The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): My Lords, the Government support young people wishing to enter the creative industries at all levels through apprenticeships, careers advice, degree courses and business start-up schemes. We are expanding apprenticeships, including those in the creative industries, and the National Skills Academy for Creative and Cultural Skills has been successful in increasing career opportunities for young people.
Baroness Jones of Whitchurch: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply. Does she acknowledge the significant contribution that the creative industries make to our economy, with over 1.3 million jobs in the sector? Does she agree with the recent CBI report that, despite the progress that has already been made, there is a need for many more flexible apprenticeships in this sector? What are the Government doing to address the fact that informal social networks and unpaid internships are helping children from affluent backgrounds to gain jobs in the sector at the expense of those less well connected?
Baroness Wilcox: I thank the noble Baroness for her question. I share her view of the importance of the creative and cultural industries. As she has pointed out, the exports alone are worth £17 billion a year and many jobs are created. When I sat down and started working out exactly what the answers were on this Question, I was amazed at just how much is going on. The Government are committed to expanding apprenticeships in this sector, which often relies on self-employed and contract work. We are providing flexibility in the delivery of apprenticeships to allow for those legitimate variations in working practice. We have to bear in mind what we are taking on, from the poet in the attic to the blockbuster moviemakers. It is a very varied group of people.
On the noble Baroness's third question, we should ensure that all young people can get work experience or jobs based on merit to ensure the best possible talent base for the country. We have already asked employers to improve access to internships, and the
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The Earl of Clancarty: My Lords, if the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, had used the term "arts" instead of "creative industries" in the Question to address what would really have been the same concern, will the Minister confirm that it would likely have been answered by the noble Baroness, Lady Rawlings, on behalf of quite another department? Can the Minister elaborate on what is likely to be the future balance of involvement and the nature of the dialogue between the culture, education and business departments regarding encouraging the arts and young people into the arts?
Baroness Wilcox: My noble friend talks of crafts. There are so many words to describe the subject of this Question, but the word "crafts" springs to mind. My father was himself a craftsman. What are we doing? We are making over 200 new apprenticeship schemes available and we are speaking with schools to ensure that our careers advice encourages all these craft skills for children who have those wonderful talents but maybe feel at this stage that this will not get them a job. We have to ensure that as we in this country go forward, all our children's talents get used.
Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury: My Lords, the creative industries need creative people and creativity needs to be nurtured. The new EBacc contains no creative element at all, and it appears to be stopping young people from pursuing subjects such as art, design and computer science. Our thriving creative industries are already seeing a skills shortage. Will the Minister explain why the Government continue to refuse to revise their position on the EBacc? If they do not, the skills shortage will only get worse.
Baroness Wilcox: I am happy to answer this question. We are slimming down the curriculum in ways that enable us to spread the accessible required needs for just the things that my noble friend is talking about.
Lord Howarth of Newport: Would young people not be better assisted in pursuing careers in the creative industries if the Government were to abandon their policy of disadvantaging teaching and research in the humanities in their funding of universities?
Lord Foster of Bishop Auckland: Does the Minister realise that the creative industries were one of the most rapidly growing sectors throughout the north-east of England and that all five of the universities there have had a very fine record and are producing some first-class graduates? Is it not a tragedy that the whole of this sector is severely cutting back in employment because of the Government's economic strategy?
Lord Lawson of Blaby: While associating myself entirely with the important question asked a moment ago by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chester, perhaps I may say that I have had a large number of children, some of whom are in what I believe is known as the creative industries, and it never occurred to me to ask the Government for advice on what career they should pursue. Since when has it been the Government's job to do that?
Baroness Wilcox: I think that it is now being recognised that the skills and talents that will take this country forward are very broad. We are already extremely successful in the creative industries and, as the noble Baroness who asked the Question emphasised, we really should be encouraging them. This Government are determined to do so.
Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, will the Government make maximum use of the Cultural Olympiad and the festival of culture next year as a lever to gain the maximum benefit for our youngsters in the future? Quite a lot of money-about £97 million, as I understand it, much of it private, as is correct-is already there. Will she assure the House that we are getting the maximum leverage from that for our youngsters?
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): My Lords, the Government aim to help teachers to promote good
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Lord Collins of Highbury: I welcome the Minister's response. However, we need more than just words; we need tools to do the job. Will the Minister therefore give an undertaking that Ofsted will investigate how schools respond to homophobic bullying when visiting them in future?
Lord Hill of Oareford: Without wishing to be too prescriptive about everything that Ofsted will look for, as the noble Lord will know the whole purpose of our slimming down the inspection framework for Ofsted to concentrate on four core areas-including behaviour and safety-is precisely so that they have more time to look for the kind of issues that the noble Lord is concerned about. The framework that we are putting in place will sharpen the focus on behaviour and the way in which Ofsted looks for bullying of all kinds.
Lord Laming: Will the Minister reassure the House that the issue of bullying, including homophobic bullying, is part of teacher training? Ofsted inspections are fine but are only once every few years, whereas teachers are there every day. Their training therefore ought to emphasise the importance of identifying this behaviour very early on, and the skills to deal with it.
Lord Hill of Oareford: I agree with the noble Lord. He may know that some proposed new standards for qualifications have been published today by a group that has been advising the department. Those standards will then work through to what the initial teacher training providers provide. However, the noble Lord is obviously right; we want to make sure that teachers responsible for classrooms are properly and broadly trained in maintaining a good environment in which to learn, which will include an important focus on maintaining order and discipline and trying to minimise bullying.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I am most grateful to the Leader of the House. The Minister invested in his Answer considerable confidence in Ofsted inspections, but he will know that in Clause 39 of the Education Bill, which is currently going through your Lordships' House, the Secretary of State is taking powers to categorise classes of school that will no longer have to receive regular Ofsted inspections. What is the logic of removing schools from those regular inspections, given the problem of bullying that has been reflected here today? It is also known that a considerable proportion of category 1 schools are reduced in category on subsequent inspections.
Lord Hill of Oareford: The objective of the Bill, as in a number of areas, is to try to have a proportionate approach to inspection that is backed up by safeguards. I recognise that schools in an outstanding category can fall out of it, which is why Ofsted will have powers to carry on not only thematic assessments but risk assessments. Any member of the public or local authorities who have concerns of the sort that the noble Lord raises will be able to go to Ofsted and ask for an inspection.
Baroness Hussein-Ece: My Lords, a few years ago when I was a councillor, I chaired a scrutiny review into the wider issue of bullying. We found that where there is evidence of homophobic bullying, there is often a wider issue in the social environment of the school of bullying in general against children with disabilities and other issues. Does the Minister agree that schools should use organisations such as Beatbullying to combat cyberbullying on Facebook and that sort of thing, which is now very widespread and insidious? Does he also agree that we need greater consistency in standards in schools, including in state-funded faith schools where this is often a difficult subject, and of course academies?
Lord Hill of Oareford: I agree very much that specialist organisations of the sort to which my noble friend refers can play an important part. I also agree about the dangers to children-and, indeed, to staff-of cyberbullying, which is a growing problem. That is one of the reasons why the Government are proposing measures in the Education Bill to tackle that problem. On faith schools, my note of slight caution to my noble friend is that one has to be very careful in making generalisations about whole categories of school. Nearly one-third of the schools in our country are faith schools. Many of them have outstanding records on behaviour, discipline and their work in promoting community cohesion. However, I agree with my noble friend's underlying point that one needs as much outside help as one can to tackle these problems thoroughly and consistently.
Lord Tebbit: My Lords, can my noble friend tell me when this problem arose? It did not happen when I was at school, or I suspect when many of us in this House were at school. What has precipitated it?
