HL Deb 09 November 1999 vol 606 cc143-4WA
Lord Avebury

asked Her Majesty's Government:

On what statutory authority the Prison Service designated "nominating authorities" for the appointment of visiting ministers of non-Christian faiths, then extinguished the nominating authorities and appointed "religious consultative services" without defining their roles; and whether they will clarify the procedures for qualification of these ministers by appropriate organisations representing each of the faiths before they can be appointed by prison governors. [HL4519]

Lord Bassam of Brighton

The arrangements for the nominating authorities and religious consultative services are non-statutory. The role of the nominating authorities is likely to change as a result of a review of the appointment procedures for visiting ministers being conducted in consultation with the nominating authorities. The Prison Service has been working with members of the nominating authorities to formalise and define their advisory role, and it has been agreed that the title "religious consultative services" more accurately reflects this role. The procedures for assessing the religious competence of visiting ministers before appointment will be considered as part of the review of appointment procedures.