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I appreciate the fact that we have had a very good debate and am very grateful for the support that has been evinced around the House. I look forward to discussing the matter further with the Minister, in the hope that we will be able to find a consensual way
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"( ) A person (A) who is subject to a duty to make reasonable adjustments is not (subject to express provision to the contrary) entitled to require a disabled person, in relation to whom A is required to comply with the duty, to pay to any extent A's costs of complying with the duty."
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The purpose of this amendment is to make explicit that the costs of a reasonable adjustment should not be passed on to an individual disabled person. The policy intention that we have sought to capture in the drafting of the Bill is that the costs of reasonable adjustments should not be passed on to individual disabled people, and that approach should apply in the employment context as well as in the areas addressed by Amendments 57C and 108P, which I understand will not be moved. The issue was not raised in the Commons at all, but in meetings with the disability lobby in the past couple of months we have become aware of the lobby's concerns. Indeed, the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell, made a very persuasive speech on Second Reading. On further reflection, the Government have decided to act to leave the matter beyond doubt. We believe that that is what the amendment achieves. I hope that noble Lords will be satisfied with the development and I beg to move.
Baroness Campbell of Surbiton: I would just like to say how thrilled I am at this amendment, for two reasons. First, I feel that it is my amendment, as it reflects so admirably the amendment that I was going to table. Secondly, it means that I do not have to read out a four-page speaking note for another persuasive amendment. I thank the Minister very much.
Lord Low of Dalston: I had my name on the amendment tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell, so it seems appropriate that I should also welcome the Government's amendment. Given the wonderful support that the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell, gave to my amendment, it would be churlish if I did not join her in welcoming the Government's change of heart and their habit of listening and reflecting, which I hope will set a pattern that they will be willing to continue in the period before Report.
Baroness Warsi: My Lords, we welcome the Government's decision to make explicit on the face of the Bill their intention on costs incurred by a duty holder making "reasonable adjustments" under Clause 20. A very helpful letter from the Minister stated that,
Can the Minister clarify this statement a little for the House? Clause 20, as I understand it, replaces similar provisions in the Disability Discrimination Act, with only a few changes. It introduces "substantial disadvantage" as a single threshold, applies the current practice by explicitly applying the third requirement to employment, and alters some of the language. These are only small changes from the Disability Discrimination Act. Why was the provision stating the cost of making a reasonable adjustment not also therefore transferred over? According to the Disability Charities Consortium, the Government had argued that they had included,
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, in the first instance when we were drafting the Bill we did not consider that such a provision was needed, as the very fact that the DDA and the Bill impose a duty on an individual implies that the individual should bear the costs of complying with the reasonable adjustment duty. If the duty could be read as meaning that it only had to be complied with if costs were met by someone else, the legislation would have made that clear. This is the case in relation to the duty to make alterations to the common parts, as paragraph 7(3) of Schedule 4 provides that it is reasonable to expect that the costs be paid by a disabled person. In addition, as far as we know, there have not been any reported cases of attempts to pass on the costs of the reasonable adjustments.
However, while our position was absolutely clear, the disability lobby felt that there was still some confusion or that this was misleading, and questioned whether the subsection about disability-related discrimination could be justified. This is a sort of belt-and-braces thing to clarify the position, and to ensure and to make explicit that the costs of a reasonable adjustment should not be passed on to an individual disabled person. We wanted to make it absolutely clear that we wanted disabled people themselves to feel secure that they were not going to have any additional burdens. That is the reason for this amendment.
That this House do direct that, in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919, the Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure be presented to Her Majesty for the Royal Assent.
The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, and now for something quite different. The body of law regulating the Church of England is complex-believe me. As time passes, it needs, like all other law, to be corrected, brought up to date and sometimes allowed appropriate development. Miscellaneous provisions Measures are a means whereby the General Synod of the Church of England from time to time seeks to amend matters of church legislation that do not merit free-standing legislation. That is the context of this modest Measure, which aims to make a number of uncontentious changes to various aspects of ecclesiastical law which have passed their sell-by date.
By the nature of the case, Measures like this usually contain an amorphous mixture of technical material, united by the common characteristic of being uncontroversial. There are however, as is also usual, some common themes, as the Measure seeks to clarify some problematic provisions, improve various processes, give greater flexibility and confer new powers to benefit the Church of England and those it serves.
A number of the changes made in the present Measure are designed to promote or clarify the governance of the church's national institutions. Thus, for example, Sections 1 and 11 devolve responsibilities relating to land acquired or held for the purposes of the local church from the Church Commissioners to the diocesan board of finance for the diocese concerned. At this stage I suppose I ought to record a particular personal, non-financial interest as a president and director of a diocesan board of finance. Other provisions make technical changes relating to the provisions for the governance of the Archbishops' Council, the Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board.
