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Column 761Spink, Dr Robert
Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)
Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Townend, John (Bridlington)
Townsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)
Twinn, Dr Ian
Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Walker, Bill (N Tayside)
Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Wheeler, Rt Hon Sir John
Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)
Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Tellers for the Noes: Dr. Liam Fox and Mr. Andrew Mitchell.
Column 761Question accordingly negatived.
`--(1) Within six months of the passing of this Act the Secretary of State shall appoint a body which shall be named the Disability Rights Commission ("the Commission").
(2) It shall be the duty of the Commission--
(a) to work towards the elimination of discrimination against disabled persons;
(b) to carry out general investigations with a view to determining whether the provisions of this Act are being complied with; (c) to investigate such complaints as may be made to them of failure to comply with any provision of the Act in an individual case, and where it seems appropriate, conciliate in relation to such complaints;
Column 762(d) to provide, where they deem it appropriate, assistance, including legal and financial assistance, to disabled persons in enforcing their rights under this Act; and
(e) to keep under review this working of this Act and, when they are so required by the Secretary of State or otherwise think it desirable, draw up and submit to the Secretary of State proposals for amending this Act.
(3) The Commission shall issue a draft Code of Practice or draft Codes of Practice setting out the requirements of this Act and the manner in which they may be met, whether generally or in the circumstances of each particular case.
(4) Before issuing any draft Code of Practice under subsection (3) above, the Commission shall consult--
(a) such organisation or organisations of disabled persons; and (b) such organisations or associations of organisations representative of employers or of workers; and
(c) such other organisations, or bodies
as appear to the Commission to be appropriate or which the Secretary of State has directed the Commission to consult, and shall consider any representations made to it about such drafts. (5) The Commission shall, within eighteen months of the passing of this Act, publish a Code of Practice or Codes of Practice resulting from its consultations under subsections (3) and (4) above, and shall transmit these to the Secretary of State.
(6) The Secretary of State shall lay copies of any such Code of Practice transmitted to him under subsection (5) above before Parliament, and if either House of Parliament resolves that the Code of Practice be withdrawn, the Commission shall withdraw that Code of Practice, and prepare another Code of Practice in substitution for the one which is withdrawn.
(7) No motion to withdraw a Code of Practice shall be made in either House of Parliament under subsection (6) above after the expiration of a period of forty days beginning with the day on which a copy of the Code of Practice was laid before that House, but for the purposes of calculating this period no account shall be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than four days.
(8) Unless a Code of Practice is withdrawn under the provisions of subsection (6) above, it shall come into effect on such day as the Secretary of State may by order appoint, not being later than six months from the date on which it is published by the Commission. (9) The Commission shall keep under review each Code of Practice published under this section and shall, at such times as it considers appropriate or when the Secretary of State so directs, revise the whole or any part of any Code of Practice, and the provisions of subsection (4) to (8) above shall apply (with appropriate modifications) to such revisions.
(10) A failure on the part of any person to observe any provision of a Code of Practice published in accordance with this section shall not of itself render him liable to any proceedings; but in determining, in respect of Parts II and III of this Act, what actions are permitted or prohibited under those Parts, whether generally or in the circumstances of a particular case, an employer or (as the case may be) a person or body to whom Part II of this Act applies shall have regard to any Code of Practice published in accordance with the provisions of subsection (5) above.
(11) In proceedings under sections 8 and 20 of this Act, any provision of a Code of Practice which appears to an industrial tribunal or, as the case may be, a court, to be relevant to an allegation in those proceedings of the commission of an act of discrimination which is unlawful by virtue of Part II or III of this Act shall be admissible in evidence and--
(a) observance or failure to observe any such provision on the part of any person may be relied upon by any party to the proceedings as tending to negative or to establish any liability which is in question in those proceedings; and
(b) a document which purports to be a Code of Practice shall be taken to be such unless the contrary is proved.
(12) Schedule ( The Disability Rights Commission ) to this Act shall have effect in relation to the Commission.'.-- [Mr. Tom Clarke.]
Column 763Brought up, and read the First time.
`In respect of general investigations, or investigations of complaints, undertaken by the Council, the Secretary of State shall by regulations prescribe--
(a) the procedure whereby the Council may require a person to furnish such information as will assist in any investigation and the time, manner and form in which such information is to be furnished; (b) the procedures to be followed in the case of a person failing to supply such information;
(c) the penalties to be imposed in the case of a person failing to supply such information, save that such penalties shall not exceed level 3 on the standard scale on summary conviction in respect of such a failure and level 4 in respect of each day on which the failure continues after conviction in respect thereof;
(d) the circumstances in which the Council can make
recommendations and reports in the light of its findings in an investigation; and
(e) the manner and form in which such recommendations and reports may be issued.'.
