The Lord Speaker (Baroness Hayman): My Lords, I have to inform the House that the Clerk of the Parliaments has received notification from the court manager at the Maidstone Combined Court Centre informing him that Lord Hanningfield was sentenced on 1 July to a term of 9 months' imprisonment.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether NHS university health centres are being disadvantaged by the weighting of the registered list size and the introduction of prevalence quotas for the quality and outcomes framework.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): My Lords, no. Payments to practices are based on an agreed calculation of health need and on equitable funding. The funding formula recognises patient numbers, with adjustments for the characteristics of the patient population and practice circumstances. The disease prevalence formula in the quality and outcomes framework provides fair rewards to all practices, but with stronger incentives for them to identify and treat patients with the greatest health need.
Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that Answer, but is he aware that, although some practices in university centres receive support from the university, others are linked to GP practices which run services as a separate contract? Many of those have looked into the finances and found that it is so disadvantageous to them that they are not considering renewing or extending their contracts to supply what I consider to be necessary services. What will the Minister do?
Earl Howe: My Lords, naturally, before preparing myself for this Question, I looked carefully into the way in which university practices are funded. The advice I received is that there is no reason to be concerned on that front. Many university GP practices are funded quite generously. Where they can lose out is over the quality and outcomes framework, which is targeted mainly at elderly patients with long-term chronic conditions, so it is not surprising that university campus practices do not earn the extra money that they could. Nevertheless, we believe that there is no case for making an exception for university practices in the way that they are funded.
"An overall weighted listsize for the PCO is generated as the sum of Practice Weighted Listsizes for all Practices in the PCO, and this PCO Weighted Listsize is used together with the PCO Weighted Population".
I will not go on, but I congratulate the noble Baroness. Given the mental health problems that students often face, is the Minister confident that the system of weighting takes proper account of that medical issue, which is certainly more prevalent than the chronic conditions that he mentioned in a community general practice?
Earl Howe: My Lords, the characteristics of each GP practice will naturally vary according to the patient population. Although a practice situated on a university campus may have higher numbers of patients who
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Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: Are university health centres gearing up to deal with cases of anxiety and depression among students at English universities who wish to go to Scottish universities for a further degree and who find that they will have to pay the full fees, unlike students from other countries in Europe? Is that not a disgraceful, discriminatory proposal by the Scottish Government? Can this Parliament not find a way of outlawing such discrimination?
Earl Howe: My Lords, there is no doubt that the QOF had many beneficial effects when it first began, and we recognise those. However, there is a general feeling that it needs to evolve and refocus itself more on those things for which it was originally intended, which were to promote quality and better outcomes in patient care.
Baroness Jolly: My Lords, student health does not quite fit the national pattern. Who is currently responsible for public health campaigns within the student body and, with the advent of clinical commissioning groups, is their future assured?
Earl Howe: My Lords, my noble friend will know that public health campaigns and health improvement efforts are currently being commissioned and directed by primary care trusts. That will continue until such time as local authorities take responsibility locally for the public health endeavour.
Lord Richard: My Lords, is the noble Earl aware that very few people in the House understood the Question and, with great respect, even fewer people understood the Answer? Does he not think that his department has an obligation to put out policies that are at least comprehensible to the people whom they are meant to affect?
Earl Howe: I can only apologise to the noble Lord, but he is right that it is a very complex topic. The simplest way in which I can explain the issue around the QOF, which is an element of the way in which GP practices are remunerated, is to say that before we had a situation where practices with large lists but little recordings of those conditions which QOF is aiming at, such as university practices, were receiving relatively higher reward than practices with smaller lists but higher levels of chronic disease and, as a result of the changes, the true prevalence is being used to weight the payments for all practices. The overall effect is to redistribute the total resource for the QOF among GP practices in a much fairer way.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): My Lords, since the end of the military conflict, the United Kingdom and other members of the international community have consistently called for an independent, thorough and credible investigation into the allegations that war crimes were committed by both sides. We expect to see progress from the Sri Lankan Government by the end of the year. If there is no response, we will support the international community in considering the options available.
Lord Kennedy of Southwark: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his response. Does he agree that the report of 40,000 civilians killed in the last month of the war and reports of other atrocities indicate that the position of the Sri Lankan Government is just not tenable and that these allegations need to be investigated fully and, if proven, the perpetrators brought to justice?
Lord Howell of Guildford: I certainly agree that hideous atrocities and crimes were committed. The UN panel report is very revealing, as are other reports. It is the view not just of the United Kingdom but, I think, of the whole international community that there is an essential need for the Sri Lankan Government and others to be open and prepared to examine the past in an open and unbiased way in order to find at least a basis on which better unity can be created in the future. The noble Lord is absolutely right that to try and bury these things in the past will lead to more suspicion and difficulty, and that is not the way forward.
Lord Alderdice: My Lords, the previous Government are to be commended on appointing the right honourable Paul Murphy and Mr Chris McCabe, a former Northern Ireland Office official. It is hard to imagine a more diplomatic, courteous or experienced team. Despite that, President Rajapaksa and his Government showed no interest in engaging with them. Can my noble friend tell the House whether there is any improvement
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Lord Howell of Guildford: We all very much hope that it will not go that way and that there will be an improvement in relations, which have not been good thanks to an attitude which seems determined to try to put up a wall, as it were, rather than embrace the opportunity that the UN panel report offers. Clearly we do need a clear inquiry. The so-called Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission is at work and maybe it will be able to contribute to more openness. However, the pattern is not good, and I would be misleading my noble friend if I said that there had been much improvement recently; there has not.
Lord Knight of Weymouth: My Lords, I welcome what the Minister said about wanting substantial progress by the end of the year. If substantial progress has not been made, what is Her Majesty's Government's position on the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting taking place in Sri Lanka in 2013? Is the Minister in conversation with other Commonwealth members about whether that should then take place?
Lord Howell of Guildford: Of course, this is a matter for discussion among Commonwealth members because it will come up for decision at the Heads of Government Meeting 2011 in Perth at the end of October. It is a concern. Our aim is to see that the Sri Lankan Government in Colombo live up to and reinforce the ideals and shared values of the Commonwealth and therefore prepare themselves for being a suitable host for the CHOGM in 2013. There is a long way to go, but that is what we are going to work for.
Lord Tebbit: My Lords, does my noble friend not agree that the Government have no jurisdiction over Sri Lanka, that there are many awful things that happen all over the world over which we have no jurisdiction, and that it might be more appropriate if Her Majesty's Government dealt more effectively with the things that are going wrong within their jurisdiction rather than going on endlessly-as do other noble Lords-about matters that are outside the Government's jurisdiction?
Lord Howell of Guildford: I see the theoretical and perfect logic of what my noble friend is saying, but the facts are the facts, and the facts are that there are large populations in London and elsewhere in this country that are intimately and politically concerned with this issue. If it goes badly wrong, it affects us all in our domestic arrangement as well. To debate whether it is inside or outside the jurisdiction is fine in theory but in practice, if that wonderful country of Sri Lanka continues to be deeply divided and is not able to heal the wounds of the past, that will directly affect us and our interests in a very precise way, regardless of whether we are juridically in charge or not.
Lord Liddle: Does the Minister agree that the recent decision of the UN Human Rights Council to block the recommendation of its commissioner to press for an international inquiry into Sri Lanka was disappointing if not shameful? Does he agree that we have a problem when so many of the world's most powerful emerging nations-here I am in contradiction to the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit-put protection of the principle of sovereignty above any state's duty to protect its citizens; and that we in the United Kingdom should use whatever influence we have as a nation to persuade these nations that sovereignty is not absolute and that all countries of the world share a common obligation of humanity to uphold human rights?
Lord Howell of Guildford: Those are very splendid sentiments with which I could not possibly disagree. There are a few practical issues to resolve before we can rise to those heights, but I fully appreciate what the noble Lord magnificently aspires to. The decision of the UN human rights commission was disappointing. The commission is not always able to meet the aspirations of those of us throughout the world who are concerned with human rights and the advance of civilisation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what actions they will take to address geographic variations in stroke care identified by the Royal College of Physicians and detailed in the National Stroke Audit Report 2010.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): My Lords, the 2010 audit shows ongoing improvements in stroke care in England. To achieve the high-quality care described in the national stroke strategy and the NICE quality standard, the NHS is continuing to implement the accelerating stroke improvement programme. This aims to go further and faster in delivering improvements in stroke care across England.
Baroness Wheeler: I thank the Minister for his response and his recognition of the tremendous progress that has been made in the past three years with thenational stroke strategy. I am sure that he agrees that progress has been most marked where strategic health authorities have provided strong leadership to drive forward strategy. With their abolition, how will the new system, through the subnational elements of the NHS commissioning board-the clinical senates-help facilitate the necessary improvements, and where will accountability lie? Also, I am concerned that the future of the stroke strategy team at the Department of Health seems to be uncertain. I have heard that the national clinical director for strokes will shortly stand down. Will the Minister confirm this and explain, if that is so, who will be responsible for providing strong leadership on stroke improvements at national level both in the short term and under the proposed new system?
Earl Howe: My Lords, clinical leadership is at the heart of our reform plans for the NHS, both at local and national levels. As regards the national director, our officials are currently considering how best to reflect that leadership at national level as part of the work being done to develop the new NHS commissioning board. I say to the noble Baroness that I see the NHS reforms as presenting an opportunity for much stronger partnership working between primary care commissioners and secondary care specialists. The NHS outcomes framework will enable us to track the overall progress of the NHS in delivering improved outcomes, and commissioners and providers will be supported by advice from the stroke networks under the auspices of the board. Therefore, we will have the opportunity in future to drive consistency and quality throughout stroke care in England.
Lord Wigley: My Lords, does the Minister accept that, in addition to the availability of facilities in all geographical areas, the other essential ingredient in getting a successful outcome is the level of knowledge that individuals have of the symptoms that might indicate that a stroke is about to happen? What initiatives have the Government in mind to improve public understanding and education in that matter?
Earl Howe: The noble Lord is absolutely right. I am sure that he will know of the FAST campaign, which stands for face, arm, speech and time to call 999, as the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, used to tell us. We conducted a renewal of that campaign in March. We believe that it is an extremely important way of raising public awareness of the urgency of the situation. We will keep that programme firmly under our eye and renew it as we feel necessary.
