House of Lords - Explanatory Note
Criminal Justice And Police Bill - continued          House of Lords

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Paragraph 8: The Freedom of Information Act 2000

297. Includes the Authority within the list of public authorities subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Clause 104: Transitional arrangements relating to Authority's establishment etc

298. Subsection (1) enables the Secretary of State by order to make transitional provisions in connection with the commencement of Part V. Subsection (2) enables the Secretary of State to make orders concerning the transfer of property and staff in connection with the establishment of the Authority. Subsection (3) enables transitional provisions orders and transfer orders to make provision for matters to be determined outside the orders and to provide for the payment of fees to people nominated to make such determinations. Orders under this clause are subject to the negative resolution procedure (subsection (4)).

Part VI: Police Organisation

Police Authorities etc

299. The Bill introduces changes to some of the provisions currently governing police authorities, and the Service Authorities for the National Crime Squad (NCS) and the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS). Most police authorities already appoint vice-chairmen, but this Bill will make the appointment statutory. It removes the maximum age limit for membership of police authorities, independent member selection panels and the Service Authorities for NCS and NCIS, bringing them into line with the Metropolitan Police Authority. The Bill also enables police authorities, and the Service Authorities for NCS/NCIS, to devise their own schemes for payment of allowances, where previously they were bound by a centrally regulated scheme.

Constitution of the Service Authorities, Financial Provisions, and Directors General for NCIS and NCS

300. The National Crime Squad and the National Criminal Intelligence Service were established by the Police Act 1997. This part of the Bill makes changes to the constitution of the Service Authorities that maintain the NCS and the NCIS, alters the financial arrangements for those Authorities and makes further provision relating to the Director General of NCS and NCIS.

301. The main source of funding for both Service Authorities is levies issued, under the Police Act 1997, to police authorities in England and Wales. (The NCIS Service Authority, as a UK-wide body, also receives separately negotiated contributions from Scotland and Northern Ireland.) The Bill replaces the provision for levies with provision for annual grants, to be made to the Service Authorities by the Secretary of State.

302. Currently, the Audit Commission audits the accounts as is the case for police authorities. This Bill changes the auditing arrangements to provide for the National Audit Office to take on this role.

303. As a result of the change in funding arrangements, this part of the Bill also disapplies a wide range of local government enactments that apply to the NCS Service Authority. Provision equivalent to that made by these local government enactments applies to the NCIS Service Authority by virtue of orders under section 44 of the Police Act 1997. Section 44 is also being repealed by the Bill and, accordingly, the orders under that section will cease to have effect.

304. With the abolition of levies on police authorities, provision is made to reduce the number of members of the Service Authorities who are appointed to those Authorities by virtue of their membership of police authorities. At the same time, the restriction that police authority members must be local authority members is removed by the Bill and a wider range of police authority members will now be eligible for appointment as service authority members. In addition, the membership of the NCIS Service Authority is being widened to encompass the Security Service and the core membership of the Service Authorities is being widened to encompass HMCE so that the NCS Service Authority will include HMCE.

305. At present, Directors General for NCIS and NCS are appointed (and removed) by the Service Authorities with the approval of the Secretary of State. The Bill provides for their appointment (and removal) by the Secretary of State. This is because under the new funding arrangements the Permanent Secretary of the Home Office will become the Departmental Accounting Officer (DAO) for NCIS and the NCS, and the Director General of each service will be that service's Accounting Officer (AO). The DAO is responsible for providing funds to both services and for ensuring that the financial and management controls applied by the services conform with the propriety and good financial management requirements applied by the department. The DAO is also accountable to Parliament for those funds. The Accounting Officer (AO) for NCIS and NCS is responsible for the overall organisation, management and staffing of the services and for ensuring that there is a high standard of financial management as a whole. The AO is responsible to Parliament for the resources under his control. By providing for the Secretary of State to make the appointments, the Bill enables him to ensure that each person appointed is competent to fulfil the role of Accounting Officer.

Police Ranks

306. Following a recommendation of the Sheehy inquiry ("The Inquiry into Police Responsibilities and Rewards" published in 1993 (ISBN: 0101228023)) the ranks of deputy chief constable (and the equivalent rank of deputy assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan Police) and chief superintendent were abolished with effect from 1 April 1995. The Home Secretary announced in an answer to a written Parliamentary question on 2 March 1999 that he would reintroduce them at the earliest legislative opportunity.

