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Earl Howe: I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Judd, and I are agreed on one point--it is desirable to be able to serve call-out notices by post. To that end, members of the reserve forces will, as at present, be required to provide information, including their address, in connection with the serving of notices. However, the noble Lord has explained that he is concerned over how a call-out is deemed to be served. He is thinking in particular of protecting those who may be away from their place of residence when a notice is served. I have listened carefully to what he had to say.

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A notice can only be deemed to have been served if it is sent by registered post or recorded delivery. The removal of Clause 32(7) does not have the effect that the noble Lord perhaps intended. Subsection (7) provides that

    "No steps may be taken against a person in respect of failure to comply with a call-out notice",

unless it has been received, or deemed to have been served by virtue of subsection (6). If it has not been served personally or sent by registered post or recorded delivery these conditions will not have been met and the notice will therefore be deemed not to have been served. Equally, the removal of Clause 43(7) and (8) deletes all provision for the serving of call-out notices, which I am sure the noble Lord will agree was not what he was trying to achieve. However, I understand that he has used this amendment as a probing point. I agree that it is a little unfair to those who are away from their place of residence if a notice arrives in their absence. If the noble Lord is content, I shall undertake to consider this matter before Report stage to see whether any revision of the wording in this part of the Bill is possible. With that I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Judd: The noble Earl is being extremely helpful in our deliberations this evening and I should like to put on record our appreciation of that. I find what he has said reassuring. This was, of course, a probing amendment. Another way we could have raised this matter would have been through another clause stand part debate. However, I was probably getting rather nervous about putting forward another clause stand part debate and therefore I sought to air the matter in some other way. The observations the noble Earl has made are pertinent as regards the precise effect of these amendments, but the discussion has at least enabled us to probe the issue and to hear these helpful reflections of the Minister. We look forward to hearing further thoughts at a later stage. Therefore I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 32 agreed to.

On Question, Whether Clause 33 shall stand part of the Bill?

Lord Judd: I seek to deal with the same point that was dealt with in Clause 9(2)(c)on which the noble Earl made an extremely helpful observation. I hope that he will repeat that observation in this context.

6.15 p.m.

Earl Howe: Clause 33 deals with acceptance into service. The clause provides that reservists will report in accordance with their call-out notice to the place specified in it. However, the likelihood, particularly in a major crisis where many reservists are reporting, is that some reservists will be unable to report at the time and place specified. It is quite likely that some, on hearing of the crisis, will report to their usual drill hall or training centre, which may not be where the call-out notice specifies, before receiving any notice, or indeed

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before any notice is sent at all. The clause therefore separates the process of acceptance into service from the processes of authorising call-out and serving notices.

A reservist should be able to be accepted into service whether he has complied precisely with his call-out notice or not, and indeed even if he has not been served with a call-out notice. This clause provides the required flexibility. If a reservist presents himself for service to the appropriate officer he may be accepted into service by that officer. However, such acceptance does not, by itself, prevent him being punished if he has without reasonable excuse failed to comply with his call-out notice, though it may be powerful mitigation of any penalty.

I hope that that will serve to clarify the purpose and thrust of this clause. I am afraid that the audio system in the Chamber failed us a little bit whilst the noble Lord, Lord Judd, was speaking. If I have not picked up any salient questions, I apologise. I shall be very glad to address them further.

Clause 33 agreed to.

Clause 34 agreed to.

Clause 35 [Exercise of functions by officers]:

[Amendment No. 22 not moved.]

Clause 35 agreed to.

Clause 36 [Parliamentary control of numbers and reports]:

Earl Attlee moved Amendment No. 23:

Page 17, line 34, leave out ("from time to time report") and insert ("report annually").

The noble Earl said: In speaking to Amendment No. 23 I would also like to speak to Amendment No. 30. The Bill refers to "from time to time". I find that very vague. I fear that at some time it might not be politically expedient to make the report. Is this a legal term for when there is something to report? What does it actually mean? Is the Minister aware that Parliament may actually be interested, even if he has not used any powers in a given crisis? I look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say.

Earl Howe: As the noble Earl has explained, the effect of the amendment would be to require the Secretary of State to report annually to Parliament on the exercise of his power to call out persons subject to special agreement. I appreciate the reasons for the noble Earl's amendment but it would be strange, and indeed unnecessary, to impose on the Secretary of State an obligation to report to Parliament even if no persons subject to special agreements had been called out, I believe would be the effect of his amendment.

I am not sure what the noble Earl feels would be gained by having a strict requirement of the kind he proposes. The intention of informing Parliament is one with which I can wholly sympathise, but I would not

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want to bind the Secretary of State in a particular year when there had been no relevant activity on which to report.

Earl Attlee: My only point is that it appears to be a very vague term. It is not a matter of great consequence. I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 36 agreed to.

Lord Redesdale moved Amendment No. 24:

After Clause 36, insert the following new clause--


(" . There shall be established within the Adjutant-General Corps an agency whose purpose shall be to explain to each member of a reserve force who enters into a special agreement, whether an employee or self-employed, and, where applicable, to his employer, the financial implications of entering into such an agreement, and any financial compensation for loss of earnings that may be available.").

The noble Lord said: The purpose of this amendment is to back up the information supplied to members of the Territorial Army who want to become a member of the high readiness reserve. The Minister, replying to my noble friend Lord Mayhew at Second Reading, gave the example of how a member of the Territorial Army could find out about financial arrangements when he became a member of the high readiness reserve by directing his questions to his commanding officer who would then write to the Ministry of Defence.

The high readiness reserve will need a great deal of promotion--indeed, as the Minister said earlier, positive promotion. The amount of information given out to individual members of the Territorial Army, and also to their employers, is crucial. It will take the agreement of the employer to allow the TA soldier to enter into the agreement. There is a probing amendment to give the Minister an opportunity to discuss how the financial arrangements will be presented to the individual soldier, I have suggested that a special unit be set up within the Adjutant General's Corps. Many members of the Territorial Army will not know what question to ask. They will not have read the Bill, which is perhaps lucky for them but there are a number of areas about which they will be uncertain.

I do not believe that it is the job of the commanding officer or the unit, which is often overstretched and perhaps might not have the relevant information, to try and sort out all the legal and financial complexities that each individual soldier might present. Therefore, it seems justified that there should be certain members of the Regular Army whose job it would be to go round and discuss with the soldier how he should arrange his financial position, considering that he is entering into a rather serious commitment. Also that member of the Adjutant-General's Corps could, if necessary, or if he was asked to, go and talk to the relevant employer, because the relevant employer might not know the financial safeguards, and without those financial safeguards he might be tempted to deny entering into

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the agreement. I hope that the Minister can give us some information on how he foresees this information being disbursed. I beg to move.

Earl Attlee: I rise briefly to support the noble Lord in his amendment. It is extremely difficult for volunteers to find out any information about financial arrangements. What would happen now if they were injured on an exercise, for example? Perhaps the Adjutant-General's Corps is not the right vehicle. Perhaps the TAVRAs would be more appropriate, because they have good relations with the employers. The problem of communication of the rights and obligations of soldiers needs to be addressed and I would be very interested to hear what the Minister has to say to the noble Lord's amendment.

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