When TPIMs replaced control orders, Parliament was promised that the introduction of those weaker powers would be accompanied by extra surveillance capacity. The Public Bill Committee was promised an elaborate web of 24-hour surveillance provided by specially

21 Jan 2014 : Column 259

trained officers. The cost was predicted to rise from £1.8 million a year for a control order to £18 million a year for a TPIM, but Ibrahim Magag disappeared by getting into a taxi and Mohamed did the same by donning a burqa and removing his tag. Will the Minister set out whether the TPIMs regime provided the direct surveillance of suspects that Parliament was promised? For example, was either of those suspects under direct surveillance when they disappeared?

The Home Secretary pointed out that individuals had in the past been taken off control orders. Indeed they were, but the difference is that in those cases the individuals were no longer deemed to pose a high risk. Now the decision has been taken away from the Government with the automatic ending of a TPIM after a maximum of two years. My right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn, when pressing the Home Secretary on her personal view on when individuals should come off TPIMs, asked whether she thought that they posed a risk. She refused to answer.

The Home Secretary was also asked whether she thought that the person known as CD still posed a risk. As she was previously able to tell us what the risk assessment was for Magag and Mohamed, it is rather unfortunate that she was unable to be as candid on the Floor of the House in this important debate about these individuals.

Let me say clearly to the hon. Member for Cambridge (Dr Huppert) that nobody wants people to remain on TPIM orders indefinitely, but we do want a proper risk assessment as to when a person should come off a TPIM order, not an arbitrary two-year time limit. That is our position, and I hope he will reflect on that.

Control orders and TPIMs have had some parliamentary oversight from the Intelligence and Security Committee, and that vital form of accountability needs to continue. The Opposition would like an assurance that the ISC will be given the individual risk assessments for each person who is currently subject to a TPIM order and the individual plans for them once they are no longer subject to it.

It would be helpful if the Minister said a little more about what is going to happen after these orders come to an end. He has referred to specially tailored packages, and my hon. Friend the Member for North Durham asked for more information about exactly what that would mean. I understand the constraints that the Minister is under, but a more general comment would be welcome.

When TPIMs replaced control orders, the extra cost continued to be borne by the Home Office. Will the Minister say where any extra funding will come from and clarify whether Ministers will remain responsible for the oversight of these individuals once the TPIM orders have been lifted?

I want to ask the Minister about any additional powers that might be required. The Opposition have offered assistance and co-operation to bring in necessary but proportionate measures on a cross-party basis. My right hon. Friend the Member for Salford and Eccles (Hazel Blears) referred to the issue that David Anderson raised about the possibility of a provision akin to a licence condition being imposed when someone comes off a TPIM order. The Opposition would be willing to consider that with the Minister if he were willing to engage in such discussions.

21 Jan 2014 : Column 260

Will the Minister comment on the restriction on foreign travel? When someone is placed on a TPIM order, their passport should be confiscated, although that did not happen in the case of Mohamed, and we have not got to the bottom of where the passport is or whether it is still in existence. Seven of the current TPIM suspects are thought to have travelled abroad to Pakistan, Syria or Somalia to attend terrorist training camps, where they develop the expertise and skills that make them so dangerous. I heard what the Home Secretary said about the use of the royal prerogative, but will the Minister confirm whether any additional powers are needed to stop these individuals travelling abroad once they are no longer restricted by TPIM orders?

We hope that the Minister will acknowledge that we have used an Opposition day debate to raise an important matter, to offer co-operation on an issue of national security, and to work together on a cross-party basis to make sure that we have legislation that is fit for purpose.

6.48 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (James Brokenshire): Let me say at the outset that this Government regard protecting the British public from terrorism as absolutely one of the most important functions of the state. I stress the seriousness and weight that the Home Secretary, other Ministers and I attach to the exercise of these powers, and therefore the careful consideration that we give to them.

We have been consistently clear that violence and extremism of all kinds have no place in today’s society. We believe that individuals who engage in terrorist activity should be prosecuted wherever and whenever possible. The right place for terrorists is behind bars. In that context—I am sure that this will be supported by Members in all parts of the House—I recognise and pay tribute to the work of the police and the security services in protecting the security of our country and pursuing those who would seek to do us harm.

However, where individuals who pose a threat to this country and its people cannot be prosecuted or deported, we need powerful measures that can help manage the risk. My hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Sir Edward Leigh) made that point clearly. That was exactly why we took stock and reviewed the control orders that the previous Government had used. Despite what a number of Members have said today, it was clear to us that control orders were not working as they were intended to.

