Government Amendment 88 clarifies what information can be provided as part of the duty and takes a similar approach to information safeguards as govern the disclosure of information provided to the Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner under the duty to co-operate. We have looked again at the detail of this provision to ensure that the duty to notify respects existing restrictions on the disclosure of information, including those set out in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and the Crime and Courts Act 2013, and is pertinent, given that the duty will now apply to the National Crime Agency.

These amendments place the duty to notify on a wide group of key public authorities and ensure that Parliament has appropriate oversight of this provision. I hope that noble Lords therefore feel able to support them.

Amendment 88 agreed.

Amendment 89

Moved by Baroness Garden of Frognal

89: Clause 51, page 39, line 10, leave out subsection (5) and insert—

“(5) This section applies to—

(a) a chief officer of police for a police area,

(b) the chief constable of the British Transport Police Force,

(c) the National Crime Agency,

(d) a county council,

(e) a county borough council,

(f) a district council,

(g) a London borough council,

(h) the Greater London Authority,

(i) the Common Council of the City of London,

(j) the Council of the Isles of Scilly,

(k) the Gangmasters Licensing Authority.

(6) The Secretary of State may by regulations amend subsection (5) so as to—

(a) add or remove a public authority;

(b) amend the entry for a public authority.”

Amendment 89 agreed.

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Amendment 90

Moved by Lord Hylton

90: After Clause 51, insert the following new Clause—

“Protection from slavery for overseas domestic workers

All overseas domestic workers in the United Kingdom, including those working for staff of diplomatic missions, shall be entitled to—

(a) change their employer (but not work sector) while in the United Kingdom;

(b) renew their domestic worker or diplomatic domestic worker visa, each such renewal being for a period not exceeding twelve months, as long as they remain in employment and are able to support themselves without recourse to public funds;

(c) a three month temporary visa permitting them to live in the United Kingdom for the purposes of seeking alternative employment as an overseas domestic worker where there is evidence that the worker has been a victim of modern slavery.”

Lord Hylton (CB): My Lords, I apologise for the absence from this debate of my noble friend Lady Cox. She is overseas on one of her many expeditions. I thank those noble Lords who have put their names to the amendment, perhaps in particular the noble Baroness, Lady Hanham, with her expert knowledge of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, where, sadly, so much abuse of domestic workers has taken place. In moving the amendment, I thank the Minister—the noble Lord, Lord Bates—for his constant efforts to be constructive. He has seen me and other noble Lords twice since Committee, and has sent me two letters, totalling 12 pages. I am also grateful for another letter, from Karen Bradley MP, a Minister in the Home Office.

The issue of domestic slavery may be new to Ministers but I have been working with it and on it with, I am sorry to say, only very partial success, since the early 1990s. The sad fact is that many people, mostly women, have suffered greatly during these long years. The Minister wrote that there would be an independent review, which is to report by the end of July. There may be a new Government by then, and we have no idea of their future plans for legislation or their willingness to change the Immigration Rules. Either course would take time and thus prolong workers’ suffering. We currently have a legislative opportunity, so let us grasp it.

The noble Lord also wrote about the new visa-linked contract and the cards to be given to both employer and worker. These may help slightly, perhaps most of all with the majority of decent employers. However, the caseworkers at the point of departure overseas have to be satisfied that the national minimum wage will be paid. How, in practice, can they do that when the employer is bound to say yes to their questions? The letter from the Minister also said that,

“an extensive package of support is available to trafficked Overseas Domestic Workers”.

This has not, I am sorry to say, proved very effective so far for other categories of people, such as those forced into prostitution. How will it protect domestics who are here legally but may be prisoners in their employers’ houses? Have any of them, I wonder, benefited from discretionary leave to remain?

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There is a hoary old theory in the Home Office that allowing domestics to change employers would create a pull factor, enticing extra people to come here. I reply that they cannot come at all unless their employer brings them here. The Home Office may be thinking of domestics from the European Union, but they can come here anyway and register for work with all the employment agencies in London. Furthermore, our amendment specifies an extension of 12 months—it could perhaps be 15—so that the worker cannot stay indefinitely. Nothing in the amendment encourages extra immigration.

The amendment should be seen in the context of forced labour and gross abuses of tied workers worldwide, but perhaps especially in the Middle East. I am glad to know that the Government are ratifying the ILO protocol to the Forced Labour Convention. That makes it all the more disgraceful that they should tolerate a loophole which has allowed exploitation and abuse to take place here. Ministers have called for changes to the kafala system, which ties huge numbers of workers to their employers in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia. There migrants may require employers’ consent for an exit visa, even for a holiday. Human Rights Watch has documented widespread abuses in the Emirates, and conditions are similar in other parts of that region. The mentality that sees nothing wrong in exploiting workers and domestics then comes to England, in particular to London. Compensation cases, both here and in Ireland, have shown the scale of the wrongs, crying out for redress.

There can be no doubt that domestic workers tied to one employer and living on his premises are extremely vulnerable. They are almost all sending remittances to support children and families in their home countries, where, it is most important to know and understand, there is no welfare state. This therefore makes them reluctant to complain of hardships or to leave their employer, whether that is in the Middle East or here in Britain.

The key protection that is needed is access to our civil courts and to employment tribunals. This was available between 1998 and 2012. During that time, some 50 cases were brought, securing between £1 million and £2 million in compensation. That is roughly £30,000 per case. My noble friend Lady Cox showed on 10 December how conditions have got worse since 2012. The victims often cannot run away; or if they do, they become illegal immigrants. I conclude with a quotation from an unnamed Filipino domestic in London. She said:

“It’s worse than Saudi Arabia. They treat me like a prisoner. They never even give me a single pound. I’m starting work around 4.30 in the morning, until 1 o’clock in the morning”—

the following day—

“I’m sleeping only in the kitchen. I’m crying the whole time that I’m sleeping on the floor”.

The Government rejected the advice of two Joint Select Committees on this subject. They only defeated the relevant amendment in the other place by the casting vote of the committee chairman. They have since had time to think again and to digest not only the parliamentary problem in both Houses but also an ITV documentary and Radio 4 and other press coverage. I urge them to accept this amendment or to improve it

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for Third Reading. If they do not like that course, they have the option to change the Immigration Rules, as was done in 1988 and again in 2012. If they prefer the second option, we must have a cast-iron guarantee today that this will be done. This is a modest amendment, because it does not revoke the original concession, it just helps to prevent its worst consequences. In particular, it will prevent domestic workers who escape from going underground in complete illegality. I commend the amendment to your Lordships and beg to move.

6 pm

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, I support Amendment 90, which would end the unacceptable situation regarding the current visa system for overseas domestic workers. In Committee we heard many passionate speeches. Since then, the Minister has announced a review and a package of other changes that the Government will be bringing forward to ameliorate the situation. As helpful as these may be, they do not tackle head-on the current desperate plight of many domestic workers who are subject to exploitation, slavery and forced labour.

The Government have had nearly a year since the pre-legislative scrutiny committee published its report in April 2014 to look into this and review the visa system for ODWs. So I have to ask why they have left it so late to commission a review. I have no doubt that James Ewins, who will undertake the review, will do a splendid job: he is superbly qualified. However, the review is both too late and, I believe, unnecessary. Time and again we have been told by the Government that there is insufficient evidence and that the numbers do not show that the 2012 visa changes have had any effect on the abuse that some overseas domestic workers have had to endure. I beg to differ. Indeed, I have had no contact with any organisation or any individual who shares the Government’s view. Kalayaan, which has been leading the way in advocating and representing these workers, has first-hand experience and the case studies of numerous workers whom it has helped to escape. Human Rights Watch has carried out an independent review which took over a year to complete. One therefore has to wonder how the Government’s review can be completed by the end of July this year. As the noble Lord himself said, by that time this piece of legislation, excellent though it is, will be done and dusted.

The Joint Committee on the draft Bill said that since the tied visa was introduced there have been high levels of abuse among migrant domestic workers entering the UK. They said that the current bondage arrangement has,

“unintentionally strengthened the hand of the slave master against the victim of slavery”.

The committee, together with the Joint Committee on Human Rights and numerous NGOs, has called on the UK Government to reverse the relevant changes to the Immigration Rules and to reinstate the pre-2012 protections in the Bill. They all base their views on evidence. How much more evidence do we need? How many more cases do we need to uncover to reach the threshold where a change will happen? Clearly, getting more evidence will be particularly hard if workers are imprisoned and then driven underground.

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In his letter of 9 February, the Minister outlined some actions that the Government have committed to taking immediately. Some of these are welcome but, frankly, they are woefully inadequate and do not remedy the root of the problem—that is, untying the visas. The pilot visa interview programme in Africa might sound superficially attractive, but realistically these overseas domestic workers are not going to admit that their employer does not treat them well. Indeed, they might not even be aware of the real horrors that await them until they start work in this country. Their employer is hardly going to tell them beforehand that they are going to work 19 hours a day, sleep on a floor, have little food, no pay and no access to their passport. In any case, workers are already meant to be interviewed separately from their employers, so this is not a new measure. Likewise, an employer is hardly going to provide a contract giving the truthful details. Indeed, contracts are required currently, yet Kalayaan frequently finds cases where domestic workers’ terms and conditions of employment, including salary, are not in accordance with their contract. To be effective, contracts of employment must be easily enforceable in the UK; but as the noble Lord himself has said, and as the noble Baroness, Lady Hanham, said so forcefully in Committee, this is way out of the bounds of reality.

I welcome the reintegration plan with the FCO which will support overseas domestic workers who wish to return to their home country and rebuild their lives, but it does not help those who are currently enslaved. In the case of domestic workers employed by diplomats, diplomatic immunity makes it particularly hard for them to access justice. Earlier this month the Court of Appeal found that diplomatic immunity trumped trafficking when it refused the claim of two domestic workers found by the UK’s national referral mechanism to have been conclusively trafficked by their diplomatic employers.

We are now on the last day of Report on this landmark Bill. In this amendment we are not talking about huge numbers of people; we are talking about a few miserable, poor, abused people—usually women—who often have dependants relying on their support, who have been lured to employment here by ruthless and exploitative employers. These workers need a change in the law, and Peers today have an opportunity to make that a reality. As Kalayaan said in one of its excellent briefings, we need to protect, not to review. Today we have an opportunity to do that by passing this amendment.

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, several of the amendments to this important Bill have been introduced as filling a gap in the legislation. That is especially true of Amendment 90. As the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, and the noble Baroness, Lady Royall of Blaisdon, have said, it will assist all private and diplomatic domestic workers by providing a measure of protection and flexibility otherwise lacking in the Bill. It will also enable those who have been victims of modern slavery to remain in the United Kingdom for a limited period while seeking alternative employment. That is why I am glad to have my name attached to the amendment.

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On Monday my noble friend Lord Judd, when speaking about the global dimension of modern slavery, referred to a crisis of values suggested by the recent bishops’ pastoral letter entitled Who is My Neighbour? In this amendment we have one interesting example of a relatively small number of people who are our neighbours—namely, overseas domestic workers—as well as one means of taking a principled and value-based stand by offering them this modest help. The humane and sensible rationale for this amendment has already been so well argued that I have no need to detain your Lordships further, except to say that I am happy to be associated with it and to offer it my enthusiastic support.

Baroness Hanham (Con): My Lords, my name is also attached to this amendment and since the start of the Bill it is one of the areas of this legislation that I have been most concerned about. Nobody could have failed to be moved by the television programmes that we have seen, the reports that we have heard, and the work done by Kalayaan, which has been very much hampered by the fact that the changes to the visa system took place in 2012.

In this 21st century it is absolutely unacceptable that people are coming in to this country tied to an employer, unable to do anything for themselves and absolutely under the instruction of the person for whom they are working and who has brought them into the country. We would not stand for this for a second if things were otherwise. It is time that we stopped standing for it. We desperately need to make the changes that will enable people who come here to feel reasonably free, reasonably able to live in this country and reasonably able to know that if things go horribly wrong with their employer—as so many of these cases clearly do—there is some redress to somebody who can help them and there is some way out.

When talking to Kalayaan, which deals with the forefront of the work that goes on, it is clear that under the current situation it feels completely helpless to ensure, first, that people can get to it and secondly that if people do come, it can do anything to help them. In Committee, I pointed out that one of the systems in place to help domestic workers know what to do if they run into trouble is a card that is delivered to them if they are lucky—if it does not go into the pocket of their employer—at London airports. It gives them the telephone number of ACAS and a couple of other telephone numbers that they can ring up if they are in trouble. Most of these people have their telephones taken away from them. They do not have access to a telephone. They do not know people in this country. They cannot get out of the premises or the property in order to find other people.

The Minister has a reputation for having responded sympathetically, pragmatically and sensibly to all the issues that have been brought up. The number of government amendments that have come through over the past few weeks has been amazing. I pay tribute to him for the fact that he and the Minister in the other place have listened. I say now, please, will the Minister do this one further thing and listen to this particular problem? It is absolutely germane to modern slavery.

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It is one of the elements of modern slavery that we cannot overlook. I think this House will really not have shown itself at its best if we do not manage to pass this amendment, which will help—it will not do the trick but it will help other organisations help those who need it.

The mischief, of course, was the change to the visa system in 2012. I understand why—I understand the need to control immigration—but I do not think that we are going to break the bounds of numbers if we help and look after these people. We are not asking that they should stay in the country for ever. What we are asking is for the Government to say that this country does mind about what happens to people who come into it, particularly when they have no means of helping themselves. I very much hope that in his response to what has been put forward today, the Minister will be able to reassure us that the Government will take this amendment on board.

Finally, I think a review is splendid. It is one of the ways of shifting responsibility off to another day. I can see that it would be very nice to have a perfect review of all the implications but there are at least two, if not three, very well thought-out reports already. The Joint Committee on the Bill, on which I sat, went into this in great detail. I do not think we will miss very much if the Minister says that the review could take place but in the mean time agrees to the amendment, which I support.

Baroness Lister of Burtersett (Lab): My Lords, I will speak very briefly in support of the amendment. Rereading our debate in Committee, I was struck first by the unanimity of your Lordships’ House in support of the amendment but also by the tone of the debate, which was very different from the very positive tone there has been throughout the rest of the debates on the Bill. There was an air of exasperation, expressed particularly by the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, who is not able to be here today, and my noble friend Lady Royall.

