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Baroness Noakes: May I have clarification from the noble Lord over the point that I put to him in connection with Clause 74(2)? Paragraph (b) talks about effectiveness and paragraph (d) talks about economy and efficiency and then goes on to talk about

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value for money. I was not trying to eliminate value for money from this matter, I was saying that one already had value for money by the time one reached value for money—because one has effectiveness and economy and efficiency. I asked the Minister what those additional words added. I was not trying to say that CSCI should not look at value for money. Far from it. What are the Minister's views on that?

Lord Warner: I shall not repeat all the reasons that I have just given, but the essential point is that the Audit Commission has to carry out best value performance plans—auditing—under the Local Government Act 1999, and it looked in the past to the Social Services Inspectorate, in the future CSCI, to produce the expertise in carrying out the audit of that plan. Therefore, we are putting beyond doubt on the face of the Bill the point that CSCI has responsibility in that area. The noble Baroness may not accept our arguments, but that is the reason for the wording in the Bill.

Baroness Noakes: I thank the Minister; but no, the noble Baroness does not accept that value for money has to be spelt out twice within a couple of lines of the legislation. I hope that the Minister or his officials will look at that issue again, because the answer cannot be to do with liaising with the Audit Commission or about best value performance plans. If the wording has any meaning it is something that has not been to date teased out. That is one aspect of my amendments. The other relates to children.

If we return to the wording of, for example, Clause 74. CSCI "shall be concerned in particular with":


    "the need to safeguard and promote the rights and welfare of children".

It is not just a question of dealing with the children who are in care. A much broader function is specified for CSCI. I was trying to add "and elderly people", the noble Baroness, Lady Barker, was trying to add "and vulnerable people", into this much wider concept of simply looking after the very vulnerable, but also promoting and safeguarding their rights. It is a very broad sense here. That is why it is difficult to see why groups other than children have been ignored. We have been through this argument once already in Committee in connection with CHAI. We have the argument again over CSCI.

I feel that the matter has not been satisfactorily bottomed out, and we shall need to return to it again, because at the moment the functions of CHAI and CSCI are being distorted by their emphasis on one very important group, but only one group among the many who ought to have some focus. I shall not press the matter further today. I beg leave to withdraw.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 338 to 338A not moved.]

Clause 74 agreed to.

Clause 75 [Information and advice]:

[Amendment No. 339 not moved.]

Clause 75 agreed to.

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Clause 76 [Review of studies and research]:

Earl Howe moved Amendment No. 340:


    Page 31, line 17, at end insert—


"( ) The CSCI may conduct or commission such research as it deems necessary to ensure that the future development of care services is based on independent knowledge and expertise."

The noble Earl said: Clause 76 permits CSCI to conduct reviews of research undertaken by other people in relation to local authority social services. I have no quarrel with this power, but it is unclear to me why CSCI is not being given a power to conduct or commission research directly to enable it to carry out its work in a more informed way. As the clause reads, CSCI will have to sit back and wait hopefully for others to produce interesting information that is relevant to its remit. That does not seem logical or sensible. I hope that the Minister will look constructively on this suggestion. I beg to move.

Baroness Barker: I rise to speak to Amendment No. 350, which would enable CSCI to produce reports concerning the implementation of Clause 14 of the Care Standards Act relating to registration. This is a probing amendment questioning whether CSCI will have the power to examine the impact of government regulations on home care. The disappearance of care homes has been well documented in debates in your Lordships' House. The passage of legislation through Parliament can have a direct effect on the provision of services at local level. Therefore, we want to be able to see CSCI having a free hand to commission and produce reports on the matter.

Given the Minister's response to a similar amendment, no doubt the Government will not be enamoured by the proposal. Nevertheless, it is an important element in taking a strategic view of the whole of social care within the country—something which CSCI should be able to do and have the freedom to do.