The Lord Bishop of Blackburn: My Lords, it is well reported that the incidence of stroke and TIA in the north-west is higher than the national average. It is sad to note that, in my diocese of Blackburn, none of the hospitals in Lancashire manages to come into the best 25 per cent. I am very satisfied with the noble Earl's Answer about the improvement that has taken place, but can he ensure that there are suitable specialists in place to provide a comprehensive stroke service throughout the country?
Earl Howe: The right reverend Prelate is quite correct to point out that there is variation in the country, as one would expect, not least in the area of rehabilitation after a stroke. The most encouraging progress we have seen throughout the country has been on acute stroke care, but we now have work to do on the rehabilitation side. As it happens, I was in the north-west some weeks ago and saw some encouraging work going on in the area of telecare, whereby stroke physicians can assess and diagnose a patient remotely, sometimes from their own living room. This will make an enormous difference, particularly where there are distances to travel for stroke specialists. I believe we should encourage those initiatives where we can.
Lord Smith of Clifton: My Lords, with regard to stroke in young people, what specific policies is the Minister's department pursuing, particularly bearing in mind that most strokes in young people are caused by sickle cell disease?
Earl Howe: My noble friend makes an extremely important point about strokes in young people. It is of course true that, thankfully, fewer young people suffer these strokes, but he is right that sickle cell presents a warning sign. There are clear guidelines for ambulance crews and doctors more generally relating to those who have sickle cell disease. We had a debate a while ago on this topic in which the noble Baroness, Lady Benjamin, made some extremely important points which we continue to bear in mind.
Lord Winston: My Lords, various reports show that the mortality for stroke can be as high as 30 per cent. Sadly, in the United Kingdom mortality is higher than almost anywhere else in Europe, although there is great geographical variation all over the world. One of the issues that Professor Peter Rothwell, of the University of Oxford, has pointed out is that speed is the essence of success. Therefore, it is not merely a question of informing patients, but of making certain that the right availability is present in our hospitals. If we do that we can reduce the risk of a further stroke by 80 per cent and probably, as he says, reduce the cost to the National Health Service in primary care by somewhere between £100 million and £200 million annually. Would the Minister be kind enough to explain how that will work in the future of the health service?
Earl Howe: My Lords, the noble Lord is quite right in all that he says. I would just point out that the official statistics are rather historic and it is important that we take stock when the revised figures are before us in some months' time. As regards how best practice will be driven when the health service reforms are in place, I would repeat my earlier comments about the ability of the NHS commissioning board to drive forward higher quality, informed by the new quality standard produced by NICE. More particularly I think we can do a lot through the tariff. At the moment, best practice tariffs are starting to play a role in encouraging and driving best practice at hospital level.
Baroness Thornton: My Lords, tomorrow is the 63rd birthday of the NHS. Would the Government give the NHS the birthday present of eliminating local differences in stroke services by implementing the recommendations in the stroke strategy? In that way, when we all break into song next year when the NHS is 64 years old, we will actually have achieved something very important.
Earl Howe: It is very appropriate that the noble Baroness should remind the House of the NHS's 63rd birthday. I can think of few better presents than that which the noble Baroness has outlined. I can say only that the efforts within my department, and indeed
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Baroness Garden of Frognal: My Lords, 2.2 million Olympic tickets-that is, one quarter of the total-are allocated separately from the UK public application process. Within that, 12 per cent are for purchase by the 205 national Olympic committees, 8 per cent are for purchase by sponsors and stakeholders-global and domestic-and 5 per cent are for purchase by the International Olympic Committee, international federations and other global sports bodies, international broadcast rights holders and prestige ticketing partners. This reflects the host city agreement signed with the IOC in 2005.
Lord Dubs: My Lords, in this instance, the Minister's Answer makes the whole thing sound even worse than I thought. She will be aware that there is an enormous sense of unfairness among people in this country about the way the tickets have been allocated. Will she confirm that the DCMS is getting 8,815 tickets? I put it to her that the best way of allocating tickets would have been to give every applicant two tickets before multiple applications were dealt with?
Baroness Garden of Frognal: My Lords, the government allocation is 8,815 tickets, which is 0.1 per cent of the tickets available. I will not go into the detail of how that breaks down at the moment. On the allocation of the tickets, no one had ever before attempted to sell 3 million tickets at one go. Trying to weight applications would have added a layer of complexity which would have made the whole thing almost impossible. LOCOG had no way of knowing how many applications would come in, so it followed other rules rather than the weighting one.
Lord Moynihan:My Lords, while all of us associated with the London Games have, I believe, the humility to recognise that public expectation setting regarding tickets was unduly high and that lessons can be learnt, would the Minister nevertheless agree that it is welcome news that the British Olympic Association has secured the right to buy two tickets for every living British Olympian for their own sport and two further tickets for other sports and that many volunteers will benefit from the decision of Olympic governing bodies of sport to use a substantial part of their allocations for athletes, families, friends, supporters and, above, all volunteers?
Baroness Garden of Frognal: I entirely agree with my noble friend. It is good that the tickets are being spread as widely as they are and that former Olympians have been included in that. Of course, we recognise the disappointment for those who did not get tickets, but there will be plenty of other activities going on over Olympic week, and the Paralympic tickets have yet to come on stream. We hope that everybody will be able to participate.
Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale: My Lords, particular concerns have been expressed about these Games in relation to the immediate families of the participating sports men and women. I have personal experience of the distress that this causes to the mothers and fathers of active Olympians from the UK who, having perhaps sacrificed an incredible amount in their lifetimes to ensure that their son's or daughter's ambitions can be realised, cannot then watch them participate. Would the Government consider encouraging public bodies and corporate sponsors, which have so many tickets, to share some of their allocation with those immediate families to ensure that they have the benefit of seeing the result of all those years of sacrifice?
Baroness Garden of Frognal: Indeed, I entirely agree with the noble Lord's idea, which sounds an excellent system for those who have not already managed to get tickets through another method. Having families and friends around is of key importance to people who have done so much hard work to try to get themselves to Olympic standard.
Lord Glentoran: My Lords, I have just read a leading article in the Sunday press which makes it clear that, from the leader writer's point of view, never have tickets for an Olympic Games been spread and given out so well and never has an Olympic Games had all the tickets sold out a year in advance. Nor could the journalist could remember a more democratic process for delivering tickets to the Olympic Games and all the different sports in any recent Games. I believe that the way that LOCOG has set about this this year is absolutely super. I hope the Minister agrees and will tell me that she has read the article. If she has not, I hope she will.
Baroness Doocey: My Lords, 1 million fans applied for tickets and were disappointed that they failed to get them. At the same time, local authorities have each had 100 tickets for the 100 metres final, the diving finals, the cycling finals, and the opening address. Does the Minister agree that this surely goes against the spirit of Olympic fairness?
Baroness Garden of Frognal: My Lords, there have been allocations to local authorities, certainly to those surrounding the Games and those that have been most involved with them. The allocation of the tickets has been done in the fairest way possible given the numbers
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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, the noble Baroness was kind enough to say that she thought my noble friend's idea about trying to ensure that parents are able to see their children compete was a good one. Can she assure the House that Ministers will now take active steps to do everything they can to ensure that my noble friend's idea is actually acted upon-not just a good idea but one that Ministers will carry forward?
Baroness Garden of Frognal: My Lords, Ministers are not actually involved with the allocation of tickets, which is a matter for LOCOG. All we can do is advise that there are some people who perhaps are more worthy of tickets than others, but beyond that we have to leave it to LOCOG to do the allocations.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): My Lords, before the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, has the opportunity to move his manuscript Amendment 15A, I need to give the House some procedural advice as Leader of the House-it is a very rare occurrence but one that I need to do. I have to inform the House that the Clerk of Public Bills has written to advise me that this amendment is inadmissible and that the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, has tabled it against the advice of the clerks. Paragraph 8.56 of the Companion provides that in such rare circumstances it is for me to ask the House to endorse the opinion of the Public Bill Office, and I readily do so.
The Public Bill Office advises me and the House that the amendment is about commencement, not the subject of the clause itself-namely, the Mayor of London's Office for Policing and Crime. The reason the noble Lord, Lord Harris, may have been tempted to attempt this procedural manoeuvre is clear: he is seeking to advance a vote on the commencement of the London provisions of this Bill. That is a matter of political tactics, but tactics, or the policy, are not why I rise to address the House this afternoon. I wish only to deal with a matter of procedure.
The clerks have advised that this amendment is inadmissible under the Companion and I invite the House not to allow the noble Lord, Lord Harris, to move his manuscript Amendment 15A. The difficulty is of course compounded because the amendment is a manuscript amendment. The Companion also provides that,
I have to agree that this is not how we should go about our business. In short, the PBO has advised the House that this first amendment is inadmissible and I invite the House to agree. However, I reassure the House and the noble Lord that he will have every opportunity to speak to the issue he wishes to raise in the proper place when Clause 159 is debated. I therefore invite the noble Lord, Lord Harris, not to move his amendment. If he chooses to do so, and the Companion does not prevent him doing so, the amendment is in the hands of the House.
Lord Harris of Haringey: My Lords, if it is in order, I would like to respond to what the Leader of the House has said. It is very difficult sometimes to determine why particular amendments are moved in a particular way and at a particular time. There were a number of reasons for my seeking the indulgence of the House to put forward this manuscript amendment at this time. The first is the question of relevance. There is a specific proposal at the moment that the implementation and creation of the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime should proceed in advance of that for the rest of the country and should take place in October 2011, rather than October 2012. Therefore, my manuscript amendment is designed to make clear that preparations, some of which will be costly, should not go forward at this time.
The second reason I felt it necessary to bring forward the amendment in this way was that I had anticipated that there would be an amendment, either from the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, who moved such an amendment in Committee, or from the Government, about the transitional arrangements for the introduction of the Mayor's Office, and, indeed, of the offices for policing and crime commissioners. A detailed look over the weekend made it clear that such transitional details were not being put before the House and therefore I thought that it was important that we have this opportunity.
The final reason for putting it before the House is that there are, of course, important security issues associated with this. I am slightly bemused about where we are today because I also tabled an amendment on Friday which does not appear either in the list that we received this morning of amendments supplementary to the Second Marshalled List, nor as a manuscript amendment. It seems to have gone into some void in the Public Bill Office, but it, too, was relevant to this point and might have assisted the House had we had it before us. It was also clear from my manuscript amendment that this related to an amendment later on the agenda in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey. That, I know-and, of course, she will speak for herself should we get to the point of debating this
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Those are my reasons for putting forward this amendment and I hope that the House will agree that they are valid reasons, notwithstanding the inconvenience that I am sure it puts the House to. No doubt the noble Lord will wish to respond and I hope that I will then be able to move my amendment.
