§ Mr. Wareing
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what additional financial assistance he plans to provide to(a) local authorities and (b) voluntary organisations in order to enable them to carry out their duties under the provisions of the Children Act 1989; and if he intends to review the situation.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
We have allowed for the full implementation of the Children Act in the local authority settlements for 1991–92 and 1992–93. Included in the latter is the introduction of a specific grant of £5.7 million to support expenditure of £8.1 million on the guardian ad litem and reporting officer service.
We discuss with the local authority associations new pressures on social services expenditure each year to inform the Government's decision on the settlement.
Voluntary organisations do not as such have duties under the Children Act except in relation to children looked after by them under section 61. This largely repeats their duties under section 64 of the Child Care Act 1980. Where voluntary organisations carry out duties on behalf of local authorities, such as under sections 17 and 47 of the Act, we would expect the authority to enter into a contract which sets out the financial basis upon which those duties are undertaken.
The Government also provide support to a wide range of voluntary organisations in the child care field under section 64 of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968.