§ The local authority are hereby empowered, and it shall be their duty, subject to the provisions of this Act and to regulations made by the Secretary of State—
- (a) to ascertain what persons within their area are defectives subject to be dealt with under this Act otherwise than at the instance of their parents or guardians;
- (b) to provide suitable supervision for such persons, or if such supervision affords insufficient protection, to take steps for securing that they shall be dealt with by being sent to institutions or placed under guardianship in accordance with this Act;
- (c) to provide suitable and sufficient accommodation for such persons when sent to certified institutions by orders under this Act, and for their maintenance therein, and for the conveyance of such persons to and from such institutions;
- (d) to make provision for the guardianship of such person when placed under guardianship by orders under this Act;
- (e) if they think fit, to maintain in an institution or approved home or contribute towards the expenses of maintenance in an institution or approved home or the expenses of guardianship of a defective;
- (f) if they think fit to provide for the burial of such persons dying in an institution or when placed under guardianship in accordance with this Act;
- (g) to appoint or employ sufficient officers and other persons to assist them in the performance of their duties under this Act;
- (h) to make to the Board annual reports and such other reports as the Board may require;
§ Provided that—
- (i) nothing in this Act shall be construed as imposing any obligation on a local authority to perform the duties mentioned in paragraphs (b), (c), (d), and (g) aforesaid where the contribution out of moneys provided by Parliament under this Act towards the cost on income account of performing such duties is less than one half of the net amount (as approved by the Board) of such cost;
- (ii) nothing in this Act shall affect the powers and duties of poor law authorities under the Acts relating to the relief of the poor, with respect to any defectives who may be dealt with under those Acts; nor the right of poor law authorities to receive the same grant for a defective who has been, or may be, sent to an institution, that they would have received if the Idiots Act had not been repealed; nor shall local authorities under this Act have any duties with respect to defectives who for the time being are being provided for by such authorities as aforesaid, except to such extent as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State with the concurrence of the Local Government Board;
- (iii) nothing in this Act shall affect the powers and duties of local authorities under the Lunacy Acts, 1890 to 1911, with respect to any defectives who may be dealt with under those Acts, nor shall local authorities under this Act have any duties or powers with respect to defectives who for the time being are, or who might be, provided for by such authorities as aforesaid except to such extent as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State with the concurrence of the Lord Chancellor;
- (iv) nothing in this Act shall affect the duties or powers of local education authorities under the Education Acts; and the duty of ascertaining what children over the age of seven and under the age of sixteen (hereinafter referred to as defective children) are defectives shall rest with the local education authority as hereinafter provided and not with the local authority under this Act; and such last mentioned authorities shall have no duties as respects defective children, except those whose names and addresses have been notified to them by the local education authority under the provisions of this Act.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I beg to move to leave out paragraph (a).
This Clause deals with the powers and duties of the local authorities and paragraph (a) deals with a particular power which I object to very much. It is generally accepted, but to me it seems to require some discussion. Under it, a black list could be drawn up by these local authorities of all persons mentally defective within their areas, "to ascertain what persons within their area are defectives"—
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
"subject to be dealt with under this Act otherwise than at the instance of their parents or guardians." It is undesirable that our local authorities should be in a position to draw up lists, and I suppose to inspect houses to see whether any of the family are mentally defective. It strikes me that that is about the limit in the course of interference with individual liberty of the working classes in their homes. If you are going to allow parents to be visited at any time by inspectors of this authority, in order to see whether any of their children are mentally defective, I think Members of Parliament are likely to hear of it when next they go to their constituencies. The local authority, of course, normally get information as to the mentally defective in their area in two ways. In the first place, they will get information from the Poor Law guardians, of these people in the Poor Law institutions and the workhouses. Then, secondly, they will get information from the local education authority, as to the children who are in: the schools between the age of seven and sixteen. All this class, who are older than sixteen or under seven, and the class also—if they are intended to be dealt with—who do not send their children to the national or elementary schools at all, but are two well-off to do so, will have to be looked through and hunted for by the officials of the authority in their efforts to discover which of them are mentally defective, if they carry out the duties provided under this paragraph. It seems to me that the paragraph is entirely unnecessary, and that they can carry on their duties quite well without it being there at all. Information will be supplied to them, in the case of school children, between seven and sixteen, surely they can dispense with discovering all those mental defectives above the age of sixteen and below the age of seven. Let the in- 464 formation come from the local education authority, and then you will not have all this inspection and interference. That is quite sufficient for the purpose of this Bill.
