HC Deb 09 June 1981 vol 6 c260
15. Mr. Foulkes

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to introduce his consultative proposals on the registration and inspection of private and voluntary homes for the elderly.

Sir George Young

We hope to issue them before the House adjourns for the Summer Recess.

Mr. Foulkes

Is the Minister aware that legislation was foreshadowed as long ago as December 1979 and that in November last year the proposals were said by the Minister to be under consideration? Meanwhile, many vulnerable old people are suffering in rogue private homes. When can we expect some action to strengthen the position of those clients and residents in old people's homes?

Sir George Young

As I said we shall issue the consultation document before the Summer Recess. As a result of the consultation process, the need for legislation should become clearer. One must strike a balance between protecting vulnerable people, which every hon. Member would like to do, and too legalistic and rigid a system which would deter people from providing such services and which registration authorities might be unable to operate.

Mr. Rees-Davies

When my hon. Friend is considering inspection and registration, will he take into account the criteria that are to be laid down regarding the standards that are to be maintained in those homes for the elderly? There is a great variation between the standards in different parts of the country. We should like to understand precisely what the Government have in mind in that regard.

Sir George Young

My hon. and learned Friend is right. That is one of the matters that will be clarified during consultation.