HL Deb 23 July 1969 vol 304 cc1017-41

4.30 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now further considered upon Report.

Moved, That the Bill be further considered upon Report.—(Lord Stonham.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Clause 26 [Detention of child or young person in place of safety]:


My Lords, I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 31, line 8, at end insert— ("( ) an appropriate court would fir d the condition mentioned in section l (2) (aa) of this Act satisfied in respect of him: or").—(Lord Stonham.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 31, line 22, after ("satisfied") insert ("or that an appropriate court would find the condition mentioned in section l (2) (aa) of this Act satisfied").—(Lord Stonham.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD STONHAM: moved Amendment No. 27: Page 32, line 16, leave out from ("he") to end of line 18 and insert ("ought to be further detained in his own interests or, in the case of an arrested child, because of the nature of the alleged offence").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I should like to congratulate the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, on his immediate promotion from the second Bench to the Front Bench because of his good work on the other Bill. So far as this Amendment is concerned, it is an Amendment to subsection (5) of Clause 26 which brings the wording into line with subsection (4) (b). The effect of the Amendment is to apply the same criteria for release or detention in both subsections. I beg to move.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 30 [Detention of Absentees]:

LORD STONHAM moved Amendment No. 28:

Page 35, line 37, at end insert ("; or (d) a person sent to a remand home, special reception centre or training school or committed to the care of a fit person under the Children and Young Persons Act 1968 c. 34 (Northern Ireland) 1968"). (N.I.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I must ask your Lordships to consider with this Amendment Nos. 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 and also Amendment No. 75 in the Sixth Schedule. The new paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of Clause 30 provides for the arrest in England, Wales or Scotland of absconders from Northern Ireland and replaces an existing power in Section 53 (1) of the Children and Young Persons Act 1963 which is being repealed by this Bill. Amendments Nos. 29, 30 and 31 are consequential. Amendment No. 32 (page 36, line 11) defines "magistrates' court" in Northern Ireland. Amendment No. 33 defines "relevant Northern Ireland authority" for the purpose of subsection (1) and, since Clause 30 extends to Northern Ireland, provides that nothing in the clause authorises arrest in Northern Ireland or the taking of any proceedings there in the case of a person covered by subsection (1) (d); that is, a Northern Irish absconder. This is covered by Northern Ireland law. The Amendment to Schedule 6 (page 103, line 9) amends Section 65 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1963 by deleting from the list of provisions which are extended to Northern Ireland the reference to Section 53 (1) of the Act. I have already explained that this is being repealed and replaced by Clause 30.


My Lords, I think it will be for your Lordships' convenience if we take this Amendment, and then Amendments Nos. 29 to 33 together.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, I beg to move Amendments Nos. 29, 30, 31, 32 and 33.

Amendments moved—

Page 35, line 38, after ("the") insert ("local authority or the revelant Northern Ireland").

Page 35, line 39, leave out from second ("the") to ("he") in line 41 and insert ("remand home, special reception centre or training school at a time when he is not permitted by the local authority or the managers of the home or the relevant Northern Ireland authority to be absent from it").

Page 35, line 44, leave out ("home") and insert ("other place").

Page 36, line 11, at end insert— ("In the application of this subsection to Northern Ireland, 'magistrates' court' means a magistrates' court within the meaning of the Magistrates' Courts Act (Northern 1964 c. 21 Ireland) 1964.") (N.I.)

Page 36, line 23. at end insert (", and in that subsection the relevant Northern Ireland authority' means in the case of a person committed to the care of a fit person, the fit person, and in the case of a person sent to a remand home, special reception centre or training school, the person in charge of that home or centre or the managers of that school. (5) Nothing in this section authorises the arrest in Northern Ireland of, or the taking there of any proceedings in respect of, such a person as is mentioned in paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of this section.")—(Lord Stonham.)


My Lords, I would simply say that we welcome these Amendments as being a very sensible and obviously a necessary reciprocal arrangement with Northern Ireland. It is vital that there should be requisite power to transfer and deal with these young persons who come from these different countries with different jurisdictions, and this is only one group of Amendments that is being put into the Bill for this purpose. In my view they are quite necessary and quite right.

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 41 [Control of premises used for, and conduct of, community homes]:

VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS moved Amendments No. 34, 35 and 36:

Page 46, line 43, leave out ("representing") and insert ("including representatives of").

Page 46, line 45, leave out ("including at least one person") and insert ("containing a majority of persons").

Page 47, line I, leave out ("he is") and insert ("they are").

