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It has been said, and I think it is right, that if the BBC sneezes, it is the arts world that catches flu. It is important to recognise that contribution, which is often underrecognised and not reflected in what we say. Without the BBC and other broadcasters all investing and creating activity—local activity and jobs—we would not have what we have and enjoy in this country.

The soft power was mentioned—and it is important—as were the points of the noble Viscount, Lord Colville, about the need to recognise that, in some senses, although we are not the major player, what happens in broadcasting in Britain, and by implication in the wider context of our arts, is a standard that would be the one that people would most reflect and most enjoy. Those of us who travel abroad and talk to others obviously understand that that happens.

With all that context, what are the remaining questions that we need to ask about these things? First—noble Lords have touched on this and I think it is very important to recognise—broadcasting, although a net contributor to our economy, also draws from the seed beds in our arts and culture. That largely depends on Arts Council and other spending, such as that from the BFI and other arts bodies. Will the Minister, when he comes to respond, reflect on whether he feels it is in the best interests of the sectors that have been raised today to have experienced yet another round of cuts in our arts world? I mention in particular the BFI, with an additional cut this year, its heritage changing significantly away from its previous model to one which is more about being privately supported; and, as

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has been mentioned, the incredible cuts in local authority support of the arts. There is a report in one of today’s papers that there may not be any cultural spending in a few years. Perhaps the Minister could comment on that.

We have also been reminded—and it is important—that broadcasting to a single television in a household that is watched in a group is not now the way we consume what is produced. The noble Lord, Lord Shipley, mentioned that there was a great deal of interface across and between the various art forms now being reproduced and picked up. Indeed, one of the roles of television is to reflect that which is happening, not necessarily within broadcasting’s direct ambit, to a wider population. Where are we with the broadband rollout and where are we going to be for the people who need to pick up these things? What about the rural broadband scheme? Perhaps we could have a comment from the Minister on that.

The wider context to which I referred earlier also has implications for training, for the work of Skillset, which has been mentioned, and the need to think again about the contributions made across the whole of the broadcasting industry and more widely. Is it time to revisit the question of whether this should be an obligation? Broadcasting, and the creative world more generally, also impacts on the diversity that we see and seek to have in our society, and I would be grateful for a comment on whether he thinks that enough has been done in that area.

We have heard about the exports, but are they in the Minister’s view still appropriately configured in relation to UKTI, which often fails to include a cultural member on some of the trade visits? Are we now in a better position in regard to UKEF, which has had difficulties in finding the right contracts to support in moving image and creative industries wishing to have export finance in order to get their work sent abroad? There are huge returns for that if we can get this right; it is really important that they get support from government at the right time.

Finally, a number of noble Lords were worried that the BBC—although it is not the only player in this game, and much is done elsewhere, including at ITV and Sky—was under attack. Although we had a lot of support about this, notably from the noble Lords, Lord Sugar and Lord Birt, we worry that in the next few years the BBC will have to undergo its regular examination by those who support it, in terms of government, but also by those who fund it through the licence fee. Will the Minister perhaps give us a sense of where that debate has got to within government and what sort of consultations and other issues we will be likely to have on this?

The BBC is really important; it is not the only player in this area, but it is the one that sets standards and many people regard it as being the gold standard against which others compete. We want the BBC to be successful, but we need to know that the processes will be open and fair and transparent, and that the problems that the BBC has had—which were referred to by my noble friend Lady Bakewell in respect of absorbing the cost of the digital switchover, the cost of the World

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Service, the cost of BBC Monitoring and the cost of S4C—are not going to mean a reduction in the sort of quality that we have been hearing about today.

2.10 pm

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): My Lords, I start by congratulating my noble friend on securing this debate. As I expected, it has been wide-ranging and thought-provoking and it has displayed a wealth of experience. It also provided noble Lords with the opportunity to hear four outstanding maiden speeches. My noble friend Lord Holmes of Richmond rightly drew attention to sport—a key element of the broadcast media and important to so many. My noble friend Lady Humphreys spoke up for S4C, media broadcast and her rural community. S4C of course has funding not only from the Exchequer but through the BBC. As long as the funding timespan is agreed, the Exchequer funding for S4C is confirmed at the current level into 2015-16 and there is, in addition, BBC licence fee money up to 2017. I am sure that that will all be part of the continuing discussions, but what a good job that channel does.

My noble friend Lord Purvis of Tweed gave us an insight into the broadcast media in Scotland. His reflections on that glorious part of our nation, the Borders, were extremely important. My noble friend Lady Grender spoke of the reputation of broadcast media, about which many of your Lordships also spoke. I was struck by the words of my noble friend Lord Watson of Richmond. The noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, spoke about the importance of impartiality. I felt personal sympathy with my noble friend Lady Grender in her view of the A-list of broadcasting. I felt myself, as I looked at your Lordships and heard the speeches that noble Lords were delivering, that I had no direct experience. It has been a very interesting and important debate.

Broadcast media touch us all, directly and powerfully, through coverage of hugely popular and exceptional occasions such as the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. My noble friend Lord Holmes mentioned the Games and his journey from Seoul to London. I believe that we are in debt to him for the part that he played in enhancing the important and nation-changing element that the Paralympics in London represented for the nation. The media also touch us through the more routine enjoyment of listening to the news on the radio each morning.

Through these turbulent economic times, the UK has continued to benefit from what I have called a vibrant broadcast sector, which my noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter referred to as “resilient”, the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, as “strong” and the noble Lord, Lord Birt, as having “exuberance”. The sector leads the way in the quality of its content and contributes to the country’s economic well-being.

As a number of your Lordships said, the UK television industry generated £12.3 billion in revenue last year. The UK broadcasting industry comprises a mixture of public service broadcasters—BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and S4C—and commercial multichannel broadcasters such as Sky and Discovery. Because of parliamentary duties last night, I was

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unable to go to the global TV hub presentation but I am sure that it was particularly interesting and I would very much like to hear how it went from noble Lords who attended.

All this provides an environment where consumers are well served with a broad choice of content, including sports coverage, which made up 11 of the 15 most watched programmes in 2012. My noble friend Lord Addington rightly referred to that in terms of the impact that it should have, and I hope will have, on the health of our nation. That content also includes arts and culture programmes such as the BBC’s “Imagine” strand, digital radio stations such as Absolute Classic Rock and shows such as “Grand Designs”. There is abundant choice for the UK audience—I entirely agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell, in that regard.

Multichannel broadcasters have doubled direct employment in the UK over the past decade and increased their turnover to £5 billion last year. The PSBs invested £2.6 billion last year in UK content. Non-PSBs have increased their investment, too, with Ofcom estimating it at £1.2 billion per year. The Government want to ensure that such investment in UK content is sustained and supported.

My noble friend Lady Wheatcroft spoke about international exports. The development and international sale of programming is remarkable. The UK is second only to the United States of America in TV content sales, which reached £1.7 billion last year. New markets in China, India and Indonesia present extraordinary opportunities; exports to China rose 90% last year. Sales to the United States of America were up 11% to £475 million, representing 39% of total sales. Digital rights are growing rapidly, as are co-productions. This sector is one of the fastest-growing sources of international business.

Formats such as “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” have been sold to more than 100 countries worldwide. “Strictly Come Dancing” is licensed to 48 countries, with a worldwide audience of more than a quarter of a billion people. Dramas such as “Sherlock”, “Parade’s End” and “Downton Abbey” have bolstered Britain’s reputation and are attracting more international investment. Your Lordships have already mentioned “Doctor Who”. Its 50th anniversary special has just had a record-breaking global simultaneous broadcast—I am informed by officials that it is called a simulcast—that reached 94 countries across all the continents. The noble Lord, Lord Birt, referred to Monty Python.

My noble friend Lord Shipley referred to the trio of theatre, cinema and television coming together and making all these great productions more accessible across the land, which is an increasing part of the cultural experience. The noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell, used the term “the direction of travel”. The direction in which we are going is extraordinary, and the consumer, the viewer and the listener have a considerably enhanced experience.

The independent production sector, which a number of your Lordships mentioned, is also a major export success story. Independent producers are increasingly winning commissions direct from international broadcasters, as well as selling a greater number of finished programmes and formats to international buyers.

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Channel 4 commissions all its content from the independent production sector, supporting a wide range of SMEs across the United Kingdom. These commissions are a key part of the UK’s international sale of programmes and formats. My noble friend Lady Grender particularly referred to that.

We should not forget radio, which is also a major export. For example, talkSPORT broadcasts Premier League matches in eight languages—English, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, Malay, Indonesian, French and Vietnamese—from its base in London to 25 different markets in Europe and the rest of the world. I hope very much that my noble friend Lady Wheatcroft will approve of that. In response to the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, I should say that UKTI-led events and the GREAT campaign are very important in beating the drum for the sector. I have looked before at the various tours that have taken place and there are many examples of where the creative industries, quite rightly, are in the frame as part of those tours.

The economic contribution made by the sector is clear, but we should not forget that it plays an equally vital educational, social and cultural role. The noble Lord, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, quite rightly stressed this. The noble Lord also mentioned the settlement in this sector. I think that it is fair to say, having looked at it again, that in many respects the endurance of cuts, which in an ideal climate many would regret, was a good settlement in the end for the sector compared with many other sectors, although I understand the issues that a number of your Lordships have mentioned.

I particularly want to mention the BBC World Service, which my noble friend Lady Wheatcroft spoke so powerfully about. I agree with the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, that it is an important aspect of our collective identity. The BBC World Service has the largest audience of any international broadcaster, with a weekly reach of 192 million people; add BBC World global news and the figure becomes 256 million people.

The sector supports a host of highly skilled jobs in distribution, marketing and technical and support services. Overall, according to the Creative UK report, the sector supports more than 7,000 firms and 132,000 jobs. The talent of tomorrow must also be nurtured, as many of your Lordships said. I was interested that Channel 4’s 4Talent, for example, offers work experience placements, apprenticeships, workshops and master classes to people looking to gain entry into the creative industries, alongside funding and support for external skills bodies such as Creative Skillset and the National Film and Television School.

The noble Lord, Lord Bragg, and the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell, referred to Sky. Sky delivered more than 104,000 training days and 160,000 hours of e-learning across its business. Mention was also made of the Sky Academy, which has the ambition of creating new opportunities for up to 1 million young people by 2020. The BBC will be taking on an apprentice in every BBC local radio station across England and in stations across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by September 2014. ITV invested £50 million in enhancing facilities in Leeds and at MediaCityUK in Salford, which my noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter referred to as the hub of Salford, which is important across the

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media area. Indeed, ITV’s investment in skills and development training to help the next generation of talent across the UK should be acknowledged. The noble Lord, Lord Bragg, mentioned ITV in particular. It is remarkable that ITV is now in the top five biggest independent producers in the United States of America and one of the top three European programme distributors.

Radio is a valued source of entertainment, education and information for millions of people across the country. Every week, 90% of the adult UK population listens to the radio. It is a significant employer, with an estimated total workforce of 17,500 people, and total radio industry revenue last year was £1.2 billion. Some 65% of adults tune in to commercial radio at least once a week. BBC Radio 2 is the most popular radio station in the UK. BBC national and local radio, commercial radio and community radio are all part of the vibrant mix. Since 2010 there has been a further shift to digital listening, which now represents over 35% of all listening. Conscious of consumers, the Government are looking at how to support the long-term transition to digital radio. A more detailed announcement will be made at the end of the year.

I now turn to how the Government are playing and need to play a part in supporting the growth of UK broadcasting. As part of the Government’s wide-ranging review of the communications sector, our discussions with industry, regulators and consumer groups indicated that the present framework is broadly operating well, is generally working for the consumer and supports economic growth and innovation. However, where legislative changes are deemed necessary, the Government will act. An example is the prominence of public service broadcasters. We need to update electronic programme guide regulation, to keep pace with recent developments in TV technology, to provide flexibility to adapt to future technological changes and to preserve public service broadcasters’ prominence. We all value high-quality content, which the noble Lord, Lord Sugar, concentrated on, and we expect public service broadcasters in particular to adhere to this. The public must be able to continue to find and enjoy this in the future, so we expect to consult on these issues in the near future.

My noble friend Lord Watson of Richmond mentioned the wider creative industries. Indeed, the media broadcast sector cannot and does not function in isolation. I acknowledge the work of the wider creative industries. Collectively, the creative industries are worth more than £36 billion a year to the UK. The creative industries supporting the broadcast media include: craftsmen and craftswomen, fashion designers creating props and costumes, production crews, make-up artists, composers and musicians, and many more. My noble friend Lady Wheatcroft and others quite rightly mentioned the skill of advertising.

Again, the Government have an important role to fulfil. The Government helped to set up the Creative Industries Council in 2011. Led by industry, the council now works to ensure that barriers to growth can be removed. A sub-group of that council will look at access to finance skills, export markets, data collection and infrastructure. If I have more detailed information, I will certainly write to my noble friend Lord Watson of Richmond about these matters.

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The Government have set up a range of creative content-targeted tax reliefs, such as tax breaks for British films. There are clearly strong links between the film world, which benefits from these tax incentives, and broadcasting. For example, Channel 4 is a major investor in UK film. Indeed, films supported by Channel 4 have won 14 Oscars in the past seven years. My noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter mentioned tax reliefs for animation and high-end TV. These came into force in April this year, to support innovation and the growth of the content for which the UK is renowned. These initiatives are already bringing more productions to our shores; for example, “Outlander” is being made in Cumbernauld and “Game of Thrones” has had a significant impact on the local economy and skills base in Northern Ireland.

Furthermore, as was announced earlier this week, local television has now started broadcasting in the UK, with Grimsby channel Estuary TV leading the way. Another 18 channels will be launched in the spring, with a further wave of channels to come. This was raised by the noble Lord, Lord Birt, my noble friend Lord Shipley and others. It is an important feature and part of the direction of travel that the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell, referred to. I say to the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, that, as a countryman, I am passionately keen to ensure that broadband results are going to grow swiftly in this tail end of the process of establishing what I hope will be successful coverage for the overwhelming majority of if not the whole nation very soon.