Lord Strathclyde: My Lords, I do not think that there is any quarrel about whether or not these issues can be debated. The decision of the clerks is about where the debate should take place. Perhaps I may read out the advice about the grounds of inadmissibility, which is very clear and simple. In the view of the Public Bill Office the manuscript amendment is not admissible on the grounds that it is not relevant to the clause to which it is tabled. That is the first rule under paragraph 8.59 on page 132 of the Companion.
as set out in Amendment 310 to Clause 159, which would affect the commencement of Chapters 1 to 6 of Part 1. In the view of the clerks, this amendment is not relevant to Clause 4 as it affects commencement, which is the subject of Clause 159. In addition, Amendment 310 covers Clauses 1 to 79, several of which have already been debated.
My purpose is simply to bring to the attention of the House the strongest possible and clearest advice of the clerks, which is that this is inadmissible. In parenthesis, I can also tell the noble Lord that a transitional government amendment will be tabled today relating to Schedule 15. It will be debated in its proper place next week. It is up to the House and the noble Lord to decide what he wishes to do with his amendment but the advice from the clerks, and therefore the advice that I give as Leader of the House, is completely clear.
Lord Harris of Haringey: I am grateful to the noble Lord the Leader of the House for that further clarification. I am grateful also to hear that an amendment on transition is being tabled today. I say, in parenthesis, as was the noble Lord's point, that this demonstrates the problems we have had with this Bill; that is, the late tabling of government amendments and the problems that we have in terms of determining exactly the intention of the Government in terms of various clauses, which is one of the problems that we all face. No doubt we will hear again an apology from the noble Baroness, Lady Browning, about the problems that the Home Office have faced and we will accept it with the usual good grace.
The amendment is tabled there because currently detailed work is going on about the early implementation and the introduction of the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime in the London area. This is in advance of the Bill receiving Royal Assent, with a view to trying to get the implementation from October or shortly thereafter. That is why it is relevant to the place it is in and why I moved it in respect of this line in Chapter 2. It is not irrelevant to that point, which is why I moved it. The clerks may not see the relevance. Perhaps because of the hurried telephone calls that I had while inspecting security arrangements at Heathrow airport this morning, we did not have an opportunity to discuss it in detail. The amendment is about ensuring that we do not press ahead in advance of legislative authority.
Lord Strathclyde: Before the noble Lord continues, there is no point in having this debate on whether the amendment is admissible. The advice from the clerks is clear. Now the House will need to take a view as to whether the noble Lord should continue.
The Lord Speaker (Baroness Hayman): Perhaps I may be of assistance to the House. At the moment, no other Motion is before the House and the noble Lord's amendment has been called. Normal procedure would be for him to move his amendment.
Lord Richard: Perhaps the Leader of the House could help me. From the muttering around the House, it would seem that there is a feeling that perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Harris, should not move his amendment in view of the clear indications given by the clerks. However, I am not clear about what the procedure should be now. Should there be a Motion before the House as to whether the amendment should be moved, on which, if necessary, the House can divide? How does it work? I never came across this particular type of issue when I was Leader of the Opposition or Leader of the House, or since. I should be grateful if the noble Lord could enlighten me.
It is true that there is a lacuna in the procedure and when I discovered this about half an hour ago I suggested that the Procedure Committee should look at it. In the normal course of events, there is an underlying assumption in the Companion that the mover of the manuscript amendment would feel so moved as to not move the amendment. However, as I said earlier, under the terms of self-regulation the amendment is ultimately in the hands of the House. There is no Motion before the House. There is the possibility of a closure Motion or indeed the Motion that the noble Lord be no longer heard. Both are quite heavy-handed. I dare say that if the noble Lord insisted on moving his amendment the House would take a pretty dim view of it, and if he tried to convince the House of the merits of his case I suspect he would not succeed.
Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, can the Leader of the House advise me? I wish to vote in support of my noble friend's amendment but I am not clear, on the advice of the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, the Leader of the House, whether any subsequent Division would be about the procedure or the content of the amendment. If it is about the procedure, surely the Lord Speaker has indicated that the Motion before the House is the amendment, and therefore because I support the amendment I want to support it in a Division. However, I take seriously the advice that has been given, so I am sure the Leader of the House can advise me, even though he might not approve of my voting intentions.
Lord Strathclyde: My Lords, the proper advice I would give the noble Baroness, who I know is a stickler for such things, is to advise her noble friend not to move the amendment this afternoon, given the very clear advice of the clerks, and to speak to his amendment when it comes up in the proper place later on Report.
Lord Harris of Haringey: My Lords, I hope I have been of service to the House in identifying a lacuna in the Standing Orders. I hope therefore that this will be an opportunity for us to look in detail at some of these difficult procedures. All I was trying to do was to avoid unnecessary duplicate expenditure in advance of legislative authority and to enable the House to debate the security of the nation. However, the Leader of the House has three times at least reiterated the firm advice of the clerks on this point, and I would be foolish to persist beyond that. I assume, however, if I wished to bring forward this self-same amendment at Third Reading there would now be no objection to me so doing.
(4A) The person who has been given the title of deputy mayor and particular responsibility for policing and crime by the Mayor of London at the time this section is brought into effect is to be the occupant for the time being of the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime."
Lord Harris of Haringey: My Lords, fractionally earlier than I had anticipated, I move Amendment 16, which is in my name. It is a series of amendments-I apologise to the House for their complexity but I have
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Lord Harris of Haringey: My Lords, I waited a long time to move the previous amendment rather than this one. I had anticipated an opportunity during the debate to prepare myself more thoroughly for Amendment 16.
The purpose of this amendment is to enable Londoners to vote, on the same day on which they would elect the Mayor of London, to elect the deputy mayor for policing and crime. The Government have told us that the Bill is about the importance of transparency and more effective clarity about who is responsible for policing. They have said, for everywhere outside London, that there is an advantage to there being direct elections for the person who has responsibility for the governance and oversight of policing. For London, though, they have proposed a completely different construction. There would be no direct election; the Mayor of London would choose an individual to become the deputy mayor, who would have responsibility for policing and crime.
The Government have helpfully tabled some amendments that indicate that in the event of that person not being an elected Member of the London Assembly, there would be a confirmation hearing and the Assembly could veto that appointment by a two-thirds majority. In the event of that person being a Member of the Assembly, the Assembly would have the right to hold a confirmatory hearing but would have no power of veto.
A confirmatory hearing is not the same as direct election, and the only circumstances in which there would be a veto by the democratically elected representatives of all London would be where the mayor of London had appointed an individual who did not hold a democratic mandate in the London Assembly. We are therefore talking about the Mayor of London being able to appoint his poodle or his Rottweiler, whichever model you care to take, to have responsibility for the oversight of policing in the London area.
London has the largest police force in the country with some of the heaviest responsibilities, particularly for counterterrorism and security. However, the Government are saying that, despite it being their objective everywhere else in the country that there is proper governance and clarity, and despite the benefits of direct election of the person with that responsibility, that will not apply in London.
My understanding is that the Government are suggesting this because the responsibility will rest with the Mayor of London. However, the current Mayor of London has discovered that it is not possible to combine the role of being mayor with having personal direct responsibility for the oversight of the Metropolitan Police. That is why, having given a manifesto commitment-I know that the current Mayor of London
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In circumstances in which the present incumbent is saying, "I cannot combine these duties effectively", why are the Government saying, "That's the model that we want to see in the London area"? Why are they saying that it is not necessary in London to have the benefits that we are assured that direct election will bring? That is why I have put forward this group of amendments.
I have also sought to resolve some of the other questions that arise. I have proposed how the electoral system would operate and how, in the event of the deputy mayor being incapacitated and unable to continue his functions, the Mayor of London would act. The simple principle that is most important in these circumstances, though, is that there be direct election, and my understanding was that that was what the Government wanted, and that they believed in the principle of direct election. If it is right for the rest of the country-we are told that the Government are going to reinstate this when the Bill returns to another place-why is it not right for London? What have the Government got against the people of London that they do not believe those people should have the right to elect the person who has responsibility to oversee and be responsible for the governance of policing in the London area? I beg to move.
Lord Rosser: As my noble friend Lord Harris of Haringey has said, this group of amendments provides for a deputy mayor of policing and crime in London to be responsible for the Metropolitan Police in much the same way as the Government intend their police and crime commissioners to have that responsibility outside London. The Mayor of London would no longer be the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
The amendments also provide for the deputy mayor of policing and crime to be elected, with an election being held in 2012 and in each subsequent fourth year. The amendments carried in your Lordships' House at the beginning of Committee on this Bill removed the requirement for the proposed police and crime commissioners outside London to be elected but left the situation in London largely unchanged. We have heard from the Government that they expect the posts of police and crime commissioners to be full time. Indeed a change has recently been made in relation to a deputy being appointed.
Therefore, the police and crime commissioner in, say, Wiltshire will be engaged full time purely on the role and responsibilities of that position, but in London, which has by far the largest police force in the country, the elected mayor, who has the ultimate responsibility for policing at present, does not devote his time and energy full time to his police role for the simple reason that as mayor he has a large number of other roles and responsibilities. One would have thought that in London the case for a full-time police and crime commissioner was stronger than anywhere else.
The mayor gets over the problem in London by appointing a deputy mayor with responsibility for the police but still retaining in theory ultimate control himself. However, it is quite clear where the real power lies-that is, with the deputy mayor because the mayor does not have the time to keep up to date with what is happening in the Metropolitan Police and to undertake the strategic and other responsibilities of the position because of his commitments to London as a whole. The Government have said that their objective is to increase accountability and transparency, but accountability and transparency are not increased if the in effect police and crime commissioner in London is in reality appointed by the mayor, who does not have the time to do the job himself but who in theory has to pretend that he can be like a police and crime commissioner elsewhere in the country and devote his efforts full time to that role.
