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Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: I sympathise with the intention behind Amendments Nos. 109 and 112 but doubt if in practice they would have the desired effect. Child protection orders are indeed to be granted in emergency situations and there ought not to be any scope for postponing the making of such an order until a safeguarder can be appointed, make the necessary investigations and report back to the court. That is the part of it which would bring about the delay which would be undesirable.

What I would emphasise, though, is that the child's case will, after the making of any child protection order, very soon come before a children's hearing which is empowered to appoint its own safeguarder from a panel of persons who will be trained for that specific purpose. In addition, the sheriff, soon after receiving an application to set aside or recall a child protection order, may appoint a safeguarder. As the noble Lady will recollect from earlier discussions of the Bill, there are two routes that can be followed through once a child protection order has been granted. If one follows either of those routes very quickly after the granting of it in emergency circumstances, a safeguarder can be appointed. There is provision for the appointment of a safeguarder as soon as the sheriff or the hearing sees a role for the safeguarder. The child's welfare will be adequately safeguarded by the existing provisions and, accordingly, the amendment is unnecessary.

Amendment No. 111 will indeed go further than government Amendments Nos. 113 to 115 in that it would require a children's hearing to state the reasons for a safeguarder not being appointed. Again, I recognise the intention behind the amendment. I can

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foresee real difficulties of implementation.

The decision to appoint a safeguarder should not be a matter solely restricted to the first sitting of a hearing. It should be an ongoing consideration in the light of the changing circumstances of the case. It would therefore be unrealistic to envisage the decision not to appoint as occurring at any particular time. Indeed, it might have the undesirable effect of inhibiting the hearing making such an appointment subsequently.

Under the provisions of the Bill, a children's hearing must consider whether a safeguarder should be appointed. It is felt that where the hearing decides to follow that course of action its reasons for so doing should be stated in writing. As the noble Lady appreciates, government Amendments Nos. 113 to 115 make such provision.

I shall be moving those amendments but, for the reasons given, I hope that the noble Lady will feel she can withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Faithfull: Before the noble and learned Lord sits down, may I ask what type of person the safeguarder will be? Will it be a guardian ad litem, a trained person, or just someone who is friendly?

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: I certainly hope it will be the latter.

Baroness Faithfull: Just friendly?

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: No, it would be more than friendly. I would certainly wish to indicate that one of the desirable features is that the safeguarder should be appointed from a group who are trained and who understand what is required. My noble friend Lady Faithfull has raised an important point. There may be circumstances where what is coming before the courts is such that the appointment of a curator ad litem might be the appropriate way to deal with such a matter.

Lady Saltoun of Abernethy: I am very grateful to the noble and learned Lord for that explanation. Can he say how soon he would expect the hearing to take place?

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: The hearing has to take place within two days, if you are following the route which many of us hope will be followed after the making of such an order. But on the alternative line, which is described as the more traditional judicial route, I cannot give a direct answer to the question because it would depend upon the sheriff knowing that the application had been made to him to vary or recall the child protection order. Such an application could, of course, be made almost immediately after the initial granting of the order.

Lady Saltoun of Abernethy: I am very grateful to the noble and learned Lord for that explanation and I beg to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Macaulay of Bragar moved Amendment No. 110:

Page 27, line 11, after ("is") insert ("reasonable, appropriate or").

The noble Lord said: This is a very short amendment but it may be regarded as being tautology or semantics,

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or whatever the appropriate word is. It is to insert into the safeguarding of children's interests and proceedings, that the sheriff of the hearing shall consider it, as the Bill reads at the moment at Clause 37(1)(a):

"shall consider if it is necessary to appoint a person to safeguard the interests of the child"
This amendment proposes to insert the words "reasonable, appropriate or" before the word "necessary". This would give the person making the decision a wider discretion, because what is necessary might be appropriate but what is appropriate might not be necessary; indeed, what is reasonable might not be necessary in the particular circumstances. So, although in the course of yesterday's hearing I raised this stage of it, the Committee complained about unenforceable or unintelligible pieces of legislation being forced upon the courts, and people have to make these very important decisions in the life of a child. The word "necessary" is too restrictive and perhaps the Government would like to consider widening the scope of discretion given to the person making the decision by saying that it is "reasonable, appropriate or necessary". That opens all doors to take into account everything that is presented to the person making the decision. As long as the person is restricted by the word "necessary", we can see all the legal arguments. It might be fun for lawyers but not much fun for the child. If we expand it to "necessary, reasonable or appropriate", perhaps we shall be doing justice to all concerned and cutting down the legal process which might follow on the definition of the word "necessary" in particular circumstances.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: The noble Lord has accurately anticipated my response. I believe that both "reasonable" and "appropriate" are contained within "necessary"; or, to put it the other way round, I find it difficult to envisage circumstances where something was unreasonable and inappropriate but might be necessary, which is what his alternatives would allow for. For the sake of simplicity, I think we should just stick with the one word "necessary". I am sure that in the context of it any sheriff having to apply his mind to this issue would identify the circumstances in which appointment of a safeguarder would be desirable.

Lord Macaulay of Bragar: That is a very interesting exercise in the use of various words. I suppose I could say that government is necessary but that this Government are not reasonable! Indeed, I would even go to the third option and say they are not even appropriate. With that side observation, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 111 and 112 not moved.]

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendments Nos. 113 to 115:

Page 27, line 16, at end insert—
("(2A) Where a children's hearing make an appointment under subsection (1) (b) above, they shall state the reasons for their decision to make that appointment.").
Page 27, line 25, leave out ("and").
Page 27, line 27, at end insert ("; and

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( ) the recording in writing of any statement given under subsection (2A) above.").

The noble and learned Lord said: In responding to Amendments Nos. 111 and 112 I spoke also to Amendments Nos. 113 to 115. I beg to move.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 37, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 38 [Power of Secretary of State to make rules governing procedure at children's hearing etc.]:

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendment No. 116:

Page 28, line 15, at end insert—
("( ) the making available by the Principal Reporter, subject to such conditions as may be specified in the rules, of reports or information received by him to—
(i) members of the children's hearing;
(ii) the child concerned;
(iii) any relevant person; and
(iv) any other person or class of persons so specified;").

The noble and learned Lord said: Under the current provision in relation to children's hearings, the child and parents are not allowed sight of any reports which may have been provided to panel members conducting the children's hearing. It is the duty of the chairman of the panel to advise the family of the substance of any report which may be referred to by the hearing when considering the case. This amendment to Clause 38 indicates that the rules regarding the conduct of proceedings at and in connection with children's hearings may make provision for the issue of reports by the principal reporter to persons specified. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 38, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 39 agreed to.

Clause 40 [Prohibition of publication of proceedings at children's hearing]:

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