§ 95 Clause 68, page 33, line 16, leave out ("the proximity or) and insert ("regular contact with")
§ 11.45 p.m.
§ Lord Bach
My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 95. I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 96 to 137, 208 to 211 and 213–49 amendments in all.
These amendments were made to Part V in Schedule 2 to the Bill as it left this House. They are concerned with the regulation of day care and child minding. Your Lordships will be pleased to hear that I do not intend to detain the House for too long—indeed, for any time at all—in dealing with this group of amendments. They are all technical or minor. None alters to any great degree the provisions considered by this House. They were made simply with the intention of refining various provisions within Part V.
Several of the amendments simply extend to Wales provisions which were to apply in England. They are Amendments Nos. 109, 123, 124, 126 to 128 and 132 to 135. The remaining amendments are minor or technical in nature. Their general purpose was: first, to provide increased protection for children, for example, by strengthening the provisions which test the suitability of people on the premises; secondly, to enable the chief inspector and the Assembly to fulfil their role as regulator more effectively, for example, by 970 giving them the ability to take away evidence that they may come across while on a provider's premises; and, thirdly, to offer improvements for providers, for example, by extending the circumstances in which registration cannot be cancelled before the provider has had time to take appropriate action.
Amendments Nos. 96, 125, 137 and 212 are purely technical.
I am sure that your Lordships will agree that these amendments, although minor, are beneficial. They improve Part V of the Bill. I commend them to the House. If noble Lords want details of any particular amendment, I shall be happy to oblige.
Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 95.—(Lord Bach.)
§ Lord Clement-Jones
My Lords, the Minister's brief introduction of these amendments is commendable, but I do not wish to detain the House for very long on these technical amendments. I regret to some extent that we did not examine in more detail the provisions transferring responsibility for registration of childminders to Ofsted when they came before this House, but the separate provisions for Wales are different, as Ministers have pointed out throughout, and that raises the issue of why in England there cannot be the option of considering a different system in future. No doubt Ministers will understand that there are considerable doubts about the wisdom of transferring this responsibility to Ofsted. In the other place, there were lengthy debates on the subject. But it is odd that there should potentially be two very different systems at play in the two jurisdictions.
Lord Bach: My Lords, the Government gave considerable thought to who would best operate these procedures. We have come to the view that we have. We believe that we shall be proved right.
On Question, Motion agreed to.