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, these Amendments are really on the same subject as the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, and other noble Lords probably realise. The Amendments relate to the question of the length of time that children in community homes are to be in accommodation which has the purpose of restricting their liberty. Noble Lords may remember that we had different Amendments down on this subject on the Committee stage, but having listened to and read what the noble Lord said we thought it was worth while returning to this subject under the regulations that are going to be made under Clause 41.

It is not easy to discuss sensibly what the precise provisions of these regulations are going to be until one sees them; nevertheless the framework is here in subsection (2) of Clause 41, and paragraph (c) of that subsection will require the approval of the Secretary of State for the use of this accommodation restricting the liberty of children, the regulations will impose other requirements as to the placing of a child in that sort of accommodation and will also require permission of the local authority or voluntary organisation in whose care the child is to be detained. I just want to be certain that I am getting this right: the permission of the local authority or voluntary organisation in whose care the child is would have to be obtained on each occasion before the child is put into this restricting accommodation.


My Lords, that is right.


Paragraph (e) then provides for reviews of that permission. I imagine that the intention is that if the child is to be kept in the restricted accommodation for any substantial length of time—and I shall be grateful to the noble Lord if he will tell us how frequent he thinks these reviews are likely to be, and what are the periods that will be covered by the reviews—then there is to be a committee.


My Lords, is the noble Viscount referring to a normal review or a review in special security conditions?


My Lords, I do not know. I am referring to the reviews under paragraph (e), which are just called "reviews" in the Bill. There may be all sorts of complications in the regulations, but I have not had the advantage of seeing those regulations. I can imagine that there may be different circumstances in the two different types of confinement that the noble Lord was talking about. Perhaps he can explain it. The Committee will be composed of a number of different people. They will be mainly persons representing the local authority or the voluntary organisation in question, but they will include at least one person who is guaranteed independent—a statutory cross-bencher, as it were, in the terminology of your Lordships' House—unconnected with the authority, the organisation or the community home with restrictive accommodation in it. The Amendments change this round. They change the composition of the review committee so that while the local authority or the voluntary organisation concerned have representatives on the committee, the committee do not contain a majority of members of that local author- ity or voluntary organisation. Instead, the majority is to be the independent people who will not be connected with the local authority or the community home or the voluntary organisation.

The purpose of this is not in the least difficult to see. Just as the noble Lord moved an Amendment not very long ago—and indeed the Amendment was the cause why I did not move one earlier this afternoon to provide for an independent person to befriend the children whose parents never come to see them when they are in care—so we consider that it is worth discussing whether the review of the permission of the local authority or voluntary organisation to keep the child in this restrictive accommodation should not be dealt with primarily by people who are independent of the body whose permission is sought.

Of course it will be right that there shall be people on the Committee who can put the view of the local authority or the voluntary organisation, but it this review is going to be really worth while I would suggest to your Lordships that it would be sense to take out the "majority vote", as it were, of the very people who have, in the first place, given their permission to put the child into this restrictive care. There is no reason to suppose that the independent committee would act in any futile or irresponsible way and let these children out if it was thought that they were not fit to be let out. I should have thought they were just as capable of forming a sensible opinion on whether the review should result in the child's being taken out of secure conditions as would be the members of the local authority or voluntary organisation. It is another safeguard, rather on the lines the noble Lord has himself put in the Bill already, that we wish to see incorporated in these regulations. It is a suggestion which may have something to commend it.

I hope the noble Lord will explain a little more about the way in which these reviews work. I do not fully understand it, and it may be, therefore, that there is something wrong with the concept that occurs in these Amendments. Unless I am greatly mistaken in my understanding of this matter, there would not be anything very revolutionary in the idea of a largely independent committee to look at this particular matter of the renewed permission to keep the child in confinement. Those are the purposes of these Amendments, and I beg to move Amendments 34, '35 and 36.

4.42 p.m.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Viscount for so clearly setting out the points that were troubling him, and I appreciate that his purpose now (indeed, it has been the purpose of the Opposition at every stage of the Bill on this particular point) is to do everything possible to safeguard the liberty of the subject, to try to ensure that in no circumstances would a child be locked away and forgotten simply because some individual—I am making a hypothesis—in a local authority had set ideas, or something of that kind. We have now put Amendments in the Bill which effectively ensure that this cannot happen. That was the Amendment I moved, which ensures that every child, motherless or fatherless, or with ineffective mothers and fathers, shall have a friend with full power who can look after him (or her) in every sense of the word and will have power to take the child's case to court. I repeat: every child.