The importance of the broadcast media in the UK and the contribution that they make has been outlined most eloquently by your Lordships today. The Government’s role must be to ensure that the environment is suitable for the sector to continue to flourish. There are undoubtedly challenges and opportunities in this increasingly converged world. The title of today’s debate specifically highlights the economic contribution of broadcast media. That is not in doubt. What is impossible to assess adequately or precisely is what this sector contributes to the social and cultural well-being of our nation. As noble Lords mentioned—particularly the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara—it is a prime example of how soft power operates across the globe in the British interest. The reputation of our nation abroad is in no small measure enhanced by the UK’s high standards for content—set by producers and regulators, and by the expectations of those who listen and watch. That reputation is secured by and because of the talented, hard-working people in the industry. We can be proud of the quality that they bring to the screen and to radio.

In this debate, the broadcast media have rightly been championed and their prospects encouraged and there has been openness about some of the problems that need to be addressed. All these matters could not have been better articulated by your Lordships, from all parts of the House.

2.30 pm

Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury: My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who took part in the debate. I also thank the many noble Lords who have contributed so greatly to making the broadcast media great, in all

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their different ways. That enriched the debate today. I particularly congratulate all the maiden speakers. I am pleased that so many of them chose this debate and look forward to them being champions of this area, not least my noble friend Lord Holmes. Finally, as “Doctor Who” has dominated the debate and I see my noble friend Lord Grade in his seat, I cannot resist wondering whether, had he known that Sylvester McCoy would regenerate into John Hurt, he would still have cancelled the programme.

Motion agreed.

Young People: Apprenticeships

Question for Short Debate

2.31 pm

Asked by Baroness Wilcox

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to increase the take-up of apprenticeships among young people.

Baroness Wilcox (Con): My Lords, it is an enormous pleasure for me to lead this topical Question for Short Debate this afternoon. I reassure all noble Lords present that I am conscious of the need for brevity given that this is intended to be a short debate, and will accordingly try to keep my remarks brief. However, I am also conscious that the question of how we can improve the employment prospects for young people is not only topical but worthy of serious debate.

This month’s employment figures were very encouraging, revealing that employment is up 177,000 this quarter while unemployment is down 48,000 in the same period. All in all, there are now more than 1 million more people in work since the general election. Significantly, this month’s figures also revealed a considerable rise in the number of young people in work—up more than 50,000 in the past three months. Noble Lords from all Benches in this House would agree that this is very welcome news.

Apprenticeships have played a pivotal role in helping young people into—in many cases back into—work. Since the Government came to power in 2010, a record 1.5 million apprenticeships have been created. To put that into context, that figure is twice the number created by the previous Labour Government during their final three years in office. A record number have started apprenticeships—half a million in the past year alone, with apprenticeship starts in IT and digital frameworks proving especially popular. Of course, I would be remiss if I failed to pay tribute to the continuing popularity of Armed Forces apprenticeships, with around 10,000 completed every year.

Apprenticeships are an invaluable means by which young people can fulfil their individual potential. We must remember the simple truth that no single means of learning will ever suit everyone. Like the National Citizen Service, apprenticeships provide an opportunity for young people to learn new skills, grow in confidence and develop a sense of self-worth and purpose. Those undertaking apprenticeships gain an experience of work that is truly invaluable. They have the opportunity

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to work alongside experienced staff, gain vocational skills, earn a recognised qualification and, above all, earn a wage. The Government are to be commended for the strides they have taken in making apprenticeships an attractive and viable option both for young people and the businesses that take them on.

As noble Lords are well aware, small and medium-sized business enterprises are the lifeblood of our economy. To make hiring apprentices a more attractive proposition for such companies, the Government must build further on the steps already taken—such as the recently extended apprenticeship grant for employers—to simplify the recruitment process and remove unnecessary bureaucracy. I hope the Minister can shed some light on what the Government are doing in that regard.

It is imperative that we make young people aware of their options at what is a definitive crossroads in their lives. We must accept that for many young people, university is neither an attractive nor viable option. Yet I fear that a large number of teachers seem able only to advocate a university career for their pupils and have little information or enthusiasm for vocational training. That is not the way to find our new-style engineers, technicians, craftsmen and craftswomen, and the entrepreneurs of our future. With that in mind, I wonder whether the Minister can update the House on how the new careers service appears to be performing.

I encourage the Government to do more to restore the esteem in which apprenticeships were once held. We need more role models—more poster boys and poster girls—to bang the drum for apprenticeships. My father was apprenticed. When he finished his original seven years as an apprentice he was sent to be what was then called a journeyman. You had to leave the place where you worked and lived. You had to go off, ply your trade and see whether you could be as good as you thought you were. Ultimately, he returned, recognised as a cabinet maker and thereafter became a master craftsman. His relationship with his mentor was undoubtedly one of the most formative of his life and the platform for so many of the great things he achieved over the rest of his life. As a result, he told me that with a skill you can go anywhere. With those words still ringing in my ears, he packed me off to become an industrial accountant. It is up to noble Lords to decide whether the skill he made me take up earned me the honour of being in this noble House today.

I look forward to listening to the contributions from other Members of your Lordships’ House in this short debate. However, before hearing from the noble Lord, Lord Young of Norwood Green, for whom I have a great deal of admiration having served on the Front Bench opposite him for more than two years, I confess to being saddened by Ed Miliband’s recent foray into the issue of apprenticeships. His pledge that a future Labour Government would require companies both large and small to hire an apprentice for every foreign worker they employ has been widely condemned by a range of business leaders, from the CBI to the IoD, from the chambers of commerce to the small business alliances. That compulsion would discourage more employment. Surely that cannot be what is wanted.

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In conclusion, we should never underestimate the challenge faced by many young people wishing to enter the world of work in these difficult times. We should not be complacent following the welcome news that youth unemployment is falling and that the economy is showing signs of life. There is more work to be done, because if we are to harness our potential as a nation we must harness the potential of each and every one of our precious young people. After all, they are our future. Apprenticeships are not just an opportunity to do something for a few years. They are a chance to stand by someone you can admire, and work with someone who can teach you and give you the steering that may not have been possible in your home life. You have someone to travel through life with. I am delighted that this aspect of employment is growing in popularity.

2.40 pm

Lord Haskel (Lab): My Lords, when giving evidence to a committee in another place on 30 October, a CBI spokesman stated that it had identified 48 schemes that could help an employer to take on or train a young unemployed person. I am indebted to Professor Sloman for pointing that out and for pointing out that those schemes are funded through three government departments. The DWP funds employment programmes, BIS funds 18-plus skills training and the DfE funds education and training for 16 to 19 year-olds.

To add to the confusion, the Government’s response to the Richard review, published on 28 October, encouraged employers to describe almost any training scheme or initiative as an apprenticeship. The precision, the high standards demanded by employers and the National Apprenticeship Service had been officially abandoned, so that the Government can claim that 500,000 started training, as the noble Baroness told us, but in 2012, only 106,510 places were offered by the service. No wonder employers are confused and becoming disillusioned. This whole thing is becoming a numbers game, with so-called apprenticeships being shamelessly oversold by the Government and intermediaries.

I am most grateful to the noble Baroness for introducing the debate. She and I have debated many times from both the Front and Back Benches. We both come from a business background. We have something else in common. We have both worked hard to try to make the economy successful. Success through the creation of a highly skilled workforce has been important to us. Proper apprenticeships form an important part of that. Proper apprenticeships, which combine a business need with a social need, with a strong emphasis on assisting the business by developing skills in particular to that business. That enables the business to develop, to progress and to innovate. They are not a quick fix to get unemployed young people off the register. Apprentices are required to learn a substantial amount and acquire skills way beyond on-the-job training.

There are plenty of good examples. Many firms accept interested people, young and not so young, on placements and choose candidates for apprenticeships with a structured programme of acquiring skills to a high level of competency and practical training supported by academic study and time spent understanding new technologies. Cogent is the sector skills council for

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science-based industries. Previously, many companies in that sector look for graduates, but Cogent has set up mechanisms for companies to employ young people who seek career progression through a more practical in-company route, about which the noble Baroness, Lady Wilcox, spoke. With Cogent, companies can grow their own talent and apprentices gain the skills and knowledge that are important to the employer. That makes Cogent part of the success of our science-based industries.

In the previous debate, the noble Lord, Lord Addington, and others mentioned the BBC. The BBC London apprenticeships are part of the corporation’s legacy from the Olympic Games. The scheme gives 10 trainees a year entry-level jobs in production. The business case here is that it underpins the incentive of making entry level into BBC employment much more accessible.

We are continually told that employers want school leavers to have social and communication skills, team-working skills, literacy and numeracy, and initiative. I am sure that that is absolutely true, but those skills are best developed through school and workplace experience. That is not apprenticeship, and we should not mix the two. One is to achieve a skilled and innovative workforce; the other is to reduce the number of workless young people—of course there are far too many of them.

Will the Government reconsider their response to the Richard review? Will they rationalise the 48 schemes from three departments, because their current position condemns many to be stuck in low-paid jobs and Britain to a lower-skilled workforce?

2.44 pm

Lord Stoneham of Droxford (LD): My Lords, I congratulate my noble friend Lady Wilcox on leading this timely debate and on a constructive speech. The growth of apprenticeships has been a key success of the coalition Government, but there is a lot more to do. As economic recovery gets under way, there are two needs. One is to get business investment up. The second is to redouble investment in vocational training and skills enhancement, especially expanding quality apprenticeships. Together, they have the overall objective of improving employee productivity so that we can compete better internationally.

Our economy has been adjusting to even greater global competition from which there is no escape. Young people entering the labour market and those in vulnerable occupations are most at risk. The current youth unemployment rate is unacceptable. We have also to tackle the social divide between university education and vocational, technical and employment training, which is a barrier to social mobility. Some 50% of our young people can now go to university, but if we do not address the other 50%, we will simply recreate a social divide at 18 rather than 11.

In July, it was encouraging and uplifting for me to share a day with other Liberal Democrat parliamentarians meeting apprentices to see what is being achieved in their workplaces. I visited Stannah lifts in Andover, a family engineering company with a turnover of £145 million and 1,500 staff. At the time, it had significantly more apprentices than the whole of the

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Department for Business. I hope that my noble friend will update us on the improvement that I know that the department is now making. Stannah, like many family businesses, believes in investing in its staff and its future. Its factory and company are an example to the 80% of workplaces which, sadly, have no apprentices, on what they need to do. If a company invests in its people, it wins their commitment, confidence, flexibility and, above all, their knowledge to compete better.

I spent most of my career in the newspaper industry at a time when, frankly, apprenticeships had a bad name for being too fixed on traditional skills, restricting flexible working and protecting out-of-date skills. Now the perception of apprenticeships is changing. They are not perfect but they are more flexible and more outward-looking by being associated with training outside the workplace, and they place more emphasis on qualification by competence rather than time served.

However, we have to do more if we want to double the number of apprentices that we have had in the past three years. We have to alter the focus, so that getting people on to apprenticeships has as much kudos and prestige as getting on to a university course. We must accept that most progress has in fact been made with the 25-plus age group, whereas the greatest focus for training and apprenticeships should now be on pupils who leave school at 17 or 18. We must question whether schools’ careers services are, frankly, sufficiently geared up to provide the needed links with local employers. Is Ofsted giving as much credit to schools for getting their pupils into apprenticeships and training as it does to university applications?

All companies need pressure and encouragement to make them question whether they are doing enough in this national priority get young people into work and trained. We should build on the initiatives of many local papers, such as the ones I used to run, to publicise how local organisations are getting young people into work and thereby encouraging more to do that. Every government department must question whether it has been doing enough— just as the noble Lord, Lord Adonis, challenged the Department for Business in the summer. It would be a good start to have a regular roll of honour and dishonour to see who is doing best and worst in the public sector.

At the end of the 18th century, the Duke of York, as head of the Army, had the task of modernising the British Army, which he did by opening up appointments and transforming military training. His work contributed massively to our military domination in the 19th century in Europe and the rest of the world. The task that we face to compete in world markets now is on a similar scale. If we do not want our economy marching up the hill and back again, as it has done for too long, a new, sustained impetus with cross-party support on apprenticeships, combined with sustained business investment, are now the two key economic priorities for the next 10 years.

2.50 pm

Lord Aberdare (CB): My Lords, I welcome this debate on apprenticeships, which are so vital to our future competitiveness and prosperity, and I congratulate the noble Baroness on leading it. I declare my interests

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as a member of the Apprenticeships, the Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning and the Skills and Employment All-Party Groups, and until recently as a director of a small company that helps to prepare disadvantaged young Londoners for employment, including via apprenticeships. I shall focus on two issues: increasing the number of young people wishing to undertake apprenticeships and expanding the opportunities available to them from employers, particularly SMEs.

The first issue relates to the lack of awareness of young people in schools of the apprenticeship opportunities available to them. I have met quite a number of apprentices and can hardly recall any who had heard about their apprenticeship, or been encouraged to take it up, through their schools. Indeed, I have heard of survey results indicating that one in five current apprentices were actively discouraged by their schools. Sadly, there seems to be an ingrained view that going on to further or higher education is better than going into a practical, job-related training programme, even where that programme offers recognised, high-quality qualifications. Yet for a substantial number of young students, higher education may not offer the most appropriate pathway to a successful career. Many of the apprentices I have met preferred to get into the workplace sooner, and to start earning ahead of their contemporaries, while gaining job-related skills and qualifications and, in some cases, going on to do university degrees at a later stage.

