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The government yesterday published its Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill, which aims to sweep away a mass of re...
The government yesterday published its Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill, which aims to sweep away a mass of red tape and controls, including obstacles to contracting out public services in local government, The Financial Times reports (p9).

As a result of the Bill, local authority officers would be able to pass their legal responsibilities on to contractors and also hand over confidential information to contractors.

The Independent reports (p10) that social services directors had expressed grave concern over another of the Bill's measures.

This would lift restrictions bannings councils from using care homes run by proprietors previously convicted of an offence under the Registered Homes Act 1984.

Currently councils cannot place people in such homes, whatever the magnitude of the offence committed, but in future they would be allowed to take the nature of the conviction into account.

The government said many of the offences were trivial, such as failing to correctly display a notice, but the Association of directors of Social Services said some people with a conviction should not be put in charge of vulnerable people.

Another of the Bill's measures was welcomed by social services directors, however: that to allow residential care homes or nursing homes in Scotland and Northern Ireland to accept residents placed there by councils in England and Wales.

Others among the Bill's 78 measures include one to abolish market charters, attacked yesterday by Labour and the AMA; and ones to release local authorities from the responsibility of supervising slaughterhouses; and legally redefine 'waste'.

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