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Baroness Carnegy of Lour: Is it not strange to say that the panel may include the provision of reparation, financial or otherwise? The panel may or may not include reparation under the Bill. If there is confusion with the other Act and there is difficulty about the wording, should it not be sorted out? I would have thought there might have been objections to the proposal. If no reparations of any kind were required and the panel pointed out that that was what the legislation said, what the Minister said would not be correct. If the Bill departs from the White Paper is it not better to say so?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I do not believe that a Bill can say that it is departing from a White Paper. Reparation can include a number of different concepts in practice. It does not have to be reparation to the victim. As I understood the amendment moved by the noble Viscount, it would include an obligation to make an act or acts of reparation to the victim. A good deal of reparative work can be done that is not focused on the victim. It may well be unpaid work in the community, which means that the offender makes

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reparation or amends to the wider community. I repeat that a good number of victims do not want personally focused reparation. The elderly widow who lives alone does not necessarily want the offender to work in her garden or paint the house which, a fortnight earlier, he burgled. She may be quite pleased if the offender must do reparative work in the playground of a school or something of that kind within the community. I believe that we have got it right here. The panel must focus on that as the first question. I believe that to be pretty clear.

Viscount Bridgeman: I am most grateful to the Minister for his clarification of these points. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

7.45 p.m.

Viscount Bridgeman moved Amendment No. 41:


Page 7, line 30, at end insert (", for which he may be refunded out-of-pocket expenses").

The noble Viscount said: I beg to move Amendment No. 41 and speak at the same time to Amendments Nos. 42 to 44. All of these amendments refer to the provisions of the programme in Clause 8. The first amendment provides that an offender who is doing community service may be refunded his out-of-pocket expenses. Amendment No. 42 refers to an exclusion order imposed on an offender as to place. The amendment extends the provision to specified times and places.

Amendment No. 43 makes references to electronic tagging which has been a great success in those places where it has been introduced. I believe I am right in saying that last week it was extended under the provisions of the Crime and Disorder Act. I found myself in agreement with the noble Lord, Lord Warner, in a debate last week. As to Amendment No. 44, the noble Lord has just made reference to the matter. At the moment the consent of the victim is required under Clause 8(2)(a) if financial or other reparation is to be made. The amendment would mean that under Clause 8(2)(b) the agreement of the victim would also be required in any mediation sessions attended by the offender.

Lord Hylton: I support Amendment No. 41. This may be particularly appropriate and necessary in the case of a young person between 16 and 18 who is not employed or in full-time education and is not entitled to any benefits.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I am afraid that my ear was distracted for a moment. Perhaps I may confirm with the noble Viscount the amendments to which he spoke. I believe that he spoke to Amendments Nos. 41, 43 and 44. Did the noble Viscount speak also to Amendment No. 42?

Viscount Bridgeman: I spoke also to Amendment No. 42 which is concerned with specified times and places.

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: It was entirely my fault. I was being asked when we would be likely to conclude the business this evening. I understand that it has been agreed through the usual channels that we shall finish our discussion on the Bill this evening at eight o'clock. I was aware that the noble Viscount had an interest in that matter and therefore my mind was slightly distracted. I shall deal with Amendments Nos. 41 to 44. I agree that as to Amendment No. 41, which relates to expenses unless the contract included an agreement to make some form of financial reparation, it would not be appropriate for a young person to be out of pocket as a result of this kind of activity. One would expect the volunteer organisations to ensure that. The issue must be addressed and I am happy to give the assurance that that will be done in the guidance.

The list in Clause 8 as to particular places or persons is not intended to be prescriptive or exhaustive. There will be variations in the elements in Clause 8. I believe that the noble Viscount seeks a specific reference to the fact that this element of the programme of behaviour may be applied at certain times or all the time. There is nothing in the Bill to stop the panel and the young person seeking such agreement. I believe that this should be covered in guidance, which is likely to change as experience changes, rather than on the face of the Bill.

Amendment No. 43 deals with electronic tagging. The youth offender panel is not a court and there will not be any legal representation. I do not believe that it would be appropriate for the panel to have the option of agreeing anything that amounted to a physical restriction on liberty by virtue of tagging or otherwise. I believe that as a matter of principle that is something that should be done judicially in open court rather than by a panel. If the young person's offending is serious enough to warrant the restriction contemplated by the noble Viscount, that should be done by a court with the opportunity of legal representation.

On Amendment No. 44, I have mentioned on a number of occasions that the provision relates to the victim's right to refuse to participate in mediation as well as in any other form of reparation. I entirely agree. That is what I believe we have achieved by Clause 8(4): that nothing may be done to or with any such victim without his or her express consent. I am happy to reiterate that that covers reparation and mediation. I hope that I have put the noble Viscount's doubts to rest.

Viscount Bridgeman: I am most grateful to the Minister for those helpful comments on that group of amendments. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 42 to 44 not moved.]

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Viscount Bridgeman moved Amendment No. 45:


Page 8, line 13, after ("offender,") insert--
("( ) by each appropriate person (as defined in section 5(3)),").

The noble Viscount said: The amendment provides that the parents or, where appropriate, the local authority which plays such a large part in the concept of the Bill, are involved in the signature of the record. I beg to move.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I understand the importance of the involvement of the parent, guardian or local authority. Essentially we think that this provision would water down the seriousness and importance of the contract from the point of view of the young offender. It is he or she who is the offender; it is he or she alone who is the subject of the referral order and who alone must comply with the terms of the contract. In many cases parents may volunteer to assist. Some parents are derelict in their duties and may simply refuse to sign. We would not want that as a block if the young person himself or herself were willing. The provision is designed to bring home to the offender moral and legal responsibility. We think that the provision is better kept intact.

Viscount Bridgeman: I am most grateful to the Minister for that convincing reply. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Viscount Bridgeman moved Amendment No. 46:


Page 8, line 17, leave out ("or sent").

The noble Viscount said: In moving Amendment No. 46, I speak also to Amendment No. 55.

We suggest that attendance on all the occasions when the offender is required to be present is important. Any excuse for him or her not to attend the court and, for instance, to be sent the record by post would be an invitation to absent himself or herself. I beg to move.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: As the noble Viscount rightly observed, Clause 8(6) requires the panel to cause a copy of the record to be "given or sent" to the offender. Clause 11(7) makes similar provisions in respect of a record of any variation.

This gives the panel a degree of flexibility. If it cannot have a typed copy on the specific occasion, let us say a Monday, we simply require that it should be sent to the young person as soon as possible. Obviously many panels will give the record immediately to the offender, but if that cannot be done we simply give the flexible opportunity that it should be sent. I think that that should be available as an alternative.

Viscount Bridgeman: I am most grateful and accept the Minister's explanation. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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Viscount Bridgeman moved Amendment No. 47:


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