How can we tackle this problem? Of course we should put pressure on schools and careers services to promote apprenticeships as an option where appropriate. This should be included in Ofsted inspections. Schools should be required not only to report destination data for all their students but to achieve a sensible balance between students going on to university and into jobs or apprenticeships, and inspected against those criteria. There should also be much greater effort to make parents aware of the range and value of apprenticeship opportunities. Other noble Lords may have received a CIPD briefing, showing that only 9% of parents ranked an apprenticeship as the qualification that they would most like their child to attain.

When I met a group of engineering sector apprentices from the Industry Apprentice Council, set up by EAL, I was particularly struck by their willingness, indeed eagerness, to act as ambassadors themselves, based on the view that they are best placed to promote apprenticeships to others of their generation. Many have been articulate, enthusiastic, persuasive and impressive; surely we could harness those talents to encourage others to follow their lead. Perhaps the Government should look at ways of extending this concept of industry apprentice councils into other sectors.

My second issue relates to encouraging and enabling employers, particularly smaller firms, to offer more apprenticeships. I shall base this on a social enterprise called Building Lives set up by Steve Rawlings, the founder and chief executive of Lakehouse—a construction and contracting company based in Romford which now has an annual turnover of more than £300 million and some 1,300 staff. Building Lives

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offers 18-month NVQ level 2 multi-trade construction-sector apprenticeships, covering a range of skill areas including bricklaying, carpentry, plumbing, painting and decorating, plastering and tiling. It currently runs six Building Lives academies across London, each training about 50 apprentices a year aged 16 to 64, although one of them offers vocational training for much younger students, aged 14 to 16, in Southwark. The apprentices mostly come from deprived areas local to the academies. Many are NEETs or suffer other forms of disadvantage, including being young offenders.

Almost all those who complete their apprenticeships at Building Lives go on to be offered jobs with local contractors. Many of these are small firms, so Building Lives is set up as an apprenticeships training agency, or ATA, in order to manage on their behalf the bureaucracy involved in employing these young people. Already, after just a couple of years of operation, these six centres are producing some 250 qualified apprentices a year, who mostly go on into full-time jobs.

Building Lives would like to expand: Steve talks about reaching 20 academies within the next few years, producing about 1,000 qualified apprentices a year to go into the construction jobs market, with its expected growing skills needs. The academies are financially self-sustaining, for example through training fees, but they involve start-up costs—for example, to fit out suitable premises and to acquire necessary tools and equipment. Funding these initial costs in the current climate is proving extremely difficult yet it seems to me that this is a model for enhancing take-up of apprenticeships—not necessarily restricted to construction—that is proven and replicable, and could generate both new apprenticeship openings and the young people to fill them in significant numbers. What help can the Minister offer to enable initiatives of this kind to attract the start-up funds that they need?

2.55 pm

Lord Addington (LD): My Lords, I am afraid that when I talk about apprenticeships, I bring with me rather a big moan. One of the major problems that we have had with the apprenticeship system is that the choice of wording, and the way in which the matter has been approached, has ended up, almost by definition, by excluding anybody who has even moderate dyslexia. We are currently dealing with this problem in the Children and Families Bill and may come to a satisfactory conclusion on it at Report. I will not rehearse those arguments now, because nobody has annoyed me enough to go through it all over again, but what it points out to me is that there is a problem with the idea that we have got in front of us now.

In fact, there are effectively two problems. The first is the perception that apprenticeships are wonderful and should be left alone and nobody can criticise them because they are to do with business. The other is the perception that education happens somewhere else and is nothing to do with training. We reached a point where I asked the then Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Young of Norwood Green, whether we were going to

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prevent dyslexics from getting their apprenticeships because of the English test. He said, “No, we’ll sort that out”. Somewhere in the slip between cup and lip, however, and with the change of government, we developed a system where they were being stopped. Would that have happened in an educational establishment? No, it would not. Educational establishments know that you bring people on board and, with a long-term advantage, you can deal with it. If we go after training, we could have a system where people say, “Training and business? Business wants people who have literacy skills. If you don’t have good literacy skills, we cannot deal with you”. They do not know that in the modern world there are dozens of ways of assisting people to gain literacy skills through technology.

It was particularly worrying that although the same department provided both the disabled students allowance and the literacy package for universities—which is particularly for dyslexics but also for others with disabilities—the two parts were not talking to each other: the silos had closed. And just to make the absurdity slightly greater, guess what? Afterwards they could get help through Access to Work, which helps dyslexics access the written word. We got ourselves into a situation where a scheme was too precious to look outside itself. If that can happen once it can happen twice. We have to try to cross over that and ensure that the different parts talk to each other.

My noble friend and the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, talked about building up this important aspect which should be valued by the education system, this cross between training and education. The two worlds currently regard themselves as separate. I agree with my noble friend that schools should be better at directing people towards this area. In this case, however, the people from the academic world have had a better understanding of the support required for this group—which is 10% of the population—than people in the training world have had. Let us also face facts. If you put a dyslexic through university, what sorts of entrance-level jobs will be available for a university graduate? They will go into a white-collar office job. With the best will in the world, and with all the technological support in the world, they would probably be happier in a more practical environment. By not thinking laterally, and by defending your own little world, you are deliberately excluding people who would have been happier in that place. Unless the people undertaking these schemes start to talk to each other, they will continue to make these mistakes.

I do not have enough time in the remaining seconds to go further into this. However, we need to make sure that everyone who provides training supports people with disabilities throughout the process, not only up to the test but during practical demonstrations as well. Unless that happens, we shall continue to have these problems, even if we successfully deal with the problem of the functional skills test.

3 pm

The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Wilcox, on securing this debate on this very important theme. The

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Richards review and the statement by the Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise make clear that there are three areas that we need to look at and hold together.

The first is the big context about the importance of using education and training, of which apprenticeship is part, to make good citizens and a proper workforce for the 21st century. That is the theme of vocation: developing people to have a sustainable working life. The second area is the need for employers to be able to train and recruit the kind of people they need for their particular industry. The third area is the fact that there are a large number of young people who lack the opportunity to engage with the world of work. Those three themes frame this debate.

I will start with a comment on the bigger picture. I work in Derby, which is a great centre for industry, technology and innovation. One of the flagships is Rolls-Royce. The Rolls-Royce apprenticeship academy takes between 150 and 200 people a year. It is a setter of high standards. As part of their training, these apprentices are sent into the community to work in schools, with the homeless and in other places of need. They are developed in their vocation to be human beings and to handle themselves in the world, alongside the particular skills of engineering. It is very important to remember that in this debate. As the noble Baroness, Lady Wilcox, said, that was perhaps part of the energy that created her father—that wider hinterland of vocation to move beyond technical skills.

The second area is the needs of employers. With its long industrial heritage, the city of Derby has an exciting partnership between local businesses, Derby College and the University of Derby, to establish a university technical college that will open in September 2014. This is an engineering school for people between 14 and 18 years old, and a partnership between business and education. It may have the kind of potential to look at some of the learning issues that have been raised today, because of the ingredients of the partnership. Employers know what they are looking for, and are using professional educational and training institutions to help deliver them in a joined-up way.

The third strand is the fact that so many young people are denied access to the world of work. Because of their vocational element, and their ability to equip young people to be citizens and develop their skills in other ways, apprenticeships are a key area for them to have the opportunity to access. In my part of the world we have the JCB Academy; noble Lords probably know about JCB diggers. I work with people who are involved in that academy. They are helping young people to bridge the problem of being out of the world of work and getting into it.

The story of somebody I know illustrates this. This is a young person from a dysfunctional home who was a bad attendee when the opportunity to train through the JCB Academy was offered. Instead of telling this person that they were not meeting our standards and were off the course, the academy first worked with the mother; this was a single-parent family. Then it provided a return-to-school plan for the young person. It provided a mentor. When for other reasons the family was

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relocated out of the catchment area, JCB took the initiative and found temporary accommodation so that the young person could finish their training. This person is now an almost fully qualified apprentice engineer. That reaching out beyond immediate needs to get someone into the workforce and build a bridge, is crucial for so many young people who lack the opportunity.

I end by asking the Minister three questions. As the Government try to ensure good standards, could they include standards about the formation of citizens and a vocational element in apprenticeships? Besides including small businesses in the apprenticeship model, could the Government see how we could develop partnerships such as the one in the university technical college in Derby, between education and training specialists and elements of industry, that might help small businesses especially? How can we encourage the development of apprenticeships to build bridges to young people who need real encouragement and support to step into the world of work with its disciplines?

3.06 pm

Lord Shipley (LD): My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Wilcox, for initiating this debate. I strongly support the Government’s reforms to the apprenticeship system. The employer-designed standards and assessment to be introduced are very welcome, and in particular the English and maths requirements and the minimum of 12 months for an apprenticeship. These provide a stronger structure that more employers and more potential apprentices will want to join. It is the job of everyone—not just the Government—to make a success of apprenticeships.

I shall raise three strategic problems in relation to skills. The first is the ageing workforce. Over the next three years, 200,000 people will be retiring from manufacturing and engineering. They will have to be replaced. Secondly, we have a skills gap. All over the UK, in manufacturing, engineering and the process industries, there are shortages at level 3 and above. I have lost count of the number of times I have been told or have read of the difficulty that so many employers have in recruiting. When we consider how much we spend on skills, it is quite astonishing that this problem is so widespread and so deep in so many sectors.

The third strategic problem is the lack of qualifications. Half of those who leave school without five good GCSEs have no job. Youth unemployment stands at 965,000: 21% of the under-24s. I have come to the conclusion that such a high level of youth unemployment is in part related to weaknesses in the provision of technical education, and to too few youth apprenticeships.

We still have a shortage of quality apprenticeships, and we need to raise the status of technical education to overcome that. We need opportunities throughout the country, including in rural areas where schools, further education and manufacturing businesses, in particular, need to be coherently linked through an apprenticeship system. For apprenticeships to grow, people have to offer apprenticeships, other people must take them up and places and sectors must want to promote them. We have to build on good practice. I draw attention to the city of Nottingham, which launched

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its apprenticeship hub in November 2012 and has in the past 12 months seen a one-third increase in the number of apprenticeships.

Secondly, there is good practice when newspapers show leadership in supporting the growth of apprenticeships. I draw particular attention to the Journal in Newcastle upon Tyne, and congratulate it on its leadership in driving up the number of apprenticeships in the north-east of England through its Proud to Back Apprentices campaign, which I am delighted to support. It is everybody’s responsibility, and lots more companies are needed to engage.

Opportunities for girls and women are another aspect of this. I commend Hilary French, the president of the Girls’ Schools Association, who in a speech last week to its annual conference on Tyneside said that higher-level apprenticeships were one way in which young women could take up a career using science, maths or technology. There is a serious shortage of women taking up careers who have studied these subjects. She said:

“I believe, and hope, that the link between schools and employers will strengthen over the coming years and that there will be an increasing focus on developing employment skills. I’d like to challenge independent schools heads to embrace these alternative avenues. Parents too. There is huge potential in employer training courses and the new types of apprenticeships which are emerging. We must not be sniffy about them”.

I concur absolutely with that.

Finally, I am very glad to see that the National Apprenticeship Service has had its role extended to include supporting employer investment in traineeships, which will be particularly helpful in addressing the imbalance in the age of a company’s workforce. I hope that the Government’s changes and the creation of the new trailblazers, which will combine employers and professional bodies in new industries such as aerospace, automotive, digital, electrotechnical, energy and life sciences, in particular, will drive ahead to create many more apprenticeship opportunities for our young people.

3.11 pm

Lord Cormack (Con): I shall speak briefly in the gap. I support my noble friend Lady Wilcox and must declare an interest as patron of the Heritage Crafts Association and chairman of William Morris Craft Fellowship. I would have put myself down to speak in this debate, but I was attending a service in Westminster Abbey to commemorate 60 years of the National Churches Trust giving money to help restore and maintain our great historic churches in this country. I did not want to commit to speak and then not be here.

As I have the opportunity, I will say to the Minister, in particular, that it is desperately important that we remember the crucial significance of craft apprenticeships. I say that in the light of the very perceptive comments of my noble friend Lord Addington. Many young people who have dyslexia can become superb craftsmen and craftswomen. The Heritage Crafts Association and the William Morris Craft Fellowship have tried to spread the gospel of true craftsmanship. It is very important that employers, many of whom in the Heritage Crafts Association are one-man or one-woman businesses, have help to take on apprentices.

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I make a plea to the Minister to allow me to bring to meet him a representative from both those associations, so that we can discuss how best the Government can help encourage, through the education system and elsewhere, young men and women to embrace a career in the crafts. Not one of the churches whose rescue we were rejoicing in this morning could have been rescued had it not been for the skill of craftsmen and craftswomen. We need to ensure that there is a steady and continuing supply. It is a wonderful vocation. It is enormously fulfilling—but, sadly, it is too often denigrated. May this brief debate help ensure a resurrection of real interest in and encouragement of heritage crafts.

3.13 pm

Lord Young of Norwood Green (Lab): My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Wilcox. Normally, when we have exchanged views on this she has been at the Dispatch Box on one side or the other. She has given us a great opportunity to discuss, albeit briefly, the vital issue of young people and apprenticeships.

I cannot match the academic achievements of many of the noble Lords in the Chamber, but I am part of a select group of noble Lords who are former apprentices; that is my claim to fame. A number of people have talked about the status of apprenticeships. Not only among young people but among teachers and parents it is not viewed in the same way as academic progression. I was reminded forcefully of this on the Lords outreach programme at a local high school. I scanned through all the documentation and found not a single reference to apprenticeships. I asked the group of 30 pupils I was talking to and, no, apprenticeships were not registering with them at all. We have got a lot more to do in that area.

It is not a question of either/or for apprenticeships and academic training. Often the path of an apprenticeship leads you through to getting a degree. As I have often had the opportunity to remind young people, it has the added bonus that you can earn while you learn, with a guaranteed job at the end of it. It has much to recommend it. I say to the Minister that he needs to ensure that all schools should have links to the business community and the world of work.