§ Amendment not seconded.
§ Mr. GOLDSMITH
I beg to move, in paragraph (b), to leave out the words "to provide suitable provision for such persons, or, if such supervision affords insufficient protection to."
I wish to move that the first two lines of this paragraph be omitted. There is nothing in the Bill to indicate what is meant by "supervision" or what steps the local authority must take to comply with this special paragraph. The duty of exercising such supervision might be of very great dimensions, and it ought to be clearly stated in the Bill what is meant by "supervision." We know that local authorities under the Bill have got to provide institutions and also that they can place defectives under guardianship. But the word "supervision" is not mentioned in any other Clause but this. Local authorities are very strogly of opinion that it ought to be stated here in the Bill, and that they ought not to be left to the mercy of regulations made by the Home Office.
§ Mr. McKENNA
These are words intended to carry out one of the very objects which the hon. Member who opposes this Bill has on every other occasion declared himself most anxious to see the Bill define. This is part of the voluntary work of supervision of defectives carried out by well-known care committees who, if they are successful in looking out for defectives voluntarily, will not throw on local authorities any of the other duties under this Bill. I regret that this Amendment is proposed by the hon. Member opposite and seconded by my hon. Friend, who has spoken in favour of this proposal in the Bill again and again.
§ Mr. GOLDSMITH
I am not objecting to provision being made by local care committees. This is not a duty imposed on voluntary committees, but a duty imposed on local authorities, and we want to know what is meant by supervision by local 465 authorities. The right hon. Gentleman has not met my point at all.
§ Amendment put, and negatived.
§ Mr. GOLDSMITH
had an Amendment on the Paper to leave out paragraph (i), and to insert instead thereof:—
(i) Nothing in this Act shall be construed as—
- (a) imposing any obligation on a local authority to perform any duties arising by reason of an order under Section eight or Section nine of this Act unless the whole of the net amount (as approved by the Board) of the cost on income account of performing such duties is contributed out of moneys provided by Parliament; or
- (b) imposing any obligation on a local authority to perform any other duties or enabling such authority to exercise any powers under this Act where the contribution out of moneys provided by Parliament under this Act towards the cost on income account of performing such duties or exercising such powers is less than one-half of the net amount (as approved by the Board) of such cost.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Maclean)
This Amendment does not appear to be in order. It seems to mate a public charge.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
I beg to move in paragraph (ii), after the word "Act" ["if the Idiots Act"], to insert the figures "1886."
§ Amendment put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I beg to move to add the following new paragraph:—(v) Nothing in this Act shall be construed as imposing any obligation upon a local authority to provide accommodation or treatment for defectives of criminal, dangerous, or violent propensities.It seems to me that among these provisos which safeguard the local authorities there is none to safeguard them against the danger of having handed over to them by the Secretary of State from the prisons some of those defectives who are of 466 criminal, dangerous, or violent propensities. I do not suppose the local authorities will have any of those people handed over to them, but, at the same time, it is just as well the local authorities should have some safeguard against those risks. I hope we shall have some explanation, but of course if I cannot get a Seconder, there will be none.
§ Mr. GOLDSMITH
I have much pleasure in seconding the Amendment. I was going to raise very nearly the same point upon the Amendment which stands in my name, but which you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, ruled out of order. That Amendment really raised the whole of the financial question in this Bill, and I was told by the right hon. Gentleman that we should discuss the financial question on that particular Amendment. I know I am not allowed to discuss your ruling, but I should like to point out that it would not increase the expenditure, as the expenditure is limited to £150,000 under the Bill. With reference to the Amendment now before the House, under Clauses 8 and 9 of this Bill, defectives may be sent to institutions or placed under guardianship by order of the court or by the Home Secretary. Now all these cases which come under Clauses 8 and 9 are criminal or quasi-criminal cases, and it is quite clear that they ought to be paid for by the State and not by the local authority. The right hon. Gentleman, in Committee, said that it was quite clear that the State should pay half the cost of this, and that the local authority should pay the other half, because the State, at present, was only responsible for the period when these people were in prison, and that this period was a much shorter period than the defectives would be under the local authority. I should like to point out to the right hon. Gentleman that his argument does not really meet the case, because the State already in this Bill is prepared to pay half the cost of all defectives, whether criminal or not, and local authorities are very anxious to see a proviso of this sort inserted so that the whole cost of criminal defectives should be borne by the State and not by the local authorities. In that case a much larger part of the £150,000 which is to be paid to local authorities would be available for the treatment of ordinary defectives, and everyone admits that the grant of £150,000 is by no means sufficient to deal with all defectives who ought to be dealt with under this Bill. Therefore I have much pleasure in seconding this Amendment.
