentleman on that point. I would say that it would not, but I will confirm in due course.
The shadow Minister makes a fair point, which goes to the heart of a problem that I have found in the past—that children are looked after by the Department for Education and not the health service. When I dealt with modern-day slavery, I came across exactly the same problem. What the shadow Minister said should be heard loud and clear by the Department for Education.