307. The abolition of the rank of deputy chief constable has given rise to concerns about the selection procedures for assistant chief constable (designate) and the arrangements for the direction and control of a police force. Under the present arrangements an assistant chief constable (designate), has responsibility for managing the police force in the absence of the chief constable. He or she is selected from among the serving assistant chief constables in the force by the chief constable. This procedure differs from other appointments to senior positions which are made by the police authority following the post being advertised and an open selection procedure. Selection by Chief Constable alone may provide an unintended obstacle to the career development of assistant chief constables. The rank of deputy assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan Police which is deemed equivalent to deputy chief constable is also re-introduced in the Bill.

308. The arrangements for the direction and control of a force are being changed by providing that in the absence of both the chief constable and deputy chief constable the police authority would be able to temporarily designate one of the assistant chief constables to direct and control the force in their absence.

309. The abolition of the rank of chief superintendent has led to inconsistencies and confusion with many police forces still using the term chief superintendent. It is now considered that there are advantages in having two superintendent ranks in terms of both command structures and personal positions.

Police Conduct

310. The Bill will remove an anomaly by bringing the regulations on police conduct into line with those in criminal proceedings, where the new style of caution was introduced in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

311. This is the fifth item on a number of commitments to the Home Affairs Committee in response to their report on Police Disciplinary and Complaints Procedures.

Pensions for members of NCIS and NCS

312. The Bill regularises the pension position of senior staff of ACPO rank given fixed term appointments to the two service authorities for the National Crime Squad (NCS) and the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), set up in April 1998 by the Police Act 1997.

313. When the 1997 Act was being considered by Parliament it was decided that the two new organisations should not adopt the Police Pension Scheme (which covers police officers working for forces in England, Wales and Scotland) or the RUC scheme for their senior staff. This decision reflected the fact that NCIS in particular would be a United Kingdom wide police organisation. The intention was that NCIS and NCS would have parallel pension schemes open to all permanent police members, set up under administrative arrangements approved by the Inland Revenue. These would provide the same benefits available under the main police pension arrangements.

314. It subsequently became clear that the "by analogy" pension schemes that had been envisaged for NCS and NCIS permanent staff could not be approved. In order to ensure that senior officers accepting fixed term appointments with NCS and NCIS are not disadvantaged special arrangements were put in place. These are complicated to administer and suitable only as a temporary measure.

315. In the Bill the Police Pensions Act 1976 is being amended to bring the senior officers within the NCS and the NCIS from GB forces fully within the existing Police Pension Scheme. These officers are of chief constable or assistant chief constable rank.

316. The pension position of other police officers working for the authorities is not affected. Those officers work on secondment from their home force and have always remained a part of the Police Pension Scheme or RUC pension scheme.

Pensions for ACPO staff

317. The secretariat of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) is funded mainly by a Home Office grant provided under section 57(1) of the Police Act 1996. Section 57(1) enables the Secretary of State to make contributions to the provision or maintenance of organisations that promote the efficiency or effectiveness of the police. Members of the secretariat - 17 staff in total - are civilian employees. Initially the posts were filled by members of the civil staff of the Metropolitan Police service on secondment. Those concerned were therefore members of the Metropolitan Civil Staff Superannuation Scheme (the MCSSS), a scheme by analogy to the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PSCPS) established under section 15 of the Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1967. That scheme was for members of the civil staff of the Metropolitan Police and for other staff for historical reasons paid by the Receiver for the metropolitan police.

318. For the last decade the members of the secretariat have been employees of ACPO rather than members of the civil staff of the Metropolitan Police service. It is therefore unsatisfactory for them to remain as members of the MCSSS. In the longer term it is, in any event, proposed to wind up the MCSSS in the light of the organisational changes made in the Greater London Authority Act 1999. As the terms of the MCSSS are the same as those for the PCSPS a switch to membership of the PCSPS will not result in any change to the pension entitlement of the staff concerned.

319. In the Bill, provision is made for members of the ACPO secretariat who are members of the MCSSS (whether as current employees or as previous employees with an entitlement to a deferred MCSSS pension) to transfer to the PCSPS.

Clause 105: Vice-chairmen

320. Subsections (1) and (2) amend Schedules 2 and 2A of the Police Act 1996, to allow for the appointment of police authority vice-chairmen. Police authorities and the Service Authorities for NCS and NCIS currently have a statutory chairman but not a statutory vice-chairman. In practice, most police authorities appoint a non-statutory vice-chairman and in some of the larger authorities (e.g. the Metropolitan Police Authority) more than one. This clause gives police authority vice-chairmen official recognition on a statutory footing roughly in line with that relating to local authorities, as determined by section 5 of the Local Government Act 1972. Police authorities will not be required to appoint a vice-chairman, but will be given the discretion to appoint one or more as appropriate.

