Discharge from an acute care setting is a key interface between health and care and support. At this critical time, care and support must be joined up to prevent unnecessary delays and readmissions that can be distressing to patients, their families and carers. This issue is raised by Amendments 87ZA and 104A, tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Greengross. Clause 6(5) sets out the high-level aims of the general duty to co-operate, but it does not attempt to provide an exhaustive list of circumstances in which this power should be used. We expect authorities and their relevant partners to co-operate when an individual is discharged from acute care under this clause.

To ensure the safe discharge of a patient from an acute care setting an assessment for care and support should happen before the patient is discharged, not after. Schedule 3 to the Bill sets out clear steps to ensure this. Clause 12(1)(b) already allows for regulations to specify other matters to which the local authority must have regard in carrying out an assessment. Given that this involves setting out procedural detail and related matters, it is more appropriate to set out such detail in the regulations than in the Bill.

Government amendments 87A, 87B, 87C, 87D and 87E would ensure that Clause 7—the duty to co-operate in specific cases—applies in relation to children undergoing transition from children’s to adult services. It was always intended that this provision be used in these cases, as the Law Commission recommended, and as is clear from the Explanatory Notes. These amendments would make Clause 7 explicit on this point, because at present it refers only to adults. I hope that noble Lords will accept them.

The noble Baroness, Lady Wheeler, asked me how the pooled—budgeted—funding would sit with the 10% cuts to local government, and whether that pooled fund will be ring-fenced. To access any of the funding in the £3.8 billion local integration fund local areas will have to develop plans on how they will use the funding. These will be overseen by health and wellbeing boards, made up, of course, of NHS and local government

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representatives. Funding will be given only on the condition that services are commissioned jointly and seamlessly between local NHS and local councils. We will transfer £859 million from the NHS to care and support this year—in 2013-14—and £1.1 billion next year, to help the funding pressures in the immediate term.

I hope that I have reassured the Committee of the robustness of the provisions relating to integration, co-operation, and delayed discharges, and that in the light of what I have said the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Wheeler: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his comprehensive response. We need to reflect very carefully on the issue raised by my noble friend Lady Gale in respect of NHS continuing care and the social care boundary and its impact on self-funders. I will discuss with her whether we need to return to this issue on Report. She is right to mention the Joint Committee, which is particularly concerned. We need to be absolutely reassured that the Bill takes these issues forward.

I will study the Minister’s comments on health and well-being boards. He more or less agreed with me but did not want reference to them in the Bill. However, he accepted my Amendment 81C—which is a first for me—so I am grateful for that. With those comments I thank noble Lords for a very important debate, particularly on hospital discharge, and I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment 81B withdrawn.

Amendment 81C not moved.

Amendment 82 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.

Amendment 82A not moved.

Clause 3 agreed.

Clause 4 : Providing information and advice

Amendment 82B

Moved by Baroness Meacher

82B: Clause 4, page 4, line 9, leave out “and maintain” and insert “, maintain and facilitate access to”

Baroness Meacher: My Lords, Amendment 82B has the effect of requiring local authorities not only to provide information about the system of care and support, how to access it and so forth, but also to take action to facilitate access to that information; that is, to try to make sure that people know it is available. My remarks also apply to Amendment 86C, to which I have added my name, which requires that the local authority must produce or arrange for the production of packs of information relevant to the needs of individuals with specific medical conditions and ensure that these packs are provided to individuals following the diagnosis of a specific condition—not waiting until much later on, when they probably need social care or other intervention.

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First, I apologise to the Minister and to your Lordships that I was unable to be here for earlier sittings of the Committee. I have been out of the country a lot on other Lords’ business and just have not been able to participate. I also must thank the Alzheimer’s Society for its help with these amendments.

I join other noble Lords who have welcomed the Bill, which has an emphasis on the provision of care and support for people who need it. I was impressed by the quote at the top of the Department of Health Factsheet No. 1, which states:

“Information, information, information; without it, how can people be truly at the heart of decisions? Information should be available to all regardless of how their care is paid for. There are some things that should be universal; information is one”.

That is from a Department of Health document; perhaps other noble Lords have quoted it before me, in which case I apologise. The point is that if people are unaware that information and advice are available, they are unlikely to look for them. We can assume that if these amendments are not accepted by the Government, there will be considerable underuse of information services and, of course, that the people who will lose out will, as always, be the most vulnerable—those who most need that information.

The Alzheimer’s Society tells me that it frequently hears of the difficulties people face when struggling through the complexities of the health and social care system for the very first time. Too often, people with dementia and their carers report that they did not have access to the information and advice they needed because they simply did not know it was available. We all know that feeling: if only we had known that it was available, we would have looked for it, whatever it was. Sadly, people often come across services by chance and far too late.

If a person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s is aware of a memory clinic, for example, which can either provide help itself or refer the client on to organisations such as the Alzheimer’s Society well before they need social care, the client can make adjustments to help them continue living as normally as possible and for as long as possible in their own homes. These are simple things like putting a note on the front door that says, “Are your keys in your pocket?”, and suchlike. With guidance, carers can gradually increase the home adjustments as they notice the need for them and thus defer the need for the involvement of social services and ultimately residential care.

Noble Lords will know the point that I am coming to. We all know that resources are incredibly tight. The point is that timely information and making people aware that it exists is very cost-effective. If you manage to keep people in their homes much longer, and if you manage to help them avoid social services intervention, all this will save taxpayers’ money. We can expect that a small spend on a proactive approach to information provision will save the taxpayers a great deal of money over time. I beg to move.

Baroness Greengross: My Lords, I support Amendment 82B in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, to which my name is also listed. At the same time I speak to Amendments 83, 83A, 84, and 85. I think that Amendment 86C is in the next grouping; I hope that I am right.

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On Amendment 82B, we know that many people, as well as their carers, say that they did not have access to the necessary information and advice—and that they did not even know that it was available. They have had to seek out the information themselves. We are talking about people who are vulnerable and often at crisis point. It is the worst time for either frail people or their carers to have to find out where to go and how to find the advice they need. I would add that, in my long time working in this field with older people, I once had a telephone call from a Minister in the department whose mother needed care and who was asking me to help because this Minister had no idea where to go to get the information and advice. It is not just people who do not know their way round the right office—it is all of us at certain times. We just do not have the knowledge of where to go.

If we require local authorities to adopt a proactive approach to information provision, perhaps it will ensure not only that people have the right information at the right time but that the information is in a format that is accessible. This will help people to get the right care and support in place and give them the confidence they need in very difficult situations.

On Amendments 83, 83A, 84 and 85, I was very pleased to see that, in Clause 4, the Government have incorporated a key element of the Joint Committee’s report into the Bill, namely that it is part of a local authority’s duty to establish and maintain the service for providing people in its area with information and advice. We must make sure that advice relating to care and support includes information about access to regulated independent financial advice.

The Bill will also oblige local authorities to offer deferred payment agreements which will involve local authorities in taking an interest-bearing charge on the property of an individual against the cost of care fees which, as we know, will be repaid after the individual’s death. As has been said, however, individuals offered these products may be highly vulnerable. They expect the same authority to assess fairly both their eligibility for care and their ability to fund it, as well as providing appropriate advice and information about a financial product which the local authority itself is offering to pay for that care.

In a way this is in competition to FCA-regulated financial products, so, obviously, there is a potential conflict of interest here. This conflict is exacerbated if the care for which the loan is made is directly provided by the local authority and if the level of charges and interest are also determined by the local authority. It is therefore very important that people are directed towards regulated financial advice as part of the decision-making process. This amendment seeks to do that through regulated, accredited financial advisers such as the people who are members of SOLLA, the Society of Later Life Advisers. Only in that way can the development of safe and secure financial products be facilitated.

5.45 pm

As we know and Amendment 83A makes clear, when very small amounts are involved, people can often be better helped by going to a Citizens Advice or Age UK locally and getting the advice that they need.

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However, I am very worried about the local authority not always being independent and perhaps having an interest in putting people into a care home when it might be possible for them to stay in their home. I want to make sure that people are directed to the type of advice that they really ought to get in these situations where they are particularly vulnerable.

Baroness Browning: My Lords, I will speak to two amendments standing in my name in this grouping. The first is Amendment 86H, to which the noble Baroness, Lady Pitkeathley, has put her name. This deals specifically with proportionality and early identification in providing information and advice.

In its report on adult social care, the Law Commission argued that it was essential that the issue of proportionality be addressed in the regulations setting out the assessment process. The Law Commission stated that where a person has complex or multiple needs, a proportionate assessment would require an in-depth and comprehensive exploration of those needs—something which we have already heard about this afternoon. Defining complex needs can be difficult, with the full extent of needs not always immediately identifiable. For instance, older people in particular do not always present their needs accurately on first or subsequent contacts.

Deploying qualified social work staff across all areas of service provision, including the information and advice stage, would help—as this amendment seeks to do—to ensure that the potential for complexity is recognised early on and the individual receives signposting to non-statutory services and/or initial statutory sector support proportionate to their needs.

Looking round the Chamber, I see several people who I meet on a weekly basis as we are currently carrying out post-legislative scrutiny of the Mental Capacity Act. The assessments of capacity across a range of people—not just the elderly, who are very important, but even much younger people—are extremely important. It is extremely important that there are qualified social workers who are involved in this exercise.

To have the social worker available at the pre-assessment stage, as part of an information and advice team, would allow unqualified staff the benefit of accessible professional support. I am aware that the College of Social Work supports this measure and the duty on local authorities to ensure that in providing advice and information, qualified staff are deployed in sufficient numbers to ensure that all aspects of need are taken into account. This would ensure that people are put in touch with the most appropriate services for them from the earliest opportunity.

I am aware of the letter that my noble friend sent to the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, dated 27 June, in which he covered in the first paragraph the query by the noble Lord, Lord Warner, about ensuring that there are sufficient skilled workers. When he responds, would he cover this question of sufficient qualified social workers? His reply to the noble Lord dealt mainly with staff employed in the health service as opposed to social services. We have heard a lot in these debates about the need for multidisciplinary teams in decision-making, so I would be grateful if he would address the question of the number of skilled social workers who

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might be deployed, particularly at the initial information and advice stage when early assessments are carried out.

My second amendment in this group is also in the name of my noble friend Lady Barker. It addresses the question of independent advocacy and proposes a new clause. Of course, I am aware of the role of, and the statutory requirement for, IMCAs in the Mental Capacity Act. I will not pre-empt the findings of the post-legislative scrutiny committee on the Act, but I will explain why I felt it necessary to propose a new clause in the area of independent advocacy. I refer the Committee to my interest in the register, and in particular my ongoing interest in autism, mental illness and people with learning disabilities.

The right to advocacy is essential to enable the people who find it hardest to communicate to exercise their rights, represent their interests and obtain the services they need. Clearly, if somebody is deemed not to have capacity, there is already statutory provision for an IMCA to assist them with decision-making. However, it is also vital that those who experience substantial difficulty in understanding, retaining, using or weighing information relevant to an assessment, and then expressing and communicating their views, should also have access to an advocate. I referred just now to autism. People on the autistic spectrum might be deemed to have capacity but their disability might mean that they would have difficulty on their own, without the help of an advocate to explain and help them work through the decision-making process. That group is not adequately covered by the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act.

Advocacy is separate from information and advice. It provides support to some of those who are most vulnerable and most in need of services, including those with autism. There was a recent commission on autism and ageing chaired by the noble Baroness, Lady Greengross. Both she and I have had to forfeit the presentation of that report to be here in the Chamber. The report found that the families of people with autism frequently act as their advocates. Ninety-six per cent of parents with a son or daughter with autism recently told a National Autistic Society survey that they were concerned about what would happen when they passed away or were unable to support their children. This fear is common to parents of people with many different lifelong disabilities, not just autism. Families frequently say how worried they are about what will happen when they can no longer perform an advocacy role, and that independent advocates must therefore be available.

If the Bill is to help ensure people access the support they need—including people who are currently missing out—advocacy will play a vital role. I ask my noble friend to consider this large group of people who are not covered by existing statutory provision, for whom the new clause would provide a safety net to enable their services and package of care to go forward, thereby ensuring that they have equal opportunity to access the services that we are discussing in relation to the Bill.

Lord Lipsey: My Lords, perhaps I may remind the Committee that I am the honorary president of the

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Society of Later Life Advisers. SOLLA accredits the gold-standard financial advisers who will be so important to the working of the Bill.

My six amendments in this group are Amendments 83B, 83C, 86B, 86D, 86F and 86G. Before I turn to them, I will say a few words more generally about advice and the Bill. If the Bill is to do the job we all hope and expect it will do, information and advice should be not just an add-on but a central requirement, without which the Government’s plans, however well meaning, will collapse, and old people and their families will end up frustrated and angry. This is for several reasons. First, there is a widespread reluctance among old people and their families to face up to the problems of care in old age: how to get it, whether to be cared for at home or in a home, and how to pay for it. It is marvellous that people are living ever longer, but that does not mean that the very last years of their life are easy. Not surprisingly, people do not like to contemplate the years before their demise until they feel they absolutely have to.

