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Viscount Goschen: My Lords, does the Minister accept that there is likely to be a dialogue between the doormen who are supplied on contract and the owner of the night-club? Does he agree that in many circumstances it is feasible that instructions will be given by the owner of the night-club to the doormen? Although they are not employees of the night-club owner, the latter may well say, for example, "This is our policy for tonight", and influence the actions of the doormen, not just their manager.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I am sure the noble Viscount is right that it may influence their behaviour on the night, but no doubt the overriding consideration is what is in the contract between the owner of the club and the provider of the service.

Any person who is assaulted by a door supervisor is likely to have redress against that door supervisor's employer. The assault would also probably be a criminal offence--I do not believe that we should dismiss that lightly--with the consequence that any victim would be likely to be entitled to submit a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. We remain unconvinced by the amendment, improved though it may be.

Lord Thomas of Gresford: My Lords, has the noble Lord considered the great advantage of imposing a discipline upon the owner of the night-club to ensure that his operatives do not indulge in unacceptable conduct? Certainly, the clause provides for more than vicarious liability--it is strict liability--for the acts of bouncers who are employed at the club. That may well be a good thing, because it will ensure that at all times the owner of the club maintains considerable oversight of what goes on, knowing that if he allows anything untoward to happen he will be strictly liable for it. In many instances, strict liability has advantages.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I see the noble Lord's point, but in any event the owners of the club must conduct themselves properly. They will have responsibility for what happens on their premises. In any event there is also the question of the contractual arrangements which are in place. I do not believe that this amendment adds anything of weight. The argument is that it extends vicarious liability too far. It will probably place an unnecessary burden where it does not need to rest. I cannot see any advantage in the amendment beyond what is already provided for in the legislation. Although the amendment has been modified, I believe that noble Lords opposite should reflect on what I have said about the nature of vicarious liability. I hope that at this stage they will not

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pursue the amendment which would be undesirable. I shall carefully study what has been said during the course of the debate, but I am not minded to accept the amendment even in its modified form.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: My Lords, I admit to being very susceptible to arguments about not placing undue or extra burdens on employers and businesses generally. However, the argument comes less satisfactorily from this Government who in this Bill and the one to be debated later today, as well as in other legislation, are constantly creating more burdens and licences and setting up more authorities to supervise different kinds of businesses. I believe that a clause of this character--obviously, I am not wedded to the precise wording of the amendment--would make the liability of the employers clearer than does the common law, and hence it would have a beneficial effect on the behaviour of door supervisors.

The Minister has generously agreed to consider the matter further. We shall also reflect on it. Meanwhile, we must continue to rely on the common law and perhaps, ultimately, the requirement on the new security industry authority both to raise standards and to keep the law under review in future. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 6 [Licensing criteria]:

[Amendments Nos. 11 to 13 not moved.]

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 14:


    Page 5, line 43, after ("the") insert ("training and").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, Amendment No. 14 is a small and, I argue, perfectly formed but useful amendment which responds to some helpful points made in Committee about the relationship between the authority's functions as established in Clause 1 and the detailed expansion of some of those functions in subsequent clauses. Noble Lords opposite variously commented upon the connection--or, as they saw it, the disconnection--in the Bill between the authority's functions in Clause 1(2)(e) to set and approve standards of, among other things, training, and the licensing criteria as set out in Clause 6(3)(b), which allow the authority to include criteria relating to skills in judging licence applications.

One may argue that the reference in Clause 6(3)(b) to "skills" hits the right target, since what the licence applicant is proved to be capable of may be far more relevant in terms of licensing criteria than training that he may happen to have undergone, perhaps badly. However, we regard the points made by noble Lords opposite as useful in fleshing out the description of the criteria that may be applicable by virtue of Clause 6. This amendment adds a reference to "training" in Clause 6(3)(b) to complement the existing reference to "skills" and to make it clear that both concepts can and may be used to inform the authority's determination of

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its licensing criteria. I am grateful to noble Lords opposite for their good arguments at an earlier stage. I beg to move.