In the Amendments which the noble Viscount has moved and which we are now considering we are thinking of the special circumstances of children held—and it is for the Secretary of State to say whether or not they shall be so held—in secure conditions. There will be very few, or comparatively few, such children; but that does not mean there is any less reason for them to be safeguarded; in fact there is perhaps even more reason that we should take special care to ensure that their liberties are fully safeguarded. We have done so in the Bill which provides for the review every three months. That is why I interrupted the noble Viscount to ask him which he was then thinking of. In the context of the Amendments we are discussing, there will be provision, according to our present intention, for a review of the child's case every three months, whereas in other cases of a child in care the review will be every six months.

The exact way this system will work is still a matter for discussion with the local authority. But essentially, and written into the Bill, is the fact that in these cases of a child in security the review body must include one independent person. It does not mean that there may not be more than one. The effect of the noble Viscount's Amendments would be to place independent persons in a majority on the committee which is to review cases of children kept in secure conditions. The result, in practice, would be to remove from the responsible local authority—the authority that has been given power by the court—the power to take decisions about the accommodation of a child in its care, and to put this power in the hands of private individuals who, however well informed, however highly selected they may be, however right-minded they would be, could not possibly be cognisant of the whole area, of the whole facts, in the way the responsible local authority is cognisant. The participation of an independent person or persons in this is absolutely right. On that the Government agree, and it is in the Bill. But we cannot agree with the noble Viscount, as his Amendments would provide, that for practical purposes we should put independent persons in control. That is very much another thing, and in our view would not be acceptable.

I would also submit to the noble Viscount the point that the situation produced by the Amendments would be unworkable, because responsibilty for deciding whether or not a child should be given care and treatment in secure conditions should not be, as he would have it, in the hands of persons answerable to no one and without any responsibility for the consequences of their decision. The review body which is contemplated by subsection (1)(e) of Clause 41, the one he was speaking about, is expressed to be "representing the local authority". The Amendments would, as it were, destroy this relationship without putting anything in its place, because they merely provide that the local authority shall have minority representation on the review body. In thus seeking to keep the review body at arm's length from the local authority, the Amendments would make the status of the review body extremely obscure.

The Government accept that, as a safeguard in this very important sphere of questions of liberty, it is right and proper to require the local authority to hear an independent view, and this, as I say, we have provided. We have every confidence that local authorities will pay all possible regard to the welfare of the child in discharging their duties under the Bill, and I know the noble Viscount will agree with that. But we have provided safeguards against the risk, however slight it might be, and we think that this is sufficient. The three Amendments which we are now considering would place the local authority—and incidentally, the noble Viscount will appreciate, any court which made a care order—in an impossible situation of being in danger of being denied the means to carry out the orders of the court to care effectively for the child.

So, while we are all in complete agreement about the necessity for having an independent person or persons on the review, I feel that it would be quite wrong (and I hope the noble Viscount will accept this view) that these independent persons should be in a majority so that the local authority to whom responsibility has been given by the court, and the court itself, might be put in the position of having their efforts frustrated by people who, however estimable they might be, would in fact be responsible to no one but themselves.

4.50 p.m.


My Lords, may I ask the Minister to clear up one point in my mind? I followed his arguments, and I understand his difficulties over the Amendments. I should like to know whether the independent person who will be present at this review is identical with the independent person who is to act in place of a parent or guardian, or whether this is a quite separate independent person?


My Lords, the independent person who is now introduced into the Bill as a result of the suggestion made by the noble Baroness at an earlier stage is a different independent person from the one we are talking about here, who was already in the Bill and who related to security conditions. May I correct something which I said, or I am told I said, which was mistaken? I said that the Secretary of State has to agree to a child being held in secure accommodation. What I should have said, and what is correct, is that the decision about holding a child in secure accommodation is made by the local authority; the Secretary of State approves the accommodation.


My Lords, it may well be that before we reach the next stage of this Bill a certain length of time may elapse, and since the subject matter of this Amendment concerns the regulations that are to be made—which of course I have not seen—I wonder whether at some stage the noble Lord, as he often does, would allow me to talk to him on this matter with my noble friends.

The last thing we wish to do, of course, is to take away from the local authorities the power to carry out the care order. But I do not understand that to be the case. The child is in care anyway. The only question that arises here is whether the child, in addition to being in care, is also held in secure conditions. If he is taken out of secure conditions he is still in care, and therefore the decision of the committee does not discharge the court order or in any way conflict with the decision of the court to put him into care. Therefore the whole foundation of the noble Lord's argument, as I understood it, which was that the independent majority, as I suggest it should be on this committee, would have the effect of frustrating the court and the local authority, really goes. But it may be that I misunderstood him.

