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Baroness Knight of Collingtree: My Lords, the noble Baroness is such a kind lady. She is painstaking and takes great care to listen to all that is said and to answer all of the points raised. In spite of all that she has said, I must put on record that what rather worries me still is that we are talking here about a person that the researcher nominates, not someone that a panel has nominated. Nothing that I have heard seems to prevent the researcher, who has to find his own consultee, asking someone with a close connection—his wife, girlfriend or one of the people I mentioned. I am not completely happy with that.
 
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However, this is a day when, if my friends are not exactly receiving Maundy money from Her Majesty, they certainly have all gone off for the Easter holidays. Therefore, I do not intend to ask for a Division. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 42 [Codes of practice]:

Baroness Andrews moved Amendment No. 5:

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I can be very brief on these amendments, which are technical and make a correction from Report stage. Noble Lords will be aware that at Report stage the Government tabled Amendments Nos. 97 and 99, which have the effect of adding researchers to the people for whom the code will provide guidance and who will have a duty to have regard to it.

Those amendments at Report stage referred to research,

However, we introduced a new clause—Clause 34, as amended following Report stage—which provides a transitional regulation-making power to cover ongoing research.

The amendments before the House today are technical amendments which are needed to ensure that researchers who are involved in projects carried out in accordance with regulations permitted by Clause 34 also have regard to the code. Clause 34 provides for transitional flexibility for research projects that enrolled people with capacity before the commencement of Section 30, but where a person loses capacity to consent to take part in the research. As I have said, we believe that it is very important that researchers in that situation also have a duty to have regard to the code and that the Lord Chancellor must cover such research in the code of practice.

It is not a matter simply of changing the cross reference from "Clauses 30 to 33" to "Clauses 30 to 34". Clause 42 refers to a project approved for the purposes of this Act, which links back to Clause 31. Projects under Clause 34 will not have been approved in accordance with Clause 31, as the research will have started prior to the commencement of the Mental Capacity Act—as we hope the Bill will become. The research will have to meet the requirements of the regulations made under Clause 34. The amendments therefore refer to,

I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.
 
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Baroness Andrews moved Amendment No. 6:

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Kingsland moved Amendment No. 7:


"PUBLIC GUARDIAN BOARD
(1) There is to be a body, to be known as the Public Guardian Board.
(2) The Board's duty is to scrutinise and review the way in which the Public Guardian discharges his functions and to make such recommendations to the Lord Chancellor about that matter as it thinks appropriate.
(3) The Lord Chancellor must, in discharging his functions under sections 57 and 58, give due consideration to recommendations made by the Board.
(4) The members of the Board are to be appointed by the Lord Chancellor.
(5) The Board must have—
(a) at least one member who is a judge of the court, and
(b) at least four members who are persons appearing to the Lord Chancellor to have appropriate knowledge or experience of the work of the Public Guardian.
(6) The Lord Chancellor may by regulations make provision as to—
(a) the appointment of members of the Board (and, in particular, the procedures to be followed in connection with appointments);
(b) the selection of one of the members to be the chairman;
(c) the term of office of the chairman and members;
(d) their resignation, suspension or removal;
(e) the procedure of the Board (including quorum);
(f) the validation of proceedings in the event of a vacancy among the members or a defect in the appointment of a member.
(7) Subject to any provision made in reliance on subsection (6)(c) or (d), a person is to hold and vacate office as a member of the Board in accordance with the terms of the instrument appointing him.
(8) The Lord Chancellor may make such payments to or in respect of members of the Board by way of reimbursement of expenses, allowances and remuneration as he may determine.
(9) The Board must make an annual report to the Lord Chancellor about the discharge of its functions."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, a version of this amendment was first tabled in Committee under the title,

Its origin was a view taken by the Opposition that the Lord Chancellor's Department had neither the resources nor, frankly, the sense of political priorities to scrutinise the work of the old Public Guardian Office in the way that it ought to have been scrutinised. We, therefore, sought to place between the Lord Chancellor and the new Public Guardian a board of control which, on the one hand, would be close to what the Public Guardian was doing, yet, on the other, sufficiently close to the Lord Chancellor for him to take notice of its views.

I was extremely fortunate to find opposite me at the Government Dispatch Box the noble Baroness, Lady Ashton of Upholland, who was most sympathetic to the concept we were advancing—although she was concerned about some of the details of
 
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the original amendment. So between the Committee stage and Third Reading I have had two meetings with the noble Baroness and her officials during which we have managed to recast some of those details and to massage the vocabulary. I hope, therefore, that it is fair to say that the amendment now before your Lordships is to all intents and purposes an agreed amendment.

I want to put on the record how much I appreciate the spirit in which the Government have approached this problem. I like to think that the operation of the new Public Guardian will be greatly improved by what we will be putting in the Bill. I beg to move.

Baroness Barker: My Lords, I rise briefly to thank the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, for redrafting his amendment. Can he confirm that subsection (5)(b),

is the provision that will enable carers and users to be part of the board? That was my concern when we debated the amendment at an earlier stage.

Lord Kingsland: My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Baroness for her intervention. She will recall that, in our original amendment, we placed the emphasis on medical practitioners and chartered accountants. The noble Baroness, Lady Ashton of Upholland, quite rightly pointed out that the role of the Public Guardian was changing and that, as far as the number of chartered accountants was concerned, it was an unnecessary ingredient to specify in the Bill.

Equally, while recognising that medical practitioners could play an important role, it was delinquent of me not to have also included carers. In the end we decided that the right approach would be to leave it open; but I know that this factor will be borne in mind when the regulations are made. I am enthusiastic that a certain proportion of those who sit on the board should have that kind of experience.


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