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Lord Cope of Berkeley: My Lords, I also think that the amendments improve the Bill. I am grateful to the Minister for considering so carefully the arguments that we made in Committee. I am even more grateful to him for agreeing to them.

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Lord Thomas of Gresford: My Lords, I too thank the Minister for listening to the arguments which we put forward from these Benches and for coming forward with proposals which are entirely acceptable.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 11 [Register of licences]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 20:


    Page 8, leave out line 18 and insert--


("( ) the name of the holder of the licence;
( ) an address for the holder of the licence which satisfies the prescribed requirements;
( ) the time when the licence will cease to have effect unless renewed; and").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, these amendments add to the information that must be published in the registers for individual licence holders and approved contractors--namely, the expiry date of personal licences and company approvals. They also seek to allow the authority to be able to prescribe which address should be published on the register.

During the debate in Committee, the noble Viscount, Lord Astor, suggested an amendment which would add a requirement for the register of approved companies to show the date on which a company received approval and the date it was due for renewal. As I said in the debate, the Government agree that the publication of the expiry date of the company approval would be a valuable addition. I also said that it would be equally valuable in relation to the register of individual licences established under Clause 11. I undertook to bring forward our own amendments to address these points.

These amendments will add, therefore, a requirement into both Clauses 11 and 13 that the registers, in addition to the information already prescribed in those clauses, should also publish the expiry dates of personal licences and company approvals.

The second effect of the amendments arises from our having considered some concerns that were expressed in Committee about the publication of addresses on the registers. Clauses 11 and 13 at present require that the registers shall publish the names and addresses of the licence holder or approved person as the case may be. In Committee the noble Lord, Lord Cope, expressed some fears that the publication of a security operative's address in a publicly accessible register might leave him or her open to pressure from criminals threatening his or her family. This is an important point, and we have taken it seriously. It is another anxiety to be considered within the current atmosphere of concern about animal rights activists. The Bill as currently drafted places no requirement on the register to publish the home addresses of security operatives; indeed, the address of the operative's employer would be more appropriate and useful given the nature of the registers. These amendments therefore clarify that the address to be published in the registers is that which "satisfies the prescribed requirements"--that is, the address that is supplied when a person applies for a licence or a company

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approval. In the vast majority of cases, this will be the business address of the firm employing the security operative.

It is true that security operatives who work from home would thereby have their home addresses published. However, people working from home must already have made their address available, not least to potential customers. I am not convinced, therefore, that the publication of their place of business--which seems unavoidable if the system of registers is to work effectively--should be a significant concern.

There is a second effect of requiring the register to show the address that "satisfies the prescribed requirements". Other amendments standing in my name today introduce into Clauses 10 and 17--in response to concerns expressed in your Lordships' House--an avenue of appeal from authority decisions to the "appropriate magistrates' court". Those amendments define "appropriate" as being the magistrates' court for the petty sessions area in which stands the address for which the applicant is or would be registered. The expansion in Clauses 11 and 13 of the address to be published in the registers establishes a more transparent link to the amendments which relate to the appeals to magistrates' courts.

I hope that the amendments will delight and enthuse Members of your Lordships' House. I think that they satisfy concerns raised earlier. For those reasons, I beg to move.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: My Lords, the Minister has again had the wisdom to agree with some of the arguments put forward in Committee; and I am grateful.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 12 [Licensing at local authority level]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 21:


    Page 9, line 5, at end insert--


("( ) Section (Appeals in licensing matters) shall apply in relation to a decision made by a local authority in accordance with an order under subsection (1) as it applies in relation to a decision of the Authority; and where it so applies it shall have effect as if the references in subsections (2) and (4) of that section to the Authority were references to the local authority that made the decision in question.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 13 [Register of approved contractors]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendments Nos. 22 and 23:


    Page 9, leave out line 28 and insert--


("( ) the name of that person;
( ) an address for that person which satisfies the prescribed requirements;"). Page 9, line 29, after ("approved;") insert--


("( ) the time when the approval will cease to have effect unless renewed;").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

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Clause 17 [Appeals relating to approval]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 24:


    Leave out Clause 17 and insert the following new clause--

APPEALS RELATING TO APPROVALS

(" .--(1) Where--
(a) an application for an approval for the purposes of section 14 is refused,
(b) conditions are included as conditions of such an approval, or
(c) such an approval is modified or withdrawn,
the applicant or, as the case may be, the approved person may appeal to the appropriate magistrates' court against the Authority's decision to refuse to grant the approval, to include those conditions or, as the case may be, to modify or to withdraw the approval.
(2) An appeal under subsection (1) must be brought before the end of the period of twenty-one days beginning with the day on which the decision appealed against was first notified to the appellant by the Authority.
(3) For the purposes of subsection (1) the appropriate magistrates' court is the magistrates' court for the petty sessions area in which is situated, as the case may be--
(a) the address for the appellant that has been supplied for the purpose of being recorded (if an approval is granted) in the register maintained under section 13; or
(b) the address for the appellant that is for the time being recorded in that register.
(4) Where a magistrates' court makes a decision on an appeal under subsection (1), an appeal to the Crown Court may be brought against that decision either by the Authority or by the person on whose appeal that decision was made.
(5) Where an application for the grant of an approval by way of a renewal is refused or an approval is withdrawn, the approval to which the application or withdrawal relates, shall be deemed to remain in force--
(a) for the period during which an appeal may be brought under subsection (1);
(b) for the period from the bringing of any such appeal until it is determined or abandoned;
(c) for the period from any determination on appeal that an approval should be granted until effect is given to that determination, or it is overturned on a further appeal;
(d) during any such period as the appropriate magistrates' court or the Crown Court may direct, pending an appeal from a determination made on an appeal to that magistrates' court.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 18 [Powers of entry and inspection]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 25:


    Page 12, line 43, at beginning insert ("Subject to subsections (2A) and (2B),").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 25, I speak also to Amendments Nos. 26 to 29.

The grouped amendments standing in my name relate to the security industry authority's powers of entry and inspection as set out in Clause 18. Clause 18 as drafted allows a person authorised in writing by the authority to enter any premises owned or occupied by any person appearing to him to be a regulated person, and to require the production of documents or other information relating to the provision of designated

5 Mar 2001 : Column 44

security services. Noble Lords opposite were critical of this clause when it was debated in Committee. The noble Lord, Lord Cope, pointed out that the power to enter premises appeared to be unfettered and he was very concerned that it appeared to include the right of entry into domestic premises. The noble Lord referred to the safeguards that would accrue if the power were limited to one which was exercisable solely on production of a warrant from a justice of the peace. The noble Lord, Lord Thomas, asked the Government carefully to consider the provisions of Clause 18. The noble Lord saw merit in allowing an inspector to enter business premises in a routine inspection but shared the concerns of the noble Lord, Lord Cope, about entry into domestic premises. As he often does, the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, criticised trenchantly the clause as adding to the number of powers of entry and inspection.

In reply to those criticisms, I indicated that I believed that noble Lords had raised a serious matter. I had reservations about the need for the power of entry to be exercisable solely on production of a warrant, but I was willing to consider excluding from the provisions of Clause 18 premises used solely as domestic premises. I undertook to think seriously about the important issues here.

I have now done so, and I commend these amendments to your Lordships' House. Amendment No. 25 is consequential upon Amendments Nos. 26, 28 and 29. Amendment No. 26 gives effect to my undertaking in Committee to exclude premises occupied exclusively for residential purposes as a private dwelling. As I indicated, I was persuaded by the arguments of the noble Lords opposite on this point. The amendments do not introduce a requirement for a warrant in order to enter such private domestic premises. Amendment No. 26 simply takes such premises out of consideration.

That does not mean, however, that private dwellings that are also used as business premises are excluded from inspection. That is what Amendment No. 27 put forward by noble Lords opposite seeks to do. The principle behind that amendment seems to be that an Englishman's home is his castle, even when it is also an office. I am sure that the amendment would introduce a potentially serious weakness in the authority's ability to enforce its licensing regime. The Government argue that individuals undertaking particular trades or professions implicitly bind themselves into the regulatory frameworks which relate to those occupations. That must include the right of the central authority to exercise, within a proper regard for civil liberties, its duly established inspectorial functions. This amendment would give carte blanche to security operatives and managers who wished for criminal or unscrupulous purposes to evade the authority's reach to do so simply by running their business from home. I cannot believe that such a loophole would remain unexploited by those very people we have most reason to hope will be the subject of some of the authority's closest attention--the unprofessional door supervisor company or the rogue wheelclamper.

