§ 6.27 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Viscount Hall.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly:
§ [The EARL OF DROGHEDA in the Chair.]
§ Clauses 1 to 6 agreed to.
§ Clause 7:
§ Central Youth Employment Executive.
§ 7.—(1) For the purpose of facilitating the establishment of a comprehensive youth employment service, the Minister may make arrangements with the Minister of Education and the Secretary of State for the performance of any of his functions under this Act in relation to persons to whom this Part of this Act applies through an executive body, to be known as the Central Youth Employment Executive, consisting of such persons, being officers of the Minister, the Minister of Education or the Secretary of State, as may be appointed in accordance with the arrangements.
§ VISCOUNT BRIDGEMAN
had given Notice of two Amendments in subsection (1), the first of which was to omit the word "and." The noble Viscount said: The first Amendment which stands in my name relates to the next Amendment which is printed immediately below it, and, with the permission of the Committee, perhaps I may be allowed to speak on both of them at the same time. These Amendments, I admit, were put down largely as an exploratory measure, since neither in the text of the Bill nor in the reports of any of the discussions which have taken place here or in any other place is there to be found any mention of the position of the delinquent children who are the care of the Home Office. I know quite well, of course, that delinquent children are dealt with by other Acts and could not properly be dealt with in this Bill. Nevertheless, the employment of delinquent children is a matter which is both important and difficult. The success or the failure of efforts made for the employment of delinquent children really decides whether all the work of probation officers and of approved schools has been successful or not in the case of the boys and girls affected. Therefore, though we feel that there must be some line of 983 demarcation between the different Acts, there ought not in practice to be such a line of demarcation.
We desire the facilities of the youth employment service to be used to the full for delinquent children—both those who have been at approved schools and those who have been on probation. It is not an easy matter to employ such young people. Employers, when approached, have not only to think whether, out of kindness of heart, they can take such young people into their service, but they have also to bear in mind their responsibility to those who will be the fellow employees of these young people if they are engaged. They have to make certain before engaging them that it is right to employ ex-delinquents side by side with other people. For that reason we feel that the Home Office, and, no doubt, the corresponding Department in Scotland, ought to be closely associated with this youth employment service. We should welcome any statement from the noble Viscount which will reassure us that this, in fact, will be so. I beg to move.
§ Amendment moved—
§ Page 5, line 43, leave out ("and").—(Viscount Bridgeman.)
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (VISCOUNT HALL)
I am very grateful to the noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, for raising this point, because it is necessary to clear it up. He will know that under the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933, and the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act, 1937, a statutory obligation is placed on the managers of approved schools to assist boys and girls to find suitable employment on their release, to visit and be friend them when they have taken up work, and to provide, where necessary, financial assistance for their support. Although the present Bill, in its definition of school, excludes approved schools, the provision I have just mentioned meets the type of case the noble Viscount has in mind.
The youth unemployment service does not regard itself as dissociated from the problem of young persons coming from approved schools. The number of approved schools is very small—though I am not suggesting that they are on that account not important or that we should 984 not do our best for children coming from those schools—and, in the opinion of the Government, it would be unnecessary and uneconomical to provide for an officer of the Home Office to be a member of the Central Youth Employment Executive. I assure your Lordships, however, that there is a close liaison centrally between the Executive and the Home Office, and that locally the youth employment officers will cooperate with the headmasters of approved schools in assisting them to discharge their statutory responsibilities. Similarly, youth employment officers are encouraged to work in close co-operation with probation officers, in order that their advice may be available in matters affecting juvenile delinquents. These arrangements are working to the satisfaction of my right honourable friends the Home Secretary and the Minister of Labour and National Service. I assure your Lordships that we regard this work as important, and I hope that, in the circumstances, the noble Viscount will not press his Amendment.
§ VISCOUNT BRIDGEMAN
I should like to thank the noble Viscount for his full and fair statement, and to say at once that for my part I regard the state of affairs, as he has explained it, as very satisfactory. I do not feel, therefore, that I need press this Amendment. I imagine that if there were any particular reason for a representative of the Home Office to attend a meeting of the Central Youth Employment Executive without being a member, it would be departmentally possible and would be done in proper cases. I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment. I will not move the second Amendment which stands in my name.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 7 agreed to.
§ Clauses 8 to 12 agreed to.
§ Clause 13:
§ Notification of particulars.
§ (3) Any regulations made under this section shall make provision for restricting the disclosure of any particulars furnished thereunder, for prescribing the conditions under which records of any such particulars shall be maintained and the purposes for which they may be used and for requiring such records to be destroyed after such period as may be prescribed by the regulations.
§ (5) In relation to any area in which a scheme under section ten of this Act is for 985 the time being in force, subsection (1) of this section shall have effect as if for the second reference to the Minister there were substituted a reference to the local education authority, and as if the references to schools did not include any school maintained by that authority.
VISCOUNT HALL moved, to add to subsection (3):
Provided that any person being a parent or the guardian of a person of whom particulars have been so furnished shall be entitled, on application to the officer having the custody thereof, to examine those particulars in his presence, but shall not be entitled to receive or take copies thereof.
The noble Viscount said: This is the Amendment to which I referred on Second Reading. When this Bill was discussed in another place, it was generally agreed that the parent should be allowed, if he wished, to know what information was contained in the school report under Clause 13 (1). It was also generally agreed that there should be no question of a parent receiving a copy of that report, which, was to be treated as confidential. This Amendment will give parents the right to know the particulars provided by the school, if they so wish. May I remind your Lordships that, in accordance with Clause 13 (3), the particulars will be confined to the health, ability, educational attainments and aptitudes of the person to whom they relate—in short, to particulars which are essential if adequate advice and assistance is to be given in accordance with the provisions of the Bill. I beg to move.
