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Lord Avebury: My Lords, this is a fairly enormous list of amendments for us to consider at five to one in the morning. However, I believe that there are many important issues that we should look at in some detail.

Can the noble Lord say a few words as regards the new provisions for visiting committees at detention centres? As the wording stands in Clause 148, the rules make provision for the visiting committee to,


That wording closely follows that for boards of visitors in Her Majesty's prisons. The boards are entitled to make reports to the Secretary of State on any matter which they consider it expedient to report. However, Amendment No. 236 would replace the wording in the Bill with a provision that is less specific. It says simply that visiting committees are required to make reports to the Secretary of State, although not on any matter which they consider to be expedient.

Will the visiting committees have powers equivalent to those of boards of visitors in Her Majesty's prisons? Is there any reason why the wording in this statute should be different here from that which applies to boards of visitors in prisons? Does the Minister agree that the tasks and duties of the visiting committees at detention centres should be on all fours with those of boards of visitors in Her Majesty's prisons? If not, what are the reasons for such differences in the responsibilities and duties of one as compared with the other?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for his questions, and I hope that my response will make the point clear. As I understand it, the rules will ensure that the visiting committees will

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have powers equivalent to those of boards of visitors to report to the Secretary of State on any matter they deem expedient.

The committees have a broad canvas, and we are not seeking in the new wording to narrow their ability to report on anything they wish. I hope that, with those comments, the noble Lord will be satisfied with what we are trying to achieve with these amendments.

Lord Avebury: My Lords, before the Minister sits down, as regards annual reports by visiting committees, there has been some controversy over such reports from boards of visitors as to whether they should be obliged to publish them. Not so long ago the noble and learned Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, when he was in charge of prisons, undertook a consultation with the boards of visitors to establish whether any of them objected to the compulsory publication of their annual reports. Most of them accepted that, but a few preferred to keep them secret. I am not sure of the final result of that consultation, but I believe that it is important from the public interest point of view that reports from both prison boards of visitors and the new visiting committees for detention centres should be made available to members of the public.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, the noble Lord makes an important point. We require transparency in such situations, and we have attempted to achieve that with the boards of visitors. The noble Lord has acknowledged that my noble and learned friend Lord Williams gave a commitment to review the matter. There is no reason why there should not be consultation with the visiting committees to establish the way in which their annual reports should be published. My understanding is that we shall be consulting them in some detail in the next month. With that, I am sure that the noble Lord will understand the importance of the amendments that we are bringing before the House and will readily support them.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendments Nos. 232 and 233:


Page 98, line 4, after (“facility") insert (“, a prison").
Page 98, line 21, at end insert--
(“( ) in relation to Northern Ireland, has the meaning given in section 122(1) of that Act of 1994;").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 146 [Contracted out functions at directly managed detention centres]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendments Nos. 234 and 235:


Page 100, line 9, after (“by") insert (“certified").
Page 100, line 10, leave out from (“person") to end of line 12.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

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Clause 148 [Visiting Committees and inspections]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 236:


Page 101, line 7, leave out from (“rules") to end of line 12 and insert (“must include provision--
(a) as to the making of visits to the centre by members of the Visiting Committee;
(b) for the hearing of complaints made by persons detained in the centre;
(c) requiring the making of reports by the Visiting Committee to the Secretary of State.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 149 [Detention centre rules]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 237:


Page 101, line 28, leave out subsection (3).

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 238 not moved.]

Clause 150 [Detainee custody officers]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 239:


Page 102, line 9, at end insert--
(“( ) A prison officer acting under arrangements made under subsection (5) has all the powers, authority, protection and privileges of a constable.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 10 [Detainee Custody Officers]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendments Nos. 240 and 241:


Page 135, line 13, at end insert (“, or
( ) performing functions of a custodial nature at a short-term holding facility.").
Page 135, line 17, leave out sub-paragraphs (2) and (3).

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 151 [Custodial functions and discipline etc. at detention centres]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendments Nos. 242 and 243:


Page 102, line 15, after (“or") insert (“a certified").
Page 102, line 22, at end insert (“and short-term holding facilities").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 11 [Discipline etc at Detention Centres]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendments Nos. 244 to 252:


Page 137, line 23, after (“centre") insert (“or short-term holding facility").
Page 137, line 25, at end insert (“or short-term holding facility").
Page 137, line 26, leave out (“detention centre") and insert (“centre or facility").
Page 137, line 27, leave out (“detention centre") and insert (“centre or facility").
Page 137, line 29, leave out (“detention centre") and insert (“centre or facility").

20 Oct 1999 : Column 1265


Page 138, line 17, leave out (“penalty notice") and insert (“notice setting out the penalty to which a person committing an offence under paragraph 4, 5 or 6 is liable").
Page 138, line 18, leave out (“a penalty") and insert (“such a").
Page 138, line 20, leave out sub-paragraph (3).
Page 138, line 20, at end insert--
(“ .--(1) In the case of a contracted out short-term holding facility, the contractor must cause a notice setting out the penalty to which a person committing an offence under paragraph 4 is liable to be fixed outside the facility in a conspicuous place.
(2) In the case of any other short-term holding facility, the Secretary of State must cause such a notice to be fixed outside the facility in a conspicuous place.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 152 [Arrangements for the provision of escorts and custody]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendments Nos. 253 and 254:


Page 102, line 42, after (“under") insert (“section 89 of").
Page 102, line 43, after (“114") insert (“or 122").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 255:


After Clause 152, insert the following new clause--

SHORT-TERM HOLDING FACILITIES

(“.--(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations extend any provision made by or under this Part in relation to detention centres (other than one mentioned in subsection (2)) to short-term holding facilities.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to section 146.
(3) The Secretary of State may make rules for the regulation and management of short-term holding facilities.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 12 [Escort Arrangements]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendments Nos. 256 to 264:


Page 138, line 35, after (“officer") insert (“or prisoner custody officer").
Page 138, line 38, at end insert (“; or
(b) an act or omission of a prisoner custody officer so far as it falls to be investigated by a prisoner escort monitor under section 81 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 or under section 103 or 119 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.").
Page 139, line 19, leave out (“detainee custody officer") and insert (“person (“A")").
Page 139, line 20, leave out (“place of detention") and insert (“detention centre").
Page 139, line 23, leave out (“the detainee custody officer") and insert (“A").
Page 139, line 24, at end insert--
(“(2A) Sub-paragraph (2B) applies if a detained person for whose delivery or custody a person (“B") has been responsible in accordance with escort arrangements is delivered to a prison.
(2B) The detained person is to be treated, for the purposes of such prison rules as relate to disciplinary offences, as if he had been in the custody of the governor or controller of the prison at all times while B was so responsible.").
Page 139, leave out line 32.
Page 139, line 34, after (“rules") insert (“or prison rules").

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Page 139, line 35, at end insert--
(“( ) “Prison rules" means--
(a) rules made under section 47 of the Prison Act 1952;
(b) rules made under section 19 of the Prisons (Scotland) Act 1989;
(c) rules made under section 13 of the Prison Act (Northern Ireland) 1953.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 153 [Wrongful disclosure of information]:


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