Lord Hill of Oareford: The truth is linked to the earlier point raised by my noble friend Lady Knight. Bullying comes in many forms. Types, categories, natures and methods of bullying change over time. When my noble friend Lord Tebbit was at school, homophobic bullying may well not have been an issue. However, it is more of an issue today.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): To support the NHS in improving outcomes, NICE has published a quality standard for diabetes, providing an authoritative definition of good-quality care and building on the existing national service framework. This year, the NHS operating framework specifically highlights the need to do more to improve in-patient care for people with diabetes, the availability of structured education and retinopathy screening for everyone with diabetes, and access to therapies, including insulin pumps.
Lord Morris of Manchester: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Earl for that Answer. Is he aware that 1.4 million people with diabetes are now at risk of preventable blindness, over a million of kidney disease, and up to 8,600 a year of having a foot amputated due to delayed diagnosis and treatment; and that doctors of distinction in this specialty insist that, with adequate resources, they could do much more to maximise prevention and treatment? Knowing as I do the depth of the Minister's own concern for this policy area, when does he expect to be able to announce specific new measures to help the rapidly increasing number of children afflicted?
Earl Howe: My Lords, Ministers often express thanks to those noble Lords who table Questions but I owe a particular debt to the noble Lord, Lord Morris, for highlighting one of the greatest public health challenges of our time. He is absolutely right in all that he has said. I alight particularly on his point about prevention. We are committed to preventing type 2 diabetes. All our work on promoting an active lifestyle and tackling obesity will support that aim. The NHS Health Check programme has the potential to prevent many cases of type 2 diabetes and, as the noble Lord said, to identify thousands more cases earlier in their development. The Change4Life programme-the campaign that started
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Lord Walton of Detchant: My Lords, the Minister has indicated that there is a clear positive correlation between the rising incidence of type 2 diabetes on the one hand and the rising incidence of obesity on the other. What action are the Government taking to advise the population at large of the dangers of overeating?
Earl Howe: I have already mentioned the Change4Life programme, which is designed to raise awareness across a number of public health areas, including obesity and overeating. I think also of the Healthy Schools programme, which instils the need to eat healthily and take exercise in youngsters at an early age. As the noble Lord will know, there is no magic bullet for the problem of obesity. It is something that must be addressed in a variety of ways through public health programmes and general practice.
Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, does the Minister agree that foot ulceration precedes 85 per cent of amputations? A study in Southampton showed that, by keeping people in hospital and treating them well through preventing foot ulcers, over 36 months not only did patient outcomes improve but the National Health Service saved £1.2 million in in-patient time.
Earl Howe: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend. I have an astonishing figure in my brief. On average, 73 amputations of lower limbs occur every week in England because of complications to do with diabetes. It is estimated that, with the right care, 80 per cent of amputations carried out on patients suffering from diabetes would be preventable. That is the scale of the challenge. We are clear that this is a major issue for diabetes. NICE has published guidelines on in-patient management of people with diabetic foot ulcers and infection. That is vital because amputations are often preceded by ulceration. That is also why the national clinical director for diabetes considers diabetic foot care and prevention to be a major priority.
Lord Harrison: My Lords, will the Minister give an assurance that the retinopathy screening that was introduced by the previous Labour Government, and which has been so successful, will continue apace to match his own ambition of ensuring prevention by identifying diabetic disease of the eye at an early stage?
Earl Howe: The noble Lord, Lord Harrison, is quite right. England, along with the devolved Administrations, leads the world in this area. It is the first time that a population-based screening programme has been introduced on such a large scale. We are committed to continuing it. More people with diabetes are now being offered retinopathy screening than ever before and to higher standards, despite the increasing
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Lord Rennard: My Lords, is the Minister aware that people with diabetes are twice as likely to be admitted to hospital as people without diabetes? Will he undertake to look at best-practice models, such as that of the University Hospitals of Leicester, where diabetes specialist nurses have been stationed in the accident and emergency department and are able, in many cases, to advise against admission to hospital and provide more appropriate treatment and support? This is believed to have saved the University Hospitals of Leicester around £100,000. Diabetes UK estimates that, if rolled out nationally, such good practice might save the NHS up to £100 million a year.
Earl Howe: My Lords, I am aware of that excellent beacon of good practice in Leicester, which is an example that we welcome. It is an approach that is already being taken in other parts of the country. The NICE quality standard for diabetes states that people who have the condition, and who have experienced hypoglycaemia that requires medical attention, should be referred to a specialist diabetes team for advice and support to reduce admissions in exactly the way that my noble friend described.
Earl Attlee: My Lords, the competition for the Thameslink trains was designed and launched in 2008 in accordance with EU treaty obligations and UK public procurement regulations. I am satisfied that the proper process as originally advised to the bidders has been complied with. Both bids have been treated equitably and fairly in the process. The Siemens bid demonstrated that it offered better value for money against the published criteria and consequently the Government will not be reviewing the decision.
Lord Kennedy of Southwark: I thank the noble Earl for his response. When the Prime Minister and his colleagues came to Derby recently we heard lots about supporting engineering and manufacturing and creating jobs, but there is a wide gap between the words and the deeds. Why were the credit ratings of the two companies such a determining factor? This decision means that the last train maker in the UK-a maker of quality products and inward investor to this country-and the
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Earl Attlee: My Lords, it is not for me to comment on the ability of bidders to raise the finance. However, the model selected by the previous Administration is a good one and we support it. It is important to remember that the Siemens bid will also create employment in the UK, although I have to accept that it will not be as much.
"Over the months ... we have been waiting for the decision, I personally lobbied the Secretary of State for Transport ... Unfortunately, he told me every ... time that I was not to worry because Bombardier was fine ... as the company had lots of orders and would have no problem going forward. That is clearly not the case, so he misread the situation. I hope that he feels somewhat apologetic about the decision".-[Official Report, Commons, 12/7/11; col. 10WH.]
That statement by the Conservative MP gives the game away. If the Secretary of State will not review the decision, what will he now do in negotiations with Siemens as the preferred bidder to maximise the number of additional jobs that it creates in this country to compensate for the thousands of jobs that will be lost in Derby and elsewhere in the rail supply chain as a result of the complacency and misjudgment which have now been revealed by one of his own MPs to have been behind the Secretary of State's decision?
Earl Attlee: My Lords, any job losses are highly regrettable. However, Bombardier has previously advised the department that it expected to make redundancies at this time regardless of the outcome of the Thameslink procurement order as Bombardier's Derby factory is currently operating at peak capacity and several of these orders come to an end later this year. Noble Lords will know that there are several other rolling stock procurement contracts in the offing.
Baroness Kramer: My Lords, as I am sure the Minister will agree, it is crucial that we keep in this country the engineering skills to design and build trains. Are there any planned negotiations with Siemens and Hitachi to bring those kinds of jobs to the UK? In the case of Bombardier, has he considered extending some of its existing contracts, for example to provide electrical units to the train sets it has already built, and that are much needed on the Great Western, Northern and Southern lines and would help preserve that skill base in this country?
Earl Attlee: My Lords, on the last point, I am not sighted on that, but I will write to the noble Baroness if I have anything to add. There is an issue about the capacity for Bombardier to design rolling stock in the UK, but it is a matter for that company whether or not it maintains a capacity.
Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, are the Government aware that under the EU treaties there is no enforceable sanction against a country that refuses
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Earl Attlee: My Lords, the United Kingdom has never been fined in respect of an EU infraction and Her Majesty's Government have no intention of allowing that to happen. I hope that the noble Lord fully accepts the benefits of competition. It would be most peculiar to keep accepting bids that were not competitive.
Lord Broers: Does the Minister agree with me that this is just a symptom of a long-term problem whereby we have failed to co-ordinate our R&D expenditures, our government procurement and our encouragement of industry to put itself in a competitive position? We really must co-ordinate these things across the board so that our bid is clearly the strongest. I declare my interest as chairman of the Transport Knowledge Transfer Network of the Technology Strategy Board, which is trying to do these things but with precious little resource.
Earl Attlee: My Lords, the noble Lord makes an extremely good point. Another point concerns the need to schedule work such as rolling stock and other projects in order to avoid a situation of feast and famine. The McNulty report addresses that issue.
