Councils will be given powers to test GP-style social work practices for looked-after children in England and Wales under the Children in Care Bill unveiled by Prime Minister Gordon Brown today.
Other measures in the Bill include increasing schools’ capacity to address the needs of children in care and ensuring they do not move schools in Years 10 and 11 except in exceptional circumstances. The bill confirms the legislative proposals outlined in the recent Care Matters white paper.
In total there were 23 bills announced today, months ahead of the Queen’s Speech. Other key proposals included building 3 million new homes by 2020 and raising the minimum age at which young people can leave education or training to 18.
A Health and Social Care Bill consolidates plans to merge the Commission for Social Care Inspection with the Healthcare Commission into a body called Ofcare. The Bill summary text says this will operate with a “significantly lower budget than the existing bodies” and will be established in 2008.
Further details of the Bill are due to be set out shortly in the government’s response to the recent consultation ‘The future regulation of health and adult social care in England’.
Announcing the programme today, the prime minister said the Health and Social Care Bill would “create a stronger health and social care regulator, with a clear remit to improved access, clean and safe services and high quality care.”
His statement to parliament concluded: “Just as with the challenge of securing justice and security for all, the challenge for this government – and the foundation of our legislative programme – is to support all parents with children not just some; invest in the educational chances of all children not just some; offer more people the chance to get on the housing ladder; help more people into work; give all patients the best healthcare and, in this way, respond to the rising aspirations of the British people by ensuring that the opportunities which are today only available to some are available to all.”
You can sent comments on the draft programme or individual bills being proposed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Draft programme 2007/8
Funding fears for new joint regulator