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Mr. Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman is a little too early. I think that he is talking about the next group of amendments.

Mr. Jones: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: That is all right—we all make mistakes.

Mr. Touhig: I listened carefully to the points made by the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnorshire
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(Mr. Williams)—and by my hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd, South (Mr. Jones), although I am sure that he will return to those a bit later.

Amendment No. 5, which stands in the names of the hon. Members for Mid-Dorset and North Poole and for Brecon and Radnorshire, proposes the inclusion of the Welsh Joint Education Committee—WJEC—in the list of partners in clause 25 who must co-operate with children's services authorities in Wales to improve the well-being of children in the area. The intention of clause 25 is that, taken with clause 26, it will provide a statutory basis for the work of the children and young people's framework partnerships in planning local services. It is difficult to see how the WJEC could be included with the clause 25 partners, because it is different in nature from the other bodies listed. It is a company limited by guarantee and owned jointly by the 22 local authorities in Wales. It has an office base in Cardiff but no regional or local presence in Wales, and it would be difficult to support its attendance at meetings of local partnerships. Its functions are highly specialised and narrow in comparison with the other bodies named as partners, which include the police, the probation service and health services. The National Council for Education and Training for Wales is included as a partner in recognition of the significant role that it plays as a local education and training provider.

I am of course aware of the criticisms of the WJEC by the Children's Commissioner for Wales in the Clywch inquiry report that he published a little while ago. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to his valuable work in carrying out that inquiry. I do not believe, however, that the amendment would adequately address his concerns. Apart from the inappropriateness of the WJEC being involved in 22 sets of local planning arrangements, many other awarding bodies operating within Wales would have to be brought into the equation. The vast majority are England and Wales awarding bodies, and the commissioner clearly had that wider field in mind when making his recommendation to my colleagues in the Assembly. He recommended that the Welsh Assembly, in partnership with the Department for Education and the Awdurdod Cymwysterau, Cwricwluwm ac Asesu Cymru—ACCAC—and the equivalent qualifications, curriculum and assessment authorities in Scotland, Northern Ireland and England consider the role of examining bodies across the UK with regard to child protection arrangements. The Government and the Assembly are committed to working together with the regulatory authorities in England and Wales to produce a practical response to the commissioner's recommendations, and we have established a steering group to take that work forward. I therefore hope that the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnorshire will concede that his amendment is a bit premature, because it is important that we have this wider consultation.

I have some difficulty with amendment No. 6 as well. The arrangements in clause 25 for promoting co-operation are focused mainly on children and young people who are permanently resident in the local authority area concerned. There would be little purpose in requiring a prison or secure training centre to take part in local arrangements with local agencies if few of the young people in its care were likely to come to their
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attention. However, clause 25(1)(c) places a duty on the children's services authorities to promote co-operation with

which I hope will give some comfort to the hon. Gentleman. If the authority considers it appropriate for a prison governor or a director of a secure training centre to be involved in the co-operation arrangements, the authority must seek that involvement. The outcome will be a matter for local arrangement, and will depend on local circumstances. It would be inappropriate, and perhaps disproportionate, for such governors and directors automatically to be required to become involved in local co-operation arrangements.

In regard to amendments Nos. 7 and 8, there are a number of differences between the provisions for England and Wales in the Bill, which serve to build on the distinctive approach to developing services for children and young people that has been taken by my colleagues in the National Assembly. In Wales, no change is planned in the responsibility for service provision by requiring the appointment of a children's services director. There is no requirement for children's trusts. Instead, clause 27(1) requires each local authority to appoint a

to co-ordinate and oversee co-operation arrangements to improve their well-being, and to designate a member for the same purpose. These lead directors and the lead members required to be designated will be responsible for taking forward arrangements for partnership planning to ensure that it acts as the strategic driver for action. I hope that, in the light of these assurances, the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues will feel able not to press their amendments to a vote.

We are somewhat confused about the intention behind amendment No. 33, tabled by the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) and his hon. Friends. It might help if I explain the reason for the difference in commencement arrangements for clause 28 for the devolved and non-devolved bodies in Wales. The duty on agencies to ensure that their functions are discharged, having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, is placed on a range of agencies in Wales by clause 28, and in England by clause 11.

Tim Loughton: May I save the Minister some breath? This amendment would be more appropriately tabled in relation to the private fostering arrangements, but it has not been. On that basis, I was not proposing to move it, so I hope that I can save some of the Minister's time.

Mr. Touhig: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his intervention, which has saved us some time. I also hope that the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnorshire will feel able not to press the Liberal Democrats' amendments to a vote, and I urge the House to accept the Government's new clause 11 and Government amendment No. 40.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.
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New Clause 17

Payments to foster parents

'(1)   The appropriate person may by order make provision as to the payments to be made—

(a)   by a children's services authority in England or Wales or a person exercising functions on its behalf to a local authority foster parent with whom any child is placed by that authority or person under section 23(2)(a) of the Children Act 1989 (c.41);

(b)   by a voluntary organisation to any person with whom any child is placed by that organisation under section 59(1)(a) of that Act.

(2)   In subsection (1)—

"appropriate person" means—

(a)   the Secretary of State, in relation to a children's services authority in England;

(b)   the Assembly, in relation to a children's services authority in Wales;

"local authority foster parent" and "voluntary organisation" have the same meanings as in the Children Act 1989 (c.41).

(3)   In section 23(2)(a) of the Children Act 1989 (c.41), at the end insert "(subject to section [payments to foster parents] of the Children Act 2004)".

(4)   In section 59(1)(a) of that Act, at the end insert "(subject to section [payments to foster parents] of the Children Act 2004)".'.—[Margaret Hodge.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

The Minister for Children, Young People and Families (Margaret Hodge): I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

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