Lord Turnberg: Having spent most of my life engaged in research, or encouraging it and the knowledge gained from it to underpin medical care, I am all for the idea that CSCI should base its ideas on research. Research is certainly needed in this area. However, I am not clear on whether CSCI will be in a good position to be able to do so.

I hope that this short debate will focus the attention of the Government on the need for research of which CSCI can take advantage and in which it can take an interest. I am not sure what the mechanism might be, but I do not believe that CSCI will be set up to undertake that role.

Baroness Howarth of Breckland: I believe that CSCI will have some of the best sets of data in the world, not only in Europe, because it will have full data on all the establishments throughout the country year on year. From that it will be able to deduce information on the way we are inspecting, what that inspection shows, and

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how the service can be improved. That will not exist for some years, but it will form the basis of good research in the long term.

Lord Warner: I am grateful for the intervention of the noble Baroness, Lady Howarth. Given her background, she indicates that a great deal of material will in time come forward through CSCI. I am also grateful for the gentle question from my noble friend Lord Turnberg. It is unnecessary to allow CSCI to conduct or commission research to develop and inform its own inspection methodologies because CSCI is already able to do that under Schedule 7, paragraph 2. That provision enables CSCI to,


    "do anything which appears to it to be necessary or expedient for the purpose of, or in connection with, the exercise of its functions".

It may be that the amendment is trying to take us down a road where CSCI's functions would be extended into the realm of best practice. If research were for that purpose, that would be inappropriate. The development of best practice is the proper role of the Social Care Institute for Excellence, as provided for in the Government's paper, Quality in Social Care: The National Institutional Framework, which was published in 2001. For those reasons, we believe that Amendment No. 340 is not appropriate.

The noble Baroness, Lady Barker, will be reassured by my consistency of approach in responding to Amendment No. 350, the practical effect of which would be to extend the functions and duplicate powers that CSCI already has. I suggest that it might also divert the inspectorate from its core task of monitoring the quality of both local authority social services and services regulated under the Care Standards Act 2000.

In my view, the amendment is unnecessary for a number of reasons. Under Clause 102, CSCI has a duty to keep the Secretary of State informed about the availability and quality of registered social care services and any other matter connected with the provision of such services under the Care Standards Act. If it was considered that the manner of regulation of the services was having an adverse effect on those services, it would report that to the Secretary of State.

As part of that duty, CSCI must report what it has found in the course of exercising its functions in the annual report to Parliament and the Secretary of State, which it is required to produce under Clause 127 of the Bill. I do not believe that the inspectorate—the noble Baroness may be unnecessarily pessimistic here—would ignore any evidence that its activity was having a detrimental effect on the quality, supply and cost of regulated services under the Care Standards Act. Indeed, CSCI would be in breach of its duty to keep the Secretary of State informed if it did not report such matters.

In view of that, it would be wrong to give CSCI a specific function of looking at the impact of regulation on regulated services. As I said, it is under a duty to do that in any event. Therefore, I do not believe that the amendment is appropriate.

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9.15 p.m.

Earl Howe: I am grateful to the Minister for pointing out that Schedule 7 permits CSCI to carry out research. The noble Baroness, Lady Howarth, is absolutely right: looking several years down the track, it will be in a prime position to do that kind of work. With that reassurance from the Minister, I believe there is little more that I need to say. However, because I very much respect the noble Lord, Lord Turnberg, and his views, at some point I should be glad of a conversation with him about why he has doubts on this matter. But, for now, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 76 agreed to.

Clause 77 [Annual reviews]:

[Amendments Nos. 341 to 344 not moved.]

Clause 77 agreed to.

Clause 78 [Other reviews and investigations]:

[Amendments Nos. 345 and 346 not moved.]

Clause 78 agreed to.

Clause 79 [Failings]:

[Amendments Nos. 347 and 348 not moved.]

Clause 79 agreed to.

[Amendment No. 349 not moved.]

Clause 80 [Studies as to economy, efficiency etc]:

[Amendment No. 350 not moved.]

Clause 80 agreed to.

Clause 81 [Joint working with Audit Commission]:


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