During the six years for which control orders existed, seven people absconded. Moreover, they were being steadily eroded by the courts. A total of eight were either quashed or revoked because they were thought wrong in principle, because they were believed no longer to be necessary or because the previous Government were unable to make a disclosure ordered by the court. Furthermore, in four cases the relocation of individuals subject to control orders was quashed. That was why we judged that the state of affairs was untenable. The British public rightly expect protection from dangerous individuals, and we needed a robust system that would provide effective and workable restrictions. We therefore ordered a lengthy and considered review of our counter-terrorism powers against the risk that then existed.

21 Jan 2014 : Column 261

We judge that TPIMs have proved effective and workable. They have consistently been upheld by the courts, they have been endorsed by two separate independent reviewers of counter-terrorism legislation and they have the confidence of the police and the Security Service. To quote David Anderson, they are a “harsh measure” that provide some of the toughest controls possible in the democratic world. They provide for a comprehensive range of restrictions that can be placed on terror suspects, including daily reporting; overnight residence at a specified address; a ban on overseas travel; the wearing of a global positioning system tracking tag; limits on the use of telephones, computers and financial services and on association; and exclusion from specific places such as ports and airports. They give the police certainty about how individuals will be managed. In his first annual report on TPIMs, David Anderson stated:

“In terms of security, the TPIM regime continues to provide a high degree of protection against untriable and undeportable persons who are judged on substantial grounds to be dangerous terrorists”.

Mr Straw: Since the Minister quotes Mr David Anderson with approval, does he also accept Mr Anderson’s view that the courts did not object in principle to the operation of the relocation provisions in control orders?

James Brokenshire: The right hon. Gentleman needs to understand—I am sure he will recognise this, as a former Home Secretary—that we need to focus on the management of dangerous offenders’ exit strategies and how they are released. As the Home Secretary made clear, the courts struck down relocation on a number of occasions. Our concern has been, and always will be, about having a continuing arrangement to provide assurance about the management of such offenders. Most importantly, the police and the Security Service, whose opinions are after all the ones we should listen to on the subject, say that TPIMs have been effective in disrupting individuals and networks that pose a threat to this country’s security. As my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary made clear, however, they are only one weapon in the fight against extremism and terrorism.

Mr Straw: With respect to the Minister, that was not an answer to the question that I posed. Given that he quoted Mr Anderson with approval, does he accept Mr Anderson’s considered opinion that the courts did not in principle stand in the way of the operation of relocation?

James Brokenshire: The right hon. Gentleman and other Labour Members have implied that, in essence, the measure was a silver bullet and the solution, but that absolutely was not the case. The courts have challenged relocation in individual cases, and it is therefore important for us to reflect on that in the management of those individuals.

As my colleague the Home Secretary has made clear, TPIMs are only one weapon in our fight against extremism and terrorism. They are used only in exceptional circumstances as part of measures designed to disrupt a person’s activities—in other words, part of the bigger picture that my hon. Friend the Member for South Swindon (Mr Buckland) mentioned. Alongside TPIMs, the Government provided additional funding of tens of

21 Jan 2014 : Column 262

millions of pounds a year to the Security Service and the police, substantially increasing their surveillance and counter-terrorism capabilities. In addition to TPIMs, a range of tough measures are in place to disrupt the activities of people engaged in terrorist activities, and prevent people from becoming radicalised.

We are using the royal prerogative to remove passports from British nationals whom we believe want to travel abroad to take part in terrorist and extremist activity, and who on their return would pose a threat to this country. We have strong controls in place at British ports, and the National Border Targeting Centre is able to check advance passenger information provided by carriers, and identify any known persons of interest who intend to travel. We have the power to exclude extremists and preachers of hate from coming to this country, and where necessary we may consider the use of other disruptive powers, including deprivation of British citizenship where an individual is a dual national and the Home Secretary determines that such action is conducive to the public good.

Alan Johnson: Will the Minister give way?

James Brokenshire: I will give way briefly as I have only a couple of minutes.

Alan Johnson: I am grateful; the hon. Gentleman has a couple of minutes to tell Parliament what it needs to know. In the judgment of the Home Secretary, which of the six people who will be released from their TPIMs, and who were considered so dangerous that they needed to have those restrictive measures, still pose a security threat?

James Brokenshire: As the Home Secretary made clear, and as I said in my contribution this afternoon, the police and the Security Service have stated that TPIMs have been effective in reducing the risk associated with those individuals. The right hon. Gentleman, and others, have sought to make a point about the risk assessments. Those have been made but they are an operational matter for the police and the Security Service. It would seem that right hon. and hon. Members are seeking to have information disclosed on the Floor of the House that could make it that much harder for the police and the Security Service to do their job of protecting this country.

The Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 provides for the appointment of an independent reviewer of the operation of that Act, and for that reviewer to report annually on the outcome of that review. David Anderson has been appointed to perform that function and reviews all TPIM cases. No doubt he will cover those coming off their TPIMs in his annual report.

