House of Commons - Explanatory Note
Criminal Justice And Court Services Bill - continued          House of Commons

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Part IV

Clause 54: Access to driver licensing records

118. Clause 54 provides for the Secretary of State to make driver licensing records available to the Police Information Technology Organisation for use by the police in England and Wales or Northern Ireland. The intention is that this information will be transferred on to the Police National Computer (PNC).

119. These records will include the licence holder's name, address, sex, date of birth, country of birth (where known), driver number, type of licence held, classes of vehicle covered, other relevant restrictions on driving entitlement, endorsements, penalty points, licence commencement and expiry date. They will also include an electronic photograph and electronic signature which are an integral part of the photo-card driving licence record which the PNC is not currently able to store, but provision needs to made now to allow transfer of this data for a time when the PNC is able to store it.

Clause 55: Failure to secure regular attendance at school: increase in penalty

120. Clause 55 amends Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 to raise the level of penalty if a parent is found guilty of not securing regular attendance at school of a registered child of compulsory school age to £2,500, that is up to level 4 on the standard scale of offences, and/or imprisonment for three months or less.


Schedule 1: Local Boards

121. This Schedule provides details of the constitution and operation of the local boards of the National Probation Service for England and Wales. Paragraph 8 gives local boards the power to appoint their staff and determine their terms and conditions, but these must be approved by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State can also specify the qualifications or training that staff are required to have.

122. Paragraphs 9 and 10 allow a local board to delegate its functions to committees and subcommittees, and enable regulations to specify functions which the board will be required to delegate to the chief officer. The effect of this provision will be to enable the Secretary of State to give directions (under paragraph 12) with which the chief officer will be required to comply.

Schedule 2: CAFCASS

123. Schedule 2 provides details of the constitution of CAFCASS, its powers and those of the Lord Chancellor.

Schedule 3: Transfer of Property

124. Schedule 3 sets out the basis on which a Minister (the Home Secretary or Lord Chancellor) may devise a scheme under clause 19 for the transfer of property. It provides that all ownership and liabilities will be transferred under such a scheme, and that the Minister's judgement as to whether a transfer has taken place is final.

Schedule 4: Meaning of "offence against a child"

125. This schedule provides a list of offences and circumstances as a result of committing which, or falling within the categories defined, an individual will be deemed to have committed an offence against a child, as designated in subsection (1) of clause 24.

Schedule 5: Trigger Offences

126. Schedule 5 lists those offences defined as "trigger offences" for the purposes of drug testing. If an offence is defined as a "trigger offence", the authorisation required for the testing procedure will differ as described above.


127. The costs and savings below depend on a range of assumptions, many of which cannot be easily quantified. For these reasons, the figures given are estimates only. All figures are full year figures at current year prices unless otherwise indicated.

128. The estimated costs, which provide for national roll out of both electronic monitoring and drugs testing and the enforcement measures, are £202.5 million in the first year, which includes the set up costs, and £130.9 million per annum thereafter. Costs will be offset by potential savings of an estimated £41.2 million per annum.

Part I: The New Services

129. Chapter I: The total costs to establish the National Probation Service for England and Wales are estimated at approximately £28.1 million. This includes costs for the establishment of the National Directorate, the amalgamation of 54 services into 42 areas, national IT support, training and recruiting 42 Chairs for the new local Boards. The net annual savings are likely to be in the region of £11.5 million although these are not likely to be realised until around 2003/4.

130. Chapter II: The set up costs for CAFCASS will be a maximum of £22.5 million over a two year period. This includes the costs for investment in an integrated IT system (up to £20 million), securing some new accommodation (£2 million) and ensuring suitable management structures are in place (£0.5 million). Up to an additional £6 million is required for further capital expenditure and IT support costs over a two year period. There may be possible savings in the running costs in later years.

Part II: Protection of Children

131. The costs for the protection of children measure are estimated about £100,000 per annum. This comprises around £40,000 for the operation of the proposed ban and costs associated with those breaching the ban in the courts. Approximately £60,000 is likely to be incurred in legal aid fees. Minimal costs are expected for enforcing the breach of the ban.

Part III: Dealing with Offenders

Electronic Monitoring

132. Although the proposed measures will be piloted, the estimated annual costs for national implementation total £8.9 million. This breaks down as follows:

  • use of exclusion as a sentence or condition of community order will result in net costs of £0.6 million;

  • net cost of using exclusion as a licence condition will be £2.1 million;

  • net cost of using curfew as a licence condition will be £6.2 million.

