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I turn to the noble Lords second consideration, the Governments official history programme. I confess that I have a great deal in common with the noble Lord, Lord McNally. I too studied history at University College under Professor Joel Hurstfield. I too played in the parliamentary football team. The only difference between us is that I have continued to vote Labour and the noble Lord, Lord McNally, has gone a different route. But, in every other respect, he knows only too well that I understand and follow his
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We recognise that the present arrangements with the Whitehall History Publishing groupwhich have been in place since 1999 and the contract runs till 2010are with the Routledge arm of Taylor & Francis. In the past it has proved both efficient and cost effective to have all the histories published this way. The contract requires no expenditure by the partners of the Whitehall histories group and they receive a proportion of the royalties from sales to help offset the costs. However, I bear in mind what the noble Lord, Lord Rodgers, said and I think he was buttressed by the noble Lord, Lord McNallyI am not so sure that the noble Lord, Lord Bew, did not also cast a glance in this directionthat the official histories perhaps need to be marketed more successfully.
I cannot give much help as far as my noble friend Lord Evans of Temple Guiting is concerned. The noble Lord, Lord McNally, might have just forgotten that he has moved out of publishing and into banking. We all know what has happened to banking since the noble Lord, Lord Evans, has appeared in that quarter. Suffice it to say, we should certainly look at marketing. There is no doubt that we want the official histories to be written to the very highest standards and they will be inevitably costly. History books are costly, as all Members of the House will know. It is also the case that if we are to see a wider public enjoy a set of books, we must be careful to avoid prohibitive prices. The marketing aspect of the official histories may need to be looked at with some constructive care.
I would like to clarify the difference between the official history programme, which is run from within the Cabinet Office, and the internal histories, which are the work of other departments, notably the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence. The Cabinet Office is responsible for managing all the official histories and the official history programme, but both the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as noble Lords will know, publish histories which relate to work of their departments.
I am all too well aware that my responses to this debate are bound to be inadequate against the background of the highly specialised expertise which has been brought to the debate, but I want to answer certain questions before I conclude. I was very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Luke, for introducing into the debate something I had not anticipated, and ought to have done knowing his interest in this area. It was very useful indeed to have a relationship to the archives of Parliament and the work that is done here. They are also quite unique and it is important that they are valued too. He was emphatic about the good work that is being done in this area, but of course no one should rest on their laurels on these issues.
I say in passing that about the only feature of my education in history at University College that paid direct and immediate dividends related to the fact that, when I became secretary of the Parliamentary
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The noble Lord, Lord Rodgers, indicated that he thought that the official histories were at times a somewhat odd mixture. As they were drawn up from suggestions across Whitehall, there will be a certain idiosyncrasy to them. The whole question of which topics should be covered is a thorny one. Suffice it to say that steps are being taken to tap into external advice as well. After all, the histories are written by outside historiansby definition, academic historiansso it is only right that we should take greater steps to take their advice on the compilation of the histories.
I have come to the end of my time before answering every question in the detail that I would have wished. I assure the noble Lord, Lord Rodgers, that I will write to him where I have failed to answer his specific questions. On the more general issues that have been raised this evening, all noble Lords have made it clear that we need to address ourselves with considerable care both to the archives and to the official histories. I assure the House that constructive concepts are in place. There is an openness to learn from others on how we can improve on past performance. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Rodgers, for giving us the opportunity to air these issues this evening.
The noble Lord said: First, I express my deep gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, for his undeserved compliments about the wording of the amendment, which is not really a finished product, but more of a probing amendment to try to elicit some information from the Minister about what will be provided by way of intoxicating substance treatment requirements, and how the courts will decide on the appropriate institution in which a particular offender will be treated. No one would contest the assertion that alcohol is an important factor in the aetiology of
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As an indication of the extent of the problem: in 2005-06, 5,280 children under the age of 16 were admitted to hospital for alcohol-related reasons; in 2006-07 that figure had risen to 6,707. We agree that the intoxicating substance treatment requirement, which can be imposed in connection with a youth rehabilitation order, is a necessary addition to Schedule 1. But we are concerned about whether the facilities to deliver this treatment will be available; whether they will be professionally validated and whether the courts will have the expertise to make decisions on detox and rehabilitation, which may well require different facilities.
