§ Mr. David Nicholson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many meetings his Department, at ministerial or official level, has had with the Carers National Association since 1 January 1995 regarding the drafting and implementation of the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Bowis
We have had several meetings with the Carers National Association since January last year to discuss the legislation, and it was involved in the preparation of the policy guidance and practice guide. We regularly meet CNA—and other organisations—to discuss a variety of issues, including new legislation.
§ Mr. Nicholson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he has taken to assist local authorities to implement the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995; and what extra funds have been provided for this purpose(a) in England and (b) in each county in the south West. 
§ Mr. Bowis
In February this year, we issued the carers (recognition and services) policy guidance and practice guide to all local authorities. Draft versions of the guidance were issued for consultation in October last year—some six months before the Act came into force. The Act enshrines in law principles of good practice which we recommended in previous guidance issued at the time of the implementation of the community care reforms. Examples of good practice on carers are described in the social service inspectorate reports published in 1995: notably "Caring Today" and "What Next for Carers?".
The Act should not involve significant extra costs. It enshrines in statute many of the principles of good practice which we had recommended local authorities follow.