27 Nov Lords defeat controversial exemption clause in Children’s and Social Work Bill
As it passed through the House of Lords, you may have been following the controversial clause that grants exemptions from statutory duties in the Children’s and Social Work Bill.
Clause 29 allows local councils to ask the Secretary of State to be excused from any of their legal duties in children’s social care legislation, dating back to 1933, for up to six years. Ministers would exempt councils from children’s social care legislation ‘in order to achieve better outcomes, or achieve the same outcomes more efficiently.’
With no evidence that exemptions from primary legislation are preventing innovation by local authorities currently, those who specialise in working with looked after children in the sector expressed their deep concerns.
It has been a heavily debated topic with over 105,000 people signing a petition to support the removal of Clause 29 from the Bill. Finally, on 8th November 245 peers voted in support of Lord Ramsbotham’s amendment to delete the clause from the Bill – a winning majority. When the Bill enters the Commons, Ministers may reinsert the Clause – but for now it’s heading in the right direction.