Secondly, there is an extraordinary ignorance among older people and their families about social care. More than one person in two still thinks that the state will pay in full for the care that they will require. Thirdly—it is early days, I know—there is even less understanding of Andrew Dilnot’s solution. For example, many people—I have even come across a few in this House—think that once you have spent £72,000 on care, you will be looked after for free. This is not so. You will have to fund hotel costs of £12,000 a year. More importantly, you will have to fund the excess care costs over what a local authority would pay to look after you. That could cost a further £25,000 a year. If my arithmetic still works, that means many people will have to pay £37,000 a year after the cap has been reached, so they should plan for that.

Different people in different situations need different advice. Somebody whose care costs are paid in full needs different advice from somebody on the means test. Whatever their circumstances, very few people are capable of navigating these waters without a trusted pilot or pilots. Local authorities are experienced in conducting assessments of people and in helping them. The noble Baroness, Lady Greengross, made this point well. They have interests that may be different from, or even conflict with, those of the people they are advising. For example, under the existing deferred payment scheme you do not have to sell your house but can take out an interest-free loan. It is evident from the figures that many local authorities try like mad to persuade people not to go down that road because it costs the authority a lot of money if they do. Even if it would be beneficial to the individual, they steer them away. It is human nature. That is why it is vital that when advice is needed on this kind of subject, it should be independent of the local authority.

Baroness Browning: I agree with what the noble Lord said. Something that is rarely mentioned but is often a solution for many elderly people when they go into care is not that their house is sold but that it is rented out. That can be a very viable, practical and

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suitable solution. Local authorities never mention that, and nor do they have the means to provide such a service.

Lord Lipsey: I quite agree with the noble Baroness. That is exactly why independent financial advisers can be so helpful. Often, the rent on the house will pay for the whole of care, and still leave the home to be handed on to the children if that is what the old person wishes.

All this underlines the fact that it is crucial that the advice comes from people who are qualified to give it—not necessarily local authority social workers, CAB advisers, regulated independent financial advisers and so on. Nor is it any good the local authority just handing out a list of people and saying, “You can go and see them and ask their advice”. For one thing, frequently there are issues of mental capacity, and the stress on an old person at this time is likely to be severe, particularly if they are thinking of going into a care home. For another, there is the general reluctance problem, and people are also often frightened by the cost of the independent financial advice that they may be seeking.

Some local authorities in these circumstances are performing heroically. I recently opened a centre in West Sussex which combines the resources of voluntary organisations, the local authority and independent financial advisers to offer a comprehensive service. It has recently relaunched its service and a local radio station, Spirit FM 96.6, has featured it in its drive time programme every weekday, which is tremendous. Incidentally, in doing this, the local authority is not acting wholly selflessly. Many people in West Sussex who have moved out of London to retire have quite a bit of resources but do not have infinite resources. If they are not well advised on how to use their resources they will run out of money and fall back on the council and its means-tested benefits to pay for their care. However, if they are properly supported, learn to use their money well and are advised of the products that are available to help them, they will not fall back on the local authority. So this, again, is a case where appropriate advice, properly structured, can save public money, not cost it.

6 pm

Other authorities are less on the ball. There is an intrinsic patchiness among social workers, who are much more likely to be au fait with what would be a nice home to send your mum to than with the detail of how to pay for it. It is their training. My wife is one. I would love her advice on the former but she would probably defer to me on the financial aspects.

Another grave problem is that the qualifications required of an independent financial adviser to advise older people are so-so, which is putting it rather highly. For example, they can sell point-of-use insurance, which is the best insurance product for many older people, with little knowledge behind them. Those who have the SOLLA qualification—I call it the gold standard, but then I would because I am proud of it—are much better equipped but there are only 1,000 of them out of the total number of IFAs in the country, which is certainly 25 or more times that.

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The new Financial Conduct Authority, the successor to the Financial Services Authority, has, as far as I can tell, recently been left out of the planning for the Bill. It has not done much planning itself and, therefore, we are about to set loose on many older people who are seeking advice for the first time advisers who, to put it bluntly, hardly know what they are talking about. This situation must be gripped if it is not to end in chaos and disarray.

The points I am making and the amendments I am tabling could be dealt with in four ways: in the Bill, in regulation, in statutory guidance or in non-statutory guidance. As we are discussing the Bill now, obviously I have made proposals to change the Bill in some regards and to introduce regulation in others, but I do not have a dogmatic view as to which is appropriate. If the Minister were to say, “Yes, we accept all your amendments, which we will give in advice”, I would be delighted. It would avoid any problem that the noble Earl might have in replying.

As to my specific amendments, Amendment 83B, which is linked to Amendment 86B, I owe to the Association of British Insurers. They also have the support of the Equity Release Council, on whose advisory board I sit. The amendments seek to ensure that people receive regulated financial advice about their options, particularly self-funders. This is advice provided by properly regulated professionals and needs to take account of welfare benefits, pensions and all other sources of financial support available to the individual. The amendments also insist on local authorities not only providing the list—this deals with a point I made earlier—but on pointing people towards the adviser and making sure that they take the advice on board. Nevertheless it is, at the end of the day—there is no other way of it being—up to the individual whether they take up the offer of advice.

Those two amendments are buttressed by two further amendments. Amendment 83C, which is similar to the amendment moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Greengross, mandates that financial advice must be regulated advice and not merely independent advice. As I have said, the regulations are inadequate and need to be strengthened—but better some regulation than none whatever, which is possible under the independent advice formulation in the Bill. People will be asking their uncle what they should do about paying their care, and uncle may not be an expert.

Amendment 86G distinguishes the circumstances in which an authority may say, “Go and see an independent regulated financial adviser”, and it lays down a time limit in which it must do it. So it cannot hang about and leave it to be done when it can.

Amendment 86D provides that local authorities should meet the costs of a first consultation with an independent financial adviser. In fact, most advisers, certainly SOLLA advisers, offer a free first consultation. However, there is still a risk that fear of the costs will prevent people from taking financial advice. Moreover, it is slightly odd that this, which is virtually a public function, should be provided by financial advisers free of charge. Many of them do not sell any products or obtain anything that they can charge for as a result of the contact. As we need a great many more properly

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accredited financial advisers operating in this field, it would seem sensible to increase the financial incentives for them to do so.

My other two amendments, Amendments 86B and 86F, I owe to the charity Independent Age, which leads for the Care and Support Alliance on advice and information. The amendments give legal force to an important government study. The Cabinet Office’s study, Barriers to Choice Review, reported this year that official information available from the local authority is often limited to statutory services and misses out vital support which is available from the voluntary sector. It recommended:

“Giving local authorities a duty to signpost social care users to where they can access independent advice and support”,

which is the thrust of the amendments.

This goes wider than financial advice. For example, people may need to challenge or complain about a decision made by the local authority. I suspect there will be a great deal more of that in the future now that these decisions are crucial to when you reach your cap. A local authority may recommend a care home which is cheap but which an old person or their family does not regard as adequate for their needs. They need independent advice to help them fight their corner. The amendment does not go as far as to use the “advocacy” word—that might be a bridge too far in today’s climate—but it tiptoes in that direction. Quite apart from the benefits it brings to older people, it is an essential element in providing the right kind of support that they need.

I conclude where I started. We cannot exaggerate the importance of this process. It involves a great many different parties—the Financial Conduct Authority, the independent financial advisers, the organisations that accredit them, the voluntary sector and local authorities—all playing their part and working together in the holistic way that is so essential to care. If we do not crack this one—and I know the Minister and his officials are willing to listen on this because they have said so repeatedly—and nail down a system which can provide that holistic advice, this marvellously designed post-Dilnot edifice will not stand in the winds of the real world and the complexities of the situations which many old people face. I hope that, not only today but in the months going forward, we shall have constructive dialogue with all those involved until we have designed a system of information and advice that is up to the hefty task that is being placed on it.

Lord Sharkey: My Lords, I support the amendments in this group in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Greengross, and I shall speak to my Amendment 86E. The noble Baroness has already spoken eloquently to her amendments and I simply wish to say that not only are they compelling but it is critically important that they become part of this Bill.

The decisions that most people make under the terms of the Bill will be some of the most important that they will ever make and it is obviously critical that people are able to make them on the basis of proper and impartial information. Many of these decisions will involve taking a view about the merits of various financial products. Many people—perhaps the overwhelming majority—will have had no experience of doing this.

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There will inevitably be a high degree of uncertainty about how to choose and about the detailed implications of those choices. People will need guidance in deciding which, probably complicated, financial product to buy. This is no less true for these products than for any complex financial product, with the added emphasis that a wrong or inappropriate choice could have pretty unattractive consequences. That is why I strongly support the proposal to introduce regulated financial advice into the process, as the amendments of the noble Baroness, Lady Greengross, seek to do. Only with this kind of advice can people have some comfort that they are making the correct choices in a complex and difficult area.

My amendment in this group, Amendment 86E, also deals with the information and advice that a local authority must provide. As the Bill stands, Clause 4(3) simply says:

“In providing information and advice under this section, a local authority must in particular seek to ensure that what it provides is sufficient to enable adults”,

and so on. There are two problems here. The first is the phrase “seek to ensure” and the second is the unqualified notion of “sufficient”.

I raised the issue of sufficiency at Second Reading, when I said that there appeared to be no test for it. There is no provision in the Bill for local authorities to have a mechanism for measuring and reporting the success of their efforts in providing information or on the success of that information in achieving its objectives. My amendment is intended to address those concerns. In particular, it would remove the phrase “seek to”, so that instead of local authorities having to seek to ensure that the information they provide is sufficient, they simply must ensure that it is sufficient. The phrase “seek to” seems to me to weaken the obligation placed on local authorities quite unnecessarily. It is quite possible that any local authority could demonstrate that it was seeking to do something without actually doing very much at all. Arguably, for example, the slow and gradual implementation of a plan to provide information would fulfil the local authority’s obligation.

I am sure that that is not what the Government had in mind or what local authorities would really want to do. In that case, I see no merit in having local authorities’ obligations significantly weakened by the use of the phrase “seek to”. My amendment would remove this phrase and give the local authorities a clear, simple, plain-English duty to ensure that the specified information is sufficient for the purposes set out in the Bill. If it is possible to have a measure of sufficiency, as I believe it is, it is surely possible to ensure sufficiency rather than just seeking to ensure it. Again, in plain English—or in fairly plain English—the situation is this: we want local authorities to make the information that they must provide by virtue of subsections (1) and (2) of Clause 4 sufficient for the purposes set out in Clause 4(3)(a) and (b). We want them actually to do this, not just seek to do it.

That brings me to the notion of what “sufficient” may mean and what tests might apply. My amendment would qualify “sufficient” by inserting the word “demonstrably” before it. I can probably guess what my noble friend the Minister will say about the use of the word “demonstrably”. He will probably ask,

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“Demonstrable to whom?” and, “Demonstrable according to what criteria?”. The phrase “demonstrably sufficient” has a clear meaning in the context of Clause 4(3)(a) and (b). It means simply that local authorities will have to be able to show evidence that the information they provide actually does enable adults to identify matters that are or might be relevant to their personal financial position that could be affected by the system provided for in Part 1. It also means that local authorities will have to be able to show that the information they provide does enable adults to make plans for meeting needs for care and support that might arise.

Commercial organisations routinely apply this kind of test to the information they put out. It is not difficult, time-consuming or expensive to do. Doing it would have the merit of providing a real test of the meaning of sufficiency and a mechanism for reporting success in delivering it. I believe that this is what the Government and local authorities want. Using the phrase “demonstrably sufficient” provides for that.

6.15 pm

Baroness Pitkeathley: My Lords, I support almost all the amendments in this group because I acknowledge their importance, particularly from the point of view of the Joint Committee, which similarly placed a great deal of store on the provision of information and advice. Indeed, it suggested that there should at the very least be a national campaign to promote the new arrangements to those who might use them.

I rise to speak briefly to Amendment 86H, to which I have put my name, along with the noble Baroness, Lady Browning. Social workers on the whole do not get a good press. They are heard of only when things go wrong. Most of the time the vast amounts of quiet, patient work that is carried out by social workers in local authorities, the NHS and the voluntary sector is ignored. We should give their skills and the vital contribution that they make to help people find their way around complex systems more recognition. The noble Baroness made it clear that she is suggesting that a social worker needs to be involved not in all cases, but just when present and foreseeable needs are classed as complex. In those cases we must take into account that people’s ability to take in information is tremendously variable, depending on their situation and state of mind at the time. I have lost count of the number of conversations I have had with service users and carers who are totally bemused by the information they are given or the access that they have even when they manage to get hold of some information.

I will never forget the carer who gave me a wonderful illustration some years ago. She said, “I feel as though somewhere out there is a great mushroom of information. If I could just find my way up the stem, I’d find out where all this information is, and it would help me. But I don’t even know where the stem begins, and nobody seems to be able to help me”. Information in its raw state is often very difficult to interpret. It is the skill of the social worker in assessing what information is needed, when and in what form it is needed in complex cases, and signposting the information and advice that is required in every case. Those particularly complex cases need social worker involvement. Such cases are

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not being met and will be even less well met in the future with the new system and range of information that will be available.

Baroness Gale: My Lords, I rise to speak to Amendments 83ZA and 86A, tabled in my name. For individuals entering the world of care and support for the first time, it can be a confusing, complex and protracted process. The introduction of information and advice services for those individuals will be very welcome.