"(c) at the material time, the defendant was not a constable acting in the course of his duty.""
Lord Thomas of Gresford: My Lords, the purpose of my amendment is to amend Section 329 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 to exclude civil proceedings against the police for trespass against the person occasioned during an arrest. Section 329 was designed to cover a situation where an individual harms another while that other is attempting to commit a crime
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Under Section 329 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the defendant has a defence to proceedings brought by the injured offender if he believed that the offender was about to commit an offence, was in the course of committing an offence or had committed an offence and that the defendant's actions were necessary to defend himself or another person, protect or recover property, prevent or stop the offence or catch or secure the conviction of the offender, but only if his action was not grossly disproportionate. In other words, it was designed to protect the householder who reacted instinctively against an intruder into his home and injured that person, so that no suit could lie in the civil courts unless the force used was completely disproportionate. Unfortunately, it appears that only the police have taken advantage of Section 329 when they injure an individual in the course of arresting him.
When a police officer arrests an individual, he may, in the historic development of the common law, use no more force than is reasonable. That was replaced by Section 329 which requires only that the police do not use "grossly disproportionate" force in arresting and that arrests are not in bad faith, even though they may be entirely unreasonable. In the Adorian case, Anthony Adorian suffered injuries in being arrested which were so severe that the force medical examiner concluded that he was unfit to be detained. His class of injury is associated with head-on car crashes or falls from a significant height, but the claimant, Adorian, had been walking at the moment of arrest and, as the judge said in his decision,
Nobody thought that Section 329 would be used by police who had used unreasonable force in effecting the arrest of an individual. So there is a mismatch between criminal and civil proceedings as far as the police are concerned. It is a defence to a criminal charge of assaulting a police officer to show that you are protecting yourself against unreasonable force on the part of the police. In that situation, the police cannot argue that although the force was unreasonable, it was not grossly excessive. That is on the criminal side. But if the same person who had been arrested unreasonably by the police tried to sue them for civil trespass to the person, the police could and do rely on Section 329 and will succeed unless the claimant shows not that their actions were unreasonable-that an unreasonable amount of force had been used-but that that their actions were grossly disproportionate. In other words, a test to be applied for the householder defending himself against intruders has only been utilised, as far as research can pinpoint it, by the police to defend themselves against civil cases.
Ordinary people may be given some leeway for honest and instinctive overreaction when they are protecting or defending themselves or another from a crime, but a police officer, who is trained in the use of force, must be required to justify his or her actions objectively and to use no more force in effecting an arrest than is reasonably necessary. It should be a different standard. I was involved in a case in Trinidad, where a police officer who had produced a gun and shot two individuals at a riot at a fête argued provocation. The prosecution in that case said, "Well, of course, you are a trained police officer. You should not react to unarmed civilians, even if they are threatening you, by producing a gun and shooting them".
Amendment 244A would amend Section 329 to remedy a classic example of unintended consequences and to restore the position that a trespass against the person occurring in the course of an arrest by a police officer must be objectively justified, and that no more force must be used than reasonably necessary. Otherwise, as has happened for centuries, the arrested person should be able to bring a claim for damages. The amendment would add a new paragraph (c) to Section 329(1) that would effectively exclude a constable acting in the course of his duty from relying on the test intended for the householder. I beg to move.
Lord Bach: My Lords, I can be very brief and start by saying how grateful the House should be to the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, for explaining this amendment so clearly. We support the amendment. It seems sensible; and it seems equally sensible for the Government, when a sensible amendment is put before them, to react favourably. It would cost them nothing
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I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Browning, for having sent a letter to all interested parties on 24 June, included in which is a part that addresses this particular issue. She argued that no formal consultation had taken place between the police and the Government although there had been some informal consultation. She suggested that the Government would not give way on this amendment but we will wait for the noble Lord, Lord Wallace, to answer for the Government. If the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, were minded to push this extremely sensible amendment to a vote, we would support it.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, this amendment is near identical to one tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Lester, during Committee stage of this Bill, and to which we gave a fairly full response at the time, so I will be brief. We promised the noble Lord in my response at the time that we would give the matter further consideration. Having done so, I am afraid that the advice we have received is that we remain unconvinced that we want to make an amendment that would make it easier for a convicted offender to sue the police for damages until we hear good answers to the questions and issues that I mentioned in Committee and which I will not repeat here.
We have looked at this again and take the view that the previous Government also took when the issue was raised in 2009. The House should be very clear that Section 329 does not give the police carte blanche to use disproportionate force. They are still subject to the criminal law which permits only reasonable force. All that Section 329 does is raise the bar by making it more difficult for criminals to get financial benefit from situations where they were the ones committing an imprisonable offence. It is reasonable and fair to treat a person who holds the office of constable in the same way for these purposes as any other member of the public. We should not rush to the assumption that it is an unintended consequence for the police to enjoy the protection of Section 329. As I have suggested, the police will inevitably be the people most likely to be able to invoke Section 329, given that their job involves confronting people who are in the course of committing imprisonable offences. The text of Section 329 supports this since subsection (5) specifically extends the protection to people who believe their act was necessary to
I therefore remain unconvinced that an amendment to Section 329 of the 2003 Act in the way proposed by the noble Lord is the right way forward. I hope that after the reassurance that we have again considered this issue the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.
Lord Thomas of Gresford: I note that my noble friend Lord Lester raised this matter in the Policing and Crime Bill 2009, and that at that stage undertakings
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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): My Lords, the government amendments to Schedule 14 correct a number of drafting errors that have come to light during the passage of the Bill. The changes are necessary in order to ensure that the changes to the existing police complaints legislation work properly. I assure noble Lords that in the main they are technical, drafting points that, for example, correct incorrect numbering and add consequential amendments that were missed. I realise that there are other amendments for debate in this group. I beg to move.
Baroness Doocey: My Lords, I will speak to Amendment 256 in this group. Before doing so, I apologise to the House that I may be unable to stay until the end of the debate. I have to attend a special meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority where the commissioner is coming to answer questions about the events surrounding the various police investigations into the News of the World.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: I apologise to my noble friend Lady Doocey and I am most grateful to her for allowing me to intervene. This is the first time that I have heard a Member move their amendment and say that they might not be here at the end of the debate. Clearly, the Minister has to be in a position to respond to my noble friend. Perhaps she will consider her position and either continue and undertake to remain until the end of the debate on the amendment, or perhaps ask one of her very able colleagues to move the amendment on her behalf. I am concerned that we should not deviate from the normal practices of the House. I think that the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, may be about to offer her assistance.
Baroness Hamwee: I hope that I can reassure the House. In discussions with my noble friend, neither of us realised that we would reach this group quite so soon. My noble friend should be able to be here until well after we have got through this group-unless she is going to take an hour and a half, in which case there will be other problems.
Baroness Doocey: I apologise to the House if I have got it wrong yet again and I thank my noble friend Lady Hamwee. My amendment relates to the handling of complaints against senior police officers in London. The Bill proposes that responsibility for complaints against senior ACPO officers-that is, officers below the rank of deputy commissioner-should be moved from the Metropolitan Police Authority to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. My concern is not that this would make the commissioner responsible for employing, promoting and disciplining officers-I do not have a major problem with that-but that it would also make him responsible for sackings and, crucially, for hearing appeals against his own rulings. It would remove all the elements of independence and transparency that the Metropolitan Police Authority currently provides and would in effect make the commissioner judge, jury and executioner.
The proposals are deeply flawed because they concentrate too much power in the hands of the commissioner without any proper checks and balances. There is also no effective framework to safeguard impartiality. I am aware of the Government's response to the argument. They argue that it is commonplace for complaints to be decided within an organisation rather than by an external arbiter. However, this fails to appreciate that police officers are in a unique position. They are officers of the Crown who have the power to detain members of the public and to take away their freedom through arrest. Consequently, there is no valid analogy with how other organisations-even the Armed Forces-deal with complaints, conduct, dismissals and appeals. It is in the interest of the police that they should be able to demonstrate an independent element in the assessment of the seriousness and reputational risks of allegations made against their most senior ranks. The Bill envisages allowing appeals to the IPCC, but only at the end of the process. That is no substitute for an independent review of whether standards of conduct may have fallen below those that the outside world would recognise as proper.
