HC Deb 07 May 1962 vol 659 cc168-71

Amendments made: In page 7, line 29, leave out "Health Visitors Training Council" and insert: Council for the Training of Health Visitors".

In line 30, leave out "Social Workers Training Council" and insert: Council for Training in Social Work".

In line 31, leave out "Health Visitors Training Council" and insert: Council for the Training of Health Visitors".

In line 33, leave out "Social Workers Training Council" and insert: Council for Training in Social Work".—[Mr. Powell.]

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith)

I beg to move, in page 7, line 34, to leave out from second "and" to the end of line 36 and to insert: each of the members of each Committee shall hold office in accordance with the terms of his appointment. 3. Each of the members of each Committee shall hold office for a term not exceeding three years. 4. A person who is or has been a member of either Committee shall be eligible for appointment as a member of that Committee. This Amendment meets the substance of one put down in Committee by the hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) and some of her hon. Friends. The effect of the Amendment is that members, including the chairmen, of the two Scottish advisory committees will be appointed for up to three years, with eligibility for reappointment as chairman or member. This replaces the existing provision that the members of each committee should hold and vacate office in accordance with directions of the Secretary of State. The Amendment makes explicit what has been throughout the intention. As the House knows, the period of appointment to the main training councils is three years and since six members of each of the Scottish advisory committees, including the chairmen, are to be appointed from the councils, the same period of appointment will normally—so as to have good liaison—be appropriate.

The close link between the training councils and the advisory committees is also the reason for making the appointments to the Committees for a period not exceeding three years instead of a fixed period of three years. The Amendment has been deliberately worded to make it possible for members of the training councils to be appointed to the advisory committees for such a time, being less than three years, as they remain members of the relevant training council. This avoids the possibility of the advisory committees ceasing to be representative of the important interests, such as local authority associations, which are to be represented on the training councils.

If, for example, one of the Scottish members of a training council retires before the end of his period of office, his successor will serve on the training council for the remainder of his predecessor's term of office and also serve on the Scottish advisory committee for the same period. Thus continuous liaison will be maintained between the training councils and the Scottish advisory committees. I think that this close liaison is something which everyone desires.

Miss Herbison

As the Minister said, this Amendment meets an Amendment we put forward in Committee. May I give a word of welcome to the Under-Secretary on his appearance at this very late stage of discussion of the Bill? I hope that the absence of a Scottish Minister representing the Health Department during all the previous part of the discussion does not mean that there is not in the Department a very great desire to ensure that this Bill will function well.

Those of us interested in these matters consider that it is of the greatest importance that these advisory committees in Scotland will, in the first instance, be well chosen and that they will be able to represent to the council points which are of importance for Scotland. The Minister will be aware that in some of these matters of social work we are sometimes behind places in England. I welcome this Bill very greatly. I am glad that the Minister found it possible to meet us on this Amendment. Again I stress, although I know that he is not very pleased about it, that his late appearance in discussions on this Bill does not mean that there is not the very great interest in the Department which we feel it ought to have.

Mr. Galbraith

If I may speak again by leave of the House, I think I must reply to the hon. Lady's criticism. She ought to know the constitutional position quite well. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is responsible for health matters in Scotland, and he can choose any of his Under-Secretaries of State to deputise for him. The fact that I was not present during the Committee stage of the Bill does not mean that my right hon. Friend is not as interested in this matter as is the hon. Lady.

Miss Herbison

May I speak again by leave of the House? I am sorry that the Under-Secretary of State has once again lost his temper. I am sorry that it should happen at the end of the Bill when throughout the whole of the proceedings on it we have been trying to do something worth while in social service. The hon. Member knows very well that there are certain Under-Secretaries of State who are responsible for certain matters and that he is responsible for matters of health.

Amendment agreed to.

Forward to