§ Mr. Truswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 20 October 2003,Official Report, column 463W, on housing benefit, whether (a) his Department has responsibility for the implementation of the Care Standards Act 2000, (b) his Department has responsibility for the National Care Standards Commission that inspects and registers accommodation under the Care Standards Act 2000, (c) the form of registration applied under the Act has a direct bearing on whether residents are eligible for housing benefit and (d) his Department will liaise with the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that people with learning disabilities capable of holding individual tenancies do not lose their entitlement to housing benefit as a result of the registration process. 
§ Dr. Ladyman
The Department has responsibility for the implementation of the Care Standards Act 2000.
There was no intention through the Care Standards Act 2000 to widen the scope of regulation to new types of accommodation that had not previously been required to register as care homes under the Registered Homes Act 1984. Supported housing type establishments which did not need to register as care homes under the previous regulatory arrangements should not, therefore, need to register now.
The National Care Standards Commission (NCSC) was established under the Act as part of the Government's reforms to modernise the regulatory system for care services and independent healthcare. The NCSC is an independent, non-departmental public body, acting at arm's length from the Department. It regulates statutory and independent sector care services in accordance with the regulations and national minimum standards that flow from the Care Standards Act, to ensure consistency and improve the quality of life and level of protection of some of the most vulnerable people in society.
The interpretation and implementation of the regulations and standards is a matter for the NCSC, as the independent regulator, based on appropriate legal advice. It is for the NCSC, as the regulator, to satisfy itself that care home providers have complied with the regulations to ensure that care home residents' health, welfare and well-being are being protected. Providers have a right of appeal to the independent Care Standards Tribunal against the decisions of the regulator.
It is, therefore, for the NCSC to decide whether a particular establishment needs to register as a care home. Statutory guidance was issued to the NCSC in 223W August 2002, explaining in broad terms where registration as a care home is required and how to distinguish care homes from supported housing of various kinds. Providers have a right of appeal to the Care Standards Tribunal against the decisions of the NCSC.
The Department of Work and Pensions has overall responsibility for the scope and structure of the housing benefit scheme. I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Mr. Pond), gave to him on 21 October 2003, Official Report, column 512W. We are aware that, in some cases, problems have arisen at a local level. The Department is liaising with the Department of Work and Pensions about these cases.