Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page



16 Mar 2010 : Column WS51

Written Statements

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Control Order Powers

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Policing, Crime and Security (David Hanson) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Section 14(1) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (the 2005 Act) requires the Secretary of State to report to Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of every relevant three-month period on the exercise of the control order powers during that period.

The level of information provided will always be subject to slight variations based on operational advice.

The control order regime

In the 16 September 2009 quarterly report to Parliament on control orders, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department made clear that he considered that the control order regime remained viable following the June 2009 House of Lords judgment in AF & Others, but intended to keep that assessment under review as cases were considered by the courts. The High Court has upheld four control orders since the House of Lords judgment, following court proceedings that were compliant with the Article 6 test laid down in AF & Others. The Government therefore remain of the view that the regime remains viable. The Government's position was set out in greater detail in its memorandum to the Home Affairs Committee on post-legislative scrutiny of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (Cm 7797), which was laid before Parliament on 1 February.

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department also asked the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, Lord Carlile, to consider in his fifth annual report on the operation of the 2005 Act the continuing viability of the control order regime in the light of AF & Others. I welcome the conclusion of Lord Carlile in that report, which was laid before Parliament on 1 February "that abandoning the control orders system entirely would have a damaging effect on national security. There is no better means of dealing with the serious and continuing risk posed by some individuals". Lord Carlile emphasises that in reaching this conclusion he has "considered the effects of the court decisions on disclosure. I do not consider that their effect is to make control orders impossible". Lord Carlile's conclusions support our view that control orders continue to be an important tool to protect the public from the risk of terrorism where individuals who we suspect of involvement in terrorism-related activity cannot be prosecuted or deported.

The powers in the 2005 Act have now been renewed by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department for a further year from 11 March 2010, after both Houses of Parliament supported its renewal.



16 Mar 2010 : Column WS52

The exercise of the control order powers in the last quarter

As explained in previous quarterly statements on control orders, control order obligations are tailored to the individual concerned and are based on the terrorism-related risk that individual poses. Each control order is kept under regular review to ensure that obligations remain necessary and proportionate. The Home Office continues to hold Control Order Review Groups (CORGs) every quarter, with representation from law enforcement and intelligence agencies, to keep the obligations in every control order under regular and formal review and to facilitate a review of appropriate exit strategies. During this reporting period, no CORGs were held in relation to the orders currently in force. This is because meetings were held just before, and are due to be held just after, this reporting period. Other meetings were held on an ad hoc basis as specific issues arose.

During the period 11 December 2009 to 10 March 2010, one non-derogating control order has been made and served. No control orders have been renewed in accordance with Section 2(6) of the 2005 Act in this reporting period. In this reporting period there have been two revocations of control orders that were in force. Neither control order was revoked because it was not possible to meet the disclosure test set out in the House of Lords judgment in AF & Others. The Secretary of State revoked one control order because it was no longer considered necessary, and was directed by the court to revoke another on the basis that the court considered that the order was no longer necessary.

In total, 11 control orders are currently in force, 10 of which are in respect of British citizens. All these control orders are non-derogating. Six individuals subject to a control order live in the Metropolitan Police Service area; the remaining individuals live in other police force areas. Two individuals have been charged with breaching their control order obligations; no criminal proceedings for breach of a control order were concluded during this reporting period.

During this reporting period, 44 modifications of control order obligations were made. Thirteen requests to modify control order obligations were refused.

Section 10(1) of the 2005 Act provides a right of appeal against a decision by the Secretary of State to renew a non-derogating control order or to modify an obligation imposed by a non-derogating control order without consent. One appeal under Section 10(1) of the 2005 Act has been lodged with the High Court during this reporting period. A right of appeal is also provided for by Section 10(3) of the 2005 Act against decisions by the Secretary of State to refuse a request by a controlled person to revoke their order and/or to modify any obligation under the order. During this reporting period two appeals have been lodged with the High Court under Section 10(3) of the 2005 Act.

Judgments have been handed down in relation to five control orders in substantive judicial review proceedings under Section 3(10) of the 2005 Act during this reporting period. Four of these control orders have been upheld by the courts. The five judgments are these:



16 Mar 2010 : Column WS53

judgment was handed down by the High Court in Secretary of State for the Home Department v BG and BH on 15 December 2009. Both control orders were upheld. No further detail can be given for legal reasons;judgment was handed down in Secretary of State for the Home Department v AM on 21 December 2009. The High Court upheld this control order as necessary and proportionate, finding that there was overwhelming evidence of AM's past involvement in terrorism-related activity and his future intentions. AM sought permission to appeal against this judgment on various grounds and permission has been granted;in Secretary of State for the Home Department v Al-Saadi, also handed down on 21 December 2009, the High Court found that while it was necessary for him to be placed on a control order when it was initially imposed, it was no longer necessary. The court directed the Secretary of State to revoke the control order;judgment in Secretary of State for the Home Department v BM was handed down on 16 February 2010. The control order was upheld by the court on the grounds that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that BM is or has been involved in terrorism-related activity and that the imposition of a control order on him is necessary for purposes connected with protecting the public from a risk of terrorism; anda judgment was handed down on 18 January 2010 in the case of Secretary of State for the Home Department v AE and AF. This determined two preliminary issues: whether in circumstances where the requirements of Article 6 of the ECHR compel the Secretary of State to withdraw the material relied upon in support of a control order such that the order cannot be maintained, the court should quash the control order or direct revocation; and whether the disclosure requirements identified in AF & Others apply where the Secretary of State wishes to rely upon closed material to defend against a claim for damages by a controlled person. The court found that in these circumstances the order should be quashed and that the requirements in AF & Others do apply, although the judge commented that it did not follow that the controlled individuals would automatically succeed on liability on all claims against the Secretary of State and that even if they did recover any damages, the level of compensation payable was likely to be low. The Secretary of State is appealing against the judgment.

In addition to the appeals to the Court of Appeal mentioned above, one further individual subject to a control order has applied for, and been granted, permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal. One individual has been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Most full judgments are available at http://www. bailii.org/.



16 Mar 2010 : Column WS54

Crime: Reoffending

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): My right honourable friend the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Maria Eagle), has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have today laid before Parliament the Government's response to the Justice Committee report Cutting Crime: The Case for Justice Reinvestment. This document sets out the response of the Government to the report published by the House of Commons Justice Committee in January 2010.

In January 2008 the Justice Committee launched an inquiry into the cost implications of the Government's current strategy to reduce reoffending and potential alternative policies. The committee's report contains 98 recommendations and conclusions and these make a case for a systematic approach to justice reinvestment as a way to reduce the size of the prison population, as well as providing an analysis of the current strategy for reducing reoffending and cutting crime. We are very grateful to the committee for its contribution to this important debate.

The Government share with the committee the ambition to tackle both crime and the causes of crime: to reserve custody for the most serious offenders; to make full use of tough community sentences that demand change from the offender and maintain public confidence; and to invest in "what works" in reducing reoffending. The Government's approach involves punishment for breaking the law and giving offenders the opportunity to reform and turn away from crime. The aim is to ensure justice for victims and local communities; punishment and reform for offenders; and, ultimately, value for the taxpayer. This is a complex undertaking, and one in which we have already achieved much: according to the British Crime Survey, crime has dropped by over a third since 1997, and adult reoffending is down 20.3 per cent since 2000 and 11.1 per cent since 2005. However, we want to go further and will reflect carefully on the committee's analysis and recommendations.

The Government have a duty to protect the public, and a key element of this is to provide sufficient prison places for the most dangerous, serious and persistent offenders. We are clear that prison remains the right option for these offenders and that a prison sentence, long or short, can be essential to demonstrating to law-abiding communities that offenders face the full range of punishments, including the deprivation of liberty behind bars. We must therefore ensure that prison is available as an option for sentencers when necessary. The Government are committed to increasing prison capacity to 96,000 places by 2014 to meet projected demand.

Nevertheless, we recognise that for a significant number of offenders community sentences can be more effective: in 2008, the number of people sentenced to community sentences was 190,171 compared to 99,525 for immediate custody. More can be done as part of a wider approach that includes tough community sentences for lower-risk offenders and diversion away from the criminal justice system where alternatives

16 Mar 2010 : Column WS55

would be more effective, particularly access to mental health services. Innovations such as intensive alternatives to custody, integrated offender management and the prolific and other priority offenders programme are clear examples of how partners can work together to focus resources where they can make the greatest impact. Our work to take forward the recommendations set out in the Corston and Bradley reviews (for women in prison and offenders with mental illnesses respectively) demonstrates our commitment to ensuring better use of community alternatives where this is possible and safe to do.

The Government seek to ensure that prison is used in a measured, responsible way on behalf of the wider community, that what happens in prison is effective and efficiently delivered, and that resources can be used in both custody and the community to reduce reoffending. Our detailed response is set out in the Government's response to the Justice Committee report Cutting Crime: The Case for Justice Reinvestment, copies of which have been placed in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.

EU: Foreign Ministers' Meeting

Statement

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): My honourable friend the Minister for Europe (Chris Bryant) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary represented the UK at the informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers (Gymnich) on 5 and 6 March in Cordoba, Spain.

The agenda items covered were as follows:

Emerging Powers

High Representative Ashton opened by saying the EU's relationship with the strategic powers was one of her top priorities. The transatlantic relationship remained central, but we also needed close engagement with countries like China, Brazil, India, South Africa and Russia. If the EU wanted to be relevant, we needed a direct relationship with these key players.

