§ Mr. Burstow
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the standards governing the delivery of domiciliary care for the elderly and the arrangements for monitoring compliance with them. 
§ Dr. Ladyman
Regulations and National Minimum Standards governing domiciliary care were published in January 2003, to come into force from 1 April 2003. Their content followed wide consultation with groups representing service users, care providers, and local authorities. I am satisfied that they support good, professional practice.
The National Care Standards Commission (NCSC) is an independent inspection body. Its role is to ensure compliance with the regulations as part of the conditions for registration of domiciliary care agencies. From 1 April 2004, the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) will take over this role. I am satisfied that the NCSC currently, and the CSCI from April 2004. have the powers they need to monitor compliance and to raise standards.