§ Mr. Judd
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when the Government intend to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years, and when to 14 years, as they are empowered to do under the Children and Young Persons Act, 1969; and whether he will make a statement;
(2) whether the Government will revoke their decision not to implement Section 5 of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1969; and whether he will initiate discussions with the British Associations of Social Workers on this matter;
(3) Whether he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT details of all discussions between the Government and the advisory council on child care, and between the 104W Government and professional associations concerned with children in trouble, before the decision by the Government was made not to implement sections of the Children and Young Persons Act. 1969.
§ Mr. Maudling
The Government intend to raise the minimum age for prosecution to 12 years when they are satisfied that the local authorities and the other services have the necessary resources to cope with this change. We believe that it would be wrong to raise the age higher, or to impose statutory restrictions on the prosecution of children above this age. Accordingly we do not intend to raise the minimum age for prosecution to 14 or to bring Section 5 of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1969, into operation. All the professional associations and other bodies concerned had full opportunity to make known their views following the publication of the previous Government's White Paper "Children in Trouble", and during the period when these provisions were under discussion in Parliament. No further consultations were required before we took decisions on the implementation of the 1969 Act, which accorded with the views which we had expressed in the Parliamentary debates. The British Association of Social Workers has recently sent me a statement of its views on these decisions and I have agreed to its request for a meeting with officials of my Department to clarify points raised in its statement.