§ Mr. Burstow
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the lack of a statutory obligation on private care homes to protect older people from abuses under the Human Rights Act 1998. 
§ Jacqui Smith
A person in need of residential care is entitled to an assessment of their needs by the local authority. The local authority must then go on to decide whether it will provide the necessary services. If the authority decides to provide services it will then go on to arrange these services, probably through a private provider. The local authority nonetheless retains a role and remains responsible for ensuring that the person is receiving the services he needs and for ensuring that the private provider is providing the services contracted for. As caselaw makes clear, in exercising its duties in respect of a person, the local authority remains accountable under the Human Rights Act 1998.
The National Care Standards Commission (NCSC) also has an important role in ensuring the welfare of older people in care homes. The NCSC is responsible for regulating all care homes in England in accordance with statutory regulations and national minimum standards. The standards are designed to ensure that poor standards in care homes are a thing of the past and to tackle the problems of abuse and neglect that sadly still exists in some care homes today.