We are returning dangerous foreign nationals who have no right to be here back to their home countries through deportation with assurances, just as we did with Abu Qatada last July—something the previous Labour Government failed to do. We are working to do more than ever to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. I am clear that the best place for a terrorist is in a cell, and those who endanger lives and threaten our national security deserve to receive long sentences. Unlike under the Labour party, which was content for convicted terrorists to be released halfway through their sentences, under new proposals, criminals

21 Jan 2014 : Column 263

convicted of serious terrorism offences and who receive a determinate sentence will no longer be automatically released at the halfway point of their prison sentences without any assessment.

Mr Alan Campbell (Tynemouth) (Lab) claimed to move the closure (Standing Order No. 36).

Question put forthwith, That the question be now put.

Question agreed to.

Main Question accordingly put.

The House divided:

Ayes 236, Noes 312.

Division No. 185]


6.59 pm


Abrahams, Debbie

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Balls, rh Ed

Barron, rh Kevin

Bayley, Hugh

Beckett, rh Margaret

Begg, Dame Anne

Benn, rh Hilary

Benton, Mr Joe

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blears, rh Hazel

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brennan, Kevin

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Campbell, Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Caton, Martin

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Jenny

Clark, Katy

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Connarty, Michael

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Sir Tony

Curran, Margaret

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

David, Wayne

Davidson, Mr Ian

Davies, Geraint

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Dobbin, Jim

Docherty, Thomas

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Engel, Natascha

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Field, rh Mr Frank

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Francis, Dr Hywel

Gardiner, Barry

Gilmore, Sheila

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Godsiff, Mr Roger

Goodman, Helen

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hain, rh Mr Peter

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harris, Mr Tom

Havard, Mr Dai

Healey, rh John

Hendrick, Mark

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hermon, Lady

Heyes, David

Hillier, Meg

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hoey, Kate

Hood, Mr Jim

Hunt, Tristram

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jackson, Glenda

James, Mrs Siân C.

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Jowell, rh Dame Tessa

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Khan, rh Sadiq

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Lazarowicz, Mark

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Long, Naomi

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Ian

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McClymont, Gregg

McCrea, Dr William

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McGovern, Alison

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McKechin, Ann

McKenzie, Mr Iain

McKinnell, Catherine

Meacher, rh Mr Michael

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Miliband, rh Edward

Miller, Andrew

Mitchell, Austin

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Morrice, Graeme


Morris, Grahame M.


Mudie, Mr George

Munn, Meg

Murphy, rh Mr Jim

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

O'Donnell, Fiona

Osborne, Sandra

Owen, Albert

Pearce, Teresa

Percy, Andrew

Perkins, Toby

Phillipson, Bridget

Pound, Stephen

Powell, Lucy

Qureshi, Yasmin

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Mr Steve

Reeves, Rachel

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Robertson, John

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rotheram, Steve

Roy, Mr Frank

Roy, Lindsay

Ruane, Chris

Ruddock, rh Dame Joan

Sawford, Andy

Seabeck, Alison

Shannon, Jim

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheridan, Jim

Shuker, Gavin

Simpson, David

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, Angela

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Spellar, rh Mr John

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Walley, Joan

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Williamson, Chris

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Woodcock, John

Woodward, rh Mr Shaun

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Tellers for the Ayes:

Julie Hilling


Phil Wilson


Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Amess, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Norman

Baker, Steve

Baldry, rh Sir Tony

Barclay, Stephen

Barker, rh Gregory

Baron, Mr John

Bebb, Guto

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Bingham, Andrew

Binley, Mr Brian

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Mr Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, James

Brooke, Annette

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, Fiona

Bruce, rh Sir Malcolm

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burstow, rh Paul

Burt, rh Alistair

Burt, Lorely

Byles, Dan

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Carmichael, Neil

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Clappison, Mr James

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, Stephen

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Davey, rh Mr Edward

Davies, David T. C.


