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Lord Monson: My Lords, before the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees sits down, can he say whether the Bill--should we pass it here tonight--can be amended in another place, as opposed to being totally rejected following petitions against it? That would seem to be the deciding factor in how we shall vote if the amendment goes to a Division.

The Chairman of Committees : My Lords, I can confirm that it would be possible for amendments to be made. The procedures in another place are similar to procedures here. If a Select Committee were to be appointed on either of the Bills, there would be opportunities to consider amendments there. Similarly, if there were to be an Unopposed Bill Committee in another place, just as happened in this House, it would be possible for amendments to be brought forward there.

Lord Thomson of Monifieth: My Lords, I shall take one moment to reply to the amendment moved by the noble Viscount in the light of what has been said during this interesting debate. We are all grateful for the advice we received from the Minister, who spoke from his balanced position of neutrality. He conveyed some important information about the background to the Bill. Finally, we had some very clear advice from the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees.

I thought that the noble Viscount made two main points--both of them valid in their ways. One of his objections to the Bill was that there should be no "piecemeal law-making". With respect, it would put a stop to almost all local authority legislation if that concept were to be followed.

The debate has shown a number of detailed points of real concern. The noble Lord, Lord Lucas, recited a great many of them. They cannot be dealt with in a debate of this kind, but they can be dealt with by accepting the advice of the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees. I very much hope that the noble Viscount will feel able to follow that advice.

Viscount Astor: My Lords, we have had an interesting short debate. Perhaps I may deal with a few of the points that have been made.

The noble Lord, Lord Mackenzie, said that the police had no problem dealing with scrap metal dealers. I am sure that he is aware that they are covered by the 1964 Act--which is a national Act, as is the Gaming Act.

It pains me greatly to disagree with my noble and learned friend Lord Mayhew. He has stated his distinguished views and he is concerned about the implications in Kent. So am I concerned about the implications in Kent. My noble and learned friend Lord Mayhew pointed out that a number of other local authorities had introduced some kind of legislation.

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That is entirely true and entirely valid. But the difference is that that kind of legislation affects only the county to which it relates; it does not extend across the border. This legislation extends across the border and affects the whole country.

If the Minister had been prepared to stand up and say, "This is the blueprint that we should like local authorities to follow; this is the Government's view", that would be different. As it was a private Bill, the noble Lord said that he was neutral and sat on the fence. He got off it for a brief period and then jumped back on again. But he did not help the House. That is the difference.

My noble friend Lord Rees pointed out that there should be national consistency. I agree with him. I am not trying to deprive the citizens of Kent of any protection, but it is important that this House should consider legislation when it goes beyond affecting only a small area.

The noble Lord, Lord Boston of Faversham, quite rightly said that the Bill has been subjected to technical scrutiny. That is entirely right. I am not looking at it from a point of technical scrutiny but from a point of principle. The point of principle is important for this House. I believe that this House has a role in legislation; I believe that we should not send Bills to another place unless we are entirely confident in those Bills. I know there is an opportunity to petition, but I do not know what will happen in another place.

There is a duty on this House, as a revising Chamber, not to send to another place anything that we believe is flawed. I believe this Bill is flawed because it affects the nation and, therefore, goes beyond the normal private Bill. I support the aims but I cannot support the Bill. Therefore, I feel that I must move my amendment.

8.48 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 33; Not-Contents, 47.

Division No. 1


Arran, E.
Astor, V. [Teller]
Attlee, E.
Blackwell, L.
Blatch, B.
Bridgeman, V.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Flather, B.
Fookes, B.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Kimball, L.
Lindsay, E.
Liverpool, E.
Lucas, L. [Teller]
Luke, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Marlesford, L.
Nicol, B.
Norton of Louth, L.
Palmer, L.
Peel, E.
Seccombe, B.
Skelmersdale, L.
Skidelsky, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stodart of Leaston, L.
Strange, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.


Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Barker, B.
Barnett, L.
Blease, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
David, B.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Falkland, V.
Geddes, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Laming, L.
Lyell, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L. [Teller]
Milner of Leeds, L.
Molloy, L.
Monson, L.
Newby, L.
O'Neill of Bengarve, B.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Razzall, L.
Rea, L.
Rees, L.
Russell, E.
Sawyer, L.
Sharman, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L. [Teller]
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Varley, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walpole, L.
Warner, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

18 Jan 2000 : Column 1067

Bill read a third time, and passed, and sent to the Commons.

Medway Council Bill [H.L.]

Read a third time, and passed, and sent to the Commons.

Care Standards Bill [H.L.]

8.59 p.m.

House again in Committee.

Clause 69 [Basic definitions]:

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Brougham and Vaux): In calling Amendment No. 136, I have to advise the Committee that if this amendment is agreed to, I cannot call Amendment No. 137.

Earl Howe moved Amendment No. 136:

    Page 41, line 20, leave out subsection (2).

The noble Earl said: The basis of the referral and listing system set out in Clauses 69 to 71 is that a person who provides care for vulnerable adults is under a duty to refer a care worker to the Secretary of State in certain defined sets of circumstances. The term "care worker" is itself defined in Clause 69(2)(a), (b) and (c) and denotes a person who, in one context or another, is employed to look after someone. In Clause 71, "provider"--that is to say, one who carries on a business--and "care worker"--that is to say, an employee--are clearly quite distinct types and classes of people. My question to the Minister is whether there are circumstances in which a provider can himself be a care worker. In other words, what mechanism, if any, exists to refer to the Secretary of State the name of a

18 Jan 2000 : Column 1068

provider of care services where that person is guilty of harming a vulnerable adult or of placing such an adult at risk of harm?

The Bill appears to say that only a provider of care services may refer someone to the Secretary of State and that the terms "provider" and "care worker" are not interchangeable in such a way as, for example, to enable an employee to refer his own employer to the Secretary of State. Although the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, has not yet spoken to it, I have a good deal of sympathy with the thrust of his amendment, Amendment No. 144C. It should be possible in certain circumstances for the national care standards commission to refer a provider of services to the Secretary of State if, as appears from the Bill, no one else can. Can the Minister clarify that point? I am troubled that one day there might be a clear-cut case of an individual having harmed a vulnerable adult or placed such an adult at risk of harm without there being any means of referring such a person to the Secretary of State because he or she is the registered proprietor of a care home or clinic and not an employee. I beg to move.

Lord Rix: I rise to speak to Amendment No. 137 which is grouped with Amendments Nos. 136 and 144C. This amendment follows the logic adopted in earlier amendments, that day service staff have to discharge during the day the same sort of functions as residential care staff have to discharge to those same people in the mornings and the evenings, including support with visits to the toilet, with changing after swimming and with other aspects of personal hygiene. The recruitment of properly vetted staff should not be limited to those whose contractual hours might include hours between 5.30 p.m. and 8 a.m. I believe that such individuals should be added to the list of care workers already on the face of the Bill.

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