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Bradshaw, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Browne of Belmont, L.
Burnett, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.

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Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chapman, B.
Chidgey, L.
Chorley, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Cobbold, L.
Colville of Culross, V.
Condon, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Cotter, L.
Coventry, Bp.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crickhowell, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Dahrendorf, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
De Mauley, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Dear, L.
Denham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
D'Souza, B.
Dundee, E.
Dykes, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Emerton, B.
Ezra, L.
Falkland, V.
Fearn, L.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Flather, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Garden, L.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Goodhart, L.
Goschen, V.
Greengross, B.
Hamwee, B.
Hanham, B.
Hannay of Chiswick, L.
Hanningfield, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Inglewood, L.
Jacobs, L.
James of Blackheath, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jones of Cheltenham, L.
Jopling, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Kingsdown, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kirkwood of Kirkhope, L.
Laidlaw, L.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lee of Trafford, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Lewis of Newnham, L.
Lindsay, E.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Listowel, E.
Liverpool, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lloyd of Berwick, L. [Teller]
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
Lyell of Markyate, L.
McAlpine of West Green, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar, C.
Mar and Kellie, E. [Teller]
Marlesford, L.
Marsh, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mawhinney, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Meacher, B.
Methuen, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Montrose, D.
Morris of Bolton, B.
Morrow, L.
Murphy, B.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Naseby, L.
Neuberger, B.
Newby, L.
Noakes, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Paisley of St George's, B.
Palmer, L.
Palumbo, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Plumb, L.
Ramsbotham, L.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rees-Mogg, L.
Rennard, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Roberts of Llandudno, L.
Rogan, L.
Roper, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandberg, L.
Sandwich, E.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Seccombe, B.
Selsdon, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Sheikh, L.
Sheppard of Didgemere, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Southwark, Bp.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Stern, B.
Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.

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Sutherland of Houndwood, L.
Swinfen, L.
Tanlaw, L.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Holbeach, L.
Tebbit, L.
Tenby, V.
Teverson, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomas of Winchester, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tonge, B.
Tordoff, L.
Trimble, L.
Trumpington, B.
Tyler, L.
Ullswater, V.
Vallance of Tummel, L.
Verma, B.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wakeham, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Walpole, L.
Warnock, B.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Windlesham, L.
Worcester, Bp.
Wright of Richmond, L.
Young of Hornsey, B.


Acton, L.
Adonis, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Amos, B. [Lord President.]
Anderson of Swansea, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Bhatia, L.
Bhattacharyya, L.
Bilston, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blood, B.
Borrie, L.
Boyd of Duncansby, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L.
Carter of Coles, L.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
Cunningham of Felling, L.
Davidson of Glen Clova, L.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Donoughue, L.
Drayson, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Foster of Bishop Auckland, L.
Foulkes of Cumnock, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gavron, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Brookwood, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Gregson, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Hart of Chilton, L.
Haskel, L.
Henig, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Imbert, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jones, L.
Jones of Whitchurch, B.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kingsmill, B.
Kinnock, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Laming, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Leitch, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Low of Dalston, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Mitchell, L.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Moonie, L.
Morgan, L.
Morgan of Drefelin, B.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Morris of Yardley, B.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Paul, L.
Pendry, L.

10 Oct 2006 : Column 136

Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prosser, B.
Quin, B.
Radice, L.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rooker, L.
Rosser, L.
Rowlands, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Sheldon, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Snape, L.
Soley, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Bolton, B.
Temple-Morris, L.
Tomlinson, L.
Triesman, L.
Truscott, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Whitaker, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

*[See col. 147]

4.17 pm

Clause 18 [Local authority scrutiny of crime and disorder matters]:

Viscount Bridgeman moved Amendment No. 67:

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, this amendment seeks to remove the exclusion of county councils from the definition of “local authority” in Clause 18 and therefore include them within the community call to action.

As noble Lords will be well aware, county councillors are democratically accountable—I certainly do not have to say this to the noble Lord, Lord Bassam—to their local communities and work closely with local partners to ensure their community’s needs are met. These include youth offending teams, drink and alcohol teams, as well as social, education and environmental services, not to mention their work for local strategic partnerships and local area agreements. Indeed, the county council is a responsible authority for community safety services under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and plays a key role in this area, as the Home Office review of partnerships arising from the 1998 Act acknowledges, and yet this has failed to be translated into the Bill.

The Minister suggested in Committee on 6 July 2006 (Hansard, col. 410) that the inclusion of county council members in the community call to action could result in overlap, duplication of effort and confusion about local accountability. I put it to your Lordships that including county councils would enable powers to deal with all implementation issues and, as a result, encourage the development of local approaches which are both flexible and responsive to local needs. Inclusion will enable discretion and scope for existing local arrangements to identify where issues are best dealt with.