We need to take steps to ensure that there is no dubiety over who is in reality-as opposed to in theory-the police and crime commissioner in London, and recognise the true situation by having a deputy mayor who has that role, and with it both the time and the authority of police and crime commissioners outside London. These amendments provide for elections for deputy mayor at the same time as for mayor. The current holder of these responsibilities is ultimately the elected mayor, and the amendments propose to move those overall responsibilities for the police from one elected office holder to another who has the time to do the job in full. I hope that the Government will recognise the contradictions between the situation in London and the situation outside London, as my noble friend Lord Harris of Haringey stated, and by accepting this amendment bring the two much closer together.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): My Lords, the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, would prevent the mayor from holding the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime and would instead create an elected deputy mayor for policing and crime to hold that office. Consequential amendments would apply to the deputy mayor similar provisions to those for PCCs in respect of elections and suspensions. While I understand the approach taken by the noble Lord, Lord Harris, I set out in Committee the reasons why I do not agree with these amendments.
While it is the Government's policy to introduce a directly elected police and crime commissioner into every force area in England and Wales outside London, the Government do not intend to introduce a new, elected person to hold the police to account in London for the very simple reason that the whole of London already elects a single person to take responsibility for strategic issues such as policing-the Mayor of London.
While I hear what the noble Lord says, the mayor is in the unique position of having responsibility for a whole force area and, as such, it seems sensible for him to have the overall responsibility for holding the police to account. Under the amendment, both the mayor and the deputy mayor have a direct democratic mandate across a whole force area, although in practice of
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I know that in Committee the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, was concerned about the dilution of the democratic principle, but I stress that this can come only through the mayor himself or herself. The mayor is elected by all Londoners, and he or she alone may hold the mayor's office under this Bill. As such, the democratic principle is clear in the Bill. On that basis, I hope the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw these amendments, although I know that he believes in them passionately, and support the government amendments that we shall discuss later. I will not go into great detail as we shall come to them later in our deliberations, but I remind the House that the government amendments require confirmation hearings for the position of deputy mayor to be binding where the candidate is not an Assembly Member, in that the Assembly would have the power to veto the appointment by a two-thirds majority.
Any Assembly Member whom the mayor wished to appoint would be subject to a non-binding confirmation, as already set out in the Bill. I hope, therefore, that on reflection the noble Lord will withdraw the amendment.
Lord Harris of Haringey: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for the way in which she has responded and for reiterating the Government's position on these points. As I said in my opening remarks, I am grateful for the amendments that have been put forward on confirmation hearings and the deputy mayor's role. However, a veto power of a two-thirds majority of the London Assembly is not a very powerful mechanism. My experience in four years on the London Assembly-I believe that it was the case for the subsequent seven years-is that the two-thirds majority threshold has never been achieved in matters to do with the budget. It is difficult to see how that would not be the case in these circumstances, where it is likely that the elected Mayor of London will have a sizeable block of members supporting his or her position on most issues. Therefore, although confirmatory hearings are helpful, they are not the same as direct election.
The noble Baroness also argued that the mayor is elected for the whole force area, but one of the problems is that the Mayor of London's writ is not the same as that of the Metropolitan Police. The noble Lord, Lord Brooke, confronted me at a previous stage as he was deeply concerned that I might be trying to undermine the position of the City of London Police. The fact is that the Mayor of London has responsibility for two force areas and is elected not just by the electorate who are served by the Metropolitan Police but by the electorate who are served by the City of London Police. Therefore, the noble Baroness's arguments do not stand up.
Baroness Browning: My Lords, when we discussed this in Committee, we established that the City of London and the force area that covers it represents a very small percentage of the electorate living within its parameters.
Lord Harris of Haringey: That indeed is the case. That is why I was almost incredulous that the Government believed that it was sensible that the City of London should have its own separate police force.
I appreciate that the Corporation of London has enormous antiquity and I know about the noble Baroness's passion for medieval constructs, as we discussed the other evening, and the question of corporation sole. So, given that the Corporation of London is a construct even older than corporation sole, I shall not press that point.
However, on the issue of boundaries, the Government have to be clear about what the situation will be outside London. If the Localism Bill runs its course and the referenda locally produce it, you will have some very powerful directly elected mayors in major cities outside London. I do not believe that the directly elected mayors of the great cities of Manchester and Birmingham will not feel that they should have significant influence on the arrangements for policing in their areas. Of course they will not cover the entire police area, but I do not think that the Government's proposal simply to have them sitting on the police and crime panel will be sufficient. The Government cannot get away from the fact that you will have conflicts between directly elected mayors and the people responsible for governance. In those circumstances, if that is going to happen outside London, the Government should have the courage of their convictions about the importance of direct elections and allow that to happen in London.
As I understand it, the Government's vision is that there should be direct elections for these important positions everywhere in the country, but London is missing out. That is unfortunate and extremely unhelpful. I am disappointed that the Government are not prepared to consider and accept the amendment. However, I shall consider carefully what the noble Baroness has said today. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
"(h) the exercise of duties in relation to the safeguarding of children and the promotion of child welfare that are imposed on the Commissioner by sections 10 and 11 of the Children Act 2004".
Baroness Browning:My Lords, this group of government amendments essentially corrects some drafting oversights and errors to ensure that the Bill is consistent with other legislation. I am happy to touch on each amendment in order to provide clarity for the House.
Amendment 23 removes a duplication prohibiting a PCC from also being deputy mayor for policing and crime. Amendment 82 corrects a drafting error that would mistakenly have granted the deputy mayor greater delegation powers than the holder of the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime. Amendment 170 changes a reference to the Greater London Authority to the London Assembly. This was simply an error as the police and crime panel will be a committee of the Assembly and not of the whole authority.
Amendments 244 and 309 follow the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee's recommendations by requiring that any regulations issued in respect of collaboration, or a failure of local authorities to participate in the formation of police and crime panels, are made by affirmative rather than negative resolution.
Amendment 270 removes an inconsistency in the Bill where one provision amends a paragraph in the Police Act 1996 in relation to the Secretary of State's power to issue orders in relation to transitional arrangements for the alteration of a police force area, and another provision repeals it. The amending provision is the correct one so the repealing provision is being removed from the Bill.
Amendment 273 removes a provision as a consequence of the coming into force of the Equality Act 2010, which repealed the Race Relations Act 1976 in its entirety. There is therefore no longer anything to amend. Amendment 302 corrects provisions amending the Equality Act 2010 which have been affected by an order that adds to the list of bodies that are subject to the general equality duty. Together, these amendments will ensure that PCCs and the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime are covered by the Equality Act.
Amendment 291 corrects an omission by extending the exemption from motor insurance to the staff of a chief officer, as well as the staff of a PCC or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime. This mirrors current arrangements for the police and police authorities and so we are simply maintaining the status quo. Amendment 292 corrects a drafting error, ensuring that the Bill correctly refers to Metropolitan Police staff being employed by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, not the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
Amendment 296 improves on existing drafting in the Bill in relation to the exemption of police staff from the private security licensing regime. Amendment 298 corrects failures to amend multiple references to "police authority" or "authority" in other legislation. Amendments 298, 299, 300 and 301 correct mistaken uses of "that" instead of "the", and vice versa.
Bringing these amendments before the House might be an opportune moment to correct the record from our previous Report stage proceedings. In responding to the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, on his favourite subject of the corporation sole I declared to
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Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, I take this opportunity to put on record my thanks to the Bill team. I raised a number of questions on this group and am very happy to have had their answers. I feel no need to raise the points in debate. I am extremely grateful.
Lord Rosser: As the Minister has indicated, these are relatively minor and technical amendments that correct some drafting errors. As she said, they also reflect the recommendations of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee that any regulations dealing with mandatory collaboration or the consequences of a failure by local authorities to participate in the formation of police and crime panels should be made by affirmative rather than negative resolution. We support the change to these regulations being by affirmative rather than negative resolution, thus requiring the specific approval of your Lordships' House.
(a) that post is vacant, or
(b) the holder of that post is, in the Commissioner's opinion, unable to carry out the duties of that post.
(2B) Sub-paragraph (2A) does not require the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis to obtain the consent of the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime in order to enter into a contract or other agreement with a person-
(a) by virtue of which the person becomes, or is, a member of the metropolitan police force's civilian staff, or
(b) which otherwise relates to the person's membership of that civilian staff (including the terms and conditions of the person's membership)."
Lord Beecham: My Lords, this group of amendments seeks simply to ensure that local authorities are consulted by the police and crime commissioner, along with the police and crime panel, in connection with any preparation or variation of a crime plan. Surely it is axiomatic that a close working relationship between the police and other authorities, particularly local authorities, is essential in dealing with matters of community safety and law and order. A wide range of local authority functions clearly impinge on the duties of the police and vice versa, so it is clearly desirable, if not essential, that in the preparation of any police and crime plan, given the commissioner's responsibility to liaise and work with a wide range of statutory bodies, local authorities should be among the prime consultees.
The Minister has charmed the House over the past few weeks. I hope that her charm will be matched by a willingness to accept that this is a constructive amendment, designed to ensure the closest possible working relationship between the two most important arms in any approach to the issues which this Bill seeks to address and which the relevant authorities have to address on a day-to-day basis. I hope the Minister will accept these modest but important amendments to reinforce that relationship. I beg to move.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: As my noble friend inferred, we are debating the Localism Bill through which the Government wish to give more freedom to local authorities. As part of that we are seeing the Government present local authorities with an opportunity to have some of the constraints around their leadership role in a local area taken away from them so that the local authority is seen as having a leadership role which is not necessarily tied into statutory responsibilities. We are also seeing in that Bill a requirement on the 11 largest local authorities in England to hold referenda next year on whether there should be an elected mayor. The Government are therefore acknowledging the importance of local government and its place in the wider community. I support my noble friend's amendments because they seek to ensure that when draft police and crime plans are prepared or varied, the local authority
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Lord Soley: This issue is an important one and relates back to what I have said before on crime prevention. It took many years to get a good relationship between the police and local authorities on crime prevention and we should not lose that again. Local authorities and the police work together and when the police listen to what locally elected people and local authorities have to say, there is a much better chance of reducing crime and coming up with good crime prevention schemes. So I strongly support my noble friend's amendments.
Baroness Henig: I have Amendment 47 in this group. I will be very brief. This is about partnership arrangements and improving the link between policing bodies and other partners, particularly community safety bodies. I note the Minister's Amendment 43 on behalf of the Government specifying that the local policing body has to have regard to the priorities of the statutory partners-
Baroness Browning: The amendments tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, provide for local authorities to have the same degree of involvement as the police and crime panel in the police and crime commissioner's preparation of the police and crime plan. In Clause 6 the PCC is placed under specific duties to send the plan to the PCP and have regard to any report or recommendations made by the PCP in relation to the draft, to give a formal response to any recommendations from the PCP, to afford as much time as reasonably possible for the PCP to consider and review the plan, and to review the plan in light of any recommendations made to the PCC by the police and crime panel.
