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Lord Henley: I am very grateful to the noble and learned Lord. I note that we now have to refer to the drug treatment and testing order as a DTTO. I rather hoped, when I left the Ministry of Defence some three years ago, that I had got away from acronyms but it seems that wherever one goes one can never quite escape. I am very grateful, as I say, to the noble and learned Lord for his response to my substantive amendment. I also noted what he had to say on the

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further points that I made. As he has done, I also promise to look very carefully at his response and possibly come back to these points at a later stage of the Bill. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 48 agreed to.

Clause 49 [Requirements and provisions to be included in orders]:

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon moved Amendment No. 219A:

Page 38, line 9, after ("officer") insert (", or in the case of a person under 18, a member of the youth offending team for the area,").

The noble Baroness said: With the leave of the Committee, I will present the amendment in the name of my noble kinswoman, Lady David. I align myself with what the noble Lord, Lord Henley, said about the specific needs of young drug takers. They are often immature and often children, and those between 16 and 18 therefore need to be part of the general system of strategies for dealing with young people and children within a particular area. This amendment therefore seeks to ensure that the supervising officer will be a member of a youth offending team which will be familiar with the needs of particular young people in a particular area and will have well placed strategies for dealing with young people, juveniles and young children. It is therefore more appropriate that they should be supervised by a probation officer more used to dealing with adult offenders who may not have at hand all the facilities and the awareness of what may be done for children in particular areas. I beg to move.

Lord Northbourne: I support the amendment. It seems to me that in particular younger drug offenders are going to need support by something like mentoring or befriending. Without that the treatment which is proposed is very likely to be unsuccessful. I suggest therefore that this is a good amendment.

Viscount Tenby: I too support the amendment moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Hilton. We have created, or are going to create, these youth offender teams so let us give them some work to do. It seems to me that where you have under-age people engaged in these things you really have got to have specialist youth offender people counselling them. This is not to say anything against senior probation officers. Of course not. But it seems to me that where you have young people they should be counselled by people from the youth offender teams. I strongly support the amendment.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I understand and sympathise with the purpose of the amendment. What it would mean is that for any person under the age of 18 subject to a drug treatment and testing order that person could be supervised by any member of a youth offending team. Under Clause 30(4) that could be a probation officer, a social worker, a police officer, a person nominated by a health authority or a person nominated by the chief education officer. By Clause 30(5) it is provided that it might include such

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persons as the local authority thinks appropriate, and that might include members of the local authority youth service or of voluntary organisations.

It will be possible under the present regime, as envisaged in the Bill, for a young offender subject to a drug treatment and testing order to be supervised by a probation officer who is a member of a youth offending team. This may well be appropriate, particularly when a drug treatment and testing order is made alongside another community sentence which is supervised by the youth offending team; but it does mean that it is essential that the work be properly co-ordinated. We intend to put out guidance to ensure co-ordination, but bearing in mind the very wide span of those who could be on a youth offending team we do not think it is appropriate that such an order for drug treatment and testing should be supervised by any member of a youth offending team. The intention is that probation services will be funded to buy treatment for those subject to the orders outside the usual community care arrangements. They will have to establish contracts and protocols with treatment providers, with which other members of the youth offending team may not be familiar. Therefore, I sympathise with the purpose behind the amendment, but it casts its net too wide, I suggest, to obtain what we believe would be the maximum benefit. The proposed arrangements that we suggest allow for maximum flexibility based on local judgment but do not set it as wide as the amendment would.

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon: Looking more closely at the amendment, of course the Minister is right: it is too widely drawn. I think the intention was that it would be a probation officer who was a member of the youth offending team. I therefore beg leave to withdraw the amendment and reserve the right to try to devise an amendment which is more strictly drawn so as to ensure that it is a probation officer who is included as a member of the youth offending team. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 49 agreed to.

Clause 50 [Periodic reviews]:

The Earl of Mar and Kellie moved Amendment No. 220:

Page 38, line 27, leave out from ("at") to end of line 28 and insert ("specified intervals").

The noble Earl said: This amendment makes, I believe, a useful rearrangement of the review procedure for what I would prefer to call the DT and TOs. As it stands, Clause 50 (1)(b) requires a review to be held in open court at least once a month. I have no problem with that. At the start of the order it is useful for the DT and TO holder to know that his progress is going to be monitored and reviewed at frequent intervals. This is likely to ensure compliance with the order. Any backsliding will be picked up speedily.

