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The Health and Personal Social Services (Quality, Improvement and Regulation) (2003 Order) (Commencement No. 3 & Transitional Provisions) Order (Northern Ireland) 2005

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Explanatory Note

(This note is not part of the Order.)

This Order brings into operation on 1st April 2005, further provisions of the Health and Personal Social Services (Quality, Improvement and Regulation) (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 (“the 2003 Order”).

Regulation 2 and Schedule 1 set out the provisions of the 2003 Order which are to come into operation on 1st April 2005. Regulation 3 and Schedule 2 set out the provisions of the Order which are to come into operation on 1st March 2005 for purposes of exercising powers to make regulations.

The commencement of these Articles includes a duty on the Regulation and Improvement Authority to keep the Department informed about the provision of services, including their availability and quality and to encourage improvement in the quality of services (Article 4) and advice to the Department on standards and provision of these services (Article 5). The Regulation and Improvement Authority is required to produce an annual report to the Department (Article 7). This Order commences provision of powers to the Regulation and Improvement Authority from 1st April 2005 for regulation (Articles 8, 9, 10 and 11 and 23) and registration (Articles 12 to 21) of children’s homes; independent clinics; independent hospitals; nursing homes; residential care homes; independent medical agencies and nursing agencies (Articles 8, 9, 10 and 11 and Article 23) and right of appeal to, and provision for the Care Tribunal (Articles 22, 44 and Schedule 2).

Provision for offences and proceedings (Articles 24 to 29) are also commenced, including the taking into account of minimum standards in the making of any decision by the Regulation and Improvement Authority to cancel registration, in proceedings on appeal and in any proceedings for an offence (Article 38 (4)).

Power is provided to issue Improvement Notices to persons registered under Part III of the Order, HSS Boards or Trusts or special agencies (Article 39), and power to require information and power of inspection (Articles 40, 41, 42) are commenced.

Articles 4 to 13 of this Order contain transitional arrangements. Article 4 provides for certain persons carrying on or managing existing establishments or agencies, which are either registered under the pre-commencement statutory regime or which are inspected as if that regime applied, to be treated as already registered under Part III of the Order. Article 6 provides for the period of deeming to apply for six months and, where the person carrying on or managing the establishment or agency has applied to the Regulation and Improvement Authority within that period for registration under the 2003 Order, a further six months. Under Article 7, where a person is deemed to be registered under the 2003 Order by virtue of this Order, any existing certificate of registration, notice or licence is to be treated as if it were issued under Article 14 of the Order. Where there is no certificate, notice or licence, the requirement to display is disapplied until a certificate notice or licence is issued. Where a service is deemed to have been registered by virtue of this Order, Article 8 provides that any existing conditions of registration are treated as if they were agreed conditions of registration under the 2003 Order. Articles 9 to 12 deal with the situation where the person carrying on an establishment or agency is deemed to be registered under the 2003 Order but the original registration or licence has proposed to cancel the registration or to impose or vary a condition of registration. In such cases the pre-commencement law is preserved for purposes of determining whether proposed action is to be taken and, where it is, the outcome is to be treated as if it had been reached by the Regulation and Improvement Authority under the 2003 Order. Article 13 preserves the pre-commencement law for purposes of determining applications for registration under the law which have not been dealt with before 1st April 2005. Once determined by the original registration or licensing authority, the result is to be treated as if the decision had been made by the Regulation and Improvement Authority.

Schedule 1 of this Order commences amendments in Schedule 4 of the 2003 Order, not previously commenced in the earlier Commencement Orders with the exception of certain amendments to The Adoption (Northern Ireland) Order 1987, the Adoption (Intercountry Aspects) Act (Northern Ireland) 2001 and the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995, which are to be commenced at a later date.

Schedule 2 of this Order commences the repeals in Schedule 5 of the 2003 Order, with the exception of repeals to the Adoption (Northern Ireland) Order 1987 and the Adoption (Intercountry Aspects) Act (Northern Ireland) 2001 which are to be repealed at a later date.

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