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I have one further point about supervision. I am not sure that I expressed my gratitude well enough but I was most grateful when the Minister responded to my questions about the training and supervision of prison officers. I recognise what he says about supervision and the informal manner in which prison officers are with each other much of the time but these people are very vulnerable—especially in view of the context of the recent debate on mental health issues and concerns about women in custody as well. Senior officers and junior officers need private time to talk, for example, about how an officer feels when a young person self-harms and how one carries on in one’s job. How does an officer deal with being scared by someone with whom they are dealing? How can they talk in public about something like that? Sometimes they may simply feel like hitting an inmate because they drive them up the wall. How does an officer say that publicly to another officer? Such discussions need to have a place, and I am not sure whether they do at the moment. I look forward to the Minister’s response, and I beg to move.

Baroness Howe of Idlicote: My Lords, I support the amendment. My noble friend Lord Listowel is absolutely right that these are the most vulnerable children. They may have committed some pretty heinous offences. Equally, however, we know that their backgrounds were almost certainly a major contributory factor. Care Matters was a brilliant White Paper, and we very much hope that it will deal with most of these children’s needs. If my interpretation of it is right, it will apply at least as much to children who have ended up in prison, even though they were originally in care. The important thing is that the local authorities do not forget them—indeed, are not allowed to forget them—and see them as a continuing responsibility.

Brilliant voluntary organisations such as Home-Start, and certainly the churches, which are involved in many activities such as mentoring and really befriending a child in this situation who has probably never really had a loving, caring parent, are absolutely essential. It is absolutely crucial that extra special attention is paid to seeing that there are proper arrangements for accommodation, training and jobs. May we be reassured that the children who have ended up in prison will be at the top of the list? For goodness’ sake, let us use the resources that we hope will be saved as the cycle of deprivation continues unless stopped, with children ending up yet again in

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prison, to prevent them going into care and entering prison in the first place. That is where it should all begin. I know that the Government have quite a strong intention in this regard.

Lord Hylton: My Lords, I support the amendment moved by my noble friend Lord Listowel, if only because it has been known for a very long time that a large proportion of offenders, and therefore of prisoners, have been in care. One example of good practice comes from Northern Ireland. Lay representation for young offenders in institutions has been pioneered by Nacro, which has provided trained volunteers with whom young people in custody can share their personal problems and complaints. The representatives have been able not only to befriend them, which my noble friend Lady Howe mentioned, but to present their cases at disciplinary and other hearings. Is there an equivalent scheme in England and Wales? If not, could something similar be piloted, at least in a few areas?

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I am very conscious of the time. We have had a very powerful exposition in support of the amendment from the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, and some very helpful comments from the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, and the noble Lord, Lord Hylton. I know of a few pilot schemes that are similar to that described by the noble Lord, but I do not know whether any match it precisely. He made some very interesting points about how a peer group can assist young people to heal and change. That is an important consideration.

The noble Earl’s interest in this issue is well known. I commend him for it. His amendment draws attention to the disproportionate number of young people in the youth justice system who are looked after or who have previously been looked after by a local authority. I agree with him about the quality and nature of the Government’s White Paper. I could not have been more pleased by its contents and I share the warmth and enthusiasm that many people have expressed about it. Your Lordships know that that was published only a week ago. We set out how determined we are to improve the plight of children in care. We committed to the fact that the aspiration of the state for such children should be no less than each parent’s aspiration would be for their own child. We set out firm actions to make that happen. Therefore, the noble Earl is right to say that that aspiration—that responsibility—goes beyond the literal legal limit as regards their age.

In the White Paper, we recognise that, despite improvements to the outcomes of the lives of children and young people in care in recent years, there remains a gap between the outcomes of those in care and the outcomes of all children. For example, 9.6 per cent of children in care, aged 10 or over, were cautioned or convicted for an offence during the year—almost three times the rate for all children of that age.

The noble Earl has raised many questions. I can assure him that I have virtually all the answers, but I am very conscious that the House may not like me as

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much as it said it did earlier if I were to give all those answers. I ask the noble Earl whether I can take advantage of his kind offer to write to him on all those issues. I shall then be able to give a more comprehensive response. He has raised a number of very important issues. I have explained the current position in relation to children and I hope we will develop the new position soon. We wish to legislate in relation to the provisions that are contained in the White Paper at the earliest opportunity. I hope that will give him a little pleasure while he awaits my full, comprehensive answer.

The Earl of Listowel: My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble and learned Baroness the Attorney-General for her encouraging response. I look forward to hearing from her. I thank my noble friends for their contributions in support of the amendment. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 35 [Orders and regulations]:

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendments Nos. 37A and 37B:

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 37 [Power to make consequential and transitional provision etc]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 38:

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a technical amendment proposed by parliamentary counsel to assist in the making of consequential amendments in due course. Clause 37 includes the power to amend, repeal or revoke any enactment that is passed or made before the end of the Session in which this Act is made. The amendment extends that power to the end of the Session after the Act is made; for example, the Session ending in 2008. We have informed the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, which did not feel it necessary to draw the attention of the House to the amendment. I assure noble Lords that it is entirely technical. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 3 [Minor and consequential amendments]:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 39:

“Part 1a Amendments relating to Part 2 Prison Act 1952 (c. 52)

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Race Relations Act 1976 (c. 74) “An Independent Monitoring Board appointed under section 6(2) of the Prison Act 1952.”Employment Rights Act 1996 (c. 18) (a) in subsection (2)(d), for “a board of prison visitors” there is substituted “an independent monitoring board for a prison”; and(b) in subsection (7)(a), for the words from the beginning to “of visitors” there is substituted ““independent monitoring board” means a board”.Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 (c. 6) Freedom of Information Act 2000 (c. 36) “Any Independent Monitoring Board established under section 6(2) of the Prison Act 1952.”.”

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 5 [Repeals]:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendments Nos. 40 to 42:

“In section 6(2), the words from “of whom” to the end.”

“Race Relations Act 1976 (c. 74)

In Part 2 of Schedule 1A, the entry relating to a board of visitors for a prison.”

“Freedom of Information Act 2000 (c. 36)

In Part 6 of Schedule 1, the entry relating to a board of visitors for a prison.”

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 40 [Commencement]:

Lord Ramsbotham moved Amendment No. 43:

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Whitehaven Harbour Bill [HL]

The Bill was returned from the Commons agreed to with amendments; the amendments were considered and agreed to.



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Statistics and Registration Service Bill

The Bill was returned from the Commons with certain amendments disagreed to with reasons for such disagreement, with another amendment disagreed to with a reason for such disagreement and with an amendment proposed to the words so restored to the Bill, with certain other amendments disagreed to but with amendments proposed in lieu thereof and with the remaining amendments agreed to without amendment. It was ordered that the amendments and reasons be printed.


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