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A few moments ago, in response to something that the noble Baroness, Lady Crawley, said, I imported half-marks upon myself. I am afraid that I am going to have to do the same to the noble Lord; I can support him only partly. I certainly have no problem with laying the report before Parliament, but I take issue with the noble Lord's proposed timing. The noble Lord, Lord Kirkwood, talked about the long-term nature of the Bill. Three years after passing is too soon for many of the provisions; it is quite possible that many of them will not have been implemented, while others will have been implemented too recently for much to be discerned.

I suspect, too, that the noble Lord's problem revolves principally around Part 1 of the Bill. Indeed, the speeches from other noble Lords suggest that they follow that suspicion. The noble Baroness, Lady Thomas, mentioned pilots. It is my view that at this stage the pilot schemes themselves will be acting as a form of review because they will entail a process of continuing evaluation. For a translation of the Latin "Pelion on Ossa", you might read "pilot on pilot"-which is what we are likely to see.

I am not sure what good would come of duplicating that evaluation to the point where we had what would in effect be a review of the review. Rather, the noble Lord, whose intentions are entirely sound, would do better to focus his scrutiny on the outcomes of the pilots. When they are brought to a close-after two years, if the Minister is sensible and takes my advice-much of what the noble Lord is looking for will in fact have been accumulated and will need to be carefully considered. It is at that point, after the pilots have been completed, that the type of review proposed in the amendment would come into play. If I may be so bold as to suggest a reworking of it so that there was a review three years after the pilot schemes came to a close, I would have no difficulty with his idea at all.

I hope that this is the last time, on this ninth day of Committee, that I shall be uttering. I therefore repeat and confirm what the noble Baroness, Lady Thomas, said about the ministerial team. Over the many years that I have stood opposite the noble Lord, Lord McKenzie, I have been struck by his very good humour, no matter what provocation I have thrown at him. That has certainly been exhibited over the past nine years in Grand Committee.

Noble Lords: Nine days.

Lord Skelmersdale: I also add my congratulations to his multitude of advisers in this essentially five-part

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Bill, who have-except on one occasion today-stood him in exceptionally good stead. I do not want to say any more except to half-congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne.

Lord McKenzie of Luton: I thank the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, for his amendment, which I hope I will be able to convince him is unnecessary. He is right; the tenor of our debates and discussion over nine sittings has been focused very much on delivery. I think we recognise that this is a framework Bill, and that this is the way of social security and welfare reform Bills these days and has been so for some while. We have debated training, skills, specialist support, leadership and resourcing, and at the end of the day these will be the key issues that will decide whether what we want to come from this legislation will be realised in practice.

The amendment would set out in the Bill a requirement to undertake an independent review of the implementation of the Bill, the findings of pilot schemes established under it and any negative outcomes for families, children and other dependants within three years of Royal Assent. I note that this has the support of the noble Baronesses, Lady Thomas and Lady Meacher, and the noble Lord, Lord Kirkwood, but I am more in tune with the noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdale, and his half-marks, if I may say so.

On the implementation of the Act, I am sure noble Lords will be aware that in March last year, my right honourable friend, the Leader of the House of Commons, published a command paper that set out our response to the Law Commission's report on post-legislative scrutiny. The noble Baroness, Lady Thomas, referred to this, as did the noble Lord, Lord Kirkwood. It also set out a systematic approach for the post-legislative scrutiny of Bills that achieved Royal Assent from 2005 onwards. This has, for the first time, put into place a system that will ensure that post-legislative scrutiny is the norm.

Departments will have to publish a memorandum, submitted in the first instance to the relevant committee in the other place but available to Parliament as a whole, on the provisions of an Act within three to five years of Royal Assent. This memorandum will allow Parliament to make an informed decision on whether full scrutiny is necessary. We will, at an appropriate time, undertake discussions with the Clerk of the Work and Pensions Select Committee about the submission of memoranda for this Bill.

Any pilot schemes set up under the provisions of the Bill will be evaluated. Indeed, there would be no point in them if we did not assess how they were working. I therefore assure the noble Lord that it is the department's policy to publish the results of the evaluation of pilot schemes as a matter of course. Those that come from this Bill will be no exception. The evaluation is in the main carried out by external contractors and is therefore independent of the department. All evaluation is published on the department's website.