Perhaps the noble Lord will also be able at some stage to help us on this. I did not understand that there was to be a different committee every time a new case came up. What I thought the noble Lord was leading to was this: that if the child was in the care of a local authority and in a community home, then it must be the majority representatives of that local authority who would decide what was going to be done with that child. The community home, of course, may not as I understand it, necessarily be in the local authority's area. They may have to send the child from their own jurisdiction to a community home somewhere else.

On the other hand, if it is a voluntary organisation which has the care of the child under the court order, then it seems to me, from what the noble Lord has said, that there will have to be a majority of the members of the voluntary organisation on this committee instead of a majority of members of the local authority. We may therefore have rows of different committees with different majorities, according to the person or the authority or organisation into whose care the child has been given. If that is what is intended, it does not seem to be a satisfactory way of dealing with the matter, because we shall have large numbers of different decisions which it will not necessarily be possible to reconcile.

What I understood to be the sort of arrangement in mind was that there should be a committee on which the representatives of the local authorities and the voluntary organisations over an area would be in the majority, and that there would be on it also an independent person, or persons. Therefore, there would be a fairly wide-ranging committee, in terms of geography, including all the local authorities and voluntary organisations, which would deal with all these cases as they come up. If that is not so, the whole thing is a different state of affairs from what I had imagined, and I should have thought, quite dubious, because it must mean that we shall have a great number of different committees.

Each county or county borough—at any rate until we have Redcliffe-Maud implemented—being a children's authority, will have to have its own committee, and each voluntary body will have its own committee; and the wretched independent person will go rushing round from one committee to another, and the policy decisions may be quite different. If that is the sort of thing the noble Lord has in mind, I do not think that is satisfactory, and I should prefer to have an independent majority. This is the Report stage, of course, and we ought not to discuss these matters in more than one speech. But it seems to me that what is really needed is an explanation from the noble Lord, so that we can sit down quietly and consider exactly how this system is going to work; and then perhaps we can see whether or not there is something in what I have been saying.


My Lords, as I listened to the noble Viscount I felt that he had stated my case quite accurately. But when it comes to the question of a number of review committees, of course there would not be a different committee for each child, but there would be a review committee for each authority. I do not know whether the noble Viscount is objecting to that, but obviously, for practical reasons there should be this one review committee for each authority.

With regard to the noble Viscount's suggestion in his Amendment, that the independent people should be in a majority on those review committees, this is something that I do not think we can accept. Suppose that a seriously disturbed child has committed a serious crime of violence and is kept in conditions of security; and suppose that he commits a serious offence when released from security by the review body. If the review body has a majority of volunteers—which could be the effect of adopting the noble Viscount's Amendment—who would then be responsible? It seems to me that the responsibility must rest with the local authority; and, if so, the local authority must be in the majority.

As the noble Viscount said, however, there will be some time before we reach the final stage of this Bill, and I shall be glad to do what we have done often before, to consult together. I will write to the noble Viscount. I will put it that way because in my experience when it appears that there stretches before one a long vista of time one finds that the time elapses and nothing has been done. In this way, I shall write to him quite soon at the beginning of that vista and we shall see what can be done to get the matter started.


My Lords, I think that would be the best thing to do, and in the circumstances I beg leave to withdraw the Amendments.

Amendments, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 51 [Modification of duty of persons maintaining foster children to notify local authority]:

4.59 p.m.

Lord STONHAM moved Amendments Nos. 37 to 41:

Page 55, line 46, at end insert ("and been required by virtue of the following provisions of this section to give notice under subsection (5A) of this Section in respect of those premises.")

Page 56, line 28, leave out from ("words") to ("there") in line 29 and insert ("from 'the same' onwards")

Page 56, line 34, leave out ("subsection") and insert ("subsections")

Page 56, line 35, at beginning insert ("Subject to the provisions of the following subsection, '')

Page 46, line 42, at end insert— ("5B) A person need not give the notice required by the preceding subSection in consequence of his ceasing to maintain foster children at any premises if, at the time he so ceases, he intends within twenty-seven days again to maintain any of them as a foster child at those premises; but if he subsequently abandons that intention or the said period expires without his having given effect to it he shall give the said notice within forty-eight hours of that event.").

The noble Lord said: I hope that it will meet your Lordships' convenience if I discuss with these Amendments Nos. 80, 81, 82 and 83 in the Schedules. These are minor Amendments to Section 3 of the Children Act 1958. They meet a point raised by the Opposition in Committee in another place which the Government undertook to consider. It was pointed out in the other place that the words after the semi-colon in subsection (5) of Section 3 of the Children Act 1958 did not fit in with the rest of Section 3 as proposed to be amended. These Amendments accordingly delete these words, and replace them with a new subsection (5B). That is Amendment No. 41. The effect will be that a person who ceases to maintain foster children temporarily but expects to receive them back within 27 days will not be required to notify the local authority of this temporary absence, unless he abandons his intention to have the child or children back within that period, or the period expires before the children come back.