I think the frustration was partly because the Minister, the noble Baroness, Lady Garden, claimed to share our concerns—and I am sure she does—yet responded with a series of totally unconvincing arguments. In particular, she seemed to be making the case on the basis of a hypothetical possible increase in abuse as a result of the amendment while seeming to discount the actual evidence of what, according to Kalayaan, happened after 1998 when similar rights were first introduced, which was a clear decrease in abuse reported to it, and then what happened post-April 2012 when those rights were rescinded, which was a significant increase in abuse reported. The Minister twice invited Members of your Lordships’ House to offer suggestions as to what we could do to prevent the abuse. The unanimous suggestion from all over the House, as well as from the Joint Committee on the draft Bill and the Joint Committee on Human Rights, was that we should restore the status quo ante—pre-2012—or something like it.

As has already been argued, there is no need for a review. We have no guarantee of what will happen as a result of that review after the election. How many more women will be subjected to forced labour and

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exploitation and the kind of suffering so movingly expressed in the example given by the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, before we are prepared to act? We have the opportunity to act today to remove an injustice that is totally against the principles underlying the Bill. I hope we will seize that opportunity.

6.15 pm

Baroness Butler-Sloss: My Lords, I fear that I am going to be speaking against the very powerful speeches that have already been made. Of course, I share the concerns of those who know about the abuse of overseas domestic servants by those who employ them and treat them as slaves. As a member of the Joint Committee on the pre-legislative scrutiny, I shared the concerns of the other members and of course put my name to the recommendation.

However, I have had the opportunity to discuss this at considerable length with the commissioner-designate who, in his former position as head of the anti-trafficking agency within the Metropolitan Police, had actual experience of what had gone wrong under the previous visa set-up. What he told me, and I share with the Committee, is that some women were actually being trafficked from one employer to another. When the first employer had had sufficient use of that person, she was taken on to another employer under the opportunity to do so under that visa, and he said he had several examples of it. We know that there have been other abuses under that former visa situation.

The commissioner-designate then told me about some of the work that he is doing, particularly with the Filipina women who are coming over. He has been working with Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Cardinal Tagle of the Philippines and the Philippine ambassador to see what they can do in the Philippines to stop these women coming over to these sorts of slave owners. A centre has also been set up in London which will house women who manage to escape from their slave-owner employer. As the Minister told us on the previous occasion, the woman will not be automatically deported if she is identified as a potential victim. She can—and should—be treated like any other victim of slavery. Obviously, the problem for these women is getting from the abusing employer to someone who will help. That is a matter which the commissioner-designate is passionate about trying to deal with. I think Nigeria is another area, but he is particularly concentrating on the Philippines at the moment.

Therefore, far from thinking that a review is a waste of time, too late and just trying to push the matter into the long grass, I actually believe, along with James Ewins of the Centre for Social Justice, who has already been responsible for an excellent report on slavery at an early stage of our deliberations, that the commissioner will be tenacious in looking at how the previous visa worked and how the present visa is working, or not, and will be giving, I have no doubt, robust advice to the Government—whichever Government. Since everybody in this House supports the Bill and the concept of trying to help those who are enslaved—it does not matter what the colour of the next Government is—each Government, whoever it may be, will have an equal obligation, as Members of this House will certainly

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remind them, to do something practical about slaves under the domestic workers visa. It does not require—I will be corrected by the Minister if I am wrong; I do not think I am—primary legislation. What it requires is changes to the Immigration Rules and the immigration visa. I urge the House to reflect whether it would not be better to let James Ewins use his tenacious ability to get at what is actually happening. I have now been on two committees: the one chaired by Frank Field for the Home Secretary and then the pre-legislative Select Committee. We heard basically only one point of view. We need to know how the previous visa worked and whether there is another way of providing a visa, together with proper help—which those poor women are not getting—before we pass this primary legislation, which is not in my view appropriate at this moment.

The Earl of Sandwich (CB): My Lords, when the noble Baroness, Lady Hanham, was speaking, I began to feel a little sympathy for the Minister and could not think how he would be able to respond. He has now had some comfort from my noble and learned friend Lady Butler-Sloss, but it does not take away from the necessity for the amendment.

The Minister will remember that I spoke with some passion at Second Reading and in Committee, and then more recently when he kindly agree to speak to us with his officials. He will already know the strength of feeling among the NGOs, which my noble friend Lord Hylton mentioned—notably Kalayaan and Human Rights Watch. I pay tribute again to my noble friend for the long time that he has been working on this amendment. It is more than 20 years and I have been there for most of that time. I have long advocated this cause during successive Bills. I of course recognise the asylum concerns that face every Government, but this is not a relevant factor. As the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, pointed out, it is a different situation, a special situation, that does not concern very many people.

The Home Office aggravated the problem by introducing the single employer visa, which in some cases at least ensures that slavery becomes a permanent affliction. That means that it is moving in the opposite direction from this Bill, which it has itself introduced. Two Select Committees have deplored it, yet here we are again, unconvinced that anything has changed. Of course, we have to welcome the Minister’s commitment and the Government’s latest offer of the review—I hope that my noble and learned friend Lady Butler-Sloss is right that the review will produce some more truths—but we have a lot of evidence already from the NGOs and from a Joint Committee, so I fail to see why we should wait for that.

The only really new item on the agenda is my noble friend’s amendment, which I hope as many noble Lords as possible will support. Does the Minister feel that this country is fulfilling all its obligations under the European convention? We would be grateful for some update on that.

Baroness Hodgson of Abinger: My Lords, it is clear that protection from slavery for overseas workers is an enormously important issue, and I am sure that we all mind very much about what happens to them.

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However, it would appear that opinions differ on how to tackle this. While some claim that tying the employee to the employer who brings them into the country leads to abuse, I understand that others who have looked into this matter are not necessarily of that opinion. It is important that, before putting anything into legislation, we try to understand the best way to deal with this.

As we have heard, the Home Secretary has announced an independent review, which will examine all the facts around this issue carefully. In particular, it is important that it looks at the effects of the terms of the visa. I understand that the review will look also at how effective are the protection and support for overseas workers who are victims and, as we have heard, that it will report by the end of July this year. I therefore support the views expressed by the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss.

Meanwhile, I understand that steps are being taken that will help with the protection of workers, including a package of support. Therefore, this issue will definitely not be forgotten and will be given the attention that it rightfully deserves after the review has reported. However, I think that it will be much better dealt with when we have all the information to hand and should not be put into this legislation. While I have enormous sympathy with the reasons behind the tabling of the amendment, I cannot support it.

Lord Young of Norwood Green (Lab): My Lords, I support the amendment. I think that anybody who heard the recent Radio 4 programme and listened to the first-person testimony of people who are in this situation could not fail to be moved by it. A question was raised during the programme where the Government were invited to answer why they had not signed convention 189 on decent work for domestic workers. Not every country has signed it—I would not attempt to mislead the House on that—but it is interesting that countries such as Finland, Ireland and Germany have done so. I fail to understand why we should not be in that progressive group. I share the view of those who have said that there is a lacuna in the legislation which the amendment fills. I will be interested to hear the Minister’s response.

Lord Horam (Con): My Lords, I support much of what has been said on all sides. It is clear that this is a matter which will not go away and which the House wishes to be resolved. I came across it repeatedly during my 18 years as a London MP—I probably had similar experiences to those of my noble friend Lady Hanham. It is clear that situations which are simply appalling are happening today in London and they have to be dealt with as soon as possible.

I am afraid that the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss, put her finger on it: I found that the problem was not the law; the problem was making the law effective. The problem was, as she said, how one got a person out of the hands of an abusive employer into some sort of help. They had no information; they had no knowledge of their rights; they came here in total ignorance of the situation. Practical enforcement is what we have to concentrate on. I am afraid that the law will not help here; it is the reality of the situation

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on the ground floor. Therefore, I want to ask my noble friend what is really being done about a new contract which goes out with the visa. If a contract goes out with the visa all the time, you are beginning to tackle the problem. If you also have a commissioner who concentrates on those areas—the Philippines, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and so forth—where the problem mainly originates, you are beginning to tackle it. Unless you do that, all the law in the world will not avail you.

Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, at the previous stage, I commented on the irony that the history of the arrangements for overseas domestic workers was a concession introduced for humanitarian reasons, so that the worker could accompany the family with whom they had been working and would not lose their job. In hearing the experiences that have been related to us, I found it particularly distressing and concerning to learn that a number of workers were informed that, if they were to escape and start work for someone else, they would be working illegally or would be here illegally if they did not approach the authorities. Virginia Mantouvalou in the work that she did in conjunction with Kalayaan reported in her conclusion that the single fear that interviewees who participated unanimously voiced, now that they were undocumented, was a fear of the authorities, of imprisonment and of deportation.

I agree that this is a matter for the rules but what is available to us is primary legislation because noble Lords do not take part in constructing immigration rules. I also agree that a review will not be a waste of time. As my noble friend Lady Hanham said, this amendment will not be a complete solution but it is an interim step and it may give workers who are abused the confidence to get away and seek the help which the noble and learned Baroness has told the House is available. I do not say this lightly, but if I were not to support this amendment, I would feel complicit in slavery and servitude.

6.30 pm

Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville (Con): My Lords, it is no coincidence that I should be following my noble friend Lady Hanham in so far as she was in office in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea for the whole of the period in which I was the Member of Parliament next door for the Cities of London and Westminster. The experiences that she had in the Royal Borough were totally matched by the experiences I had as the local Member. The frequency with which cases came up is something which I remember vividly from that period and I have seen my fair share of television films about this issue and listened to radio programmes, such as those cited a moment ago.

I do not propose to go over the ground which has been gone over by others. I am delighted to see the noble Lord, Lord Alton of Liverpool, in his place, not least because of his notable speeches on this subject in Committee. It was he who drew attention to the fact that the issue was settled in the Commons committee by the chairman of the committee taking a vote to leave the Bill as it was. A more significant confession appeared in a speech made in Committee on 10 December by the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, who sadly cannot be here tonight. She referred to the fact that the vote was

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tied in the Public Bill Committee, losing only to the chair, and then the Conservative Member of Parliament and former Deputy Chief Whip John Randall explained at Report why he would vote for a Labour amendment to protect domestic workers. He said that there had been too many victims for him to be able to say that it was a matter for another day. I say that simply to indicate that in another place the issue was very closely divided on and therefore that the Government have only a narrow margin to defend their position.

I realise that Her Majesty’s Government are pressed for time. However, on the basis of my experience, I find it difficult to believe that any Government could have expected to take this Bill through Parliament without this issue coming up. The fact that we are now out of time reflects backwards on to how much preparation there was in terms of time for this to occur. I am sorry that the Minister has been saddled with the task of defending the Government’s position at this stage in the Bill.

I was patently impressed by the speech of the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss, but this does not protect the Government from the need to produce a more decisive defence for the period before the promised review is completed. I very much hope that my noble friend can be convincing in explaining the validity of the Government’s interim posture on this issue. So far as my own vote is concerned, much hangs on what he says in his speech to wind up this debate.

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard (CB): I would like to comment very briefly on the speeches of the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hodgson. I do so cautiously. Anybody who questions the argument advanced by the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss, should proceed cautiously like Agag. I also admit that I have no particular expertise in the area of domestic slavery—except that I am married.

The argument that the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss, made seems to me to be a very encouraging one. Developments are taking place. I was particularly encouraged to hear about the work being done with and for the Filipino community. That seems to me very good news. It may reduce the scale of the problem we are talking about; it may partially mitigate the problem; but it will not eliminate the problem. The review that the noble Baroness, Lady Hodgson, talked about is obviously very important, and nobody who supports the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, will be against the review. They are not alternatives. It seems to me that this amendment cannot do harm; it must do good. I do not know how much good it will do and the noble Lord, Lord Horam, may be completely correct that it will do very little good, because so many of these poor people will be unaware of their rights and, unless there is a path of enforcement, not much will change—but no harm will have been done and some good must, by definition, be done. So I very much hope that the amendment will be pressed to a vote.

Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon (Lab): My Lords, I declare an interest as a trustee and a member of the council of the campaigning organisation Liberty. I rise

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to speak in support of Amendment 90 moved by the noble Lord, Lord Hylton. As I mentioned in Committee, victims should be at the heart of this Bill. We cannot waste the opportunity we have here to improve protection for these victims of modern slavery. As has already been mentioned, migrant domestic workers who are tied to their employers are particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. The inability of overseas domestic workers to change their employer leaves them powerless to escape their abusive situation and to bring a case against their perpetrators. Instead of protecting victims, we have a current visa system that facilitates trafficking, undermining the very purpose of this Bill.

I regularly come into contact with families and individuals who have been victims of crime and injustice. My first piece of advice is that they must speak out and seek help. The Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime in the other place agrees. In a Radio 4 programme the Minister said:

“I want them to come forward. I want them to come into the system. I want to give them the help and support they need and I want to catch that perpetrator”.

But how do the Government expect workers to come forward in a system that ultimately criminalises them rather than recognising them as victims? That is exactly what is happening. Many domestic workers will not come forward for help or escape because they are aware that they would be breaking the law if they did. Therefore, numbers on the system are low and workers are driven underground and remain hidden. Those who do come forward are usually unaware of the visa rule. Many charitable organisations encounter clients who, after hearing that they have broken the conditions of their visa and are at risk of deportation, never return to them or consent to official help.

Kalayaan, the migrant domestic workers charity, provided me with some telling statistics. In 2014, it identified 54 clients as trafficked victims, but only 25 referrals were made to the national referral mechanism, so less than half of those identified as trafficked consented to being transferred to the NRM or the UK authorities.

The questions we must ask are: why was that and what can we do to ensure that victims are not afraid to come forward? Expert organisations such as Kalayaan and Anti-Slavery International, and numerous parliamentary inquiries into this issue, have all concluded that this visa rule is one of the biggest barriers to support and justice. This is a huge problem and we should address it in this Bill. Employment tribunals are not an effective route to justice, either. How can we expect a domestic worker to stay with their abusive employer while they are bringing a case against them? How can we expect a domestic worker, who is usually paid very little, to afford the legal costs of a case—a situation which is made all the worse with cuts to legal aid?