The amendment would require the independent review to assess any negative outcomes for families, children and other dependants who might be affected by the provisions in the Bill. The DWP is a major commissioner of external social science research as

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well as in-house research. All the research that is carried out flows directly from the policy agenda. Social science research is a key element, along with other analytical activities, of the evidence base that is needed to inform departmental strategy, policy-making and delivery.

My department's work, welfare and equality strategy programme of research covers unemployed people, deprived areas and worklessness, disadvantaged groups, skills, lone parents, families and childcare, partners of benefit claimants and couple-households, health and disability, disability rights, child poverty and financial support, minority ethnic groups, labour market issues and Jobcentre Plus, all of which are relevant to the measures in the Bill and have been touched on in some way or another in the past nine sittings of the Committee. This information is published on our website.

I hope the noble Lord is reassured that through these means the measures in the Bill will receive appropriate scrutiny after the Bill is passed. That scrutiny and evaluation will of course reflect all the outcomes of these measures, both positive and negative. I am confident that the former will exceed the latter, although I note along the way the concerns that the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, has expressed about where the Bill might take us. I therefore do not think that it is necessary for the Bill to require an independent review.

On a final note, I remind noble Lords that not all the provisions in the Bill will come into force once it is passed-the noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdale, made this point-and that not all the pilot schemes that we plan will start immediately. We debated the length of our pilots in a former amendment. A review and report undertaken three years after Royal Assent might not produce any useful information, but one at the five-year stage might be more productive. The noble Lord, Lord Kirkwood, made an interesting point about whether an evaluation in the fairly extraordinary times in which we find ourselves economically might not reflect what happens in the longer term. In the light of that, I hope the noble Lord will not press his amendment.

In conclusion, I take this opportunity to thank all noble Lords who have participated in this quite extensive Committee process. It has been exhaustive and exhausting, but I thank all noble Lords who have addressed the issues in a forthright but constructive way. I also thank the Bill team for the work that it has done so far, and my noble friend Lady Crawley for her invaluable support on the Front Bench.

I hope that we have reassured the noble Baroness, Lady Thomas, on the issues that have concerned her and other noble Lords. We still have quite a lot of work to do between now and Report, and I look forward to our meetings and the follow-up.

In conclusion, I thank the Cross-Benchers who have participated to an extraordinarily full extent on this Bill and, as always, the Front Benches. It has been outwith my experience to date and we have been helped by their expertise. I look forward to working with noble Lords in the next stages of the Bill.

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Lord Skelmersdale: Before the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, responds, I admit to a failure both by me and the Minister. I remember very well the satirists Flanders and Swann and their sketch about Wimbledon in which there was the line:

"But here sits a figure one always forgets. The Umpire ... upon whom ... the sun ... never sets!".

The Minister and I omitted to thank the various Deputy Chairmen who have steered our proceedings so well.

Lord Northbourne: I think that I got about three and a half out of five. I accept the argument of the noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdale, about the timing of any report, which is very much for discussion. Turning to the Minister, I would never criticise this Government for not producing enough paper. I am talking about not a whole lot of bumf and stuff on the internet, which the public can read if they only knew it was there. I am suggesting a report to Parliament. Parliament has given the Executive this power and the Executive should have to report to Parliament. They should take the stick if it is not working well and they should gain the credit if it is going well. I leave this thought on the table because I shall withdraw the amendment, although I probably will bring it back in some form on those grounds. But I have yet to read what the noble Lord has said, which was extremely complex, and I shall therefore not try to talk about-

Lord McKenzie of Luton: Perhaps I may emphasise that a key part of the post-legislative scrutiny approach will be for a report to the DWP Select Committee in the House of Commons. There will be an initial memorandum, which the Select Committee will review to determine the extent of the wider scrutiny that it wishes to apply to the results of the Bill. This is a key part of the process that has been developed under the post-legislative scrutiny arrangements.

Lord Northbourne: That just makes it one step more complicated, does it not? And it will all be leaked to the press before it goes to the Select Committee. There might even be another Government at that time. It is all very complicated. Whoever is in that seat in X years' time has to come back and say, "Look, we made a frightful mess of this" or "What we did was really terrific".

I do not want to waste the Committee's time. I want to add my very great thanks to the noble Baroness, Lady Crawley, the team, the Chairman and the leaders of the three parties for what has been a very useful and constructive Grand Committee. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 188 withdrawn.

Clause 52 agreed.

Bill reported with amendments.

Committee adjourned at 5.15 pm.

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