§ Jacqui Smith
[holding answer 27 November 2001]: I have met and corresponded with representatives of the independent care home sector on a number of occasions to discuss matters of mutual concern, and have had similar discussions with hon. Members.
We are committed to working with the independent care home sector to make sure that we use capacity and resources to achieve the best possible outcomes for service users and their carers. To this end, I chair a strategic commissioning group to give greater direction to the commissioning of care services, in particular those for older people. Membership of the group includes representatives of the independent care home sector. Recently the group published an agreement—"Building Capacity and Partnership in Care"—that focuses on councils and independent sector providers entering into long-term agreements about placing people into care homes or giving them other forms of support.
§ Mr. Kidney
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportions of the provision of residential and nursing home bed spaces are(a) public sector and (b) private sector in (i) England and (ii) Staffordshire. 
§ Jacqui Smith
The table shows the percentage of places in residential care homes that are in the public and private sector as at 31 March 2001. All of the registered nursing beds in nursing homes, private hospitals and clinics are in the private sector (186,800 in homes in England and 5,200 in the health authorities of north and south Staffordshire).
As at 31 March 2001 Rounded numbers and percentages England Staffordshire1 Total places in residential care homes 341,200 6,800 Public sector2 (percentage) 15 26 Private sector3 (percentage) 85 74 1 Information presented for Staffordshire shire county and Stoke-on-Trent unitary authority. These areas equate to the health authorities of north and south Staffordshire. 2 Residential places in local authority staffed homes 3 Residential places in voluntary, private, small homes (with less than four places), including dual registered homes