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The authority will need to work closely with the private security industry it is regulating, not least to ensure that its important regulatory regimes are deliverable. For that reason, it is likely that the Secretary of State will wish to see some industry representation among the membership of the authority. More widely, it will be important for authority members to have a proper balance of skills, experiences and interests. The noble Viscount and the noble Lord made exactly that point. We share that objective. I would be the first to agree that the authority must be independent of the private security industry and, more importantly, be seen to be independent. That is of paramount importance. I drew attention to that point during the Second Reading debate.
However, I do not agree that it is necessary to place this concept on the face of the Bill. I am happy to give an assurance that representatives of the private security industry will not be in a majority in the membership of the authority and that I think it highly unlikely that a representative of the security industry will be appointed its chair. That would tend to compromise the independence which the authority will necessarily require. There will be a representative of the Association of Chief Police Officers and of other relevant groups. All of those appointments will be made on the basis of fair and open competition.
The amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Thomas, specifies the security industry, employees' representatives, the police and customer interests. That is precisely the range that we are looking for and there may well be others that we have not discussed during the debate.
That is our general approach. It is certainly in line with the thinking of the noble Viscount and of the noble Lord. I do not think it is necessary to put on the face of the Bill appointments to a non-departmental public body, but I am happy to reiterate that the main thrust of the concerns behind the amendments will be in the Secretary of State's mind when he considers appointments.
The noble Viscount, Lord Astor, referred to the appointment of the chief executive. Nolan principles will apply. It will be a transparent appointment. We need to have that to give a copper bottom to the independence and credibility of the authority.
With those assurances, I hope that the noble Viscount and the noble Lord will not feel it necessary to press their amendments. I am grateful to them for what they have said, which demonstrates that we are pretty much of one mind on this matter.
Viscount Astor: The Minister made a predictable reply to my first point by saying that the Secretary of State is likely to seek representatives from the industry. He gave an assurance that they would not form a majority on the authority. I take it that they will then form a minority, but that at least one representative will be appointed to the authority.
I know that the Minister spoke with the best of intentions when he said that the Government were likely to take this course. However, one is always a little dubious when it comes to appointments because one has seen how often the system of appointments has been abused. I am afraid that the noble Lord's Government do not have a totally unblemished record in this regard. We have seen in some cases the allocation of "jobs for the boys". We shall need to consider further whether we want to put a form of words on the face of the Bill.
The allocation of appointments is not something which takes place while Bills are passing through this House or another place. It takes place once the measure has been enacted. The Chief Whip of the day has a word with the Home Secretary of the day. At that stage, strange names suddenly come to light and are given appointments to quangos.
However, I recognise that the Minister was trying to be as helpful as he could and I much appreciate that. As regards my final amendment, I am entirely happy with his response. I do not know what the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, intends to do with Amendment No. 40, but in the meantime I beg leave to withdraw Amendment No. 39.
The noble Lord said: The amendment relates to local authorities and their money. This provision is in itself rather interesting because, without the amendment, it provides for the authority to receive funding from the Home Office, but it is to pay back to the Home Office all moneys it receives in the course of its functions. Every licence fee and so forth is to be paid back in total to the Home Office. The authority will then have doled out to it funds with which to run itself. I do not suppose that that system will encourage the authority to become self-financing. Indeed, we are not clear how the balance of moneys will work out.
In any case, the purity of that system will be somewhat sullied by the fact that some of the activities of the authority are to be delegated to local authorities. I believe that the local authorities will in their turn
I should point out that I had some difficulty with the drafting of this amendment. Indeed, I am not sure whether it is perfect. It seeks to achieve the effect, if possible, of ensuring that local authorities should at least be allowed to keep the licence fees that they collect in order to reimburse them for their time and trouble.
Incidentally, in issuing these licences, local authorities will be put into the interesting position of issuing licences locally which will then be valid nationally. I cannot think of another example of this. A licence can be acquired in Manchester in order to operate in London, Cardiff or even North Wales. A person will be able to operate in an area on the strength of a licence issued somewhere else entirely. I cannot think of a similar case where such rules apply, but perhaps I have not thought it through carefully enough.
Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I am happy to agree with the noble Lord, Lord Cope, that it is important that local authorities are properly funded in any transfer of licensing responsibility delegated from the security industry authority.
Clause 12 enables the Secretary of State to make provision by order for local authorities to carry out some or all of the security industry authority's licensing functions. This is in recognition of the Government's desire to build on the arrangements in many local authorities where good registration schemes for door supervisors are already being run.
The noble Lord's amendment seems to assume that fees will continue to be paid to the security industry authority in cases in which the local authority has received delegated powers to conduct appropriate licensing functions. This is not the case. The security industry authority will derive a substantial part of its income from fees paid to it when applications for licences are made. However, Clause 12(3)(d) provides that a local authority may retain licence application fees paid to it where such delegated arrangements exist. I believe, therefore, that what the amendment seeks to do is already done by the provisions of Clause 12(3)(d).
Lord Cope of Berkeley: I am glad to hear that the amendment is unnecessary, and I shall look in Hansard at what the noble Baroness has said. We would seem to land up in the extraordinary position that the
Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: It may help the noble Lord in considering my reply if I add that paragraph 15(2) of Schedule 1 requires the security industry authority to pay all money to the Secretary of State except where the Secretary of State directs otherwise under paragraph 15(3). He will direct the SIA to keep fee money. Local authorities will keep fees paid to them under Clause 12(3)(d), as I have said.
Lord Cope of Berkeley: That is one way of putting it, but it is not the way the Bill puts it. The Bill says that the authority shall pay all sums received by it other than money given to it by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State may say "We won't bother receiving this and giving it back to you", but that is what the Bill says.