Davies, Glyn

Davis, rh Mr David

de Bois, Nick

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen

Dorries, Nadine

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Duddridge, James

Duncan, rh Mr Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Jonathan

Evans, Mr Nigel

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, rh Michael

Farron, Tim

Featherstone, Lynne

Field, Mark

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fuller, Richard

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, Robert

Hames, Duncan

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, Matthew

Hancock, Mr Mike

Hands, Greg

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Sir Nick

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Oliver

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Henderson, Gordon

Hendry, Charles

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hollingbery, George

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Hopkins, Kris

Horwood, Martin

Hughes, rh Simon

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hunter, Mark

Huppert, Dr Julian

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kelly, Chris

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Lancaster, Mark

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Latham, Pauline

Laws, rh Mr David

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Jessica

Lee, Dr Phillip

Leech, Mr John

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leigh, Sir Edward

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lloyd, Stephen

Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Luff, Sir Peter

Lumley, Karen

Macleod, Mary

Main, Mrs Anne

Maude, rh Mr Francis

May, rh Mrs Theresa

McCartney, Karl

McIntosh, Miss Anne

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

McVey, Esther

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, rh Maria

Milton, Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Moore, rh Michael

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Mosley, Stephen

Mulholland, Greg

Mundell, rh David

Munt, Tessa

Murray, Sheryll

Neill, Robert

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

O'Brien, rh Mr Stephen

Offord, Dr Matthew

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Opperman, Guy

Ottaway, rh Sir Richard

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pugh, John

Raab, Mr Dominic

Randall, rh Sir John

Reckless, Mark

Redwood, rh Mr John

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reid, Mr Alan

Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm

Robathan, rh Mr Andrew

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Ruffley, Mr David

Russell, Sir Bob

Rutley, David

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sandys, Laura

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Shepherd, Sir Richard

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Sir Robert

Soames, rh Nicholas

Soubry, Anna

Stanley, rh Sir John

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stuart, Mr Graham

Stunell, rh Sir Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Swales, Ian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Tapsell, rh Sir Peter

Thornton, Mike

Thurso, John

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Truss, Elizabeth

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, Mr Andrew

Uppal, Paul

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Walter, Mr Robert

Ward, Mr David

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Weatherley, Mike

Webb, Steve

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Willetts, rh Mr David

Williams, Hywel

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Gavin

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wright, Jeremy

Wright, Simon

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:

Amber Rudd


Gavin Barwell

Question accordingly negatived.

21 Jan 2014 : Column 264

21 Jan 2014 : Column 265

21 Jan 2014 : Column 266

21 Jan 2014 : Column 267

Business without Debate

European Union Documents

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 119(11)),


That this House takes note of European Union Documents No. 9122/12, a draft Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No. 223/2009 on European statistics, No. 14230/12, European Court of Auditors Special Report No. 12/2012: Did the Commission and Eurostat improve the process for producing reliable and credible European statistics?, and No. 15976/12, a European Central Bank Opinion on the draft Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No. 223/2009 on European statistics (CON/2012/84); notes the success that the UK has achieved so far against its negotiating objectives in Council negotiations on amendments to Regulation (EC) No. 223/2009; and supports the Government’s view that it should approve any final compromise text which ensures those objectives and improves the legal framework for the production of reliable and credible European statistics.—(Mr Gyimah.)

Question agreed to.

21 Jan 2014 : Column 268

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 119(11)),

Safety of Nuclear Installations

That this House takes note of European Union Document No. 15030/13, a draft Council Directive amending Directive 2009/71/EURATOM establishing a Community framework for the nuclear safety of nuclear installations; notes the importance of learning the lessons from the Fukushima nuclear accident at a national level; and agrees with the Government that, while there is a need to ensure that a robust EU nuclear safety framework is in place, any changes to the current framework should be evidence based, proportionate to the risks they aim to address and do not result in a shift of competence away from Member States.—(Mr Gyimah.)

Question agreed to.


Scunthorpe Hospital Car Parking Charges

7.14 pm

Nic Dakin (Scunthorpe) (Lab): I would like to present a petition against increases in Scunthorpe hospital car parking charges and to commend the work of local councillors Haque Kataria and Mashook Ali for the leadership they have shown in working with the local community to raise this petition.

The petition states:

The Petition of residents of Scunthorpe,

Declares that the Petitioners are very concerned that car parking prices at Scunthorpe General Hospital have been increased from September 2013.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the hospital to think of local constituents who are affected by this price increase and reconsider their decision.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


21 Jan 2014 : Column 269

Staying Put Agenda

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—(Mr Gyimah.)

7.16 pm

Craig Whittaker (Calder Valley) (Con): May I say what an honour it is to have secured this evening’s Adjournment debate?

We have all heard some of the statistics on outcomes for our nation’s 68,000-plus looked-after children, and I think everybody will agree that our country’s record on helping this most vulnerable group of young people when they leave care is nothing short of appalling. Of the 7,000 19-year-olds who were in care at 16, 36% are not in education, employment or training, and only 6% of all care leavers are in higher education, compared with 43% of their peers. We can add to those figures the fact that just 12.8% of children in care obtained five good GCSE grades, compared with 57.9% of their peers, and that about 23% of the adult prison population have spent some time in care. Around a quarter of those living on the streets also have a care background, while care leavers are four or five times more likely to commit suicide. Finally, about 47% of looked-after children aged five to 17 show signs of psychosocial adversity and psychiatric disorders, which is higher than among the most disadvantaged children living in private households.

