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Lord Dixon-Smith: I think the Minister has misunderstood the argument, which is not about the line of accountability. I am entirely prepared to accept what he saysthat the line of accountability is through the Secretary of State and Parliament. I have no difficulty with that proposition. But if he is saying that the responsibility of this body is simply to send in an annual report, and if its planning committee will do its business in public, with the GLA having a bit of input, I think that we are missing something.
The ODA's work will be of deep interest not only to Parliament and the GLA but to the public generally, who will want to have some indication of what it is doing and why. I entirely accept the problems of the commercial nature of much of the operation, but those are adequately defined in the Local Government Act and can be perfectly taken care of. But for the life of me I cannot see why, when the ODA meets from time to time, the public should not have some right to attend some of that meeting, or why some of the content of the meeting should not be reportable. People will want to know what is going onand not only in an annual report that will appear six months after the end of a financial year and be reported to the Secretary of State, who will report it to Parliament. That is not what they will want to know. They will want to know what is happening nownot next week or next month, but now.
Baroness Hamwee : I agree with the noble Lordfor the reputation of the Government as well for the good governance and government of the ODA. The noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, and I are not arguing that the ODA is equivalent to local government. I cannot see how an annual report, arriving some months after the event and probably giving the outcome only, is any answer to this point.
The Minister referred to the Town and Country Planning Act. Many years ago, planning committees met in private while undertaking similar actions, such as giving notice and placing in libraries the outcomes of their deliberations. That is not at all the same as being listened to as you make your deliberations. As we all know in this place, it is quite salutatory to have one's words referred to sometimes. The Minister used the term "answerability". While technically I follow what he is saying, the way that he has defined "answerability" is not a very modernit may be post-modernway of addressing this serious issue.
I was expecting the Minister to tell me that my drafting was wrong, but it seemed a quick way to get into the matter. I could have lived with that. I am not prepared to live with the philosophy behind his reply, but that is not for today.
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Lord Davies of Oldham: I may have expressed myself too negatively. I respect the arguments put but I reacted rather sharply to the ODA being conceived of in a local government model. For the very best of reasons, we do not accept that philosophy. I do not know whether this is pre-modern, modern or post modern, but we do accept openness and accountability. The ODA cannot do its job without enjoying public confidence and taking the public with it, because it is taking a role and making a commitment in which we want the public to be engaged. The ODA may have to decide to have some meetings in public. It may be that there is parliamentary and public anxiety that the structure clearly defined here is insufficient to engage everyone fully and the Secretary of State could instruct the ODA to meet in public or to engage in other ways of keeping the public up to date about developments. That is so much in the ODA's interest that we must leave it to that body to work out its strategy for meeting requirements. Certainly, if the Secretary of State has the anxieties that the noble Lords have foreseen, she can issue instructions for the ODA to follow a different approach. We have got arrangements for how a non-governmental public body should work and be answerablethe ODA is such a body. The problem with the amendment is that it provides a model of local government accountability. That is not appropriate for this body, certainly not if I take on board noble Lords' weighty arguments that this is a body of national significance.
( ) the authority shall ensure that adequate arrangements are made for the provision of premises, plant, systems, facilities and any other thing required by the police for the safety of persons and security"
The noble Baroness said: Clause 6 is welcome, but it does not appear to recognise the need for infrastructure to meet the clause's objectives of security and safety. When speaking to an amendment two days ago, I said that I was not mischief-making; nor am I doing so here.
This amendment came to me unprompted from the Metropolitan Police Authority, which asked me to raise issues of concern, not about providing security,
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but about implementing its security duties. The authority regards it as important that policing infrastructure is woven into the venues to ensure that an integrated approach is taken to providing security. It gives examples of requirements within the Olympic village and venues such as control rooms for public order, IT infrastructures, police contact points, rest facilities for officers and facilities to support the policing of the periphery. It also mentions custody complexes to accommodate thoseI am sure there will be somewho are detained, suitable facilities for interpreters and those from the criminal justice system, local storage facilities, and equipment to respond to incidents, such as public order kit, crowd barriers, medical supplies and so on, which will need storage. In connection with transport facilities, the authority refers to control rooms and officer facilities at new key routes, the need for expansion of IT infrastructure and the positioning of CCTV and other cameras. The MPA may acknowledge that that can be covered through other parts of the Bill, but it is obviously worth including it to show the total picture. Finally, it mentions catering, as there will obviously be a need to fuel the high number of police deployed.
The MPA comments that planning consents have been granted in connection with many of the facilities and venues but that no provision has been made for any of these needs. It believes that such an amendment to the Bill would assist in ensuring that those involved with the venues and undertaking the developments on the periphery focus on the need to make suitable provision for policing.
In summary, such provision will be best made if it is a part of the planning process and not an add-on in two or three years' time, or even closer to the games. I hope that I can pass on to the MPA and to the Met the fact that the Minister has been helpful in assuring us that they will be supported in ways which some of us might not initially have thought of but which are clear concerns. I beg to move.
The Bill is very light on explanation. The Minister spent a great deal of time two days agowe thank him for itexplaining the issues and helping our understanding, but the Government would do well to look again at the wording of the Bill, particularly in the areas on which we had the lengthy debate on the previous occasion and which we may debate again today.
The issue raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, will have a direct impact on funding and where it is to come from. We have debated security before; it is one of the matters in which I am interested. It is difficult at this stage for LOCOG and the ODA to have any feel for the cost of providing the necessary security for the 2012 Olympic Games. I believe that that is absolutely wrong. I hope the noble Lord agrees that such a clause, or one very like it, should be included in the Bill.
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Even if such a clause is included and becomes part of the planning process, the actual cost of security will be difficult to estimate. The noble Baroness made the point that now is the time to think about planning and costing. Some planning and some costing is better than none. I would be very unhappy if the Government did not attend to this in the whole of the task of the ODA and LOCOG until several years on. I hope that that makes sense. I strongly support the thrust of the amendment, particularly that security should be part of planning and costing today rather than in 2010.
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