I mentioned earlier that I chair the APPG on Parkinson’s and that we are currently conducting an inquiry into NHS continuing care. Continuing care is a package of care that is arranged and funded by the NHS and is free of charge to the person receiving it. The decision for eligibility rests not on a person’s condition but on whether the need for care is primarily due to health needs. While there are just over 57,000 people in receipt of NHS continuing care in England, it is unknown how many people may actually be eligible in law and have not even applied for it, or who have failed in their attempts to be assessed properly for it. As part of the inquiry into NHS continuing care, I have been hearing from people about their real problems in accessing NHS continuing care. We found during our inquiry that people with Parkinson’s and other long-term conditions are not given information about NHS continuing care. The impression that I have been given is that, because it will cost the NHS considerably, people are not encouraged to apply for it. This leaves people with no option but to go to the means-tested social care system to have their health needs met. That situation is entirely unacceptable.

As Clause 4 introduces a duty on local authorities to establish and maintain an information and advice service, it is important that all the appropriate information and advice are provided. With the further integration of health and social care, it is essential that individuals are in full possession of the facts about all aspects of the support to which they are entitled. While the list currently provides some crucial aspects for people receiving care and support, I believe that NHS continuing care is a glaring omission. We hear of the two services arguing the differences between what is a health need, which is free at the point of use, and what is a social need, which is currently charged to the individual. This can often lead to the individual either being forced unnecessarily to pay for their own care while the debate goes on or being left trapped in their hospital bed. Although NHS continuing care is part of the health system, it must be included in the list provided by the local authorities as set out in Clause 4. People who may be eligible for NHS continuing care are also likely to have such needs that they could be in receipt of support provided by their local authority. If their needs change so as to render them eligible for NHS continuing care, there should be a seamless transition to that system that does not affect the standard of support they receive.

A strong information and advice service must include information about an assessment for health provision, so that individuals can go to this service confident that they will find out everything they need about care and support. The Care Bill offers an unprecedented

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opportunity to address these defects within the NHS continuing care system. Including it in the list of matters about which people should be given information and advice would promote awareness of its existence and prompt councils to refer people for assessment where they appear to be eligible for NHS continuing care. I trust that the Minister will take note of the points that I have made and that he will be able to accept these amendments.

Baroness Barker: My Lords, I declare an interest in that I work with a number of charities involved in the provision of information and advice about health and social care.

When I read this policy, it seemed to me that it reflected the practice of giving information and advice as it has been done for the past 20 years. I am not sure that that model of information and advice-giving is sustainable. It has depended largely on local bodies, many of which are in the voluntary sector and extremely professional in their services, but which provide a lot of generic, low-level advice. I do not think that that is sustainable—I was going to say in the longer term but, given the way that local authority budgets are going to have to decrease by a third by 2015, I do not think that this is sustainable in the short term either.

In future, there will increasingly be a move towards providing information digitally. New organisations and new social enterprises, such as IncomeMAX, are already heading down that path, and a number of local authorities are increasingly turning much of their provision over to that way of doing things. That is fine for people who are very well informed and who can access information in that format. What I cannot see is a sustainable funding model for the sort of high-level, complex financial advice that the noble Lord, Lord Lipsey, was talking about. This is necessary when people need to be enabled to go through the process of making decisions about, let us face it, the biggest asset that they have, which is their home. We are talking about something on an altogether different level.

We should also note that the system that we have had until now in terms of the provision of advice about social care was predicated on there being different eligibility criteria throughout the country. That is not going to be the case in future.

Like many noble Lords, over the past three or four years since Andrew Dilnot first appeared on our horizons, I have attended many seminars and lectures where people have tried to work their way around this problem. Two things strike me as being important. First, we cannot lay all the obligations on local authorities alone. At least in part, the NHS has to realise that it has to fund information and advice as part of the overall health and well-being package. I freely admit that I have yet to come across people in the NHS who truly understand the basic importance to health of information and advice. One of the first things that the department and the Government could do is to work on how we explain to commissioners in the health service why the outputs of information and advice services are important to them.

Secondly, we already know—the noble Baroness, Lady Greengross, and I know very well—that if you ask a group of older people who have assets what is

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the number one thing that they want, they say that they want independent financial advice. They do not believe that the people who sell them products are independent. They are right not to do so. That is a problem for the providers of those products. The only way of getting around this that might work is if, in future, some of those products have an element of money within them that is somehow passed into a pooled fund of money that comes from the private and statutory sectors and which can be put towards the provision of independent advice. That is not a worked-out idea, but it contains within it something of the ideas that the noble Baroness, Lady Greengross, mentioned, which are the key points in all of this. She is right that there is a need for regulated advice. I am not quite sure at which point a person needs that. Is that regulated advice something that they need before they come to a decision about which financial product to choose? The law that governs the regulations that exist at the moment usually comes into play when somebody decides to buy a particular product, so there is a real problem about when people have access to the right type of advice. The noble Baroness is on absolutely the right track. Somehow, in all of this, we need to arrive at a point at which resources are spent by people with the right knowledge and the right degree of independence to enable them to come to the right decisions.

Lord Touhig: My Lords, I rise to support Amendment 88G in the name of the noble Baronesses, Lady Browning and Lady Barker, and myself. It introduces a new clause which would ensure that there is a duty to provide independent advocacy.

The right to advocacy is essential to enable people who find it hardest to communicate to exercise their rights; who find it difficult sometimes to represent their interests, and therefore obtain the services that they need. I spent just over 15 years serving in the other place and, throughout that time, I remember many people coming to my surgery who wanted advice and help. In many instances, they also wanted an advocate—someone who would put their case strongly and make sure that their voice was heard.

Reference has already been made to the Autism and Ageing Commission whose report was published today. It was chaired by the noble Baroness, Lady Greengross. I sat on that commission and it brought home to me again the importance of advocacy. I recall a lady called Clare Beswick, whose brother is autistic and has learning difficulties. She said:

“A best interest decision was made that Paul should live closer to me in the south east … I had to go to extraordinary lengths to enable Paul’s needs to be met … without my support, advocacy and intervention, I believe Paul would never have had the opportunity to be moved to be near us”.

That is the importance of an advocate.

I declare an interest as a vice-president of the National Autistic Society. The society’s survey in 2012 found that 66% of respondents over the age of 50 had not had their needs assessed since they were 18. Independent advocacy could make a real difference to these people by helping them to access an assessment and ensure that it is fair and accurate in relation to their needs. Of course, from the point of view of

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autism, advocates must have training in the condition so that they can interpret questions effectively and help individuals who have difficulties communicating.

People with autism do not self-present. Autism is about a lack of the communication skills that we in this Chamber take for granted. If the Government were to take on board this new clause, I can simply say to the noble Earl that it would represent a major leap forward for people who need strong advocate support.

6.30 pm

Baroness Hollins: My Lords, I want to speak briefly in support of Amendment 82B, tabled my noble friend Lady Meacher, which emphasises the need to facilitate access to information and advice services relating to care and support. This is particularly the case for vulnerable adults such as people with learning disabilities. They may benefit from specialist facilitation to access such information. I should say that I chair a social enterprise which makes information on health and social care issues easier to understand for people who find written information too difficult. I am also the carer for an adult who currently receives care funded by the local authority, and who himself needs easy information.

I hope that the Minister will agree that my noble friend’s emphasis on facilitation will add necessary strength to Clause 4(4), which states that information,

“must be accessible to, and proportionate to the needs of, those for whom it is being provided”.

Without appropriate facilitation, the information may not achieve its objectives for those for whom it is provided unless it is done in the right way and in a timely fashion. Certainly, my own experience as a carer is that at the moment far too much information of the wrong kind is often provided, which is confusing. Facilitation is also about helping to choose the right information at the right time so that people can make good use of it.

Lord Rix: My Lords, as we are approaching Statement time, I will be brief. I want to support the noble Baroness, Lady Browning, in her Amendment 88G, which advocates the need for advocacy. In the world of learning disability, advocacy is often totally essential. Information and advice which is not proportionate, frankly, can be quite useless. Advocacy may well come from parents and carers, but sometimes it can be the wrong advocacy. An independent advocate is essential to many people with a learning disability, so I wholly support this amendment.

Lord Mackay of Clashfern: My Lords, I have spent most of my life as an advocate, so I have to say how important advocacy is. I want to say a few words in relation to the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Gale, about continuing NHS care. The point is important in that Clause 22, as the boundary between health and social care, is vital.

I would have thought—I may be wrong and obviously the noble Baroness will correct me—that it ought to be the general practitioner who advises a patient as to

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whether they need continuing NHS care. During our deliberations in the Joint Committee there was quite a lot of discussion about the question of continuing NHS care, and it is obvious that there is some conflict of interest. The local authority providing the care may wish to have it provided by the NHS since that would be free and not its responsibility, so the boundary between the NHS and local authorities is particularly relevant in this connection.

At the moment, I do not see how it can be for the patient to claim continuing NHS care. The GP should be able to say to the patient that they need it and that should be sufficient for it to be provided. The likelihood is that a patient would have great difficulty in assessing for himself or herself whether continuing healthcare was needed, so it must be a matter for professional advice. I think that the advice that we are talking about in this context is advice about local authority services, not about the services that the NHS can provide. However, as I say, the boundary between the two is vitally important. I hope that the point made so eloquently by the noble Baroness, Lady Gale, arising from her own inquiry, will be looked at with a considerable degree of care.

Baroness Greengross: My Lords, I hope that noble Lords will forgive me, but I forgot to speak to one of the amendments that is relevant to this group; that is, Amendment 86C. It is about people with dementia who have had a diagnosis. I know that the noble Earl will share the Prime Minister’s view and those of all of us who have looked at the number of people who receive a diagnosis of dementia. We now want to ensure that many more are diagnosed, and diagnosed early.

However, there are many reports that people diagnosed with dementia and their carers feel terribly abandoned after they have had the diagnosis. The Bill’s emphasis on access to prevention services and information and advice for people, particularly if their needs have not yet reached the threshold of eligibility for social care, is welcome. But there are no specific prompts to ensure that people receive the information they need at the time when it is most useful. The risk is that, although local authorities have set up information and advice services, the information does not reach people at the right time. A post-diagnosis information pack tailored to specific long-term conditions should be given to every individual who is diagnosed with one of those conditions. It would provide access to tailored information about the support that is available to them, and it would enable them to cope with the challenges of living with a long-term condition. The pack would provide information on the likely impacts of dementia and contain core information on national and local services. I think that this would be an important aspect of providing the right information and advice at the right time.

Lord Beecham: My Lords, this Bill has the potential to do for social care what Beveridge did for the welfare state and Bevan did for the health service. It is potentially the most significant development in, for example, residential care since the workhouses were replaced by a more civilised form of residential accommodation.

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The noble Baroness, Lady Barker, anticipated precisely the point I was going to make, which is that this is not just a matter for local authorities. My principal reservation about these amendments, if I have one, is that it looks as though the entire burden of information and advice is to be placed on local authorities whereas of course, as the noble Baroness rightly said, there are other potential partners who clearly need to be involved. I scribbled on the grid that is helpfully provided by those who support the Front Bench on this side the words “in collaboration with”, and then I thought of a number of potential partners. Of course the health service is one of them, but in addition I would suggest that the Court of Protection needs to be involved. It has a supervisory and supportive responsibility for a particular group of people and, with the development of lasting powers of attorney and so on, their deputies as well. I have to say—I have said it before and I will say it again—that I am not convinced that the Court of Protection is doing a terrific job in this area, but that is another reason why it should be looked at as a potential partner.

There may be other partners. For example, in the case of younger people perhaps with a learning or other disability, there are roles for those involved in further education, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Those bodies might look at their role in terms of what is available by way of education, training and so on. It seems to me that a range of organisations should be involved, certainly as a whole, but more particularly in the provision of information and advice.

On these Benches we support most of the amendments that have been moved and spoken to this afternoon, with the qualification that, where relevant and necessary, a reference to collaboration should be included. For example, in Amendment 82B, the first amendment moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Greengross, one would want to see “in collaboration with” appropriate partners.

We support the amendments, notably moved by my noble friend Lord Lipsey, around the provision of independent financial advice. That seems very important. I have a slight reservation about Amendment 86D, which is about payment of,

“the reasonable costs of a first consultation with an independent financial adviser”,

to be paid for “by the local authority”. If I am ever in need of this kind of advice, I would be able to afford that relatively easily. Given the pressure on budgets, is a universal application of that principle necessary or desirable? That, however, is a detail, that might be looked at later. Given the scale of the potential involvement and the potential conflict of interest referred to by several noble Lords, the independence and proper status of such financial advice are important considerations.

With regard to the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Sharkey, I will perhaps anticipate the Minister by quibbling over the word “demonstrably”. Frankly, I am not sure that that takes us very far. As the noble Lord admitted, what is demonstrable to some is not necessarily demonstrable to others. I do not think that that part of his amendment is particularly cogent, although I agree with the rest of it.

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I have more serious doubt about the amendment of the noble Baroness, Lady Browning. Amendment 86H requires that the information and advice be provided by “social work-qualified staff”. It could be, but I am not sure that it should be a requirement that it should be, given the pressure on the service in dealing with casework as it is. I do not think that the skills of social workers are always consistent with the role of giving information and advice in the sense that is intended by the amendment.

Baroness Browning: It is important that qualified social workers are present for the initial assessment. One of the things that might come out of our scrutiny of the existing Mental Capacity Act is the fact that the assessment of capacity requires professionals. Social workers clearly have a part to play in that. Whether the person has capacity, partial capacity or no capacity at all, at that point some advice is given and direction is needed. It seems to me that that is not the role of an amateur.

