Twenty Sixth Report Contents

Instruments of interest

Draft European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere and the European Space Agency (Immunities and Privileges) (Amendment) Order 2018

1.This Order is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) fourth attempt to amend an instrument8 which confers the usual limited privileges and immunities accorded to the staff of an international organisation, on the staff of the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (“the ESO”). The Order additionally extends certain privileges to officers of the European Space Agency and their families.

2.Three previous versions of the amendments relating to the ESO have been published and withdrawn: the 27 January 2017 version incorrectly gave certain officers immunity from motor traffic offences; the 22 February 2017 version corrected that error but failed to include the required head note to show it was a correction; a further version including the head note was laid on 28 February 2017. Since that third version was prepared, the FCO came to the view that an exemption from social security contributions originally conferred only on high officers, could in fact be applied to all officers. As a result, this latest version now includes that additional change. One instrument was replaced because of procedural error and three because of policy errors that should have been resolved before the instrument was laid before Parliament. This sorry tale represents a considerable waste of the time of both the House of Lords, which has already debated the previous version, and its scrutiny committees. We urge the FCO to review their clearance process to ensure that future instruments are more thoroughly checked before they are laid before Parliament.

Agreement Extending the Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems (Cm 9597)

26.As part of the preparation for withdrawal from the European Union, the UK is ratifying a number of international treaties in its own right, where previously it had relied on access through a European institution. This particular instrument will allow the UK to retain access to Research and Development information from the Generation IV International Forum. This international organisation was established to further the development of advanced nuclear fission reactors, which, until now, has been accessed as part of the UK’s membership of Euratom. Ratification allows the UK “active membership” of the Forum and to participate in projects, including those in which Euratom has not been involved. Continued access would be particularly valuable for the UK’s research and development work on Small Modular Reactors and Advanced Modular Reactors in the near to medium term, and would allow the UK to make a significant contribution to the Clean Growth Strategy.

Short-term Holding Facility Rules 2018 (SI 2018/409)

Immigration (Guidance on Detention of Vulnerable Persons) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/ 410)

Detention Centre (Amendment) Rules 2018 (SI 2018/411)

27.These three instruments address concerns over the treatment of people held in immigration detention while their case is assessed. Amendments respond to a recent judgment in the High Court9 concerning the definition to be used when deciding how victims of torture ought to be protected within immigration detention, or whether they should be dealt with in some other way. SI 2018/411 gives effect to the Court’s judgment by amending the definition of torture in statutory guidance and Rules. SI 2018/410 additionally updates the statutory guidance10 on the matters to be taken into account when determining the detention of vulnerable persons, to fully reflect the original intent that there should be a “sweeping-up” provision within the guidance that can capture those who may be particularly vulnerable to harm in detention, but who are not covered by the specific “indictors of risk” listed.11 SI 409/2018 also incorporates the revised definition of torture but, for the first time, puts on a statutory footing the arrangements under which the short-term holding facilities at or near air, sea and rail ports in the UK are operated and managed. Although there is no requirement in law to do so, this approach is in line with the arrangements for immigration removal centres, set out in the Detention Centre Rules 2001, and complies with recommendations made by Stephen Shaw CBE, following his review of the welfare of vulnerable people in immigration detention.12

Electronic Communications (Universal Service) (Broadband) Order 2018 (SI 2018/445)

28.According to Ofcom, 10 megabits per second (Mbps) is the minimum level of broadband performance required for a typical household’s use of internet access to services such as web-browsing, email and certain video services. The Order sets out the broadband connections and services which must be provided by any designated universal service provider throughout the United Kingdom; this includes a download sync speed of at least 10 Mbps. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) says that Ofcom data shows that the number of premises without 10Mbps broadband download and 1Mbps upload speeds is 1.1 million, or 4% of premises, compared with 1.6 million or 6% of premises in 2016. The Government want to address this market failure by introducing this broadband universal service order to ensure that, where superfast broadband remains unavailable, a good quality broadband service is nonetheless available.

School Information (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/466)

29.Under section 42A of the Education Act 1997, maintained schools are required to deliver independent careers guidance for all year 8 to year 13 pupils. These Regulations introduce a further requirement on maintained schools to publish information about their careers programme on their website from 1 September 2018. The Department for Education (DfE) says that the Regulations support the delivery of a commitment set out in the Government’s careers strategy from December 2017, to provide high quality careers programmes in every school.13 The Regulations also require the published information to explain how the school measures and assesses the impact of their careers programme on pupils. DfE anticipates that publishing information about careers programmes online will make the support that schools offer more visible to young people, parents, teachers and employers; and that this will both help to improve the standard of careers programmes and inform decisions by parents and young people about which school to attend.

8 European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (Immunities and Privileges) Order 2009 (SI 2009/1748).

9 R (Medical Justice et al.) v SSHD [2017] EWHC 2461 (Admin), 10 October 2017 [accessed 25 April 2018]

10 HM Government, Draft revised guidance on adults at risk in immigration detention, 21 March 2018: [accessed 25 April 2018].

11 The list includes those suffering from mental or physical impairment, those who are ill, those over 70, women who are pregnant, those who have been subject to sexual or gender-based violence and those who have been trafficked.

12 HM Government, Review into the welfare in detention of vulnerable persons, 14 January 2016: [accessed 25 April 2018].

13 HM Government, Careers strategy: making the most of everyone’s skills and talents, 4 December 2017: [accessed 25 April 2018].

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