Queen’s Speech: Bills affecting social care

The Bills presented to Parliament in the Queen’s Speech, which affect the social care sector:

Child Poverty Bill

  • Will enshrine in law the government’s commitment to eradicate child poverty by 2020.
  • The government said the Bill will “give our commitment a new impetus” to ensure a focus on ending child poverty for the long-term.

Children, Skills and Learning Bill

  • Will place a duty on local authorities with juvenile secure establishments in their area to secure appropriate education provision for young offenders in them. This is designed to bring provision for young offenders into line with the mainstream.
  • Responsibility for funding and organisation of 16-19 learning will be transferred from the Learning and Skills Council to local authorities which will then be a single point of accountability for all 0-19 children’s services.
  • Children’s trusts, which bring together key agencies in co-operation to improve children’s wellbeing through integrated services, will be strengthened by establishing children’s trusts boards as statutory bodies.
  • Boards will be responsible for producing and delivering on the local children and young people’s plan, which is currently the responsibility of local authorities alone.
  • Schools and colleges will become statutory partners on children’s trust boards.
  • Sure Start Children Centres will become statutory bodies and local authorities will be required to establish and maintain sufficient SSCCs in their area to meet local need.

Coroners and Justice Bill

  • Will give vulnerable and intimidated witnesses, including those of gun and gang related violence, protection right from the early stages of the criminal justice process by re-enacting the provisions of the emergency Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Act 2008, which allowed witnesses to remain anonymous in criminal proceedings, and introducing a new investigative witness anonymity order to protect witnesses to gang-related homicides.
  • Will establish a new Sentencing Council for England and Wales, which will produce comprehensive guidelines for sentencers, enhancing consistency of sentencing.

Equality Bill

  • Will put age discrimination on a level with race, gender and disabilities discrimination, including through a ban on ageism in the provision of goods and services.
  • The duties on public bodies to promote disability, gender and race equality will be rolled into a single duty, which will be extended to age, belief and sexual orientation.
  • The Bill will also require public bodies to give due regard to the need to tackle discrimination and promote equality through their purchasing functions.
  • Will simplify the definition of disability to make it easier for people to prove they are disabled.
  • Will simplify the definition of discrimination by providing one definition for areas beyond employment.
  • Will ban direct discrimination against disabled people in the provision of goods, services and facilities.
  • Service providers will have to consider making a reasonable adjustment if it results in “substantial disadvantage” to a disabled person, rather than the higher threshold of when disabled people would find it “impossible or unreasonably difficult” to access the service.

Health Bill

  • Will introduce direct payments for health services.
  • Will extend the remit of the local government ombudsman to handling complaints from people who arrange their own adult social care services.

Policing and Crime Bill

  • Will protect vulnerable groups, particularly women and children, by tackling demand for prostitution and strengthening arrangements around sex offender prevention orders and foreign travel orders.
  • Will tighten controls around lap dancing clubs and the misuse of alcohol, including the sale of alcohol, to crack down on binge drinking.

Savings Gateway Accounts Bill

  • Will create a new national scheme to promote saving by offering incentives to save to around eight million people on lower incomes, enabling them to plan for the future and cope with financial pressure, and to promote financial inclusion by encouraging people to engage with financial institutions such as banks, building societies and credit unions.

Welfare Reform Bill

  • The government claims it will provide greater choice and control for disabled people and encourage independence and personal responsibility.
  • Will abolish income support and move all customers on to either jobseeker’s allowance, for those who are well, or employment and support allowance, for those who are sick.
  • Will apply a regime of benefit sanctions for non-attendance at job centres.

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