6.45 pm

Lord Beecham: That is absolutely true. Neither is the provision of information and advice. However, it is not necessarily the role of a professionally qualified social worker or a professionally qualified health visitor or other person. I agree—it is a point that the noble Baroness, Lady Barker, and I both made—that both sides, health and social work, must collaborate on this. It is perhaps the wording of the amendment, rather than the intention, that might be looked at.

There is a question about how best to proceed with the publicity that should follow the enactment of this legislation. The Joint Committee advised that the Government should work with all interested providers to launch a campaign to raise awareness of and support for the change. I hope that the noble Earl will confirm that that is the Government’s intention and bring us up to date on where the Government stands.

In the context of such a radical change, it might be desirable for there to be some pilots on the ground about this issue of information and advice, working in collaboration with the Local Government Association, the NHS Confederation and other major national partners, to look at how these matters can best be explained. There could also be, at a fairly early stage, some examination of good practice. I am not suggesting that the whole scheme be piloted but that in a few areas, after a relatively short period, there might be a process of peer review and an examination of how it is working on the ground. Given that local authorities retain their scrutiny role for health and social care, it would be worth while developing with the Centre for Public Scrutiny, the LGA and relevant health service bodies, a way for the new system to be subjected to useful scrutiny at local level, and for lessons learnt to be disseminated across the country.

There are questions about the advocacy role. There is clearly a case for advocacy being included. One notes that there is a glancing reference in Clause 8, which is the reason for the stand part debate. It looks a little odd situated between Clause 4 and Clauses 18 and 20, as it does not seem to relate specifically to either. It has been mischievously suggested that there

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might have been references to advocacy in other parts of the Bill at an earlier stage that were removed and this was left behind. Can the noble Earl indicate the Government’s intention in referring to advocacy in that particular clause? We are not intending to move that the clause should not remain in the Bill; this is purely a probe.

We see most of these amendments as contributing to a refinement of the Bill’s proposals and we welcome that. However, it is necessary to reiterate the need for caution about the role of local authorities, particularly in the context of the financial situation that they are facing, which will get worse under a very tight regime. The Government are making provision for this, but we must be careful that the sum is not divvied up across a range of things without seeing the whole picture. If we are to give priority to this issue of information and advice, it would be helpful if the relevant departments, together with the Local Government Association, could look at the real cost of this and ensure that it is identified and included within the total package. It is easy to add desirable things against a budget. We do not know the extent to which these matters have been costed, for example, in the sum that the Government have allocated. We know that the demand is constantly rising, partly as a result of demographic change, and that the costs are also inexorably rising. This will be a cost. It is a justifiable cost, but it needs to be identified, provided for and kept under review.

Having said that, we are very much in sympathy with the thrust of these amendments and we look forward to the Minister’s reply and to working with others of your Lordships’ House in ensuring that the Bill is capable of delivering what it sets out to deliver and that all relevant players are engaged and financed adequately, so that we can afford the best possible level of care to those—of any age and with any condition —who need it.

Earl Howe: My Lords, I am very grateful to noble Lords for tabling these amendments, which highlight the importance of access to good information and advice, including independent financial advice and independent advocacy, for those who have care and support needs or are planning how to meet future care and support needs.

First, I will address Amendment 82B, in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, Amendment 86E, in the name of my noble friend Lord Sharkey, and Amendment 86F, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Lipsey. Clause 4 introduces a general duty to make a universal information and advice service available to everyone in the local community. I say to my noble friend Lord Sharkey in particular that we are clear that the information and advice service must be accessible to all, whether they fund their own care or get some care and support paid for by the local authority, and in order to fulfil its duty the local authority will need to facilitate access. The noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, raised the issue of early information and advice about Alzheimer’s in particular; this will be one of the vital areas that the services should cover.

The clause deals broadly with what the information and advice service must cover. Subsection (2) sets out the essential requirements for the service but—

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intentionally—this is not a definitive list. With regard to Amendments 86B and 86H, subject to specific qualifications, it will be for local authorities to determine the precise scope and manner of the information and advice that they offer. We expect many authorities to offer access to independent sources of information and advice, working together locally with the voluntary, not-for-profit and private sectors. We set out our expectations and additional funding for local authorities, which rises to £50 million a year by 2017-18, in the

Caring for Our Future

White Paper.

I would say to my noble friend Lady Browning that some authorities have also used qualified social care staff as the first point of contact and have found that this can be effective, efficient and timely, helping people to the care and support that will help them most. Others have provided a first point of access to information through more general services, which connect information and advice on a wider range of local authority responsibilities as well as local NHS provision.

I emphasise that statutory guidance will cover how information and advice can be provided in an accessible way and be proportionate to the needs of those for whom it is provided. My noble friend Lord Sharkey expressed doubts about the phrase “seek to” and suggested that it was rather too weak. Statutory guidance will set out the clear expectations of what the local authority’s service should cover or what it should seek to do in order to ensure that the information and advice is sufficient.

My noble friend Lady Browning asked about the number of social workers. More than 1.6 million people are employed in the social care sector, including 200,000 social workers. We do not set out any national targets but we recognise the need to improve skills, capacity and retention. We are working with stakeholders, including the National Skills Academy for Social Care and Skills for Care, to produce new national minimum training standards, which will further raise standards and encourage new people to enter the sector. My noble friend referred to my letter of 27 June. I confirm that this referred to Health Education England. Health Education England’s remit does not extend to social care; it covers health and public health.

Amendments 83ZA and 86A, in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Gale, cover information and advice on health-related areas and information to people with specific medical conditions. As for many services, there will be a need for the local authorities to work with NHS organisations and more widely to provide focused information and advice to those who would benefit from it. There are already good examples of how information and advice services from a range of organisations can work together with the health and well-being of the individual at heart. Many use the national information provided by NHS Choices as a base. A lot of local authorities are providing information and advice directly to those who may have an entitlement to NHS continuing care. In addition, regulations under the Bill will specify the circumstances in which the local authority must refer the adult for an assessment for NHS continuing care. We will of course work with interested organisations to include such examples in statutory guidance.

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Turning to the amendments addressing access to regulated financial advice, the noble Baroness, Lady Greengross, and the noble Lord, Lord Lipsey, make some excellent points about the importance of appropriate financial advice for those who have or are planning for care and support needs. This kind of advice may be particularly relevant to people who are funding their own care and may include a financial adviser who is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, but there is no need for the Bill to set this out specifically. There are other kinds of advice that may be relevant to such people and, as I have mentioned, we think it is important to maintain the general terms of Clause 4.

I take on board the concern about the use of the term “independent financial advice”—that this may cause some confusion with the term’s general meaning within the financial industry and the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. We are happy to consider this aspect in more detail to ensure that no confusion exists. However, we do not believe that taking independent regulated advice should be compulsory. Whether a person takes advantage of independent advice is a matter of personal choice. This is particularly important because some financial advice may be subject to a charge.

There will be individual circumstances in which it will be appropriate to recommend independent advice from a regulated financial adviser, such as when people are planning to meet future care needs or when people go into residential care and are weighing up financial options such as selling the home. The fact that an organisation or individual is regulated is in itself no guarantee that the person has knowledge or experience of wider care and support issues; for example, housing or other care-related options. All this makes the adult’s choice of an adviser a vital aspect. The local authority should advise about the importance of independent regulated advice and signpost the adult to offer a choice of where they can obtain the best and most relevant advice. Again, we intend to cover such issues in statutory guidance.

We will also shortly be consulting on the design and technical implementation of the funding reforms, including deferred payments. This will include how the new duties to signpost independent financial advice will work. The noble Lord, Lord Beecham, asked about an awareness campaign about the funding reforms themselves. We are scheduled to discuss amendments on that very issue in a later group and I hope that the noble Lord will be content for me to cover the issue at that point.

7 pm

I turn to Clause 8. Noble Lords have noted that advocacy is referred to explicitly in Clause 8 but not in Clause 4. That is not to say that advocacy should not be considered within the scope of information and advice in Clause 4—we are clear that it should be, and it is provided for by reference to types of advice that are “proportionate to the needs” of the individual.

However, Clause 4 sets out a general duty to make available an information and advice service. Clause 8 relates to circumstances in which an individual’s needs are being met. In our view, it is important to clarify that, in such cases, advocacy should be considered as one type of support to meet ongoing needs.

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Clause 8 is located in the Bill specifically to set out examples of how to meet needs, before provisions that begin the adult’s “journey” through the care and support system. This is intended to aid understanding and to make it clear that, before undertaking assessments, local authorities should be aware of, and consider, the breadth of types of support that they can provide to meet needs.

Amendment 88G, in the name of my noble friend Lady Browning, focuses on access to an independent advocate. The Bill is clear that, through the various stages of what might be termed the “care process”—the needs assessment, care and support plan and any subsequent review—local authorities must involve the adult, any carer and any person whom the adult asks to be involved.

I draw the Committee’s attention particularly to the fact that the Bill sets out specific requirements actively to involve people in these processes, not just to “consult” them. Some people may require help and support to be as actively involved as we would want them to be. That might be through the actions and professionalism of the social worker; it may be through the support of family or a friend, or through the assistance of an independent peer or support worker. For some, an independent advocate may be required to make this a reality. I want to reassure noble Lords that we want to get this right. I say to my noble friend Lady Browning that we have discussed this issue with a number of voluntary organisations, including the Care and Support Alliance and the National Autistic Society—to name two—and we have committed to further joint work to assess which groups of people might benefit from advocacy. That discussion will continue. We will also undertake further joint work to assess the financial implications for local authorities, taking account of an appropriate balance between national prescription and a local authority’s organisational and operational responsibilities.

I hope that the Committee will be reassured by what I have said on this very important subject. It has been a productive debate. I hope that the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, will feel able to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Meacher: I welcome the Minister’s assurance that Alzheimer’s patients will be a priority when it comes to the provision of information and advice— I shall have to clarify what that means in due course. I thank the Minister for his usual courteous and sensitive response to the many amendments that have been debated this evening. I am sure that many noble Lords will want to come back to those issues on Report—in particular, I hope that the noble Baroness, Lady Browning, will come back to her point about social workers being a suitable vehicle for providing information in their care planning work. It could save a lot of resource and waste of time. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 82B withdrawn.

Amendments 83 to 86H not moved.

Clause 4 agreed.

House resumed. Committee to begin again not before 8.05 pm.

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Schools: National Curriculum


7.06 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall now repeat a Statement made in another place yesterday by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education on the national curriculum. The Statement is as follows.

“With permission, Mr Speaker, I should like to make a Statement on the future of the national curriculum.

Our children are growing up in a world where the pace of change—economic, social and technological—is constantly accelerating. These changes promise wonderful new opportunities for future generations, but they also create immense challenges.

We are learning more every day about how our world works and how our minds work, how we can develop our civilisation and extend opportunity, and how we can improve learning and extend knowledge.

At the same time, however, we are also discovering just how competitive this new world is. As other nations modernise their economies and education systems, we cannot afford to be left behind in the global race.

That is why, when the coalition Government were formed, we asked officials in the Department for Education to analyse the best performing education systems in the world. They examined the curricula used in the world’s most successful school systems, such as those of Hong Kong, Massachusetts, Singapore and Finland.

Informed by that work and in consultation with subject experts and teachers, the department produced a draft revised national curriculum which we put out for public consultation five months ago. We received more than 17,000 submissions to our consultation and we have given them careful consideration.

Today, we are publishing a summary of the comments received and the Government’s response. The publication of our proposals has provoked a valuable national debate on what is, and what should be, taught in our schools. I have very much enjoyed this debate and the passionate engagement of so many great teachers and concerned parents.

It is absolutely right that every member of society should care about the national curriculum. It defines the ambitions that we set for our young people, and I, like the overwhelming majority of parents, want us to be more ambitious than ever before.

That is why we are demanding that children be taught how to write computer code, how to use 3D printers, how to handle more complex mathematical processes, how to appreciate a wider-than-ever range of literature and how to speak, read and write in more than one language.

The updated national curriculum framework that we are publishing today features a number of revisions to the drafts published in February. The revisions have been made on the basis of evidence and arguments presented to us during the consultation period.

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In particular, we have revised the draft programmes of study for design and technology and for history. We have included more detail on modern design processes and more coverage of world history.

Among other significant changes are the inclusion of a stronger emphasis on vocabulary development in the programmes of study for English and greater flexibility in the choice of foreign languages which primary schools will now be required to teach.

Perhaps the most significant change of all is the replacement of ICT with computing. Instead of just learning to use programs created by others, it is vital that children learn to create their own programs. By demanding that children learn computational thinking and Boolean logic, we are determinedly raising the bar, but by equipping our children with the tools to build their own algorithms and applications, we are also helping to foster a new level of creativity in our schools.

It is my hope that these changes will reinforce our drive to raise standards in all our schools. I hope that they will ensure that the new national curriculum provides a rigorous basis for teaching and a benchmark for all schools to improve their performance, and I know that it gives children and parents a better guarantee that every student will acquire the knowledge to succeed in the modem world. That is why I commend this Statement to the House”.

My Lords, that concludes the Statement.