The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse has published a review of the effectiveness of treatment for alcohol problems, and the noble Baroness, Lady Richardson, in her introduction, says that there is compelling evidence for investment in alcohol treatment, but that it is essential that it should be directed towards interventions of proven effectiveness. Last October the NTA told the Observer that the number of young people in contact with alcohol treatment agencies rose from 5,200 in 2005-06 to 6,707 the following year, so there is undoubtedly a growing demand. Yet there seems to be no strategy to provide the facilities that are needed; indeed, establishments are being closed. I was told that Phoenix Futures, for instance, is just about to close one of its residential establishmentsor has just about done so. Nor does there seem to be any authority to validate the treatment to be provided under the orders. The Commission for Social Care Inspection, which registers residential establishments, has no expertise on the quality of the treatment offered.
Presumably, the treatment specified in the order will sometimes, if not generally, be residential, but those facilities are few and far between. In the light of the debate on the previous amendment, which the Minister resisted because it applied only in cases where a young person would be compelled to leave their home, I would be grateful if, when replying to this amendment, the Minister would say something about whether these alcohol treatments would invariably be non-residential. If not, the same arguments apply as they did to the previous amendment.
I beg leave to doubt whether, in every case, the treatment of severe alcohol problems can be done on a non-residential basis. In the provision of those facilities, there is inadequate co-ordination between PCTs and local authorities. In the new NHS operational plan for 2008-09 to 2010-11, there is nothing specific about alcohol treatment. If the orders are to work, they need to be embedded in a proper strategic framework with adequate funding and with professional validation of the facilities to be developed. I beg to move.
Lord Ramsbotham: I support the very important amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, which fleshes out something that was already there in an entirely helpful way. I base that on my experience visiting young offenders. One was horrified at how many of them had alcohol problems recorded as being part of the problem and yet alcohol treatment was not part of the treatment that they were getting.
It has always struck me as unfortunate that there seems to be a difference in the content between what is done during community sentences and what is done in custody. There are many things that could be the same. There is no reason why education, work training or drug treatment should not be part of a community sentence. There is certainly no reason why alcohol treatment should not be part of such a sentence. Therefore, I hope that the provisions that are so ably set out by the noble Lord are included in requirements both in custody and in this part of the Bill, which relates to what should be done in community for them, because it is a scourge that badly needs more attention.
The Earl of Onslow: Another thing that we ought to take into account is that for some quite extraordinary reason there is a culture of deliberately going out to get what is calledand I think I can say this at this time of nightrat-arsed. That is a very long and old English tradition. The Venerable Bede complained of his monks getting too drunk. It is a very serious problem and it ought to be looked at against the drinking culture that the young of this country have had historically for thousands of years.
The Earl of Listowel: I will briefly add one comment on the numbers of young women who become pregnant as teenagers, and who are particularly likely to be within that group. The noble Lord, Lord Mitchell, has drawn attention to the dangers of women drinking in the early stages of their pregnancy. Having an alcoholic as a parent, or two alcoholics as parents, raises child protection concerns and often when the NSPCC looks into child abuse or maltreatment issues there are one or two alcoholic parents involved. If we can get in effectively early on, it would make so much difference to the lives of some of our most vulnerable children. Therefore, I welcome what is behind the amendment and look forward to the Ministers response.
Lord Kingsland: The British Crime Survey states that alcohol is a factor in no less than 47 per cent of violent crime. That breaks down to 45 per cent of incidents of domestic violence, 58 per cent of incidents of stranger violence and 51 per cent of incidents of acquaintance violence. It is central to violent offending.
All that the amendments of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, are seeking to do is to put the treatment of alcohol-driven offences by young offenders on the same basis as alcohol-driven offences by adults.
A recent survey suggests that alcohol treatment funding made up only 6 per cent of the funding that drug treatment services receive. If that is an accurate statistic, it is an astonishing one. We know that drugs play an important role, particularly in theft and burglary. Nevertheless, it is violent crime that is most disturbing the general publicand, indeed, the Governmentand it is plain that alcohol is a major cause.
Lord Bach: We are grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, for raising what is undoubtedly a very serious issue which represents a considerable problem for the justice system in England and Wales. What the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, said about getting in early is obviously right as well.
As to whether these treatments take place in residential or non-residential settings, I do not think it will surprise the noble Lord to hear that in the great majority of cases, alcohol treatment requirements are discharged in a non-residential setting. Treatment is mostly provided on a voluntary basis. As to whether substance misuse treatment is currently available for young offenders, the answer is yes. Since 2004-05, all youth offending teams have been screening young offenders for substance misuse, ensuring that those with identified need receive assessment and the appropriate intervention. Interventions can be differentthey include prevention or early intervention, which comes under what is described as tier 2, or specialist treatment under tiers 3 and 4. The majority of young offenders receiving treatment for substance misusethat phrase includes alcohol misuse, because the Bill makes it clear that the two are treated under the heading of substance misuseaccess services on a voluntary basis via provision commissioned locally, and I shall say something about resources before I sit down. However, although drug treatment and testing is available as a court order, the court does not currently have power to order treatment for alcohol or other substance misuse such as glue, aerosols and petrol. The new requirement will plug this gap.