Viscount Astor: My Lords, we are grateful to the Minister for tabling this amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 7 [Licences to engage in licensable conduct]:

Viscount Astor moved Amendment No. 15:


    Page 6, line 33, at end insert ("shall carry a photograph of the licence holder and").

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, Amendment No. 15 is a simple amendment which refers to the licence to be granted by the authority. We believe that it would be much better if the licence carried a photograph of the licence holder. After all, passes issued to your Lordships and Members of another place include photographs. The same applies to passports, firearms certificates, shotgun certificates, new driving licences and a good number of credit cards. I am sure the Minister will say that this is a matter for the authority, but we believe that this is important. Problems often arise because of identification, particularly in this industry. Therefore, I believe that it is reasonable for Parliament to impose on the authority a requirement that a photograph be included. This is a minimal cost in terms of the licence, and it arises in a number of other situations. I hope that the Minister welcomes the amendment. I beg to move.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I welcome the amendment, but that is a rather different consideration. I appreciate the argument that the noble Viscount makes in moving the amendment. He is absolutely right that photographic licences can be seen with increasing frequency. Passes, passports and driving licences now include photographs. This provision is not something that we want to have on the face of the Bill; it is a matter that Parliament traditionally expects to see in the form of regulations. We believe that it is important for this matter to be dealt with in regulation. We do not want to set in stone in a Bill a matter of detail rather than a philosophical issue or something of practical substance. Although we appreciate and sympathise with the spirit of the amendment, for reasons of practicality and the way in which we construct legislation we ask the noble Viscount to withdraw the amendment. Certainly, I cannot conceive of an effective licensing regime which does not make use of photographs of licence holders. However, this is not the way to deal with the issue; it should be a matter for secondary legislation. For those reasons, I hope that the noble Viscount will feel able to withdraw the amendment.

4 p.m.

Viscount Astor : My Lords, before the Minister sits down perhaps I may ask him a question. I appreciate what he has said, but is he proposing that the Government will bring forward regulations that

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include the necessity to have a photograph on the licence? If that is what I think he is saying, I should be delighted to withdraw my amendment.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I am not quite saying that. It is likely that that is exactly what we will do, but it is for the regulations to deal with that particular issue. I cannot give the complete assurance that the noble Viscount seeks. However, in these circumstances, I cannot conceive of a licence that will not have a photograph on it.

Viscount Astor: My Lords, the Minister has gone 99 per cent of the way. I am grateful for that. Perhaps between now and Third Reading the Government will consider what is to go in the regulations and write to me. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Viscount Astor moved Amendment No. 16:


    Page 7, line 6, at end insert--


("(9) In exercising the functions prescribed by this Act, the Authority shall act with reasonable care and skill and shall--
(a) be liable at the suit of the person or persons claiming to have sustained loss or damage for any loss or damage sustained as a result of a breach of such duty; and
(b) have it within its discretion to compensate any person or persons claiming to have sustained such loss or damage.").

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, the amendment concerns the authority's duty to behave with reasonable care and skill. The essence of the amendment is in paragraphs (a) and (b). They state that a person who has sustained loss or damage can ask for compensation because an authority has acted in some way that it should not, and that the authority could compensate. The Minister may tell me about the appeals procedure and so on. In many cases a dispute is better settled before an appeal. Therefore, I should like to know, if the authority feels it has made a mistake, recognises that it has and does not want to go through the whole appeal procedure, will it be able to say, "We recognise that we have made a mistake and that you have had some damage or loss to your business or earnings. Therefore, we have the power to give you some form of compensation". It would be helpful if the Minister could explain whether an authority can do that.

We want as much flexibility as possible because there will be cases where people feel aggrieved. Authorities will not get the matter right in every case. As happens in many other instances, we want a system of--what one might call--negotiation because it would certainly not be right for every form of dispute to go through a complicated appeal mechanism. That would be hugely time-consuming for the authority and would not make sense. I beg to move.


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