7.10 pm

Baroness Jones of Whitchurch: My Lords, I thank the Minister very much for setting out the Government’s revised approach to curriculum reform. I am glad to hear that a number of the representations that we have been making from the beginning have finally been adopted by the Government. However, it has to said that it has been a very bumpy ride. The consultation has contained all the characteristics for which the Secretary of State has now become famous: first set out an ideological master plan full of reforming zeal; then rubbish anyone who raises concerns and questions, including educational academics, teachers and parents; and, finally, carry out a series of U-turns and admit that your critics might have been right all along. It is, quite frankly, exhausting and a long way from the thoughtful, grown-up national debate which should have been conducted from the outset, with the shared intent of improving young people’s life chances.

Nevertheless, we have some areas of agreement. We always said that it was a mistake to sideline speaking and listening skills in the teaching of English. This point was echoed by many employers and so we are pleased to see that this issue has now been addressed. We warned that the ICT curriculum was not addressing the technology needs of employers. Again, we are pleased that this has been updated. We welcomed the requirement for foreign language education in primary schools, but warned that it was unfair and divisive to limit the range of languages that could be taught. We are relieved that the Government have finally seen the error of their ways in this regard.

We argued strongly for citizenship to be included in the national curriculum; for young people to understand the contribution that they could make to the UK and

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as citizens of the world. We therefore welcome the Government’s belated conversion to the importance of citizenship education and the inclusion of human rights and international law at key stage 4. We criticised the removal of climate change in the geography curriculum, as we believe it is essential for an understanding of physical, social and economic geography. We are pleased that this has now been reinstated. Along with many eminent historians, we raised concerns that the history curriculum was too UK focused and lacked a world view. We are pleased that the programme has now been rebalanced.

However, in this notable and welcome list of U-turns, a festering anomaly remains, where the Government continue to ignore the best advice of those dealing on the front line with child health, sex and relationship issues. All the reasons why the teaching of other subjects should be spelt out in the national curriculum apply equally to PSHE, yet the Government seem determined to run away from their responsibilities on this issue. I hope the noble Lord, even at this late stage, will commit to reflecting further on this issue before a final decision is made.

Despite these welcome improvements, we still have a number of concerns about the proposals. First and fundamentally, the Government have underpinned all their proposals with a belief that education should be based on rote learning at the expense of developing young people who can problem-solve, think for themselves, be creative and work collaboratively. Young people need knowledge, skills and resilience. Can the Minister clarify whether he agrees that we need to reject the false choices that pitch knowledge versus skills and that we need to foster a more holistic approach in education?

Secondly, the new curriculum will apply to fewer than half of the secondary schools. If academies have the freedom to innovate, does that freedom not make sense for maintained schools as well? Does the Minister have a plan for addressing these contradictions?

Thirdly, the timing of the proposals and the implementation date of September 2014 put schools under enormous pressure to be ready for the changes, including having to provide the old and new curriculum in tandem for some age groups. Does the Minister recognise that many teachers felt ignored and ridiculed by the consultation process and morale is at an all-time low? Can he explain what professional development and resources will be made available to teachers to help them manage this transition? Does he accept that the presence of unqualified teachers in the classroom is a particular cause for concern when high-quality skills and experience will be required to meet this challenge?

Finally, does the Minister agree that particular support needs to be provided to children with SEN from a very early age, so that they are able to participate fully in the curriculum? Can he point me to where this support and flexibility are spelt out in the curriculum? How will parents be able to judge the progress of their children against their peers, particularly at primary school level, if the assessment levels and level descriptors are removed? Can we be sure that what replaces them will have the confidence of teachers and parents alike?

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It feels as if this process of curriculum consultation has been unnecessarily rancorous. The Secretary of State has shown little skill or interest in managing the debate to achieve a consensual outcome. While we welcome the numerous U-turns, we remain concerned that the fundamental educational philosophy of this Government is backward looking, focused towards an outdated and divisive exam system and destined to do a disservice to the next generation of school leavers, who had a right to expect better. I hope the Minister will address these concerns and I look forward to hearing his response.

7.16 pm

Lord Nash: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, for her support for where we have arrived as a result of our consultation, if not for her comments on the journey we have taken to arrive at that point. As far as citizenship is concerned, we confirmed in February that citizenship would remain, along with other current national curriculum subjects.

The Government have reviewed the national curriculum in England since January 2011. In February this year, we published proposals that embodied a vision for a national curriculum that is slimmer, focused on essential subject knowledge and which—especially in the core subjects of English, maths and science—compares favourably with the curriculum taught in the most successful education jurisdictions in the world. Since then, there has been a vigorous national debate on the content and purpose of the national curriculum, which we have welcomed. It is right that every member of society should care about this. Our formal public consultation closed in April; we received 17,000 submissions; and we have published a summary of the consultation findings, as I said earlier. We intend to finalise the new national curriculum this autumn, so that schools have a year to prepare to teach it from September 2014.

The new national curriculum will retain the best elements of the drafts we published in February. We have, however, reflected carefully on the arguments we heard during the consultation period. That has led to some changes. In history, while we are pleased that many eminent historians welcomed the ambition of the draft, we also heard the concerns of history teachers that it was too prescriptive. We also acknowledged concerns that the curriculum was not sufficiently explicit that pupils should be taught about world history. In response, we have revised those proposals. They still set out that pupils should be taught a rich diet of British history within a clear chronological framework. However, the revised version also makes it clear that teachers will have the flexibility to design lessons that fire their pupils’ enthusiasm for history and teach the history of other societies around the world. The response has been very positive, even from those, such as the Historical Association and Professor Richard Evans, who had originally been critical of our plans. Similarly, we have revised the design and technology curriculum to ensure that it properly reflects our ambitions for teaching in this subject. The consequence of this revision will be that children are set on a path to be the next generation of designers and engineers.

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We have made other changes, such as, as the noble Baroness mentioned, the inclusion of a stronger emphasis on vocabulary development in the programmes of study for English. We believe that these revisions will only serve to strengthen the national curriculum and ensure that all pupils get the education they deserve.

The noble Baroness, Lady Jones, mentioned SEN. The inclusion statement in the national curriculum framework document emphasises that teachers should set high expectations for every pupil and that lessons should be planned so that there are no barriers to every pupil achieving, including those with special educational needs. Organisations representing pupils with SEN have largely welcomed this statement.

We have discussed PSHE in this House on many occasions recently. The Government launched an internal review of PSHE in 2011 and the outcomes of the review were announced in March this year. After careful consideration, we have concluded that PSHE should remain a non-statutory subject without the addition of new statutory elements, although, as noble Lords know, I recognise that it is a very important subject and should be taught in all schools. We are exhorting all schools to teach PSHE and careers development at every turn.

On the advice of the expert panel set up to advise the national curriculum review, we have decided that levels and level descriptors should be removed. We have also borne in mind the feedback that we heard from many teachers that levels are unhelpful in that they distract teachers from ensuring that pupils master essential subject skills and knowledge and instead require assessments of progress to be made against vague, best-fit judgments. They are subjective and open to manipulation.

Our new national curriculum is designed to give schools genuine opportunities to take ownership of the curriculum. The new programmes of study set out what pupils should know and be able to do at the end of each key stage. This is particularly true at primary level for English, maths and science, and therefore assessments can be directly based on that rather than on vague level descriptors. Levels were designed as an assessment tool to summarise progress at the end of an entire key stage; they were never intended to be broken down into sub-levels and used to grade each piece of work.

I agree with the noble Baroness that it is time that we ended the circular debate about knowledge versus skills. We accept that it is essential that our pupils learn both these things. Our national curriculum is based on the latest cognitive thinking and practice around the world, including the work of Dan Willingham, whose book, Why Don’t Students Like School?, I recommend to anybody interested in this matter. It is also based on the experience in jurisdictions such as Massachusetts, where a knowledge-skills-based curriculum —although it is more knowledge-based—is followed. In recent years, this has led to what has become widely known as the “Massachusetts miracle” in terms of the turnaround in schools’ performance.

So far as the timetable is concerned, this Government are ambitious for our children and young people. However, international surveys show that in key subjects

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we are standing still while other countries and jurisdictions overtake us. To allow that situation to continue would be to neglect our duty and to sanction relative decline. We want pupils to start benefiting from the new curriculum as soon as possible. However, it is also the case that the timetable we are working to means that schools have over a year to prepare for its introduction. We are confident that they will use that time to prepare effectively.

We will of course be prepared to offer targeted support to schools when we think that that will be beneficial. We are working with the National College for Teaching and Leadership to identify what help might be required. However, our general approach, as noble Lords will know, is informed by the principle that schools know better than government what support they will need to teach the new curriculum in accordance with their own circumstances—hence our teaching schools and teaching school alliance programmes. Rather than top-down spoon-feeding, we will encourage schools to work with publishers, education suppliers, subject associations and each other to develop materials that respond to genuine need.

We are also providing £2 million in additional funding to teaching schools to build on the excellent work that they are doing. The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics will be funded to provide improved maths teaching, and our national support schools have also received additional funding to ensure the required CPD. The National College for Teaching and Leadership has established expert groups to support institutions delivering ITT in preparing trainees to teach the new curriculum.

We understand that we are asking a great deal of teachers and head teachers as we seek to make our education system truly world class. However, we also know that we are fortunate to have the best generation of teachers ever and we are sure that, supported by a national curriculum that is stretching and focused on teaching essential knowledge, they will rise to the challenge. We want schools to see the full picture of GCSE reform, A-levels, curriculum and the accountability framework at one time. It means an intensive programme of reform but we have slipped so far down the international league tables that we cannot afford to wait. Each year that we wait leads to more children being insufficiently challenged and educated. We believe that this curriculum will equip our children and young people with the knowledge and skills they need to compete in the world and enable them to have the education they deserve.

7.25 pm

Lord Quirk: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for repeating the Statement that was made in the House of Commons yesterday. As one who studied the February draft in excruciating detail, I am happy to congratulate all concerned at the DfE on the quite striking improvements to be seen in this new version of the national curriculum, especially in the very lengthy English section. For example, in that section there is a far greater emphasis on spoken English and a far deeper recognition that continuous vocabulary development is central to the whole of education.

However, I have a couple of questions for the Minister. Can he assure us that teachers, confronted now with a good deal of extra excellent material and

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ideas to bring to life in the classroom, will, wherever necessary, be brought fully up to speed so that they can deliver on the new demands required of them? It is a big task and the curriculum will come to life only in the classroom.

Secondly, the importance of English and maths is obvious in their needing more space in the voluminous curriculum document than all the other 10 subjects put together—rightly so, since English and maths not only possess the precious content which is peculiar to them but also comprise the tools, as the Minister has just said, for shaping all else in education. Therefore, can the Minister assure us that English and maths will remain the sine qua non throughout school life from the ages of five to 18?

Lord Nash: I am grateful to the noble Lord for his comments, particularly about English. We are focusing heavily on ensuring that teachers have the resources to deliver this new curriculum, largely in the way that I outlined earlier. English and maths will be essential right the way through the curriculum until the age of 16, and grammar, punctuation and spelling will feature much more across the curriculum than they have done in the past. They will not be essential beyond the age of 18, although we have said that all pupils who have not achieved grade C in English or maths will go on studying English and maths until they are 18 and have reached that standard.

Lord Storey: My Lords, first, I welcome my noble friend’s Statement on the curriculum. These Benches have argued for a long time that we should have a shorter and more focused curriculum that prioritises essentials. It is interesting to note that the national curriculum has been reduced from 468 pages to 281. I do not see it as a U-turn; I see it as a reflection of the consultation process, particularly on the issue of speaking and listening and on climate change.

I have a number of questions. One of them resonates with the comments of the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, and concerns continuing professional development. How do we make sure that schools are fully equipped? In some areas, for example, there are no training schools. Are we going to see resources go directly to those schools? What is the position on equipping non-teachers? As we know, in free schools and some academies non-teachers are taking classes. We also know that in all schools teaching assistants are covering PPA time and taking lessons. Therefore, what continuing professional development will be provided for those staff?

There is one area of great concern. I am delighted that a modern foreign language will be taught, but in primary schools there is often no one on the staff with that ability. What resources will be given to primary schools?

Lord Nash: I am grateful for my noble friend’s comments; I know that they are well based on his 25 years experience of primary education in Liverpool.

On CPD, we believe that we now have about an 89% coverage of the country on teaching schools and the teaching school alliance, but, as I said, our belief is that teachers are best placed to develop best teaching practice through teaching in schools and school support by modelling good practice. An increasing number of

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products are emerging on the marketplace to help teachers, including MyMaths and Ruth Miskin’s phonics materials. Those are particularly suitable for primary schools.

Baroness Massey of Darwen: My Lords, I thank the Minister for repeating the Statement. The document is sprinkled with references back to the Education Act 2002, with its emphasis on promoting spiritual, moral, intellectual and cultural development of pupils and developing a balanced and broadly based wider curriculum. I agree with that, but I am not sure that the document fulfils it. I agree with my noble friend Lady Jones that ICT—computing—spoken skills in English and the subject of climate change are welcome. As a former foreign language teacher, of course I would say that foreign languages are welcome. I will come to PSHE later, but I hope that the Minister realises that some pupils need a basis of interpersonal skills and self-confidence to be able to learn anything. They cannot simply be filled with facts and knowledge.

I am pleased that there was consultation on the original document. I know that some concerns were expressed there. For example, 36% said that the curriculum was then too focused on knowledge and that there should be greater recognition of the value of skills. I reflect on last Thursday’s debate in this House, instigated by the noble Baroness, Lady Shephard, to which the Minister responded, in which across the House we expressed concern about careers education and the development of soft skills such as teamwork, communication and so on. I am not sure that that is sufficiently covered in this document. I am also concerned about the space for creativity and the prescription and progression between stages.

