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The Earl of Onslow: Yet again I am seeking after enlightenment, and I always do seek after enlightenment. Will the noble Lord please tell me at which level of local authority the decisions are to be taken? Will it be the borough, county or parish council? Which level of police will be involved? To where does the complainant go?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: First, I shall deal with the question put by the noble Lord, Lord Henley. We consulted very widely. A summary of the responses to the consultation paper was placed in the Library on 18th December last year. Perhaps I may deal with something of specific interest to the noble Lord, Lord Henley. The ACPO general policing committee supported the proposal that the police should be involved. We believe that it is quite fundamental that the police should be involved. It is obvious that local authorities and the police should work together; but they have different functions. Obviously local authorities support and manage their local communities in numerous ways but they do not patrol the streets, deal with vandalism or public protection as a whole. That is the role of the police. We believe that it is right that both authorities should be involved.

As regards specifics, the question was put as to guidelines. The noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, asked about particular details. We intend to issue guidelines prepared in consultation with local authorities, the police and magistrates. That process is due to start shortly. Therefore, the detailed questions about particular administrative arrangements will follow those consultative guidelines. I should have thought that before the guidelines are produced there is ample scope

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here for authorities to decide their own procedures and their own enforcement mechanisms. After all, we should bear in mind that local authorities vary infinitely in the problems with which they must deal. The problems which an inner city authority has may be utterly different from those to be found in a country local authority in west Wales.

The level of local authority will be the district authority. Any police officer who is authorised by a chief constable or commissioner of police will be able to make the application. We believe that that will be a useful tool. I understand entirely the point behind the noble Lord's question. Consultation and guidelines will be very important. There is room for discussion. However, ACPO wants guidelines, as do the local authorities, and we propose to offer them.

Lord Henley: I thank the noble Lord for that answer. I must examine the consultation paper which was placed in the Library on 18th December. However, I am grateful to the noble Lord for his summary of ACPO's views.

I tabled this amendment because my understanding was that ACPO had reached a slightly different view in Scotland. That is why, when one looks at Clause 18, one finds that the police are not involved in the antisocial behaviour orders there whereas they are involved with the orders in England. That may be something which my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay of Drumadoon and the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate may wish to pursue at a later stage. However, I accept that it is one of those occasions when different procedures can operate in different parts of the Kingdom.

Having said that, I am grateful to the noble Lord for his explanation of the view of the police on those matters. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness David moved Amendment No. 8:

Page 2, line 9, at end insert--
("( ) A relevant authority shall not make such an application in respect of a person under 18 years of age without receiving a report from a Youth Offending Team.").

The noble Baroness said: This is a probing amendment designed to explore the Government's thinking behind how antisocial behaviour orders for juveniles will inter-relate with other orders which may be made with regard to juveniles.

Part III creates multi-agency youth offending teams to manage and supervise individual young offenders and act as the focal co-ordinating point for the many significant reforms that this Bill introduces to the youth justice system. These teams will operate on a county-wide basis led by the social services authority for the area. However, the antisocial behaviour orders which can be served on anyone over the age of 10 years will operate at the district level, as the Minister has just said, which is consistent with the need to respond to neighbourhood nuisance. But in the two-tier areas of the country, this level of local authority is not the social services authority. There is therefore concern that

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antisocial behaviour orders will be applied to juveniles independently of the youth offending teams and perhaps contrary to the approach that the team may have applied to a particular offender.

It is vital that all approaches to be applied to a particular young offender flow through the work of the youth offending team in order to ensure proper co-ordination between agencies and consistent application of approach. Thus, an application for an antisocial behaviour order should not go forward until it has been considered by the relevant youth offending team. Any delay that that might impose on the process is more than offset by the need to maintain a co-ordinated effort between agencies. I beg to move.

6 p.m.

Lord Hylton: I do not wish to anticipate Clause 30 with which we shall deal later, but, if Members of the Committee will allow me, I should like to take this opportunity to object to the wording in the amendment of, "Youth Offending Team". As the whole thrust of the Bill is towards prevention, I feel that that is a very unfortunate choice of words. Surely a better name could be found for this very important kind of work.

The Solicitor-General (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): Perhaps I may pass on the last point made by the noble Lord because we are not dealing with youth offending teams in principle in relation to the amendment now before us. Perhaps I may deal with the substance of the amendment moved by my noble friend Lady David. The Government have no argument with what the amendment is designed to achieve.

We fully support the need for consultation before applying for such an order, with all parties who may have an interest, as regards a youth who may be the subject of consideration for an antisocial behaviour order. If possible, we believe that there should be consultation with social workers, education authorities, probation officers or the relevant youth offending team, as suggested by my noble friend.

However, we do not see the provision in my noble friend's amendment as being appropriate on the face of the Bill. There are two reasons for that view. The first is a purely practical one. The youth in question may well not be an offender and not be known to a youth offending team. It may well be an important part of the process to consult with some of those who play a part in such a team, but to ask for a formal report in all such cases would not be sensible.

The second reason is a more general one and is one upon which my noble friend Lord Williams of Mostyn touched when replying to the previous amendment. Apart from the statutory provision for consultation between the police and the district authority which is referred to in the Bill, we are keen to leave the position as flexible as possible. This is a new and untried procedure. We will be issuing detailed guidance, on which we will be consulting all interested parties. We also expect a local strategy for dealing with such orders to be part of the crime and disorder strategy to be

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worked out for each local area. There are a lot of different interests which should be involved depending on the circumstances in which each order is considered, and we do not want to be prescriptive or restrictive at this stage. In effect, we believe that it is for each area to draw up its own local strategy.

Nevertheless, as I said, we should like to make it clear that we endorse the principle behind my noble friend's amendment. Our discussion here will be a useful reminder of the importance of this kind of consultation to those preparing the guidance on the order. However, for the reasons that I have explained, I hope that my noble friend will not press her amendment.

Baroness David: I thank my noble and learned friend the Minister for that reply. As I said, this is a probing amendment and we are, as has been said several times, discussing an entirely new idea which has been welcomed; indeed, it has certainly been welcomed by me. However, the local authorities which wanted the amendment tabled are anxious to obtain more information about how the whole process will work. I am grateful to hear that there will be guidance because I believe that that is what is needed. It will be useful all round. It has also been useful to get my noble and learned friend's reply. I shall of course consult with the people who wanted the amendment tabled. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon moved Amendment No. 9:

Page 2, line 9, at end insert--
("( ) In making such an application, the relevant authority shall have regard to such guidance as may from time to time be given by the Secretary of State.").

The noble Baroness said: The discussion so far this afternoon has been so wide-ranging that, of my four amendments on the Marshalled List, I believe my noble friend the Minister has already replied to three of them. Indeed, specifically in relation to Amendment No. 9, I believe that my noble friend gave a very clear answer when responding to Amendment No. 7; namely, that the Government do intend to issue guidance. This amendment was intended to provide an opportunity within the Bill for the provision of guidance by the Secretary of State.

We have already heard at some length this afternoon about the problems of definition, about the problems of uniformity of application and about the problems of application in areas which have different social classes, different ethnic mixes, and so on. It is, therefore, most important not only to issue guidance at this stage but also to do so because other problems will arise from time to time. It seems to me to be essential that the Secretary of State can issue guidance to deal with specific problems as they arise. I beg to move.

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