In his letter of 16 February to the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, the Minister spoke of the Home Office’s independent review and listed further arrangements to strengthen protections. While measures to increase awareness of domestic workers’ rights and to assess their situation upon entering the UK are welcome, I fear that they will have a limited effect as it not clear how the Home Office will ensure that those rights are

25 Feb 2015 : Column 1701

upheld when the worker actually begins work in the UK. Will the Minister say what was lacking in the examination of this issue during pre-legislative scrutiny such that a further review is needed?

The Home Secretary is currently addressing the importance of protecting the rights of those who are most vulnerable to abuse of stop and search. She recently stated that if the stops-to-arrests ratio does not improve, a Conservative Government will not hesitate to bring in primary legislation to make it happen. Surely in the same way this Government can commit to protecting the rights of overseas domestic workers. I believe that Amendment 90, by reinstating the original migrant domestic worker visa, will empower these workers once again with the most basic rights and effectively protect them from abuse and exploitation.

Baroness Howe of Idlicote: My Lords, I did not intend to take part in this debate. Having listened to the passionate speech by the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, and his examples and the various other aspects that were put before us, I was particularly moved by what the noble Baroness, Lady Hanham, said. I remember some of the issues that took place at different stages of the Bill. Of course we can wait if it means putting it off for four or five months or something like that—but God knows how many more wretched trafficked slaves will pass thorough in that time, so I share the view of my noble friend Lord Kerr. What harm can it do if we make the decision today? So let us make the decision today.

6.45 pm

Lord Bates: My Lords, I pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, for moving his amendment. I appreciate wholeheartedly his commitment to the cause over many years. I thank him for his courtesy in the way he has raised this matter with me. He has been very persistent on the issue—and rightly so because it is an area where we need to be absolutely convinced that we are on the right side of the argument.

However, given that this has been a wide-ranging debate, I think there is possibly a slight conflation of issues here: the overseas domestic worker visa and the treatment of people in domestic servitude who have been trafficked here from overseas. They are two distinct issues.

The overseas domestic worker visa was introduced by the previous Government in 1998 essentially to facilitate particular groups of people who travelled to the UK frequently, brought their own household staff and did not wish to hire people in the UK for short visits. The average length envisaged then was a matter of a couple of weeks and today 15 days is the average time for which someone comes in. It may assist the House to know that about 80% of the people who come under the overseas domestic worker visa scheme come from a very small number of countries in the Middle East: 4,894 from the United Arab Emirates; 3,996 from Saudi Arabia; 2,581 from Qatar; 1,005 from Kuwait; and 257 from Oman. A particular group uses the overseas domestic worker visa. It was never intended that the overseas domestic worker visa should somehow translate itself into a visa to work for someone else. It is tailored for a visitor.

25 Feb 2015 : Column 1702

The amendment before us would open the opportunity for the visa potentially to be used as another way in which workers can enter the UK, repeat their application indefinitely and after a period of five years have the right to remain. The overseas domestic worker visa is a particular issue which we are seeking to address. In 2012, we felt there was some evidence that the visa was being abused and that people were coming here with one employer and were being moved on to other employers and other areas. Therefore, we said that if you come in on that visa to work for that employer, you ought to stay with that employer.

I have set out what the overseas domestic worker visa is and how the discussion and debate is very different from the broader issues of trafficking which this legislation addresses. We are dealing with about 15,000 applications per year. When Kalayaan, which I, like others, respect, undertook its review over a period of two years, there were some 32,000 overseas domestic worker visa applications. Kalayaan took a sample of 120 which had been drawn to its attention. By most estimations, and, I think, by its own admission, that is a small sample.

So what is the appropriate action to take? Is it simply to revert to the previous visa regime or is it to take some interim steps? The notion that the Government are not doing anything in the light of the evidence is simply not the case. We have introduced a new template contract. The contract must stipulate the sleeping arrangements, the minimum wage, the holiday pay and that the employer cannot withhold an individual’s passport. The clearance officer must be satisfied under a test of credibility that the employer will pay the national minimum wage. The person will now be interviewed by an officer directly and individually so that, should it be the case that when they were previously granted an overseas domestic worker visa to come to the UK they were not treated in accordance with their contract, then that could be made known and of course the visa would not be granted. We have that safeguard in. We also have the information card which is going to be made available to people who come to the UK advising them where to go for help.

This is where we get to the crucial element, which is this. If someone is on an overseas domestic worker visa and they feel their treatment by their employer is something amounting to servitude or abuse, they are able to come themselves to an organisation like Kalayaan or the police or the national referral mechanism. The national referral mechanism will take that issue very seriously. It will offer them protection and advice as to what to do. They will be granted, if there are reasonable grounds when they enter the referral mechanism, a 45-day period of reflection. If it is proved, or there is a reasonable belief, that they have been abused by their employer, then they could be allowed to remain in the UK for a period of one year and one day to assist with the inquiries being undertaken by the police.

So where someone is in an abusive relationship, I would hate your Lordships to go away with the impression that such people should somehow sit there and suffer because they have no option but to do so. If they are on an overseas domestic worker visa or any other visa—or even here illegally within the UK—and they are being mistreated, that is not tolerated. That is the

25 Feb 2015 : Column 1703

whole point of the Modern Slavery Bill and that is what the national referral mechanism is for—to offer them that help. Overseas domestic workers generally have the protection of UK employment law. Anyone who believes they are mistreated by their employers has access to a number of organisations who can help, including the police, ACAS, the pay and work rights helpline as well as the employment tribunals where the tribunal or the court has jurisdiction in their circumstances.

Although the overseas domestic worker visa is a scheme that is quite distinct from the general issues to which we are referring, we considered what would be the best way forward, given the concerns which had been raised by the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, and others. We decided that the best route forward was not simply to say that we did not think that the evidence was sufficient—we are talking about the Kalayaan report which referred to a relatively small number of cases as a proportion of the total. We said that we needed to have better information, not just about the treatment of overseas domestic workers but about the visa scheme itself. In other words, is the visa scheme which was introduced in 1998 still fit for purpose? Is it something which should be retained? Should it actually be scrapped altogether if it is being abused in that way?

To do that, we need to have evidence. I have to say that this is another example of where the Government have tried to meet the genuine concerns which have been raised by the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, and many others, including my noble friend Lady Hanham. We have tried to address their concerns by saying that James Ewins—the highly respected legal adviser to the pre-legislative scrutiny committee who is from the Centre for Social Justice, which in many ways was the architect of the present Bill—should be given the time to undertake a review. He does not necessarily, as the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, mentioned, need to undertake all the research again for himself. He can draw upon the considerable amount of data and information which is held by UK Visas and Immigration in the Home Office and we will co-operate fully with him. He can speak to the NGOs, he can look at the case studies being provided by different organisations and then, after a period of review and with his recommendations, that can be something which can then be acted upon.

The idea that somehow if we do not take action or include this amendment in the Bill today there is no option again for primary legislation to be brought forward is simply not true. The Immigration Rules can be changed at any time. In fact we are changing them tomorrow to reflect the changes to the overseas domestic worker arrangement which we have put in place—the new contracts, the requirement for an interview to take place and the testing and piloting of video links. Change can be done at any time. It does not need to wait for further primary legislation. It can be done, if that is what James Ewins decides needs to be done.

All the way through this process there has been some advantage—for example when discussing the provisions on the national referral mechanism—to be discussing the issues in the context of an exceptional review carried out by Jeremy Oppenheim. He was able

25 Feb 2015 : Column 1704

to take a wide look at the issues and produce a considered report with a series of recommendations, which have been absolutely invaluable to us in making decisions on what amendments needed to be made. The Government have accepted all those recommendations which were made in that review. All we are saying in our response is to let us allow the same due process to continue. Let us allow James Ewins to get on and do his work—to undertake a thorough review, to consider all the arguments that have been presented and then to come forward with his recommendations.

That is really the argument between us. I know that there are many individual questions which were raised in the course of the debate, but essentially that is what it comes down to. It is a question of whether we seek to pre-empt with an amendment which does not deliver what many people have been arguing they actually want to see. It is whether we proceed with that amendment or whether we actually proceed in a more orderly way, recognising that we need to review the operation of this domestic workers visa arrangement and allow someone who is completely independent of government to undertake that review. It would come back by July—so it is not going to be in the long grass for ever—and then action can be taken in the next Parliament at any stage based on the recommendations which are made. I think, along with a number of other noble Lords, that that would be the more appropriate road to take. I ask the noble Lord to consider removing his amendment at this stage.

Lord Hylton: My Lords, I would like to thank most warmly all those who have taken part in this debate, which has been quite long and complex. As to the Government, I am sorry to say that we have heard really nothing new that was not already known in earlier stages of this Bill or in meetings that followed on from Committee.

The amendment is really a test of the Government’s intentions. Why should they take a massive effort to deal with trafficking—through prevention and risk orders and an anti-slavery commissioner—and supply chains and yet leave this loophole for abuse which has existed for so many years? What do the Government consider that the impact on the reputation of this country will be, following the comments on ITV and Radio 4 and in the press? Surely the knowledge that those abuses and exploitations continue to go on here cannot help our reputation in any way.

The Minister mentioned the Immigration Rules and some tiny changes which are about to be made. Why cannot the Government go the whole hog and, as I suggested earlier, put into the rules the equivalent of this amendment? However, he does not appear to be willing to do that. Further, the national referral mechanism was not designed to deal with this particular problem. Maybe it can be adapted, but that is not its main purpose. Therefore, in view of all those points, I wish to test the opinion of the House.

6.59 pm

Division on Amendment 90

Contents 183; Not-Contents 176.

Amendment 90 agreed.

25 Feb 2015 : Column 1705

Division No.  1


Adams of Craigielea, B.

Alton of Liverpool, L.

Anderson of Swansea, L.

Armstrong of Hill Top, B.

Armstrong of Ilminster, L.

Bach, L.

Bakewell, B.

Bassam of Brighton, L. [Teller]

Beecham, L.

Berkeley of Knighton, L.

Best, L.

Billingham, B.

Blackstone, B.

Boateng, L.

Bradley, L.

Brennan, L.

Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.

Brookman, L.

Browne of Belmont, L.

Campbell of Surbiton, B.

Campbell-Savours, L.

Carlisle, Bp.

Carter of Coles, L.

Cashman, L.

Clancarty, E.

Clark of Windermere, L.

Clarke of Hampstead, L.

Collins of Highbury, L.

Colville of Culross, V.

Corston, B.

Coussins, B.

Craigavon, V.

Crawley, B.

Cunningham of Felling, L.

Davies of Coity, L.

Davies of Oldham, L.

Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.

Derby, Bp.

Donaghy, B.

Drake, B.

Dubs, L.

Elder, L.

Elystan-Morgan, L.

Erroll, E.

Evans of Temple Guiting, L.

Falkland, V.

Farrington of Ribbleton, B.

Faulkner of Worcester, L.

Foster of Bishop Auckland, L.

Gale, B.

Giddens, L.

Golding, B.

Goldsmith, L.

Gordon of Strathblane, L.

Goudie, B.

Gould of Potternewton, B.

Grantchester, L.

Greenway, L.

Grey-Thompson, B.

Grocott, L.

Hamwee, B.

Hanham, B.

Hanworth, V.

Harris of Haringey, L.

Harrison, L.

Hart of Chilton, L.

Haworth, L.

Hay of Ballyore, L.

Hayter of Kentish Town, B.

Healy of Primrose Hill, B.

Hollins, B.

Hollis of Heigham, B.

Howarth of Newport, L.

Howe of Idlicote, B.

Howells of St Davids, B.

Howie of Troon, L.

Hoyle, L.

Hughes of Woodside, L.

Hunt of Chesterton, L.

Hylton, L.

Irvine of Lairg, L.

Jones, L.

Jones of Whitchurch, B.

Judd, L.

Kennedy of Cradley, B.

Kennedy of Southwark, L.

Kennedy of The Shaws, B.

Kerr of Kinlochard, L.

King of Bow, B.

Kingsmill, B.

Kinnock, L.

Kinnock of Holyhead, B.

Kirkhill, L.

Knight of Weymouth, L.

Lawrence of Clarendon, B.

Layard, L.

Lea of Crondall, L.

Liddell of Coatdyke, B.

Liddle, L.

Lister of Burtersett, B.

Lytton, E.

McAvoy, L.

McConnell of Glenscorrodale, L.

McDonagh, B.

Macdonald of Tradeston, L.

McFall of Alcluith, L.

McIntosh of Hudnall, B.

McKenzie of Luton, L.

Mallalieu, B.

Mar, C.

Masham of Ilton, B.

Massey of Darwen, B.

Maxton, L.

Meacher, B.

Mendelsohn, L.

Mitchell, L.

Monks, L.

Morgan of Drefelin, B.

Morgan of Ely, B.

Morris of Aberavon, L.

Morris of Handsworth, L.

Morrow, L.

Nye, B.

O'Loan, B.

O'Neill of Clackmannan, L.

Ouseley, L.

Patel, L.

Patel of Blackburn, L.

Pitkeathley, B.

Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.

Prashar, B.

Prescott, L.

Prosser, B.

Quin, B.

Radice, L.

Ramsay of Cartvale, B.

Ramsbotham, L.

Rea, L.

Rees of Ludlow, L.

Reid of Cardowan, L.

Richard, L.

Robertson of Port Ellen, L.

Rooker, L.

Rosser, L.

Rowe-Beddoe, L.

25 Feb 2015 : Column 1706

Rowlands, L.

Royall of Blaisdon, B.

St Albans, Bp.

Sandwich, E.

Sawyer, L.

Scotland of Asthal, B.

Sherlock, B.

Simon, V.

Smith of Basildon, B.

Smith of Finsbury, L.

Snape, L.

Soley, L.

Stern, B.

Stoddart of Swindon, L.

Symons of Vernham Dean, B.

Taylor of Warwick, L.

Temple-Morris, L.

Thornton, B.