The presidency (Moratinos) led a wide-ranging discussion of the EU's approach to the emerging powers following the changes to its structures brought about by the Lisbon treaty. Most Ministers agreed that we needed to make better use of summits and other meetings with these countries and in general take a more strategic and medium-term view of our relations, including now that the high representative had a five-year term in which to work.

External Action Service

Discussion of the EAS spanned both days. The high representative set out her thoughts and vision for the EAS including that it should bring coherence to all the EU's external activities. The Foreign Secretary and other Ministers expressed their support for the high representative and the need for a strong and effective EAS as a key tool to help deliver Europe's priorities.



16 Mar 2010 : Column WS56

Middle East Peace Process

The presidency led a short discussion on the Middle East peace process, focusing on how to take forward the December 2009 council conclusions. The high representative set out her plans to visit the region.

Western Balkans

The three Ministers of the candidate countries (FYROM, Croatia and Turkey) joined EU Foreign Ministers for a discussion.

The high representative and Commissioner Füle stressed the importance of the region for the EU. The future of the region lay within Europe, and Europe would be judged by the effectiveness of its support to its neighbourhood. On visas, Commissioner Füle said the Commission would make recommendations in respect of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania following recent work.

Health: Maternity Services

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Thornton): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health (Andy Burnham) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Government have today announced the launch of a strategic vision for the further transformation of maternity services and early-years services. Maternity and Early Years-Making a Good Start to Family Life has been placed in the Library and copies are available for honourable Members from the Vote Office.

The document has been developed jointly by the Department of Health, the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit, drawing on the views of mothers and fathers, children's centre staff, local health practitioners and children.

Maternity and Early Years-Making a Good Start to Family Life makes the clear case for helping families to give their baby the best possible start in life and sets out a vision of renewed and more integrated maternity and early-years services that put the excellent clinical care already available at the centre of a wider network of family support:

with commitments to consult on new entitlements for women to access maternity services early in pregnancy and make important choices around where to have their baby;where local services will join up so that families have continuous care and support from early pregnancy to at least the child's sixth month-with a named Sure Start children's centre contact offered to parents early in pregnancy, who will invite them into the children's centre, and access to a health visitor for every children's centre; where families will also be offered more help to prepare for parenthood so they can give their baby the best possible start in life-with new antenatal education opportunities rolled out in settings that suit parents and with a further focus on the

16 Mar 2010 : Column WS57

opportunities for fathers to get more involved-including an invitation for both parents to attend a Family Start meeting at their children's centre and an opportunity to agree a parents' plan together; and understanding that families will have very different needs, and that some may want more support in preparing for parenthood, with extra support for those families that need it-for instance by expanding the family nurse partnership to help young, vulnerable first-time families.

With over 3,500 Sure Start children's centres now established across the country, in addition to the existing network of GP surgeries and health centres, we are well placed to reach all families, and to make sure all families can draw on the support they want in preparing for and bringing up their baby.

Health: Volunteers

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Thornton): My honourable friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Phil Hope), has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Government have today announced the launch of a strategic vision for volunteering for health and social care. Volunteering-Involving People and Communities in Delivering and Developing Health and Social Care Services has been placed in the Library and copies are available for honourable Members from the Vote Office.

The vision is of a health and social care environment in which volunteering is encouraged and supported wherever it has the power to reduce inequality, enhance service quality or improve outcomes for individuals and communities. The strategic vision has been developed by the department in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders from across the third sector, national health service and local government.

The Government's emphasis for the future of health and social care is on better and more personalised services. High Quality Care for All urges the NHS to place quality at the heart of everything it does. Putting People First and the transformation of adult social care services increasingly place individuals in control of decisions about the services they receive and the resources that pay for them. These developments present new roles and opportunities for volunteering that complement services provided by the paid workforce and engage the expertise of service users in the design and delivery of services.

Volunteers already make an enormous difference to the experience people have of the health and care services they come into contact with-making a huge contribution to almost every sphere of health and social care. Volunteering helps to create people-centred services, keeps people active, engaged and independent and helps to meet the support needs of patients, carers and users of care services. It can and does contribute significantly to:

quality, choice and innovation in services;building social capital and reduced isolation;

16 Mar 2010 : Column WS58

enhancing the capacity of preventive care;meeting the culturally specific needs of health and social care service users; andincreasing connections between citizens and the services they use.

Together these build a strong case for people across the health and social care system to refresh their thinking about volunteering and its role in their organisation or community. The strategic vision provides a starting point and an opportunity for leaders in this field to be at the forefront of service innovation, community engagement and improved user experience.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page