HC Deb 18 November 1970 vol 806 cc445-6W
Mr. Judd

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will make a statement on further progress in the implementation of the Local Authorities Social Service Act.

Mr. Alison

Sections 1, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14 and 15 of the Act came into force on 1st September, 1970.

As local authorities were informed by circular on 10th August, 1970, Sections 2–8 (which relate to the establishment of a social services committee, the appointment of a director and connected matters) are to come into force on 1st January, 1971 for all local authorities except any who may satisfy the Secretary of State for Social Services that it is desirable in the interests of efficiency to postpone to a later date the coming into force of these sections in the area of that authority; a commencement order for this purpose will shortly be made. At the same time directions under Section 2(4) will be given, to the effect described in the circular, providing for certain functions of the local authority to stand referred to the health committee notwithstanding the establishment of a social services committee. The circular recommended authorities to consider selecting a director of social services in anticipation of the coming into force of Section 6, which will require them to appoint a director. Of the 175 authorities in England and Wales, 93 have selected a director and 50 others are known to be in process of doing so.

In the light of the observations which have been furnished in response to the circular by the councils of county districts where a delegation scheme is in operation, and by the county councils concerned, directions will shortly be given under Section 10(2) prescribing the period within which district councils, pursuant to the Act, are to make a further scheme revoking the delegation scheme so far as it relates to social services functions.

An order and regulations under Section 9(1) and 9(2) (which relate to the protection of the interests of staff) are in preparation in consultation with the appropriate organisations.

Section 11 will be brought into force when consultations regarding the composition of the Council for Education and Training in Social Work, which will require an Order-in-Council under the Health Visiting and Social Work (Training) Act, 1962, are complete.