That is already quite a lot of involvement with the PCP, which is made up of and structured with a representative of every local authority at whichever level, whether it is a two, three or one-tier local government structure. Through the representatives on the police and crime panel-we have discussed the need for those other than local government representatives, but looking specifically at those members-I would expect the views of the local authority to be taken forward by those representatives so that specific local authorities' views on the plan or any other matter are reflected on the panel.
For each of those duties, the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, wants the same duty to apply to each local authority within the force area. That would add
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Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, can we come back to the place of Birmingham, which I know is dear to your Lordships' heart? Let us assume that the referendum takes place next May and that a year later we have an elected mayor of Birmingham. Is the noble Baroness seriously suggesting that the relationship on the draft police and crime plan is between the panel and the PCC, and that the elected mayor for Birmingham has to go through the panel to make representations? I do not think that that stands up.
Baroness Browning: I would hope that elected mayors would be represented on the panel. I see no reason why they should not be. Nothing in the Bill says that they should not and I would expect that link to be formed through those elected mayors. They would not be excluded from the panel. I do not know whether that satisfies the noble Lord's concern. They will clearly have positions of great authority within the locality and therefore would have that input through the police and crime panel. They would clearly be important in holding to account the police and crime commissioner, and I would expect an elected mayor to have that representation. I will wait to see whether the noble Lord believes that to be a solution to the problem he has raised.
I have no doubt that each representative on the panel will consult their local authority colleagues on the plan in advance of the PCP formally submitting its advice and recommendations to the police and crime commissioner. It is for that very reason that we are placing a duty on the police and crime commissioner: the requirement at subsection (7) for the PCP to be given a reasonable amount of time to consult on the draft plan.
For clarification, it would not be a question of the PCP having the plan submitted to it for a day or two and then having to decide on it. We have included the need for adequate and reasonable time in the legislation.
For the PCC to undertake consultation with a large number of authorities outwith the PCP would, I believe, be bureaucratic and time-consuming. Also it recognises the power which we expect the PCP to have in terms of scrutiny. However, if the PCP utilises its membership, it can, on behalf of the PCC, make a constructive and supportive contribution. Through that local authority membership, it will be able to co-ordinate the views of the authorities and provide an agreed set of recommendations which, I remind the House, the PCP must have regard to.
I appreciate the intention and am grateful to the noble Lord for his kind remarks. However, I am going to disappoint him on this occasion-he is probably thinking "yet again". I hope that the way in which the Government are seeking to enable the PCP to be involved in supporting the police and crime commissioner is a little clearer, and that the noble Lord will consider withdrawing the amendment.
Lord Beecham: My Lords, tempted as I am, I shall not withdraw the kind remarks that I made about the noble Baroness-I shall resist the provocation. However, the answer is extremely disappointing. It seems to take little account of what is needed to develop a whole-systems approach to the issues of crime, disorder, crime prevention and community safety. This is not a one-way street. These matters cannot be tackled just by police authorities, under whatever form they take; there has to be a collaborative exercise between the police and the other agencies, especially local authorities.
The Minister is effectively saying that a mayor or council leader can be a member of a scrutiny committee because that is all that the PCP is: it is not an executive body and has no power to commit anything at all. Frankly, I would be very doubtful whether a mayor or council leader of any significant authority would have the time or the inclination to serve as a member of such a body. Moreover, we need the full engagement of the area's local authorities with the police in order to develop joint approaches and possibly joint programmes. That is not something that can be done at one remove. You do not send someone to a scrutiny panel to negotiate on behalf of your authority, particularly if it is a large unitary or county authority.
Baroness Browning: I say for the sake of clarification that I would not in any way expect the police not to have contact with local authorities. We are not talking here about the chief officer's role and communications with local authorities; we are talking about the gateway which the PCP provides for all local authorities in that force area to be represented on the panel.
Lord Beecham: We are indeed. We are also talking about how the commissioner makes those significant strategic decisions, as he would have responsibility for the police's part of what is not just a policing matter, but a matter which transcends the boundaries between police authorities, however constituted, and local government. This is a two-way street and one way is blocked by the Government's apparent refusal to recognise that there has to be a partnership arrangement between police authorities and local authorities. I am really at a loss to see why the Minister and particularly her advisers are intent on blocking the way towards a collaborative and potentially fruitful relationship, which cannot be assisted by the way that the Bill is currently drafted. If that is the Government's position, I am afraid that I must test the opinion of the House.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall now repeat a Statement made in another place by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health. The Statement is as follows:
"Mr Speaker, with permission, I wish to make a Statement on the reform of social care. This coalition Government have from the outset recognised that reform of the care and support system is needed to provide people with more choice and control, and to reduce the insecurity faced by individuals, carers and their families. By 2026, the number of people over
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People often do not think about how they might meet those costs in later life. They assume that social care will be provided free for all at the point of need, but since the establishment of the welfare state this has never been the case. Currently people with more than £23,250 in assets, often including their home, face meeting the whole cost of care themselves. The cost of care can vary considerably and it is hard for people to predict what costs they may face. The average 65 year-old today will face lifetime care costs of £35,000. However, as the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support notes, costs are widely distributed: one in four will have no care costs, but one in four will face care costs over £50,000 and one in 10 over £100,000.
The lack of understanding of how the system works and the uncertainty about costs means that it is difficult for people to prepare to meet potential care costs and there are currently few financial products available to help them. This means that paying for care can come as a shock to many families and can have a severe impact on their financial security.
Change is essential. That is why we took immediate action by establishing the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support last July. It was tasked with making recommendations on how to achieve an affordable and sustainable funding system for care and support for all adults in England. In response to its initial advice, we allocated an additional £2 billion a year by 2014-15 in the spending review to support the delivery of social care as a bridge to reform. This represents a total of £7.2 billion extra support for social care over the next four years, including an unprecedented transfer of funds from the NHS to support social care services that will also benefit health.
Since then we have taken forward wider reform. In November last year, we published our vision for adult social care setting out our commitment to a more responsive and personalised care and support system that empowers individuals and communities, including the objective that all those who wish it should have access to a personal social care budget by 2013, and in May, the Law Commission published its report, after three years of work, on how to deliver a modernised statute for adult social care. Making sense of the current confused tangle of legislation to deliver a social care statute will allow individuals, carers, families and local authorities more clearly to understand when care and support will be provided.
Andrew Dilnot's report comes at the same time as the final report from the palliative care funding review, which I received last week. Tom Hughes-Hallett and Sir Alan Craft have made an excellent start in looking at this complex and challenging issue. We want to see integrated, responsive, high-quality health and care services for those at the end of life. We will now consider the review team's proposals in detail before consulting stakeholders on the way forward later this summer. We will also consider how best to undertake substantial piloting, as recommended in the report, in order to gather information on how best to deliver palliative services.
We are also responding to events at Southern Cross, which have caused concern to residents in Southern Cross care homes and their relatives and families. We welcome the fact that Southern Cross, the landlords and the lenders are working hard to come up with a plan to stabilise the ownership and operation of the care homes. We have also been clear that we would take action to make sure there was proper oversight of the market in social care. That is why, through the Health and Social Care Bill, we are seeking powers to extend to social care the financial regulatory regime we are putting in place in the NHS, if we decide it is needed, as part of wider reform.
A central component of those reforms will be the long-term funding of care and support. Over the past 12 months, Andrew Dilnot, the chair of the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support, together with the noble Lord, Lord Warner, and Dame Jo Williams have engaged extensively with many different stakeholders. They brought fresh insight and impetus to this most challenging area of public policy. We welcome the excellent work of the commission and its final report. I would like to thank Andrew Dilnot, the noble Lord, Lord Warner, and Dame Jo Williams for the work they have undertaken. It is an immensely valuable contribution to meeting the long-term challenge of an ageing population.
The report argues that people are unable to protect themselves against the risk of high care costs, leaving people fearful and uncertain about the future. The commission's central proposal is therefore a cap on the care costs that people face over their lifetime of between £25,000 and £50,000; it recommends £35,000. Under the commission's proposals, people who cannot afford to make their personal contribution would continue to receive means-tested support, but it proposes that the threshold for getting state help with residential care costs would rise from £23,250 to £100,000. People would make some contribution to their general living costs in residential care, but this should be limited to between £7,000 and £10,000.
The commission also proposes: standardised national eligibility for care, increasing consistency across the country; universal access to a deferred payments scheme for means-tested contributions; improvements in information and advice; improved assessments for carers and better alignment between social care and the wider care and support system; and to consider changing the means test in domiciliary care to include housing assets. It makes recommendations about how, as a society, we will organise and fund social care. We will now take forward consideration of the commission's recommendations as a priority.
The commission recognises that implementing its reforms would have significant costs that the Government will need to consider against other funding priorities and calls on constrained resources. In the current public spending environment, we have to consider carefully the additional costs to the taxpayer of the commission's proposals against other funding priorities. Within the commission's recommendations, it presents a range of options, including on the level of a cap and the contribution people make to living costs in residential care, which could help us to manage the system and its
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Reform in this area will need to meet a number of tests, including: whether proposals would promote closer integration of health and social care; whether proposals would promote increased personalisation, choice and quality; whether proposals would support greater prevention and early intervention; whether a viable insurance market and a more diverse and responsive care market would be established as a result of the proposals; the level of consensus that additional resources should be targeted on a capped costs scheme for social care; and what a fair and appropriate method of financing the additional costs would be.
The Government have set out a broad agenda for reform in social care. We want to see care that is personalised, that offers people choice in how their care needs are met, that supports carers, that is supported by a diverse and flourishing market of providers and a skilled workforce who can provide care and support with compassion and imagination, and that offers people the assurances they expect of high-quality care and protection against poor standards and abuse. Andrew Dilnot's report was never intended to address all these questions, but it forms a vital part of that wider agenda.
To take it forward, we will work with stakeholders in the autumn, using Andrew Dilnot's report as the basis for engagement as a key part of a broader picture. This engagement will look at the fundamental questions for reform in social care: improving quality, developing and assuring the care market, integration with the NHS and wider services, and personalisation. As part of that we want to hear stakeholders' views on the priorities for action from the commission's report and how we should assess these proposals, including in relation to other priorities for improvement in the system. As the right honourable Member the Shadow Health Secretary and I have discussed, we will also engage directly with the Official Opposition in order to seek consensus on the future of long-term care funding.