Lack of independence also creates another problem. A very likely consequence of the new system is an increase in the number of complaints against the commissioner for failing properly to investigate complaints against ACPO officers under his command. If those making complaints against a senior officer feel that the issue has not been properly or sufficiently well dealt with in the first instance, they will almost certainly lodge a complaint against the chief officer. The whole rigmarole in turn creates an increased possibility of legal challenge.
I believe there is a more fundamental problem. In any closed institution, such as the police, it is common for custom and practice to become entrenched. An independent element is vital to provide a counterbalance
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Since the Bill abolishes the Metropolitan Police Authority, the purpose of my amendment is to restore equivalent safeguards to the new arrangements. The amendment would, within London, make the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime the relevant appeals body. It is also essential that the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime has statutory access to all information and systems where complaints are recorded. Without this, the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime will be totally reliant on the commissioner advising it of complaint or conduct matters. It would also be unable to discharge the functions proposed in the Bill to ensure that chief constables have fulfilled their duty in the handling of such complaints. The Government's proposals do no favours to the PCC. They expose him or her to accusations-unjustified, one would hope-of conflict of interest, bias and favouritism. This amendment would avoid these pitfalls without in any way affecting the proper authority of the PCC and the correct limits to his or her discretion. I therefore commend this amendment as a means of preserving the necessary elements of independence, transparency and impartiality. I beg to move.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath:Iunderstand the thrust of the noble Baroness's argument, but it is interesting that in her amendment she seems to be proposing that outside the Metropolitan Police area the chief constable still carries out that function. I wonder why she has not amended the situation outside London. The logic of what she is saying is that if it is the MOPC in relation to the Metropolitan Police area, it would presumably be the police and crime commissioner who would do the same thing in other areas. I should be grateful if she would clarify that point for me.
Baroness Doocey: I can only plead ignorance and apologise. My amendment was meant specifically to deal with London and I do not think I was sufficiently good at checking that the final version of the amendment dealt just with London. I crave your Lordships' indulgence.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: I am very grateful to the noble Baroness for that. She has raised an important matter of principle and it will be interesting to see what response the Minister gives. If it were a sympathetic response, in which we had an opportunity at Third Reading to discuss this again, she might wish to look at the wording of the amendment. That depends on the Minister.
Lord Shipley: My Lords, I have a query in relation to Amendment 245. A number of years ago, I was a member of the complaints committee of Northumbria Police Authority. I well remember being advised that every complaint that was written down was provided to the committee to see, whether or not it was regarded as spurious and whether or not action had been taken or was going to be taken. We were given all the original correspondence and a summary of the action that had been or would be taken. That system seemed to work well.
However, I would appreciate the Minister's clarification on a point in the Bill. Paragraph 8(2) of Schedule 14 to the Bill substitutes paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 3 to the Police Reform Act 2002 with a new sub-paragraph which states:
It is not clear to me, but it may be made clear by regulations or other means, what the definition of "exceptional circumstances" is. Years ago, I was in a position where every complaint was written down and was provided to the complaints committee. We need to be reassured that a structure is not being created whereby complaints made are simply not acted upon because there are deemed to be exceptional circumstances that justify there being no further progress on them.
Baroness Browning: My noble friend's amendment would mean that the responsibility for dealing with appeals in relation to low-level complaints against the Metropolitan Police would be handled by the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime rather than the responsibility resting with the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. While the Government recognise that giving the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime responsibility for dealing with appeals against the handling of low-level complaints is one way of providing some independent scrutiny of such matters, we are not persuaded that the duty to consider individual appeals should rest with the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
It is commonplace for complaints to be decided-as the noble Baroness said, because I think she has heard me say this before-within an organisation rather than by an external arbiter. In practice, the chief officer will not be hearing an appeal against his own decision. The duties will be delegated so that, for example, the initial decision is taken by the line manager of the officer complained against and the appeal is conducted by the professional standards directorate. A complainant who feels that an appeal has not been properly considered will have further routes of redress, first to the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime,
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The Government consider that these safeguards are sufficient and achieve the same effect as this amendment suggests. Further, we are concerned that giving the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime responsibility for hearing all low-level complaints against the Metropolitan Police would place a significant burden on the office and distract it from its core duties of securing the maintenance of an efficient and effective force and holding the commissioner to account for the exercise of his or her functions.
As a final point, the amendment would mean, as the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, has already identified to my noble friend, that the police complaints regime would operate differently in London from the rest of England and Wales where low-level appeals would remain the responsibility of the chief constable.
With regard to the interpretation of "exceptional circumstances" raised by my noble friend Lord Shipley, rather than giving a detailed explanation off the top of my head, I will take advice and write to him about it. I hope that will be of help to the House. On this basis, I hope that my noble friend will not press her amendment.
(a) in section 12(2) (complaints, matters and persons to which Part 2 applies), omit ", paragraph 2(4) of Schedule 3";
(b) in section 29(1) (interpretation of Part 2), omit paragraph (b) of the definition of "recordable conduct matter"."
(a) that the appropriate authority has decided to handle the complaint as permitted by sub-paragraph (1) (in a case where the appropriate authority is not required to apply for permission under sub-paragraph (1A) to so handle the complaint); or
(b) about the making of the application under sub-paragraph (1A) (in a case where the appropriate authority makes such an application)."."
(a) for "Commission" (in the first three places) substitute "relevant appeal body";
(b) for "considers appropriate, the Commission shall" substitute "considers appropriate-
(a) sub-paragraph (9ZA) applies if the Commission is the relevant appeal body; or
(b) sub-paragraph (9ZB) applies if the chief officer of police is the relevant appeal body.
(9ZA) The Commission shall-"
"(9ZB) The chief officer of police shall take such action as the chief officer thinks appropriate in relation to the bringing of disciplinary proceedings in respect of the matters dealt with in the report.
1 (1) At the relevant commencement time a person who, immediately before that time, is in post as the existing chief officer of the police force for a police area becomes the new chief officer of that police force.
(2) Where a person has, prior to the relevant commencement time, accepted an appointment as the existing chief officer of the police force for a police area which is to come into effect at a time (the "effective time") which falls at or after the relevant commencement time, that appointment is to take effect at the effective time as an appointment as the new chief officer of that police force.
2 At the relevant commencement time, all rights and liabilities which immediately before that time were rights and liabilities of the existing chief officer of the police force for a police area are to transfer to the new chief officer of that police force.Relevant legislative provisions"
(a) in relation to a police area listed in Schedule 1 to the Police Act 1996, the time when section 3 comes into force in relation to that area;
(b) in relation to the metropolitan police district, the time when section 5 comes into force.Part 1AInitial transfer from police authoritiesTransfer of property, rights and liabilities
3B (1) At the relevant commencement time, all property, rights and liabilities which immediately before that time were property, rights and liabilities of the existing police authority for a police area are to transfer to, and by virtue of this paragraph vest in, the new policing body for that police area.
3C (1) Subject to sub-paragraphs (5) and (6), this paragraph applies to any person who immediately before the relevant commencement time is a member of the staff of the existing police authority for a police area (the "existing employer").
(2) A contract of employment between a person to whom this paragraph applies and the existing employer is to have effect from the relevant commencement time as if originally made between that person and the new policing body for the police area in relation to which the existing employer was established (the "new employer").
