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"For section 29 of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986 substitute the following section".
So in many respects it is a replacement of what is already there. I hope that it will be helpful, as it were in almost a consolidating fashion, for those who have to administer legal aid and understand it to have the new provisions provided in this fashion.

The associated amendments to paragraph 37 of Schedule 3 also amend the definitions of "legal aid" and "person" contained in Section 41 of the 1986 Act. This again is to reflect the provisions of the Bill. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 84 [Interpretation of Part II]:

Lord Macaulay of Bragar moved Amendment No. 200:

Page 69, line 33, leave out subsection (4) and insert:
("( ) Any reference in this Part of this Act to a child being "in need", is to his being in need of care and attention because—
(a) no-one has parental responsibility for him;
(b) he is lost or abandoned;
(c) for whatever reason, the person who is or has been caring for him is not safeguarding or promoting, or is not adequately safeguarding or promoting, his welfare;
(d) he is disabled or affected by the disability of another member of the family;
(e) he has witnessed the abuse of one parent by the other;
(f) he is unlikely to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision of services by the local authority; or
(g) his health or development is likely to be significantly impaired or further impaired by the absence of services provided by the local authority.")

The noble Lord said: This amendment seeks to expand the definition of a child "in need", which is set out in the Bill at page 69, line 34. In putting forward the amendment, I am in no way being critical of the present definition. I note that the noble and learned Lord the Minister has an amendment, Amendment No. 201, which covers the same area and, indeed, has common ground with four aspects of Amendment No. 200.

It is an unfortunate aspect of life today that the

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catalogue of parental negligence, abuse and cruelty, as we are learning day by day, week by week and month by month, knows no bounds. Sometimes that is brought about either by a deliberate act of the parent or by ignorance, and indeed, in many cases reflects on the treatment which the parent may have had during his or her own childhood.

The amendment seeks to broaden the area within which the child in need can be protected and it gives, I hope, greater protection to the child. We know from recent experience that where a child is, for example, lost or abandoned, as set out in the original definition, that can lead to tragic consequences all round—to the child and to the parents, and, indeed, in some cases to people who have murdered the particular child or children, as the case may be.

Paragraph (c) of the amendment gives an umbrella approach to defining a child in need, because obviously one cannot have a universal definition for a child in need. We could be here all night discussing it. We all have our own ideas about what particular circumstances would constitute a child being in need.

As I say, paragraph (c) of the amendment is an umbrella provision:

"for whatever reason, the person who is or has been caring for him is not safeguarding or promoting, or is not adequately safeguarding or promoting, his welfare".
That gives a very wide scope to people to take the child into care. For example, if a child is found wandering about in the main street at half-past eleven at night, or a four-year-old is wandering about, it would on the face of it appear not that the child is necessarily lost or abandoned but that the person who should be looking after the child is not promoting its welfare.

For example, I do not know what the statistics for house fires are in the United Kingdom—and we are dealing only with Scotland at the moment—but there are parents or so-called parents or guardians who have gone out to the pub and perhaps left four children under the age of 12 in the house and the house then goes up in smoke. The reporting of that kind of situation to the authorities before a tragedy happens is the sort of thing that we need to build into the Bill. That is the general purport behind it.

As I say, it is impossible to build into legislation every circumstances, but I would hope that an amalgam of the two amendments, Amendments Nos. 200 and 201, might at least give as near universal coverage and protection to the child as legislation can give. With that explanation, I beg to move.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees; I remind the Committee that should this amendment be agreed to, I shall be unable to call Amendment No. 201.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: When we were debating Amendment No. 52 previously, I spoke then, albeit briefly, to Amendment No. 201, which, in our view, is one of the most important amendments to be moved by the Government at this stage of the Bill, knowing as I did that a number of organisations had concerns about the way in which local authority welfare duties were spelt out within Clause 20 as presently drafted. Indeed,

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such was the knowledge of the concerns expressed that when the Bill was being discussed in another place, undertakings were given that the Government would look again at the scope of the clause.