We will then set out our response to the Law Commission and to the Dilnot Commission in the spring, with full proposals for reform of adult social care in a White Paper and a progress report on funding reform. It remains our intention to legislate to this effect at the earliest opportunity. The care of the elderly and vulnerable adults is a key priority for reform under this Government, and I commend this Statement to the House".
Baroness Thornton: First, my Lords, I thank the Minister for repeating the Statement today. It is difficult to imagine a more important issue for us to consider. Care of the elderly and vulnerable is probably the most difficult and intractable problem facing our society. It is one that we have to resolve; we cannot afford to let it go on and on unresolved. We can all agree about this.
It should be a cause for celebration and pride that one in five of us alive in Britain today will now live to be 100, and that our children can expect to spend
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These proposals contain many important elements that were in the plans that we set out when we were in government in our care White Paper prior to the general election. I join the Minister in congratulating Mr Andrew Dilnot and his colleagues, my noble friend Lord Warner and Dame Jo Williams on the excellent job that they have done. I know that many of the organisations concerned with this issue-Age UK, the Alzheimer's Society, Care UK and others-have been very impressed by the way in which the commission has carried out its tasks, but they are now, quite rightly, very keen to ensure that the momentum created by this excellent report is not lost. Many noble Lords will have seen the letter, signed by 32 of these organisations, pleading with us not to pass up this opportunity. I welcome the Minister's confirmation that detailed and important involvement of stakeholders will continue.
I am very impressed with the way in which all the members of the commission have seen it as their mission to explain to the widest possible audience what lies behind their recommendations and why they have reached the conclusions that they have. I know that my noble friend Lord Warner has been in major media contact since the early hours of this morning; many of us will have been treated to the masterclass from Andrew Dilnot on the "Today" programme.
In response to the report my right honourable friend Ed Miliband, the leader of the Labour Party, has said on behalf of the Labour Party that we would be willing to put aside our party's pre-election proposals in order to try to find a solution. I invite the Minister to agree with me that it is just as well that politicians sometimes ignore the cynicism and negativity of commentators, such as Mr Nick Robinson of the BBC, who I heard recently, and show an understanding of the importance of reaching a national consensus on these matters. We will all need to show the kind of determination that my right honourable friend the leader of the Labour Party is showing. Will the Minister comment on suggestions in the media, including from members of the Conservative Party, that suggest that the Treasury is already lining up to kill these proposals? I hope that this is not the case and that the tweet today quoting Stephen Dorrell as saying that the Government must show willingness to find the money for Dilnot's long-term care overhaul is more accurate.
The last thing Britain needs is for Andrew Dilnot's proposals to be put into the long grass, or even the medium-cut grass. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we must address. It is what the Government do with it now that counts. My right honourable friend the leader of the Labour Party has made a big offer to the Prime Minister to put politics aside and to work to see a better long-term system of social care put in place for elderly and disabled people in our country.
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Mr Dilnot recommends a White Paper by December this year, but this already seems to have slipped to the spring. Will the Minister say which is it? Will he also tell the House when we can expect a draft Bill-are the Government aiming for this to be in the next Queen's Speech? In the absence of the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell of Surbiton, will the Minister confirm that the Government welcome and will take forward recommendation 6 on the portability of care assessments? Will the Government be supporting her Private Member's Bill on this? Does he agree that cross-party talks are required and that the Prime Minister should give this lead? How and when will this start?
Finally, I know the Minister agrees that there is a need for the House to have an opportunity to have a more thoroughgoing debate about this matter, the report and its recommendations. I hope that we can also join forces in trying to secure that opportunity.
Earl Howe: My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Baroness for her welcome of both the commission's report and the Statement that I repeated. I believe that the commission has not only provided us with an excellent report but has instilled a sense of impetus in this agenda. We must not lose that momentum now. She referred to the prospect of cross-party talks, and I can only repeat that the engagement that we seek in the coming weeks and months will fully extend to the Official Opposition. We recognise the value of building a broad coalition of support on an issue as important as this. As she rightly said, there has to be security for the longer term so that we can provide citizens with the understanding and predictability that they rightfully expect of the system.
Reforming adult social care remains a top priority for us, but it is complex. As the Statement indicated, a number of related questions need to be addressed. Andrew Dilnot's report provides recommendations on only one of these questions: how we pay for care as a country. It is our intention to set out our plans for wider social care reform in a White Paper in the spring. The noble Baroness is right that the timetable has slipped from that which we originally indicated, but that is not for sinister reasons. We think it is important to engage as widely as possible on these recommendations. There are many different views and we need to understand them.
Last week, the Alzheimer's Society called for an open debate on the Dilnot proposals, with which we agree. As I have said, we are committed to a White Paper in the spring of 2012, which will include our response to the Law Commission's report on the legal framework for social care, and we will publish a progress report on the funding. We remain committed to legislating at the earliest opportunity to take forward the proposals in the White Paper, although naturally I cannot give the noble Baroness a specific indication on the timing of that. That, however, is our ambition.
The noble Baroness referred to portability. In November, in our vision for adult social care, we made clear that we want the greater portability of assessments, which could help people who use social care to move without unnecessary multiple assessments and uncertainty. We also said that we would consider how to pursue this in the light of the work of the Law Commission and the Commission on Funding of Care and Support. We are considering both reports carefully. It is too early for me to say precisely what reaction we will give to the Bill sponsored by the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell, but we look forward to debating it. I am sure that that Bill will enable us to drill down to some of the more difficult aspects of portability, with which I know that the noble Baroness is all too familiar.
As for a more general debate on these important issues, I well understand the noble Baroness's wish to have such an opportunity. I will of course relay that desire to my noble friend the Leader of the House. It is not in my hands, and as she knows the available time for general debates of that kind is rather limited at this time of year, but we will see what can be done.
Baroness Oppenheim-Barnes: My Lords, I was extremely pleased to hear this Statement and to hear it in the form that it has come. It must be well over 20 years since I first started writing to various Prime Ministers about the dreadful case of a constituent who had to sell his house-his life savings went into the house-to go into a care home, who said, "This cannot be fair. People who never bothered to save or to put money aside are getting the same treatment I am being charged for".
On the other hand, and this illustrates the difficulty of the problem, the view of the taxpayers, also expressed to me, was, "Why should we have to support the inheritance of the sons and daughters of these people?". There were two completely separate points of view that were very difficult to reconcile. As the problem becomes bigger and more urgent all the time, it is extremely brave of the Government to embark at this stage on a Statement that refers to the priority that will be given to this problem, and I welcome that very greatly.
Earl Howe: I thank my noble friend Lady Oppenheim-Barnes for those remarks. The House will know that her experience of these matters goes back many years. She is right; these thorny issues have been with us for a very long time and we have to get a grip on them. There is, as I made clear earlier, a clear imperative to inject certainty and predictability into the system, but
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Lord Lipsey: My Lords, as a member of the Royal Commission on the funding of Long-Term Care for the Elderly, which so singularly failed to find any consensus-my fault, no doubt, as I signed the minority report-I welcome the Dilnot report very much as bringing us nearer to the kind of political consensus on this issue that is intrinsic to its final solution.
However, we should not take the proposals in Dilnot as written in stone. There are severe problems of cost and the fact that they do so much more for the very rich members of society and so much less for the middle. Will the Minister-who has rather wisely stretched out the consultation period on this-assure the House now that although Dilnot's fundamental architecture has a great deal to be said for it, the Government will keep a very open mind on the details throughout the process ahead?
Earl Howe: I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Lipsey, and broadly my answer to him is yes. They are clearly a set of well considered recommendations which we think are eminently worthy of serious study as a basis for cross-party consensus. However, I will not be tempted to pin my colours to any mast that the Dilnot commission has erected because it is important that we have this consensus as far as we can generate it, and that will mean looking at the detail and at individual recommendations on their own merits, maybe taking forward some but not others, and maybe looking at a staggered timetable. These are all questions that we have to resolve between us.
Baroness Barker: My Lords, I am in danger of agreeing with the noble Lord, Lord Lipsey, which is something that always worries me, as he knows. I, too, welcome this. After 13 years of the Labour Government trying in various ways to approach this problem we have, with this report, an architecture that is very important, although I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Lipsey, that there a great many technical matters within it that should be open for negotiation.
The report and the extent to which its objectives are achieved rely on two areas: first, a broad political consensus that it is a fair approach to take to the problem; and secondly, as the Minister said, a number of specific technical issues, the main one being that there should be a consistency in the criteria between eligibility for state provision and any insurance-based cover. That is perhaps the biggest single factor in determining whether the entire system will work. What work will be done with stakeholder groups, including carers and older people, and the private insurance business on that specific point? Only by resolving that can we enable individuals to have the security of knowing when the state will pay for their provision and when they as individuals will be expected to contribute.
Earl Howe: My noble friend has highlighted a key issue. We know that it is important to people that access to care services is fair and that resources are used wisely. However, the commission is clear that it believes that local authorities should continue to play a key role in the funding and delivery of social care, so we need to consider carefully how to achieve the right balance between national consistency and local flexibility. That is a very difficult question.
During the coming period of engagement in the autumn, we will want to take views on that matter. I remind my noble friend that in the light of recommendations made in CSCI's review, called Cutting the Cake Fairly, which I am sure she will remember, the department issued guidance to local authorities on eligibility to support fairer and more transparent and consistent implementation of the criteria. We fully appreciate, however, that the concerns on that front continue; the current eligibility framework is subjective and it is difficult for individuals to understand what they might be entitled to in advance of an assessment. We will consider whether to take forward work on a new assessment framework following discussions with stakeholders.
Lord Myners: My Lords, the Government deserve credit for establishing the commission and choosing Mr Andrew Dilnot to chair it. I welcome the constructive way in which the Minister has summarised how the Government intend to take this forward.
I have two questions arising from the Statement. I shall ask them in the sequence in which they arose from the Minister's announcement. First, he observed that financial markets have no answer to this problem. That is quite extraordinary. Our colleague, the noble Lord, Lord Turner, in his capacity as chairman of the Financial Services Authority, told us that much of what goes on in the City is socially useless. Here is an area where the financial community in the City could be socially useful, yet it seems to be turning its back on the opportunities to create long-term annuity products appropriate to meeting people's expenditure requirements in the later period of their life. Will the Minister raise this with the Treasury and the FSA and consider establishing a working group to investigate particularly whether EU legislation on capital requirements for variable annuities is frustrating a market response?
