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Statute Law (Repeals) Bill

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Unlawful Drilling Act 1819 has become obsolete in Great Britain because it has been superseded by modern public order law and practice. This includes the Public Order Act 1936, Section 2 of which is directed against quasi-military activities. Powers to manage crowds and demonstrations in the Public Order Act 1986 also have a potential application to address unlawful gatherings.

The repeal does not extend to Northern Ireland because the Public Order Acts of 1936 and 1986 do not extend there.

Sustainable Communities

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Academy for Sustainable Communities (ASC) was established by Government in 2005. It receives core funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government of £5.5 million a year, and has also attracted additional funding from the Northern Way and from some sponsorship of particular activities. The intention is that the ASC will transfer to the Homes and Communities Agency once this has been established, based on its existing business plan and allocated budget from Communities and Local Government. Over time it will be for the new agency to work with the academy and CLG to develop and determine a new business plan and the appropriate funding levels for its activities.

Universities: Officer Training Corps

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): We fully support the work of the Officer Training Corps and the vital contribution it makes to university life and wider society. We fully endorse their presence on campus.



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Although HEIs are independent autonomous organisations, their governing bodies are aware of their relevant legal responsibilities in this area which are as follows:

Section 43 of the Education (No 2) Act 1986 provides that those involved in the government of an institution in the higher education sector or the further education sector must take reasonably practicable steps to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students, employees and visiting speakers. This includes the duty to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable that use of the establishment's premises is not denied to anyone on the grounds of their beliefs, views, policy or objectives.

The duty under Section 43 includes the duty to ensure (so far as is reasonably practicable) that the use

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of the premises is not denied to any individual or body on grounds connected with the beliefs or views of the individual or body or the policy or objectives of the individual or body.

HEIs have to have a code of practice on the organisation of meetings and other activities to take place on their premises. They then have to take such steps etc to ensure that the code is complied with.

In addition to this the Education Act 1994 requires university governing bodies to take such steps as reasonably practicable to ensure the student union operates in a fair and democratic manner—we would expect them to do so in these cases or any others.

Governing bodies should ensure that they are fulfilling their duty to uphold these legal requirements.


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