Touhig, L.

Tunnicliffe, L. [Teller]

Turner of Camden, B.

Uddin, B.

Wall of New Barnet, B.

Walpole, L.

Warner, L.

Warnock, B.

Watson of Invergowrie, L.

Wheeler, B.

Whitaker, B.

Whitty, L.

Wilkins, B.

Williams of Elvel, L.

Wills, L.

Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Worcester, Bp.

Worthington, B.

Young of Hornsey, B.

Young of Norwood Green, L.


Addington, L.

Ahmad of Wimbledon, L.

Allan of Hallam, L.

Anelay of St Johns, B.

Ashton of Hyde, L.

Astor of Hever, L.

Attlee, E.

Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville, B.

Balfe, L.

Bates, L.

Benjamin, B.

Bew, L.

Blencathra, L.

Borwick, L.

Bourne of Aberystwyth, L.

Brabazon of Tara, L.

Brady, B.

Brougham and Vaux, L.

Browning, B.

Burnett, L.

Buscombe, B.

Butler-Sloss, B.

Byford, B.

Caithness, E.

Callanan, L.

Carrington of Fulham, L.

Cathcart, E.

Cavendish of Furness, L.

Chisholm of Owlpen, B.

Clement-Jones, L.

Colwyn, L.

Cooper of Windrush, L.

Cope of Berkeley, L.

Cotter, L.

Courtown, E.

De Mauley, L.

Deighton, L.

Dixon-Smith, L.

Dobbs, L.

Dykes, L.

Eaton, B.

Eccles, V.

Eccles of Moulton, B.

Eden of Winton, L.

Elton, L.

Evans of Bowes Park, B.

Farmer, L.

Faulks, L.

Fellowes of West Stafford, L.

Flight, L.

Fookes, B.

Forsyth of Drumlean, L.

Framlingham, L.

Freeman, L.

Freud, L.

Garden of Frognal, B.

Garel-Jones, L.

Geddes, L.

German, L.

Glenarthur, L.

Goddard of Stockport, L.

Gold, L.

Grender, B.

Griffiths of Fforestfach, L.

Helic, B.

Henley, L.

Higgins, L.

Hodgson of Abinger, B.

Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.

Holmes of Richmond, L.

Home, E.

Horam, L.

Howard of Rising, L.

Howe, E.

Howe of Aberavon, L.

Howell of Guildford, L.

Humphreys, B.

Hunt of Wirral, L.

Inglewood, L.

Janke, B.

Jenkin of Kennington, B.

Jolly, B.

Jones of Cheltenham, L.

Jopling, L.

Kilclooney, L.

King of Bridgwater, L.

Kirkwood of Kirkhope, L.

Knight of Collingtree, B.

Kramer, B.

Lamont of Lerwick, L.

Lang of Monkton, L.

Leigh of Hurley, L.

Lingfield, L.

Listowel, E.

Liverpool, E.

Livingston of Parkhead, L.

Lothian, M.

Ludford, B.

McColl of Dulwich, L.

MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.

Mackay of Clashfern, L.

Maclennan of Rogart, L.

Maddock, B.

Magan of Castletown, L.

Maginnis of Drumglass, L.

Mancroft, L.

Marks of Henley-on-Thames, L.

Marlesford, L.

25 Feb 2015 : Column 1707

Mobarik, B.

Moore of Lower Marsh, L.

Morris of Bolton, B.

Neville-Jones, B.

Neville-Rolfe, B.

Newby, L. [Teller]

Newlove, B.

Northover, B.

Norton of Louth, L.

O'Cathain, B.

Oppenheim-Barnes, B.

Paddick, L.

Perry of Southwark, B.

Popat, L.

Purvis of Tweed, L.

Randerson, B.

Rawlings, B.

Rennard, L.

Ribeiro, L.

Ridley, V.

Risby, L.

Roberts of Llandudno, L.

Rogan, L.

St John of Bletso, L.

Scriven, L.

Seccombe, B.

Selborne, E.

Selkirk of Douglas, L.

Shackleton of Belgravia, B.

Sharples, B.

Sheikh, L.

Shephard of Northwold, B.

Sherbourne of Didsbury, L.

Shields, B.

Shutt of Greetland, L.

Skelmersdale, L.

Smith of Clifton, L.

Smith of Newnham, B.

Spicer, L.

Stedman-Scott, B.

Stephen, L.

Storey, L.

Stowell of Beeston, B.

Strasburger, L.

Suttie, B.

Taylor of Goss Moor, L.

Taylor of Holbeach, L. [Teller]

Teverson, L.

Tope, L.

Trefgarne, L.

Trenchard, V.

Trimble, L.

Tugendhat, L.

Tyler, L.

Tyler of Enfield, B.

Verma, B.

Wakeham, L.

Wallace of Saltaire, L.

Wallace of Tankerness, L.

Warsi, B.

Wasserman, L.

Wheatcroft, B.

Whitby, L.

Wilcox, B.

Williams of Crosby, B.

Williams of Trafford, B.

Willis of Knaresborough, L.

Younger of Leckie, V.

7.11 pm

Amendment 91 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.

Amendment 92

Moved by The Lord Bishop of Derby

92: After Clause 51, insert the following new Clause—

“Enforcement agencies

(1) The Secretary of State shall consult on ways to strengthen and improve the resources of enforcement agencies such as the Gangmasters Licensing Authority and the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate using confiscated assets and proceeds of crime recovered under the provisions of section 7.

(2) A consultation under subsection (1) shall end no later than 1 January 2016.

(3) The Secretary of State may by order amend section 3 of the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004 to include other areas of work where the Secretary of State believes abuse and exploitation of workers or modern slavery or trafficking may be taking place.

(4) An order under subsection (3) may not be made unless a draft of the statutory instrument containing it has been laid before each House of Parliament and been approved by a resolution in each House.”

The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I thank my colleagues, the noble Lord, Lord Alton, and the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy, for their support for this amendment. I also place on record my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Bates. With others, we have been extremely grateful for the patient and kind way he has listened to us, engaged with us and put on special meetings on various subjects. The point of this amendment is to highlight the fact that both the Government and

25 Feb 2015 : Column 1708

many of us involved in this issue are learning a great deal as we go along. Therefore, there is a proper space for consultation, review and further learning to be done.

The point of this amendment is to seek authorisation for further consultation around two particular things. One is resources for some of the key agencies which will be in the forefront of putting this legislation into practice. There will be an enormous challenge and the resourcing issue, with tight budgets, will be enormous. We have discussed in previous debates the potential for using confiscated assets and the proceeds of crime to help resource the work of some of the agencies that will be putting this legislation into practice and can deliver what the Bill requires. This was discussed by the Select Committee and I hope the Minister will endorse further consultation about the potential for using confiscated assets and the proceeds of crime to help resource the implementation of the Bill.

The second area that the amendment explores is to help us ensure that the agencies which are in place at the moment can develop appropriately and be fit for purpose. I refer in particular to the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, which needs to have a realistic remit. It has enormous expertise, but it will need resourcing, as I have said, for further engagement in the new context, including how it links with bodies such as the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate. We need to see how those bodies are going to work together: that needs exploring further if the Bill is going to be implemented effectively. The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate will, of course, have a key role in helping us reach out to those areas where slavery operates through small-scale operations, not just the large businesses we are looking at in those parts of the Bill covering the formal supply chain.

So the amendment covers those two simple things. It explores how best we can use confiscated assets and the proceeds of crime to give resources to key agencies such as the GLA and the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate, and it looks at how those agencies might co-operate so that we can do educational, proactive work so that the requirements of the Bill get disseminated through those agencies into their constituencies, and so that they co-operate most fully between themselves and cover as many bases as possible. This very simple amendment will build on the work of the Joint Committee and ensure that the principles of the Bill are delivered most effectively. It is about resourcing the agencies and about how they can best work together. It asks for authorisation for that consultation to happen so that we can pursue those two objectives. I beg to move.

7.15 pm

Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB): My Lords, I am a signatory to this amendment and am very happy to speak briefly in support of it this evening. I spoke on this issue at Second Reading and in Committee and I moved a separate amendment on the issue of the proceeds of crime. That was based on an amendment that I moved in your Lordships’ House nearly a decade ago and which was supported at that time by a retired Law Lord, Lord Wilberforce, who was a direct descendent, of course, of the great man who has featured so much in many of our debates. That amendment sought to provide a mechanism for the proceeds of crime committed

25 Feb 2015 : Column 1709

by those who had abused workers, exploited people, put them into servitude or slavery—the very things that the Bill seeks to address—to be used to support and provide assistance for those who had been exploited and to support those organisations that are charged with the responsibility of apprehending those who are responsible for such crimes.

Crimes they are. I recalled in Committee that the Gangmasters Licensing Authority—which the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, who is in his seat this evening, did such distinguished work in helping to create—was established after the fatalities that occurred in Morecambe Bay when some 23 Chinese cockle pickers, men and women, died while they were being ruthlessly exploited by gangmasters. I made the point that this problem has not gone away. As recently as 2011, an almost identical incident occurred not very far away from Morecambe Bay, in the Ribble valley estuary. I quoted a local fisherman, Harold Benson, who said that what had happened at Morecambe Bay had been wholly avoidable, but it was likely to be repeated at places such as the Ribble valley and Morecambe Bay because of the failure to apprehend those who were responsible and because of the failure to provide adequate safety equipment and to provide support and assistance to those who were being exploited in these unacceptable ways.

As a result of raising these issues I was pleased to be able to attend a meeting with the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Derby and the noble Lord, Lord Bates, who has been so helpful on this and so many other issues during the passage of the Bill. I reiterate what I said on Report on Monday, that he and the noble Baroness, Lady Garden of Frognal, have been quite exemplary in the way they have treated all of us who have participated in these proceedings. This is a marvellous piece of legislation and one that I am sure is going to do great good in the future. Although we may disagree on some details here and there, the general thrust of the legislation is to be commended and we must look for other ways to improve it here and there. That is what this amendment does.

The right reverend Prelate has told us that if this is passed, or if the principle is accepted, the Secretary of State will then consult on ways to strengthen and improve the resources of enforcement agencies such as the Gangmasters Licensing Authority. Why do we need to do that? Well, I made the point at earlier stages that until recently only about 37 people were employed by that authority and that resources had been cut between 2011 and 2014. I would be grateful if the noble Lord would share with us some of the detail that he provided during the briefing sessions that we had with him and his officials as to how many people are now employed by that authority and how many convictions they have been able to bring about.

The amendment says that the consultation should,

“end no later than 1 January 2016”.

I think that that is a reasonable passage of time. It goes on in proposed new subsection (3) to say:

“The Secretary of State may by order amend section 3 of the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004 to include other areas of work where the Secretary of State believes abuse and exploitation of workers or modern slavery or trafficking may be taking place”.

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This is reasonable; it does not ask for immediate action to be taken, but it asks the Secretary of State and the department to take a more detailed look at some of the issues that have been raised. I look forward to hearing the response that the noble Lord gives in due course.

Baroness Kennedy of Cradley (Lab): My Lords, I, too, rise to support Amendment 92 in the name of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Derby, to which I have added my name. This amendment is about prevention and about stopping unscrupulous employers from exploiting workers for personal gain and increasing profits. Without compliance mechanisms and a licensing regime in place, there are no checks on the activities of the corrupt to protect the vulnerable. The Gangmasters Licensing Authority and the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate are that check. They give protection, prevent abuse from happening, and work hard to ensure compliance with employment rights. They want to do more and they know that they could do more—we know that they could do more—but they need reform and increased support.

As the organisation, Focus On Labour Exploitation, has pointed out to noble Lords in its recent letter, the GLA is the UK’s only proactive labour inspectorate working to prevent and identify incidences of trafficking for labour exploitation. Therefore, the GLA has a major role to play in tackling slavery and forced labour, and it should be a part of this Bill. That is a point well made, not just today by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Derby and the noble Lord, Lord Alton, but made in the past by many other noble Lords. It is a point reiterated by the Government, as set out by the Minister in his letter on 18 February, where he recognised the essential role in fighting modern-day slavery that the GLA plays, and could play in future—words that I hope he will reiterate in his reply today.

Like many other noble Lords, I welcome the Government’s commitment to hold a public consultation on the role of the GLA as soon as possible in the next Parliament. So given that there is an emerging consensus around the need to consult on the GLA to review its remit and functions, and an acknowledgement that the GLA would need more resource to cope with an expanded remit, Amendment 92 should be completely acceptable to the Government, as it is ensuring exactly that—that labour inspection and enforcement authorities have sufficient resources and remit to prevent trafficking and slavery in the UK.

Amendment 92 confirms the commitment to consult and seeks to use the proceeds of crime to provide the extra funds that the GLA and EAS need. It also moves the Government’s pledge of a consultation in the next Parliament from “as soon as possible” to a definite date by the end of 1 January 2016, and it enables any recommendations from the consultation to be put in place quickly and easily. It therefore gives this House an increased level of confidence and clarity. I therefore hope that the Government will take the opportunity provided by this amendment, for this important enabling power to give the House the assurances that it needs.

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Baroness Suttie (LD): My Lords, I take this opportunity to add my thanks to my noble friend the Minister for the spirit of openness and compromise with which he has engaged with this Bill, not least on this issue regarding the future role of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority. The announcement in annexe 2 in my noble friend’s letter this week—that the Government intend to hold a public consultation on the role of the GLA—is particularly welcome and in some ways diminishes the need for many of the elements contained in this Amendment 92.

I think that we are all in agreement in this House that the GLA has and will continue to play an extremely important role in combating exploitation, but there are very powerful arguments that its remit should be widened to include the construction, hospitality, cleaning and care sectors, where migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, modern slavery or human trafficking. There has, however, been understandable concern expressed about placing additional demands and burdens on the GLA, given its finite resources. Can the Minister confirm that the provision of resources will form part of the consultation process on the GLA that he has announced?

Although I support much of the sentiment behind Amendment 92, I note that my noble friend the Minister sets out in annexe 2 that he does not believe that an enabling power is the best way to proceed, and that indeed primary legislation would still be required to extend the remit of the GLA. Perhaps he can expand a little on this point during his response to the amendment.