We often hear talk about soft skills. I do not know why we call them soft skills; they are essential skills, which have already been referred to. It is not just about literacy, numeracy and teamwork. IT skills are also an essential part of any young person’s CV today.

We need to do a lot better with career guidance. There has been a reference today to university technical colleges, which are a good and welcome development. We need young apprentices to return to the schools that they previously attended. Role models are absolutely essential. I take the point of the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare. Also, we somehow need to get through to young girls that there are careers apart from hairdressing or nursing—not that I wish to denigrate either of those because they are in themselves valuable jobs—and to open up their horizons to the worlds of science, engineering and craft skills as well. There are a lot of opportunities there. I certainly concur with the points of the noble Lord, Lord Addington, on dyslexia and disabilities. We need to work harder in ensuring that apprenticeships are open to people with those challenges.

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The real problem is actually that the demand, as a number of noble Lords have said, vastly exceeds the supply. I do not wish to knock the Government’s attempt, but they should stop just saying, “We have done 500,000”, when you know that when you examine those figures they will not stand up to scrutiny. The challenge for us, as the noble Lord, Lord Shipley, said, is that we have still got only 4% to 8% of companies employing apprentices. It is still only a third of companies in the FTSE 100. You can knock Ed Miliband and his view about compulsion when hiring but it might be a salutary reminder to say that, if only employers would attach as much importance to people within this country when they were looking for skills on hiring, it would not do them any harm. The Government should treat this as a top priority. Nearly 1 million 16 to 24 year-olds are unemployed. Some of them are in education, but they are still looking for a job.

My noble friend Lord Haskel told about problems with the actual apprenticeships. In the 16 to 19 year group according to the recent report by the Work Foundation, which I commend to the Minister, only 6% of 16 to 18 year-olds were in an apprenticeship. Of those who started apprenticeships in 2011, 71% were existing employees. A recent BIS survey found that 20% received neither on nor off-the-job training, which is a worrying statistic.

What needs to be done? The Government must lead by example. I assure the noble Lord, Lord Shipley, that in my brief ministerial career I managed to ensure that once a month every department came around and told me what it had achieved or failed to achieve. Why on earth are we not saying to companies which get public procurement contracts that they must declare their number of apprenticeships? We did it. We got about 300-plus on the Olympics, and Crossrail is heading towards 400.

Briefly, because I am conscious of the time, you also need to expand the use of group training associations. A recent report on them said that GTAs should be central to the Government’s plan for economic growth. I would like to hear from the Minister what they are doing about that. Similarly, the Apprentice Training Association mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, represents another good opportunity. I looked in vain on the local enterprise partnerships’ websites for any reference to apprenticeships. Again, they ought to be at the top of their lists, working with local authorities.

The Government have done some useful work, but not enough in my opinion. We should see the real danger: that this generation of young, unemployed people could become a lost generation. We owe them a much better deal than that, and I look forward to the Minister’s response.

3.20 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): My Lords, I welcome the opportunity to set out what the Government are doing to encourage young people to take an apprenticeship. I am most grateful to my noble friend Lady Wilcox for tabling this debate and to noble Lords who have raised some

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important points. This also gives me particular pleasure because in recent times my noble friend Lady Wilcox served as a BIS Minister in my role.

Apprenticeships are at the heart of the Government’s drive to give people of all ages the skills that employers need to compete in the expanding, competitive global market. As several noble Lords have pointed out, strong returns arise from apprenticeships. As my noble friend Lady Wilcox has said, that is why we have seen a record 1.5 million people start an apprenticeship since 2010.

The fundamental underlying principle of an apprenticeship is that it is a paid job that incorporates on and off-the-job training that leads to nationally recognised qualifications. After investing heavily in an apprentice, it makes business sense for employers to keep employing individuals once their apprenticeship ends. We need to do more to spread the word that apprenticeships are good for the economy, good for business and good for individuals. The noble Lord, Lord Haskel, raised the issue of the Richard review and claimed that the implementation plan had given permission to label any training an apprenticeship. With his other comments, I take issue with him and with the points that the noble Lord, Lord Young, made about the numbers. This is not just a numbers game. Our aim in reforming apprenticeships is to make the programme the new international benchmark for excellence. This is about quality, not number-counting, and we are determined to raise all apprenticeships to the standards of the best so that the programme is rigorous, responsive and meets the changing needs of our economy in the decades to come.

I pay tribute to my noble friend Lord Baker of Dorking for his groundbreaking, unstinting and exciting work on university technical colleges, and in particular his work on addressing the shortages in STEM. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Derby raised an interesting point and gave an interesting example about the Rolls-Royce training programme, which we know is one of the very best in the country. He also raised a point about the university technical colleges and the need—

Lord Young of Norwood Green: My Lords, I do not like to interrupt, but if we are to pay tribute, as we should, to the noble Lord, Lord Baker, we should also be sure to pay tribute to Lord Dearing. It was a joint initiative of both noble Lords, and he made such a great contribution that I felt it was appropriate to remind the House of it.

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The noble Lord, Lord Young, is absolutely right, and I certainly pay tribute to Lord Dearing for the work he did in this area. My overall point is that we need to combine practical training and vocational training, as the right reverend Prelate pointed out, and we very much focus on that, mixed, of course, with the provision of academic study. I should also make the point that there is a shortage of science and engineering skills in this country. Again, the right reverend Prelate alluded to this, and it is very much on our radar that we should look at this in respect of apprenticeships.

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Apprenticeships must be high quality, rigorous and focused on what employers need. The reforms we are making will put employers in the driving seat of developing apprenticeships that are more rigorous, more responsive and deliver the right skills. Additional rigour will come from a demand for higher standards that will stretch apprentices by setting higher expectations for achievement in English and maths, requiring more assessment at the end of an apprenticeship, and recognising an apprentice’s achievement through a grading system that ensures excellence that is clearly seen and widely understood. These changes build on those already introduced to raise quality, such as the minimum 12 months duration.

My noble friend Lady Wilcox raised a concern about over-bureaucracy. More responsiveness will be possible from the sweeping away of lengthy, convoluted, unnecessarily complex frameworks to bring in new, short, clear standards that are written by employers, not bureaucrats. Apprenticeships will then be able to focus on the skills and expertise that employers want and need. Reviewing the standards every three years will ensure that they remain relevant. The Government are also taking specific steps to support access to apprenticeships for young people as part of their work to deal with youth unemployment. We want apprenticeships to be held in the same high regard as university degrees. My noble friend Lord Stoneham and the noble Lord, Lord Young of Norwood Green, rightly alluded to this very important point. Young people must be able to choose the right route to the skills and knowledge they need for their career. Careers advice and guidance at the right time have never been so important. It is crucial that schools, colleges and universities play their part alongside the National Careers Service in inspiring and helping young people to make those choices. The noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, spoke about the importance of schools taking responsibility for promoting apprenticeships. If time permits, I should like to say more about the careers advice questions that were asked during the debate.

Apprenticeships must also be open to all. Not all young people leave school ready for the demands of an apprenticeship. I paid tribute earlier to the work done by my noble friend Lord Baker and Lord Dearing on university technical colleges. We have also introduced traineeships which enable 16 to 23 year-olds to develop the skills, experience and confidence they need to compete for an apprenticeship. Higher apprenticeships provide opportunities for able young people to undertake apprenticeship training at a level equivalent to a degree. It is precisely because apprenticeships must be open to all that the Government cannot create an “entitlement”, or a guarantee, that an apprenticeship will be available for every young person who would like one. Recruitment decisions must rest with employers for apprenticeships as much as for other jobs. Through the Education Act 2011, we have prioritised apprenticeship funding for vulnerable young people—those aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 to 24 who have a learning difficulty or disability, or who have been in local authority care when they have found a place. This guarantee has priority over funding for other places in line with our focus on supporting vulnerable groups in all areas.

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My noble friend Lord Addington, supported by my noble friend Lord Cormack, referred to vulnerable groups—my noble friend Lord Addington focused particularly on those with dyslexia—and exclusion in relation to apprenticeships. I reassure them by saying that all apprenticeships stretch and prepare individuals for sustained employment. Dyslexia should not present an insuperable barrier to those candidates who demonstrate competence and commitment in their chosen field. Access to Work and Additional Learning Support are two possible sources of funding to help provide equipment or other assistance for apprentices with dyslexia. The Government certainly recognise that there is more to be done to support apprentices with learning difficulties or disabilities and we aim to improve the operation and delivery of apprenticeships without jeopardising the standards that make them so valuable to apprentices and employers. I would be delighted to meet my noble friend Lord Cormack and the organisations that he mentioned, should that still be appropriate.

We fully fund apprenticeship training for 16 to 18 year-olds. This reflects the fact that they are likely to need more supervision and support initially and take longer to become fully productive in the workplace. For all young people, the National Apprenticeship Service—NAS for short—works with organisations that provide careers advice to make sure the benefits and demands of an apprenticeship, including what employers look for when recruiting, are understood and can be fully explained to the young people with whom the organisations work. NAS also provides an online apprenticeship vacancies job site. Between 12,000 and 20,000 vacancies are on the site at any time and can be accessed in a number of ways convenient to young people, including through Facebook, Twitter and apps for iPhones and Android phones.

My noble friend Lady Wilcox made a very valid point about the esteem of apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are something to aspire to and apprentices should be awarded recognition for their work just as graduates are. As I have said, our goal is to see an apprenticeship place valued equally to one at university. Celebrating success is so important to this. National Apprenticeship Week 2014, on 3 to 7 March, is an excellent opportunity to do just that. I know that all noble Lords will lend cross-party support when the time comes.

Apprenticeships are also promoted at large-scale events, including the Skills Show in Birmingham this month. More than 80,000 people attended that and large numbers of young people took up the offer to “have a go” at more than 40 different skills offered at different stands. The show is now going nationwide with 220 local events planned between now and December 2014. Organisers expect that more than 200,000 young people will attend the events. This shows that there is keen interest in skills and apprenticeships.

My noble friend Lady Wilcox, supported by the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Derby raised the issue of the careers service, and asked particularly how the new careers service is performing. They raised the issue of careers advice at schools and the important point as to whether options other than university are provided and discussed.

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As part of the new agenda, the National Careers Service will work with schools, colleges and employers to bring greater cohesiveness to careers guidance. We want these new arrangements to be in place from October 2014 when the new National Careers Service contracts will start.

The noble Lord, Lord Stoneham, raised the issue of apprentices in the public sector and the need for more transparent data on this. We do not currently measure a breakdown of apprenticeships in the public and private sectors. However, the fast-track Civil Service apprenticeships scheme was launched in October and is taking 100 18 to 21 year-olds through a two-year apprenticeship. At the end of the scheme they will, if successful, have earned a higher level qualification at level 4. We do intend to expand the scheme for another cohort, which we hope will be launched in early 2014. In addition, Civil Service Learning is currently working with its prime contractor to put in place a single provider or a consortium to offer to partners an easier way of sourcing apprenticeship services.

The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Derby and my noble friend Lady Wilcox raised the issue of learning to be good citizens as well as gaining skills for work. National Citizen Service is a life-changing experience open to all 16 and 17 year-olds across England. It is a unique three-week full-time programme of fun and discovery that benefits both young people and society. Participants build skills for work and life while taking on new challenges and adventures and learning new skills and making new friends. Taking place outside school and term time, the part-residential programme is made up of four sections that focus on personal and social development, including leadership, teamwork and communication. This works alongside the apprenticeship reforms, so I am pleased to mention it.

My noble friend Lord Shipley raised the important point about the need for more apprenticeships in engineering and manufacturing, a point to which I alluded earlier. The new higher apprenticeships are available or are in development in sectors including construction, advanced engineering, engineering environmental technologies, energy and utilities including water and waste, and space engineering. It is important to articulate to young people the career opportunities in STEM-based occupations via STEM apprenticeships.

Time has pretty well run out.

Lord Young of Norwood Green: Before the Minister sits down, if time does not allow a response now, I should welcome a written reply on the question of public procurement contracts and apprenticeships and on the question of encouraging group training associations and ATAs.

Lord Haskel: Before the Minister sits down, will the Government take steps to rationalise the 48 schemes identified by the CBI from three government departments all of which can apparently be referred to as apprenticeships?

Viscount Younger of Leckie: In answer to the question of the noble Lord, Lord Haskel, I shall be happy to write to him. In answer to the question of the noble Lord,

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Lord Young, on public procurement, the Government support the appropriate use of apprenticeships in procurement as they can contribute to encouraging growth in the UK economy. I shall look at his question in

Hansard

to see whether we can produce a fuller answer to it.

In conclusion, I urge noble Lords to support apprenticeships, as I know they all will, and to support the reforms that the Government are making to them.

Police: Public Trust

Motion to Take Note

3.34 pm

Moved by Lord Paddick

To move that this House takes note of public trust in the police, its role in effective policing, and the system for investigating complaints into police conduct.

Lord Paddick (LD): My Lords, the system of policing in this country is almost unique in that there are insufficient police officers to enforce the law by force and weight of numbers, they are predominantly unarmed and, by and large, the public work with them in that they act as the eyes and ears of the police, they co-operate with the police to enforce the law and maintain order, and they provide information and give evidence in judicial proceedings. The police should be “citizens in uniform” who act on behalf of, with the approval of and with the collaboration of the public. Were this not so, our police forces would have to be considerably larger and they would undoubtedly have to be armed.

Unlike other professions, the police’s ability to carry out their primary functions of improving public safety and preventing crime, harm and disorder is dependent on people trusting them. The more the public have trust and confidence in the police, the more likely they are to collaborate with them and therefore the more effective the police will be. For the police, reputation is therefore not simply a matter of professional pride but a matter of effectiveness in that, if there is a lack of trust and confidence in the police, they will be less effective, and that could inevitably result in a downward spiral.