Physical and mental problems increase at the time of leaving care. In order to address the many serious challenges faced by care leavers, the Government propose to introduce an amendment to the Children and Families Bill to allow young people who are fostered to remain with their carers until they are 21, if they wish and their carers agree and if it is considered to be in their best interests to do so. All young people in foster care will be offered enhanced support until they are 21. For young people in foster care, this is one of the biggest, most fundamental changes to their support when they leave care and is widely applauded as a hugely significant change in the right direction for this incredibly vulnerable group of young people.

The scandal, however, is that the extension to fostering excludes the 9% of young people in care who are placed in children’s homes. These young people have a wide range of needs and challenges. What most have in common is that they are vulnerable. That vulnerability is further enhanced by a stigma attached to residential care among politicians, the public and still, sadly, some in the social work profession. Ministers appear to see living in a family as the best option for children in care—I believe they are right—and as the only setting in which children may thrive. That is reflected by some social workers who see children’s homes as the last resort—a place where children who have “failed” family placements may be sent or as somewhere the more challenging young people may be placed. Many of the public see children’s homes as places where “naughty children” are sent. Historically, that view was compounded by some local authorities that used children’s homes to accommodate the more challenging young people.

When recently asked by the Select Committee on Education to explain different care leaving ages for foster children and those in children’s homes, the Secretary of State for Education replied that fostering is different from residential options and that children’s homes will

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not get support until an unspecified number of children’s homes nationally have improved within an unspecified time, at which point he may consider it. However, Ofsted inspections of 400 children’s homes concluded by June last year found that on overall effectiveness 65% were good or outstanding and only 7% were inadequate; on outcomes for young people, 67% were good or outstanding and only 3% were inadequate; on quality of care, 74% were good or outstanding, with only 6% inadequate; on safeguarding of children and young people, 69% were good or outstanding, with only 6% inadequate; and, finally, on leadership and management, 57% were good or outstanding and only 9% inadequate.

The Ofsted data, based on Ofsted inspection standards, thus show that the inspectors found most children’s homes to be good or outstanding and only a small percentage to be inadequate. I wonder whether the Secretary of State realises the absurdity of his argument. Surely, as the holder of the purse strings, he should be targeting the homes he is not happy with, and not the young people who are in them through not fault of their own. This suggests strongly that the stigma and misuse of residential care often mask some excellent work that is taking place. It is a credit to residential care that so many of the young children placed in children’s homes under such pressure grow up to lead fulfilling lives.

Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham) (Con): Perhaps I should declare my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. I entirely agree with my hon. Friend, but is not part of the problem the fact that the children who end up in residential children’s homes are, as he says, often there as a last resort, and will usually be there for only a matter of months, when what we really need to look at, rather than short-term spot purchasing of places, is long-term planning? Children need to go into good-quality residential children’s homes—the quality still needs to be improved—as a long-term planned option, just as it is for long-term fostering, rather than as a last resort. If that were the case, enabling children to stay on, which would be wholly consistent with fostering, could be seen as much more of a natural process.

Craig Whittaker: I agree absolutely with the sentiments expressed by my hon. Friend, who has had massive experience in this field over the years and has worked tirelessly for young people. The solutions sought for these young people need to be diverse, but long-term planning for residential care is, without question, vital.

The problem with allowing the amendment just for those in foster care is that it leads to inequalities and discrimination within the system, creating a two-tier system for these vulnerable young people. It does not include young people in residential care, so the state just washes its hands of children anywhere between the ages of 16 and 18 and cuts them free without any support in the big wide world. I have even heard stories of young people being sent back to their birth families just a few days before their 16th birthday, so the local authority no longer has to support them.

As chair of the all-party parliamentary group on looked-after children and care leavers—a post held that the Minister held before me, so he has had massive experience with the APPG—I have been inundated with stories of young people feeling that the state is yet again letting

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them down because of the inequality and discrimination being created. In this particular case, however, I have noted a real anger coming from those young people in residential care—an anger that I feel is justified. The brilliant campaign led by the “Every Child Leaving Care Matters” team has in less than a month secured 5,000 signatures for the petition from care leavers to change the Government’s mind, and this has been backed by academics and charities from all over the nation. Five thousand young people cannot be wrong: they are angry about their exclusion, and as one young man said to me, “We are being stitched up yet again.”

Bill Esterson (Sefton Central) (Lab): I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on securing the debate and on agreeing with the intervention by the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton). I suggest that the long-term objective might be to treat children—whether they be in foster care or residential care—as if they were our own children, which is supposed to be the situation now. That implies a much more flexible and longer-term view of how long these children should stay with their parents.

Craig Whittaker: The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. I believe that nowadays the average age of young adults who live at home with their parents is 26 or 27, so why on earth should we cut these young people off all of a sudden when they turn 18, and send them off to fend for themselves? It just does not seem right.