A number of important adjustments are being made through changes in the definition of "child in need". In Clause 84(4), which is my Amendment No. 201, our revised definition introduces a more child-centred definition of a child in need, and so indicates a positive duty on local authorities to promote the welfare of children in need in their area. The amendment should ensure that no children in need of local authority assistance are prevented by statute from receiving it.

I might say, in relation to Amendment No. 201, that the revised definition is very similar to that in the Children Act 1989. I am confident that the approach we have adopted, which is to place a firm and simple duty on local authorities to promote the welfare of children in their areas who are in need, is one which is very reasonably and properly directed.

I turn to Amendment No. 200 which has a number of features which I should explain to the noble Lord I do not consider are appropriately placed here, although the concerns he expresses in the amendment are perfectly appropriate—not least, the references within that definition, which we had also, to those who had been lost or had been abandoned. If the noble Lord cares to look back to Clause 22, he will find there that:

"(1) A local authority shall provide accommodation for any child who, residing or having been found within their area, appears to them to require such provision because—
(a) no-one has parental responsibility for him;
(b) or he is lost or abandoned".
That would seem to be the more appropriate place to deal with the sets of conditions which, certainly, that local authority should be engaged in.

Another concern I have is that in his amendment one provision is within the definition of being in need. A child is so described if, under paragraph (e),

"he has witnessed the abuse of one parent by the other".
That really is an extremely wide and potentially very long lasting provision in that a young child, perhaps aged three or four, might have had the undoubtedly unhappy experience of seeing violent abuse by perhaps the father on the child's mother, but it might seem rather startling that that child should continue within the age definition until reaching the age of 16. For that reason, there are difficulties within the noble Lord's amendment. I would suggest that government Amendment No. 201 is preferable. While I would be interested to hear from anyone with an interest in this matter in Scotland about the new definition, my understanding is that there is a general acceptance that what the Government have now introduced is certainly very much wider. I understand that it is generally considered acceptable to those who properly are concerned that local authorities' duties should be appropriately defined. With that somewhat extended explanation, I hope the noble Lord will feel that Amendment No. 200 can be withdrawn.

Lady Saltourn of Abernethy: Looking at the amendment and at Clause 22—the category "lost or

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abandoned"—I am wondering whether "lost" should be qualified in some way because the best parents can lose a child temporarily. A child who has been lost temporarily is not really seriously in need except temporarily. What he needs is to be restored to his family. I wonder whether there ought to be some kind of qualification to discriminate between the child who is totally lost and the child who is temporarily lost.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: I can imagine local authorities the length and breadth of Scotland would be horrified that if every time a child was lost in a park or a shopping plaza they immediately had to assume an indefinite obligation to care for that child because it was lost.

My noble friend makes a good point, but I believe that it is already covered. Clause 22 requires that,

"A local authority shall provide accommodation for any [lost] child who appears to them to require such provision". I should have thought that it was part of a local authority's correct approach to such matters if it found a lost child wandering in the streets to see what it could do to return that child to his or her parents without immediately providing accommodation and causing every other agency in the locality to go into top gear. It is a good point, but nevertheless it is covered.

Lord Macaulay of Bragar: I am grateful to the Minister for his exposition in these matters, although I can see that in the light of what the noble Lady, Lady Saltoun, said we may be dealing in terms of timescale. It may be that Clause 22(1), envisaging the provision of accommodation for children as it is spelt out, is indeed the situation where a child is found wandering on a temporary basis and the local authority has a duty to take him into care until his or her parents have been found.

I fully accept the views expressed by the Minister on the wide range of paragraph (e) in Amendment No. 200. It has no timescale. If I may say so, that is a very valid criticism, but it is meant to indicate where the child has been adversely affected by witnessing abuse of one parent by the other. As the noble and learned Lord knows, some of the amendments are tabled in order to have discussion on these matters. We may be able to widen the definition in terms of long-term need, which is what the term "in need" means. Clause 22(1) certainly does not cover the question of a child in need; it merely covers the question of the provision of accommodation for children. I am not sure that the definition of a child in need sits happily in Clause 22(1). Again, we will note with interest what the Minister said. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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