After section 9

Part of Adoption and Children (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 10:30 am on 7th December 2006.

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Photo of Robert Brown Robert Brown Liberal Democrat 10:30 am, 7th December 2006

No, I will continue.

Standard 20 of the national care standards for adoption agencies includes a power to refer people who cannot be assessed to another agency, so the amendment will make no difference to what happens in practice. I hope that the Roman Catholic adoption agencies will be reassured by the reassurances that have been given at stage 2 and today on that matter.

I will deal briefly with the Westminster equalities legislation, which has been mentioned and is an important backdrop for information. As members are aware, consultation is being carried out on regulations on discriminatory practice in the supply of goods and services under that legislation. The Parliament will want to consider whether including the proposed provision in the bill would be helpful. It would not affect what may happen at Westminster. Equalities legislation is UK legislation, and agencies will be required to comply with it and regulations that are made under it. Peter Peacock and officials have engaged with the UK Government on how agencies will be affected. However, I say again that we do not intend to affect the practices of the Roman Catholic adoption agencies; rather, we want them to continue to do their good work.

The matter must be decided by members: as has been said, the Executive has taken a neutral stance. However, that background information will help members in putting matters in context as they make a decision on amendment 86.