Drug Testing

133. Although the proposals will be piloted, the estimated annual cost for national implementation are approximately £45.5 million, of which £20 million will be police costs. This breaks down as follows:

  • Drug testing on arrest after charge net cost of £22.6 million;

  • Drug testing under community sentence net cost of £7.8 million;

  • Drug testing on license from prison net cost of £15.1 million.

134. Estimated costs for a pilot in three areas break down as follows:

  • Drug testing on arrest after charge net cost of £0.5 million;

  • Drug testing under community sentence net cost of £0.7 million;

  • Drug testing on license from prison net cost of £1.8 million.

Breach of Community Orders

Enforcement of community sentences: statutory warning scheme

135. The net annual costs for this measure are estimated at £2.7 million. This is derived from likely Probation Service costs of around £3.2 million for supervision costs, offset by savings of about £0.4 million for the courts and about £0.1 million in legal aid fees.

Presumption of imprisonment for breach of a community sentence

136. The net costs are estimated at £66.2 million in the first year and £51.2 million in subsequent years. These arise from likely Prison Service costs (based on the assumption of a 50% deterrence factor for the measure) of about £85 million in the first year, which includes £15 million capital costs. Annual running costs thereafter would be £70 million. There will be further costs to the courts of around £1.5 million to the courts and £0.3 million in legal aid fees. These will be offset by estimated savings to the Probation Service of around £20.6 million as a result of a reduction in supervision costs.

Part IV: General and Supplemental

Access to driver licensing records

137. This provision is part of a package of measures to enable the police to have ready access to information about driving licences and other key documentation, including insurance data and MOT certificates. Access to driver vehicle licensing records will contribute to an estimated efficiency gains of up to £8.6 million. Set up costs are estimated at £0.15 million, with an annual running cost of £66,000. Training costs will be incurred, although these will be minimal. Training will be incorporated into the existing training on use of the Police National Computer.

School attendance

138. The costs of implementing the measure are estimated at £1.2 million per annum. Around £1 million of this will be absorbed in legal aid fees. The remainder of the costs are split approximately equally between police costs for enforcing the warrant to attend court and the Education administration costs for additional prosecutions.

139. Costs arising from proposals in this Bill will be met from agreed Departmental Expenditure Limits.


140. With the exception of the following proposals, the measures in the Bill will have no significant public service staffing implications:

  • Part I, Chapter I: There may be a reduction of up to 170 posts due to the amalgamations of local areas but this will be offset by 50 new posts in headquarters.


141. The Regulatory Impact Unit (RIU) have been consulted and are content that for the most part these proposals will not impose a significant new burden on business or voluntary groups. The RIU therefore does not require a regulatory impact assessment or statement.

142. In relation to the proposals on preventing unsuitable people from working with children, the RIU believe that they could marginally increase the number of people making checks via the Criminal Records Bureau once it is established. However, it does not appear significant enough to warrant the completion of a separate Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA). RIAs have been completed for both the Criminal Records Bureau and the Protection of Children Act 1999, which places a duty on certain groups to make checks on workers' previous criminal activity.


143. Most of the provisions in the Bill will extend to England and Wales only The exceptions are as follows.

144. First, the provisions relating to the protection of children. Those disqualified in England and Wales from working with children, on the basis of these measures, will also be disqualified in Northern Ireland, but not Scotland. Northern Ireland are examining the need to introduce an equivalent disqualification system and Scotland are examining the need to legislate to ensure the England and Wales disqualifications apply in Scotland and that they introduce an equivalent system of disqualification.

145. Secondly, the provisions concerning the disclosure by the Secretary of State of driver licensing records extend to Northern Ireland but not to Scotland. The question of whether they should extend to Scotland is under consideration and it is possible, though not certain, that an amendment will be tabled to the Bill at a later stage extending the provision to Scotland.

146. The devolved National Assembly for Wales has been informed about the proposals concerning CAFCASS and consulted where appropriate, including in areas which are not within its formal responsibilities.


147. Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement, before second reading, about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with the Convention rights (as defined by section 1 of that Act). The Home Secretary has made the following statement:

     In my view the provisions of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Bill are compatible with the Convention rights

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Prepared: 16 March 2000