Where I find this procedure to be inadequate is in the middle and later stages of the order. I acknowledge that Clause 50(6) allows the court to dispense with the offender's personal appearance at the review hearing. I believe that there will be merit in allowing the court to

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lengthen the period between the review hearings in the middle stages of the order. It is important for the offender to gain confidence in avoiding the use of illegal substances or, indeed, prescribed drugs and at the same time to gain confidence to enable him to make personal appearances at the review hearings.

Without the power to vary the review period, I fear that the courts will implement Clause 50(6), sooner than may be efficient. That would be a mistake in the middle period of the order and in the middle period of the treatment. It could lead to offenders believing that they had overcome their involvement with drugs at a premature moment. That would be a dangerous signal to a fragile resolve. The opportunity to move the review hearing steadily to a mature position would be useful. I beg to move.

9 p.m.

Viscount Colville of Culross: Amendment No. 220A in my name has been grouped with Amendment No. 220. I listened with interest to the noble Earl and agree with him. Though I do not know a great deal about how things happen in Scotland, I know a good deal about how they happen in England. I tabled my amendment as a vehicle to ask the Minister a little more about these orders.

First, I should say that I welcome the addition of this form of treatment among the armoury that we have to deal with these difficult cases. As the noble and learned Lord the Solicitor-General said, we use probation orders with suitable conditions in order to provide, usually residential treatment but not necessarily so, over a substantial period of time for people who, first, show some inclination to accept treatment and, secondly, who are then assessed by the experts as being suitable for it. That period usually takes a minimum of four weeks.

There are just two things in this series of clauses which run contrary to the practice that is already widespread in the courts. First, instead of relying, as we have up till now, on privately-funded provisions and usually not many of them--I can think of one outside Bristol, another near Oxford and one in Norwich--and funding to send somebody there, we will have successive instalments of local services under Clause 48. I should have thought that, with the court working together with specially provided services in the area, there would rapidly be built up a considerable amount of mutual respect and understanding between the courts and the treatment services provided. We will not be able to use one of the orders until the treatment services are provided and presumably probation orders will continue where they are not provided.

In those circumstances, are the Government saying that they are sure that it is necessary to lay down all these rules in relation to how the courts should handle the matter? The noble Earl put his finger on the intermediate period. He is quite right. What usually happens--at least in severe cases--is that somebody starts off in a residential setting. After he has progressed through that treatment, he is moved to a halfway house, probably in the community, and begins to get himself

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back into ordinary life. All that is done under supervision with gradually relaxing rules and the offender gradually picking up the threads of normal life.

The supervision that is suitable at different stages is not the same, nor is it necessary to come back for reviews as often as may be necessary in the first few months. Amendment No. 220A therefore seeks to address the frequency with which such hearings should take place. However, does the Minister assert that he has not over-provided rules for the courts? He has done exactly the same in Scotland in Clause 75. I suggest, with great humility, that if I table an amendment to include all the provisions in Clause 50, subsections (1), (6) and (7), the Minister will say that it is unnecessary to include any of that in the Bill and that we must be able to trust the courts; they are able to make their own arrangements; they are sensible people and we do not have to lay it all down for them.

On the other hand, the Government have not followed that course. They have laid down some stringent guidelines and I am afraid that they may be too stringent, too circumscribing of the circumstances in which one can make the orders and will therefore put off the courts from using them because it will be too difficult to make sure that one complies with all the details. I do not want that to happen. Can the Minister say whether all of the statutory provisions in primary legislation are necessary for something that is, in essence, an experimental scheme? It might be better to leave out some of the detailed provisions and enable the Government, by guidance or, if necessary, by statutory instrument, to see how it works and fill in such gaps as may be left.

I put that forward as a helpful suggestion. I want it to be as easy as possible for the courts to use these orders and I want there to be built up a good liaison between providers in the local area and the local courts who send people to them. The last thing I wish to see is that this should fail as a result of over-restriction and over-complication of the rules. I therefore support the amendment of the noble Earl at the same time as speaking to mine, and make those points to be helpful to the Minister.

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