(3) Sub-paragraph (2) does not break the continuity of a person's employment and accordingly such a person's period of employment with the existing employer counts as a period of employment with the new employer for the purposes of the Employment Rights Act 1996
(a) all the existing employer's rights, powers, duties and liabilities under or in connection with a contract to which that sub-paragraph applies are by virtue of this paragraph transferred to the new employer at the relevant commencement time; and
(b) anything done before that date by or in relation to the existing employer in respect of that contract or the employee shall be deemed from that date to have been done by or in relation to the new employer.
(5) Sub-paragraphs (2) to (4) are without prejudice to any right of a member of staff to terminate the contract of employment if a substantial change is made to the person's detriment in the person's working conditions; but no such right arises by reason only of the change in employer effected by this paragraph.
(a) has, prior to the relevant commencement time, entered into a contract of employment with an existing police authority which is to come into effect at or after that time; and
(b) would, if the contract had come into effect before that date, have been a person to whom this paragraph applies,
that person is to be treated as a person to whom this paragraph applies.
(a) is to have, for the purpose mentioned in sub-paragraph (2), relevant powers to arrange for the new chief officer of the police force for that area to discharge functions of that body; and
(b) must exercise those powers for the purpose mentioned in sub-paragraph (2).
(3) Any arrangements made in compliance with section 15(2) of the Police Act 1996 between the existing police authority for a police area and the existing chief officer of the police force for that area which are in force immediately before the relevant time are to have effect at and after that time as if made under this paragraph between the new policing body for that area and the new chief officer of that police force.
(a) immediately before the relevant commencement time, is a police civilian member of the staff of an existing police authority, and
(b) at that time becomes a member of the staff of the new policing body for a police area by virtue of paragraph 3C.
(a) employed as a police civilian member of that staff, and
(b) under the direction and control of the new chief officer of the police for that area.
(6) Sub-paragraph (5) does not prevent the new policing body from making arrangements with the person for the person to cease to be a police civilian member of staff of that body (whether or not the person remains a member of the staff of that body).
(a) with any member of the staff the body who is not a police civilian member of staff to become a police civilian member of that staff, or
(b) with a person who is not a member of that body's staff to become a police civilian member of that staff.
(a) replacing police civilian members of staff of the existing police authority for that area who did not become members of the staff of the new policing body in accordance with paragraph 3C;
(b) replacing police civilian members of staff of the new policing body who have ceased to be police civilian members of staff of that body otherwise than by virtue of a transfer scheme under Part 2 of this Schedule; or
(c) to supplement the police civilian members of staff of the new policing body.
(a) any provision included in a collaboration agreement under section 22A of the Police Act 1996, and
(b) section 24(3A) of that Act (aid of one police force by another).
(a) "relevant powers" means powers corresponding to those conferred by sections 101 and 107 of the Local Government Act 1972 on police authorities established under section 3 of the Police Act 1996;
(b) references to a police civilian member of staff of an existing police authority or a new policing body are references to a member of the staff of that authority or body who is employed solely to assist the police force maintained by that authority or body;
(c) the chief officers' powers of direction and control referred to include powers of engagement and dismissal.Seconded staff
3E In the case of a person who, immediately before the relevant commencement time, is seconded to the existing police authority for a police area, the secondment is to have effect, after that time, as a secondment to the new policing body for that police area.Interpretation
(a) in relation to a police area listed in Schedule 1 to the Police Act 1996, the time when section 1 comes into force in relation to that area;
(b) in relation to the metropolitan police district, the time when section 4 comes into force.Part 2Subsequent transfer by new policing bodyPower to direct new policing body to make transfer scheme
(a) to modify a transfer scheme made by that body, and
(b) to submit such a scheme to the Secretary of State for approval.
(a) references to paragraph 4(1)(b) have effect as references to sub-paragraph (1)(b) of this paragraph;
(b) references to the making of a scheme have effect as references to the modification of a scheme;
(c) references to a scheme have effect as references to a scheme as modified.
(a) the authority does not comply with a direction given to it under sub-paragraph (1), or
(b) the Secretary of State decides not to approve the modified scheme submitted by the body.
(a) ceases to be a member of the staff of an existing police authority, and
(b) becomes a member of the staff of a new policing body.
(a) continues to be a member of the staff of the new policing body, and
(b) carries out duties which are the same, or substantially the same, as the duties the person carried out as a member of the staff of the existing police authority."
"(1A) The replacement of an existing chief officer, the transfer or abolition of the functions of an existing chief officer, and the transfer of the rights and liabilities of an existing chief officer, do not affect anything done before the replacement, transfer or abolition.
15A (1) Subsections (2) to (8) of section 414 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (foreign property, rights and liabilities: perfection of vesting) apply in any case where a transfer by or under this Act provides for the transfer of foreign property, rights or liabilities.
(a) references to a transfer or pension instrument have effect as references to the transfer by or under this Act; and
(b) references to the transferor and the transferee are to be construed accordingly.Transfers: supplementary provision
(a) property, rights and liabilities that would not otherwise be capable of being transferred, or
(b) rights and liabilities under enactments.
(a) property, rights and liabilities that would not otherwise be capable of being transferred, or
(b) rights and liabilities under enactments.
(3) No right of reverter, right of pre-emption, right of forfeiture, right of re-entry, right to compensation, option or similar right affecting any land or other property shall operate or become exercisable as a result of any transfer of land or other property by virtue of a statutory transfer or a transfer scheme (whether or not any consent required to the transfer has been obtained).
(4) No right to terminate or vary a contract or instrument shall operate or become exercisable, and no provision of a contract or relevant document, shall operate or become exercisable or be contravened, by reason of any transfer by virtue of a statutory transfer or a transfer scheme.
(a) the grant or creation of an estate or interest in, or right over, any land or other property, or
(b) the doing of any other thing in relation to land or other property,
as they have effect in relation to a transfer of land or other property.
(7) Where a transfer scheme makes provision for the apportionment or division between two or more persons of any rights or liabilities under a contract, the contract shall have effect, as from the coming into force of the provision, as if it constituted two or more separate contracts separately enforceable by and against each of those persons respectively as respects the part of the rights or liabilities which falls to that person as a result of the apportionment or division.
(a) any transfer of land or other property by virtue of the instrument,
(b) the grant or creation of any estate or interest in, or right over, any land or other property by virtue of the instrument, or
(c) the doing of any other thing in relation to land or other property by virtue of the instrument,
to be on such terms, including financial terms, as the person making the scheme thinks fit.
(9) The Secretary of State may by order confer on any body or person to whom property, rights or liabilities are transferred by a statutory transfer or transfer scheme any statutory functions which were previously exercisable in relation to that property, or those rights or liabilities, by the transferor.
(a) of existing police authorities, new policing bodies, existing chief officers, new chief officers and local authorities, and
(b) of the trustees or managers, or administrators, of any pension scheme,
to provide the Secretary of State with such information or assistance as the Secretary of State may reasonably require for the purposes of, or in connection with, the exercise of any powers exercisable by the Secretary of State in relation to a statutory transfer or a transfer scheme.
(11) Where any person is entitled, in consequence of any transfer made by virtue of a statutory transfer or transfer scheme, to possession of a document relating in part to the title to, or to the management of, any land or other property in England and Wales-
(a) the instrument may contain provision for treating that person as having given another person an acknowledgment in writing of the right of that other person to the production of the document and to delivery of copies thereof; and
(b) section 64 of the Law of Property Act 1925 (production and safe custody of documents) shall have effect accordingly, and on the basis that the acknowledgment did not contain any such expression of contrary intention as is mentioned in that section.
(a) any enactment, other than an enactment contained in this Act;
(b) any subordinate legislation made otherwise than under this Act; or
(c) any deed or other instrument;
267N: Schedule 15, page 171, line 10, leave out "the abolition of the existing police authorities" and insert "Part 1 of this Act (including provision that supplements or varies the provision made by this Schedule).
