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"A supervision requirement shall be in such form as the Secretary of State may prescribe by rules". Surely the Secretary of State normally prescribes by regulation. I am sorry to bring this up yet again; and I am sorry that I did not have time to write to the Minister.

My last point is this: almost at the bottom of page 52 is a reference to the "relevant local authority". I just wonder again whether the principal reporter should not be brought in here, but I may be wrong. Those are the three questions that I wanted to ask. Again, I am sorry that I have not had an opportunity to write to the Minister.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: I did not quite grasp the third point, but I shall try to deal with the first two—in reverse order. First, as regards the provisions,


"A supervision requirement shall be in such form as the Secretary of State may prescribe by rules", in relation to hearings, he does make rules rather than regulations.

The second point is a very difficult one, and I take the noble Earl back to a case some months ago with which he may be familiar. In very unfortunate circumstances a man who had been divorced from his wife, having had a very violent past with her, discovered her whereabouts because of the requirement that the address of the child should be given to him when the supervision requirement was being reviewed. Acting on that information, he went to his divorced wife's home, with the tragic consequence that she was killed, as you may recall. He has subsequently been convicted of murder. It is a matter which has aroused some controversy, and it is to meet that rather exceptional circumstance that this provision is there.

Lord Macaulay of Bragar: I agree entirely with what the noble and learned Lord says about that very unfortunate case. A degree of discretion is given to the hearing with regard to letting people know where the child might be. But, as we all know, with children who need to be taken into care, it is very often the parent who has caused the problem.

The noble Earl, Lord Balfour, raises an important point. I have just had a quick look at the Bill, and I do not see in it any definition in relation to the care of a child of a named person. We go back perhaps to yesterday's debate. Are we back to the natural parents, the genetic parents, or who are we talking about?

The noble Earl, if I may say so with great respect, raises a very important point of definition. We must have some definition as to who a named person is to be. That would be of guidance to the hearings. The Secretary of State may be able to lay down by regulation, but there are so many people involved in children's upbringing these days that just to say "any named person" or "class of person" leaves it open. I should like to see more definition given to that part of the Bill. I suppose the way around it—if I may try to be helpful to the Government, which is not a habit of mine—is simply to add the words,


"shall not disclose to any person".

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If that is the children's hearings exercising a quasi-judicial function, then no doubt they can be judicially reviewed in the courts for failing to tell the father, mother, or whoever it may be, where the child is. I just wondered whether the phrase "named person" or "class of person" is in fact not introducing confusion into this part of the Bill. I appreciate the reason behind it, as the noble and learned Lord the Minister has said.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: I do not think it is introducing any confusion or difficulty, but I shall certainly look at the matter further and if there are any difficulties we shall try and tidy them up. The noble Lord will appreciate that the value of having amendments is that we can give a more considered response to any detailed point and try to determine very quickly whether or not an amendment can be made without unintentionally altering the impact elsewhere in the Bill. I shall certainly look into the matter.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 64, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 65 and 66 agreed to.

Clause 67 [Duration and review of supervision requirement]:

Baroness Faithfull moved Amendment No. 157A:


Page 55, line 12, at end insert—
(" (10A) Where a children's hearing has taken place by virtue of subsection (4)(c) above and a decision has been reached in terms of subsections (8) and (9) above, the relevant local authority—
(a) may, within a period of 3 weeks beginning with the date of the decision of the said children's hearing appeal to the sheriff against that decision; and
(b) where such an appeal is made, shall be heard by the sheriff as to the reasons for the appeal.
(10B) Where the relevant local authority appeals under subsection (10A) above, subsections (2), (3), (4) and (5) of section 47 of this Act shall apply to that appeal as they apply to an appeal under that section.").

The noble Baroness said: This is a very difficult amendment concerning adoption. Those of us who have had to deal with adoption are always faced with fearful problems. On the one hand, one does not want to place a child for adoption unless one is absolutely sure that it is a right placement. On the other hand, one wants to be quite sure that the people, and the mother particularly, asking for adoption will not change their minds. Very often there is conflict. It is very difficult: one wants to fulfil the principle that a child should be placed for adoption as soon as is possible and practicable. If a child is to be placed for adoption, it should be placed as early as possible after the request has been made.

Very often there is conflict. Sometimes the panel, having heard the situation, is very anxious not to make a mistake and give permission for the adoption order to go forward. On the other hand, the social services are very anxious to place the child as quickly as possible so that a change does not have to be made where the child is being brought up.

The purpose of the amendment is to allow a very limited right of appeal to the local authority concerned with the long-term and permanent plans for a child, where the child's hearing does not agree with the plans of the local authority, and there are no other means of

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resolving the conflict of views. The amendment attempts to provide a forum where the matter can be argued before a sheriff and the final decision taken one way or another to prevent drift in a child's life.

I have known children waiting for adoption. The mother will give her approval and then she will withdraw it; the child will then have to stay in the home where it is; and the mother will change her mind yet again. The case can drift on and on. That is not in the interests of the child and we believe that the welfare of the child is paramount. I beg to move.

Lord Fraser of Camyllie: As my noble friend has indicated, this is indeed a difficult area. We shall be returning to adoption at a later stage in the Bill. However, while I recognise the difficulty, I am not sure that this amendment is necessary in the context of children's legislation in Scotland. A local authority will be able to bring to court any case in which it considers the appropriate course of action is for the child to be made the subject of a parental rights order or a freeing order. When an adoption plan is contested it would also be possible and probably prudent also to bring the matter before the court by way of a freeing application. The appeal to the sheriff which is proposed in this amendment is therefore unnecessary, since it is already within the local authority's discretion to bring the matter before the court.

Additionally, the amendment would import a major change in the children's hearings system in that it would empower a local authority for the first time to appeal a hearing's decision to the court. I do not believe that that change would be either appropriate or desirable. But I really rest my case, inviting the noble Baroness to withdraw the amendment on the basis that it is an unnecessary amendment.

Baroness Faithfull: I thank the noble and learned Lord for that reply. I should like to give consideration to what he has said. Therefore, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Whether Clause 67 shall stand part of the Bill?

The Earl of Balfour: Clause 67(7) says,


"give notice of that proposal in writing to the Principal Reporter". Fair enough. But I wonder in this case whether we should not include the relevant local authority, at line 30 on page 54.

If I may refer back to the remarks of the noble Lady, Lady Saltoun, that we are not angels, one of the things that concerned me in reading this clause was subsection (10). It states:


"Where a children's hearing vary or impose a requirement or condition under subsection (9) above which requires the child to reside in any specified place or places, they may order that such place or places shall not be disclosed to any person." What concerned me here was that if it is specified that the child shall reside at more than one place, knowing how difficult some children can be, in leaving the first place he might get lost before he got to the second place and you would have an awful job to find him. Although

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I quite understand that the word may need to be plural, I just wonder whether it is safe to do that, knowing how naughty children can be. That is my question.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: On the last point, I suspect that the draftsman has included the plural as a matter of caution rather than envisaging that there will be frequent circumstances in which such a child might be required to live in more than one place. So far as the other points the noble Earl has raised with regard to the clause are concerned, I shall read very carefully what he has said and consider whether amendments need to be made to tidy up.

Clause 67 agreed to.

Clause 68 agreed to.

Clause 69 [Powers of Secretary of State with respect to secure accommodation]:

On Question, Whether Clause 69 shall stand part of the Bill?


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