Gordon Brown pledges legislation to strengthen children’s trusts

Prime minister Gordon Brown today issued plans to legislate to strengthen children’s’s trusts to enhance support for children with additional needs, as part of the draft Queen’s Speech.

The shift will be included in an Education and Skills Bill and comes with the Department for Children, Schools and Families consulting on strengthening children’s trusts, including by ensuring schools are more closely involved in arrangements to integrate services.

Today’s programme outlines the legislation the government intends to include in its 2008 Queen’s Speech, due this autumn.


The draft programme also includes a long-promised Equality Bill to streamline legislation on equality and diversity, which will include plans to make inequalities in public bodies and the services they run more transparent. There was no indication whether calls from Help the Aged to legislate to outlaw age discrimination in the provision of goods and services – including social care – would be heeded, however.

The government also promised to press ahead with its welfare reform agenda through legislation to increase “personal responsibility” among benefit recipients.

This will include plans to increase non-resident parents’ duties towards their children and job seekers’ responsibility to undergo training, alongside plans to “increase choice and control” for disabled people.

Coroners plans repeated

Like last year, the government has issued plans to reform the coroners system, as these were not included in the 2007 Queen’s Speech, to the disappointment of campaigners. The bill is designed to enhance coroners’ investigative powers and give bereaved families “accessible rights of appeal” against decisions.

A National Health Service Reform Bill will “enable and encourage” primary care trusts to be more responsive to their communities, while a Citizenship, Immigration and Borders Bill is designed to simplify existing legislation on immigration.

Meanwhile, a Community Empowerment, Housing and Economic Regeneration Bill is designed to give local people an increased influence over public services.

Workers’ rights

The government pledged to increase the rights of agency workers, in line with an EU directive, an issue it has been accused of dragging its feet over by trades unions. It also promised to extend the right to request flexible working to parents of older children.

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