Secondly, the Minister mentioned Southern Cross. There is much concern in the country about Southern Cross and I am grateful for the Minister's Statement. Will he confirm that no resident of a Southern Cross home will be required to move against their wishes from the home in which they are currently being cared for?
Earl Howe: I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Myners. I shall address his questions in the opposite order. We have been clear about the situation at Southern Cross: we hope that a resolution will emerge as a result of the current discussions between Southern Cross, its lenders and its landlords. However, we have been equally clear that the residents of the care homes are our prime concern. It is not possible for me to give an absolute assurance that no resident will be required to move, but I can say that we will ensure that if a
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The noble Lord, Lord Myners, is right about financial products. I have noted over the past 10 years with some disappointment the dearth of suitable financial products to enable people to save for long-term care. The commission has analysed extremely ably the barriers that currently prevent the establishment of an effective market for financial products and we want to consider how best to promote a more effective market for such products. We will consider the commission's recommendations carefully, of course. An effective market in this area would be extremely helpful. It may help people to become more aware of the costs that they may face in later life, which in itself would be useful, and to take steps to prepare for these. I will bring the noble Lord's remarks to the attention of my colleagues in the Treasury in the sense that he indicated.
Lord Newton of Braintree: My Lords, I declare an interest as chairman of the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and the immediate past chairman of Help the Hospices. I agree with my noble friend Lady Oppenheim-Barnes. Indeed, this has been a running sore throughout my entire political lifetime since I was first elected as an MP in 1974. The right metaphor now might be a ticking time bomb in one of those James Bond films getting quite close to where it actually goes off, or does not quite. This is potentially seriously, socially divisive and difficult, so I hugely welcome both the report and the tone that has been adopted by those on the two Front Benches. It is essential that we should seek political consensus, otherwise there will be big trouble for all of us.
Lastly, and more specifically, I come to my question: does my noble friend accept that there are also health implications in the demographics as well as social care implications? A growing number of people are presenting with mental illness problems-dementia, in particular-at mental health trusts, and indeed in acute trusts in the A&E departments, with a knock-on effect on requests for assistance from mental health trusts and their clinicians. There is a serious need for health resources to be directed towards some aspects of this problem as well as to a solution to social care problems. I hope that my noble friend will take that on board.
Earl Howe: I am grateful to my noble friend and agree with all that he said. The early part of the Statement demonstrates very graphically the demographic aspects of this matter. He is of course right that there are clear health implications in all of this, which is precisely why the work that we are doing in the department lays such emphasis on the need to integrate health and social care commissioning and provision and on the need to place a greater emphasis on prevention both in health and social care. That is also why we have
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Lord Lloyd of Berwick: My Lords, the emphasis in the Statement is very much on the care of the elderly, some of whom will be disabled. What I am not clear about is whether the report also covers care of the disabled who are still young, who are currently covered by the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, which was sponsored by the noble Lord, Lord Morris of Manchester, 40 years ago. Is that also up for grabs, as it were, among the tangle of legislation which is being considered?
Earl Howe: My Lords, this area was not overlooked by the commission. Indeed, the commission has made a specific recommendation as regards the cap on costs, which it believes should be, as a generality, somewhere between £25,000 and £50,000, although it has come down in favour of a £35,000 figure. That figure is lower for those who require long-term care at a much earlier age. The noble and learned Lord is right that this area should not be neglected, and I am sure will not be neglected.
Baroness Pitkeathley: My Lords, does the Minister agree that although the sum of £2 billion mentioned by Andrew Dilnot may strike fear into the heart of the Treasury at a time of financial constraints, it is a puny sum when you compare it with the £119 billion contributed by the main providers of care-the family carers? Therefore, I am sure he agrees that the support offered to family carers in the report is extremely welcome. Will he reconfirm the Government's commitment to continuing to work with the stakeholder groups, as the Dilnot commission has so admirably done, particularly as the advice and information service for families is developed as we go forward?
Earl Howe: My Lords, I cannot stand here and claim that an additional £2 billion is a trivial amount of money; it clearly is not. That is why it was made clear in the Statement that we need to make some difficult decisions over priorities in public spending. As regards carers, for whom the noble Baroness has done so much in her career, I am sure she will accept from me that we recognise the value and contribution that carers make. We recently published Recognised, Valued and Supported:Next Steps for the CarersStrategy, which announced an additional £400 million over four years for PCTs to pool with local authorities to provide carers' breaks. In our carers strategy we indicated that assumptions should not be made about who will provide care and to what extent. There has been a 21 per cent increase in the number of carers receiving information. We want to see greater flexibility and portability of assessments for carers. The agenda in this area is proceeding and we shall not forget it amidst the concerns over funding. It is every bit as important as getting the funding system for paid residential long-term care right.
Baroness Shephard of Northwold: My Lords, I, too, welcome the political consensus that is bathing us in its glow this afternoon. Several noble Lords have spoken, and so has my noble friend, of the importance of engaging individuals in taking responsibility for their own care. I am sure that he is very aware of this, but does he realise how important it is for there to be a clear financial framework so that individuals and their families can take decisions concerning their own care? That is the important starting point given in the Dilnot report. It is an indicator-I do not know how the Government will treat it-which provides admirable clarity. Wrestling with the complexities of the different organisations involved will come later. However, I remind my noble friend that those complexities are already struggled with by individuals and their families when making these plans. An espousing of the financial certainties of the report would be a great move towards enabling individuals to take charge of their own futures.
Earl Howe: I am grateful to my noble friend, who has put her finger on an extremely important aspect of the debate. Much of the thrust of our proposals on the NHS revolves around the personalisation agenda, which applies in equal measure to social care. This is about the call to arms that Derek Wanless sounded a few years ago about the need for people to take ownership of their own healthcare if we are to have an affordable and sustainable system over the longer term. That process can be aided and boosted in a number of ways, not only by the rollout of a greater range of financial products but also through mechanisms such as personal budgets, which empower patients inherently, and through telecare, on which this country leads the world in the advances we have made and in the potential that exists for those in receipt of health and social care in their own homes to take ownership of their condition.
35: Clause 6, page 6, line 5, after "constable" insert "and to each of the other persons and bodies that are, for the purposes of section 5 of the Crime Disorder Act 1998, responsible authorities in relation to local government areas that are wholly or partly within the relevant police area"
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, we are on the group starting with government Amendment 35. It would be helpful if the noble Baroness introduced the government amendments. We could then have a debate and she could then wind up.
The government amendments in this group-Amendments 35, 41, 43, 48, 49, 50 and 240-relate to Clauses 6, 7 and 11 and Schedule 11 and seek to strengthen the relationship between the police and crime commissioners and community safety partnerships in their force areas. Amendment 241 corrects a minor drafting error where the Bill referred to the incorrect clause of the Crime and Disorder Act 2008. I hope noble Lords will take that as a straightforward correction of a legitimate error.
The proposals originally set out in the Bill were debated quite fully and I acknowledge that the relationship between the police and crime commissioner and the community safety partnerships is crucial. It ensures that the public are getting a service that is joined up, coherent and addresses the needs that have been identified locally. We have already set out in the Bill a reciprocal duty for the police and crime commissioner and the responsible authorities comprising community safety partnerships, which include local authorities, to co-operate in order to reduce crime and disorder, including anti-social behaviour, substance misuse and reoffending. This is still the overarching principle of the relationship, which is one of reciprocity and mutual reinforcement. These amendments follow this same principle but also seek to ensure that the police and crime commissioner and the community safety partnership are working together to address community safety priorities. The proposed amendments will require both the police and crime commissioner and the community safety partnership, including the local authority and any other CSP members, to have regard to each other's priorities. Practically, for the police and crime commissioner these priorities will be set out in the police and crime plan and for the community safety partnerships they will be set out in the strategic assessments and partnership plans that are required by regulations. The proposed amendments will require a police and crime commissioner to send a copy of his police and crime plan to the community safety partnership in the police area. We intend to impose the same requirement on community safety partnerships in respect of their strategic assessments and partnership plans by means of an amendment to the regulations that already provide for the preparation of these documents. I hope that reciprocal arrangement will help to strengthen the relationship which many noble Lords have expressed concern about and have been fearful would not work in practice. These proposed amendments will drive a more collaborative approach between the police and crime commissioner and community safety partnerships. Community safety partnerships, including local authorities, will be able to further engage and influence the police and crime commissioner's priorities. Importantly, this will be achieved without significantly increasing proscription but instead ensuring that there remains flexibility in how this might be executed locally.
Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, I have a number of amendments in this group but I will first comment on the Government's amendments. The Minister described Amendments 35 and 41 as allowing flexibility. Indeed they do, but I asked myself when I saw them whether it was necessary to put the words down on paper. Amendments 35 and 41 merely provide for sending the responsible authorities copies of the plan. That is not a very onerous obligation and, more importantly, it is not one which amounts to a consultation. It is something which hardly needs saying. I am entirely with her on the points she has made which we will come to in later amendments about the supportive and collaborative arrangement which we want to see between the two arms of the new model, but I do not think this amounts to much. I hope that is not too unkind.
Amendments 43 and 50 talk about observing priorities and I could not find where the priorities were. I am grateful to the Bill team for explaining to me by email that the Government intend to amend regulations to impose a requirement on the statutory group to send their strategic assessment and partnership plan to the commissioner so that he or she will know what the priorities are. That is helpful. It is sometimes difficult to anticipate precisely what will go into regulations.
The noble Baroness, Lady Henig, has tabled Amendment 47 about membership of community safety partnerships and crime reduction partnerships. Like her, I still feel that relationships between the panel and local authorities have not yet been bottomed out, if I may put it that way.
My amendments largely repeat amendments to which I spoke in Committee. I have tabled them again because they came up in some of the enormous groups we had, which made it very difficult for Ministers at the Dispatch Box to ensure that they covered everything. There were one or two in the group on which my noble friend Lord Wallace, I think, said that he would write; I have not yet had the letter. I am sure that the Minister will understand that, as this is the last opportunity, essentially, the amendments are here again.