321. Subsection (3) amends Schedule 2 of the Police Act 1997, to allow for the appointment of a vice-chairman to the Service Authorities of both NCIS and NCS. The appointee must be a core member (for a definition of "core members" please see paragraph 329 of these notes) of the NCIS/NCS Service Authorities and the appointment must be made by the Secretary of State after consultation with Scottish Ministers. There will be no requirement to appoint a vice-chairman.

322. Subsections (4) to (9) make consequential amendments to existing legislation (the Police Act 1996, the Police Act 1997, the Local Government Act 1972) relating to the functions and duties of chairmen by adding references to "vice-chairmen". This will allow a vice-chairman formally to deputise for the chairman and receive additional allowances in respect of extra work carried out.

Clause 106: Removal of age qualification for membership

323. This removes the maximum age limit of 70 for members of police authorities outside London, selection panels for independent member appointments, and the Service Authorities for NCS/NCIS. This clause brings them into line with the Metropolitan Police Authority, which (as established under the Greater London Authority Act 1999), has no maximum age limit for members.

Clause 107: Payment of allowances to authority members etc

324. Subsection (1) amends existing legislation (the Police Act 1996 and the Police Act 1997) to enable police authorities and the Service Authorities for NCS/NCIS to determine members allowances payments for themselves, where previously they were determined by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will retain the power to determine payment of expenses and to give guidance on allowances of which the authorities would be required to take account.

325. Subsections (2) and (3) relate to police authorities outside London and to the Metropolitan Police Authority respectively. By inserting additional provisions into Schedules 2 and 2A of the Police Act 1996, the clauses provide certain rules which all police authorities must follow when devising and implementing their allowances schemes. These rules provide that: any allowances scheme must be published annually, and each time it is revised; payments may differ depending on the role or type of member; authorities may pay expenses and allowances to non-police authority members of standards committees appointed under section 53(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 2000; authorities should have regard to any guidance which the Secretary of State may issue; and the Secretary of State maintains a reserve power to limit by regulations the allowances paid. The section relating to the Metropolitan Police Authority has an additional provision determining that members who are also salaried members of the Greater London Assembly shall not receive allowances payments under the scheme set up by the authority.

326. Subsection (4) amends the Police Act 1997 by introducing provision for the Service Authorities of NCIS and NCS to make varying payments by way of allowances to its chairman, vice-chairman and other members. Only police authority and independent members can receive these allowances which must fall within the limitations imposed by the Secretary of State by regulations. Also, such allowances can only be paid in accordance with arrangements published by the Service Authorities within the previous twelve months. Any revision of such arrangements can only be made with due regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State and can only come into effect by publication.

Clause 108: Number and appointment of the members

327. Subsections (1) and (2) amend sections 1 and 47 of the Police Act 1997 respectively, reducing the membership of the Service Authority for NCIS from nineteen to eleven and the Service Authority for NCS from seventeen to eleven. The provision made by sections 1(2) and 47(2) of that Act enabling the Secretary of State, by order, to increase the membership of the Service Authorities is retained.

328. Subsection (3) introduces Schedule 6 which makes amendments to Schedule 1 to the Police Act 1997. Schedule 1 makes provision about the appointment of members of the Service Authorities.

Schedule 6: The Service Authorities for NCIS and NCS

329. This Schedule amends Schedule 1 to the Police Act 1997. Part 1 of Schedule 1 makes provision for the two Service Authorities to have a common core membership ("the core members"). Part II makes provision for additional members of the NCIS Service Authority and Part III makes provision for additional members of the NCS Service Authority.

Paragraph 2

330. Paragraph 2 reduces the number of core members of the Service Authorities from ten to eight.

Paragraph 3

331. Because of the removal of the link to police authority budgets through the levy, the provision restricting police authority membership on the service Authorities to local authority members of police authorities is removed. Paragraph 3 also changes the number of core members that the Secretary of State appoints under paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 from three only to three or four.

Paragraph 4

332. Paragraph 4 reduces the number of core members appointed by chief officers of police forces in England and Wales and the Assistant Commissioners of the Metropolitan Police from among their number from two to one.