The County Councils Network (CNN) has suggested that the confusion the Minister referred to is more likely to occur if the exclusion of county councils is maintained. The reason is that the current proposals

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make community disorder reduction partnerships accountable to the district council’s scrutiny committee. That would mean that the county council services exercised through the CDRP become nominally accountable to a district council committee, therefore infringing issues of accountability.

The CNN goes on to highlight:

Surely this has the potential to lead to more confusion and less direct accountability, not the other way round. For example, county councils hold regular surgery sessions to meet local people, at which community safety issues are often raised. If excluded from the CDRP, a county member would not be able to address an issue about which he is likely to be knowledgeable. Instead, local people may face delay and frustration for a further referral elsewhere and a lack of cohesion in local service delivery.

Involving county council members would instantly strengthen local democratic arrangements and enable a read-across to the functions of larger service providers and partners such as the police. By excluding county councils, we are excluding local representatives for 80 per cent of England. I beg to move.

Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: My Lords, Amendments Nos. 68, 70 and 73, which complete the selection initiated by my noble friend Lord Bridgeman, seek to apply the requirements of Clause 18 for local authorities to set up oversight and scrutiny committees for crime and disorder matters and what we have learnt to call the “community call for action” to the particular circumstances of the City of London.

It will be no surprise to your Lordships to learn that specific provision is needed. “Unique” is an overused description; I know, however, from having had the honour to represent the City for 24 years before entering your Lordships' House—which made me the third longest serving MP for the City since 1283—that the City can genuinely be described as a class of one. I am conscious that your Lordships' House is anxious to proceed to more contentious matters, but the uniqueness of the City of London, in more senses than one, confers certain complications, which I need to explain and hope to resolve.

I do not presume to offer your Lordships a magnum opus on the City’s constitution, but it is worth recording that the City is a corporation by prescription and not a creation of Parliament. Within the City of London, one of the three executives of the City Corporation, namely the Common Council, has, however, been given the functions conferred elsewhere on the statutory local authorities since their creation as part of the 19th century reforms for local government. It is appropriate to mention, because it has particular relevance to the need for these amendments, that the City’s internal structure bears little relation to that of a local authority. It is also worth noting, bearing in mind that the subject matter is crime and disorder, that the City itself incorporates the functions of a police authority.

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These features are important because when what is now Clause 18 was inserted in Committee in another place to capture councils not operating the new style executive arrangements, with which those of your Lordships with experience of local government will be familiar, the then Police Minister, Ms Hazel Blears, noted that the clause was intended to be all-encompassing as an alternative to seeking,

Inherent in the intention appears to have been the assumption that the local authorities to which the clause was to apply would have an overview and scrutiny committee which the clause would complement. That was a reasonable assumption for local authorities in general because even where a local authority has not adopted the new executive arrangements, which most are required to do under the Local Government Act 2000, regulations still require those authorities to establish an overview and scrutiny committee.

That is not, however, the case for the City of London. Unlike local authorities, the City does not have an oversight and scrutiny committee. Oversight and scrutiny functions are applied by the Common Council itself, and through its committees and sub-committees. There is therefore no existing structure to which the requirement in Clause 18 can relate. A practical consequence of applying the clause would be to require the City to reform its existing committee structure and its membership. It would require the creation of another committee to scrutinise crime and disorder matters, which are overseen also by several other committees, including the committee overseeing the police functions. It would result in confusion and duplication of functions between committees, and would certainly not enhance the efficiency of oversight and scrutiny of crime and disorder issues.

As for the detail, I shall concentrate on Amendment No. 73. Amendment No. 68 to Clause 18 and Amendment No. 70 to Schedule 6 are consequential. The object of Amendment No. 73 is to achieve the scrutiny and accountability requirements anticipated by Clause 18, without requiring the creation of additional, unhelpful administrative machinery.

Subsection (1) would confer on the Common Council the powers of oversight and scrutiny conferred by Clause 18(1), but without requiring the City to set up a new committee. These powers would be exercised through the Common Council's existing administrative structure. Subsections (2) and (4) would apply the requirements of transparency contained in Clause 18(2) and (7).

Subsection (3) would apply the requirements of Clause 18(3) in respect of members of local authorities to the members of the Common Council. Subsection (5) would impose the same obligations for follow-up action on crime and disorder matters as those imposed by Clause 18(8).

Subsection (6) applies the provisions of Clause 19, dealing with guidance and regulations issued by the Secretary of State, but subject to any modifications

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necessary to deal with the City's administrative structure. Subsections (7) and (8) set out the definitions.