Finally, I press my noble friend a little more on the timetabling of this public consultation on the GLA. He states in annexe 2 that the,

“work will start immediately and it will be published early in the next Parliament”.

Given the cross-party support for this Bill, as so many other noble Lords have just said, will my noble friend indicate whether he would consider setting down a more precise timetable for the consultation on the face of the Bill?

Lord Judd (Lab): I congratulate the right reverend Prelate on having introduced the amendment so well, in his characteristic way. Several points occurred to me as particularly important. First, in effect, whatever the intention, to introduce legislation in sensitive and important areas like this and not to properly resource it can be perceived as cynical. It can be seen as a greater desire among legislators to polish their consciences in public without really facing up to what needs to be done. Facing the issue of properly resourcing enlightened legislation is crucial. Far too often, this has not happened.

The second point, which is very important, is education, which the right reverend Prelate picked up and linked rather well into his proposal. I am not a lawyer but, in my perception, law works best when it is in the context of public understanding about why it is necessary—not theoretically but practically available—for those whom it is intended to protect. Facing up to that issue in the amendment is also vital. I hope that the Minister, who has been a model across the House of how a Minister can handle a Bill of this kind, will listen to the arguments and find some way in which to meet them.

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Lord Rosser: I shall say a few words in support of the amendment that the right reverend Prelate has moved, as I think that he made a reference to the Joint Committee on the draft Bill. Of course, it said in its report that the:

“Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) has been much praised as an internationally-respected model of good practice. The weight of evidence we received suggested that expanding the GLA’s powers and industrial remit would yield positive results”.

Those views reflect a widely held view: that the authority is an example of an effective body that UK industry helped to establish to manage and mitigate risks of slavery in the food and agriculture sector. What has been pointed out about the amendment is that it has the provision for consultation but also, within it, the power given to the Secretary of State—if the Secretary of State wants to use it; it is “may” not “must”—to amend by order the Act to sectors outside its current limited remit where evidence demonstrates that,

“abuse and exploitation of workers or modern slavery or trafficking may be taking place”.

The amendment does not require the Secretary of State to do that; it gives them the power to do it if they come to the conclusion that it is necessary and desirable to do so.

7.30 pm

The consultation goes a bit wider than was mentioned in the Joint Committee report, but it too recommended that the Government should conduct a review of the GLA including its powers, its industrial remit and its funding models and levels, and suggested that that review should be completed before the Bill received Royal Assent. Unfortunately, that has not taken place. No doubt that is one reason why the right reverend Prelate included that in his amendment, although he has rightly widened it beyond the GLA.

I hope that the Minister will be able to give a sympathetic and helpful response to the amendment, which, I repeat, does not compel the Secretary of State to extend the remit of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, but gives a Secretary of State the power to do so if he or she comes to the conclusion that that is desirable and appropriate.

Lord Bates: My Lords, I am grateful to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Derby for having moved the amendment. He has been an integral part of the cross-party team that has been working so constructively on the Bill and taken us to where we are now. I particularly note, and offer my respect for, the work that he has done in the diocese of Derby in tackling the issues of modern-day slavery. It is an example of what could be done elsewhere as well.

Let me put on record the two difficulties that we have with the amendment. I do not think that, on the general principle, we are a million miles apart. What we had was a Gangmasters Licensing Authority, after the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, introduced legislation in this House in the wake of the awful tragedy that we saw—and it was working rather well. It was targeted at a particular group, where there was a real problem in the food processing industries and that sector of agriculture and fisheries. About 1,200 businesses a year are regulated,

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and there is a cost to that. They have to get their licence and pay between £1,000 and £2,000 a year, and when they are regularly inspected they also have to pay a fee for the inspection.

There is a discussion about this. I am sure that when the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, was introducing the Gangmasters Licensing Authority legislation, he was thinking that we did not want to impose this on everyone unless it were strongly proven that it was absolutely necessary to cover everyone, because there are some serious burdens placed on small and micro-businesses. I take the point that the noble Lord, Lord Judd, made about resources. Resources are scarce at present: there is a big debate, which I am sure my predecessors had when they were trying to secure the necessary resources for the changes being made in the national referral mechanism. That would account for a significant amount, and resources also have to follow the child trafficking advocates, the extension of legal aid and the office of the Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner-designate. I accept that.

Let me explain the difficulties to the right reverend Prelate. There are two difficulties with an enabling power on the GLA remit. First, such a power assumes that the main issue is with the GLA’s remit, and may not consider the broader landscape in terms of how we tackle abuse of workers. Secondly, even if we concluded that the answer to the problem was an extension of the remit, the enabling power would almost certainly not achieve its aim of avoiding the need for further primary legislation.

As has been mentioned, it has also been enormously helpful that we have been able to have discussions outside the Chamber, and build our mutual understanding of these issues. It is important that we look at the GLA’s role in the context of our overall approach to tackling abuse in the labour market.

The House will note that sectors not covered by the GLA are already regulated. Last year more than 53,000 callers were helped by the pay and work rights helpline, and more than 23,000 workers were helped to recover wage arrears by the national minimum wage enforcement team. In addition, employment agencies not covered by the GLA are regulated by the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate, which between 31 March and 1 April 2014 brought seven prosecutions in the magistrates’ courts and in five cases secured convictions. The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate also has a unique power to apply to ban those who have shown themselves to be unfit to run any employment agency, and there are currently 16 people on the list of people banned from running an employment agency. We need to make sure, through consultation, that we come to a coherent position and that these bodies work in a co-ordinated way to prevent and stop abuse.

I understand why an enabling power might appear attractive as a way of potentially avoiding the need for future primary legislation after a consultation, but such a power simply would not achieve the objective of avoiding the need for primary legislation. Any significant change to the GLA would

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be likely to require both reform of the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004 and substantive changes to wider primary legislation related to how the labour market is regulated, such as the Employment Agencies Act 1973.

The enabling power would be limited to changes in the remit. I accept that it would be hard to justify a delegated power wide enough to allow for the types of enforcement powers the GLA might need in future. But a truly open and evidence-based consultation might well highlight the need for changes in the powers of the GLA that do not relate to the remit.

The amendment also focuses on the use by the GLA and others of the Proceeds of Crime Act. I should point out that the GLA already uses that legislation to identify proceeds of crime—a subject raised by the noble Lord, Lord Alton. Indeed, since 2010 the GLA has identified over £1.5 million in criminal assets through that route. I am sure that, like me, noble Lords will all applaud the GLA for its achievements in this regard. The GLA already receives a share of the assets recovered under the asset recovery incentivisation scheme: it has received £118,000 since 2010.

I acknowledge the points that have been made. When we prepare the consultation document we will reflect on today’s debate and see whether there are ways in which we can make greater use of the Proceeds of Crime Act, alongside increasing and making better use of our existing resources devoted to worker protection.

I shall now deal with one or two of the points raised in the debate. I have highlighted the problems we have with the amendment, which are technical rather than substantive in terms of the issue that the right reverend Prelate has raised. If he felt able to withdraw his amendment now, I would certainly give an undertaking to reflect further on it and consider whether we should look at this subject again before Third Reading. There are some drafting issues. What the amendment proposes is a review of one area under one Act, whereas we would like to see a wider consultation covering many areas and many Acts. To do that we need an approach different from that taken in the amendment. If the right reverend Prelate will take that into account, we shall be happy to come back to the subject.

The Lord Bishop of Derby: I thank the Minister for what I take to be an encouraging response. I do not know a lot of the details about delegated powers and primary legislation, and, as he said, there are possible technical issues with our proposals. However, I take heart from the fact that we are in the same direction of travel. We want to increase the resource potential for this work and to look carefully at how agencies such as the Gangmasters Licensing Authority can best perform. On that basis, and in the hope of further thought being given to this matter before the next stage, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 92 withdrawn.

Consideration on Report adjourned until not before 8.40 pm.

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Mental Health Services

Question for Short Debate

7.41 pm

Asked by The Earl of Listowel

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to improve mental health services for infants, children and young people, for care leavers, and for adults with care experience.

The Earl of Listowel (CB): My Lords, I am delighted to have this opportunity to discuss the mental health needs of children and young people in care.

I am grateful to the people I have worked with—the young people who are in care and leaving care who have shared their experiences with the parliamentary group; the clinicians, academics and practitioners who have made time to talk to me; and all those who have equipped me to speak to noble Lords today. I am grateful, too, for the lessons I have learnt from MPs who have chaired the parliamentary group for young people in care or who have campaigned in the area. They include former MP Hilton Dawson, Timothy Loughton MP, Edward Timpson MP, Craig Whittaker MP, Ann Coffey MP and the late lamented former MP Paul Goggins.

I have learnt that a cornerstone for mental health is to be able to make and keep relationships, and that family breakdown can destroy or impair that ability. Much of our job in repairing the mental health of abused or neglected children is to provide them with an opportunity of at least one enduring, consistent and benign relationship. Ten years ago, the charity Voice consulted young people on a blueprint for the care system. The children told us that they wanted one adult who would consistently follow them through their experience of care. They called him the Big Friendly Giant, after a character by Roald Dahl.

I hope that many of your Lordships present may attend future meetings of the all-party parliamentary group for children and young people in care. I know that it would mean a lot for the 60 or so young people who visit us each couple of months to see your Lordships there. There you will hear how young people have valued their relationships with foster carers, social workers and teachers. You will also hear children speaking of having more than 20 placements of fostering or more than five different social workers in a year and a half. From the care-experienced adults, you may hear from successful broadcasters who still see their social worker for tea today, or family men who now visit their children’s home to celebrate the manager’s birthday.

I am always pleased to hear the Minister say that he recognises the importance of an infant’s attachment to his mother. When key relationships fail, young people need to find someone else to be that reliable parental figure. A clinical psychologist, Sylvia Duncan, recently described the process of trauma in a seminar for the Institute of Recovery from Childhood Trauma. Many of us experienced trauma as a child—the loss of someone we love, a serious illness, even perhaps sexual harm. In the context of a loving family, where the

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trauma is not repeated, where one has not been betrayed by someone one trusts, where one can speak immediately about the trauma, recovery may be quick and leave no scars. Where the harm has been undertaken by one who one trusts, where that harm is repeated over years, where there is no one to discuss the harm with, serious trauma of the kind most young people entering care have experienced results.

Therefore, the finding of the Office for National Statistics survey of the mental health of looked-after children from 2003 should not have been a surprise. Mental disorders in children among the general population stand at 10%, half of which are conduct disorders. In the care population overall, 45% have a mental disorder and 37% of those are conduct disorders. In residential care, 72% have mental disorders and 60% of those are conduct disorders.

What does this mean for the experience of those working in children’s homes and foster care, and for adoptive parents? I will try to describe it. One may be caring for a strong, tall and beefy 15 year-old boy. Yet, for weeks or months, he may behave like an infant. He may not be prepared to leave his bed, may never show any gratitude for help given, may never clean up in the kitchen, and may not wash himself or cut his fingernails. Over time he may move towards his chronological age. Then one may be faced with rages from nowhere, with the fear that he may throw himself under a train when he next leaves the house, or that he may attack oneself or another child. One may be worried that he could set fire to the building.

Should the child be a girl, one may be worried about her sexual exploitation by men—although that might also be a concern for a boy. All this may leave one feeling bitterly resentful against the child; after all, he is 15 years of age. How can any trauma justify such selfish behaviour? One might say: “Next time he misbehaves, I will call the police, exclude him from the home, shout at him and see how he likes it, give him a slap in the mouth, the little wretch”.

This is where clinical group supervision is so important. Residential workers and foster carers need a space where they can vent the frustration, anger, fear and despair they feel about the children they work with. They need a clinician who can remind them that the child has regressed to an earlier stage of development, remind them how lonely and bereft that child is, and remind them that the most important thing that they can do for that child is to be reliable and tolerant, and continue to care. Without such support, carers are likely to burn out, quit, emotionally withdraw, or possibly even—we know this happens—attack the child. The most important thing for the recovery of that child is that there is nothing he can do to break the relationship with his carer.

It is therefore vital that the Minister is involved in ensuring that staff in children’s homes receive regular supervision or consultation from an appropriate mental health practitioner. I am very disappointed that in neither the guidance nor the new quality standards does there seem to be a stipulation on this. The psychiatrists who gave evidence to the noble Lord, Lord Warner, for his report on children’s homes in the mid-1990s advised that such an ongoing relationship

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with a mental health professional was the norm on the continent. Yet I am advised that this multidisciplinary approach may be applied in only about half our homes, even today. Does the Minister agree that such supervision or consultation is necessary? If so, what means will he use to see that it is implemented uniformly? I suggest that some of the payment for this—perhaps 50%—should come from the Department of Health.

A great deal of good work has been undertaken by this Government on reforming residential care. Serious consideration has been given to staff qualifications and staff are now better qualified. I commend the education Minister Edward Timpson MP, his predecessor Timothy Loughton and their officials on what has been achieved in a very difficult financial climate. However, I would urge whoever is responsible in the next Government to push further on qualifications as soon as possible.

If one of your Lordships’ children was deeply troubled and you were seriously troubled about their health and whether they would self-harm, would you wish to put them in the care of staff required to have only one A-level qualification? Would it satisfy you that the managers of these homes are required to have only a foundation degree—one year of higher education? The contrast with the continent is stark. There the status and qualification of staff is higher, yet they care for less challenging children.

Professor Berridge’s research on staff training is oft quoted by those who prefer the status quo. Yet in his recent blog for the NSPCC he emphasises the challenges of residential care, particularly in the light of the Rotherham experience, and the need by the next Government to raise the professional status of these people by raising the required qualifications.

Much of what I have said applies equally to foster care and adoption. While their children might be less trouble if they are with them 24/7, excellent social work support for foster carers and adoptive parents is vital, and I am grateful for the Government’s additional funding to support work with fosterers and adopters; and to my noble and learned friend Lady Butler-Sloss for her committee’s work in achieving this. Much training is offered to foster carers; consultation to groups of foster carers is rarer, but should be the bread and butter of specialist looked-after CAMHS. Access to individual therapies, including child psychotherapy, is important. I much look forward to the report of the taskforce that the Government have set up, due in March; I hope that it might refer to these therapies.