Paragraph 5

333. Paragraph 5 reduces the number of core members appointed by members of police authorities in England and Wales from among their number from four to one. This paragraph also removes the requirement that those members must be police authority members who are also members of a local authority or London Assembly members of the Metropolitan Police Authority.

Paragraph 6

334. Under paragraph 6 of Schedule 1 to the 1997 Act, the Secretary of State currently appoints one Crown servant to be a core member of the Service Authorities. Paragraph 6 of Schedule 6 to the Bill provides that the number of core members appointed by the Secretary of State who are Crown servants will be two, if three are appointed under the provisions of paragraph 3, or one, if four are appointed under those provisions.

Paragraph 7

335. Paragraph 7 inserts a new provision which specifies that the Commissioners of Customs and Excise must appoint one customs officer to be a core member of the Service Authorities.

Paragraph 8

336. Paragraph 8 substitutes new paragraphs 7, 7A and 7B for paragraph 7 of Part II of Schedule 1, of the Police Act 1997. The new paragraphs make provision about the appointment of members of the NCIS Service Authority additional to the core members, where no order has been made under section 1(2) increasing the membership of the Authority. Instead of nine additional members, the Bill provides for three.

337. Currently the nine additional members are -

(a) a Chief Constable in Scotland;

(b) a Deputy Chief Constable in the Royal Ulster Constabulary;

(c) two local authority members of police authorities in England and Wales;

(d) one member of a police authority in Scotland;

(e) one member of the Police Authority for Northern Ireland;

(f) two Crown servants;

(g) one customs officer;

Under the new paragraphs 7, 7A and 7B the three additional members are-

(a) one who is either a Chief Constable in Scotland, a member of a police authority in Scotland or a Crown servant, as decided by the Secretary of State after consultation with the Scottish Ministers;

(b) one who is either a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary/Police Service in Northern Ireland (of at least the rank of Deputy Chief Constable) or a member of the Police Authority for Northern Ireland/Northern Ireland Policing Board or a Crown servant, as decided by the Secretary of State;

(c) one who is a member of the Security Service.

Paragraph 9

338. Paragraph 9 amends the provision made by Part II of Schedule 1 to the 1997 Act for additional members of the NCIS Service Authority where an order has been made under section 1(3) of that Act increasing the membership. The amended paragraph 8 of Schedule 1 enables the Secretary of State to prescribe who, from the list in the amended paragraph 8, is to be responsible for appointing the additional members.

Paragraph 10

339. Paragraph 10 amends the provision for members of the NCS Service Authority additional to the core membership. Instead of seven additional members there will now be three. Under the Police Act 1997 the seven are made up of one police officer and six local authority members of police authorities in England and Wales. This paragraph provides for the three additional members of the NCS Service Authority to be made up of one chief officer, one police authority member and one member not including Chief Constables, police authorities and Crown servants but appointed by the Secretary of State.

Paragraph 11

340. Paragraph 11 amends the provision made by Part III of Schedule 1 to the 1997 Act for additional members of the NCS Service Authority where an order has been made under section 47(3) of that Act increasing the membership. The amended paragraph 10 of Schedule 1 enables the Secretary of State to prescribe who, from the list in the amended paragraph 10, is to be responsible for appointing the additional members.

Paragraphs 12-14

341. Paragraphs 12-14 remove the requirements concerning local authority members of police authorities in paragraphs 12 and 13 of Part IV of Schedule 1 and the definition of such members in paragraph 14.

Clause 109: Transitional provision relating to section 108 etc

342. Subsection (1) enables the order bringing into force clause 108 and Schedule 6 to include transitional provisions.

343. Subsection (2). The transitional provision in the order may include provision for the current members of the Service Authorities to be deemed to have resigned and have satisfied all the criteria of resignation, and for co-opted members to cease to be such members, immediately before the coming into force of provisions setting up the newly constituted Service Authorities. They may also provide for decisions to be made about appointments to the newly constituted Service Authorities to be taken before the provisions relating to resignations take effect. This means that at the time when the current members are deemed to have resigned from the current Service Authorities the newly designated members are duly appointed to the new Service Authorities thus ensuring continuity of service. This provision also enables the "new" Service Authority to exercise certain functions (e.g. preparing a budget statement in relation to the next financial year) while the "old" Service Authority continues to exercise functions in relation to the current financial year.