The Association of Municipal Corporations and the County Councils Association agree that this is a sensible provision. The Amendment of Clause 4 (2) (a) and (b) is consequential and provides that a person who has been relieved of the obligation to notify a child's removal is not required to notify his return. I beg to move.


My Lords, we are much obliged to the noble Lord and to the Government for meeting this point. I have looked at these Amendments and they seem to provide a sensible administrative arrangement which will prevent difficulty. I welcome all these Amendments.

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 67 [Orders and regulations etc.]:

LORD STONHAM moved Amendments Nos. 42 to 44:

Page 66, line 42, leave out ("37 or 41 (5)") and insert ("(Transfers between England or Wales and Northern Ireland), 37 or 41 (5) or paragraph 21 or 22 of Schedule 4").

Page 67, line 3, at end insert ("(Transfers between England or Wales and the Channel Islands or Isle of Man)").

Page 67, line 4, after ("45") insert ("70 (1A)").

The noble Lord said: These Amendments are on the same point. They are all technical Amendments which have the effect of excluding from the general provision of Clause 67 that Orders should be made by Statutory Instrument and be subject to the Negative Resolution procedure, certain Orders in relation to which that provision would be inappropriate. I beg to move.

On Question, Amendments agreed to.


My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 45. The effect of this Amendment is that an order under sub-paragraph (2) of paragraph 11 of Schedule 3 is not subject to annulment in pursuance of a Resolution of either House of Parliament.

Amendment moved— Page 67, line 4, after ("71 (2)") insert ("or paragraph 11 (2) of Schedule 3").—(Lord Stonham.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD STONHAM moved Amendment No. 46: Page 67, line 16, leave out from ("provision") to end of line 20.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 46, and with this I should like to discuss Amendment No. 51. Amendment No. 51 enables an appointed day Order to contain such transitional provision as appears appropriate, having regard to the chronological order in which the provisions of the Bill and of the closely related provisions of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 are brought into force. The Bill, as now drafted, takes account of the probable time-tables for the bringing into force of both its provisions and those of the 1968 Act, but the best possible crystal-gazing can be proved wrong by events, particularly where two Statutes are concerned. The Amendment guards against that contingency by enabling an unforeseen need for transitional provisions to be met by the inclusion of such provisions in an appointed day Order. The first Amendment is consequential on the second.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 68 [Interpretation and ancillary provisions]:


My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 47, and with it to move Amendment No. 48, which is the following subsection. These are both technical Amendments relating to the interpretation of references to enactments of the Northern Ireland Parliament.

Amendments moved—

Page 69, line 10, at beginning insert ("Subject to the following subsection,").

Page 69, line 12, at end insert— ("(5) Any reference in this Act to an enactment of the Parliament of Northern Ireland shall be construed as a reference to that enactment as amended by any Act of that Parliament, whether passed before or after this Act, and to any enactment of that Parliament for the time being in force which re-enacts the said enactment with or without modifications.").—(Lord Stonham.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 70 [Transitional provisions, minor amendments and repeals etc.]:


My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 49, and with it I should like to take the following Amendment, No. 50, which is a new subsection. Amendment No. 50, the new subsection, is a paving subsection for Part II of Schedule 4. This contains transitional provisions which will have effect between the coming into force of provisions of the Bill and the coming into force of some provisions of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968. I believe that the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, has also had a careful look at this one.

This is the first Amendment dealing with cross-Border provisions between England or Wales and Scotland, and it may be convenient if I say something about those provisions in general. At present the law in force in England and Scotland is similar, and the existing pro- visions for the transfer of approved school orders, probation orders, and supervision orders are comparatively simple. The Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 introduced an entirely new system in Scotland, but the relevant provisions of that Act are not yet in force, and they are not expected to be brought into force before about the end of next year, 1970. The Scottish Act abolishes the prosecution of children under 16 except on the authority of the Lord Advocate, and provides for children who commit offences, or who are broadly in situations equivalent to those referred to in paragraphs (a) to (d) of Clause 1 (2) of the Bill, to appear before children's hearings. The hearings have power to make supervision requirements which may require children to reside in residential establishments, and which are effective up to the age of 18. In other words, they would be materially different provisions from those for England and Wales.

The Social Work (Scotland) Act contained provisions for movement between the existing English system and the new Scottish system, and I shall later be moving Amendments to that Act, and to other Acts, which will make permanent provision for movement between the new English and the new Scottish systems. Because of the differences between those systems these provisions are inevitably much more complicated than the cross-Border provisions in existing law. This is the price which has to be paid for a different approach to the question, although with the same basic aims, North and South of the Border, and I am not making any kind of criticism at all.