Let me help the Committee by giving some figures. In 2004-05, 12,885 young offenders received an assessment, 7,672 received the early intervention under tier 2, and 2,973 received specialist treatment under tiers 3 and 4. By 2006-07, 13,373 young offenders were receiving assessment, an increase of about 500; 7,915 were receiving intervention, an increase of 250; and 4,823 were receiving the more specialist treatment. Those figures are of interest to the Committee, and there are others as well.
The Earl of Onslow: Will the noble Lord let me know how many of those came in the same category as the 17 year-old who was arrested for being drunk and disorderly and was not allowed legal representation, which the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, gave as an example under the previous amendment?
Amendment No. 19 would significantly narrow who could direct this treatment by making them effectively subject to approval by the Royal College of Physicians. Amendment No. 20 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, would place a duty on the Secretary of State to maintain a central list of facilities offering this treatment to make such a list available to the courts. We do not believe that either of the amendments are appropriate, and I shall explain why.
We believe that restricting those who can direct intoxicating substance treatment only to those persons who have been approved by the Royal College of Physicians is, frankly, not practical. Such a restriction does not reflect entirely the context in which such treatment is delivered. In drafting the requirement in the Bill, we have worked closely with both the Department of Health and the National Treatment Agency. Their advice is that dependency on intoxicating substances can be resolved in a treatment intervention, as it is called, where the main worker does not have to be a medical practitioner.
Such a narrowly defined treatment provider would not allow the sort of flexibility required in the provision of this treatment. In some cases, frankly, the people providing the treatment will not have formal qualifications. For example, there may be instances where the treatment could be delivered by a person who has the necessary experience through their own previous experience of addiction. Everyone knows that those who have previous experience of wrongdoing or addiction are sometimes the very best at winning others away from addiction. For young people, such personal experience can provideand this is my pointsome of the most powerful testimony on the dangers of addiction to substances. They are not, I am afraid, liable to approval by the Royal College of Physicians.
Lord Ramsbotham: I listened to that explanation with great interest and I absolutely agree. The same is true for drug workers, but is it not better when they are under the supervision of somebody who is qualified to see that what they are doing is part of a structured regime?
Lord Bach: I am not sure that I agree that they are necessarily better under someone who, for example, was approved by the Royal College of Physicians, but there clearly has to be a supervisory structure. It is very important that all people in that structure are of high quality, but we do not want to limit those people to any particular qualification.
The current wording of the requirement emphasises that the treatment worker must have necessary qualifications or experience to direct treatment. This offers sufficient safeguards to ensure that treatment is directed by someone suitable for the role. However, I go back to the flexibility that is vital to ensure that a young person receives the sort of treatment that is tailored to their individual needs and circumstances. In case there are any doubting voices still around, this wording is consistent with the drug treatment requirement in paragraph 22 of Schedule 1 to the Bill, and the adult drug rehabilitation requirement in Section 209 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. It is also endorsed by both the Department of Health and the National Treatment Agency.
I turn to Amendment No. 20. The proposed requirement on the Secretary of State to maintain a central list of facilities does not reflect the fundamentally decentralised arrangements for the delivery and funding of this treatment. Youth offending teams are referring
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Information about suitable treatment services and facilities for a young person will be provided to the court as part of the pre-sentence report process, on which sentencing decisions will be made. The court will, therefore, receive the necessary information about the facilities being recommended through this process. A centrally held list of facilities will not add much valueperhaps a little, but not much. Indeed, a list would be unworkable and difficult to maintain to an appropriate level of accuracy. Because the treatment services are delivered locally, the maintenance of a central list would be overly bureaucratic and liable to be out of date quickly as treatment providers change over time. We believe that we have provided an appropriate framework in the Bill to ensure the effective delivery of the intoxicating substance treatment requirement and we accept absolutely the unanimous view of the committee that this is an important area.
I said that I would say a little more about resources. Alcohol treatment and general programmes to counter the misuse by young offenders that we are talking about in these amendments are included in general youth offending team work on substance misuse. Funding is received through the young peoples substance misuse grant and through local drug action teams and childrens services. Youth offending teams will normally engage young people voluntarily in substance misuse treatment without the need to resort to a specific court order. Our view is that very few young people will ever need alcohol or other substance misuse treatment as a requirement within a youth rehabilitation order.
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