5 Mar 2001 : Column 45

It was argued in Committee that warrants should be required for entry by the authority into some or all properties owned or occupied by regulated persons. One might argue that if the Government are not willing to exclude from the authority's reach residential properties that are also used for security businesses, they should consider a requirement for the authority to obtain a warrant before seeking to enter business premises which also happen to be used for residential purposes. For reasons I outline in relation to amendments relating to Clause 18, and as I have outlined above, we are not persuaded that a warrant should be required in order to exercise powers of entry into business premises. An authority which regulates a business sector should be able to exercise reasonable powers with regard to the premises on which that business is being conducted.

A door supervisor, for example, or his manager or employer who arranges future bookings from his kitchen table by means of a mobile phone is conducting a business and should be subject to checks by the authority. In order to do so, however, the authority should need to be satisfied that a business is being conducted in that way. There is no question of the occasional business-related phone call from home bringing domestic premises into the ambit of Clause 18 as we now propose to amend it.

The Government continue to believe that a warrant should not be required in order to exercise powers of entry into business premises. We believe that a valid distinction can be drawn between the need for judicial authorisation before the state interferes with citizens' privacy and the legitimate constraints on members of a chosen trade or profession. Individuals in a wide variety of businesses and professions implicitly agree to be bound by the regulatory and other frameworks that apply to that business. In many cases that includes a right of inspection by a central authority that is proportionate to achieving central objectives.

I stress that nothing in the Bill confers powers of entry by force on the authority. Amendment No. 28 introduces additional safeguards that I hope commend themselves to your Lordships. The person authorised by the authority to exercise the power of entry and inspection must do so only at a reasonable hour. What is "reasonable" must be determined by the facts of the case and the nature of the business undertaken. For example, firms supplying door supervisor services may still be operating in the early hours of the morning, when those services are still being supplied. It may be reasonable for the authority to want to see what is going on at that time. There will equally be many situations in which a request for entry at such an hour would be manifestly unreasonable. The facts of the case must decide the authority's actions and the likelihood of any action being brought against it as a result.

Amendment No. 28 also imposes a number of requirements on how the person exercising the powers shall proceed. He must comply with reasonable requests for him to state the purpose for which the power is being exercised. If requested, he must also show the authorisation that he carries from the

5 Mar 2001 : Column 46

security industry authority and produce evidence of his identity. He must also make a record of the date and time of his entry, how long he remained on the premises and his conduct while there. Finally, he must, if requested, provide anyone on the premises at the time with a copy of that record.

Amendment No. 29 introduces a requirement for the security industry authority to prepare and publish guidance on the manner in which authorised persons should exercise their powers and how they should conduct themselves while doing so. The authority must bring that guidance and any updates to it to the attention of those persons likely to be affected by it--that is, persons in the industry who may be liable to inspection. The guidance might contain information relating to what the authority takes to be reasonable hours according to circumstances, any limits on the number of officials allowed to enter or the length of their stay on regulated premises and the training they may receive in relation to their powers. No doubt it will also cover other issues.

The amendments provide valuable safeguards for those who will be regulated by the security industry authority. I believe that the balance of enforcement and civil liberties is now right. I am grateful to those who made their cases so persuasively in Committee. I hope that the noble Lords will not move Amendment No. 27. I beg to move.

5 p.m.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: My Lords, Amendment No. 27 is an amendment to Amendment No. 26, which is in this group. I am grateful to the Minister for having moved a long way and entirely in the right direction on powers of entry. He has set out a number of additional provisions that make the powers much more reasonable, not least the fact that they are exercisable only at a reasonable hour.

However, I still have a difficulty with the word, "exclusively". As the Minister said, the protection is provided only to premises that are occupied exclusively for residential purposes as a private dwelling. Of course, in some cases the majority of the premises concerned are used as an office but there happens to be some residential provision as well. Other people conduct a certain amount of their business from their house. Investigators, for example, may live some way away and cover a different area of the country from the main area covered by their company. They may operate their part of the business from their private house. In such a case, to an extent the person with the licence submits himself to the licensing regime to do his business.

However, there may be someone who requires a licence to do his job and does none of it from home, but whose wife conducts an unrelated business from the home. Such domestic premises would not be classified as a private dwelling used exclusively for residential purposes because of the wife's business. Although his home would be protected if she did not work, the fact that she conducted an unrelated business from there would open it up to the powers of entry.

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That is why I have hesitated over the word, "exclusively". I do not pretend that leaving out the word will result in perfect drafting, because the boundary is complicated, but the point is worthy of the Minister's consideration.


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