There is a further complication. It is possible that the approved school order, probation orders and existing supervision orders will be abolished in England and Wales next year before the relevant parts of the Social Work (Scotland) Act come into force in Scotland. In that event we shall have care orders and new supervision orders in England and Wales, while approved school orders and probation orders for those under 17 remain in Scotland. It is therefore necessary during a brief transitional period to provide for movement between the new English and the old Scottish system, and that is what the provisions of Part II of the Fourth Schedule do. The new subsection provides that they shall have effect until such day as the Secretary of State may specify, which will be when they become unnecessary because of the coming into force of provisions of the Scottish Act, and shall then be deemed to have been repealed. I apologise for going into the subject at some length, but as it was the first one I thought it better to try to explain it.

Amendments moved—

Page 69, line 16, at end insert ("Part I of").

Page 69, line 17, at end insert— ("(1A) The transitional provisions set out in Part If of Schedule 4 to this Act shall have effect until such day as the Secretary of State may by order specify for the purposes of this subsection (being the day on and after which those provisions will in his opinion be unnecessary in consequence of the coming into force of provisions of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968) and shall be deemed to have been repealed on that day by an Act of Parliament passed after this Act.").—(Lord Stonham.)


My Lords, I do not think the noble Lord need apologise at all. It is very valuable that that explanation should have been given. The complication derives from the time-table which he has outlined. I am very glad that I did not have to draft any of these Amendments, and I am also extremely glad that this study will simply be a short-term matter which can soon be sent away into the limbo of things much best forgotten, when both of these Acts come into force. The matter is extremely complicated, and I am given more credit than is my due when the noble Lord says that I have studied it in detail. I have looked at it, I have come to the conclusion that it is transitional, and I am sure that it is right.

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 71 [Citation, commencement and extent]:


My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 51.

Amendment moved—

Page 69, line 40, at end insert— ("(2A) Without prejudice to the generality of section 67 (4) of this Act, an order under the foregoing subsection may make such transitional provision as the Secretary of State considers appropriate in connection with the provisions brought into force by the order, including such adaptations of those provisions and of any other provisions of this Act then in force as appear to him appropriate for the purpose or in consequence of the operation of any provision of this Act before the coming into force of any other provision of this Act or of a provision of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968.")—(Lord Stonham.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

5.11 p.m.

LORD STONHAM moved Amendment No. 52:

Page 69, line 41, leave out subsection (3) and insert— ("(3) This subsection and the following provisions only of this Act extend to Scotland, that is to say—

  1. (a) sections 10 (1) and (2), 30 (1), (3) and (4), 54 and 55 (1);
  2. (b) paragraphs 18, 19, 21 and 22 of Schedule 4 and section 70 (1A) so far as it relates to those paragraphs;
  3. (c) paragraphs 23A, 23B, 30, 32. 38A, 38B, 47A, 48 and 51 to 67 of Schedule 5 and section 70 (2) so far as it relates to those paragraphs;
  4. (d) section 70 (3) and Schedule 6 so far as they relate to the Merchant 1894 c. 60. Shipping Act 1894, the Superannuation (Miscellaneous 1948 c. 33. Provisions) Act 1948, sections 10, 53, 55 and 59 of the Act of 1963, the Family Allowances Act 1965 1965 c. 53 and the Social Work (Scotland) 1968 c. 49. Act 1968".)
(4) This subsection and the following provisions only of this Act extend to Northern Ireland, that is to say—
  1. (a) sections (Transfers between England or Wales and Northern Ireland) and 30;
  2. (b) section 70 (2) and Schedule 5 so far as they relate to provisions of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 c. 49. 1968 which extend to Northern Ireland; and
  3. (c) section 70 (3) and Schedule 6 so far as they relate to section 83 of the Act of 1933 and sections 53 (1) and 65 (5) of the Act of 1963;
and section 30 (2) and (3) of this Act shall be treated for the purposes of section 6 of the Government of Ireland Act 1920 as if it had been passed before the day appointed for the said section 6 to come into operation.
(5) Section (Transfers between England or Wales and the Channel Islands or Isle of Man) of this Act and this subsection, and section 70 (3) of this Act and Schedule 6 to this Act so far as they relate to section 53 (1) of the Act of 1963, extend to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, and section 30 (1) and (4) of this Act extends to the Channel Islands.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a technical Amendment relating to extent. In general, the provisions of the Bill have effect as part of the law of England and Wales only, but certain provisions of the Bill, of their very nature, must extend to Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. The Amendments so provide. The provisions of the Bill which extend beyond England and Wales in the main fall into the following four categories: first, provisions relating to newspaper reports of court proceedings—the same newspapers circulate both North and South of the Tweed; secondly, provisions relating to persons subject to English care orders and certain other orders who are "unlawfully at large"—an absconder does not necessarily remain within a particular jurisdiction and he very often gets out as soon as he can; thirdly, amendments of provisions which constitute a common code for England and Wales and for Scotland (for example, of Section 6 of the Children Act 1958); and, fourthly, "cross-border" provisions relating to the transfer of persons subject to specified orders between different parts of the British Isles.