Page 9, line 35, at end insert the said proviso.—(Viscount Hall.)
§ LORD BALFOUR OF INCHRYE
I welcome this Amendment. I do not think any of us likes a report on a child to be shown to a third party other than the parents, but in this case I think it is necessary. If the reports are to be of value to the youth employment officer, he must feel free to write all he wants about the child. On the other hand, the parents' position must be maintained. I think this Amendment does it fairly and reasonably. I have some doubt about the prohibition of parents taking a copy, because in my own mind I cannot decide where a copy starts and where a copy finishes. If you are shown a report across the table, you must not take a copy; but if you take out a notebook and make notes of the main 986 points, are you or are you not taking a copy? There may be some difficulty in the interpretation of that, but in the vast majority of cases difficulty will not arise if the Act is administered in the spirit which we know will be the case. I welcome the Amendment as implementing the promise given in another place.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
VISCOUNT HALL moved, to add to subsection (5):
Provided that subsection (3) of this section shall apply to any particulars kept by the local education authority in accordance with the scheme with respect to pupils of any school so maintained, as if those particulars had been furnished in pursuance of regulations made under the said subsection (1)
The noble Viscount said: This Amendment is consequential to the last. It is designed to give full effect to the Amendment to subsection (3) which has just been accepted. It provides simply that the regulations under subsection (3) and the facilities which will be granted to parents by the Amendment will apply equally to all particulars, whether provided by the schools under Clause 13 (1) or by the local authorities in accordance with their schemes. I beg to move.
§ Amendment moved—
§ Page 9, line, 45, at end insert the said proviso.—(Viscount Hall.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 13, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 14 to 22 agreed to.
§ 6.40 p.m.
§ First Schedule:
§ National Youth Employment Council and Advisory Committees for Scotland and Wales.
§ CONSTITUTION OF COUNCIL AND COMMITTEES.
1. The members of the Council shall be appointed by the Minister and shall be thirty-four in number, consisting of—
(a) a chairman and four other persons (including the chairmen of the Advisory Committees for Scotland and Wales) appointed as being independent persons;
§ VISCOUNT BRIDCEMAN moved in paragraph 1 (a), to delete "four" and substitute "eight." The noble Viscount said: This Amendment was put down because we feel that the free places on the Council are not quite sufficient for all the interests that should be represented. I know that the composition of the Youth Employment Council as pro 987 posed in the Bill is taken almost directly from the Ince Report, but I venture to suggest that one small improvement could be made. There are now, in effect, only two free places on the Council which are not taken by nominated members of one sort or another. Although there are four independent members, two are to be the chairmen of the Scottish and Welsh Committees. I think the Council would be greatly strengthened if there were more room for independent persons. It often transpires that an independent person, joining a committee in his private capacity, is more valuable than a nominee of other people. Moreover, there are various interests which ought to be represented—possibly the Services, in view of the fact that so many young people with whom the youth employment system is dealing will shortly be going into the Services and one wishes their employment to be continued. But I do not think that is so important as two other categories I shall mention.
§ First, there are probation officers, of whom I will say no more, because I have already mentioned them in my previous Amendment. I think the noble Viscount took the point. Secondly, there are the voluntary youth organisations. On this side of the House, we feel that it would be a great source of strength if the voluntary youth organisations could have at least one representative on the Council. They do a great deal of work, and they cover a large number of young people. Surely, it would be to the advantage of everybody, and not least the young people, if their work were to be associated with the work of this Council. I take it that this will be a working Council, and not a mere facade body—I am sure that is not the intention. We could, by putting down Amendments, have specifically instructed the Ministry of Labour to appoint representatives of these various interests, but, after consideration (I may say that we have since had consultation with the noble Viscount, Lord Hall, for which we are grateful) we decided not to do so. We thought it would be simpler, and would give the flexibility for which we always ask on this side of the House, if we put down a straightforward Amendment increasing by four the number of free places to which the Minister could nominate any persons, including, we hope, representatives of the interests I 988 have mentioned. It may be that eight is not quite the right number—I do not claim any divine inspiration for that number, any more than, I suggest, there is divine inspiration for the number thirty-four. It is possible that the noble Viscount opposite may have something to say on the subject and, without adding to what I have said, I beg leave to move.
Page 14, line 9, leave out ("four") and insert ("eight").—(Viscount Bridgeman.)
§ VISCOUNT HALL
The composition of the Council will be seen from the First Schedule. It is made up of representatives of organisations and associations dealing with education and the various branches of industry, and some of the associations dealing with the youth movement. The noble Viscount rightly said that the Council will comprise thirty-four members. It is a fairly large number. We do not want to convert it from an active advisory body into a debating society. We are naturally anxious to avoid that. During the last day or two, I have consulted my right honourable friend, who is willing to agree that provision shall be made to permit an increase in the number of independent members, if that should be found necessary. It is suggested that instead of making the number eight, we should make it six. That would give two additional members to meet the point so ably put by the noble Viscount. I think it will be better to do that by a Government Amendment on the Report stage. If your Lordships agree to that course, I will arrange for an Amendment to be put down on the Report stage which will permit an increase to a number not exceeding thirty-six. I think that will cover the point made by the noble Viscount and, in the circumstances, I hope he will not press his Amendment.
§ VISCOUNT BRIDGEMAN
I am very much obliged to the noble Viscount for the way in which he has met us on this Amendment. Although the number six instead of eight will be a fairly tight fit, I think it will cover all the essential additional members for which we ask. I fully agree with the suggestion of the noble Viscount, that it is better to deal with the matter by a Government Amendment on the Report stage. In view of the assurance I have received, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ First Schedule agreed to.
§ Remaining Schedule agreed to.
§ House resumed.