The last meeting of the parliamentary group discussed access to CAMHS for young people who are care leavers. We heard from one young woman who faced long delays in beginning therapy, and met her therapist once and only once because she was about to turn 18. A group of about 50 young people from all parts of England voted on the move from a 15 to a 25 year-old CAMHS service. All but one supported it. The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust currently provides such a service to all young people. How is the Minister addressing the transition from child to adult mental health service for care leavers?

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Finally, the Royal College of Psychiatrists points out that we can prevent so many children being taken into care each year by investing in parenting programmes. Does the Minister recognise the value of such programmes in keeping children out of care? So much good work has been undertaken by this and the previous Government on the education of looked-after children. I very much hope that in future, Governments will give as much attention to the mental health of looked-after children as to their education. I look forward to the Minister’s reply and to the contributions of your Lordships.

7.51 pm

Baroness Stedman-Scott (Con): My Lords, I thank the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, for securing this debate; I am especially pleased that he has specifically referred to young people with experience of being in the care system. I declare an interest in that I am the chief executive of Tomorrow’s People and a fellow of the Centre for Social Justice.

I want to start by saying more generally that broken relationships lie at the heart of so many people’s mental health difficulties. Research suggests family breakdown and early separation are risk factors for the onset of severe mental illness, including psychosis, in populations where there is a greater prevalence of these factors. Moreover, even in seemingly intact families, inadequate and neglectful parenting often contributes greatly to various emotional and behavioural problems, such as panic disorders, ADHD, post-traumatic stress disorder and reactive attachment disorder. With around two-thirds of children coming into care having done so due to abuse or neglect, looked-after children have often been at the sharpest end of these adversities. Unsurprisingly, the emotional and behavioural health of half of looked-after children is borderline or a cause for concern.

What is perhaps even more troubling is that, according to a recent survey carried out by the Centre for Social Justice for its report Finding their Feet, half of care leavers still found coping with mental health problems “difficult” or “very difficult” at the point of exiting the care system. Things also seem to worsen during early adulthood: one study found that self-reported mental health problems doubled in the 12 to 15 months after leaving care and three-quarters struggled with loneliness. Social isolation is a well known risk factor for mental illness, including depression. This points to something seriously wrong with transitions from care. The Centre for Social Justice concluded that the care system very often fails to help young people build the relationships they need; the social isolation that often ensues can serve to compound the trauma of difficult early life experiences.

This need not be the case. For instance, much more could be done to ensure that children do not lose touch with siblings in care, which often means that a potentially valuable, lifelong relationship is lost; they lose what little bit of family they had. A shocking 71% of looked-after children with a sibling in care are separated from a brother or sister. Social workers say that they feel their training does not adequately prepare them for deciding when to place siblings together in care, but also that their options are narrowed by a lack of available foster placements for sibling groups.

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Ensuring that broader networks of support are built up and maintained as young people are in the process of leaving care is vital. I particularly point to the recommendation of the Centre for Social Justice, supported by the British Association of Adoption and Fostering, to introduce the practice developed in the USA of “family finding and engagement”. In this model, professionals seek at least 40 individuals with some kind of connection to a young person. Casting the net so wide means there are almost always some reliable adults—perhaps a great aunt, or a former teacher or youth worker—able to make unconditional commitments to support children in care into the future.

The model that we have adopted of giving young people a coach in school to make sure that they do not leave school without a job or a training place could easily be adapted for young people in care. Having a coach—somebody personal to them helping them make the journey from care and the transition to adulthood—would really help young people. Moving into their lives in years 8 and 9, the coaches could help them become work-ready and able to fulfil their potential by instilling them with confidence, self-belief and self-discipline. Some 89% of children in care in the Orange County Family Finding Project made lifelong connections; both President Bush and President Obama ordered this approach to be a nationwide requirement. Let us do the same.

7.56 pm

Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe (Lab): My Lords, I thank the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, for introducing this timely debate, and for his sustained interest in some of our most vulnerable children and young people. As we await the findings and recommendations of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services taskforce, I welcome this opportunity to consider the disturbing statistics that have prompted its work.

We know that childhood and the teenage years are where patterns are set for the future. A child with good mental health is more likely to develop healthy relationships, to do well at school, and to become an adult with good mental health, able to take on adult responsibilities and fulfil their potential. Yet the pressures of today’s society can be overwhelming. Family breakdown, violence in many communities and the fear of crime can be a real source of distress for young people. Social media and social networking keep up a constant pressure to have the right lifestyle, the right friends or the right possessions. Inequalities in childhood also have a bearing on mental health: young people in the poorest households are three times more likely to have poor mental health than those in wealthier homes.

It is nevertheless a shock to hear that 45% of children in care are suffering from a diagnosable mental health disorder, and that these particularly vulnerable children also have a greatly increased risk of “conduct disorders”, the most common childhood psychiatric disorders. Yet the stigma around mental health means that young people often do not get the right help: disruptive, difficult, withdrawn and disturbed children need to be supported, not ignored or punished. My aim in speaking today is therefore quite simple. Will the Minister reassure us that the CAMHS taskforce

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will have teeth and that its recommendations for improving access to services more responsive to children’s and young people’s needs—particularly to those for care leavers and those in local authority care—will be given real, urgent consideration?

The importance of early intervention in relation to vulnerable children is something I have spoken about before. The task force’s most urgent priority must be to focus on how to bring about a shift in resources to invest in early intervention, so that no child or young person has to wait two years to be seen, by which time the situation is so dire that they need intensive support. The recent announcement of £8.5 million for schemes to provide families with mental health support and early intervention services is therefore welcome, but we need to know how local authorities, schools, GPs, the NHS and clinical commissioning groups are going to be enabled to work together to target the right, cost-effective actions.

The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, referred to parenting programmes. The College of Psychiatrists says that up to 60% of the cost of these programmes is recovered within two years, and all costs recovered within about five years. Given that the lifetime cost to society per child with a severe behaviour disorder is about £260,000, that is pretty effective. Will the Minister tell us what the Government are doing to ensure that a cross-departmental strategy is in place to improve the provision and accessibility of parenting programmes? I ask the question in the knowledge that two-thirds of local authorities in England have been shown to have reduced their CAMHS budget since 2010. The stark reality is that funding has been cut by both local authorities and clinical commissioning groups, with the catastrophic effects that we have heard outlined today already.

I was shocked last week to learn that during 2013-14 there were 17,000 visits to hospital emergency departments by young people in mental health crisis. That is almost double the figure for 2010-11. How can the Minister ensure that effective children’s mental health services are not compromised by cuts to local government?

We need to be able to provide support to children, young people and their families when they start to struggle. Only then will we avoid the costly and intense suffering that entrenched mental illness can cause.

8 pm

Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD): My Lords, in a rapidly changing world, children and young people face a wide range of risk factors for mental health problems, both now and later in life. It is salutary to note that in an average classroom, 10 children will have witnessed their parents separate, eight will have experienced physical violence, sexual abuse or neglect, and seven will have been bullied.

Those in the particularly vulnerable group, children in care, are typically in care precisely because they have experienced neglect or abuse, and these traumatic experiences can affect them for the rest of their lives. The recent Barnardo’s report, The Costs of Not Caring, showed that children in care are five times more likely to develop childhood mental health problems and, shockingly, are five times more likely to commit suicide later in life.

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Despite the widespread concern about the current state of mental health services for children and young people, it is important to acknowledge what the Government have done to improve things, including investing £54 million into the children and young people’s IAPT programme and the recent announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister that £150 million will be invested over the next five years to improve treatment for eating disorders. It is welcome, of course, but nothing like enough.

We are all aware of the impact of budget cuts on CAMHS services. As a consequence, children have too often been transferred far from home or placed in adult wards that are ill equipped to take care of them. Services provided by the voluntary sector have picked up some of the slack, but there is often a lack of awareness about these services and they may be ill equipped to deal with serious mental health problems.

In reality, the help that is available can be hard to find. A 2013 YoungMinds study found that one in three young people does not know where to turn for mental health support; and, as the National Children’s Bureau pointed out, only a quarter of five to 15 year- olds with anxiety or diagnosable depression are in contact with CAMHS. By the time young people do get support it can be too late. More than 80% of parents said that children and young people were at crisis point before they managed to get support.

What is to be done? I greatly look forward to the findings and recommendations of the Government’s Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Taskforce. What is on my wish list? First is far more joined-up commissioning for CAMHS, with young people’s voice at the heart of service design. Secondly, counselling in schools can provide an alternative and valuable route for young people to get therapeutic help. Schools in Wales and Northern Ireland are already required to provide counselling. In my view, children in England should have the same opportunity. Can the Minister say what practical steps the Government are taking to ensure that all children have access to school counselling?

Thirdly, as already stated, children in care are not only more likely to experience mental health problems in childhood, they are also more likely to experience the sorts of problems—emotional instability, substance abuse, self-harm—that lead to worse outcomes later in life. That is why I think that CAMHS, IAPT and school counselling should explicitly prioritise the needs of children in care as part of the corporate parenting role that government plays.

When we think about children’s mental health we should think not only about the 10% who already have a diagnosable condition. Relatively minor problems in childhood often snowball and develop into fully fledged mental health disorders in adulthood. There are good examples of effective early intervention, such as specialist support to help parents develop a healthy connection with their young babies, and parenting programmes, as we have already heard.

I believe that schools should have a responsibility to prepare children not only for exams but for the difficulties they may face in later life. That is why

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I would like to see PSHE programmes to address issues such as bullying, drugs and alcohol, and mental health being compulsory for all primary and secondary schools.

Finally, preventive mental health support should be offered to all children in care and care leavers so that they can access the support they need to overcome past trauma and achieve stability later in life. I thank the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, for having secured this debate.

8.04 pm

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the terrible reality of the effects of mental health could not have been more powerfully illustrated than by the story reported in the press last week of 18 year-old Edward Mallen. He was not one of “those unfortunates”—he had 12 A* GCSEs and was predicted to achieve three A* A-levels; he had got grade 8 piano and a place at Girton to read geography—but he rapidly descended, over quite a short time, into depression and died under a train. Not only is it an affront to think of that young life, with all its potential and opportunities, suddenly being lost with his death, but the scars will stay with all the members of his family for the rest of their lives.

Recently published ONS figures show a worrying rise in the number of suicides in the UK, particularly among men. There were 6,233 suicides of over-15 year-olds registered in 2013, 252 more than in 2012, with the male suicide rate three times that for women. In the UK, suicide is the main cause of death of young people under the age of 35—more than 1,600 every year. Hundreds more attempt suicide and thousands more self-harm.

Much more needs to be done, perhaps drawing on research such as that provided by the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness. In last year’s annual report, it identified various key points at which there was much greater risk. For example, the first three months after a patient’s discharge remain a time of particularly high suicide risk, especially in the first two weeks. Between 2002 and 2012 there were 3,225 suicides in the UK by mental health patients in the post-discharge period, 18% of all suicides. The report also pointed to suicide by patients receiving care under crisis resolution or home treatment teams. Such people are much more likely to commit suicide than those in in-patient care. It also pointed to living alone as a common antecedent of suicide by patients receiving care under crisis resolution and home treatment teams.

I welcome the Government’s initiatives in the area of suicide prevention. Indeed, I applaud the Government’s ambition to achieve zero suicides through the NHS adopting the approach pioneered by the Henry Ford Medical Group in Detroit. The dramatic improvements in Detroit will give hope that those who feel such desperation and so little hope in our society can also be reached. They point to the need for rapid and thorough expert assessment of patients who are having suicidal thoughts; for improvement in the care of those who present with self-harm injuries at A&E units; for better education for the families of people deemed to be at risk; and for improvement of data

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collection on patients to get a better understanding of how and where patients are most at risk of suicide and then to target resources at them.

The charity PAPYRUS has highlighted the need to ensure that children, young people and vulnerable adults receive due attention under this new strategy. It is imperative that the provision of resources is sustainable and adequate to facilitate a wider understanding of people with mental health problems as well as to enable the necessary preventive training and aftercare. I therefore applaud the good work that is going on, not least in organisations such as the Samaritans and the churches. I also ask the Minister whether the Government will respond to the campaign by Mind to guarantee referrals to talking strategies, which have clear benefits for those who receive them, within 28 days.

8.09 pm

Baroness Uddin (Non-Afl): My Lords, the commitment to ensuring equity between mental and physical health services is in disarray. The NHS has undoubtedly hit mental health provision hardest, according to a BBC report, with as many as 1,700 beds being cut and patients having to travel huge distances to access care, putting patients and families through significant distress and displacement. Despite the promise of guarantees of parity in funding, the overall proportion of funding going to mental health has been falling, compounding the long-standing underfunding of mental health services which is so costly to human lives and our society at large.

The impact of these cuts on children and adolescents has often been lost in the furore about mental health. I thank the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, for highlighting this issue, not only through this debate but also through his involvement in Young Minds, which has campaigned so effectively to highlight cuts and freezes to mental health services across most local authorities.

Only yesterday, I and colleagues in this and the other place, heard Sally Burke describe her family’s plight when her daughter Maisie, now aged 13, went into crisis. Suicidal and distressed at the age of 12, Maisie had to be taken by the police—because no GP was available to tend to her—and was eventually hospitalised in Stafford, 130 miles from her home in Hull. Sally Burke has had to fight tooth and nail for her daughter to get appropriate care, including getting her MP, Alan Johnson, to intervene with Norman Lamb and the health commissioner in order to get Maisie moved closer to home. However, she still remained 60 miles away in Sheffield due to the removal of mental health beds for children in Hull.

One of the many distressing features of Maisie Shaw’s case is that she was only aged 13, after being hospitalised, when she was diagnosed with autism. As a high-functioning autistic child, at no point had the health or education practitioners she had come into contact with pushed her towards a diagnosis. Instead, Sally Burke says that she was made to feel responsible for Maisie’s irregular behaviour as a small child. She has had to develop huge resilience to withstand battle after battle with atomised public services. She describes the experience as fundamentally “cruel”. This is one example among many that has come to our attention,

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particularly from carers struggling to manage their loved ones with mental health and autism as an added dimension.

