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Page 15, line 23, after ("the children") insert ("and their families").

The noble Earl said: The aim of Amendment No. 44 is to ensure that when local authorities are preparing their plans for children's services they always focus on children and their families, the family being the essential basic unit. In reality, we know that they will be doing that anyway. I believe that it should be on the face of the Bill so that it is clear that services are always to be provided for families as well as for those children whose families have regrettably disintegrated in any way. I beg to move.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: Again, I well understand the reasoning behind the noble Earl's amendment. There are indeed some services which would be provided to

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the family with the aim of helping the family look after the child. Strictly speaking, they would not be children's services; they would be covered within Clause 18(1) as drafted through the expression,


"services for or in respect of children in their area".
In other words, in my view, the clause as drafted covers the point that the noble Earl has raised. If we were to include services for families we would again be bringing in too many services which would not be of direct relevance, and with the very serious risk that we discussed in relation to the previous amendment of undermining the key purpose behind the planning arrangements.

The Earl of Mar and Kellie: Once again we seem to have reached a point where I wish to be explicit and the noble and learned Lord the Minister wishes to be implicit. Again, I take the point that one could have to make too wide a plan. Therefore, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Earl of Mar and Kellie moved Amendment No. 45:


Page 15, line 23, at end insert (", with due regard to children's religious persuasions, racial origins, and cultural and linguistic backgrounds.").

The noble Earl said: The purpose of Amendment No. 45 is simply to ensure that the local authority's child service plans adequately consider the diversity of children's backgrounds in the planning of services. This matches a promised government amendment to Clause 20 which should ensure that service provision has due regard to this diversity. This is wholly appropriate in an increasingly multicultural Scotland, and the best way to tackle it is to plan for it. I beg to move.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: It is not only in Clause 20 that local authorities have to take into account race, religion and the like; it is also in Clause 17. I think I can shortly answer the noble Earl by saying that if they have a duty in relation to any child looked after by them in these respects, they will also accordingly have to plan for that. I do not disagree with him that between us is again whether it is necessary to be explicit about it and make specific mention of this in Clause 18. I do not consider that it is, but, as the noble Earl has already identified, there are other points where reference is made to these factors.

The Earl of Mar and Kellie: I look forward to the Minister's amendment on this point which we are coming to shortly. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Burnham): If Amendment No. 46 is agreed to, I cannot call Amendment No. 47.

[Amendment No. 46 not moved.]

The Earl of Mar and Kellie moved Amendment No. 47:


Page 15, line 25, after ("authority") insert ("or by other providers, in particular by voluntary and private organisations, of services which the authority have power to provide").

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The noble Earl said: Amendment No. 47 is aimed at ensuring that local authorities' plans for children's services are comprehensive and should include the services provided by all children's agencies, both statutory and voluntary, operating in their area. For example, there is the child protection work done over many years by the RSPCC. If all children's services are incorporated in one plan, it will be possible to take an overview. Only then can it be determined whether the provision is adequate in all respects. The other benefit is that the organisations will have to co-operate. I apologise for the fact that the amendment sounds distinctly like one which we discussed not that long ago. I beg to move.

Baroness Faithfull: I wonder whether I may ask my noble and learned friend for some information. The Bill says that we should co-operate with voluntary and private organisations. I regret to have to say that in some cases where there is a particularly difficult and emotionally disturbed child, a recommendation has been made by social services that that child should go to a special therapeutic community. For instance, I run a therapeutic community myself and we had a child who saw his father murder his mother. In such serious cases, one must provide particular therapeutic treatment for such a child, but my experience in England—not in Scotland—is that although this has been recommended, the city treasurer has said that it is far too expensive and therefore cannot be acceded to. Where would that fit into this amendment?

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: I do not think it would but it is a very interesting and important point. It takes us back to the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994. The noble Baroness may recall that we had an interesting debate on the status of the chief social work officer. An important part of that Act was that we ensured the arrangement that in each of the new unitary authorities in Scotland there should be such a chief social work officer who would be in a position having duties and responsibilities that if the treasurer (as the noble Baroness described it—not a terminology I immediately understand but I know what she is driving at!) sought to exclude from provision a particular accommodation or whatever it might be because it was considered too expensive, the chief social work officer would be brought into play having the best interests of the child at heart.

This is dealing with the situation where you have planning for these children's services within a local authority area. In relation to an earlier amendment I said that our experience with community care planning showed how easy it was for plans, however well intentioned, to become lengthy, over complex and difficult to understand.

I agree that where the local authority is planning as part of its childcare provision to make use of services provided by the voluntary or independent sector, that should be shown in the childcare plan. Indeed, I would hope and expect that local authorities in Scotland would make use of both. However, it does not seem appropriate to require a local authority simply to include within the plan details of all the services which happen

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to be provided in the area, even if that authority (acting with the best of intentions) cannot see that there is any need to make use of them. That would seem to me an unnecessary complication, and it is only on that basis that I resist the amendment.

The Earl of Mar and Kellie: I thank the Minister. It appears to me that perhaps those other services should go on to what I shall choose to call a "supplementary list" and that they should merely be noted as existing rather than be fully described in the childcare service plans. Therefore, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendment No. 48:


Page 15, line 37, at end insert—
("( ) The Secretary of State may, subject to subsection (4) below, issue directions as to the carrying out by a local authority of their functions under subsection (3) above.").

The noble and learned Lord said: As we have been discussing, Clause 18 makes important provisions requiring local authorities to prepare and publish plans for services for children. It is expected that the plans will be produced on very much the same basis as those dealing with community care services for adults—that is, a new plan every three years, subject to annual reviews and such modifications at that time as may be appropriate. That is not spelled out in the Bill. Indeed, it is the sort of detail which is best left for subordinate legislation, direction or guidance after due consultation with all the interests involved.

It is on that basis that we propose to introduce a new subsection (3)(a), which provides a useful safeguard in allowing the Secretary of State to issue directions should that prove necessary in the light of experience. I beg to move.

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove: In the proposed subsection it is suggested that the Secretary of State should have the power to make directions to local authorities or social workers. It worries me slightly that that may be a backdoor way of using many more private, not even voluntary, homes. I have been round many such homes. Some were extremely good. You felt that some had been done up especially for the visit—that is, if you had any nouse you felt that. Is it proposed under one of the powers given in this clause that the Minister and the Secretary of State, or whoever was acting for him, would be able to direct a social worker, in, say, one of the larger towns saying "No, you will not keep a social work hostel for people over a certain age; you will use some other local authority's hostel for that"? I just want to know why this provision is proposed.

We want flexibility, but the flexibility has to be very carefully looked at. After one or two of the things that we have been reading in the papers about private organisations doing certain types of social and health service work, we want to be very careful that we do not make any more mistakes and that, quite inadvertently, the Scottish Office is not spending money that could be better spent in other ways,

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