It does not seem to be recognised that citizenship and personal education are taught in a cross-curricular way, with certain formal inputs. I note that in the document there are 20 lines on citizenship but nothing on PSHE; there is reference only to sex and relationship education. Sex and relationship education is part of PSHE; it should not be given overemphasis. Things such as obesity, alcohol, drugs and smoking are equally important.

Is the Minister confident that this curriculum will deliver skills of communication and encourage self-confidence in pupils? Is he confident that culture, arts and sports are given sufficient emphasis? Is he confident that personal, social and health education and citizenship education are given sufficient reference in the document? Perhaps he can briefly respond.

Lord Nash: I know that the noble Baroness shares my concern about PSHE being an essential part of any school, particularly interpersonal skills and self-confidence. I do not think that we are apart at all on the necessity for all schools to teach that. Indeed, that is what good schools do; it is all part of a good education. The difference between us is that we do not feel that we should legislate for every ingredient of such education to be statutory.

For instance, on career education, I was in Norfolk today, where we were whipping up support for schools in Norfolk, which have consistently been below national

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standards. One of our meetings was with business leaders. There is no shortage of enthusiasm from the business community to engage with schools to help them with careers advice, work placements and so on. I then visited Wymondham College, one of our top state boarding schools, where we got into a conversation about careers. I said that I was constantly being asked whether careers advice should be more consultancy-based in schools and whether that was sensible for schools. It was absolutely clear. Everybody in the room—the top eight teachers in the school—said that a careers session of 50 minutes at the end of your school life was a very poor substitute for a good education and that they engaged widely with businesses for careers advice. They already practise the suggestion from my noble friend Lord Cormack of career panels.

That is the best practice, which we should encourage all schools to do, so that all schools fulfil the ambitions of the noble Baroness. As I said, however, what is between us is that we think that to legislate for it in a box-ticking way would lower expectations rather than encourage all schools to aim for the highest.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury: My Lords, I should declare an interest as the founder and president of the Citizenship Foundation. I, too, would like to congratulate the Government on the outcome of their consultation and a lot of hard work all round. To have 17,000 people respond to a consultation must be a high response compared to some that we have had recently and it reflects the intense concern of people across the social spectrum—of course, including teachers and parents. I also recognise the dilemmas that the Government have in arriving at a curriculum, because so many subjects today call for inclusion, and there has to be some point at which you say, “Sorry, no more space”.

I particularly congratulate Michael Gove on resisting the advice from his expert panel and keeping citizenship education in the core curriculum at key stages 3 and 4. It has always seemed to me—and, probably, everybody in the Chamber—that the democratic world of today is unbearably complex. The work of this House is often beyond the ability of its Members to grapple with. It is irresponsible of us to the point of being hypocritical not to give our school leavers the chance, through a minimum level of competence, to take their part in this hyper-complex society—in particular, their democratic part. I fully endorse the conclusions reached that citizenship is part of the essential knowledge that we have to give our citizens, no less than teaching them the Highway Code before they get into a motor car.

I should like to ask my noble friend four questions. The framework document issued this week starts by saying, of citizenship, that the purpose of study is a high-quality citizenship education. I would be grateful if my noble friend would consider the extent to which we need rather badly to have a much greater quantity and quality of teacher education for that difficult subject. Secondly, I agree with my noble friend Lord Storey that this is a subject where you could bring in people from outside the world of formal teacher qualification. Very quickly, I think—

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Baroness Garden of Frognal: My Lords, perhaps I may remind my noble friend that this debate is for brief questions to the Minister.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury: I would be grateful if my noble friend would consider extending the Ofsted inspection to cover citizenship education. If it is not within the compulsory Ofsted inspection, that lowers its status. That is certainly not needed. Finally, I do not see why this subject should not be as necessary, compulsory and essential for non-maintained schools as for maintained schools.

Lord Nash: I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Phillips for his comments. I believe that we have greatly improved the citizenship curriculum, not least with the helpful advice from noble Lords such as him that it should be a much less issues-based curriculum, with greater focus on the political systems in this country. So far as Ofsted is concerned, I will look at that point in the context of what Ofsted already inspects for in terms of a rounded conversation and whether we can do anything further on that. As far as the core subject is concerned, I rather refer back to my earlier point that some independent schools teach citizenship very effectively in a much wider way. As far as teaching quality is concerned, we are doing all that we can to improve the quality of teachers. I may want to discuss with my noble friend further his specific points about citizenship teachers to see whether we cannot do more in this regard.

EU: Police and Criminal Justice Measures


7.41 pm

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): My Lords, the following Statement was made by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary in the other place earlier today.

“With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a Statement on the decision on whether the UK should opt out of those EU police and criminal justice measures adopted before the Lisbon treaty came into force.

As honourable Members will be aware, this is a stand-alone decision which the Government are required to make under the terms of the Lisbon treaty by 31 May 2014, with that decision taking effect on 1 December of that year. It covers around 130 measures, some of which it is clearly in our national interest to remain part of. But if we wish to remain bound by only some of the measures, we must exercise our opt-out from them all, en masse, and seek to rejoin those that we judge to be in our national interest.

The Government have committed to a vote in this House and the other place before formally deciding on this matter. We shall honour that commitment in full. Next week, honourable Members will have the opportunity to debate and vote on this approach. Following our discussions in Europe, another vote will be held on the final list of measures that the UK will formally apply to rejoin.

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Let me briefly set out the rationale by which the Government have approached this decision. We believe that the UK should opt out of the measures in question for reasons of principle, policy and pragmatism and that we should seek to rejoin only those measures that help us to co-operate with our European neighbours to combat cross-border crime and keep our country safe.

On principle, I am firmly of the belief that the UK’s international relations in policing and criminal justice are first and foremost a matter for Her Majesty’s Government. In policy terms, the UK has—and will continue to have—the ability to choose whether it should opt in to any new proposal in the field of justice and home affairs. It is therefore right that we take the opportunity to consider whether we wish to retain measures that were joined by the previous Government and to decide on a case-by-case basis whether we are willing to allow the European Court of Justice to exercise jurisdiction over them in the future. Finally, the Government are being pragmatic. I have said before that we will not leave the UK open to the threat of infraction, and fines which run into many millions of pounds, by remaining bound by measures we simply cannot implement in time. That would be senseless.

In a number of areas, the measures relate to minimum standards in substantive criminal law. Even before their adoption, the UK already met or exceeded the vast majority of these standards and will continue to do so, whether or not we are bound by them. As people have become more mobile in recent years, so too has crime. The Government have sought and listened carefully to the views of our law enforcement agencies that combat it. We understand that some of the measures covered by this decision are important tools which they need to protect the British public. The Government have identified 35 measures which we will be seeking to rejoin in the national interest.

That set of measures, on which we propose to begin our discussions with the European Commission and other member states, is laid out in Command Paper 8671, which is published today. I want to be clear: what must happen next is a process of negotiation with the European Commission and other member states. These negotiations will determine the final list of measures we formally apply to rejoin, but we promised that we would set out these measures clearly and give honourable members time to consider them before asking them to vote, and this is what we have done.

One of the measures that we will seek to rejoin, and on which I know many honourable Members have strong views, is the European arrest warrant. I agree with our law enforcement agencies that the arrest warrant is a valuable tool in returning offenders to the UK. Its predecessor, the 1957 European Convention on Extradition, had serious drawbacks. The arrest warrant has helped us to secure and accelerate successful extradition procedures—as shown by the case of Osman Hussain, one of the failed London bombers of July 2005, who was extradited back to the UK from Italy in less than eight weeks. More recently Jeremy Forrest, the teacher who was sentenced last month for absconding to France with one of his pupils, was extradited back to the UK less than three weeks after his arrest.

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Since 2009 alone, the arrest warrant has been used to extradite from the UK 57 suspects for child sex offences, 86 suspects for rape and 105 for murder. In the same period 63 suspects for child sex offences, 27 suspects for rape and 44 for murder were extradited back to Britain to face charges. A number of these suspects would probably have not been extradited back to Britain without the arrest warrant. We owe it to their victims, and their loved ones, to bring these people to justice.

However, the European arrest warrant has its problems too, as honourable Members have eloquently explained in this House. The previous Government had eight years to address these concerns and did nothing. This Government have taken action and today I am proposing additional safeguards to rectify these problems and increase the protection offered to those wanted for extradition, particularly British citizens. A number of honourable Members have explained how European arrest warrants have been issued disproportionately for very minor offences. I will address this by amending the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, which is currently in Committee, to ensure that an arrest warrant can be refused for minor crimes. This should stop cases like that of Patrick Connor, who was extradited because he and two friends were found in possession of four counterfeit banknotes.

We will also work with other states to enforce their fines and ensure that in future, where possible, a European investigation order is used instead of a European arrest warrant. This would mean police forces and prosecutors sharing evidence and information without requiring the extradition of a suspect at the investigative stage.

Other honourable Members have expressed concern about lengthy and avoidable pre-trial detention. I will amend our own Extradition Act to ensure that people in the UK can be extradited under the European arrest warrant only when the requesting state has already made a decision to charge and a decision to try, unless that person’s presence is required in that jurisdiction for those decisions to be made.

Many Members, in particular my honourable friend the Member for Enfield North, will recall the case of Andrew Symeou, who spent 10 months in pre-trial detention and a further nine months on bail in Greece, only to be acquitted. The change that I am introducing would have allowed Andrew Symeou to raise, in his extradition hearing, the issue of whether a decision to charge him and a decision to try him had been taken. It would likely have prevented his extradition at the stage he was surrendered and, quite possibly, altogether. We will also implement the European supervision order to make it easier for people like Mr Symeou to be bailed back to the UK.

Other honourable Members are concerned about people being extradited for conduct which is not criminal in British law. I will amend our law to make it clear that in cases where part of the conduct took place in the UK, and is not criminal here, the judge must refuse extradition for that conduct.

I also intend to make better use of existing safeguards to provide further protections, so I will ensure that people who consent to extradition do not lose their

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right not to be prosecuted for other offences, reducing costs and delays. We propose that the prisoner transfer framework decision should be used to its fullest extent so that UK citizens extradited and convicted can be returned to serve their sentence here. Where a UK national has been convicted and sentenced abroad, for example in their absence, and is now the subject of a European arrest warrant, we will ask, with their permission, for the warrant to be withdrawn and will use the prisoner transfer arrangements instead. This change could have prevented the extraditions of Michael Binnington and Luke Atkinson—sent to Cyprus, only to be returned to the UK six months later.

To prevent other extraditions from occurring at all, I intend either to allow the temporary transfer of a consenting person so that they can be interviewed by the issuing state’s authorities or to allow them to do this through means such as video-conferencing while in the UK. Where people are innocent, this should lead to the extradition request being withdrawn.

These are all changes which can be made in UK law—and which could have been made by the party opposite during their time in government. Co-operation on cross-border crime is vital, but we must also safeguard the rights of British citizens. The changes that we propose will do that.

Before I conclude, I am conscious that honourable Members want to know our approach to the new Europol regulation. Let me say that I fully recognise the excellent work of Europol and its British director, Rob Wainwright. Honourable Members will recall Operation Golf, a joint operation led by Europol and the Metropolitan Police, which cracked down on a human-trafficking gang operating in Ilford and led to the release of 28 trafficked children and the arrest of 126 suspects. It is for reasons such as this that we are proposing to rejoin the existing Europol measure.

On the new proposal, the Government have today tabled a Motion as the basis for a ‘Lidington-style’ debate on the floor of the House next week, following the debate and vote on the plan that I have outlined today. That Motion states that we should opt in post-adoption, provided that Europol is not given the power to direct national law enforcement agencies to initiate investigations or share data that conflict with our national security.

For reasons of policy, principle and pragmatism, I believe that it is in the national interest to exercise the United Kingdom’s opt-out and rejoin a much smaller set of measures that help us to co-operate with our European neighbours in the fight against serious and organised crime. I also believe that Her Majesty’s Government must strike the right balance between supporting law enforcement and protecting our traditional liberties. What I have outlined today will achieve both those goals. I commend this Statement to the House”.

7.53 pm

Baroness Smith of Basildon: My Lords, I have to say that I wonder if this is the Statement that the Home Secretary really wanted to make to the other place today. When we think of the rhetoric that we have heard on this issue, it is something of a surprise to

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hear today’s Statement, because the Home Secretary’s and the Government’s anti-European credentials have taken a bit of a battering. The rhetoric is still there, but common sense has appeared to force some moderation in action.

Last October, the Home Secretary confirmed that the Government’s “current thinking” was that the UK should opt out of all pre-Lisbon measures and rejoin them where it was considered in our national interest to do so. An example often used by the Government to explain this position is the European arrest warrant, as we have heard from the noble Lord this evening. The Sun newspaper was briefed on why the UK should reject it, the Prime Minister said it was “highly objectionable” and, just recently, the Government’s MPs voted, on a three-line Whip, against the Labour Motion that would have retained it. However, the Government now have to admit that it is effective and that, without it, criminals can evade justice. They could seek to evade British justice abroad and would be able to hide in the UK to evade the justice of other countries. I welcome the Government’s U-turn on this issue but there are still questions to be answered before we will be satisfied that public safety is not at risk.