The new subsection (4) provides, inter alia, that Clause 30 (2) and (3) shall extend to Northern Ireland. Under these provisions it will be possible for court proceedings to be taken in Northern Ireland where someone harbours or otherwise assists an absconder from some other part of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland agree that the Imperial Parliament should so legislate, but the matters dealt with are not reserved matters within the meaning of the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which means that, but for this Bill, they would automatically be dealt with by Her Majesty's Government. It therefore seems right that the Northern Ireland Parliament should be competent to amend or repeal subsections (2) and (3) of Clause 30 in their application to Northern Ireland. The last four lines of the new subsection (4), which I propose should be inserted, secure that this will be so; they are drafted in common form. My Lords, I beg to move.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Schedule 2 [Children's regional planning committees]:

5.14 p.m.

LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR moved Amendment No. 53:

Page 73, line 8, at end insert— ("( ) The committee for a planning area which includes all or part of the Inner London Education Area shall include a person nominated by the Inner London Education Authority").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I am moving this Amendment on behalf of my noble friend Lord Ilford. It concerns the peculiar position of the Inner London Education Authority, which is not a local authority. It therefore appears to my noble friend and me that it cannot come within the category of "relevant authorities" mentioned in subsection (3) of Clause 33. Nevertheless, it is the education authority for the whole of Inner London and the 12 boroughs which are therein comprised, and it would be quite anomalous if there were a children's regional planning committee for that area, or any part of that area, which failed to include someone nominated by the Inner London Education Authority.

I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, is familiar with the difference in relationship between an education committee and a local authority and the Inner London Education Authority and the Greater London Council. It may be possible to secure the object of this Amendment by administrative means, without putting it into the Statute. I feel quite sure that my noble friend would be content if a firm assurance of that kind were given in your Lordships' House. I hope that what I have said will have made clear to the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, that there is a point of substance here, and that by one means or another he will be able to meet it. My Lords, I beg to move.


My Lords, the Amendment which has been moved by the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, on behalf of his noble friend Lord Ilford is identical with an Amendment which was moved by a member of the Opposition in Committee in another place and was by leave withdrawn after what were considered satisfactory Government assurances had been given. As I am sure that your Lordships would not want me to repeat the arguments all over again, I can only reiterate the assurance given by the Government that, in our view, it would be entirely appropriate, if the relevant authorities think fit, for the committee to include members whose concern is with the public education system. There are obviously many points at which the provision of facilities under the Bill, and under the Education Acts should be coordinated. Similarly, co-ordination will be required, for example, with facilities provided under the National Health Service, with facilities provided by voluntary effort and with housing schemes.

That is why the Schedule enables the relevant authorities to appoint members to the committee who are not members of a relevant authority and also enables members nominated by the relevant authorities to co-opt other members, provided that members of the relevant authority remain in a simple majority on the committee. I think that that is right, because responsibility for the care or supervision of the children belongs to the relevant authorities; therefore, responsibility for the composition of the committee which is to plan these facilities for the children must also be theirs. I hope the noble Lord will accept that the Amendment is not necessary and that it would be harmful and restrictive, and indeed improper, if it were accepted. At the same time, I assure him that exactly what he has in mind is what the Government hope will be achieved.


My Lords, in that situation I am not quite sure why it would be inappropriate or harmful to write these words into the Bill. However, the last words which the noble Lord spoke appear to me to have given the kind of assurance which I was hoping to receive, and I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR moved Amendment No. 54: Page 73, line 35, after ("which") insert ("on matters other than those so specified").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a small point which I can explain briefly. Paragraph 3 (1) of Schedule 2 says: … the nominated members of the committee may co-opt other persons to serve as members of the committee, either generally or in relation only to such matters as may be specified by the nominated members".

