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I do not have anything to add to the debate on the length of period that we should grant an accused person in order to lodge an appeal. It is a question of judgment and I do not believe that 10 days is a sufficient period in which to allow somebody to seek to organise an appeal. It is not necessarily a straightforward question of communication; it is a question of drawing together the grounds of appeal and obtaining legal advice. The benefit to the armed services in having properly drawn up appeals is one that we should not forget. Ill-considered appeals will not serve any purpose. We should reflect on the fact that in civilian life 21 days is considered to be the reasonable period for such appeals. To go to a period which is less than half that considered reasonable in civilian life is not a judgment we would wish to make.
I reiterate: what is the point in giving somebody a right and at the same time making it extremely difficult for him or her to exercise that right? Moreover, although the noble Lord, in putting forward this amendment, believes it will simplify the Bill, in fact it will mean more work because there will be more ill-considered appeals and more grounds for people to feel that they have been badly treated.
We have moved as far as we can to address the concerns of the noble Lord. We have done so in a spirit of compromise. If the noble Lord, Lord Burnham, does not recognise that spirit of compromise, I hope that others in your Lordships' House will. I hope that the noble Lord will not feel it necessary to press his amendment.
Lord Burnham: My Lords, I do not remotely agree with the noble Baroness. She failed to recognise my point of what may happen when two people are convicted of the same crime and may want to be treated differently. However, I do not want to prolong this issue. I may have to decide whether or not to come back to it at Third Reading. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The amendment is designed to put the responsibility for the compatibility of the Bill with the Human Rights Act and the convention fairly and squarely on the Government. On the front page of the Bill the noble Baroness made a statement that in her opinion the Bill is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. We are looking to put it absolutely firmly on the face of the Bill in the Title. We are not trying to achieve anything that is not in the Bill; we are simply a little unhappy that the Bill does not do what it is designed to do. I beg to move.
Lord Renton: My Lords, I see the intention of my noble friend in moving this amendment. It is desirable that the Long Title should in some way deal with the natural incompatibility between the Human Rights Act and maintaining military discipline.
Those concerned, whether commanding officers or members of courts martial, will have to give priority to the maintenance of military discipline. I am doubtful--with deep respect to my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay of Drumadoon who is a distinguished Scottish lawyer, and to my noble friend Lord Burnham--whether the word "compatibility" achieves that purpose. I have some doubt about that. I suggest therefore that my noble friend does not press the amendment at this stage. But, in the light of this discussion and what the noble Baroness may say, another amendment may be tabled at Third Reading which achieves his purpose even better.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, during all our debates so far on this Bill I have sought to make it clear that we place great store on ensuring that all our personnel benefit from their convention rights. As your Lordships are well aware, the purpose of this Bill is to address concerns about compatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights. However, we do not believe it is necessary to state that in the Long Title.
I feel that there would be no damage in the Government re-reiterating that this Bill accords with the European Convention on Human Rights. I listened to what the noble Baroness said, and possibly with even more care to what my noble friend said. In the light of their working in unison, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Lord said: Perhaps I may, first, welcome the Minister to Part V of the Bill, as we proceed not at a huge but I hope reasonable pace. In moving this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 173A. Both amendments relate to exemptions under Clause 68 of the Bill.
Amendment No. 128ZA relates effectively to nannies. There are up to 100,000 nannies working in the UK, but there is no statutory requirement for a nanny or an au pair to have any training or specific qualifications. Nannies and au pairs are the only child carers not to face some mandatory form of registration. Child minders and day-care facilities will be registered and inspected by the new branch of Ofsted.
New Clause 79A of the Children Act, which will be inserted by this Bill, excludes nannies, except where they look after the children of more than two families, and au pairs from the provisions of the Care Standards Bill. In our view, and in that of a number of voluntary organisations in the field, it is unacceptable that this Bill will improve the standards of only some forms of childcare but not of others. Children need protection
Amendment No. 173A is designed to establish whether the current exemption for independent schools under paragraph 1(1)(d) of Schedule 2 will continue to apply. This currently allows any institution registered as an independent school with more than five children aged over five and which employs a qualified teacher not to be subject to regulations and guidance under the Children Act 1989 and under the proposals contained in this Bill. There is concern that such a loophole would potentially allow deregistered day-care facilities to set themselves up as independent schools, employ a qualified teacher and take on a large number of children under the age of five without having to follow regulations and guidance.
I believe that the department has indicated that an amendment may be tabled to allow for separate regulations on independent schools which would close the loophole. It has also indicated that HMI inspections of independent schools with children under five already ensure that such schools follow current regulations and guidance; and, indeed, that they will be served a notice if they do not. In addition, I understand that a consultation exercise is planned for the spring on independent schools and that this issue will be consulted upon as part of that wider process. I look forward to hearing the Minister's elucidation in that respect. I beg to move.
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