I would argue, as would many others, that young people in residential care are the most vulnerable of all. The majority have been through the fostering system, and have found themselves in placements that break down. The average number of placements for each child in the care system is seven, and the figure is generally much higher for those in residential care. Ben Ashcroft, who is a care leaver, had a total of 37 placements, and wrote a book about his experiences called “51 Moves”.

Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP): I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on raising this important issue. Does he agree that continuity is essential for young people whose lives have been turned upside down and who have reached a critical point in their lives, and that they must be in a place that they can look on as their own and can see as being long-term rather than short-term?

Craig Whittaker: The hon. Gentleman is right. Traditionally, there has been a severing of the relationship between the state and these young people. It is vital for us to provide a long-term plan and security for all of them, not just for a section of them.

Another young man who contacted me recently had had more than 85 placements. His case and Ben Ashcroft’s are extreme, but young people in residential care have far more than the average seven placements.

Why should we want to discriminate against the most vulnerable members of an already vulnerable group? Most of us who are close to the system understand that it is not quite as simple as delivering foster placements until young people reach the age of 21, but the Government have been very quiet about those in residential homes, and about what some of the solutions might be. The Staying Put agenda has been piloted, tried and tested for young people in foster care, but nothing has yet been

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piloted for those in residential care. We need, at the very least, an announcement from the Government that there will be such pilots, and an indication from them that young people in residential homes can have the same rights and entitlements as those in foster placements until a long-term solution is found. However, the silence is deafening.

I understand the caution, but I do not believe that young people who are in placements now, who are settled, and who will benefit from remaining in those placements until they are 21 should have to move elsewhere simply pending further research. They have needs now. Some will be facing failure, destitution, homelessness, exploitation and all the other risks that young people face on their own. That is happening now—not in the future, but now. Those young people should not be placed at risk pending further research.

One of the Government’s concerns is that allowing young people to remain in children’s homes after their 18th birthday may cause problems for younger children placed, and that safeguarding issues could be involved. I struggle to see how a young person who is settled in a children’s home and enjoys a positive relationship with staff and peers should suddenly become a safeguarding risk when he or she turns 18, having never been so before.

Some people argue that it is too soon to include changes in the leaving care arrangements for children placed in children’s homes by April 2014. I see no reason why those who are settled in placements, enjoy positive relationships and want to stay with the agreement of those in charge of their placements should not be supported and allowed to do so. The Government should give a commitment to support all young people leaving care until they are 21 by April 2014, while work is being done to establish how than can best be achieved.

If cost is the issue when it comes to including the 9% of young people in residential care in the amendment, I must ask what the cost is of supporting young care leavers in the criminal justice system. I would ask about the costs to the benefits system and the mental health system, and the huge costs associated with homelessness.

I recently highlighted a potential saving—and a good way of paying for such a scheme—that would involve ensuring that the birth parents did not continue to claim family benefit for the young person. Evidence from inquiry workshops relating to the report on entitlements produced by the all-party parliamentary group on looked-after children and care leavers showed that several young people on those workshops had birth parents who were still claiming child benefit from the state on their behalf, even though they had been in care several years.

The law says that local authorities should stop the benefit when a child is taken into care, but in reality that practice is rather hit and miss. If the Department for Work and Pensions incentivised local authorities to stop the benefit by giving them, say, half the child benefit, we would have a win-win situation, with savings for the DWP and extra money to fund a scheme for local authorities. Sadly, however, the DWP fails to admit that this is an issue, despite those young people saying that it is.

The changes in the Children and Families Bill are being made to improve the support for young people leaving foster care. However, the changes, which will in effect increase the care leaving age for many fostered children but not for those in other residential settings,

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could have unintended consequences. They risk creating a two-tier care system, in which children in foster care receive longer aftercare support than those in residential settings. They risk creating an “underclass” of children in residential care who will still have to leave care at 18. They risk reducing real choice for children, as they will be compelled to accept family care in order to gain better aftercare. They also risk creating serious issues for social workers when family placements are breaking down, because the social workers might repeat family placements in an effort to protect aftercare instead of considering the best option for the young person, which might include a residential care option. Finally, they risk creating a negative impact on the self-image and confidence of children in residential settings other than foster care, who might feel undervalued and discriminated against by a change that excludes them through no fault of their own.

I would like to ask the Minister why young people in residential settings who are settled in placements, who enjoy positive relationships and who want to stay, with the agreement of their placement, should not be allowed and supported to continue to do so? There are no reasons why that cannot be done while the research into the best long-term options is ongoing. What is the Minister going to do to address any possible gross discrimination? Will he tell those young people what the Government’s plans are for pilots for a long-term solution that will give them the same support as young people in foster care? The brilliant amendment to the Children and Families Bill would represent a fantastic advancement for all young people in care, not just those in foster care.