As with many things in this world, that police chiefs want to cover up mistakes and misconduct is understandable but not justifiable. In the case of the police more than any other public body, there is a need for responsible journalism and, I have to say, responsible politics. Political grandstanding and media sensationalism when mistakes occur or misconduct is discovered not only compound the damage to the reputation of the police but make it less safe for all of us, because they unnecessarily undermine public trust and confidence and therefore police effectiveness. We need level-headed debate and objective and factual reporting.

There is evidence that public collaboration with the police is under threat, despite what the opinion polls may say. When I was a police constable in 1977 and we arrived at the scene of a fight, because the combatants were aware of our presence they used to stop what they were doing and we would arrest those whom we

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wanted to arrest. Nowadays, the combatants are likely to turn on the police. The riots in London and across the country in 2011 showed flagrant disregard for the law, for the maintenance of order and for the authority of the police. Research conducted after that rioting indicated that a lack of respect for the police was a major influence over the conduct of those taking part. While it is still true that trust and confidence in the police at a local level remain higher than for other public bodies, it is of growing concern that an increasing minority of citizens are refusing to accept that authority and refusing to co-operate with the police. So what is going wrong?

Clearly, there has been an erosion of respect in the attitude of some members of the public towards authority generally. Respect towards teachers, bankers, politicians and the police has shown signs of diminution in all cases. Some of the issues that specifically tend to undermine public trust and confidence in the police are what I would call “slow burn”; others are “big bang”. Almost all of them, I suggest, are the result of a less than ideal police culture and the failure of the systems designed to deal with that misconduct.

In the former category, there continue to be ongoing issues around the disproportionate stopping and searching of black and other minority-ethnic people. The propensity is for them to be arrested rather than warned, and to be charged rather than cautioned by the police. This is eroding communities’ willingness to collaborate with the police. The fact that a smaller proportion of black and other minority-ethnic people than of the white population is recruited into the police, that there are even fewer black and minority-ethnic senior police officers and that black and minority-ethnic police officers and police support staff are more likely to face formal misconduct hearings does not help black and other minority-ethnic communities to trust the police. Why has the police service not tackled these race-related issues and why have successive Governments not put pressure on the police service to put its house in order?

To deal with an issue, we have to admit that we have a problem. I believe that the police fear that if they admit that they have a problem with racism they will give their critics a field day, further undermine the morale of front-line officers and allow the unjustified stereotyping of all police officers as being racists. The statistics around stop and search and those other issues in policing that I have just mentioned continue to show that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Why have politicians shied away from the problem? When the police were last accused of institutional racism, following the Macpherson inquiry into the tragic death of Stephen Lawrence and the attempted murder of his friend Duwayne Brooks, front-line officers disengaged from stop and search for fear of being accused of racism. Street robbery increased to such epidemic proportions that the then Prime Minister personally pledged to bring down the number of street robbery offences. Neither police officers nor politicians—or any of us—want to see such an increase in crime again.

I appear to be in the minority who believes that such a situation is not inevitable. I believe, and have believed since the time of the Macpherson inquiry,

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that these issues, particularly the disproportionate stopping and searching of black and minority-ethnic people, can be dealt with without condemning every police officer and without harming relations—indeed, I believe that it would improve operational effectiveness, and could reverse the continuing damage to police community relations. Of course, black and minority-ethnic people will not join the police if they believe that the police treat them unfairly on the streets.

In the big-bang category we have high-profile and much publicised examples of organisational failure and malpractice. The most alarming perhaps in recent times is what has been discovered by the Hillsborough independent panel. The evidence suggests a cover-up of the kind to which I have already referred—one designed to prevent the damage to the reputation of the police service generally, not just to spare the embarrassment of the senior officers responsible. This appears to be an attempt to protect the reputation of the police ordered by some senior police officers, not misconduct by the rank and file.

For those who wish to think that attitudes have changed, I must disappoint noble Lords. When I was the police commander in Lambeth in 2001 a small riot took place in Brixton. In the subsequent investigation closed circuit television was examined and revealed police officers apparently beating an unarmed man on the ground with their batons. When that was brought to my attention as the police borough commander, I called three people—my immediate boss, the head of the internal investigation and the chair of the local community police consultative group. A group of trusted community leaders convened at the police station, where I showed the CCTV footage and assured them that everything would be done to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice. Apparently my bosses were apoplectic that I had revealed such malpractice to members of the community. I was told that next time I should not inform the community unless and until we had identified the perpetrators and had brought them to justice—presumably meaning that if we had not identified the individuals we should have kept the public in the dark. This is the understandable but unjustifiable mindset that still exists among some senior police officers, which is unhelpful, unhealthy and self-defeating. Openness at the time is far less damaging and can even be reassuring to the public, rather than attempting to cover up and being found out later. This culture of denial and cover-up, perpetuated and encouraged by some of those at the very top of the police service, inevitably impacts on those in the lower ranks, where there are additional reinforcing pressures.

Again while I was at Brixton, a young police officer told me that he was thinking of resigning from the police service. He said that the culture in the military, from where he had come, was very different. He said that in the military the most senior officer present when mistakes occurred took responsibility and, if necessary, faced a court martial. In the police, his experience was that mistakes were covered up, and if they came to light responsibility was pushed down to the lowest possible rank in order to protect senior officers. My 30 years of experience, albeit in one police force, absolutely chimes with the perceptions of this young police officer.

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However, there are other factors at work that encourage cover-up, including the unfair way in which the police complaints system operates. When complaints are investigated, those investigating seem determined to get you for something. When a complaint was made about an incident in which I was involved, during which I scratched my hand, because they could not find anything else on me I was later criticised and formally sanctioned for failing to report an injury on duty.

A series of cases have been brought to my attention since I left the police in 2007, where officers have been open and honest about what took place and feel that they have been punished for their honesty. Their use of what they considered to be reasonable force resulted in them being sacked, while others who falsely denied touching anyone during the same incident escaped justice. I have been presented with evidence of biased and one-sided investigations where investigating officers, convinced of the guilt of individuals, have excluded, and even illegally withheld, evidence that might prove otherwise.

The perceived unfairness of the complaints investigation system is compounded further in the Metropolitan Police by the fact that each and every misconduct hearing, almost without exception, is chaired by the same senior police officer. The judge in these cases is effectively employed by the prosecution. When I sat on such hearings, I would sometimes be told afterwards by the Department for Professional Standards that I had wrongly acquitted a corrupt officer. My fear is that the fact that it has a tame judge might tempt the Department for Professional Standards to give such a briefing before the evidence is heard.

My noble friend Lady Doocey will have much to say about the IPCC. All I will say is that I refer to it as the so-called Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The major issue that needs to be tackled is the culture of blame and cover-up in the police, which must change. In my experience, there will be no change without political pressure from outside. In return there should be responsible debate and reporting of police activity, with as much airtime and column inches in praise of the good work and successes achieved by the overwhelming majority of decent, hard-working police officers as is given to the tiny minority whose conduct falls short of what is required.

We need a system for the investigation of incompetence, mistakes and deliberate malpractice that is both fair and independent and has the confidence of both the public and police officers. We still have the best police service in the world, but we need to bring about radical change if we are to preserve and enhance its hard won reputation. I beg to move.

3.48 pm

Lord Wasserman (Con): My Lords, I congratulate my noble friend Lord Paddick on securing this debate. I was going to add, “on this critically important and very timely subject”, but of course this debate is really about two critically important and very timely subjects—namely, public trust in the police and its role in effective policing; and the system for investigating complaints into police conduct. Although these are different subjects,

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they are closely related. It is because public trust in the police is at such a low ebb today that there is so much public concern about how complaints against individual police officers are investigated. As we all know, however, public opinion is notoriously fickle, and we must guard against making fundamental changes to our institutions simply to keep up with it.

I well remember, as a young official in the Home Office many years ago, that it was generally believed by the public—and reflected in the policies of Ministers of both major parties—that the best way of dealing with complaints against police officers was to allow chief constables to deal with them. This was based on the equally firm belief that those who had got themselves into trouble—that is, those who had complaints filed against them—were a tiny minority of police officers: the rotten apples at or near the bottom of the pile. That is why we thought that their elders and betters—those of ACPO rank—could be relied upon to sort them out in one way or another.

However, this belief that most police officers were fundamentally honest and that chief constables were the best people to deal with their own “rotten apples” was undermined towards the end of the last century by both the Scarman inquiry into the Brixton riots and the Stephen Lawrence inquiry in 1999. As a result of what the public learned from these inquiries, they were no longer prepared to trust ordinary police officers to behave properly or to trust chief officers to investigate complaints against their colleagues honestly and fairly. This in turn led to the demand for an independent element in the police complaints procedure; it was in response to this demand that an Independent Police Complaints Commission was established by the Police Reform Act 2002.

However, as I have already said, public opinion is something of a fashion industry. As recently as two years ago, when your Lordships were debating the then Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, the public’s main concern about policing was not how to improve the integrity of officers but how to improve their value for money. As a result, local chief constables were once again given the main responsibility for handling complaints, including appeals, against their officers. The IPCC would now consider only complaints and appeals which were thought to be, or classified as, “serious”. This change was justified as,

“streamlining and removing unnecessary bureaucracy from the system”,

and ensuring that,

“complaints were handled at the lowest appropriate level”.

In other words, this was justified as a way of improving value for money.

Sadly, however, although perhaps not surprisingly, public opinion has changed again in the last year or two. This is because so many of the police officers who have managed to get themselves into trouble in the last few years—or, more accurately, whose inappropriate behaviour has been exposed in the last two years—were not at the bottom of the barrel, but at the very top. The public once again turned against chief constables and decided that they could not, after all, be trusted to deal with complaints against their own officers.

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This led to a fresh demand to remove responsibility for complaints from chief constables and move it to the centre: hence the plans to “beef up” the IPCC by transferring to it staff presently employed in the professional standards departments of local forces. Indeed, as recently as Monday of this week, the commission set up by the Labour Party under the chairmanship of the noble Lord, Lord Stevens, which we will be discussing in this Chamber next Thursday, recommended the creation of a new national body to handle police complaints. Why? It was because, in the words of the noble Lord, Lord Stevens:

“The spate of organisational failures and scandals over recent years has badly damaged public confidence in the integrity of the police”.

As I said a few minutes ago, I am very worried about making changes to institutions as fundamental to our society as our police complaints system simply as a response to public opinion polls. If the problem he is concerned to tackle really is, as the noble Lord, Lord Stevens, believes, a loss of public confidence in police integrity, the answer must be to take steps to improve police integrity. The response cannot be to accept the present level of police integrity as a given and try to work round it by transferring responsibility for police complaints away from chief constables to a team of civilians in a national body. This will simply reinforce the public’s loss of confidence in the police. It will also damage the confidence of those chief officers—the vast majority of whom, I hasten to add, are public servants of the highest professional standard and men and women of unimpeachable integrity. It cannot be right to tar them all with the same brush. As a PCC said to me in an e-mail the other day:

“The more external checking the Government advocates, the less it is seen to trust the police to do the right thing in the first place”.

I do not accept that nothing can be done about police integrity, or what some people call police culture, or that, for this reason, we must not let chief constables anywhere near the arrangements for handling police complaints. Police integrity is no doubt in a bad place at the moment but something is being done about it. The Government’s College of Policing has already begun to tackle the issue with determination. I am optimistic about what the college will achieve, particularly if its board is expanded to include a larger number of truly independent individuals whose careers to date have not been linked to the police in any way.

In short, making major changes to the way police complaints are handled is not an appropriate or sensible response to the public’s concerns about police integrity. That is not to say that I am entirely satisfied with the present arrangements for handling police complaints: I most certainly am not. These arrangements were described to me recently by one PCC as, “labyrinthine, slow and bureaucratic”. They are seen by the public as unfair and stacked against them, as my noble friend Lord Paddick said. Even the police are unhappy with them. As another PCC wrote to me last week, “in my force, PSD”—the standards department—

“has almost a terror factor over officers and I don’t think this is healthy. Officers need to feel supported to make difficult decisions rather than afraid to do so”.

There are plenty of reasons for changing the present arrangements, but the changes must deliver a system

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which is much more user-friendly, quicker, more transparent and more responsive to local needs. All this points to keeping the complaints system as local as possible. Policing is primarily a local service whose principal aim is to make people safe in their own communities. The best way of achieving that objective is by retaining responsibility for local policing locally. As noble Lords will know, that is why I argued so forcefully for police and crime commissioners, directly elected by the people and accountable to them.

That is also why I believe that complaints against local officers should be dealt with within the local community. If the local community is not prepared to trust its chief constables to deal with complaints, the answer is not to transfer responsibility to the centre. The way forward is to make the complaints procedure part of the overall governance arrangements of the force and hold the PCC accountable for the way complaints are handled in the same way as the PCC is accountable to the local electorate for the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the force.

There is nothing radical in this. Most complaints can be handled by people without police powers or operational experience. In fact, many are not even complaints but expressions of dissatisfaction which should be used to improve the service. They are easily resolved with common sense, tact and a willingness to apologise. However, under the present rules, they are forced into a legalistic, bureaucratic process which puts officers on edge and complainants into deep despair.

There are several ideas for changing the way that the police complaints procedure works. The APCC—the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners—is working on this and will be coming up with proposals. Winston Churchill is reported to have said, among other things, “Never let a good crisis go to waste”. There is clearly a crisis in confidence in the police and, more particularly, in police integrity. Let us not waste this opportunity to improve our system of police complaints, a problem which has bedevilled policing in England and Wales for a very long time.

3.58 pm

Lord Young of Norwood Green (Lab): My Lords, I enter this debate with some trepidation. It is not an area that I normally deal with, but I was fascinated by the first two contributions and I also congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, on giving the House the opportunity to debate this vital issue. I was interested in the contrast between the two contributions that we have just heard on the cause, the analysis and what the cure should be.