The new clause admittedly extends the text of the Bill by a few lines, but the need to provide for the City's particular circumstances is not unusual. It is perhaps worth noting that, in relation to oversight and scrutiny in health service matters, specific provision was made to deal with the City through Section 10 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001.

I understand that these amendments have emerged following productive discussions between the City and Home Office officials, which I take this opportunity to acknowledge. I hope that the Minister will feel the amendments to be a reasonable way to approach the application of Clause 18 to the City.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, there are two distinct sets of amendments here, which I shall deal with in turn. I turn first to the amendment moved by the noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, with his customary courtesy. I know that he will not be terribly happy with my response, but I trust that he will not take it as a slight—it is certainly not intended as a slight in any sense on county councils or their network.

The purpose of the community call for action is to enable a person to raise community safety issues of local concern with local councillors. In a two-tier area, this simply should be a district councillor responsibility. My view today is the same as it was in Committee; that is, to do otherwise would lead to public confusion, as a person could raise their concerns with county and district councillors.

It needs to be recorded that the community call for action is designed to enable the public to engage with local issues of an essentially operational nature. These issues are best handled at the district level. To extend the definition of “local authority” for the purposes of this legislation to include county councils could also bring strategic issues within the ambit of the community call for action, which has never been our intention—nor is it the intention of the draft legislation.

Of course, that does not rule out county council involvement. County councils will have a very important role. If the issue raised by the community call for action relates to matters within the sphere of the county council, it would be reasonable and proper to expect the district councillor to whom the matter was referred to discuss the issue with the local county councillor or the county council itself. Furthermore, I would also expect a county councillor to be co-opted on to the district council overview and scrutiny committee so that the views of county councillors can be fully taken into consideration in any committee report.

4.30 pm

Given the assurance that the county council voice will have the scope to be heard, I hope that the noble Viscount will feel able to withdraw his amendment. County councils will be well looked after in these

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arrangements and their constructive role will be brought within the ambit through the route that I described.

I now turn to the issues quite properly raised by the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville. I have good news for him, because not only do I fully appreciate the points that he made about the committee structure that already exists in the City of London, but it is certainly not the Government’s intention to require the corporation to create a new scrutiny committee that cuts across existing arrangements. We are more than happy to accept these amendments, in principle.

The important point is that the crime and disorder reduction partnership in the City should be subject to appropriate scrutiny as with such partnerships elsewhere, and that there is an appropriate committee that can consider the community call for action. I am sure that the noble Lord will appreciate that. It is not an expression of arrogance on our part, but we would like to offer our own draft of the noble Lord’s amendments and get the parliamentary draftsmen to look at the drafting of a suitable amendment. If the noble Lord is happy not to press his amendments to a Division—he has already conceded that they are defective in part—we will happily bring forward our own at Third Reading and perhaps even table them jointly with the noble Lord.

So I can offer some comfort to the noble Viscount and a great deal more comfort to the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville.

Viscount Bridgeman: My Lords, I am most grateful to the Minister for attempting to reassure me about the county councils, but there is a big difference between discretionary involvement of county councils and statutory involvement. However, I shall read the Minister’s remarks carefully in Hansard. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 68 not moved.]

Lord Harris of Haringey moved Amendment No. 69:

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 69 I wish to speak also to Amendments Nos. 71, 72 and 74. If passed, they would have the effect of deleting Clauses 18, 19, 20 and 21. While that might seem like radical surgery to the Bill, it is proposed with the intention of being entirely helpful to the Government.

In your Lordships' House we all know that the Home Office is in the vanguard of progressive government thinking and that the way in which government operate is totally seamless, that different government departments talk to each other and that proposals emerge having been considered by all the relevant parts of government and parts of the government machine. That is the normal process, but I have the suspicion that on this occasion that process was perhaps not as perfect as would normally be the case and that the vanguardism of the Home Office

10 Oct 2006 : Column 141

has gone away at a slight tangent from some of the other thinking that I understand is going in the Government.

We have been waiting for some while for a White Paper on the future of local government, and it may have been that we would have had that White Paper in advance of our detailed consideration of these clauses if things had gone according to plan. However, that has not yet happened, although one understands that the White Paper is imminent. I am told that drafts of it may exist and may shortly be considered by the Cabinet.

Perhaps we are being slightly premature in bringing forward changes in the way crime and disorder reduction partnerships, scrutiny committees and co-options work, in advance of knowing with clarity what the Government will be proposing more generally for the future of local government. For example, we have just heard some points being raised about the position of county councils and the Corporation of London. It may be that those matters are dealt with effectively as part of the forthcoming White Paper.

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