7.32 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education (Mr Edward Timpson): I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Calder Valley (Craig Whittaker) on securing this important debate. As my successor as chair of the all-party parliamentary group on looked-after children and care leavers, he is well placed to bring to the House the concerns and views of the many children and young people who actively participate in the group’s work. Like him, I completely recognise the vital need for care leavers to be provided with good-quality, stable accommodation and support if they are to make a successful transition to adulthood. Likewise, I am sure that he recognises my personal commitment, and that of the Government, to making substantial improvements to services for care leavers. That will include ensuring that young people are given help to access suitable accommodation with the right support.

As has been said, we recently announced our intention to place a new legal duty on local authorities to provide staying-put arrangements, supported by additional funding of £40 million to local authorities over the next three years. We will introduce a new clause into the Children and Families Bill to place a duty on local authorities to give young people the opportunity to “stay put” with their former foster parents from their 18th birthday until they are aged 21. We have worked closely with the Who Cares Trust and other interested parties to ensure that we get the wording of the new clause right, and I look forward to tabling it soon.

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That is not the only step we are taking. This is all part of our wider reform programme to provide care leavers with much better support as they move into adulthood. Other reforms include changing the rules so that 16 and 17-year-olds remain in care until they are ready to move out, and providing much greater financial support for young people leaving care at 18.

My hon. Friend has secured this debate in order to express his concern about the potential for inequity between young people in foster care and those in children’s homes. So let me be clear: I want to ensure that all care leavers, whatever their placement while in the care system, are provided with the appropriate support when they leave care. As my hon. Friend is aware, one of my two adopted brothers came to live with my family from a children’s home, so I have a deep personal interest in wanting to see all children’s homes provide the best-quality care and support on offer, both during a child or young person’s time in care and as they move on to independent living or other accommodation.

My hon. Friend says that for some young people staying in the children’s home is the right thing to do. I agree, and the law is clear that local authorities can already provide funding and support to a young person to stay with their former foster carer or to remain in a children’s home beyond their 18th birthday, and we know and see examples of that already happening. The issue, however, is whether it is appropriate to place a new duty on local authorities to provide a particular type of support to all young people in children’s homes.

The evidence for placing such a duty on supporting staying-put arrangements for young people in foster care is robust. Staying-put arrangements were tested out in pilots, and proved to have a positive impact on their outcomes. Research from the Fostering Network since the pilots ended shows that, where these arrangements continue, they show similar positive outcomes. Making the transition from a children’s home and from a foster home are very different, however. For some children, leaving a children’s home means moving into residential accommodation for adults. For others, it will be supported accommodation back in their home community; I acknowledge that many—too many—children’s homes are miles from where their families live. We also know that a disproportionate number of young people leave children’s homes and go home to live with their families.

There are also a number of practical and legal issues we would need to consider and test out before placing a duty on local authorities to have to provide staying-put arrangements in children’s homes. A key barrier would be having vulnerable adults living alongside much younger vulnerable children. My hon. Friend addressed that point, but children’s homes are, in law, establishments “wholly or mainly” for children and are registered as such by Ofsted, which, as my hon. Friend mentioned, inspects children’s homes and makes judgments on how the home is achieving outcomes for children. As part of our wider reform of residential care, a much stronger inspection regime will be put in place to help drive up quality standards.

Given that most children’s homes are now very small—typically 2, 3 or 4 beds—extending staying put could result, for example, in a home accommodating two or three care leavers and one child. In this case it could not be registered as a “children’s home”, as it would mainly be an establishment accommodating young adults, which

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could cause difficulties for the only child living there. For the same reason, Ofsted would not have any legal scope to regulate and inspect this service.

I recognise, however, that these should not be viewed as insurmountable barriers, so my hon. Friend will be pleased to know that I have asked my officials to work with the National Children’s Bureau, the Who Cares Trust and Catch 22 to look at the practical issues of introducing staying-put arrangements in children’s homes over the coming year.

Craig Whittaker: The news my hon. Friend has just announced is very welcome and I thank him for it, but I want to challenge him on some of his points about children’s homes and the number of adults staying in them. He has said that local authorities can already allow someone who is 18 to stay in care. Surely if that is allowed, the problems he is bringing up are not insurmountable and can be put right.

Mr Timpson: I have expressed a clear view about some of the legal and practical issues that remain. It is right that we consider them carefully and understand the consequences more widely across the residential care sector before taking any further steps. I want to be absolutely clear that I am not looking to find excuses not to do this. I am trying to establish what we will need to do to make me feel confident that any further steps we take will achieve what we all want, which is much more stability in placements, whatever that placement may be while in care, and a much better transition into adulthood that is co-ordinated and planned properly as a consequence of the input from the professionals involved in that young person’s life.

