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Lord Addington: My Lords, before the noble Baroness sits down, the point I was trying to make is that I appreciate that the Minister is trying to deal with this through regulation. However, the problem is that we may not know what we are dealing with at any point in the process. Do the staff have the power or the authority to be able to stop the process dead if they feel they do not have the expertise? That is important.

I did not move the amendment standing in my name because I thought that this amendment would cover the matter. I did not want to go over the same ground twice. However, if the noble Baroness will write to me with the information, I shall pass it on to those whom I shall consult on the issue.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, if the interview is inappropriate because of mental health or learning or language difficulties, the full interview can be postponed. That is on the assumption that the problems emerge quickly. In the normal course of events I would expect most of the issues to emerge at the start-up interview. If someone has severe learning difficulties and cannot write or read, if they have language problems or are from an ethnic minority, that also would emerge. If they have other disabilities, it will become clear. At the major follow-up interview, those resources would be available.

If that was not the case and it was clear that the interview needed to be postponed, deferred or taken in two stages, that is possible. It would include having an interview in the person's home and whatever else is most appropriate. We wish to ensure that all people coming through the ONE service have the opportunity to engage with a skilled and appropriate personal adviser who can take them through the range of

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options, not only in terms of work but also benefits, financial counselling and the like, to ensure that they have the best opportunities in their lives.

Baroness Buscombe: My Lords, I thank the Minister, I appreciate her explanation and will be grateful to receive her letter before Third Reading. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 115 and 116 not moved.]

Baroness Buscombe moved Amendment No. 117:


Page 62, line 8, at end insert (“, conducted at a location appropriate to the person")

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, following this discussion, can the Minister clarify one point? We talked at great length about the location of the interview at Committee stage and I do not wish to be repetitive this afternoon. However, I wish to confirm a point with the noble Baroness.

In relation to location, we said at Committee stage that in cases of severe disability or mental illness, home is not necessarily the place for the interview, although we appreciate that the Minister and others seek to be as flexible as possible over the location. We stress that we believe that for many the home can be invasive and make people feel awkward when the so-called experts are at hand.

In relation to the start-up interview and the major interview, can the Minister reassure us that if the adviser decides at the start-up interview stage that the personal adviser would value additional skills and expertise at the major interview, the personal adviser would explain carefully to the recipient that they could have a choice of either having the second interview in the home or at an alternative location. While the home might be the better alternative for the disabled at the first stage, with one person visiting them in the home, if it is decided thereafter that several people should visit them and therefore there would be a crowd going into the home, it might be better if it is held elsewhere. The adviser could suggest alternative locations. I would appreciate the Minister's comments on that. I beg to move.

Lord Addington: My Lords, this is a sensible point and I hope the Minister will consider it.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, the noble Baroness has identified a problem. If one is trying to make a home visit to suit the convenience of the client because that client may have a range of disabilities, and if as a result a whole range of skills is needed, there may be many people going to one house, as opposed to one person going there. There are considerations of convenience such as administrative arrangements, costs and the like.

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I have tried to emphasise that we seek to ensure that the ONE delivery sites would be relaxed and friendly environments where all clients would feel at ease. They will also meet the needs of disabled people on access and facilities. In addition, sites currently in use in the pilot areas were selected to minimise the likelihood of ONE clients having to travel further than 45 minutes to their local office. On the whole I would expect the ONE delivery site or office to be seen as the most appropriate place for an interview.

If that is not the case--and we recognise that in certain circumstances it will not be--there will be other options such as phoning, mobile facilities or providing a home visit. So, for example, where a person's mobility problems prevent them getting to a ONE office, the personal adviser may visit the claimant and conduct the interview in their home. There has never been any suggestion otherwise.

I understand that noble Lords have concerns that personal advisers carrying out home visits might not have the benefit of the combined expertise of the rest of the ONE team. It is a dilemma for us. I agree that it is important to see the ONE service as a team effort, particularly to ensure that advisers consult colleagues when it is clear that a situation calls for knowledge outside their sphere of experience.

Having said that, I think it is equally important to emphasise the ability of trained personal advisers to provide for most, if not all, the immediate needs of clients during a home visit. The information given during the start-up interview should provide the basis for determining which personal adviser is best qualified to deal with the needs of a specific client who requires a home visit. Equally, we should not see the initial personal adviser interview in isolation. It should be viewed as part of an ongoing relationship between adviser and client. I believe it is acceptable for a personal adviser, during the course of a home visit or an on-site interview, to take away unresolved issues with a view to dealing with them more thoroughly, after consultation with colleagues and then come back.

We are trying to ascertain how best to negotiate the issue that the noble Baroness identified. On the one hand, we do not want the house full of a range of possible people, but on the other we wish to ensure that we can offer the facility, where appropriate, in the client's home. I hope that with that description noble Lords are reassured by what I have said and will feel able to withdraw the amendment.

Baroness Buscombe: My Lords, I appreciate the Minister's response to my question. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham moved Amendment No. 118:


Page 62, leave out lines 24 to 41 and insert--


    (“(1) Chapter II of Part I of the Social Security Act 1998 (social security decisions and appeals) shall have effect in relation to relevant decisions subject to and in accordance with subsections (1B) to (2B) below (and in those subsections “the 1998 Act" means that Act).

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    (1A) For the purposes of this section a “relevant decision" is a decision made under regulations under section 2A above that a person--


(a) has failed to comply with a requirement to take part in an interview which applied to him by virtue of the regulations, or
(b) has not shown, within the prescribed period mentioned in section 2A(3)(e)(ii) above, that he had good cause for such a failure.


    (1B) Section 8(1)(c) of the 1998 Act (decisions falling to be made under or by virtue of certain enactments are to be made by the Secretary of State) shall have effect subject to any provisions of regulations under section 2A above by virtue of which relevant decisions fall to be made otherwise than by the Secretary of State.


    (1C) For the purposes of each of sections 9 and 10 of the 1998 Act (revision and supersession of decisions of Secretary of State) any relevant decision made otherwise than by the Secretary of State shall be treated as if it were such a decision made by the Secretary of State (and accordingly may be revised by him under section 9 or superseded by a decision made by him under section 10).


    (1D) Subject to any provisions of regulations under either section 9 or 10 of the 1998 Act, any relevant decision made, or (by virtue of subsection (1C) above) treated as made, by the Secretary of State may be--


(a) revised under section 9 by a person or authority exercising functions under regulations under section 2A above other than the Secretary of State, or
(b) superseded under section 10 by a decision made by such a person or authority,
as if that person or authority were the Secretary of State.


    (2) Regulations shall make provision for conferring (except in any prescribed circumstances) a right of appeal under section 12 of the 1998 Act (appeal to appeal tribunal) against--


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