I listened carefully to the Statement and have looked at the other documents but am not 100% clear what we are opting out of and why, and what impact that will have. I have not had the opportunity yet to read the 159 pages of the Command Paper but I am confident that the Minister has—I hope he has—and wanted to ask him a very specific question about the exact number of practical, workable and working measures that the Government are seeking permanently to opt out of. Of the 133 crime, law and order, and policing measures, the Government want to opt back in to 35. An additional seven have already been replaced and the Government have opted in. However, of the measures that the Government are seeking to opt out of: some are out of date and no longer in operation; some we have never used so we do not have to; others are agreements to co-operate, and my understanding is that the Government intend that co-operation to continue; and the Statement itself refers to measures that relate to minimum standards that we have already met or exceeded. With all of those, there is no impact or effect.

Other opt-outs include: a directory of counterterror officers that no longer exists; a temporary system for dealing with counterfeit documents that has already been replaced; a bundle of measures applying to Portugal, Spain and Croatia that do not even apply to the UK; and a number of measures relating to extinct manuals, specialist handbooks et cetera. In some ways, dealing with these is a useful tidying-up measure, but it is hardly an impressive list of repatriation of powers. I have a very specific question for the Minister, knowing that he has read the document: how many of the measures that the Government want to opt out of permanently are relevant to the UK and currently being used, and what impact will their removal have? I look forward to the answers from the noble Lord as, having heard the Statement, I really have no idea.

The Government now accept that the 35 measures that they want to opt back into are essential. If there is an opt-out, there must be a quick opt-back-in. Can the noble Lord confirm that the Government have

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secured a guarantee that we can opt back in to these important measures? If not, will the Government still opt out without such a guarantee? What timescale does the noble Lord envisage from the opt-out until the process of opting back in is completed? Are the Government seeking to amend any of the 33 measures, other than the European arrest warrant, and what are the implications and consequences if we fail to opt back into any of the measures, including financial consequences? Does the Minister really believe that the only way of making changes is to opt out and then opt back in? I find that strange when the Government refused to implement the European supervision order relating to the European arrest warrant, which they could have done long before now.

If any opt-back-in is not immediate, it is essential that there are transition measures. For example, the European arrest warrant is a legal framework that allows countries to extradite. Transition measures would have to be legally robust to ensure the satisfaction of the courts and lawyers dealing with any extradition. Given that pre-European arrest warrant transition arrangements have expired, will there be separate transition measures for all countries currently covered by the European arrest warrant? How long will negotiations take and are we at risk of a time gap during which criminals will be able to hide from UK justice and hide in the UK from justice in other countries? What will happen to the existing European arrest warrants where a person has not yet been arrested but there is a warrant out for their arrest? Will the warrants just lapse with the opt-out, allowing wanted criminals to evade justice from the UK overseas or leaving foreign criminals in the UK without the powers to remove them? The Statement also says that the Home Secretary,

“will amend our own Extradition Act to ensure that people in the UK can be extradited under the European arrest warrant only when the requesting state has already made a decision to charge and a decision to try”.

Can the noble Lord confirm whether this will apply to foreign citizens in the UK as well as to British citizens? Is it likely to make it harder to extradite those wanted for questioning for crimes in their own country?

There remain so many questions on the impact and the detail that I will not detain the House with another list which I could easily provide this evening. Genuine scrutiny, at which your Lordships’ House excels, will be so important in this debate. I hope that the Minister does not say this evening that these issues are for further discussion, because we are running out of time; he smiles at me, so perhaps that is the note that he has been passed. A vote will take place in the other place in less than a week, and the matter will then be brought to your Lordships’ House. The Government must have worked out the detail by now. We need that detail to inform our decision-making in your Lordships’ House. I hope that the Minister is able to respond to the points that I have raised, and I greatly look forward to his doing so.

8 pm

Lord McNally: I am grateful for the noble Baroness’s response to the Statement. I noted that she thought that it had common sense and moderation. Indeed, there were times during her response to the Statement

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where there was a suggestion that we had shot her fox, in that all the disasters to which she was hoping to point—about not taking note of national security and effective policing—are not there. The Statement of my right honourable friend the Home Secretary puts those matters right to the fore, as is demonstrated in the list that we have put before the House today.

There was hardly a hint that this little problem was left by the Labour Party’s negotiators for the Lisbon treaty. As the Home Secretary mentioned in her own remarks, the then Government did precious little to address these issues while in office. We therefore make no apologies for having used our time in office to look at these matters in detail. My point when we were discussing this at Questions the other day was that they are serious issues that deserve proper and serious consideration. The document published today, Command Paper 8671, is a sign of the candour and transparency with which the Government intend to approach this matter. The document contains not only the full list of the measures with an explanation of the protocol under which they have been produced, but also six Explanatory Memoranda from various concerned departments, which we hope will be of help to both Houses in the debates to come.

I make no apologies for our now embarking on some interesting negotiations. We have taken the matter seriously and have produced a list which anybody objectively looking at the exercise will see goes to the core of the issues left by Protocol 36.

I have just been told that we published five Explanatory Memoranda, not six—stop press.

Baroness Smith of Basildon: I hoped that the noble Lord had been passed answers to the questions I had asked him.

Lord McNally: I am answering the questions. For example, the noble Baroness asked whether foreign citizens charged in the UK would be safeguarded. Yes, the safeguards will apply to all those subject to the European arrest warrant. The noble Baroness asked on what basis the decisions would be taken. The Government believe that we should exercise the opt-out and then seek to rejoin the measure where it is in the national interest to do so. The Government have considered the impact of each measure on public safety and security, whether practical co-operation is underpinned by the measure and whether there would be a detrimental impact on co-operation if we pursued it by other mechanisms. The impact of the measures on civil rights and liberties has also been considered.

The noble Baroness asked me if I had done a word count on the various issues. We have said that we intend to opt in to 35. As she says, a number—we think abut 14—of the original list have been repealed and replaced. There are about another 20 measures that retain the minimum European standards. However, the noble Baroness’s kind of quizzing approach really misses the point of what this exercise is about. Through today’s Statement, the Government have sent a clear message that we have addressed the problem left by Protocol 36—which would have been faced by any British Government and which the previous Government

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showed little enthusiasm for addressing—in a very practical way that will give both Houses of Parliament the time and the opportunity for input into negotiations which the Government will pursue with due seriousness and the intent of success.

8.07 pm

Lord Taverne: My Lords, I am glad that the negotiations between the Conservatives and the Liberals inside the coalition have come to a sensible conclusion. In passing, one wonders what has been achieved in exercising the block opt-out; what we are left with having opted out of is not of any great significance.

The Conservatives have sensibly given way, contrary to their original stance, on the major measures for police and crime co-operation in the European Union. There is nothing more difficult in politics than changing your mind in the light of the evidence. It appears as if that is what the Conservatives in the Government have done, and I applaud them for that.

It is also fair to say that this has been a major victory for the Liberal Democrats in the coalition, and for this House, particularly the important work and results communicated in the Bowness and Hannay committees. It is also of very great importance that it has been a signal defeat for the UKIP-and-Tea-Party tendency inside the Conservative Party.

I ask two questions of the Minister. Is there any indication of the present attitude of the Commission to the opt-out proposals and what sort of timetable is envisaged? Secondly, will the Conservative leadership in the Government, including the Lord Chancellor and the Home Secretary, now join with Labour and the Liberal Democrats in exposing UKIP as the party which is soft on crime?

I am sure the Minister will agree that since UKIP rejects any legislation for co-operating on crime in the European Union, its policies can only benefit people-traffickers, porn-merchants, paedophile rings, money-launderers and other criminals who operate across borders, as they increasingly do.

Lord McNally: My Lords, on these specific questions, I have seen only the initial response from the Commission that was carried on the news-tapes; as far as I could see, that response was constructive in terms of welcoming this approach from the British Government. Of course we have had to get to this point before going into more formal discussions, but officials have had technical discussions with the Commission and the Council, focusing on the legal framework under which the decision will be made, to ensure a shared understanding of the legal processes around the 2014 decision. I know that my right honourable friends the Justice Secretary and the Home Secretary spoke today to Commissioner Reding and Commissioner Malmström respectively. There is no doubt that the Commission has responded in a way that we find constructive. I will cover another point made by the noble Baroness, about whether there would be gaps and lacunas in this. That would not be in the interests of any of us; we will negotiate with both sides to make sure that the move from one jurisdiction to another is a smooth one.

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On the question of UKIP and how our respective parties respond to it, that is a matter for the political campaigners. However, in this Statement my right honourable friend the Home Secretary has demonstrated what we would expect of her, given her high office. She has taken account of the national security and policing needs in coming to these decisions, and she should be congratulated on that.

Lord Davies of Stamford: My Lords—

Lord Elystan-Morgan: My Lords—

Lord Williamson of Horton: My Lords—

Lord Hannay of Chiswick: My Lords, I apologise for remaining on my feet, but as the noble Lord, Lord Richard, said, I chaired the committee that wrote the report to which the Government have not found it in their wisdom to refer in this Statement.

One consequence of the Statement, which I thank the Minister for repeating, is that the committees which have worked together on this issue will now reopen the inquiry and provide the House with a second report before any final vote is taken. Does the Minister agree that this Statement makes, frankly, a pretty good mockery of the Government’s undertaking to engage with Parliament on this issue? The original decision was announced in Rio de Janeiro, rather further away than the studios of the “Today” programme, which is the normal distance from Westminster at which such things are said. That was followed up by a Statement in the House which preceded any consultation with this House, with the other place, with the devolved parliaments and with the professions.

Now we have a Statement that simply ignores the views of your Lordships’ EU Select Committee, which was supported by members of all three parties and of none and which came to the conclusion that the Government had not at all made a convincing case for triggering the block opt-out. That they do not even find room in the Statement to refer to that report is perhaps to be explained by the fact that the Government’s response to it is now two weeks overdue, and we have not yet seen it.

Can the Minister confirm that a second vote will be taken in this House, as in the other place, before any final decisions are reached, and that that debate and the vote will be taken in the light of the Government’s success in negotiating with the Commission and the Council on the measures that they wish to rejoin? Will the Government provide both Houses with a report on those negotiations well in advance of the second vote? Frankly, it is pretty odd to ask both Houses to vote on a 159-page White Paper within about a week.

Lord McNally: My Lords, on the point about the committee’s report, we will respond to that in due course. I hope that as we move forward we do not get bogged down in the niceties of protocol. The report from the noble Lord’s committee was influential in the discussions that have taken place. This is a little bit like a game of three-dimensional chess. In reaching decisions,

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the Government are trying to keep both Houses informed and to keep relations and channels open to the Commission and to member states. I hope Members of the House will understand that the issues covered by the 2014 decision are numerous and complex. We have been conscious of the need to ensure that any information we provide is as accurate and as informative as it can be.

Members of the House will be aware that the document today with its five explanatory memorandums is a measure of that commitment to put the information before the House as quickly and as fully as possible. Of course, I think it is implicit in everything that has been said that a second vote will be taken when the outcome of these negotiations are known. Common sense dictates that this will not be finessed through or carried through with smoke and mirrors. Both Houses, with all their experience and expertise, will demand the full facts on which they will base that second decision.

Lord Davies of Stamford: My Lords, is there not something very odd and illogical—weird, bizarre, even—about this Statement? It goes at some length into the merits of the proposals, or measures, that the Government intend to opt back into, so why opt out of them in the first place? It does not say anything at all about the de-merits of the measures that the Government want to abandon definitively. It is not surprising that the House seems to have come to a consensus this evening that what the Government have been conducting is essentially a charade. Will the noble Lord accept that this is a charade not entirely without cost? There will be the cost of an unnecessary negotiation. There will be the exasperation caused to our partners by the fact that we treat them in this particular way. There is, of course, the risk that we will not be able to renegotiate in exactly the fashion we want our resumption of the measures to which we wish to adhere in future—unless of course the Government have already received assurances in advance about that, in which case I hope the noble Lord will be frank and tell the House. Is it not also true that the Government embarked on this quite unnecessary, gratuitous and risky course simply for reasons of the most squalid party-political nature—designed simply to buy off their own Eurosceptics and to keep UKIP from making inroads into the Tory Party vote?

Lord McNally: That intervention would have a scintilla of credibility if it did not come from the Benches that negotiated the specific option with which we are now dealing. The noble Lord cannot get away from that fact. For heaven’s sake, why was Protocol 36 negotiated in the first place if it was not for the opportunity that the House is now taking? The noble Lord can score all the party-political points that he wants, but this was the legacy of the Benches opposite; the Government are dealing with it—like many other things. We are dealing with this, as my right honourable friend has emphasised, with a clear focus on the best assistance we can give to our policing and the best protection we can give to our national security. I am very happy that the Government are able to bring forward such a coherent programme, which is now open to both Houses to study and for a negotiation to progress.

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Lord Lloyd of Berwick: My Lords, I will be very brief. I rejoice that the Government have decided that, after all, we need the European arrest warrant, together with Eurojust and Europol and the cross-border police co-operation. These are on any view the most important of the 35 measures which are due for retention—if, of course, we are able to opt back in.

Given the uncertainty surrounding the opt-in process, and given the fact that we are already subject to the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union in respect of all the many police and justice measures that we have opted into since 2009, are we not taking an unjustifiable risk in opting out of what is good, including the 35 measures which are agreed to be in the national interest, in order to get rid of the other 95 pre-Lisbon measures, which are of no real importance to us, nor even of great relevance to us, one way or the other? It seems to be an unjustifiable risk we are taking for no apparent reason.