As I said to my hon. Friend when I recently gave evidence to the Education Committee on this issue, if I believed that including children’s homes and staying-put arrangements was the right thing to do at this juncture, I would do it in a heartbeat. However, I think it would be premature to place a new duty on local authorities now or to pilot a scheme before the work being carried out by the National Children’s Bureau is completed. I also think such a move would be wrong when we know there needs to be fundamental reform of children’s homes, as the 2012 report by the Deputy Children’s Commissioner and the all-party group on runaway and missing children and adults illustrated so clearly.

I wholeheartedly agree with my hon. Friend that children’s homes should not be seen as a last resort and should be a positive option for many, as I have said on several previous occasions in public and am happy to reiterate this evening. However, too many current homes are simply not good enough. He has said that Ofsted inspection reports show that most homes are rated as “good”, but that is under the current system of national minimum standards. Although there are undoubtedly some excellent children’s homes, and we should applaud them and try to encourage what they do well to be spread more widely, we do not think these standards—the “good” standards—are good enough, and neither do many of the children and young people in residential care. We want to raise the bar and move to much higher quality standards.

Young people living in residential care are more likely to make an early transition from care at aged 16 compared with those living in foster care. Those who do leave at

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that stage are less likely to be in education, training and employment, as my hon. Friend said. That is why I have introduced a new duty that directors of children’s services must sign off the pathway plan where it suggests a young person should leave care between the ages of 16 and 18. As I said a few moments ago, research has found that many young people are dissatisfied with the support they receive, and report shortfalls in planning and preparation for leaving care, which leaves their needs unmet.

Our immediate priority is to press ahead with driving up the quality of residential care, and we have set out a substantial programme of work to do that. We also want to test out new ways of delivering residential care via the children’s services innovation programme I recently announced. It will catalyse the development and spread of more effective ways of supporting children and of new approaches to commissioning—the point my hon. Friend the Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) made—and managing that support. Part of that may well include a move away from spot purchasing and towards more regional commissioning, as well as the extension of a children’s homes remit further into adulthood. Our approach will build on the call for change from the field, as evident in the Association of Directors of Children’s Services “What is care for” report and in the Local Government Association’s report on the strategic commissioning of children’s homes.

The “What is care for” report proposes a more fluid boundary between care and community services and new, more flexible models of care, particularly for troubled adolescents who often end up in care and placed in children’s homes. By winter 2014, we will support the developing, testing and implementation of the most promising approaches both in delivery and around the structure of services. I encourage all those who want to see improvements in residential care and its role in the transition to adulthood to come forward with their own ideas as to how best to achieve just that. We must get the system right before considering whether to run pilots or impose a duty on local authorities that requires them to provide staying-put arrangements in children’s homes. We must be confident that homes can offer children provision of the highest standard and that the £1 billion per year that we spend on placements in children’s homes is truly delivering for those living in them.

As I said at the beginning of my speech, this all comes against the backdrop of a wider reform package for care leavers. It is important to remind the House that, to date: the Government have launched the care leavers’ charter, which sets out the support that care leavers can expect right up to the age of 25, with more than 120 local authorities now signed up; we have introduced the junior independent savings account for all care leavers, with more than 40,000 accounts now open, and with a £200 contribution from government; I have written to all local authorities calling for a dramatic improvement in financial support for care leavers, resulting in a tripling in the number of councils now paying £2,000 or more through the setting up home allowance; and we have published the first cross-government care leavers strategy, which sets out in one place the steps government is taking, from housing to health services, and from the justice system to educational institutions, to support care leavers to live independently once they have left their placement.

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I will take away the valid point raised by my hon. Friend about the post-care use of child benefit, and the correspondence that he has had with the Department for Work and Pensions. I am happy to work with him to ensure that the response that he receives from my ministerial colleagues in the DWP is sufficient to push that issue further forward, and I will happily discuss that with him in due course.

I am determined to improve the outcomes of all care leavers, and I hope that the action that this Government have taken to date amply illustrates that endeavour. However, I am not yet convinced that placing a duty on local authorities to offer staying-put arrangements in children’s homes is the right thing to do at this time.

I am acutely aware of the disappointment that this brings to many of those young people currently in

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residential care, and I share the ambition to see staying-put arrangements take hold in children’s homes, as has been the case and will now more widely happen in foster homes. Councils can, in certain instances, already do that. We first need to see more fundamental reform. We need to be confident that any change to the law is founded on good, sound evidence and that it will deliver what we all want to see. Sadly, we have not yet reached that point, but I hope my hon. Friend recognises my ongoing commitment in this area, as well as the significant progress that the Government have already made. I am grateful to him for securing this important debate.

Question put and agreed to.

7.46 pm

House adjourned.