§ SIR W. J. COLLINS (St. Pancras, W.)
To ask the President of the Local Government Board, whether he is aware that, by general orders of 31st October, 1874, the Local Government Board prescribed it as the duty of the guardians of the poor 1046 to give directions to their vaccination officers to take proceedings in cases in which the proceedings of the Vaccination Act of 1867 had not been complied with, and that in July, 1875, the Local Government Board obtained a mandamus to compel the guardians of the Keighley union to give directions to their vaccination officer; and that in consequence of their default the guardians of that union suffered imprisonment; whether, seeing that Lord Herschell's Commission on Vaccination reported in 1896 that it is the duty of the guardians to put the law in regard to vaccination in operation, he will say whether the powers and duties of guardians in regard to such prosecutions under Sections 29 and 31 of the Act of 1867 have since been altered by statute; and, if not, whether the powers of the guardians in directing their officers in instituting proceedings under the Vaccination Acts are the same now as they were held to be in 1875 and in 1896.
(Answered by Mr. John Burns.) I am aware of the facts referred to in the Question. Some limitations were placed by Sections 2, 3 and 4 of The Vaccination Act, 1898, on the cases in which prosecutions could be instituted under Sections 29 and 31 of The Vaccination Act, 1867, but, subject to this, there has been no statutory provision since 1896 which would affect the powers and duties of guardians in regard to prosecutions under those sections. Since that date, however, the Courts of Law have decided that it is the duty of the vaccination officer to institute these prosecutions without any directions from the guardians. When in 1898 the Order of 1874 mentioned by my hon. friend was rescinded, the provision which it contained as to directions by the guardians in cases of this kind was not inserted in the Order which took its place. That Order provided, however, that the guardians should from time to time ascertain whether the vaccination officer was performing the duties imposed on him by the Vaccination Acts of enforcing the provisions of those Acts and the duties imposed on him by the Order, and should require the due performance by him of such duties.