Amendments 40, 45 and 46, 54A, 55 and 56, 56A and 57 are about the contribution to be made by both victims and witnesses. I have tabled some of those amendments after contact with Victim Support. I am grateful for its contribution. It makes the point that in obtaining the views of the community on policing, witnesses-interestingly, Victim Support has been dealing with me on witnesses-should also be included. They, too, fundamentally depend on an effective and responsive police force. They are key participants in the justice system, whether or not they are also victims. It is often owing only to witnesses that the criminal justice becomes aware of an offence in the first place.
Victim Support states-I think, rightly-that our justice system requires witnesses to feel confident in the service they will receive from the police and that they will be the subject of sensitive handling throughout the progress of a case, not only, but including adequate protection if their status as a witness means that their safety or that of their family may be in danger. It made the point to me that particularly relevant is the apparent lack of adequate training given to officers about the reality of the court process. It commented to me about
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A point I made at the previous stage is that victims have suffered a huge range of crimes, some very distressing, some very damaging, and some unimaginable. They or their representatives should have an opportunity to make an input to the police and crime plan and there should be arrangements to obtain their views on policing as part of the community.
That concentrates on the outcome rather than on the output and seeks to link this part of the Bill not to what the chief officer does but to whether the police and crime commissioners' objectives, as set out in the police and crime plan, are attained.
Amendment 53 would enable the police and crime panel to request in advance that certain information should go into the commissioner's annual report. Although this is a small amendment, when I chaired the London Assembly I found that similar provision in the GLA legislation was very useful. It merely enables the panel, and the Assembly in London, to say in good time what subjects it thinks the commissioner should cover in the annual report. In this legislation, the annual report seems to have some status.
Amendment 59 would require the commissioner to have regard not only to the panel's report and its recommendations on the annual report but to any other reports and recommendations that it may make. This is not just an annual exercise. If there is to be this supportive and collaborative relationship then the panel will need to work year round. I am sure that it will have plenty of things it wants to say and that it will want to do so not just on an annual basis. This is a mild amendment as I use the words "have regard to".
Amendment 58 relates to clauses on obtaining the views of the community on policing, and I suggest that local authorities should be included in the process. There should be consultation not just with people in the area but with those who have been elected in our system of representative democracy, who have views about the priorities for spending and whose own expenditure may cover allied or parallel ground.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: I am very interested in the noble Baroness's comments on local authorities, but would they not apply to crime plans? I follow her arguments and am very supportive of the general thrust; but if that, why not for crime plans?
Baroness Hamwee: Let us go on to the Local Government Association. That seems to follow, as Amendment 239A would add police and crime commissioners as statutory partners on community safety partnerships. Under the Bill, commissioners do not replace police authorities as members of CSPs; they simply have a duty to co-operate. The Local Government Association, making the point that this is an all-party view, says that it is concerned about fracturing current local community safety governance arrangements and that placing commissioners as statutory members on CSPs would help to ensure that all bodies involved in local community safety work together through a collaborative approach in the best interest of local communities and that the commissioner does not undertake contradictory efforts to those of the other CSP members.
Lord Beecham: My Lords, pursuing my usual course of local government recidivism, I will comment briefly on Amendment 49A, which will include local authorities in the rather wide category of criminal justice bodies set out in Clause 11(4). On Second Reading, I rather questioned the extent of that list and wondered whether it is appropriate to regard the police commissioner in the same category as, for example, the Crown Prosecution Service or youth offending teams. However, be that as it may, if there are to be bodies such as those listed here-including, for example, youth offending teams, which are regarded as criminal justice bodies-surely it is logical that local government should be included as well, as the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, seems to acknowledge at least on this occasion. I hope that the Minister will accept that modest amendment. However, I will endorse the noble Baroness's amendments that refer to the need for local government to be included, particularly, for example, in relation to the annual reports in Clause 13. It would be strange if the elected local policing body-effectively the commissioner-were not to give a local authority a response to a report or recommendations that such an authority might make to the commissioner. Again I hope-possibly vainly-that the Minister will see the logic of that and accept the amendment to that effect which the noble Baroness has moved.
Baroness Henig: My Lords, I will speak to Amendment 47 in this group. I apologise that I was premature in attempting to speak to this amendment
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I particularly note the Minister's Amendment 43 on behalf of the Government, which specifies that the local policing body must have regard to the priorities of the other statutory partners in developing policing plans. That is very welcome, and it begins to improve linkages with community safety partners. However, like the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, I still think that there are gaps in the landscape and that the Bill proposals could be further strengthened.
Amendment 47 suggests an active role for police and crime panel members in community safety partnerships, and it specifies that a panel member must sit on each such partnership within their area. The idea of this is to enable the panel to influence the strategic priorities of those partnerships before they are set, and to provide information to the panel and the commissioner to ensure that the policing family plays its part too.
It is all very well to say that the local policing body must have regard to the priorities of other partners; but what if these were at cross-purposes? Having a panel member in the partnership would enable an intelligent dialogue to take place and would enable that panel member to pick up on concerns before they became major problems.
The Minister is right in what he said earlier about this crucial set of relationships between CDRPs on the one hand and the commission, as we have it, on the other hand. However, I do not want this to be a discussion just about generalities, and it would be nice if this happened or that happened. Ultimately, all this is about better engagement. It is about trying to get an improved response on behalf of local communities. We are looking to try to get a system that works well for local people.
I recall that in Committee this House expressed real concern that one person, in the form of a commissioner, could not undertake the kind of in-depth engagement that 17 members formerly did, and that there was a real risk that they would be perceived as remote, not just by electors but by the many other bodies-public, private and voluntary-that work with the police. If the commissioner is going to find it very difficult to get round all the CDRPs, who can do it instead?
I think that the Government broadly agreed in their recently tabled amendments that the role of the panel must be as much about supporting the commissioner as about scrutiny. My amendment is a way of letting the panel develop a supportive role in practice. We keep hearing about the panel being supportive and about stricter checks and balances, but I am trying to get the panel to play a stronger role in practice. We know that membership of community safety partnerships would be one way for panel members to help to make this ambition effective and to get panels to be more supportive and play a more practical role.
We know that the police alone cannot solve all local problems that could arise. That is why community safety partnerships were set up in the first place. If we allow local policing bodies to become disconnected from the wider community safety partners, we will go
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It might be salutary if I remind the Minister that police authorities were not originally among the bodies required to be on CDRPs when they were established. Over time, it was found to be an error and was changed so that police authorities became statutory partners. Indeed, police authority members became among the most dedicated and active members of the partnerships. The reason was that it was a good source of two-way information. It was not just that police authorities, and now police panels, would get information back. Their presence was very much valued at district level both by local councils and divisional police officers. That system is working as we speak and I would be very reluctant to see it disappear.
I understand that the concept was not invented here. The charge has often been levelled at police forces up and down the country that they are very reluctant to introduce things that they have not pioneered or invented. I feel that the Government face the same danger here. They are trying to set up a new policing arrangement. I understand that, but there are lessons to be learnt about what has happened in the past 15 to 20 years, and we need to be prepared to learn them. My amendment attempts to restore a link that will otherwise be lost. I am trying to enable panel members to keep their pulse on the local landscape and ensure that both the panel and the commissioner are aware of developments, are equipped to understand problems and are able to co-ordinate effective joint action. Once again, I am trying to be constructive and to assist. I am absolutely certain that in the years to come, sooner or later the links will be restored. They have to be, because it is common sense. That is the way in which things will work at local level; it is just a question of making the change now rather than later.
Baroness Harris of Richmond: My Lords, I do not know why I did not put my name to the amendment of the noble Baroness, Lady Henig-I ought to have done-but I will say a few words in support of it. First, I welcome some of the government amendments in the group. I will single out Amendments 35 and 43. Amendment 35 deals with ensuring that every responsible authority in the context of community safety gets a copy of the police and crime plan. Amendment 43 ensures-going back the other way, as it were-that local policing bodies must have regard to the priorities of local partners. I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Henig, that the Bill could go further. Therefore, I will say a few words in support of her amendment.
The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 is widely regarded as one of the best and most effective pieces of legislation passed by the previous Administration in their early years. It has made a huge difference to the way that local crime and anti-social behaviour is tackled. It is no accident that the general reduction in crime that we have witnessed in the past 15 years began at about the same time as the partnerships were put in place. Therefore, it seems strange that the Government appear less than enthusiastic about maintaining the link between the partnerships and the new police governance mechanisms.
It is particularly strange when one considers that the PCC's role will include a vastly increased remit in relation to partnership bodies in other areas, such as criminal justice. Community safety partnerships seem to me to be the key fulcrum around which local engagement and local solutions are brought together. Why on earth we are disconnecting local policing bodies from these partnerships when they should be an asset to improving the effectiveness of local policing and partners, I really do not know. The noble Baroness, Lady Henig, is right to suggest that panels should be represented on community safety partnerships to preserve this relationship and I certainly support her amendment.
Lord Soley: I also support this amendment, very strongly so. It follows a number of things that I have argued on this Bill on the relatively few occasions that I have spoken. It is the issue on which I feel most strongly. Although it is not the Government's intention, there is a real danger of breaking the link between the local authority, the local crime partnership and the police. What the noble Baroness, Lady Harris, has just said is absolutely right. Particularly before the 1998 Act, it was difficult to get really good relationships between police, local community groups and the local authorities. It was not because anybody was actively willing against it; it was because we did not have a structure for doing it.
It is a long time since I was involved in this sort of thing, but I remember those years and I fear very much us going back to that. I would have great trepidation because it will result in crime and social disorder being less well dealt with and it will therefore result in an increase in crime and social disorder. If the Government would cast their minds back to the period before 1998 they will recall that various groups, particularly those led by local authorities, and the police were trying to find new ways of working together. Some police forces, local authorities and groups managed to do it; others did not. It took that structure of the 1998 Act to give force to it. A situation emerged where, slowly, everybody accepted that the key to keeping down crime was not just more police officers on the beat-important as that is-but really good crime prevention programmes and a close link between the community and the police, headed up, but not always necessarily led by, the local authority. When you got that you suddenly found that everybody began to co-operate on a single target. They also began to identify crime hot spots or particular difficult crimes and you began to get co-operation.
I know that the Minister will say, "Don't worry, it will be all right on the night, everything will be there to follow it up". I have to say that I cannot see it in this Bill. You are talking about very large police areas and a remote detachment. When the Minister says, as she did on the last group of amendments, that a member of the panel will be able to attend or discuss with the council or the various groups which have been implied here, then my memory-again it is perhaps many years ago-of that sort of arrangement with local authorities often did not work well. The reason was that the commitment to that level of involvement was
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