I suspect that there will not be any silver bullet. You cannot improve the complaints system without seeking to change the culture. Anybody who has done any examination of organisations will know that the hardest thing to change in any organisation is the culture. You can change structures and processes, but changing the culture is really difficult. However, we have to address the issue and I would be interested to hear the Minister’s response.

Along with all the other concerns that have been expressed about recent and not so recent cases, perhaps the most recent example was when the Public Administration Select Committee heard evidence from both a serving

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police officer and an ex-chief inspector. There were revelations concerning the reporting of crimes by the public and the disparity between those figures and the figures that were recorded by the police; for example, in rape cases there appeared to be a 70% discrepancy, and in one London borough there was a disparity of 400 in relation to burglaries from dwellings. I would be interested to hear the Government’s response to that.

Having looked through the Library note and the analysis of the role of the IPCC, I ask: do the Government feel that it is genuinely as independent as it should be? Does it really have the necessary powers to inspire confidence in the public that it is independent and that it can genuinely and thoroughly investigate complaints? As the report pointed out, it cannot call evidence from non-serving officers or those who have retired. That seems a yawning gap in its role. Some would suggest that, given its make-up, the commission is not truly independent.

Like the two previous speakers, I do not want to cast aspersions on the police generally. I work with them locally very well and very satisfactorily, and I think that the majority of them do a difficult and sometimes dangerous job very well indeed. But the question of public trust and confidence is of fundamental importance and cannot be ignored. A number of recent cases, which are not just about police constables but go much further up the hierarchy of command, give the public genuine cause for concern. I look forward to hearing what the Government intend to do in relation to recent revelations, and what changes they think are necessary.

4.02 pm

Baroness Doocey (LD): My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lord Paddick for enabling the House to consider the question of public trust in the police. Public trust is absolutely vital. A loss of public trust can damage the reputation of any organisation, but because public trust is vital to the functioning of the police, the effects of its loss are much worse.

The problem has become more acute in recent years because of a change in the climate of public opinion. People have become increasingly sceptical about power and authority generally. In a healthy democracy, that is not necessarily a bad thing, but this scepticism can easily tip over into a corrosive cynicism.

Therefore, it has become more important to ensure that public trust in the police is protected and enhanced. This can be done only through the effective, transparent and fair resolution of complaints made against our police. The vast majority of police officers are honest and hard-working, and they should not have to suffer public criticism because of the failure to investigate properly the activities of a badly performing minority.

The system currently used to resolve complaints is through the Independent Police Complaints Commission. However, there are a large number of problems with the IPCC that combine to undermine public confidence. The IPCC generally lacks independence from the police. Most investigations of complaints are carried out by the police themselves, and relatively few are investigated independently by the IPCC. When the IPCC investigates

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complaints, a large number of these investigations are conducted by former or seconded police officers. The IPCC lacks transparency and does not do enough to ensure trust and confidence in its work.

A major problem for the IPCC is its perceived lack of independence. That is ironic, given that the principles of transparency and independence were central to its creation. Unfortunately, the IPCC has not lived up to those high hopes of independence. It has the power to carry out independent investigations, but in the vast majority of cases it delegates those investigations to the police.

There are presently four categories of investigation. Most fit into the two least serious categories—local investigations and supervised investigations—where all investigation work is done by the police. That is not a problem when it comes to more minor cases, where a complainant agrees to a local review. However, it is a problem when the case is more serious. The third and more serious category of investigation is the managed investigation. This still relies on police to carry out the investigative work. Even when we reach the most serious of the four categories, independent investigation, many people would be surprised to find that, in most cases, it is still former or seconded police officers who carry out the investigations. That lack of independence, even in many of the most serious cases, undermines public confidence.

The IPCC’s own statistical review identified that, in 2011-12, the IPCC upheld more than 1,400 appeals against the outcome of investigations—a huge, 40% increase on the previous year. The IPCC investigates only a tiny proportion of complaints about the police and only a small proportion of even the most serious cases. That becomes absurdly clear when one sees how many complaints are made and how few are investigated independently. In 2011-12, more than 31,000 complaints were made about police officers in England and Wales. Compare that figure with the total number of police officers in post—some 134,000—and the scale of the problem becomes clear.

Of course, not all complaints warrant the attention of the IPCC. It is right that low-level complaints about rude and uncivil behaviour by police officers, for example, should be considered by their supervisors, provided there remains an independent appeals process. However, not enough serious cases are subject to independent investigation. For example, of the 128 deaths in police custody in the five years to 2008-09, only 43—just over a third—were independently investigated. The overall number of referrals—that is, the more serious cases demanding the attention of the IPCC—was 2,165 in 2011-12. However, of those 2,000-plus referrals, the IPCC launched only 126 independent investigations—just one for every 17 cases referred.

To restore public confidence in the independence of the IPCC, we need more independent investigations and fewer police officers working as IPCC investigators. We should remember that it is not just for victims that we need an effective police complaints system. Only by prompt, open and fair investigation will honest police officers be able to continue to police by consent. I look forward to the opportunity to address this issue in more detail as we continue to consider the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill.

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4.09 pm

Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve (CB): My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, for his very courageous speech. I listened with great care and I think we all learnt from it. I should declare an interest as the chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which undertook some work on the disproportionate use of stop and search and managed to show that reducing levels of stop and search, in particular its inequitable application, does not in any way lead to increased crime. That is an extraordinarily important empirical finding.

I want to talk about trust. I am not an expert on policing, but I have thought a good deal about trust and trustworthiness in other contexts. It is a constant worry in most areas of public and commercial life that there may be a crisis of trust, that things may have gone radically wrong.

There is very mixed evidence for that claim, because the evidence that people like to cite is that of the opinion polls. In the case of most of those, we do not have a long time series, so it is difficult to compare the past with the present and to draw that conclusion of the declining level of public trust. Where we have longer series—20 years, say—we find that the people who came low in the trust rankings, for example, politicians and journalists came low 20 years ago and those who came high, for example, judges and nurses, came high 20 years ago. Most of the rest of us are in between. That is mixed evidence.

However, I think that this is probably the wrong sort of evidence to focus on. What we are really interested in is trustworthiness rather than trust. To get evidence of trustworthiness is a good deal harder. How does it make a difference if we switch to think about trustworthiness? I start by characterising the received view on these matters as consisting of a claim, an aim and a view about the task that we face. The claim is that the trust has gone down and the aim, it is said, is more trust. The task, therefore—I hear the conclusion coming from all directions—is that we must rebuild trust.

I do not think that that is a sensible position. I do not want just more trust; I want something much better. I want more well placed trust and, if you please, more well placed mistrust. For example, I do not think that it was desirable that all those people placed their trust in the aptly named Mr Madoff, who then made off with their money. That was an example of too much trust placed in the wrong way.

My view is that what we really want is trustworthiness before trust. Our proper question should be: how do we increase trustworthiness? It is not easy, of course. It is much harder to think about trustworthiness than to think about trust, but it is pointless for us to seek better trust in the police unless we think first about what helps and supports the police in being trustworthy, and what helps and supports the police complaints procedures, current or future, to be trustworthy. When we have thought about trustworthiness, that is the time to start thinking about how we might increase the alignment of public trust with trustworthiness.

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Two received answers have been popular over the past 20 years as to what one should do. It is thought that we should go for more accountability. Who can be against that? It also thought that we should go for more transparency. Who, it is said, can be against that? I am only selectively for transparency and accountability. Those remedies have, after all, been tried energetically and repeatedly—you could even say, obsessively—for some 20 years, but they do not seem to have worked. Is it sensible to say, “We must try harder. We must do more, we must jump in and have more of the remedy that did not work”?

We need to think about the supposed remedies. The forms of accountability that have been instituted in policing and elsewhere have not always been brilliantly designed. We all know that, sometimes, detailed regulation works by setting targets. Targets have been set in policing and the targets that have been thought appropriate in policing have sometimes, including recently, been subject to change. That suggests to me that we need to think much more carefully about which targets we have and what effects the setting of targets has. In general, the problem with targets is not that they are ineffective but that they are all too effective. Once targets are set, people know what the aim is, and they pursue the targets at the expense of the broader, deeper social aims. That, perhaps, has happened in policing, in which I am not expert, as it has in higher education, which I know a bit about, and certainly in schooling.

We also need to think about what the real aims of policing are. I do not intend to enter into that large debate but I take it that we probably have a considerable measure of consensus there. We need accountability, but we need intelligent accountability and we have had to do without it all too often. What sort of processes would help us to secure more intelligent forms of accountability? Here, we are looking at the thickets that grow up around primary legislation, so I would bring it back to Parliament in part.

Although primary legislation seems odiously detailed when you are looking at a Bill, it nevertheless leaves a great deal that is open. In its wake comes masses of regulation, with codes of practice and guidelines. In another context, I was told by a midwife that the trouble was that it took longer to do the paperwork than to deliver the baby. Something has gone wrong if anywhere in our public life we have forms of regulation that achieve that, where the accountability measures disrupt performance of the primary task. I have heard, as all your Lordships will have heard, complaints again and again that police officers are overwhelmed by that aspect of accountability. We conduct many consultations; we conduct them until the cows come home. Yet seemingly we do not have reliable ways of weeding out dysfunctional, useless and merely burdensome forms of accountability. I am sure that we can do better.

Secondly, I will add a word or two on transparency. Suppose that we had a better set of systems of accountability, which were not dysfunctional but useful to police officers. How then would we link that to systems that would help the public to discriminate and would strengthen the trust placed in trustworthy policing? If trustworthiness is to be matched by public trust, we need to pay attention to how the public are

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enabled, or not enabled, to place trust in others’ performance. It is often said that transparency will do that. Transparency is about putting more information into the public domain, as we all know, and that creates certain incentives. I believe that this remedy is inadequate. Transparency is surely, in the first instance, a really good remedy for secrecy, including inappropriate secrecy.

However, if we want intelligently placed trust we need more than a reduction in secrecy. Secrecy is after all not the only problem with the procedures of the police, or indeed with IPCC investigations. Trust is given only when the public can judge the honesty, competence and reliability of those in whom they might place their trust. If the processes for investigating complaints that the IPCC or a successor body uses do not enable ordinary people to judge the honesty, competence and reliability of the police, they will not enable ordinary people to put well placed trust in policing. It is that matter of discriminating, well placed trust and, where appropriate, well placed mistrust that surely goes to the heart of it.


4.18 pm

The Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds: My Lords, I, too, am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, both for leading this debate and for his powerful and serious introduction to it. I also look forward to the first of many contributions to the work of this House from the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb.

I am also grateful to our police forces for their major role in establishing a courteous and sensitive society. Like many of my colleagues, I have, for example, accompanied police when they have been sharing news of a tragedy with relatives. I have been consistently impressed by the careful way that they have gone about their task. It is professionalism of the highest order. That reputation does indeed depend on the confidence of the public. I was a vicar in Sheffield at the time of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, and I spent much of the following week taking relatives of the Liverpool fans who had died onto the Hillsborough pitch, working with police officers who were invariably courteous, sensitive and supportive. It is tragic that so much good work has been lost to our collective memory by the subsequent lack of confidence in senior police behaviour at that time.

Similarly, I was the vicar of the south Yorkshire mining community of Wath-upon-Dearne at the time of the 1984 miners’ strike, when relationships between police and the community were at their most fraught. Reputation then was upheld—significantly—only by the story that the police officers guilty of taunting the community were not the local officers whom we knew, but officers imported from Sussex and other places south of the Trent. I still do not know whether that was true, but it was a very convenient story for all sides in that tense situation. Confidence becomes fragile so quickly. In many of our communities, however, trust is still based on personal knowledge of individual police officers. I was grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Wasserman, for stressing the importance of keeping policing local, including the discussion and inquiries into offences.

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In this context, I will not so much talk about the IPCC and its work as welcome warmly the draft code of ethics for the police forces of England and Wales that is currently published for consultation by the College of Policing. It is good to have specific standards of professional behaviour delineated there, for the police to build that confidence based on community relationships. These standards are filled with detail of how that relationship is to be developed, and I welcome the robustness of the sections on honesty and integrity, authority, respect and courtesy, and equality and diversity. Those are at the root of the proper use of authority by a citizen police force that is a part of our society and not set apart from it in order to police it. Police forces are given authority by the public and trusted to use it honestly, and to be aware of the dangers that are inherent in all authority and that come to the surface so easily.

I have two general points about the code on which I would be grateful for comments from the Minister. First, I regret what seems in the code and in our discussions about the IPCC to be a note of persistent negativity. The code seems more concerned with preventing bad policing than promoting the good. Not for one moment do I deny that we need to stop bad policing, and that where it happens we need to make due inquiries about it; but “thou shalt not” goes only so far in creating an effective culture for the way in which we work together.

It would be good to see the code developed so that it points confidently to the part that policing can and I believe does play in building a good society, creating and upholding the Queen’s peace, and positively establishing a foundation of confidence on which our communities will flourish. I have seen good policing doing just that, in personal contacts with those in need, in good relationships with local schools, and in the way in which, where necessary, arrests are carried out. The negativity of the code is understandable because it grew out of a disciplinary code, but positive energy for the common good is even more crucial than the elimination of bad practice.

I would also value a comment from the Minister on those points where the code seems to overemphasise the role of public opinion. In this, I support some of the points made by the noble Baroness, Lady O’Neill. A key stated criterion in the code is,

“whether their behaviour … is likely to reflect well on themselves and on policing”.

The unintended logic of that could be that an action is good or bad only if someone is watching or if somebody finds out about it. That cannot be the only—or an appropriate—moral imperative. Honesty and integrity exist or do not exist whether or not anyone knows about them. If the culture of respect to which the noble Lord, Lord Young, referred is to be developed among our police, the College of Policing would do well to get on to the front foot in its ethical work so that our police see it as their duty not simply to avoid wrongdoing but to pursue values that will make them still more a force for the common good.