§ Mr. McKENNA
My hon. Friend will, I think, be satisfied if he turns to the Amendment I have put on the Paper to Clause 40, Paragraph (f), which enables the Secretary of State to make regulations as to the transfer of patients from one certified institution to another, and from a State institution to a certified institution, and, in special cases, from a certified institution to a State institution. My Amendment is to leave out the words "special cases" and insert "cases appropriate to State institutions." This subject was discussed upstairs, and I undertook to introduce words to make it clear that in the cases appropriate to State institutions the transfer should be effected from the local authority institutions to the State institutions. The words which my hon. Friend has put down are precisely the same words which we have in the preceding Clause, in which we provided for institutions set up by the State. I have carried out the exact object by a subsequent Amendment, and I hope that with this statement my hon. Friend will be satisfied.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
There are some defectives. I suppose, in prison at the present time who will not be considered criminal
§ or dangerous. What will be done with those people?
§ Mr. McKENNA
They will be dealt with in ordinary instances by the local authorities. The ordinary feeble-minded person now in prison is not a person of criminal or dangerous propensities at all, and these people will be dealt with under ordinary circumstances; but there are defectives defined in Clause 24, in which it is laid down that the Board of Control shall provide and maintain institutions for defectives of criminal, dangerous or violent propensities. In Clause 40 we provide for the transfer of these very same persons from the local authority institutions to the State institutions. I do not think the hon. Member who seconded the Amendment had read the Amendment, and I need not address myself to arguments not relevant to this particular proposal.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
Is the Home Secretary or Board of Control going to decide exactly which defectives in prison at the present time are criminal or are not criminal, and has the local authority no say in the matter?
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 45; Noes, 180.469
|Division No. 227.]||AYES.||[1.21 a.m.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Gilmour, Captain John||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Barnston, Harry||Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Grant, J. A.||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Greene, W. R.||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Gretton, John||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Bigland, Alfred||Guinness, Hon.W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Harris, Henry Percy||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Bowerman, Charles W||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hogge, James Myles||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Horner, Andrew Long||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Jessel, Captain H. M.||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Denison-Pender, J. C.||Lewisham, Viscount|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent. St. Augustine's)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Wedgwood and Mr. Goldsmith.|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Malcolm, Ian|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Boland, John Pius||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Adamson, William||Brace, William||Cotton, William Francis|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Brady, Patrick Joseph||Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Brunner, John F. L.||Crumley, Patrick|
|Arnold, Sydney||Bryce, J. Annan||Cullinan, John|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Buckmaster, Stanely O.||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Burn, Colonel C. R.||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)|
|Barnes, George N.||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Delany, William|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas|
|Barton, W.||Chancellor, Henry George||Devlin, Joseph|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Dickinson, W. H.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Clancy, John Joseph||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Clough, William||Doris, William|
|Bentham, G. J.||Clynes, John R.||Duffy, William J.|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Leach, Charles||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Parry, Thomas H.|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Lundon, Thomas||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Lyell, Charles Henry||Pointer, Joseph|
|Field, William||Lynch, A. A.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Lyttelton, Hon. John C.||Reddy, Michael|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||Macpherson, James Ian||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Gibbs, G. A.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||McGhee, Richard||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Goldstone, Frank||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones||Manfield, Harry||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Rowlands, James|
|Gulland, John William||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Seely, Rt. Hon. Colonel J. E. B.|
|Hackett, John||Meagher, Michael||Sheehy, David|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Shortt, Edward|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Middlebrook, William||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Hazleton, Richard||Millar, James Duncan||Stewart, Gershom|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Molloy, Michael||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Sutherland, John E.|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Mooney, John J.||Sutton, John E.|
|Higham, John Sharp||Morrell, Philip||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Muldoon, John||Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Munro, Robert||Tennant, Harold John|
|Hughes, Spencr Leigh||Murphy, Martin J.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|John, Edward Thomas||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Needham, Christopher T.||Webb, H.|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Nolan, Joseph||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||O'Doherty, Philip||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Donnell, Thomas||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Keating, Matthew||O'Dowd, John||Wiles, Thomas|
|Kelly, Edward||O'Grady, James||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Malley, William||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|King, Joseph||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||O'Shee, James John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Wedgwood Benn.|
|Lardner, James C. R.||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause," put, and agreed to.