99: Before Clause 52, insert the following new Clause—

“Review

(1) Within 5 years of the passing of this Act, the Secretary of State must—

(a) carry out a review of the provisions of this Act,

(b) carry out a review more broadly about the current position of slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour, and human trafficking within the United Kingdom and internationally, and

(c) prepare and publish a report setting out the conclusions of the review.

(2) The report must in particular—

(a) set out the objectives intended to be achieved by this Act,

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(b) assess the extent to which those objectives have been achieved,

(c) assess whether those objectives remain appropriate and, if so, the extent to which they could be achieved in another way, and

(d) consider the strategic plans and annual reports submitted by the Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner.

(3) The Secretary of State must lay the report before Parliament.”

Lord Alton of Liverpool: My Lords, I fear I have drawn the short straw and may be exasperating one or two noble Lords, but this is the last amendment and I do not intend to delay the Committee for very long. In many ways, the amendment is self-explanatory: it calls for a review of the legislation within five years of the passing of the Act—the review could come much earlier than that, if it was so desired. The report would,

“set out the objectives intended to be achieved by this Act, … assess the extent to which those objectives have been achieved, … assess whether those objectives remain appropriate … and … consider the strategic plans and annual reports submitted by the Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner”.

8.45 pm

A lot of emphasis has been placed on how successful the pre-legislative process has been. Surely, it is reasonable to talk about post-legislative examination of the Bill, too, and to put in the Bill a requirement for that to happen. I remind your Lordships that in 2004 the House of Lords Constitution Committee reported on the process and said that:

“Post-legislative scrutiny appears to be similar to motherhood and apple pie in that everyone appears to be in favour of it. However, unlike motherhood and apple pie, it is not much in evidence”.

The Constitution Committee, the Law Commission and the Government have looked at these questions. When the Constitution Committee reported in 2004, it found that there was significant room for much greater post-legislative scrutiny. The committee recommended that government departments should be responsible for producing a memorandum of the post-legislative review of the Act, which a Select Committee could then conduct an inquiry into. Acknowledging the Constitution Committee’s findings, the Government then asked the Law Commission to conduct its own inquiry into post-legislative scrutiny. The Law Commission reported back in October 2006, proposing a Joint Committee for post-legislative scrutiny.

The Constitution Committee argued that greater scrutiny might encourage the Government to reframe their definition of success from getting,

“their ‘big Bill’ on the statute book”,

to measuring the effect that it had. Given that we are sometimes inclined to pass declamatory legislation that looks good on paper and is a “big Bill”, surely it is right that we come back to have a look at how it worked out in practice. That committee, by the way, also warned that leaving any post-legislative scrutiny exclusively to the Government or solely to Select Committees might encourage selective scrutiny. Interestingly, the Government in their response said?

“the Government believes that strengthening post-legislative scrutiny further could help to ensure that the Government’s aims are delivered in practice and that the considerable resources devoted to legislation are committed to good effect”.

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I will not go through this in detail, but I was struck by evidence that one witness gave at the time that the Law Commission was looking at this issue. He said:

“If post-legislative scrutiny is to be effective ... it should be owned by, and directed by Parliament. The Government will of course be a major contributor to that review but should not be in charge of the process or be in a position unduly to influence that process”.

The Law Commission concluded that a Parliament-based review process was popular, seeing it as an extension of the legislature’s existing remit to scrutinise and consider legislation wisely.

More recently, in 2010, the Leader’s Group on Working Practices in the House was appointed to,

“consider the working practices of the House and the operation of self-regulation”.

I note that it considered post-legislative scrutiny. At paragraph 139 it referred back to that statement about “motherhood and apple pie” in 2004, and went on to say that,

“neither Parliament nor the Government has yet committed the resources necessary to make systematic post-legislative review a reality. Like the Law Commission and the Hansard Society, we see merit in post-legislative review being undertaken by a Joint Committee. However, in the absence of Government support and bicameral agreement, no progress has been made towards this goal. We therefore believe that it is time for the House of Lords to establish its own Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee. This could lead to the establishment of a joint committee in due course—but the desirability of joint action must not be a brake on progress”.

At paragraph 141 it said:

“We recommend that the House of Lords appoint a Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee, to manage the process of reviewing up to four selected Acts of Parliament each year”.

The House debated that report in June 2011 and the Leader of the House at the time made the following comments:

“As regards post-legislative scrutiny, I am well aware of concerns that once legislation is passed, insufficient attention is devoted to its implementation and effects”.—[Official Report, 27/6/11; col. 1553.]

Paragraph 38 of the Liaison Committee’s report, Review of Select Committee Activity and Proposals for New Committee Activity, states:

“Post-legislative scrutiny is potentially an important new area of Select Committee activity for the House of Lords”.

This legislation is not about motherhood and apple pie. As the Minister and noble Lords on all sides of the Chamber have said throughout all its stages, this is about one of the most awful evils being perpetrated in the world today. The Minister has rightly emphasised throughout our proceedings that this is legislation that we want others to emulate throughout the world. Surely, with such world-class legislation, we fairly rapidly should go back, look at it and see how it worked out in practice. My amendment would put in the Bill—and it is not without precedent—a commitment to doing that. I hope, therefore, that the Minister will feel that it is a modest and reasonable proposal and one that the Government might accept. I beg to move.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth: My Lords, the Government will be rightly congratulated when the Bill has gone through all its stages, but, as I think we

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are all aware, that is only the first stage. What really will count will be how effectively they get the legislation implemented. Therefore, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Alton, and I am very glad to support his amendment. It is crucial that we review the Bill within five years of its passing into law. In many respects the Bill is pioneering new ground. Obviously, it will turn out that some things are perhaps not quite as effective as we hope that they will be, but I regard this review as crucial to the effectiveness of this legislation. The thought of having a review in five years will also help to focus and sharpen people’s minds as they know that things will be assessed.

