HC Deb 08 November 1999 vol 337 cc780-1

Lords amendment: No. 430, to leave out clause 256

Mr. Raynsford

I beg to move, That this House agrees with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst)

With this, it will be convenient to take Lords amendments Nos. 431, 432, 558, 560 and 570.

Mr. Raynsford

It is the Government's policy that the criminal justice agencies should share the same boundaries, namely those of the police force areas in England and Wales. In the case of probation, that means that the existing 54 probation services must become 42. In all, 20 probation services will be involved in amalgamations, which we intend shall take effect on 1 April 2001.

In London, the five existing services—Inner London, South-East London, South-West London, Middlesex and North-East London—need to merge to form a new service for Greater London. Section 2 of the Probation Service Act 1993 contains an order-making power to amalgamate probation services. However, there is a problem in relation to the creation of a single London probation service, in that the 1993 Act clearly envisages that there shall be more than one probation service in London. We have concluded that to make an order amalgamating the London services under the existing provision would go beyond the vires of that provision. Our amendments will allow us to proceed with the London amalgamation. The new clause inserted by Lords amendment No. 431 provides an order-making power to that effect.

Our amendments also deal with the abolition of the receiver, an issue which arises because of the Inner London probation service's links to that office. To clarify my earlier remarks, the receiver will have a continuing responsibility in the transitional period until the new probation arrangements come into force.

Lords amendment agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 431 and 432 agreed to.

Forward to