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Division No. 2


Alexander of Weedon, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Barker, B.
Biffen, L.
Blatch, B.
Boardman, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Craigavon, V.
Dahrendorf, L.
Denham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elles, B.
Erroll, E.
Falkland, V.
Ferrers, E.
Fookes, B.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Glentoran, L.
Goodhart, L.
Greenway, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanham, B.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Henley, L. [Teller]
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Hylton, L.
Lincoln, Bp.
Liverpool, E.
Lyell, L.
McConnell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Moynihan, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Newby, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Plumb, L.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Roper, L.
Russell, E.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selborne, E.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Skidelsky, L.
Slim, V.
Stewartby, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wilcox, B.
Windlesham, L.


Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brennan, L.
Brett, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Chandos, V.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crawley, B.
David, B.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grabiner, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grenfell, L.
Habgood, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Islwyn, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Judd, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Molloy, L.
Nicol, B.
Orme, L.
Patel, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Powell of Bayswater, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Serota, B.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thomas of Macclesfield, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

2 Oct 2000 : Column 1184

[Amendment No. 27 not moved.]

2 Oct 2000 : Column 1185

6.22 p.m.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury moved Amendment No. 27A:

    Page 49, line 29, at end insert--

(" . The Prisons Ombudsman shall have comparable functions and powers with regard to the probation service as he does with regard to the prison service.").

The noble Lord said: This amendment seeks to buttress the improvement to the Bill sought by the previous amendment. I understand that the Government may be minded to allow the prisons ombudsman to have responsibility for the workings of the new service. Amendment No. 27A is a probing amendment to discover whether that is the case in the hope that the Government will allow the proposal to be put on the face of the Bill rather than left as an informal arrangement or the subject of subsidiary legislation. This is an important matter. The role of the ombudsman in our national life is now well established and enjoys a great deal of public confidence. We on this side of the Committee believe that the prisons ombudsman could perform a valuable service with regard to the new boards, whatever they are ultimately called. We hope that this amendment commends itself to both the Committee and the Government. I beg to move.

Baroness Blatch: I rise to support the amendment. This is one of those amendments in respect of which I am fairly open minded as to what ends up on the face of the Bill. If, however, it is the intention of the Government that the Probation Service should have access to the ombudsman it should be a statutory matter and thus reflected on the face of the Bill. The reason for my Amendment No. 45 is to give statutory force to the use of the ombudsman for both the Prison Service and the Probation Service. In supporting the other amendment I also support Amendment No. 27A and look forward to the Minister at least being accommodating on this matter. Not only should there be an informal desire on the part of the Home Office that there should be access to the ombudsman but it should be given statutory force.

Lord Hylton: I expect that this pair of amendments has considerable merit. However, I hope that if they were accepted they would be entirely without prejudice to the need for separate inspection services for the Prison Service and the Probation Service.

Baroness Blatch: I rise briefly to support that. Inspection of the service is very different from access to an ombudsman to resolve particular issues regarding individuals.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The noble Baroness makes a point that I intended to make in beginning my response. These issue should be kept separate. The amendments seek to extend by statutory regulations the remit of the non-statutory prisons ombudsman--perhaps the Committee should remind itself of that--to cover complaints about the functions of the national Probation Service for England and Wales. They would

2 Oct 2000 : Column 1186

not, however, put the ombudsman, with or without his extended remit, on a statutory footing. Both amendments are defective. The functions of a non-statutory body cannot be extended by statutory means, which is one of the problems with the amendments.

The Government have announced their intention to extend the remit of the prisons ombudsman to cover probation. We aim to do so once the national probation service has been established. The prisons ombudsman is non-statutory and the remit cannot be extended by statutory means. We are, however, fully committed to putting the joint ombudsman on a statutory footing once the parliamentary timetable allows. These amendments, sadly, do not have that effect.

We announced on 27th July that we intended to extend the remit of the prisons ombudsman to cover probation. We aim to do that once the new service is in place. The prisons ombudsman is an administrative post and his remit can be extended only by administrative means. For those reasons we must oppose the amendment. But we have the clear intention to remedy the non-statutory footing of the ombudsman service as soon as parliamentary time permits. I am grateful to those who have supported that notion. However, I hope that the noble Lord feels able to withdraw his amendment this evening.

6.30 p.m.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury: We have probed and the Minister has satisfactorily responded. I am happy to withdraw the amendment on the basis of his reply.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 1 agreed to.

Clause 5 [Functions of local boards]:

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 28

    Page 3, line 12, leave out ("(for example)").

The noble Baroness said: It would be helpful to have the Government's assistance as regards the amendment. The amendment seeks to remove the words "for example". Subsection (2) of Clause 5 gives two examples and nothing else. Clearly, as the Minister knows, the work of the service covers very much more. Given that the aims and functions are spelt out, why is this provision necessary? Clause 5(2) provides:

    "In addition to making arrangements for provision to be made by its staff, a local board may ... make arrangements for functions of the board to be performed on its behalf by the organisations",


    "make arrangements with individuals who are not members of the board's staff".

Can the Minister throw any more light on the provision? It is not clear whether the words "for example" are followed by paragraphs (a) and (b). I ask him to explain exactly what other arrangements both he and perhaps his officials have in mind. I do not regard this as elegant drafting, but then this is not an elegantly drafted Bill.

2 Oct 2000 : Column 1187

Local boards should be free to establish partnership arrangements with organisations such as the police or local authorities--my understanding is that that will be a requirement for them anyway--which will form part of the local structure set up under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. So it makes sense that they should be able to deliver their services on occasion through such partnership arrangements. All of that is taken as read, because certainly that is the thrust of the Minister's intention for the service. It just seems otiose. I beg to move.

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