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Lord Northbourne: In referring to the rehabilitation programme, the noble Lord drew a picture of young people striving to play their part in the rehabilitation programme supported by their parents. Can he give an assurance that, where a child does not have effective support from the parents, the youth offending team will make arrangements for the child to be supported and that funding will be made available to do that?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I made it plain earlier that our preference is for parental support. Equally, I made it plain that preference is sometimes Utopian and, for the reasons given by the noble Lord from his own experience, quite often parental support is not forthcoming. If it is not forthcoming or is refused, as it often may be, then alternative arrangements must be made if the scheme is to have any prospect at all of working.

10.15 p.m.

Lord Thomas of Gresford: I wonder whether the noble Lord can assist me in understanding subsection (3). It states:

the failure to participate in a programme--

    "is to be notified".

Subsection (5) states:

    "any report on a failure by a person to participate in a rehabilitation programme arranged for him under subsection (2)".

Does subsection (3)(c) have anything to do with subsection (5)(c)? Is the notification the same as the report? Has any thought been given to the persons who are to be notified? I should be grateful for guidance on that.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Subsection (3)(c) is the consequence of Clause 53(3), which obliges the Secretary of State to publish guidance as to what should be in the programme, the manner in which any failure to participate is to be recorded and the persons to whom any such failure is to be notified--for instance, chief officers of police and people of that kind. The Secretary of State has yet to determine that. Clause 53(5) states that a reprimand under Section 52, a warning under

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Section 52 and a report on a failure by a person to participate in a rehabilitation programme arranged for him under subsection (2) may be cited in criminal proceedings in the same circumstances as a conviction. So what one has there is that a failure may be cited at a subsequent court hearing as part of the material at which the court will be able to look in coming to its decision about what penalty, sanction or course of action should be followed subsequently. For the reasons I gave earlier, I do not believe that to be unreasonable because it is a relevant aspect of the offender's response to court sanctions.

Lord Thomas of Gresford: Do I understand correctly that the persons to whom such failure is to be notified are not the persons who provide the report referred to in subsection (5)(b)?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We may be at cross purposes. Clause 53(3) requires the Secretary of State to publish guidance on, first, what should be in the programme; secondly, on how failure should be recorded; and, thirdly, on the persons to whom any such failure is to be notified. Clause 53(5)(c) states that a report on a failure by a person to participate may be cited in criminal proceedings. I do not see the difficulty.

Lord Thomas of Gresford: The point that was strongly made by the noble Baroness was that the report becomes in the nature of a conviction that is to be cited in criminal proceedings. It is not clear whose responsibility it is to make the report that will become part of the record--the criminal conviction record--of the person who has failed to participate in a rehabilitation programme. Is it to be the youth offending team or is it to be the chief constable who has received notification?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I think that the noble Lord is now making a completely different point. He asked, first, under Clause 53(3)(c), to whom the failure should be notified. He is now asking who should notify that failure. The answer is to be found in Clause 53(3); namely, that the Home Secretary will have to give guidance to designate those persons. Until the Home Secretary publishes guidance, I am not in a position to say what will be in the guidance.

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns: I thank the Minister for his courteous and full reply. Although there are still aspects of the clause which may cause concern to some, I feel that he has reassured me on the points that I raised. I do not raise any further objections to Clause 53.

Clause 53 agreed to.

Clause 54 [Reparation orders]:

Lord McNally moved Amendment No. 234:

Page 42, line 29, after ("order") insert (", which arrangements shall include consultation with the victim, by mediation or other means, as to reparation,").

The noble Lord said: As I believe the Minister knows, I come very new to matters of penal policy. As a newcomer I was intrigued by the briefing that

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I received about reparation orders. In such an order we may have the response to young offending which meets the point made earlier by the Minister as regards getting young offenders to relate closely to the consequences of their crime. If the punishment is too far distant both in time or in kind, the enormity of what he has done does not come home to the offender. Evidence sent to me, and the remarks of my noble friend Lord Mar and Kellie about his Scottish experience, suggest that reparation orders may be a winner as regards their impact on young people and in enabling victims to come to terms with the shock that often goes with them.

It is particularly important that reparation orders include the victim if he or she is willing. That could be achieved by a conference when the specific reparation is agreed, having heard the views and circumstances of the party; or, if the victim does not want to meet the offender, by the use of mediators who visit each party in order to obtain agreement to the type and kind of reparation. The amendment underlines the importance of involving the victim. In moving it I make the more general point to the Minister that reparation orders appear to be well worth pursuing if the briefing or evidence sent to me is in any way general proof of their effectiveness. I beg to move.

The Earl of Mar and Kellie: Perhaps I may briefly support my noble friend's amendment. It is true that SACRO runs mediation and reparation projects in Scotland. These are carefully counselled and prepared experiences. It is not something to be entered into lightly or in any way as an arm-twisting experience, particularly for the victims.

I approve of the fact that the orders for England and Wales in Clause 54(2)(b) include the community at large. That is a good alternative. I note in subsection (5) that the period cannot be for more than 24 hours. These seem to be short-term community service orders and I approve of that.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I am grateful for the support of the two noble Lords who have spoken for the concept of the reparation order. I underline what the noble Lord, Lord McNally, said. The purpose of such an order is in effect two-fold. First, it is to make the young offender face up to the human consequences of what he or she has done; and, secondly, to allow the victim of the offence an opportunity to receive direct reparation from the young person. I also very much agree with what the noble Lord, Lord McNally, said: that in effect one should not force reparation on an unwilling victim, which in effect is what I believe underlies his amendment. We share that view, but we believe that it is not necessary to deal with it by this or any amendment that he proposes. Perhaps I may draw the noble Lord's attention to Clause 54(5)(b), which requires that a reparation order shall not require the offender,

    "to make reparation to any person without the consent of that person".

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First, therefore, you need the consent of the person to whom the reparation order has been made. Secondly, and just as importantly, Clause 55(1) states:

    "Before making a reparation order, a court shall obtain and consider a written report by a probation officer, a social worker of a local authority social services department or a member of a youth offending team, indicating ...

    (b) the attitude of the victim or victims to the requirements proposed to be included in the order".

So, before any order is made, it has to be with the consent of the victim and, separately, a report must have been written setting out the victim's views. The preparation of that report will vary in accordance with local arrangements. The flexibility of Clause 55 allows it to be written by a probation officer, a social worker or a member of the appropriate youth offending team. Similarly, the way in which each report writer will go about obtaining the victim's views will also vary from area to area. The amendment specifically refers to mediation as a suitable method of consultation.

The Government are aware of the value of such an approach, and of the successes that that approach has had in projects throughout the country. However, we do not want to be too prescriptive about the way in which a particular victim's views are sought. We hope that the new youth offending teams will be tapping into many services, both statutory and voluntary, which already exist in their areas. It will be incumbent upon each team to make the best use of local resources and experience. I have no doubt that the guidance which the Government will issue to support the reparation order will be of value here. I think that we share the same aims. I believe that our Bill reflects that and I very much hope that in the light of that explanation, the noble Lord will be minded to withdraw his amendment.

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