(a) amend, or otherwise modify, any enactment;
(b) make any provision that may be made by a transfer scheme under Part 2 of this Schedule (whether the provision in the order relates to that Part or Part 1A of this Schedule);
(c) provide for the new policing body for a police area to make any payment which-
(i) before a day specified in the order could have been made out of the police fund of the existing police authority for that area, but
(ii) is not a liability which is transferred to the new policing body by virtue of Part 1A of this Schedule;
(d) provide for a new chief officer or a local authority to which property, rights or liabilities of a new policing body are, or are to be, transferred by virtue of a transfer scheme under Part 1A of this Schedule to make any payment which-
(i) before a day specified in the order could have been made out of the police fund of that new policing body, but
(ii) is not a liability which could be transferred by virtue of such a transfer scheme;
(e) make provision in relation to the accounts and audit of-
(i) existing police authorities, and
(ii) new policing bodies.
(a) amend, or otherwise modify, any enactment relating to the accounts and audit of public bodies in its application to-
(i) an existing police authority and the financial year in which that authority is abolished, or
(ii) a new policing body and the financial year in which that body is established;
(b) provide for the Secretary of State to give directions as to action to be taken in relation to the accounts and audit of-
(i) an existing police authority in relation to the financial year in which that authority is abolished, or
(ii) a new policing body in relation to the financial year in which that body is established;
(c) provide for a person who, in acting in accordance with such a direction, fails to comply with a code of practice or other document relating to proper accounting practice to be taken not to have so failed to comply."
""existing chief officer" means-
(a) in relation to a police area listed in Schedule 1 to the Police Act 1996, the chief constable of the police force for that area before the coming into force of section 3 of this Act in relation to that area;
(b) in relation to the metropolitan police district, the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis immediately before the coming into force of section 5;"
""new chief officer" means-
(a) in relation to a police area listed in Schedule 1 to the Police Act 1996, the chief constable established for that police area under section 3 of this Act;
(b) in relation to the metropolitan police district, the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis established under section 5;"
291: Schedule 16, page 200, line 7, after "Act)," insert "by a member of the civilian staff of a police force (within the meaning of that Part of that Act), by a member of the civilian staff of the metropolitan police force (within the meaning of that Part of that Act),"
"(i) in paragraph (a)(i), for "a senior officer, the police authority" substitute "the chief officer or a person exercising or performing functions of the chief officer in accordance with section 42 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, the local policing body";
(ii) in paragraph (a)(ii), for "a senior officer" substitute "the chief officer or a person so exercising or performing functions of the chief officer";
(iii) in paragraph (b)(i), for "a senior officer, the police authority" substitute "the chief officer or a person exercising or performing functions of the chief officer in accordance with section 42 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, the local policing body";
(iv) in paragraph (b)(ii), for "a senior officer" substitute "the chief officer or a person so exercising or performing functions of the chief officer";"
(i) for "police authority" substitute "local policing body";
(ii) for "the authority" substitute "the body";
(c) in sub-paragraph (6)(c), for "police authority" substitute "local policing body";
(d) in sub-paragraph (6), in the words after sub-paragraph (c), for "the authority" substitute "the body"."
"and to the person (if any) appointed as the deputy police and crime commissioner under section 19."
Lord Clement-Jones: My Lords, what a marathon. I wish to move Amendment 304A and speak to Amendments 304B and 304C. I return without apology to the subject of "appropriate" versus "necessary". The Bill reduces the evidence test for the attachment of licence conditions so that these are "appropriate" rather than "necessary". These amendments would delete these provisions from the Bill and retain the "necessary" test. In Committee, the noble Viscount,
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Review proceedings are quasi-judicial and designed to deal with infringements of the licensing regime, and have a wide range of penalties that are available to be deployed against the premises in question, from the imposition of new conditions restricting the operation of the premises to the suspension or even withdrawal of a licence. Licensing authorities are already able to impose conditions that they and other responsible bodies need in order to promote the licensing objectives without difficulty. In Committee, my noble friend the Minister claimed that "necessary" places a significant evidential burden on licensing authorities.
There is no evidence to suggest that local authorities find the evidential burden too restrictive and plenty of evidence from across the country to suggest that it is not a barrier to imposing tough trading conditions. For those that have experienced difficulties with a lack of representations being made by responsible authorities about problem premises, the Bill makes local authorities responsible authorities. This means that they will be able to tackle problem premises in their own right, not just rely on evidence supplied by other responsible authorities. The licensed trade asserts that the current "necessary" test has worked well and has ensured that conditions attached to licences are fair and address specific concerns, as opposed to being unfair and disproportionate. Where is the evidence to the contrary?
I understand from the Home Office that the plain English meaning of "appropriate" is "suitable". That seems far too subjective. How about "convenient" on that basis? In these circumstances, the substitution of "necessary" for "appropriate" would allow decisions to be taken on the grounds of, for example, political expediency or subjective judgment. My noble friend the Minister may say I am wrong and that this will not be the case, but how equipped will licensing authorities be to adopt the correct interpretation of "appropriate"? It has been confirmed that the Local Government Association has concerns in this respect. The fact that "appropriate" is not clearly defined in law, unlike "necessary", on which there is considerable case law, increases the likelihood of legal challenge and appeal.
"Necessary" is also a key component of the test of proportionality under the European Convention on Human Rights. I have given the Minister and her colleagues a copy of the analysis done by the licensed trade into the impact of the convention, and your Lordships will be glad to hear that I will not go into enormous detail at this stage. Article 1 of Protocol 1 of the ECHR provides for the "peaceful enjoyment" of possessions and states clearly that:
The Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill makes clear the importance of the "necessary" test to ECHR compliance in respect of licensing. It acknowledges
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It should be recognised that licence conditions impose additional costs and restrictions on business. The breach of a licence condition is a serious offence and carries a fine of £20,000. Surely such a penalty is too great in respect of conditions that are simply deemed "appropriate", yet the only right of appeal is judicial review, which is a long and expensive process. As I said in Committee, many different types of conditions could be considered appropriate for most if not all licensed premises, but would certainly not be necessary for the vast majority of them, which are well managed, responsible businesses.
Can the Minister give examples of conditions that could not be imposed as "necessary" but that could be imposed as "appropriate" and are important or vital to the welfare of residents and local neighbourhoods? By contrast, I can give many examples of a string of conditions, many of which might not be considered necessary but perhaps appropriate, having already been imposed by licensing authorities. I have with me a number of different licences, one of which is for a pub in Westminster; it has 24 conditions. I have a licence for a school in Norfolk that is not for the sale of alcohol but that has 48 conditions, while the winner of this particular prize is a licence for a take-away in Lichfield that has 64 conditions attached. So there is no shortage of powers to impose conditions of many kinds on these premises.
However, on the basis that the Government will nevertheless proceed with the change of test, the Minister promised in Committee revised statutory guidance on the interpretation of "appropriate". Will there be consultation on the contents of that guidance? If we are to change completely the basis on which conditions are assessed, that is absolutely crucial. There is still great uncertainty surrounding the changes sought by the Government, and I look forward to the Minister's reply. I beg to move.
Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, I joined in the debate on these two terms at the previous stage, and on rereading Hansard I wonder now even more than I did at the time how assessing whether something is appropriate could be evidence-based. If I were still a councillor having to decide whether a condition is appropriate, I do not think I could avoid it being a subjective judgment. My noble friend has referred to this. I also asked at the last stage whether the assessment had to be reasonable. If it is "appropriate" rather than "necessary", I assume that it would have to be, but the Minister very elegantly sidestepped that question. I do not blame her because I had not given her notice of it.
My final point refers to the statutory guidance, again just mentioned by my noble friend. We are not talking about a particular application, but licensing in general is a quasi-judicial activity. Perhaps this is not strictly quasi-judicial, but it comes quite close to it. I am concerned about the need to rely on guidance as distinct from primary legislation in the way this is approached.
Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: My Lords, my noble friend Lord Clement-Jones and the Minister will recall that I spoke on this matter in Committee. I have no intention of running the risk of prolonging the debate by repeating what I said on that occasion, but nothing that has happened since the previous stage alters in any way the views I then expressed. The only thing I would say in a wholly friendly manner to my noble friend Lord Clement-Jones is that I used the human rights argument on a series of occasions during our debates on the Licensing Bill in 2003. I have to say, in a manner which I hope he will not find too discouraging, that on every single occasion the Front Bench of the then Government shut me up and told me that I did not actually have a case to argue.
Lord Stevenson of Balmacara: My Lords, I am a bit intimidated by the thought that I might have to defend not only the point that we are talking about today but the whole panoply of human rights law, but perhaps we can duck that for now. As has been mentioned already, we had a good discussion on these points in Committee and we do not need to go over them. What is disappointing is that, as has been said, we do not seem to have moved on since then. We felt that the Minister's responses to the original discussion were a bit lacking in the sort of detail required to be convincing, but it would have helped if we had been able to have sight of the guidance she promised. The guidance has not appeared, and therefore we are not much further forward. I hope that the Minister will be able to help us today, but if the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, wishes to seek further support from this Bench, we would certainly be there behind him in the Lobbies.
Baroness Browning: My Lords, for some reason we seem to be in a "vote early and vote often" mode today. These amendments seek to remove three clauses from the Bill that lower the evidential threshold that applies to decision-making by licensing authorities. The clauses replace the requirement that licensing authorities should take actions that are "necessary" with the requirement that their actions are "appropriate". I do not want to engage the House too long on this debate because we would end up rehearsing all that was said in Committee, but I should say that I do not think that the word "convenient" is a substitute for "appropriate", although I suspect that he was being rather tongue-in-cheek when he said that.
Lowering the threshold will make it less onerous for licensing authorities to refuse or revoke licences if it is appropriate for the promotion of licensing objectives. The four licensing objectives will still apply. My noble friend Lady Hamwee suggested that I was not clear enough about this in Committee, so I reiterate that the
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I am most grateful to my noble friend Lord Clement-Jones for advising me in advance of his concerns. On the "necessary" test and the importance of it being compliant with human rights law, the statutory test of what is appropriate as the basis on which licensing authorities must make decisions-alongside clear guidance to those authorities as to what is meant by this threshold, and the availability of statutory rights of appeal for licensing applicants and others affected by licensing decisions-ensures that the ECHR rights of those affected by licensing decisions are safeguarded. My noble friend prayed in aid his experience of previous legislation in this area. The requirement that an interference with ECHR rights must be "necessary" is a concept that has been developed in the context of human rights law and is not directly comparable with the meaning of "necessary" as it currently appears in the Licensing Act 2003.
My noble friend suggested that the only right of appeal against licensing decisions, including the imposition of conditions, is judicial review. That is not correct. Section 181 of the Licensing Act 2003 already provides for a statutory right of appeal to the magistrates' court against most decisions by licensing authorities, including decisions on the granting or revocation of a licence and the conditions attached.
I must also inform the House that although it has been suggested that the Local Government Association is against these proposed changes, that is not the Government's understanding. Indeed, in response to our consultation on rebalancing the Licensing Act, the LG Group said that it "broadly welcomes this proposal".
Lord Soley: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness. I think I am more sympathetic to the Government's word "appropriate" than to the suggested use of the word "necessary". In the context of the Bill, both these words are actually subjective in terms of what is being looked at. I assume that the Government prefers "appropriate" because I would have thought that it would be easier to argue either for or against in court than "necessary" would be, because that word is rather different. Is that not the thinking behind the Government's proposal? I understand the arguments, but the central issue seems to be that of appeal. It would be easier for a court to reach a decision on what is "appropriate" than on what is "necessary". However, please tell me if I am wrong.
Baroness Browning: My Lords, I am not in a position to try to second-guess how a court would determine that, because we are talking hypothetically and not about a specific example. I will come on to an example which might be helpful to the House. The lower evidence threshold would apply to most conditions, but to show that the imposition of conditions such as the use of plastic glassware or closure of windows after a late hour or the use of CCTV in or outside bars is "necessary" for the promotion of licensing objectives, including the prevention of nuisance or crime and disorder, is an
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I can assure my noble friend that these decisions will still need to be evidence-based. We will include statutory guidance on the new tests, as I have suggested. I am not in a position to say that the guidance will be available at this stage of the Bill, but it will be made available. It will be consulted to ensure correct interpretation once the legislation is applied. On that basis, I ask my noble friend to withdraw the amendment.
Lord Clement-Jones: My Lords, I thank my noble friend the Minister for her response. I thank also my noble friend Lady Hamwee and the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, for their support. The Minister's reply to the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, illustrated only too well how cunning government departments are in answering questions about the ECHR. The response was fascinating, being essentially that there is "necessary" and "necessary", and that, for the purposes of the ECHR, "appropriate" equals "necessary". That seemed to be what the Minister was saying. It is clearly highly dangerous to quote the ECHR in these circumstances, because you get an Alice in Wonderland type of response.
However, I was very grateful for the remainder of the Minister's response. Her undertaking to consult on the statutory guidance will, I think, be welcomed by all concerned. Some of the examples that she gave might not be considered "necessary", although, as I said in my opening contribution, if licensing authorities are able to impose 64 conditions on a takeaway, they do not lack powers. I am not going to push this. We have had a good debate over two stages of the Bill. I have tried to express the concerns of the trade on this matter. I hope that that dialogue will continue in the statutory consultation so that "appropriate" is confined -so that it is not equivalent to "suitable", and certainly not equivalent to "convenient". In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Lord Clement-Jones: My Lords, the amendment is designed to probe whether the Government have firm plans to introduce exemptions for the EMRO regime. I have a later, similar amendment, on which I shall not
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The Minister promised in Committee that there would be wide consultation on the exemptions to be introduced. It is important for the House to know what the Government are minded to introduce. For instance, will they introduce exemptions for private members' clubs which do not sell to members of the public but are membership-based? They are not, as I explained in Committee, generally positioned on the high street or close to centres of the night-time economy. Rather than basing the regime solely on premises type, can individual well run premises be exempted? Will exemptions recognise best practice and social responsibility initiatives such as those that we debated in Committee-for example Best Bar None, business improvement districts, Purple Flag, Pubwatch and so on?
Lord De Mauley: My Lords, my noble friend's Amendment 305ZA would make it a requirement that regulations containing the cases or circumstances which may be exempt from an early morning alcohol restriction order include exempt cases that are defined by reference to particular kinds of premises or particular days. He was good enough to say that it was a probing amendment. I hope that I can give him the reassurance that he seeks when I say that the Government will ensure that exceptions to early morning restriction orders will define cases by reference to particular kinds of premises or particular days. Officials have already had useful discussions, including with representatives of the drinks industry and licensing authorities. As my noble friend acknowledged, we will carry out a full public consultation on the secondary legislation on EMROs later this summer. He asked specifically about private clubs. We will consider whether to include not-for-profit clubs and sports clubs as a separate class, and include that in consultation, before bringing forward the regulations. I therefore ask my noble friend to withdraw his amendment.
Lord Clement-Jones: I thank my noble friend the Minister. What he has said will be very useful standing on the record for those who want certain exemptions. He has given a useful taste of the kind of exemptions that will be consulted on and indication that the whole EMRO regime will be consulted on later this summer. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
( ) the costs of social services and trading standards when discharging their functions as responsible authorities under this Act"
Lord Stevenson of Balmacara: My Lords, we discussed this matter in Committee and we want to probe further whether the Government have moved in their thinking. We welcome the Government's move through Clause 123 to allow licensing authorities the ability to set fees locally on the basis of full cost recovery. Operating the licence system since 2005 has cost council tax payers over £100 million more than they anticipated due to the current, centrally set fee structure, which does not allow licensing authorities to set cost-neutral local charges. Given the economic climate, there is a real imperative to allow cost-neutral fees to be set as soon as possible. However, as we discussed last time, there is a drafting error within Clause 123, which would mean two-tier authorities not being able fully to recover all the costs associated with licensing. This was debated in Committee. When the Minister replied, he acknowledged that, as drafted, the Bill would exclude the relevant costs of trading standards and social services departments and that, even though they were discharging duties under the Licensing Act, they would not be able to recover them. He concluded by saying:
Baroness Hamwee: I support the amendment. I reacted rather to the suggestion that what is a marginal cost is therefore almost irrelevant in the case of the authorities affected. I, too, look forward to hearing the outcome of the reflection.
