The Care Bill
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Clause 118 sought to apply the Human Rights Act to all regulated social care provision. It would have applied even where there is no public authority involvement in the social care, such as when it is provided via a contract organised directly by an individual with a private social care provider.

The Commons Committee considering the Care Bill has now voted to remove this clause. The Human Rights Act is about the relationship between individuals and public authorities. It is not intended to cover entirely private arrangements, where there is no state involvement. If the clause became law, it would be the first time the Human Rights Act extended into the purely private sphere, in this case the relationship between an individual and a private care provider. The existing regulatory system is designed specifically to ensure providers are accountable both to the taxpayer and to the individuals receiving care. Adding extra legal controls would bring confusion and cost rather than clarity. The Government therefore argued that the clause was inappropriate and unnecessary.

What we should be concentrating on, and what matters most, is preventing harm, abuse and neglect in the first place. I believe the Government is doing some very important work in this area. It is strengthening the Care Quality Commission's (CQCs) regulatory function. The new chief inspector of Adult Social Care will have widespread powers to take firm action on poor care and to hold both councils and providers to account for the quality of services.

The Care Bill will also give the CQC the power to publish performance ratings on the quality of social care provision, which will give the public a clear and simple way of determining which providers are offering the best services. The establishment in statute of adult safeguarding boards and the corporate accountability that we are bringing in with the fundamental standards of care, will all provide real protection for individuals.

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