344. Subsection (4) ensures that, until such time as the new Northern Ireland Police Board (established under the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000) is established, the reference in the new paragraph 7B of Schedule 1 to the Police Act 1997 (inserted by Schedule 6 to the Bill) to that Board is read as a reference to the existing Police Authority for Northern Ireland. No equivalent provision is needed in the Bill in relation to references to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, because the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 itself makes the necessary transitional provision in this regard to ensure that references to this service are read as references to the Royal Ulster Constabulary for as long as necessary.

Clause 110: Preparation of budget statement by NCIS Service Authority

345. This clause inserts a new section 16A into the Police Act 1997. The new section requires the NCIS Service Authority to prepare a budget statement for each financial year. The statement is to include a statement of how much is required by the Authority by way of grant under section 17 (as substituted by clause 111 of the Bill). The Authority is currently obliged under article 4 of the NCIS Service Authority (Levying Order) 1997 (S.I. 1997/2284) to submit a levy proposal to the Secretary of State detailing its expenditure, income, financial reserves and current and proposed borrowing. The new budget statement will replace this levy proposal.

Clause 111: Funding of NCIS Service Authority

346. Section 17 of the Police Act 1997 currently authorises the NCIS Service Authority to issue levies to police authorities in England and Wales. Sections 17 and 17A are substituted for the existing section 17. The new section 17 makes provision for the Secretary of State to make grants to the Service Authority for every financial year. The amount of grant is determined by the Secretary of State and can be varied by him by subsequent determination. If the Service Authority does not submit a budget statement to the Secretary of State, according to the criteria in section 16A, or any details requested under section 17A(1), the Secretary of State is not obliged to make a grant under section 17(1) but may still make a grant for that year. The Secretary of State can attach conditions to the payment of any grant, such as specifying how the payment or any part of it can be used and requiring repayment in specified circumstances.

347. The new section 17A enables the Secretary of State to require the Service Authority to provide him with further information to assist him in determining the level of the grant to be paid under the new section 17. It also requires the Secretary of State to prepare a report setting out the details of any grant paid and the factors involved in arriving at his decision. The report is sent to the NCIS Service Authority and laid before the House of Commons. The new section 17A also makes provision for grants to be paid in instalments and for repayment of any amount overpaid.

Clause 112: Duty of NCIS Service Authority to prepare accounts

348. This clause amends the Police Act 1997 by inserting provisions governing the keeping of proper accounts and records in relation to those accounts, the preparation of a statement of those accounts for each financial year, and the sending of copies of that statement to the Secretary of State and the Comptroller and Auditor General. It will be the statutory duty of the Comptroller and Auditor General to examine and certify the NCIS statement of accounts and issue a report to be laid before Parliament together with the statement.

Clause 113: Preparation of budget statement by NCS Service Authority

349. This clause makes provision in respect of the NCS Service Authority equivalent to that made by clause 110 of the Bill for the NCIS Service Authority. Clause 113 inserts a new section 61A into the Police Act 1997. The new section requires the NCS Service Authority to prepare a budget statement for each financial year. The statement is to include a statement of how much is required by the Authority by way of grant under section 62 (as substituted by clause 111 of the Bill). The Authority is currently obliged, under article 4 of the NCS Service Authority (Levying Order) 1997 (S.I.1997/2283), to submit a levy proposal to the Secretary of State detailing its expenditure, income, financial reserves and current and proposed borrowing. The new budget statement will replace the levy proposal.

Clause 114: Funding of NCS Service Authority

350. Section 62 of the Police Act 1997 currently authorises the NCS Service Authority to issue levies to police authorities in England and Wales. Sections 62 and 62A are substituted for the existing section 62. The new section 62 makes provision for the Secretary of State to make grants to the Service Authority for every financial year. The amount of the grant is determined by the Secretary of State and can be varied by him by subsequent determination. If the Service Authority does not submit a budget statement to the Secretary of State, according to the criteria in section 61A, or any details requested under section 62A(1), the Secretary of State is not obliged to make a grant under section 62(1) but may still make a grant for that year. The Secretary of State can attach conditions to the payment of any grant, such as specifying how the payment or any part of it can be used and requiring repayment in specified circumstances.

351. The new section 62A enables the Secretary of State to require the Service Authority to provide him with further information to assist him in determining the level of the grant to be paid under the new section 62. It also requires the Secretary of State to prepare a report setting out the details of any grant paid and the factors involved in arriving at his decision. The report is sent to the NCIS Service Authority and laid before the House of Commons. The new section 62A also makes provision for grants to be paid in instalments and for repayment of any amount overpaid.

 
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Prepared: 19 March 2001