4.26 pm

Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb (GP): My Lords, 100 years ago last month, my father’s father, Thomas

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Jones, was killed in the Senghenydd mining disaster in south Wales, along with 438 other men and boys. It is still the worst industrial accident ever to happen in these islands. It left hundreds of widows and orphans, including my grandmother, Polly, who had seven children, including my father, Percy, who was eight. The mine owners paid out something like £26 in total for all those men and boys. My dad therefore grew up in abject poverty. He and one of his brothers had to share a pair of shoes; one of them would wear them one day to school and the next day the other would wear them. After the First World War, when my father left school, rather than work down the pit that had killed his father, he and a brother walked all the way from Abertridwr in south Wales to London to find work. They slept in Hyde Park on benches until the Salvation Army found them and fed and sheltered them.

My dad found work in London and then moved to Brighton, where he met and married my mother, Christine. She came from a staunch Labour Party family. Her granddad, Will Evans, was the first Socialist—no Labour Party back in the 1890s—councillor on Brighton Council. He was a strong supporter of trade unions. During the Second World War, my dad was a cook with the RAF while my mother painted railway engines. When the war was over, they moved to a new suburb of Brighton, Moulsecoomb, which was part of the Homes Fit for Heroes project. I grew up very happy and secure, with my brother Allan, not realising that we were quite poor and the last in our road to get a fridge, a phone or a TV.

Having known hard times, my parents were big fans of the welfare state. They both knew a Britain where it did not exist. So my upbringing was full of gratitude and awe about free education, free medical help and an understanding that you have to help the most vulnerable in society because how you help the poorest is the mark of civilisation. I will skip over the next 40 years, which involved marriage, two wonderful daughters, some travelling, archaeology and lots of very deep-Green politics, and say that I am astonished to be here, but perhaps not as astonished as others. Considering that I have done nothing but talk abolition since my appointment, I have received a very warm welcome, for which I am very thankful.

On the issue of this debate, I would like to say trust in the police has always ebbed and flowed, but “plebgate” has caused a flurry even among the usual supporters of the police. Even the middle classes are saying, “If the police might do something like this to a government Minister, what chance does a working class youth have on a council estate?”. I have been working on the issue of trust in policing for more than a decade. I published a short report this year that looked at the levels of trust among young Londoners and the Met. I went and talked to young people and listened to them, and I found out what they thought. It was very marked that they did not trust the police. It was also marked that they differentiated between different parts of the police. Local police they accepted and saw as doing a generally good job, but the TSG—the Territorial Support Group—for example, was heartily disliked. Young people talked about “bully vans”, and about how the TSG would come into their streets, cause problems, make messes and then leave the sorting out to the local police.

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The worst reaction seemed to be a result of stop and search. Although most young people could actually see a use for it, and felt that it might make them safer sometimes if the police found weapons on others, they disliked the way it was done. Again and again, Met officers managed to mess things up because they did not show professional politeness and did not communicate properly.

My years of Met scrutiny, first on the Metropolitan Police Authority and now on City Hall’s Police and Crime Committee, have led me to the conclusion that the police’s biggest problem is communication. If forces could communicate better, they would hear more useful intelligence from communities, and get more support on the streets and fewer attacks in the press, which would raise morale internally and improve the public’s confidence. For example, recently I complained that the Met was reducing its training of armed officers. Now this really is an area where you would think that you need the maximum amount of training, the highest level; there are already enough incidents and we do not want any more. It was explained to me by the Met that the training had reduced slightly but appeared to be generally better for officers and their skills. But the Met had not bothered explaining the changes to anybody. They had not communicated properly, which wasted my time, their time and actually gave them some unfavourable publicity.

Then there are the undercover police, spying on and sleeping with their targets, particularly in environmental organisations. Remember, these targets are people—women—who are innocent and who have not committed a crime. The officers have intruded in their lives to the most astonishing degree. One of them even fathered a child—and then vanished, of course. The Met seems strangely mixed up about this. In public the Met Commissioner has told me that such activity, sleeping with targets, is never authorised. In court, the Met lawyers claimed that the police who were charged had been authorised. At some level, there is a deep amount of confusion about this. It really does need cleaning up.

Of course, I have taken this seat courtesy of the Green Party, whose members voted for me and whose policies I shall do my best to promote.

4.32 pm

Baroness Hamwee (LD): My Lords, it is a privilege and a pleasure to congratulate the noble Baroness on behalf of the whole House. It is entirely appropriate that she was introduced on 5 November. I am sure that she will forgive me for saying that the term “feisty” could have been coined for her. I have to warn your Lordships that she takes no hostages when she is set on getting something done.

If Wikipedia is to be believed, the noble Baroness spent 10 years in the Middle East studying carbonised plant remains—we are more lively here—having studied archaeology as a mature student before politics took over. The noble Baroness, to whom I an finding it hard not to refer by her first name, has been a member of the London Assembly since its inception in 2000; was deputy mayor to Ken Livingstone in 2003-04; and I could use my nine minutes listing the positions that she has held, including, as she has mentioned, membership

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of the Metropolitan Police Authority and, now, deputy chairmanship of the London Assembly’s police and crime committee.

However, the noble Baroness is more intent on doing than on being. I understand that, for instance, she still goes out early on a Monday morning on a tea run for homeless people. That is between things such as working on a food strategy for London, promoting cycling and much more. She tweeted of her appointment:

“I feel very lucky, but the possibility of protocol disasters is high”.

That is as may be, but the probability of her making an impact on the House is high.

I do not normally tell anecdotes, but I will tell one. A long time ago, before the current rules on evidence-taking, I gave a statement to the police after seeing someone behaving suspiciously. I was asked what he looked like and what he wore, and I said, “I couldn’t really see. He was wearing dark clothes”. The statement, as written by a police constable, was: “He was wearing a pale grey sweater with a navy V-neck trim”. I refused to sign it but I am ashamed that I did not take it further. However, I realise that that has coloured the attitude—the trust—that I have. That is one reason why neighbourhood policing is so important, because it is not just about the content of what is done but the impression that is made. Neighbourhood police are the police whom the public meet day to day, whether north or south of the Trent. Little things like that, as well as the big, have an impact, and a small bad experience can leave us with a large loss of trust.

I confess to your Lordships that I am very embarrassed to presume to talk about trust in a debate in which a recent Reith lecturer has made such a contribution. My personal experience has had a particular impact. I think that personal experience has an impact because one applies one’s own judgment and makes one’s own assessment of trustworthiness. There is a different approach to assessing trustworthiness in the case of individuals and of institutions. I was interested in the comment about young people making a distinction between local police and the TSG. When you look at individuals you are more discriminating and nuanced, but of course you often judge the whole institution by a small part.

Of course, these are general comments that apply to public service generally, as did the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Young, about the necessity and difficulty of changing culture. There is a range of obvious reasons why trust in public services and public servants is so important—that is blindingly obvious, and I apologise for my cod philosophy. However, without trust, how can one win the co-operation of the public or, as my noble friend Lord Paddick, has termed it, “collaboration”? That may be right, because it suggests partnership, which is so necessary for effectiveness. I was interested to see the extract from the ESRC’s Policing by Consent, which said that,

“perceptions of legitimacy are stronger predictors of compliance with the law than perceptions of deterrent risk”.

It referred to authorities behaving,

“fairly and respectfully towards those they govern”,

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and added:

“When the police act according to principles of procedural justice, citizens regard such activity as legitimate; they defer to its authority and recognise and justify the power that it wields”.

Another reason for the importance of public trust is its impact on recruitment. The police, like other services, need to recruit good people and I doubt that anyone is more upset by the bad apples than other officers; in that, I echo my noble friend Lady Doocey. The police service needs to be a service with which people want to be associated. It needs to be seen by young people thinking about it as a career path as a profession of which they would be proud to be a member, and one that would provide job satisfaction. Therefore, like other noble Lords, I welcome the College of Policing, about which we will talk more outside this debate. However, I will say now that leadership and training need to recognise and capitalise on a range of abilities, among which I place emotional intelligence very high.

On recruitment and retention, it is clearly necessary to recruit a mix of people who inspire trust. Some people trust the stereotypical powerful authority figure, but even that figure does not necessary come in the form of a white male. However cohesive our society, having forces comprised of people we recognise—“people who look like us”, as they say—is a component. Progress is being made but the struggle is uphill.

Stop and search has been mentioned. That is not just a matter of numbers or of who is stopped and searched, but the quality of the encounter and how they are treated. Transparency is also a component, as has been said. However, I share the view that it is not a panacea. It is not just a matter of pushing information into the public domain. Indeed, one way of concealing information is to give so much that what matters is not noticed—it is hidden in plain view.

The general public depend very much on the media. My noble friend referred to the media. Indeed, I think he used the term “sensational” in that regard. Social media as well as the more traditional media select and interpret what is published.

The debate has largely been about specific policing mechanisms and arrangements. Some have referred to high-profile events and investigations and their devastating impact on how the police are regarded. In what is still a fairly new policing landscape—as we have learnt to call it—the focus has largely been on police and crime commissioners but I want to mention police and crime panels. We cannot assess the success or otherwise of commissioners without also looking at the panels because they have the specific role of being a check and balance, for which they need powers and resources. They should be able to analyse information and ask questions in holding police and crime commissioners to account. I agree very much with what the noble Lord, Lord Wasserman, said about the importance of that. Very shortly, we will consider in detail the mechanisms with which to respond to complaints—mechanisms which must be, as well as be perceived to be, independent, timely, fair and competent—but should we not consider whether a fall in the number of complaints is a good thing, or whether it indicates a lack of trust even in how they are dealt with?

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The debate has been about trustworthiness, which I welcome. However, trust is not an entitlement: it has to be earned again and again, day by day and every day.

4.42 pm

Lord Bew (CB): My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, for securing this extremely timely debate. I want to focus my remarks on one element—the element of trust—although there are two elements in the Motion, as the noble Lord, Lord Wasserman, said. I want to talk a little about some of the recent polling in this area. I do so with some trepidation because I am well aware of the wise words of my noble friend Lady O’Neill on the subject of opinion polls and trust, and on how much of the evidence needs to be treated with scepticism. I absolutely agree with her. Her Reith lectures on the subject of trust were published in 2002 by Cambridge University Press in a book entitled A Question of Trust. The noble Baroness has demonstrated the ways in which moral philosophy can inform our public debate in a most important and essential way.

In talking about some of the issues concerning policing and trust, I want to make only a very limited point—one which I think is sustainable—about transitions in public mood. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Wasserman, that we need to be careful about these matters as the public mood can be enormously fickle. I draw attention particularly to the Survey of Public Attitudes Towards Conduct in Public Life, which was published in September 2013 by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, often known as the Nolan committee, of which I am the recently appointed chairman. The survey looks at public perceptions of trust in public officeholders, including the police and politicians. There is a general trend in the survey, and in surveys of this type across Europe. Our survey is entirely compatible with the data from the European Social Survey 2002-10. Our survey states that the European survey,

“also indicates that ‘representative institutions’, such as national parliaments, political parties and politicians, tend to be trusted less than ‘implementing institutions’, such as the police or national legal systems in many other European countries”.

We are not alone in this. We are typical. In our survey, judges score particularly highly as to the amount of trust the public is prepared to bestow upon them. The police come next with a level of public acceptance of almost 70%. This is a summary of the results from 2004 to 2012. Cabinet Ministers lurk at around 25% to 26%. Until recently, in our country in this type of polling the police have been running at more than twice the levels of respect or trustworthiness of Cabinet Ministers.

However, looking at more recent polling there is evidence of a worrying change. For example, in a recent YouGov poll, respondents who trust senior police officers have decreased from 72% in 2003 to 49% in 2012, and a quarter of those surveyed by ComRes in 2013 said that the plebgate affair has made them less likely to trust the police. These very high-level indicators do not characterise the surveys carried out by the Nolan committee. Let me give a health warning: I take seriously everything that the noble Baroness, Lady O’Neill, says about such surveys. However, for

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what it is worth it does seem possible that, over the past year, a change in the public mood from that high level of acceptance of the police is occurring.

Noble Lords will remember the debate in this House in the early part of this year in the name of the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, with a technical title about looking at police performance management statistics. This most interesting debate, in the Moses Room, looked at gaming in the police service and the gaming of statistics. The noble Earl, Lord Lytton, has played a major role in drawing attention to these interesting questions. As an academic, I think it only fair to add that gaming, as the noble Baroness, Lady O’Neill, said, is not confined to the police service, and can also be found, as we both agree, in universities. That debate, although it was an important and serious, attracted little attention. Since then the momentum around this question has been transformed. The Public Administration Select Committee has announced that it is going to hold an inquiry into the management and accuracy of police statistics. It is a major consideration in terms of the public trust. Earlier this month my own committee, the Committee on Standards in Public Life, made a submission on this question to the Public Administration Select Committee, and in the middle of last week the Times front page led with serious questions about how accurate our police statistics have been and about the pressures that existed in the past which have perhaps ensured they are not as accurate as we would hope they would be. So there has been a dramatic change in that one specific area in just a few months.

Taking a more positive view, one interesting thing in the last few weeks is the publication by the College of Policing of its Draft Code of Ethics. I welcome this with all my heart, as I welcome the fact that the Nolan principles, particularly those of honesty, accountability, integrity and leadership, have been put at its heart. In principle, this document from the College of Policing is a good thing. I want to add a few caveats and concerns about the current draft. One is that in the earlier code of conduct for the Police Service of Northern Ireland from 2008, there is a clearer relationship between not living up to the code of conduct and possible issues of misconduct. It is much clearer in the PSNI document than in the College of Policing document. The great danger is that the College of Policing statement of principles just becomes abstract and out there and is not fully operationalised in the conduct of police officers.

There is considerable evidence of good faith and seriousness in the production of the document and greater clarification could make it even better. Another area where one needs greater clarity is on declaring business interests. That needs to be clearer than it currently is in the document.

