HC Deb 29 July 1879 vol 248 cc1526-7

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether he is aware of the large number of persons, consisting of batches of from forty to seventy at a time, against whom, in some cases previous convictions have been recorded, proceedings have lately been taken in the Dewsbury Union for not having had their children vaccinated; whether such proceedings are not contrary to the spirit of the instructions of the Local Government Board in the Letter of the 17th September 1875 to the Guardians of the Evesham Union, and in defiance also of a Resolution in the Minute Book of the Dewsbury Guardians; and, whether he will consider if the system of paying the vaccination officers by fees ought not to be put an end to, as affording undue encouragement to legal proceedings?


Sir, I am aware that proceedings have been taken lately against a large number of persons in the Dewsbury Union for neglecting to cause their children to be vaccinated, and I fear they may have been encouraged in that course by those who are intrusted with the administration of the law. Proceedings are taken under three heads—1st, for a penalty for neglect to have the child vaccinated; 2nd, there may be a summons to show cause why an order should not be made for the vaccination; and, 3rd, there may be a summons for a penalty for non-compliance with the order. The vaccination officer has written to me, stating that in no single instance has he taken proceedings under the third head against a defaulter previously convicted under the first. That being so, his conduct has not been contrary to the instructions of the Local Government Board, nor to the spirit of the letter to the Evesham Guardians. No doubt, it is contrary to the resolution of the Dewsbury Guardians; but that resolution, as they have been informed, is illegal, and, in fact, a nullity. There seems to me no ground for putting an end to the system of payment of the vaccination officer by fees, which has been generally adopted and works well; nor is it found to encourage prosecutions. The fees are not regulated by the number of prosecutions, but by the number of cases of successful vaccination.