Lord De Mauley: My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, has explained, Amendment 305ZB seeks to ensure that the costs of social services and trading standards, in their role as "responsible authorities" only, can be covered by fees when they are located outside the licensing authority as well as within it. I certainly acknowledge that I said in Committee that I would reflect further on the proposal. I have done so very carefully and taken legal advice. Having examined it, I have found that the practical difficulties unfortunately outweigh the benefits.
The role of responsible authority involves, for example, considering applications and, in rare cases, applying for review. The costs arising will be very marginal-I am sorry that my noble friend Lady Hamwee objects to the use of that wording-in the context of overall fee income and the wider functions of these bodies. To set fees locally, each licensing authority will be required to calculate its own costs. We would not wish to require it to calculate the costs of another body without very good reason. The amendment would also imply a duty on county councils to report fractional costs and on the licensing authority to pass the funds to the county. The cost of this would then be passed on to fee payers even if the net gain to local government was very little or even nothing. The current fees regime makes no provision for district councils to pass funding to county councils in respect of these functions and we understand that no money has been transferred.
As I said, I have considered this matter carefully. In a nutshell, I am asking noble Lords to accept that the amendment would result in substantial extra bureaucracy
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Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, can the Minister tell the House whether these practical difficulties have been discussed with the Local Government Association, which would undoubtedly have an input into this? If not, that is a pity.
The LGA has indeed been concerned about this issue and has circulated documents widely which address the issue and make the main points that I repeated in the discussions earlier. It has also made it clear that it is very concerned about this matter. Although the Minister said that it was a marginal cost, every pound is important to local government. It is unfortunate that the Government have said that the cost of the bureaucracy of this might outweigh its benefits when those who are responsible for delivering it say that they want it to happen.
The Government are hiding under the question of bureaucracy. They promised a very important principle-that there would be a full cost recovery basis for licensing. They have gone so far down the line but they are not prepared to go the further stage. This is a disappointing result and we would like to test the opinion of the House.
In section 107(4) of the Licensing Act 2003 (counter notice where permitted limits exceed) for "12" substitute "15"."
Lord Bilston: My Lords, it gives me great pleasure to move Amendment 305A, in my name and that of other noble friends in many parts of the House. The purpose of the amendment is to extend the limits on temporary event notices under Section 107(4) of the Licensing Act 2003 from 12 to 15 events per annum.
I readily concede that, within a Bill as controversial and weighty as this police reform and social responsibility legislation, our amendment is both simple and harmless. Yet it carries with it the hopes and aspirations of many
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The All-Party Group on Non-Profit-Making Members' Clubs-of which I declare that I am currently the secretary and was chairman for many years when I was in the House of Commons-fully backs this modest extension of the temporary events for clubs, as also does the Minister for pubs and clubs, Mr Bob Neill. The Culture, Media and Sport Committee in reporting on the operation of the Licensing Act 2003 also recommended an increase to 15, as proposed in this amendment.
Non-profit-making clubs up and down the land have carried a heavy burden in the past few years. The negative effects on trading by the introduction of the smoking ban, the greater expansion of cheap alcohol in supermarkets and the perpetual increases in the cost of beer and beer duties, together with the disastrous effects of the bankers-induced recession, have all conspired to place many clubs in the greatest danger to their survival that they have ever experienced. Support for this amendment would demonstrate in a small but practical way our appreciation for the value and service that these institutions offer to their communities. I beg to move.
Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, my name is on this amendment. I fully support all the points raised by my noble friend Lord Bilston. If the Government feel unable to agree to this change today in the Bill, I hope that I could have some information and assurance that the matter will be raised through other channels. How soon could we revisit the issue if it cannot be done in this way?
Lord Rosser: My Lords, I will certainly be brief. I do not think anybody seriously believes that non-profit-making clubs are the cause of some of the problems sometimes associated with other clubs. They do much good work in the community and for charities, as has been said. They are not now always financially strong, as my noble friend Lord Bilston explained. We hope that the Government will be able to look sympathetically on the amendment.
Lord Newton of Braintree: My Lords, with even greater brevity, I just intervene to say that, having listened to the noble Lord, Lord Bilston, the noble Baroness, Lady Farrington, and the noble Lord on the opposition Front Bench, I want to appeal to the sympathy of my noble friends on the Front Bench. It sounds like a good worthy cause for people who have been having a bit of a struggle. I know a number of them in my own former constituency area, so I hope we shall get a sympathetic ear.
Lord Cormack: My Lords, I add my support. Like my noble friend Lord Newton, I had many such clubs in my former constituency. I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Bilston, moved the amendment very moderately and sensibly and made a completely unanswerable case. I hope that we have a very sympathetic response from my noble friend who will be replying to this brief debate and that, at the very least, he will be able to follow the injunction of the noble Baroness, Lady Farrington, and give us some encouragement, because it really is a truly worthy cause.
Lord De Mauley: My Lords, Amendment 35A would increase the number of temporary event notices that may be given in relation to single premises in any one calendar year from 12 to 15. I am well aware of the noble Lord's tireless work for these centres of our communities and thank him for that. This proposal is very much in line with the direction in which we are travelling. We are legislating to allow for greater flexibility and a more relaxed and liberal system, particularly for small, voluntary and community groups that make use of the temporary events notices to carry out licensable activities. I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Bilston, and the noble Baroness, Lady Farrington, for not only agreeing with us in this general direction of travel but also taking the time to discuss this with me.
Through the Bill, we are already taking substantial steps to relax some of the requirements of TENs. For example, we propose to increase the total number of days in any calendar year on which a single premises can be used to carry on licensable activities under a temporary event notice from 15 to 21 days. We are also relaxing the provisions to allow licensing authorities to accept late temporary event notices. Furthermore, we are also using the Bill to increase the maximum period for a single event that may be authorised by one temporary event notice from 96 hours or four days to 168 hours, or seven days, to help festivals and other forms of entertainment that run over several days. I hope that noble Lords will agree that these are positive moves in the same direction as their amendment.
TENs are supposed to be a light-touch measure, outside the norm of the licensing regime for one-off, exceptional or occasional events. Just to give some balance, we have also considered carefully the views of many residents who responded to our consultation and who complained about noise nuisance from temporary events. We ask noble Lords to agree with us that allowing for an average of one such event a month, or 12 a year, achieves the right balance. However, the Government are committed to reducing the overall burden of regulation across the piece and have been consulting the public on this wider work, including alcohol licensing via its red tape challenge. So for example the Government have announced that they will shortly be carrying out a public consultation, led by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, on the reform of regulated entertainment under the Licensing Act 2003. In the circumstances, I ask the noble Lord to accept that our direction of travel is very much in line with his own and to consider withdrawing his amendment.
Lord Bilston: I thank the Minister for that reply, which is very positive. I naturally hoped that he might allow the amendment today, but on the basis of what he has said and the very helpful discussions that we had yesterday, I am very happy to withdraw the amendment.
Lord Clement-Jones: I will speak also to Amendments 305C, 306ZA and 306ZB. Amendments 305B and 305C are designed to extend the ability of licensing authorities to determine the extent of the geographical spread of the late-night levy area so that it need not apply to the whole local authority area. As we discussed in Committee when, I believe, the Minister expressed some sympathy, this is one of the weaknesses of the provision for a late-night levy. It is a very blunt instrument to deal with the whole of a local authority area.
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