The figures are stark. NHS England reports that as many as 70% of children and young people with autism have at least one mental health disorder. Some 40% have two or more mental health disorders. The Minister will acknowledge that the condition of autism is associated with significant mental health needs. At present, however, specialist child and adolescent mental health services—CAMHS—for autism are few and far between. As NHS England has acknowledged,

“there is a scarcity of professionals with the necessary levels of expertise to provide this highly specialist service across the country”.

Professionals working within CAMHS say that children are not adequately supported while waiting for psychological therapies and that support for parents and carers is negligible.

Can the Minister assure the House that, to address these challenges, the Government will address autism specifically in their work on mental health, for example through the task force on children and young people’s mental health and via the mental health system board and the ministerial advisory group? Given the complexity of autism, will he agree that this group requires specialised attention?

8.13 pm

Lord Addington (LD): My Lords, this is one of those debates where we find ourselves addressing the ground very close to the subject we are covering tonight, because we have been there before.

The primary thread through this is the fact that those who have stressful lives are going to experience a slightly higher occurrence of mental health problems. The noble Baroness, Lady Uddin, and I have taken part in several debates where we talked about people with disabilities and how they are going to have a slightly higher occurrence of mental health problems because their lives are more stressful. Every time that occurs, we are going to find more mental health problems. The problem is the fact that we have not, until very recently, acknowledged that this is what is going on. We have a historical problem which we are now starting to address. I do not know if we are coming up with more solutions with this Government, but at least we are acknowledging the problem and taking the first step.

Will the Minister give us some assurances about where we are improving training in recognising this problem? We have identified the fact that where people are under greater stress, anxiety and depression are going to be more common. What are we doing to make sure that those who are dealing with this recognise the underlying problems and intervene early? Every time we delay dealing with these problems, behaviour gets entrenched and educational problems become more pronounced.

The problem with the education system is that children and young people are on a conveyor belt. If they slip at any stage, they have to run very fast to catch up. Mental health will account for some of that slippage. When mental health issues occur with a special educational need, a situation is created where

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the child is under even more stress and dropping out is only the short-term survival mechanism. What are we doing to address this?

The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, addressed the point that care workers are undertrained to recognise this problem. They do not know what is going on. I think the Government have recognised that GPs do not have enough training to spot the problem early enough to push clients towards services. It may be the case that, as in many of these things, if you are going to have a problem, choose your parents well, and they will battle through for you. But, without that backing, children do not get that thrust to intervention and we end up with this point of crisis intervention and it tends to be papering over the cracks. Will my noble friend give the House some idea about the general strategy of making sure that there is greater awareness of the importance of early intervention? Without that we will carry on papering over cracks.

8.16 pm

Lord Ramsbotham (CB): My Lords, I begin by congratulating my noble friend Lord Listowel on securing this important debate and once again demonstrating to this House his intense and continuous focus on improving all kinds of services for children and young people.

A number of noble Lords have already mentioned the very welcome development by the National Health Service of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Taskforce. I want to build my contribution on a meeting held with the children’s group which is currently considering the mental health of children and young people. I was very struck by the fact that members of the group said that one of the problems they were finding as they were going round the country was a complete lack of co-ordination between what was going on in various ministries. They illustrated this by demonstrating to us that they were conducting eight pilots.

One of the pilots listed was a bid from the Black Country to,

“map and analyse commissioning of CAMHS … and other health funded out of area placements, with the aim of preventing the large numbers of children from the Black Country being placed ‘out of area’. … It will include commissioning urgent care … to include the focus upon delivering a Black Country wide solution to children and young people requiring admission to a place of safety (under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.”

I thought that at the same time that the Ministry of Justice is developing this appalling idea of building the biggest children’s prison in the western world—called the secure college—which will contain a cohort of these very children from the Black Country, for whom the Black Country services are seeking to find a place of safety. To me, that is an absolute illustration of the lack of co-ordination which is inhibiting the development of satisfactory mental health services for this particular cohort.

I happen to chair three all-party interest groups at the moment: one on speech, language and communication difficulties; one on criminal justice, drugs and alcohol; and the Criminal Justice and Acquired Brain Injury Interest Group. I have had meetings with all three to

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discuss the agenda that they would like to put to the next Government and to ask them what problems were inhibiting them in achieving what they want to achieve. We have had a fascinating agenda. We are drawing it up with some care. Interestingly, time and again—and this very afternoon with the speech and language people—I was told that at a meeting NICE was not prepared to accept educational research in respect of improving the lot of people with SLCN.

I know the Minister understands this—he is someone whom the whole House respects greatly for the way he looks at things. Will the Government follow this line of looking and seeing how cross-government working can improve the services for this group because, sure enough, out in the field are all the people who want to do the work and are being inhibited in one way or another in a preventable way?

8.20 pm

Lord Bradley (Lab): My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, on securing this very important and timely debate on mental health services, particularly for children in care. As we have heard, it has produced many important speeches. I believe that we are at a time when mental health has never been higher on the political and, more importantly, the public agenda. As such, we must all seize the moment. In my brief contribution, I want to remind the House of some key facts that are behind the barriers that may be stopping improvement in mental health services for children, care leavers and, in particular, adolescents.

As we know, mental health problems affect 23% of the population at any one time, and the economic and social cost of mental ill health was estimated in 2009-10 to be £105 billion. As has been pointed out, that is the entire annual National Health Service budget. Furthermore, three-quarters of people with depression receive no treatment at all. That includes children, and 10% of five to 15 year-olds have a mental health problem. This is especially true of children in the care system, who have a poorer level of physical and mental health than their peers and whose long-term outcomes remain worse. Two-thirds of looked-after children have at least one physical health complaint and nearly half have a mental health disorder.

Although the ambition for parity of esteem between mental and physical health is clearly welcome—nothing could be more important in this ambition than children in care—there are concerns that there are major problems in actually achieving it. For example, a recent survey by the Royal College of Nursing revealed that there are now 3,300 fewer posts in mental health nursing and 1,500 fewer beds than in 2010. These problems were further exposed by the Health Select Committee in October 2014, in its report on child and adolescent mental health services. It concludes:

“There are serious and deeply ingrained problems with the commissioning and provision of Children’s and adolescents’ mental health services. These run through the whole system from prevention and early intervention through to inpatient services for the most vulnerable young people”.

That is not surprising given that we know that only 6% of the mental health budget is spent on children and young people in the mental health system and, as has been pointed out, this has been exacerbated by recent cuts in CAMHS services.

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Against this backdrop, what needs to be done to improve mental health services, particularly for children in care? First, we need to ensure that there is an adequate number and proper geographical distribution of in-patient beds for all age groups, but particularly for children, when they are required. This should resolve the problem of children being taken hundreds of miles away from home or ending up in adult psychiatric beds, which is totally unacceptable, as the whole House will agree. I know the task force is undertaking this work, and I would be grateful if the Minister could advise us what progress has been made on this issue.

We heard from the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, about the use of police cells and the inaccessibility of proper places of safety. Linked to that, we must ensure that the liaison and diversion programme is completed by 2017. We heard about the expansion of therapy, particularly the IAPT programme, and therapy services for children, which I support, but we must look in particular at transitional arrangements and the ages at which people have access, in a timely way, to those programmes. It is crucial that we recognise the value of early intervention and the dramatic effect on people’s lives, particularly for young people and their families, if that intervention does not take place.

We need a real focus on schools, with all staff, especially teachers, having some level of training in mental health so that they can identity possible issues and passport children to specialist services. We need to look at the Mentally Healthy Society report that was published today, which recognises the need within schools to have a named CAMHS worker for proper link and access. It also recommends training health workers—we have heard a lot about training today—on mental health issues, because, again, they can be crucial in early intervention.

I recently visited a liaison project in Sunderland and met with parents of children who had a mental health problem. The scheme is excellent and the parents are wonderful, but they need tailored, timely and continuous support. Parenting programmes, which are supported by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, need to be expanded and must be funded and developed. Finally, we need a clear strategic commissioning framework to ensure that all relevant agencies—health, criminal justice and others, as well as local authorities, particularly for children in care—work effectively together so that we do far better for all children who have mental health problems.

8.25 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): My Lords, I thank the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, for securing this important debate and for speaking to his Question so powerfully and with such authority.

Improving the mental health of children and young people is a key priority for the Government. It is part of our commitments to achieving parity of esteem between mental and physical health and to improving the lives of children and young people. Since 2010, we have raised the profile of mental health to unprecedented levels. We have produced the mental

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health and suicide prevention strategies and worked, through Time to Change, to reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues.

Although there has been much progress, the Government have been open about the scale of the challenge and acknowledge that there is still much to do. This includes action to improve outcomes for looked- after children and care leavers. Around 68,000 children are looked after by a local authority. For nearly two-thirds of these, the primary reason for being looked after is abuse or neglect. Although looked-after children have many of the same health risks and problems as their peers, they tend to have poorer outcomes. Almost half have a diagnosable mental health disorder and two-thirds have special educational needs. I can reassure my noble friend Lady Tyler, in particular, that it is the responsibility of the local authority, as corporate parent, to assess each looked-after child’s needs and draw up a care plan that sets out the services which will be provided to meet those needs. It must make arrangements to ensure that the child has his or her health needs fully assessed, and a health plan developed and reviewed.

At the end of last year, we consulted on revised statutory guidance on promoting the health and well-being of looked-after children. In that guidance, which will be published in its final form shortly, we emphasise the need for parity of esteem between mental and physical health. My noble friend Lady Stedman-Scott spoke about the social isolation felt by those leaving care. The guidance stresses the importance of ensuring continuing support for those leaving care, and that suitable transition arrangements are in place so that the young person’s health needs continue to be met.

That leads me to the concern expressed by the noble Earl about the problems that can arise during transition from children’s to adults’ services, a point touched on by the noble Lord, Lord Bradley. Indeed, ending the unacceptable cliff edge that some young people—not just those in or leaving care—face of support being lost as they reach the age of 18 is a key priority for action. I am delighted that NHS England has now published new service specifications for child and adolescent mental health that give guidance to local commissioners on how to improve transition practice. The Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Taskforce, to which I shall return in a moment, is also considering how to deliver more seamless transition built around the needs of young people. Our statutory guidance on promoting the health and well-being of looked-after children stresses the importance of ensuring continuing support for those leaving care and that suitable transition arrangements are in place, so that the young person’s health needs continue to be met.

The noble Earl asked how specialist mental health services for looked-after children, including psychotherapy, can be protected and, indeed, expanded. Rather than mandating mental health services targeted at specific groups such as care leavers, our aim is to ensure that everyone has timely access to evidence-based services when they need them. That is why—as mentioned by the right reverend Prelate—we have invested £54 million over the last five years in the Children and Young People’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Programme. This has transformed children’s mental

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health services throughout the country through the use of evidence-based therapies alongside session-by-session outcome monitoring, so that both therapist and patient know how well therapy is working toward a goal. We are strengthening the statutory guidance to make it clear that service commissioners must make sure that services provide targeted and dedicated mental health support to looked-after children, according to need. How they do that is for local determination, but it could include a dedicated team or seconding a CAMHS professional into a looked-after children multi-agency team.

The Government are clear that lack of investment in children and young people’s mental health services is not acceptable. Last November, we provided £7 million of additional funding to NHS England, allowing more in-patient tier 4 CAMHS beds to open. So far 53 new beds have been commissioned, taking the total to over 1,400 beds, more than ever before. We are well aware that there is variation across the country in investment in services provided by local authorities, schools and clinical commissioning groups. The noble Baroness, Lady Uddin, and other noble Lords have mentioned funding. We have legislated for mental health to get its fair share of local funding and this year’s NHS planning guidance is clear that spending on mental health services must increase. It is not enough simply to provide more and more beds. In order to ensure that improvements are sustainable, we need to focus on preventing issues arising, or taking action before hospital treatment is required. The task force is considering how best we strike this balance.

In addition, I can tell my noble friend Lord Addington that we have produced MindEd, which is an online platform designed to give those who work with children and young people every day the skills and knowledge to recognise the earliest signs of mental health problems. Health Education England is working with the Royal College of General Practitioners and others to improve training on CAMHS and the task force is also looking at the capacity and capability of the workforce. The Department of Health is commissioning a new prevalence survey of child and adolescent mental health, giving us something that we have needed for years: an accurate picture of mental ill health in youth.

I shall now try to cover as many points as I can that have been raised in the debate. I will of course write to noble Lords whose questions I have not been able to address in the time available. The noble Earl spoke very eloquently about the need for proper supervision of staff. All staff working in a children’s home should receive supervision of their practice from an appropriately qualified and experienced professional. In the majority of homes the supervisor will have experience or qualifications in the mental health field. The national minimum standards for fostering services expect them to ensure that foster carers receive the support and supervision they need. Programmes such as Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care can provide support, both to the child and to its foster carers. We expect to lay before Parliament next week new quality standards regulations for children’s homes in England, to come into force on 1 April. The

25 Feb 2015 : Column 1730

regulations will require all staff in a home to receive practice-related supervision by a person with appropriate experience.

The noble Earl also referred to the qualifications of managers and staff. The Department for Education introduced new mandatory qualifications for children’s home managers and staff from this January. These include requirements to be able to support the well-being and resilience of children and young people.

The noble Baroness, Lady Warwick, referred to the reported drop in investment in CAMHS. As she knows, we have taken difficult economic decisions to protect the NHS budget and there have been no central government funding cuts to children and young people’s mental health services. We have been clear that a lack of investment in mental health services for children and young people is not acceptable, as I have said, and the child and adolescent mental health task force was commissioned to identify how to improve the quality of and access to children and young people’s mental health services.

My noble friend Lady Tyler asked what practical steps the Government are taking to ensure access to school counselling. The Department for Education is producing new guidance on good school counselling. We anticipate that this will be published in March. She also asked what we are doing to promote PSHE in schools. The Department for Education has funded the PSHE Association to produce new guidance for schools on teaching about mental health.