Baroness Butler-Sloss: My Lords, I also support the amendment. I am not sure in what year the review should be held. I think to say “within five years” is sensible, but it might well be wiser to do it within three years. This is such an important Bill. As I have said previously, the Government are to be congratulated on bringing it forward and for doing so much to make it work. Although we on the Cross Benches, like noble Lords on other Benches, have been critical from time to time, we are well aware of the effort that the Government have made. However, it is important to make sure that the Bill works. The strategies of government that are not in the legislative process will have to be reviewed, but in reviewing those it will also be important to see whether the legislation is strong enough and working well enough for it to manage the strategies that go with it. I urge the Minister to support the idea that there should, at some stage, be post-legislative scrutiny of this important Bill.

Lord Bates: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Alton, for proposing the amendment. The Government are committed to post-legislative scrutiny of legislation under the existing arrangements agreed with Select Committees. The Government believe that post-legislative scrutiny is generally preferable to ad hoc and potentially inconsistent specific statutory requirements in individual Bills. The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee’s report into legislative standards praised the Government’s record on post-legislative scrutiny, saying:

“We urge the Government to continue to produce these useful memoranda. In return, we will undertake, and we take this opportunity to encourage other Select Committees to undertake, more visible post-legislative scrutiny work when opportunities arise”.

Since 2012, the House of Lords has established committees on an ad hoc basis specifically to conduct post-legislative scrutiny. I am sure that the House will consider carefully whether the future Modern Slavery Act would be a good candidate for such scrutiny.

However, I would like to place on record once more the Government’s commitment to providing a post-legislative scrutiny memorandum on the Bill within three to five years of Royal Assent. The Government will consult the Home Affairs Committee on the timing of publication of the memorandum, but that is a commitment. In the longer term, the Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner will continue to assess the response to modern slavery and how it is provided, and if new forms of abuse emerge. In addition to the commitment of a memorandum in three to five years,

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we will also have the update of the

Modern Slavery Strategy

, produced by the interdepartmental ministerial group on modern slavery. We will also have the anti-slavery commissioner’s annual report, which I am sure will be awaited with great interest by Members of your Lordships’ House.

There are therefore a number of opportunities for this type of scrutiny to happen. Having taken part in the Leader’s Group, which considered ways to improve the workings of your Lordships’ House and elsewhere, I have to say that one of the joys of this Bill is that it has been a textbook example of how legislation should work: first, producing a Bill, which is scrutinised in pre-legislative scrutiny. The Government then come back with a revised Bill and go through a meaningful stage in another place where amendments are made. The same happens in this place, so it seems to me absolutely logical that we should not leave the job unfinished but follow it through right to the end. That is why we are very much behind this commitment. We will produce the Explanatory Memorandum to ensure that that post-legislative scrutiny does arise.

Given that this may well be the last time that I am on my feet in Committee, I thank your Lordships for the way in which we have engaged in this very tough and passionate four days. It has given a huge amount of work for officials to think about and work on between now and Report. Somebody once said: “To govern is to choose”. There are going to be so many issues that we are going to have to work on that we will have to engage in some prioritisation about what is absolutely critical to get in the Bill before Royal Assent and what work can be continued under the watchful eyes of your Lordships and the Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner thereafter. That work and the meetings will continue and we look forward to making further progress on Report. I thank the noble Lord and ask him to consider withdrawing his amendment.

Lord Alton of Liverpool: My Lords, if, as the Minister has said, this legislation has been exemplary in the way in which it has been handled, and I think it has been, then I would also say, and I do not think I would be alone in saying this, that the Minister and the noble Baroness, Lady Garden of Frognal, have been exemplary in the way in which they have treated each of us. I can only speak for myself as a Cross-Bencher, but I suspect that it is a view shared across the Chamber that throughout proceedings we have been treated with great courtesy and thoughtfulness in the way in which the amendments have been considered, not least this amendment. I am grateful to the Minister for the way in which he has promised that post-legislative procedures will be put in place. Obviously, I would prefer it to be in the Bill, but he will not be surprised by that. However, I feel very pleased with the assurances that he has given to your Lordships. I am happy to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 99 withdrawn.

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Amendment 100 not moved.

Clause 52: Interpretation

Amendment 101

Moved by Lord Bates

101: Clause 52, page 39, line 10, at end insert—

““child” means a person under the age of 18;”

Amendment 101 agreed.

Clause 52, as amended, agreed.

Amendment 101A not moved.

Clause 53 agreed.

Schedule 4: Minor and consequential amendments

Amendment 102

Moved by Lord Bates

102: Schedule 4, page 62, line 16, at end insert—

“Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (c. 10)

9A In Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, in paragraph 32(8) (civil legal services for trafficking victims: definitions), in the definition of “exploitation” for the words from “section” to the end substitute “section 3 of the Modern Slavery Act 2014 (meaning of exploitation for purposes of human trafficking offence in section 2 of that Act);”.”

Amendment 102 agreed.

Schedule 4, as amended, agreed.

Clause 54: Regulations

Amendment 102A not moved.

Clause 54 agreed.

Clauses 55 and 56 agreed.

Clause 57: Commencement

Amendments 102B to 104 not moved.

Clause 57 agreed.

Clause 58 agreed.

In the Title

Amendment 105 not moved.

Title agreed.

House resumed.

Bill reported with amendments.

House adjourned at 9 pm.