The Measure will then bring a number of provisions up to date. For example, Section 5 does that in relation to the retirement age of diocesan chancellors in the light of changes to the law relating to judicial appointments to which church provisions are linked.
In a more local context, Section 10(2) brings the provisions governing Christ Church, Oxford, more into line with those applicable to other cathedrals under the Cathedrals Measure 1999, which does not apply to Christ Church. It does so by increasing the number of non-residentiary canons, allowing the appointment of lay and ecumenical canons and creating a college of canons with specified functions.
Finally, the Measure will make certain changes to benefit the life of the church at different levels. Notably, Section 9, which has been included with the agreement of the Charity Commissioners, provides for gifts to or for the benefit of the Church of England to take effect
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By way of further example, Section 10(3) amends the Care of Cathedrals Measure 1990 so as to bring proposals for works which would affect human remains in cathedral precincts, which are currently subject to secular control, within the controls contained in that Measure, in the same way that human remains in churchyards are already subject to the faculty jurisdiction. If the Measure is enacted, the intention would be to ask the Ministry of Justice, whose coroners' department has already been consulted on the matter, to amend secular legislation, disapplying it in all cases where ecclesiastical controls apply, and thus avoiding dual control over human remains in cathedral precincts.
I hope that these necessarily brief and selective examples of what the Measure seeks to do will show that, beneath a somewhat dry and technical complexity on the outside, there lies the rather commonsensical aim of making the legal processes of the Church of England more effective at every level. Your Lordships might like to know that when this Measure was presented at the final approval stage in the General Synod, it was approved by 185 votes to one, with one abstention.
The Measure has been found expedient by the Ecclesiastical Committee and now comes to your Lordships' House for approval. I hope that approval will be readily forthcoming, and I commend the Measure to your Lordships' House.
That this House do direct that, in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919, the Vacancies in Suffragan Sees and Other Ecclesiastical Offices Measure be presented to Her Majesty for the Royal Assent.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I have it in command from Her Majesty the Queen to acquaint the House that Her Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the Vacancies in Suffragan Sees and Other Ecclesiastical Offices Measure, has consented to place her prerogative and interest, so far as they are affected by the Measure, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Measure.
The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, I beg to move that this House do direct that, in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919, the Vacancies in Suffragan Sees and Other Ecclesiastical Offices Measure be presented to Her Majesty for the Royal Assent. This Measure, like the next I shall be moving, is concerned with certain appointments in the
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Both Measures touch on the relationship between church and state, but are deliberately limited in the effect that they have on that relationship. This is very much a matter of evolution, not revolution. The wider context of this legislation is the long-term trend of allowing the church to have the decisive voice in the full range of its appointments, rather than decision-making being managed from Downing Street by those who support the Prime Minister in his role of advising the Crown. The more immediate context is a church initiative-the Pilling report on senior church appointments-and Her Majesty's Government's initiative, set out in a Green Paper in July 2007, to reduce the role of the royal prerogative not just in church appointments but more generally.
The most significant change to come from the Government's Green Paper was the Prime Minister's decision that he would not take an active part in choosing diocesan bishops and that he would simply recommend to Her Majesty the candidate identified by the church. That change did not require legislation, and in any case this Measure is not concerned with the appointment of diocesan bishops but suffragans. That change did, however, create a new context in which these smaller reforms, which do require legislation, seemed desirable.
Section 1 of the Vacancies in Suffragan Sees and Other Ecclesiastical Offices Measure concerns the procedure for the appointment of suffragan bishops; that is, bishops who assist the diocesan bishop in exercising ministry in a diocese. Their appointment is governed by the Suffragan Bishops Act 1534. A number of suffragan bishops were appointed in the 16th and early 17th centuries, but after that no further appointments were made until the revival of the Act under Gladstone in 1870. Since then, and much more so recently, suffragan bishops have played increasingly important parts in the provision of episcopal care in England.
The 1534 Act requires the names of two candidates to be presented to the Crown, leaving the choice between the two to the sovereign. Almost from the moment of the revival of suffragan bishoprics at the end of the 19th century, in other words for over a century now, it has been the convention that the Prime Minister advises the sovereign to appoint the first of the two names that are submitted. There have not been exceptions to that convention. The present Measure simply gives statutory recognition to that convention and removes the need to identify a second candidate who, in reality, is never appointed and usually has not even known that his name was on the list.
Change is all the more important in the context of the more transparent procedures for the selection of suffragan bishops that have been developing in recent years. The selection process now involves much wider consultation and accountability. In some cases, attention is drawn to vacancies with the invitation of comments and suggestions by way of announcements in the
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It has therefore become increasingly artificial to have to forward two names, one of whom it is not intended to appoint, to the Prime Minister. Having fairly recently been through this process myself, there is also something invidious and pastorally insensitive about a practice that encourages telling somebody that they will be the makeweight number two on a list, but that they will not be appointed. Think of the pastoral effects of trying to do that.
