|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Lord Bach: I am grateful to the noble Baroness for moving her amendment so quickly. But I am confused. As I understand the amendment, it refers to "one further term", which suggests two terms in all. I understand that I am right in saying that.
The Government are fully in agreement with the general rule set out in the code of practice for public appointments and by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments, that members and chairs of the LSC should generally serve for a maximum of two terms. In making the appointments, we shall follow those guidelines. But they allow for exceptions in exceptional circumstances. It may be that a member or chairman of the LSC makes such a valuable contribution that it would be right to re-appoint that
Baroness Blatch: I hope that the noble Baroness will forgive me if I put a question to the Minister before he sits down. The noble Lord appears to be accepting the thrust behind the amendment; namely, that there should be a defined period of time beyond which someone should not be appointed. I believe it is possible to deal with this in the Bill. The proviso would not apply to the chief executive. I put him in a different bracket, as he will be the number one employee of the council. However, it would apply to the chairman and the members of the council. Would it not be possible to insert the words,
Lord Bach: I hope that I am sufficiently open minded to listen carefully to all the suggestions made by the Committee. However, tempting though that offer is, I must reject it. I repeat: we intend to follow the code of practice for public appointments. It is publicly stated and publicly known. Given the fact that we are likely to do so, it would be wrong to put anything like the provision suggested by the noble Baroness on the face of the Bill. I take this opportunity to return to the point about the chairman's appointment. I should make it clear that we see the first appointment being for a term of between three and five years.
Baroness Sharp of Guildford: I have to say that I am most disappointed that the Minister cannot see his way to putting this provision on the face of the Bill. Given that it is in the code of practice for public appointments, it seems most appropriate for it to be on the face of the Bill. However, given the Minister's insistence, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment No. 22, which proposes to leave out subparagraphs (6) to (8), has been tabled for the sake of clarification. I seek some explanation in this respect. These paragraphs are very difficult to read. For example, subparagraph (6) says:
Amendment No. 23 refers to paragraph 9(1) of the schedule and deals with something that I battled for in the past. However, I lost that battle and am now trying to see whether I can win it from this side of the Chamber. I do not believe that we should have interference or intervention by the Secretary of State, or by a person acting in his name, at these meetings. The council should at least have some say in whether it has a representative of the Secretary of State attending and taking part in deliberations at its meetings.
If the Government are really arguing that the Secretary of State will not have a handle on absolutely every aspect of this Bill, this is a very good area to demonstrate that fact. It seems to me that the council has been established to carry out a task for which it has a remit, and it must do that job within the framework of the law. Therefore, if the council would like a representative of the Secretary of State to be present at its meetings and take part in the discussions, that is fine; but it should be a matter for the council. I beg to move.
Lord Bach: Amendment No. 21 would affect LFC staff, who will be public servants working for a non-departmental public body. While the detailed terms and conditions of their employment will be a matter
Baroness Blatch: I thank the noble Lord. I should point out that the amendment does not refer to members of staff. Paragraph 1 is headed "Chief Executive" and only refers to him. There is no reference to the appointed members of staff.
Lord Bach: I believe I know what has happened here. Amendment No. 21 refers to line 7 on page 56, which falls under the heading of "Staff". Having heard the noble Baroness's opening remarks, I suspect that she meant to refer to line 7 on page 55. Therefore, although I am properly addressing the amendment on the Marshalled List, it is not the one that the noble Baroness intended to move. Perhaps I may suggest to her that it would be sensible to re-table the amendment on Report so that it could be dealt with at that stage.
Baroness Blatch: I am grateful to the noble Lord. There has either been a typographical glitch, or I am responsible for making a mistake. In fact, there should be two amendments: one should refer to subparagraph (3) on page 56, while the other should refer to removing subparagraph (1) on page 55. I apologise for any confusion that has arisen. I shall return to both amendments.
Lord Bach: With the greatest respect to the noble Baroness, as the amendments deal with the same matter she could withdraw these amendments today and re-table them on Report. That would clarify the situation.