§ Dame Joan Vickers
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why local authorities were advised of the new regulations in regard to child minders only 14 days before they were to become effective; what was the reason for these new regulations; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Ennals:
Amendments to the Nurseries and Child-Minders Regulation Act, 1948, are contained in Section 60 of the Health Services and Public Health Act, 1968, which received the Royal Assent on 26th July, 1968. Local authorities were advised of this and other provisions of the 1968 Act in Circular 31/68 on 22nd August, that is ten weeks before the Section was brought into operation on 1st November. It was more detailed guidance on the arrangements for registration and supervision of private nursery groups and on standards of accommodation and staffing that was issued to authorities on 18th October. The main object of the new provisions is to strengthen authorities' powers of registration and supervision so that they can remedy unsatisfactory standards of day care which some children have been receiving. The need to do this was urgent.