New clause 15-- Investigations by the Council: anti-discrimination notices, etc. --
`.--(1) In respect of general investigations, or investigations of complaints, undertaken by the Council, the Secretary of State shall by regulations prescribe--
(a) the circumstances in which, following such an investigation, the Council may issue to a person a notice of prohibition of discrimination, which shall be known as a non-discrimination notice;
(b) the manner and form in which such a notice shall be issued; (c) the procedures to be adopted in investigating whether such a notice is being complied with; and
(d) the procedures to be followed in the case of a
non-discrimination notice not being complied with.
(2) Regulations made in accordance with subsection (1) above shall prescribe, in the case of an alleged discrimination by one person against another, the arrangements whereby the Council may-- (a) in the case of discrimination in contravention of Part II of this Act, refer the matter to an industrial tribunal, and
(b) in the case of discrimination in contravention of Part III of this Act,apply to a county court for an injunction, or a sheriff court for an order, restraining the respondent from such discrimination,
but nothing in those regulations shall prevent an individual from making a claim of discrimination the subject of civil proceedings.'. Amendment No. 20, in clause 23, page 16, line 24, leave out from beginning to end of line 15 in clause 25 on page 19.
Amendment No. 52, in page 16, line 27, leave out from beginning to end of line 18 on page 17, and insert--
`(2) It shall be the duty of the Council--
(a) to work towards the elimination of discrimination on the basis of disability; and
(b) to keep under review the working of this Act and, when directed to do so by the Secretary of State or when it otherwise thinks it desirable, to draw up and submit to the Secretary of State proposals for amending this Act.
(3) In discharging its duties under subsection (2), the Council shall have the power--
Column 764(a) to investigate such complaints as are made to it of failure to comply with any provision of this Act in an individual case, and where it considers it appropriate, to conciliate in relation to such complaints;
(b) to provide assistance, including legal and financial assistance, to disabled persons in enforcing their rights under this Act;
(c) to carry out investigations with a view to determining whether the provisions of this Act are being complied with; and
(d) to undertake, or assist (whether financially or otherwise) the undertaking by other persons, of any research and any educational activities, which appear to the Council necessary or expedient for the purposes of subsection (2) above.'.
Amendment No. 45, in page 16, line 35, at end insert--
`(d) on matters related to the provisions or operation of other enactments or government policies relating to disabled persons insofar as they affect the opportunities of disabled persons other than in the field of employment.'.
Amendment No. 53, in page 17, line 21, leave out from beginning to end of line 48,
Amendment No. 1, a new schedule:-- `The Disability Rights Commission--
Constitution of the Commission
1. The Commission shall consist of at least eight but not more than fifteen persons ("Commissioners") appointed by the Secretary of State, after consultation with organisations of disabled people, on a full-time or part- time basis, four of whom, including the chairman, shall be full-time members.
2. At least three-quarters of the total number of the Commissioners shall themselves be persons who, at the time of their appointment, are disabled persons or the authorised representatives of disabled persons appointed pursuant to section 1 of the Disabled Persons (Services, Consultation and Representation) Act 1986 or section 1 of the Disabled Persons (Northern Ireland) Act 1989. 3. So far as is reasonably practicable, the Secretary of State shall ensure that the Commission includes at least one member who resides in each of England, Scotland and Wales.
4.--(1) The Secretary of State shall appoint one of the Commissioners to be chairman of the Commission and one of the Commissioners to be deputy chairman of the Commission.
(2) Both the chairman and the deputy chairman shall be persons who, at the time of their appointment, are disabled persons or authorised representatives of disabled persons appointed pursuant to section 1 of the Disabled Persons (Services, Consultation and Representation) 1986 or section 1 of the Disabled Persons (Northern Ireland) Act 1989.
5. On the appointment by the Secretary of State of the first Commissioners, the Commission shall come into existence as a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal.
6.--(1) The Commission is not an emanation of the Crown, and shall not act or be treated as the servant or agent of the Crown. (2) Accordingly--
(a) neither the Commission nor a Commissioner not a member of its staff as such is entitled to any status, immunity, privilege or exemption enjoyed by the Crown;
(b) the Commissioners and members of the staff of the Commission as such are not civil servants; and
(c) the Commission's property is not property of, or held on behalf of, the Crown.
Tenure of Office of Commissioners
7.--(1) A Commissioner shall hold and vacate his office in accordance with the terms of his appointment.
(2) A person shall not be appointed a Commissioner for more than--
(a) where he was appointed on 31st March in any year, five years; and
(b) in any other case, the period which expires with the first 31st March after the fifth anniversary of his appointment.