§ Mr. Patchett
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities are delivering care in their communities; and what further measures he is taking to improve co-ordination between all the various agencies involved.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
The White Paper "Caring for People", the proposals of which are currently before the House in the NHS and Community Care Bill, made it clear that local authorities will have to draw up and publish plans for community care services. Those plans will have to be open to inspection by the social services inspectorate. Directions and guidance concerning personal social services will be issued to local authorities to help ensure the proper delivery of community care.389W
In drawing up their plans for community care, local authorities will be required to consult health authorities and other interested agencies. In the case of services for mentally ill people co-ordination between the local authority and the health authority will be encouraged by the payment of a specific grant for the social care of such people. This grant will be payable through regional health authorities as the agents for the Secretary of State for Health on the basis of plans for the development of social care agreed between social services authorities and the matching district health authorities.