Pre-legislative scrutiny of the Care Bill

29 November 2012–7 March 2013

The joint committee on the Draft Care and Support Bill carried out pre-legislative scrutiny from 29 November 2012–7 March 2013 and published its final report on 19 March 2013. The joint committee invited interested organisations and individuals to send written submissions as part of the inquiry.

Partway through the pre-legislative scrutiny process, the government announced that the main recommendations of the Dilnot Commission would be implemented through amendments to the draft bill. As such, the joint committee was unable to consider these provisions.

Recommendations

While the joint committee welcomed the bill, its final report identified several risks, gaps and areas for improvement. One such risk was the lack of awareness among the general public about the scope and costs of social care provision, and the committee suggested the government should launch an information-raising campaign. The committee also suggested that the government had not adequately assessed the financial impact of the bill.

The joint committee made recommendations on technical drafting issues, as well as broader policy or implementation issues. It made the following recommendations to government:

  • local authorities should be provided with guidance to explicitly outline what types of unacceptable commissioning practices should be avoided (for example, commissioning services by the minute)
  • local authority responsibilities should be made more explicit regarding adult safeguarding and providers be subject to the Human Rights Act 1998
  • housing should be a key consideration in planning and delivering care and support
  • the secretary of state should be able to mandate joint budgets and commissioning in some circumstances
  • the rights of young carers should be reviewed to ensure they would not have a lesser status compared to adult carers
  • where an employee has committed an offence relating to abuse or neglect (and this has been proved to have been undertaken with the consent of, or attributable to, neglect of a directors, managers and other similar people) there should be corporate criminal responsibility (both at an organisational level and at the manager/director level)
  • Health Education England's duties should be strengthened to enable the integration of health and social care through ensuring common training of care staff who switch between the two sectors.

In response to the committee, the Department of Health published The Care Bill explained - including a response to consultation and pre-legislative scrutiny on the Draft Care and Support Bill in May 2013.

Government response

The government responded to each of the 107 recommendations made by the joint committee on the Draft Care and Support Bill, which conducted the bill's pre-legislative scrutiny.

The government accepted and agreed with many of the recommendations, but rejected:

  • calls for a new duty on the secretary of state to have regard to the local authority duty to promote individual wellbeing when making regulations concerning eligibility
  • the suggestion that there should be a power to mandate joint commissioning and joint budgets for prescribed groups of people or services
  • the recommendation to establish an independent adjudicator to consider disputes between local authorities and providers over the cost of care
  • the recommendation to prescribe a mechanism to measure the quality of provision.
     
Source(s)

Joint Committee on the Draft Care and Support Bill.
Joint select committee - have your say on the Draft Care and Support Bill.
UK Parliament; 2012.

Joint Committee on the Draft Care and Support Bill.
Joint committee on the Draft Care and Support Bill - report.
UK Parliament; 2013.

Department of Health.
The Care Bill explained - including a response to consultation and pre-legislative scrutiny on the Draft Care and Support Bill.
HMSO; 2013.