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Viscount Astor: My Lords, at this stage is the noble and learned Lord to answer the point on Amendment No. 200A or is the noble and learned Lord finally sitting down?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, the concept of “finally sitting down" is not well known to me in the context of this Bill! The noble Lord, Lord

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Northbourne, raised a particular point. It deserved an answer that was full and attended to his question. Like the Windmill Theatre, I never close, and I shall now deal with the noble Viscount's question.

The noble Viscount is quite right that mental health is a devolved matter. However--the most appalling word in the English language--immigration, including asylum seeker support, is a reserved matter. That covers the point about Scotland.

I turn to the serious point raised by the noble Baroness and others. I take all points on board and I always pay close attention to what my noble friend Lord Clinton-Davis says because he rarely intervenes, but when he does he is brief and to the point. Of course, we shall bear in mind the points raised by the noble Baroness and my noble friend. Those who are destitute are excluded only in respect of destitution needs. I take the point raised by the noble Baroness entirely. Those destitution needs can be met by Part VI of the Bill, but they are not excluded in respect of--I take her examples--mental health needs or tuberculosis needs or general health needs. I hope that I have been able to give her and my noble friend the undertaking and the reassurance which they sought.

The Lord Bishop of Lichfield: My Lords, in the absence of the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Oxford, I warmly associate myself with all that the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, has said apropos Amendment No. 189.

I have two questions concerning Amendment No. 212A. I ask the noble and learned Lord for clarification regarding the role of the social services inspectorate in developing and implementing the comprehensive inspection programme in accordance with the Minister's commitments. I also seek clarification regarding proposed local authority arrangements to monitor support arrangements for families with children in cluster areas to ensure that the welfare of children is maintained. As families will now be systematically dispersed to cluster areas around the country, it is essential that data is collected and analysed to ensure that the needs of the children are met and that their welfare is sustained as the new practice is implemented. Therefore, I ask for clarification on both those areas--inspection and monitoring--through the interim support arrangements from November 1999 to April 2000 and thereafter when the new support arrangements set out under Part VI come into force.

Viscount Astor: My Lords, the noble and learned Lord referred to my amendment and said, entirely correctly, that immigration is not a matter that is devolved. I understand that. However, will someone who is subject to immigration control and who suffers from a mental disorder have access to residential accommodation or aftercare services, or will he fall through the gap? Where does the responsibility lie for his care?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, the best course for me to follow in the area of devolved matters is to

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write to the noble Viscount, if he finds that acceptable. The reason is that, although when we were all first joined together in considering this Bill I was a Home Office Minister, I now have different work to do which involves giving advice on devolution matters. They are not always straightforward and it is not appropriate for me to give an off-the-cuff answer in respect of a Bill which is a Home Office Bill when I might have to advise the Government generally on a devolution matter. I shall therefore write to the noble Viscount and, as always, put a copy in the Library.

In response to the right reverend Prelate, I can only repeat what I said in answer to the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne. We are looking to an informal, bilateral arrangement along the lines of the arrangement between the inspectorate and the Prison Service agency. Local authorities will be involved in the development of clusters. They will still owe the normal social service duties to all families--I am happy to make that plain.

I believe I have now dealt with all the matters that have been raised and I shall finally sit down.

Baroness Masham of Ilton: My Lords, I have been waiting to follow my noble friend Lord Northbourne in his amendments and should like the opportunity quickly to ask the Minister what will be the inspecting and official visiting facilities in detention centres, not only relating to children but also to adults. Will there be a board of visitors? It is important that when people are incarcerated in any institution that they have the right to access to an independent body. Will that independent body, as a board of visitors in a prison has, have direct access to the Home Secretary?

Following on from the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Crosby, I should like to add that drug-resistant tuberculosis is a real killer. So serious is this problem that the Government should set up screening facilities at all places of entry for refugees.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I can deal in a little detail with the question of the noble Baroness. The answer to her first concerns is found in Clause 148. I shall read it quickly, if that is of assistance. It says:

    “The Secretary of State must appoint a committee (to be known as the Visiting Committee) for each detention centre. The functions ... are to be such as may be prescribed by the detention centre rules".

Subsection (3) relates to the important matter the noble Baroness raised, and states:

    “Those rules may, in particular, require members of the Visiting Committee for a detention centre (a) to pay frequent visits to the centre"--

that is more frequently than at least once every two years, as envisaged by the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne--

    “(b) to hear complaints made by persons detained in the centre"--

the specific point of the noble Baroness; and then the overarch:

    “to report to the Secretary of State any matter which they consider it expedient to report".

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The clause goes even further than that:

    “Every member of the Visiting Committee for a detention centre may at any time enter the centre and have free access to every part of it and to every person detained there".

I do not believe one could have a more rigorous inspection machinery, nor a freer one in the interests of those detained, than the one to be found in Clause 148. I shall now sit down.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

11.15 p.m.

Lord Swinfen moved Amendment No. 183:

Page 71, line 27, at end insert--
(“( ) Subsection (1)(a), (b), (d) and (g) above do not apply to a person seeking asylum in the United Kingdom or a spouse or dependant of such a person.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment was spoken to with Amendment 118 to which your Lordships agreed on a Division. I beg to move.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, Amendment No. 118 was agreed to on a Division. However, it was part of a disparate group. I hope that I am not taking the noble Lord by surprise when I say that the conclusion of your Lordships on Amendment No. 118 was not taken to apply to the other matters in that group. Therefore, if the noble Lord wants to take the opinion of the House, he may want either to address your Lordships again or to take his chance as may be. I hope that that does not sound discourteous. We have covered a lot of work this evening. It seemed to me that Amendment No. 118 was different from the rest of the group. The other amendments in the grouping--Amendments Nos. 149, 150, 151, 183 and 184--were not subsumed in that vote.

Lord Swinfen: My Lords, I have never thought the noble and learned Lord to be discourteous; indeed, he is one of the politest Members of a very polite House. I am taken a little by surprise by the noble and learned Lord because, when a Division is held on the first amendment in a group, it is normal for all the others to go with it--in other words, they fall or they stand with it. I am also rather surprised because the noble and learned Lord hung his argument on his amendment, Amendment No. 124, which, subsequently, he did not move. Therefore, as I see it, there is no provision in the Bill at present to protect vulnerable disabled people and to make certain that they have the allowances which I, and others, feel that they need to ensure that their disability is ameliorated to some effect.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I take the noble Lord's point. I hope that he does not feel legitimately aggrieved. I have tried to honour the bargain struck as fully as possible; in fact, I have been pro-active in saying that I will not move amendments, even when noble Lords have not raised the question. The noble Lord may remember that the reason I did not move Amendment No. 124 was because the noble

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Baroness, Lady Williams, raised a serious question on that amendment and Amendment No. 123 as to whether they were within the scope of the agreement which was outlined by my noble and learned friend Lord Falconer. I thought that she was right and I said so immediately. Therefore, I was disabled from arguing Amendments Nos. 123 and 124 because we had all agreed that that issue would be considered by the relevant committee and that we would have the benefit of its advice before returning to the matter.

I agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Swinfen, said. Normally, if one has a headline clause and the other amendments in the group are consequential upon it, everything goes together. However, I do not see his amendment as consequential. It is possible that your Lordships think that the other items in the third group on the list, starting with Amendment No. 118 and including Amendment No. 183, might simply not be moved this evening, so that we can return to them at an appropriate time. By that time I will have deployed, or, preferably--I say this sotto voce, in case he is listening--my noble friend Lord Bassam will have deployed, the arguments on Amendments Nos. 123 and 124. As always, I am in your Lordships' hands.

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