Lord McNally: I concede a lot of logic in what the noble and learned Lord has said. The fact is, however, that we had the Protocol 36 exercise to carry through; we have discussed it inside Government and with Parliament on a regular basis; and we have listened to the views of the committee of the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, and others. We have suggested a way forward. Is it a way forward with risk? Yes it is. All such enterprises have an element of risk. However, we can move forward with a degree of confidence once we get past some of the nitpicking about who did what, where and when, and get down to the central issue of whether we can successfully negotiate with our European colleagues on matters of our national interest and, I respectfully suggest, of Europe’s interest. What has encouraged us is that the soft soundings that we have taken have led us to believe that we can carry out meaningful, fruitful discussions and negotiations that recognise the risks that the noble and learned Lord mentioned, but, because we will do this with good will and an intention to succeed, and with colleagues who have similar good will and want us to succeed, will minimise those risks.

Lord Bowness: My Lords, I thank my noble friend for repeating the Statement. He will not be surprised to know that, as the former chairman of one of the sub-committees that prepared the report, I associate myself with the regret expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, that we have not had a response within the normal and required time, although there appears to have been time to produce the 159 pages of White Paper.

The noble and learned Lord who spoke just now referred to risk. At the seminar on this issue held by the European Union Select Committee, a distinguished participant said, vis-à-vis risk and the difficulties of renegotiating re-entry, that the game was not worth the candle. I endorse that 100%.

I turn to specifics. The Statement says that the Government wish to rejoin the existing Europol measure. It also says that they do not intend at this stage to opt into the new measure. I regret that because it means that we will not have a vote in the negotiations, and a future opt-in to the new Europol provision will depend on certain matters being dropped from the current draft.

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In preparing a list of the 35 measures, did the Government take account of the report to your Lordships’ House on the UK opt-in to the new Europol regulation that I believe was debated last week, which makes it absolutely clear that there are four other Council decisions that may not be repealed and replaced by the current Europol proposal, and which Europol advised were directly connected—that is, the existing Europol and a possible new Europol? It follows that whatever happens with the new Europol, if we wish to stay in the old Europol and are successful in renegotiating that, we will need the four separate Council decisions that are listed in footnote 39 on page 10 of the report. As far as I can see, none of them is included in the 35 circulated today. Am I correct? Is it an omission? If it is an omission, will it be put right? If it is an intentional omission, what is the thinking behind it?

Perhaps I may ask my noble friend, in all sincerity, whether we may have a very close examination of all the other measures before we go to Brussels to renegotiate, in order to make sure that there are no others that we should have opted into.

Lord McNally: I regret that we have reached 20 minutes. I say to unlucky Members who did not get in—I made a mess of this last time—that this is just the beginning. We have a long way to go and there will be lots of opportunities to examine both Europol and other matters.

I make it clear that we support Europol as it currently exists. This is why we wish to rejoin the existing Council decision on Europol. The new regulation proposes additional obligations that could put at risk the independence of our law-enforcement agencies. We do not support it and have indicated that we will seek to opt into the new regulation, post adoption, provided that Europol is not given the power to direct national law-enforcement agencies to initiate investigations or share data that conflict with national security.

There is no contradiction here. Our recommendation on the Europol regulation is about participation in a future measure governing Europol. It has no impact on our current participation in Europol. The Government continue to value Europol, but we feel that the Commission’s proposals go too far in an area that we consider poses a risk to the independence of our law-enforcement authorities. Our message is clear. We should get the required changes and we will seek to opt into the new regulation, post adoption, provided that Europol is not given the power to direct national law-enforcement agencies to initiate investigations or share data that conflicts with national security.

I shall read Hansard carefully and if I have not covered the points made by the noble Lord I shall do so in a letter. However, I am already overrunning my time and we shall return to this matter.

Care Bill [HL]

Care Bill [HL]1st Report from the Delegated Powers Committee

Committee (5th Day) (Continued)

8.30 pm

Relevant document: 1st Report from the Delegated Powers Committee

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Clause 5 : Promoting diversity and quality in provision of services

Amendment 86HA

Moved by Baroness Emerton

86HA: Clause 5, page 4, line 43, after “of” insert “sustainable”

Baroness Emerton: My Lords, in moving this amendment I shall also speak to Amendment 86PA.

Clause 5 emphasises quality, which is to be welcomed, and places promoting diversity and quality in the provision of services in the Bill. However, on behalf of nurses, the Royal College of Nursing thinks that it is not enough merely to quote “quality”. Local authorities are responsible for commissioning services from providers and have a duty to ensure that these providers and services are effective to meet the needs of the individual. It does not believe that at the moment local authorities are fulfilling these duties and responsibilities if they commission providers who fail to deliver high-quality care and, worse, provide care that detrimentally impacts on the health and well-being of individuals, as has been demonstrated in some recent high-profile cases.

As commissioners, local authorities must be part of a system-wide approach to safeguarding vulnerable groups. They are therefore falling negligent in their role if they commission providers and services that are not sustainable and fail both financially and clinically.

The potential impact of this was demonstrated recently with Southern Cross, where the health and well-being—and, indeed, lives—of care home residents were put at risk following the failure of its business model. For this reason, I believe that local authorities have a responsibility for ensuring that services that are commissioned by them are of high quality and sustainable. The two amendments are to that effect. Amendment 86HA seeks to insert the word “sustainable” and Amendment 86PA seeks to insert the words,

“the importance of ensuring the sustainability and high quality of the providers it commissions”.

I beg to move.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, as this is my first intervention, I refer noble Lords to my interests as president elect of GSI, chair of an NHS foundation trust and a consultant and trainer with Cumberlege Connections.

I have three amendments in this group. Amendment 86J seeks to delete “high quality services” and instead insert,

““services appropriate to their needs as identified in the needs assessment and carer’s assessment”.

The problem with the draft as it currently stands is that it is very vague and entirely subjective depending on who is defining “high quality services”. Perhaps the noble Earl can clarify how the Government think it ought to be defined. Otherwise, there is a risk of uncertainty and inconsistency which, certainly when it comes to eligibility criteria, the Bill is designed to eradicate.

My second Amendment 86K would ensure that those in receipt of care and those involved in providing care are involved in shaping the market, as required

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under Clause 5. I have received a number of submissions about the market-making role of local authorities, and I was concerned to receive a submission from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, which said that while the intention of Clause 5 in promoting quality and diversity within the market is laudable, ADASS was of the view that the proposed duty placed on local authorities is wholly unrealistic. It points to a large number of providers that have no relationship or contact with local authorities, and says that combined with increased personalisation and limited leverage through the regulation framework, the ability of local authorities alone to influence diversity and quality of service is restricted.

I was very disappointed with that response, and rather taken aback by it. I hope that the noble Earl will share my view that in fact local authorities ought to be able to influence not only the market but the quality of care provided by private providers to a very great extent. Would the Minister accept that, to be effective, local authorities need to have a strong engagement both with users of services and carers, and with those who are providing services, too? That is why I tabled the amendment.

I listened with great interest to the noble Baroness, Lady Emerton, and I very much agree with her about the need to ensure quality in provision of service. That brings me to my own substantive Amendment 86P, which is very much concerned with the conditions under which care workers are employed in the main by the private sector. This is a hugely important issue. Clearly, we have a growing number of disabled and older people who need care and support. The people working in the care sector are vital. We need quality people who are highly trained and who can give the right commitment to the vulnerable people they are asked to care for. Clause 5 is important because what we see is a very fragmented industry delivering care that in many cases is of questionable quality and employing insecure, low paid, unregulated staff. Amendment 86P is concerned with the importance of fostering a sustainable workforce to encourage the acquisition of skills and decent working conditions that support the continuity and quality of care.

I was shocked to see a parliamentary Answer from the Minister’s honourable friend Mr Lamb recently, showing that more than 300,000 people working in the care sector are employed on zero-hours contracts. The point that I wish to make is this: how can people who do not have the security of knowing what they will earn pass on a sense of security to the people whom they care for? The rise in zero-hours contracts is bad for service users, many of whom are, of course, extremely vulnerable. There is another issue. People who are being cared for want to see the same person to have a continuity of care relationship. We know that that is severely hindered by those wretched zero-hours contracts. I believe that secure employment would allow staff to concentrate on caring rather than worrying about whether they are earning enough money for themselves and their families to live on.

I ought to declare an interest as a member of UNISON, which produced an excellent report, Time to Care, which undertook a survey in 2012 of care home workers. It showed that 80% of those who

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responded had to rush work or leave a client early to go to another call on what is called call cramming— in other words, too many calls for a care worker to undertake—and 56% received between the national minimum wage and £8 an hour. The majority did not receive set wages. Not surprisingly, turnover is high, while wages and conditions are poor.

Here is a shocking statistic. Nearly 57.8% are not paid for travelling time between visits. This morning I met a carer in Southwark who works roughly 20 hours on a zero-hours contract. She reckons that, because of the travelling time, she actually works for 27 hours, but is paid for only 20. The problem is that there is a race to the bottom because local authorities are, in my view, neglecting their responsibilities for ensuring that, when they place contracts, they are with good quality organisations. The companies who are exploiting their workers in this way are winning contracts at the expense of companies who treat their employees wisely. No wonder, therefore, that 36.7% of respondents are often allocated different clients on a daily basis, so that there is no chance of any relationship being developed.

There are many other statistics. The scandal of the 15-minute visit is well known. Indeed, the UK Homecare Association survey shows that three-quarters of all trips to old people have to be completed in less than half an hour and one in 10 is limited to no more than 15 minutes.

In Committee last week, I discussed with the Minister whether the CQC could be persuaded—or indeed, I hope, instructed—by your Lordships, to prioritise the regulation and inspection of local authorities in their commissioning duties. We have heard a lot about the CQC’s past failures and future hopes. It is clear that the focus is going to be on the NHS. I do not disagree with that, but when you think of the thousands of vulnerable people dependent on care workers, I wonder if the priority is right. If I were in the CQC’s shoes, I would focus on the care sector and particularly on local authorities and their own responsibilities. That is probably the best way to get into this issue.

We could have a debate about the regulation of social care workers. We could debate mandatory training and the noble Baroness, Lady Emerton, has tabled an amendment which would very much focus on that. I hope the Minister will recognise that we have a problem here. If we are to see this legislation enacted in the way that we all hope it will be, I am convinced that we have to look at the way that workers in the care sector are employed and do everything we can to prevent the abuse that we are seeing with these zero-hours contracts.

Baroness Greengross: My Lords, I rise to speak to the amendments in my name—Amendments 86L, 86M, 86N and 86Q. These amendments are all about quality of care. We know what happens at the moment. There is the opposite of a monopoly in that there are lots of sellers, but largely one buyer of care. Many care homes know this. The local authority is in a very strong position and will tell the care home managers—in the private or voluntary sectors—that they will take 20 beds and negotiate a price which is very low. That means that the care home cannot provide a decent quality of care at that unrealistic price. This has been talked about and written about by Laing and Buisson and

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various other bodies. It is a known fact among those who follow very closely what goes on, but at the moment it is not really known to the public.

8.45 pm

This is an impossible situation that should not continue. Care homes charge self-funders more than the required amount in order to cover the true costs so that they can provide a decent quality of care. In a time when we are looking for transparency, this Bill, when it is enacted, will open up these arrangements to public scrutiny because self-funders and those funded by their local authority will know what is going on. This secret tax, as I think of it, on self-funders will then be out in the open. It is really bad that this kind of thing is going on in this country, although it is not recognised by many people.

We must make sure that we have an independent adjudicator who can settle funding disputes between local authorities and care providers. We must also recognise that not all care providers are large private sector chains. I have received a lot of information about this from the Royal British Legion. It may be quite a large body, but it is a charity. Because of these arrangements, it cannot manage to provide a decent quality of care at the sort of price being quoted. There is a great deal of secrecy in this area, with local authorities not consulting local providers and no one inspecting the quality of the services being provided before a maximum tariff is agreed. All of these operations should be much more open and clear. Apart from the appointment of a care providers’ adjudicator, we have to ensure that the duties on local authorities enable us to be clear that a consistently high standard of care is being provided in the area. If we go on otherwise, we will be promoting secrecy, which is entirely inappropriate. Moreover, we can ensure minimum standards of care if we get this right, and we can do that by specifying a suitable level of quality when commissioning services.

The last thing I want to propose is that the Government should look at the tasks that a care worker has to do in order to make a visit to a person needing care worth while. The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, also talked about this. In most cases, they cannot manage to do everything that is necessary in around 15 minutes, plus make the journey to and from the person being visited. It is physically impossible. As we know, it is largely a breach of human rights simply to pop in, try to clean someone who may not have had a visit for many hours, serve a meal and talk to the person, change their clothing and the bedding, and do those things that are considered to make up a reasonable quality of care provision in 15 minutes. That needs to change. It should be necessary to adhere to specific minimum standards, not to the length of time taken to make a visit. It should be the qualifying tasks that matter, not the time it takes to do the work. We have to change things around so that it is what needs to be done that matters, not the time taken. These amendments, together with an adjudicator, would ensure that that happens.

Lord Lipsey: My Lords, I rise to support the amendments of my noble friend Lord Hunt and the remarks just made by the noble Baroness, Lady Greengross.