I hope that the College of Policing document is an indication of a growing understanding among senior police officers in our country and those concerned with the matter that we are at a difficult moment which requires some redress and serious thinking.

4.50 pm

Lord Rosser (Lab): My Lords, I add my thanks to those that have already been expressed to the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, for securing this debate. I also

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congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb, on her very-easy-to-listen-to maiden speech, which made it clear that a lack of forthrightness will not be a feature of her contributions in your Lordships’ House.

Among the things that have become clear during the past three and a half years are the reservations felt by the Government about the police. The creation of police and crime commissioners, the setting-up of the Winsor inquiry and some of the provisions on policing in the current Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill are a reflection of the Government’s apparent feeling that the police are no longer one of us. It seems at times that the fact that crime has been falling for a considerable number of years appears to the Government to have happened despite the police rather than, at least in part, because of the contribution of the police.

I have been fortunate enough to take part in the police parliamentary scheme and to have spent some time with the Metropolitan Police and learnt something about the considerable range and depth of police work that they undertake. I also spent some time with officers on immediate response duties and with the traffic police, as well as with police community support officers. You certainly see and begin to appreciate some of the frustrations and aggravations that police officers have to put up with daily and the importance of the ability to keep calm, to keep one’s temper and in potentially very heated or dangerous situations to think rationally and coolly, and act decisively in order to prevent things getting totally out of hand. While there are certainly glaring exceptions to this, I think that, overall, the police do a far from easy job very well indeed.

The very helpful briefing that we have had from the Library provides some firm information on trust in the police. It refers to a recent Ministry of Justice report which analysed data from the 2010-11 Crime Survey for England and Wales and considered long-term trends which suggest that, from the early 1980s until 2001, there was a gradual decline in public ratings of the police but that, more recently, public ratings of the police have improved. On current levels of confidence in the police according to the Ministry of Justice report, approximately three-quarters of the sample agreed that they had confidence in the police in their area, 13% disagreed that this was the case and 15% expressed no opinion. Approximately 85% agreed that the police would treat them with respect if they had contact with them for any reason.

The Library briefing also refers to a report using data from the European Social Survey to compare levels of trust in the police across Europe. An article summarising this report indicated that in the United Kingdom and Ireland residents consistently trusted and legitimised their police and court systems at well above average levels although to a lesser extent than their Scandinavian counterparts.

The Ministry of Justice’s report to which I referred a few moments ago considered levels of trust in the police among different genders, ethnic groups and socioeconomic groups. The analysis undertaken indicated that opinions of the police were more favourable among

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women than men, among younger and older people compared to those who were middle-aged, among those in full-time employment compared to those who were unemployed and economically inactive, and with relatively little variation by ethnicity.

The results of those two surveys do not suggest that everything is perfect and that nothing needs to be changed or addressed, but nor do they indicate that trust and confidence—or, rather, the lack of them—in our police is quite the cataclysmic issue that has been suggested or implied by some, although not here this afternoon, unless there has been a shift in attitude over the past three years that has not been reflected in serious studies. There are some indications that that might conceivably be the case.

Certainly concerns have been expressed, particularly in the light of some recent events and disclosures, including that the system for dealing with complaints no longer seems adequate. It is regarded by many as taking too long, with remedies that are not clear. The body in charge of pursuing misconduct is not seen as being strong enough, and too often in serious cases the police end up investigating themselves.

As many have already said, trust and confidence are vital, and that is no doubt one reason why suggestions or evidence of any police failure to conduct themselves in a manner justifying such trust and confidence make the headlines. As the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, said, without trust and confidence there will be less likelihood of communities and individuals working collaboratively with the police, providing information, reporting suspicions, coming forward as witnesses and reporting crime. That then affects the ability of the police to address and prevent criminal activity and behaviour and to bring those responsible before the courts.

Some commentators have suggested that levels of trust in the police and in the criminal justice system as a whole have a greater impact on levels of compliance with the law than any perceived deterrent effect of the criminal justice system. Others have argued that perceptions of fairness in the way the police conduct themselves are an important determining factor in the level of trust in the police and, with it, compliance with the law. A further school of thought argues that trust is related to the extent to which the police force is perceived as representative of the society that it serves, which might mean that the lower levels of trust in the police among ethnic-minority groups are, in part, a result of the low representation of ethnic minorities within the police ranks. Indeed, the Metropolitan Black Police Association suggested quite recently that the police force remains “institutionally racist”.

The Government have taken various measures since they came into office, some of which have hardly contributed to increasing confidence and trust. They abolished the target introduced in 2009 under which police forces were expected to achieve an improvement in public confidence, as measured by the British Crime Survey. The policing pledge, which introduced a set of 10 standards for the police, was also abolished. It is interesting to see that, having done that, the Home Secretary has now expressed astonishment that the police do not have a code of ethics and has decided that such a code should be brought into existence.

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Issues that will also affect questions of confidence and trust will be the visibility and availability of the police and their success rate in preventing and solving crime. More than 10,000 police officers have been taken off the front line since 2010, with neighbourhood police teams being cut. While the government response to that is, in effect, “So what?”, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers says that the thin blue line is in danger of reaching a tipping point, and that police forces are, in his words, “hanging on”.

After years of falling crime rates, we are now seeing some worrying signs, with increases in the numbers of mugging and shoplifting incidents across the country and violence against the person increasing in 13 police force areas in England and Wales. Evidence indicates that police forces are taking longer to respond to 999 calls, and there has been a reduction in the solving of overall crime in 22 forces, with nearly 14,000 more crimes unsolved in a year than when this Government came to power.

The latest statistics show that the number of rape allegations handed to prosecutors in England and Wales has hit a five-year low, despite a 30% increase in the number of rapes reported to police. There is a similar trend in respect of child sexual abuse cases. Then there is the crime that is rising fast—namely, fraud. This crime, particularly when it occurs online, often goes unreported because people feel embarrassed at having to admit that they have been taken in, and they also have real doubts as to whether the police will be able to catch the perpetrators anyway.

Much of the police work on online fraud and scams is geared to disrupting such activities when they are identified, rather than the all too often likely fruitless task of successfully identifying, building up a robust case against and then apprehending those behind such offences. It is an area of police work that is seriously underresourced, no doubt in part because so many victims do not often hit the headlines amid strident calls for action. As long as there is a continuing failure to provide the resources to get on top of, or even contain the rising rate of fraud-related crime, it will slowly gnaw away at the issue of confidence in the police.

There are a number of issues and factors that influence and determine the level of trust and confidence in the police, and in police officers and staff, the overwhelming majority of whom do a magnificent job that not too many would wish to take on in their place. However, while the quality of police leadership is crucial and now very much under the microscope, Governments, decisions and policies, including change programmes and how they are implemented, also have an impact on morale, which ultimately is reflected in trust and confidence in the police. We await hearing from the Minister whether that is something the Government accept or will seek to deny.

5 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): My Lords, I join other noble Lords in thanking the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, for tabling this important debate. The mantra of Robert Peel that,

“the police are the people and the people are the police,

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holds as true today as it did when he first founded the Metropolitan Police all those years ago. I note, too, that while we are not debating it today, there will be a debate next week on the report of the noble Lord, Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington, on the future of policing. There is a real dialogue on this important issue. I am delighted to see that the noble Lord, Lord Stevens, who is not in his place today, has identified many of the issues on which the Government are already taking action: a code of ethics, a published list of officers dismissed for misconduct, and a more robust and independent complaints regime. However, I feel that the report, in calling for the abolition of police and crime commissioners, has overlooked the contribution they have already made. Despite only being in post for a year, PCCs are already more visible than anonymous police authorities. Seven out of 10 members of the public are aware of PCCs. PCCs are also introducing many different innovations in their areas to address their communities’ problems.

While statistics on public confidence in the police remain resilient, we have reason not to be complacent. I agree with my noble friend Lord Paddick on this and I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Bew, was very perceptive in his analysis. If we reach the point where people may be satisfied that their local officers are honest and fair but the majority begin to assume that the police in general are not to be trusted, it will be too late. It will be far harder to recover from such a position. The noble Baroness, Lady O’Neill of Bengarve, in a remarkable speech, brought a profound wisdom to the relationship between aim and outcome in a critique that had a far wider application than just trust and the police. I value the opportunity of reading her speech on the record, as it was extremely profound.

To address this issue, the Home Secretary announced a number of measures back in February to strengthen police integrity. We have been working with the new College of Policing whose remit is to set and maintain standards for the police and to implement some of these measures. On 24 October the college launched for public consultation the first ever code of ethics for the police. The code will be the highest level of declaration of the principles and standards of behaviour expected of those working in police forces. The code of ethics will be a living document, embedded into forces’ policy and practice, and refreshed with all officers and staff at regular intervals. It illustrates what compliance with the standard of professional behaviour looks like and will provide clarity for all members of the police force in what is expected of them.

It is always interesting to listen to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds. He said that it focused too much on the negative. The college is about good practice, too. Perhaps I may tease the right reverend Prelate and say that those Ten Commandments include a few negative injunctions as well as the positive imperatives. So there is a good precedent for it.

As the noble Lord, Lord Bew, said, the Nolan principles are enshrined within this code of practice. Indeed, Northern Ireland is the source of much of the thinking behind this document. I would like to talk to the noble Lord about the extent to which he feels that the document produced by the college is less clear and

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self-evident. We want a document that is clear not only to the police but also to the public, in whose name the document is being delivered.

The college cannot address the issues of police confidence and police integrity alone. It is essential that there is public confidence that the most serious and sensitive cases involving the police will be dealt with effectively. As part of her announcement in February the Home Secretary made clear her intention to transfer resources from forces to the Independent Police Complaints Commission so that it is equipped to deal with such cases. I stress that by resources I mean funding. There will not be a transfer of officers to the IPCC but it will receive substantial extra funding—I cannot give details of the funding—so that it will be able to recruit its own independent investigators. The public can then be reassured that we are finally putting an end to the police investigating the police in the most serious cases and that the IPCC is acting with genuine independence. I agree with my noble friend Lady Doocey that this independence is vital to ensuring public confidence in the police. The events of last year proved overwhelmingly the case for a strengthened IPCC, and that is what the Government are determined to deliver. The plans to increase the capacity of the IPCC are on track and it will begin to take on additional cases from next year.

Police and crime commissioners will also play a vital role in ensuring that public trust and confidence in the police are maintained. That is why I think the noble Lord, Lord Stevens, is wrong. PCCs are responsible for setting the police and crime plans for their force areas and, in doing so, they must consult victims of crime. This gives them a vital link to those who have come into direct contact with the police and who will therefore have a view on the integrity and behaviour of officers within their force. PCCs hold their chief officers to account for the totality of policing in their areas. If, as we have said, the public lose trust or confidence in their force, the PCC obviously has a role in holding the chief constable to account for this.

Earlier this week the Crown Prosecution Service announced that it had charged a Metropolitan Police Service officer, PC Keith Wallis, with misconduct in public office in connection with the incident on 19 September 2012 in Downing Street involving a former Cabinet Minister, Andrew Mitchell. The decision not to charge the other MPS officers connected to this incident does not preclude misconduct proceedings from being instigated. The MPS has announced that PC Wallis and seven other police officers will be subject to misconduct proceedings. The issues raised by the Andrew Mitchell case are very serious. It is right that cases such as this hit the headlines. We must remember that these are not the rule. Even so, it is an issue and we are targeting unprofessional behaviour through the range of measures that we are implementing alongside our partners. It is a privilege for us in the Home Office to work with the IPCC, HMIC, the College of Policing and PCCs to enhance police integrity, and we look forward confidently to seeing some excellent results from this work.

Perhaps I may address some of the issues that were raised in the excellent speeches made in this debate. My noble friend Lord Paddick referred to the difficulties

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of black and ethnic minority recruitment into the police. I think we would all agree that police forces that reflect the communities they serve are crucial to cutting crime in a modern diverse society. While the police force is much more representative than before, there is still much to be done. The Government’s reforms will stimulate progress. We support the aspiration of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to achieve a much better representation of BME officers in the force in the next wave of officer recruitment.

My noble friend also referred to stop and search, which is not a totally unrelated issue. Where stop and search is used properly, it allows the police to tackle serious crime effectively. Where it is used badly, it can cause personal humiliation for the individual, a disconnect between the police and the public and an undermining of public confidence. A number of reports have raised concerns about the use of this power, which is why we have undertaken a consultation on it and are currently analysing the responses to it.

My noble friend Lady Doocey was concerned about the independence of the IPCC. I can understand that concern. That is one of the reasons why it is having funding of its own to recruit its own staff. About 80% of the IPCC staff do not come from a police background. Investigators in the most serious cases overseen by the IPCC can never have worked for the police; they are not allowed to have worked for the police. All IPCC investigators undergo a period of training. As I said, giving the IPCC the resources to recruit its own independent investigators will be a great step forward.

The noble Baroness, Lady Jones, made an amusing, remarkable and moving maiden speech. She asked a number of questions and raised a number of points. In particular, she talked about the deep concerns that have been raised by allegations that undercover police officers were deployed in an attempt to smear the Lawrence family after Stephen Lawrence’s murder and that undercover officers used the identities of deceased children. As the noble Baroness will know, Operation Herne and the review by Mark Ellison will address these issues.

The noble Baroness also suggested that the police needed to be better at communicating. New recruits into police forces must pass both written and oral communications tests and continuing professional development is available for officers throughout their career. The code of ethics currently out for consultation acknowledges the importance of effective communication between police and the public, emphasising the need for the police to talk to people in local communities, break down barriers and ensure that their behaviour and language cannot be interpreted as being oppressive. There is no role for oppressive policing in this country.

My noble friend Lady Hamwee referred to the professionalism that needs to be at the heart of the police and the sensitivity and emotional intelligence needed among the individuals who make up the police force. Her speech reinforced my view that we are in a period of great—and very necessary—change, a view already expressed by my noble friend Lord Wasserman. I believe that that change is justified.

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