That is perfectly reasonable. The nominated members may wish to co-opt some people with particular qualifications in one direction, and it may be appropriate that their power and influence in the committee should be limited to that particular field in which they are knowledgeable. But when we come to subparagraph (2) of paragraph 3 it appears that … the extent to which those persons"— that is to say, the co-opted persons— shall be entitled to attend, speak and vote at meetings of the committee shall be such as may be determined by the nominated members". My Amendment would make that read: … the extent to which on matters other than those so specified those persons shall be entitled to attend, speak and vote at meetings of the committee shall be such as may be determined by the nominated members

The point of this Amendment, my Lords, is that where persons are co-opted to serve in relation to specified matters it is desirable that they should be fully entitled to attend, speak and vote at meetings of the committee on those matters, and that if they have been co-opted by the nominated members there should be no power in the nominated members, they having co-opted them in relation to a particular matter, then to determine that they cannot attend when that matter is being discussed. This is, in the first instance, a matter of courtesy to co-opted members, but it is more than courtesy. It is a matter of principle that when persons are co-opted to serve in relation to particular matters they should be free to attend, speak and vote on those matters, though maybe not on other matters. I beg to move.


My Lords, as I understand it the effect of the Amendment would be to make the nominated members responsible for determining the rights of co-opted members to attend, speak and vote on matters other than those for which they have been co-opted. Indeed, the noble Lord read that and, if I heard him aright, said it. But if those words were inserted and the Amendments were made, it is not clear who would determine the rights of co-opted members to attend, speak and vote on matters for which they were co-opted; but some such control is vital in view of the committee's essential position as an instrument in the hands of the authorities responsible for the children.

My Lords, we had some discussion on this during Committee stage, and I gave an undertaking to look again at the provisions of Schedule 2 in so far as they relate to the powers of nominated members on the committee to limit the extent to which members who are co-opted for limited and specified purposes may attend, speak and vote at meetings of the planning committee. It was argued during our earlier discussion that these provisions are unprecedented and unnecessarily complicated, and that all that is required is to ensure that co-opted members have the right to attend, speak or vote on matters for which they have been co-opted. Subparagraph (2) of the third paragraph of Schedule 2 is no more than a piece of machinery to enable effect to be given to the principle enshrined in paragraph 4. That principle is that at all times the local authority members shall be the majority and so will be, as it were, "in the driving seat". The local authorities, of course, have ultimately to pay the bill, and they should be in the driving seat.

We envisage that the number of persons outside the local authority child care field who have something of value to contribute to the activities of planning committees is many times the number of persons who would be nominated members. There will be a vastly greater number who have something to contribute than the number of nominated members. The total number of co-opted members, therefore, may very well be, and is likely to be, several times the number of nominated members. It may be that it would be appropriate that different co-opted members should attend different meetings for different subjects, and also that different co-opted members should attend the same meeting for different items on the agenda. To preserve the controlling position of the nominated members at all times there must be some machinery for telling co-opted members to what extent they may attend particular meetings. This is not something which can be done in advance: it depends upon the committee's programme of work and the agenda for particular meetings. The machinery must therefore be in the hands of the nominated members. They have the duty, and the duty can be placed only in their hands, to (as it were) run the meeting, the agenda, the business, the arrangements, and this is what sub-paragraph (2) of paragraph 2 provides. Our thinking again on the subject since we last discussed it has served only to confirm the view that we should retain this sub-paragraph as it is and retain these arrangements.


My Lords, I find that a most disappointing reply. It appears that policy is being laid down here by people who have no knowledge of the long experience which local government has obtained in the treatment and use of co-opted members. It appears that persons who have been co-opted as experts on different subjects are, in the Government's view, to be liable to be told by the nominated members that they may attend item No. 2, they must go out of the room for items Nos. 3 and 4, they can come back for item No. 5 and, perhaps, come back again for item No. 13. They may not be allowed to speak on any of these, still less to vote. This is not the best way to get good work from co-opted members. These sub-paragraphs seem to be written under the influence of a craven fear of co-opted members. I have served on many local authority committees with co-opted members, and I have always regarded them as partners.

I accept at once that it is reasonable to co-opt persons in relation to specified matters and not necessarily in relation to all the subjects which the committee will be considering. But to give, as the noble Lord insists that the Bill must give, the nominated members power to exclude from an item on the agenda which specifically concerns them co-opted persons who have been co-opted for that very purpose is to my mind an act of the greatest foolishness. We cannot have a quarrel at this late stage of the Bill over a matter of this kind. It would be far better if it was left to common sense, and if the spirit of partnership between nominated members and co-opted members were encouraged to the full by the Statute. I can only express the deepest regret that the Government have not been enlightened enough to accept this Amendment. I beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 4 [Transitional provisions and savings]:

5.30 p.m.

LORD STONHAM moved Amendments Nos. 55 and 56. Page 81, line 39, at end insert—

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