The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans spoke very powerfully about young people who self-harm and who commit suicide. Indeed, in January this year we issued a call to every part of the NHS to commit to a zero suicide ambition. In addition, the Government announced £150 million over the next five years to improve services for eating disorders and self-harm. He will know, I am sure, that preventing suicide in children and young people is a central part of the cross-government suicide prevention strategy published in 2012. That is backed by £1.5 billion of funding for research on suicide and self-harm.

As regards Mind’s call for talking therapies to be available within 28 days, the five-year plan for mental health sets out the ambition to have new waiting time standards across all mental health services by 2020. The Department of Health and NHS England are working to do this, and I think that introducing those waiting time standards is a landmark for mental health services that we have not seen hitherto.

The noble Baroness, Lady Uddin, spoke about the need for CAMHS for autistic children in particular. The new statutory framework for children and young people with special educational needs and disability is designed to greatly improve integrated working across health, education and social care, to deliver improved outcomes for the child and their family. CCGs and local authorities have joint arrangements for assessing, planning and commissioning services for children and young people with special educational needs.

The noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, asked how best we should address the lack of co-ordination across CAMHS. On 11 December last year, eight pilot projects were announced that will look to accelerate new

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collaborative commissioning approaches for children and young people’s mental health. These new pilots will be in various parts of the country—I will not read them out—and have each been awarded up to £75,000 to develop their plans. They have until April to get their new approaches up and running.

Time prevents me from covering the questions posed by the noble Lord, Lord Bradley, in particular. I undertake to write to him and other noble Lords, as I said. But I would just like to touch on the subject of parenting, which the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, mentioned, as did the noble Baroness, Lady Warwick, and the noble Lord, Lord Bradley. The CYP IAPT programme includes a focus on parenting for three to 10 year-olds with conduct disorder. It currently works with services covering 68% of the population and the ambition is for nationwide coverage in 2018.

The task force is a crucial element of our plans. It brings together experts from across health, social care and education to look at how to improve the way children and young people’s mental health services are organised. It has a particular focus on the needs of the most vulnerable children and young people, including looked-after children. We will publish the Government’s report of the task force’s findings shortly. I hope that noble Lords will be reassured that there is much going on in this area. The Government are very focused on the subjects that we have heard about this evening. I very much hope that the progress we have seen over recent years will be continued under the next Government.

Modern Slavery Bill

Report (2nd Day) (Continued)

8.39 pm

Clause 52: Transparency in supply chains etc

Amendment 93

Moved by Baroness Young of Hornsey

93: Clause 52, page 39, line 15, after “(2)” insert “and all public sector organisations”

Baroness Young of Hornsey (CB): My Lords, we have made some good progress in the area of reporting and transparency. Like other noble Lords, I pay tribute to the Minister for holding meetings outside the Chamber and getting us to talk through with him some of the issues that we have with this part of the Bill. I am pleased to say that I support government Amendment 97, which gives quite a bit more clarity than we had previously on what should be included in the slavery and human trafficking statement.

However, there are still some areas around the subject where we could do with a little more improvement, hence a number of amendments to Clause 52 have been proposed, most of which I broadly support. Although it is not specifically addressed in any of the amendments tabled today, I still struggle with the prospect of a company deciding to face down criticism and continually submitting a statement declaring that it has decided not to examine its supply chain for

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trafficking and/or slavery. I wish I could say that it is unlikely that any company would do that and that all will swept along by the strong support that so many companies and organisations have demonstrated with regard to Clause 52, but I am afraid that time and again, recently and over a period of time, we have read in the press and seen on our screens too much evidence to the contrary.

I shall make my remarks fairly brief, because the amendments that I am speaking to, Amendments 93 and 94, are largely self-explanatory. Amendment 93 would ensure that government departments and agencies were subject to the same laws as commercial organisations with regard to declaring their actions to support transparency in their supply chains. The amendment is supported both by the British Retail Consortium and by the British Medical Association.

Just to give your Lordships a glimpse of the scale of procurement that is under discussion here, the Government spent a total of £238 billion on the procurement of goods and services in 2013-14. This sum represents approximately one-third of all public spending. Even breaking that down into departments produces substantial figures. For example, if we look at the Ministry of Defence, we see that the Defence Clothing Team, which is part of Defence Equipment and Support spent a total of £64.7 million on uniform and clothing in the financial year 2013-14, which would have put it well within the scope of the £60 million which was one of the figures that have been bandied around as a suggestion for a threshold figure that companies might need to meet to be covered by this clause. That is just spending on clothing.

There is no doubt that the Government have huge buying power and thus are implicated in any number of supply chains which extend around the world. For several years, various campaigners have argued that government should set an example when it comes to good practice in ethical and sustainable sourcing, and we now have an excellent opportunity to make considerable progress.

The social impact of decisions taken by government departments and agencies is no less than that of commercial organisations. Surely it would be difficult to argue that government should be exempt from the laws that it seeks to impose on other organisations similarly involved in the provision of goods and services. It is estimated that the NHS spends in excess of £40 billion per annum on the procurement of goods and services. I mention that specifically because I was struck by the British Medical Association’s briefing, which pointed to,

“an uncomfortable paradox in providing healthcare in the NHS at the expense of workers’ health in its supply chains. There is a risk to the reputation of the NHS through inaction, but conversely the importance and spending power of the NHS presents a real opportunity for it to take a lead in ethical procurement”.

As in other commercial organisations, the supply chains that provide commodities and services to government departments and agencies are global and employ hundreds of thousands of people world wide. If major suppliers of healthcare goods, for example—of uniforms and so on—strove to ensure fair and ethical practices in the manufacture of their products, the potential impact on global supply chains could be substantial.

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I would be interested to know from the Minister whether there has been anydiscussion about government procurement in the context of transparency in supply chains. Or perhaps the Government are so confident that they implement sufficiently robust ethical procurement frameworks that they feel they should not be subject to reporting on their supply chains. While giving overall support to transparency in the supply chain legislation, particularly as it applies to supply chains in UK medical goods and imports, the British Medical Association believes that more can be done to ensure that public sector organisations and the small and medium-sized enterprises that supply them take adequate measures to ensure fair and ethical practice in supply chains.

8.45 pm

This last point takes me to Amendment 94. By not specifying a threshold for companies included in this provision, Amendment 94 opens up the number and types of organisation which would have to provide information about the steps taken to address the issue of trafficking and slavery in their companies. It also avoids the pitfall of introducing a specific figure, referring instead to established criteria for the measurement of company size. Here I thank the British Retail Consortium which has lent its advice and support to this amendment. I also thank a group of research students from King’s College—Olivia Rosentröm, Helin Laufer, Tim Segessemann and Elisabeth Kömives—who performed a very valuable exercise comparing the California Act on transparency in the supply chain, amendments tabled in the House of Lords in Committee, EU directives and proposed federal legislation in the US. One of the issues that arose was the effectiveness or otherwise of fixing a threshold sum which appears to be somewhat arbitrary.

Amendment 94 provides clarity on the size of business covered and links this to existing and well understood definitions of business sizes, rather than referring arbitrarily to a specific amount, as in the Californian legislation which cites $100 million. Reference to the Companies Act in the amendment provides a clear framework for reporting, based on widely understood due diligence principles which can then be fleshed out in regulation as required. Amendment 94 seeks to include existing definitions of medium and large companies. However, although it supports this amendment, the BMA makes the point that including small and medium-sized companies would ensure that the legislation covers all the companies that supply the NHS, which includes a number of SMEs. The BMA believes that extending the definition of a commercial organisation to SMEs presents an opportunity with the introduction of the public contract regulations which make procurement opportunities within the UK more accessible to smaller businesses.

Another area that would benefit from extending the provision to medium-sized businesses is the fashion industry. There are many companies operating in this sector, as I am sure we are all particularly aware this week with the highly successful London Fashion Week. Yesterday the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion held a very interesting and insightful event involving young people, encouraging

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them to participate in politics by talking about politics through fashion. Time and again participants raised the issue of labour exploitation in the industry and, of course, referred back to the appalling disasters which became all too familiar a year or so ago, particularly in Bangladesh but not exclusively. The supply chain in the fashion industry is particularly long and complex and involves a number of different agencies and actors and there are real concerns that too little is being done to address the problems that evidently exist in the sector. Those young people with whom we have spoken, not only yesterday but over the years, want to know how politicians intend to address this situation. How can the Government make it easier for them to make informed choices about the companies from which they buy their clothes, many of which are in the SME sector?

As I have said, Amendments 93 and 94 both have the backing of the British retail industry and those businesses think that inserting these changes to the Bill would not only make the Bill stronger and more effective but also make it easier for business to comply. They do not see it as more regulation; they see it as smart regulation. The BMA also believes that the definition of a commercial organisation should be extended, as I have already said. If the Minister does not feel able to accept either of these amendments, at the very least it would make sense for the Government to pledge to monitor the effectiveness of Clause 52’s operation in these respects and to undertake to review the size of businesses to be included under the legislation on a regular basis. Of course, there is a consultation exercise already in motion, specifically with regard to the threshold for companies to be included under Clause 52, and I look forward to seeing what the business sector has to say about this in May and beyond that when it reports back. I cannot help but feel that we already have a ready-made measure on the statute book which is clearly understood and deployed. I beg to move.

Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB): My Lords, it is a great pleasure to follow my noble friend Lady Young of Hornsey. I strongly support her Amendments 93 and 94 and the government amendments in this group.

Like my noble friend, I thank the Minister for meeting me and other noble Lords and a number of civil society stakeholders earlier this month to discuss transparency in supply chains. Noble Lords will recall that I and the noble Baronesses, Lady Kennedy of Cradley and Lady Mobarik, raised this issue in Committee. I also spoke about it at Second Reading. The Minister kindly said that, unusually following the Committee stage, not only would he have a meeting with colleagues in the House but that he would invite all the interested groups involved in this issue to meet him and the Peers who were able to be there. With the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and others, we were able to have an extremely helpful and useful discussion.

I welcome the amendments that the Government have tabled for Report, and I believe that they could take us a step closer to delivering effective transparency and accountability on action to eradicate modern slavery from the supply chain. Of course, I hope that this evening the Minister can be enticed to take a few more steps down the road that we have been travelling.

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While I welcome and am most grateful for the progress that we have made, there are three areas on which I want to speak and on which I am hopeful we can agree some way forward. My Amendments 97A, 98A and 99A each raise an important outstanding issue that we ought to address before the Bill completes its parliamentary passage if we are to ensure that the supply chain clause works effectively in practice as we all want. It might be helpful to the House if I mentioned that the groups that support these amendments include Amnesty International UK, Anti-Slavery International, CAFOD, the CORE coalition, Dalit Freedom Network UK, the Evangelical Alliance, Focus on Labour Exploitation, the Law Society, Quakers in Britain, Traidcraft, Unseen and War on Want. While I pay tribute to them for the support they have given, I link with them Ruth Chambers, who has done an extraordinary amount of work on this. Sometimes the real heroes and heroines behind legislation are the people who do the hard slog.

I heard today from the Equality and Human Rights Commission and had a chance to have a brief conversation with one of its representatives. It subsequently sent me a statement about this group of amendments and, in particular, Amendment 99A. The commission’s recommendation is to:

“Support Amendment 99A … insofar as it would give the Anti-slavery Commissioner power and sufficient resource to take enforcement action”.

The noble Lord, Lord Judd, raised the issue of resources in earlier debates, and they will be the make or break for this Bill. If resources are not provided, it will not be worth the paper on which it is written, but I am pretty confident that the Government are going to back up the rhetoric in this legislation with the necessary resources. I hope we will hear more about that when Minister comes to reply. The commission also says:

“In our analysis, extending this enforcement power to the Anti-slavery Commissioner would be desirable as it would strengthen his/her role and ensure that enforcement of the duty to prepare a slavery and human trafficking statement could be carried out independently of government. We consider that the Commissioner should be given a range of further powers, including the ability to require the disclosure of data and information, to conduct investigations and inquiries and to hold agencies to account for non-compliance with laws and policies”.

I am sure the Minister will have seen this statement. It was issued only today, and I am glad to be able to draw it to the attention of the House.

Government Amendment 97, as I have mentioned, is welcome as it sets out a number of areas on which slavery and human trafficking statements may include information, but I stress “may” in this context. The amendment does not go so far as to introduce minimum disclosure measures, which are really necessary if we are going to create a sort of equality of arms. As it stands, government Amendment 97 would still leave it entirely optional as to what companies put in their statements.

I listened very carefully to what the Minister said in Committee on this matter and recognise that different types of businesses will face different challenges in relation to their supply chains. It is a perfectly fair point that he has made, but he also indicated that the Government want a level playing field for industry.

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This is also something that businesses have called for. Sir Richard Branson, for example, has been supportive, as has Associated British Foods, the parent company of Primark, which I was able to meet in January with my noble friend Lord Patel. I was particularly appreciative of their support. My noble friend Lady Young referred a few moments ago to the tragedy in Bangladesh, and it was partly arising out of what happened there that I felt it would be helpful to have a discussion with Primark. I believe that the wording I have suggested in Amendment 97A strikes an appropriate balance that will allow for some flexibility while ensuring a level playing field between businesses on what they must disclose information about. This will also enable comparison across industry sectors as we will then be able to compare like with like.

One area about which I am particularly disappointed that the Government have not changed their position is the need for a central place in which the slavery and human trafficking statements can be uploaded and scrutinised. This is a very reasonable proposition. My Amendment 98A would introduce a requirement to upload the statements on to a central website maintained by the office of the Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner. Significantly the designate commissioner, Kevin Hyland, is supportive of this idea and I am grateful to him for meeting Ruth Chambers last week to discuss this.

Ensuring that each company uploads its own statement is a light-touch, practical way of spreading the administrative costs so it is onerous neither for business nor for government, but I am aware that the commissioner will have limited resources, so if this amendment is accepted then his budget will need to reflect this new responsibility. Why is this central repository needed? Quite frankly, without it the role that the Minister has described on many occasions for civil society, investors and the media to hold businesses to account for their supply chains—as he wants them to do—will be nigh on impossible to achieve. This is because of the time and the effort which would be needed to be spent just working out website by website which companies had reported and which had not. Then of course there are the difficulties that such stakeholders face in accessing the annual turnover information that would indicate which companies fall within the compliance threshold.