Sections 2 and 3 address a different matter. The Pilling report also made recommendations concerning the legal position whereby the Crown in certain circumstances exercises patronage not normally in its gift. One such situation is during a vacancy in a diocesan see following the translation, death or retirement of the bishop. As guardian of the temporalities of the vacant see, the Crown exercises the parochial and other patronage that normally belongs to the diocesan bishop. For some time now, however, the Crown's involvement has in most cases of this sort been largely formal, in that the suffragan or assistant bishop looking after the diocese has been treated as if he were the diocesan bishop, and has been asked by the Crown to identify the person who should be appointed to a particular parish.
Once the candidate for appointment has been identified, the Cabinet Office and the Crown Office produce the necessary paperwork, but the Crown's role does not in reality go beyond that. Section 2 will thus make that paper exercise unnecessary. The suffragan or assistant bishop caring for the diocese during the vacancy in see will be able to act directly-under statutory delegated authority from the Crown-to make appointments that are ordinarily made by the diocesan bishop or that would have been, were there one. This will not touch the Crown's position as guardian of the temporalities, but administrative time and expense will be saved and vacancies should take less time to fill. The change will also make it more apparent where decisions of this sort are actually made.
Section 3 deals with a situation which is not always very well understood: the position that arises when the holder of an office-or the holder of the office to whom patronage belongs-has been appointed as a diocesan bishop. Typically, this would be a parish priest or an archdeacon. Sometimes characterised as,
it means that the Crown itself has the right to fill the ensuing vacancy regardless of who normally holds the patronage of it. This section abolishes the Crown's right to exercise patronage in these circumstances. The change was in fact recommended as long ago as 1964, so it can hardly be described as a rushed process. It is, as we have heard, a change with which the Crown as well as the church is content. Indeed, all of the changes in the Measure were worked out in consultation with the Crown and with those who support the Prime Minister in relation to Crown appointments. I commend the Measure to your Lordships' House.
Baroness Wilcox: My Lords, as a member of the Ecclesiastical Committee I am delighted to be standing at the Dispatch Box tonight, and I am happy indeed to be here with two other members of that committee, my noble friend Lord Elton and the noble Lord, Lord Wallace of Saltaire, who will speak next. I shall say a few words about our consideration of the two remaining Measures before the House. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chichester has well described the Motions thus far and, as he has said, the committee found that both Measures were expedient. We also found expedient the Measure on miscellaneous provisions that the House has just approved.
The Vacancies in Suffragan Sees and Other Ecclesiastical Offices Measure gave rise to some discussion between the committee and the representatives of the General Synod. As the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Southwark told the committee, the Measure amends an Act of Parliament of 1534. It regularises a practice which has been current for some time-indeed, since the 19th century. When a suffragan bishop is appointed a shortlist of two candidates must, as we have heard, be forwarded to the Prime Minister, who makes a recommendation to the Crown. Yet in practice, as the right reverend Prelate has said, for more than a century the first candidate has invariably been appointed. The Government indicated in 2007 that they wished only one name to be submitted for appointments to archbishoprics and other diocesan sees. It therefore seemed to the Ecclesiastical Committee that the proposed amendment of the law relating to suffragan bishops is logical and desirable, not to say possibly slightly overdue.
The final Measure, on Crown benefices, gave rise to almost no discussion. It seemed to the committee to be an uncontroversial improvement to existing arrangements for appointment to the Crown benefices. It provides for the appointment of lay representatives to approve the selection of incumbents. The Synod provided a full explanation of the background to this Measure, and the committee found the Measure to be expedient. Finally, I speak this evening for these Conservative Benches, and confirm that we, too, find the Measures to be expedient and wish them well.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, it is unusual to have the opportunity to speak on a proposed amendment to a law of 1534. It is therefore irresistible and I am sorry that the noble Baroness, Lady Wilcox, has disappointed me. I recall last July speaking from these Benches on a proposal which had passed through both Houses in 1873 to move the Law Lords across the road, which the Conservatives reversed the following year. The noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, from the Conservative Benches then suggested that was a little too early to move. I had rather hoped the noble Baroness, Lady Wilcox, would say perhaps it is a little too early to amend this Measure.
However, the clear consensus in the Ecclesiastical Committee was of course that we should accept it. I do however want to mention the controversy which we had in the Ecclesiastical Committee about the question of the Crown prerogative and ecclesiastical appointments. I remember as a boy meeting a number of ecclesiastics who had been appointed by the Labour Government in the 1930s. Canon Donaldson in Westminster Abbey
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