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10 Jul 2001 : Column WA69

Written Answers

Tuesday, 10th July 2001.

Football Banning Orders

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What types of evidence have been held to justify the making of orders under Sections 21A and 21B of the Football (Disorder) Act 2000; and [HL135]

    How many appeals there have been against banning orders under Section 21B of the Football (Disorder) Act 2000, and what have been the results of any such appeals which have progressed to judgment; and [HL136]

    Further to paragraph 20 of the Home Office Report to Parliament on the Football (Disorder) Act 2000; and the statement there that "the majority of banning orders continue to be made on conviction of a football related offence", how many orders were not so made, on what type of evidence they were based, and how many, if any, were not based on a court conviction. [HL137]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Rooker): The Football Banning Orders Authority advises that in addition to the 44 banning orders on complaint cited in the Home Office report, two orders were imposed and subsequently overturned on appeal. Detailed information on the evidence laid before the courts in each case is not held centrally. However, the authority advises that all persons subject to complaint proceedings, including those prompted by Section 21B notices, have convictions for violence or public order offences, not necessarily connected with football, committed within the time-scale specified in the Act.

House of Lords Reform

Lord Rees asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What consultation there will be before any further legislation on the reform of this House is introduced; and (a) who will be the parties to any such consultation; and (b) what terms of reference will govern such consultation. [HL138]

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The Government will publish their proposals before introducing a Bill. It will therefore be open to anyone who wishes to comment on our proposals. We do not intend to repeat the extensive public consultation exercise of the Royal Commission chaired by the noble Lord, Lord Wakeham, but we shall of course ensure that the political parties have a full opportunity to make their views known. We do not see a role for a joint committee. As I told the House in the debate on the Address, our proposals will be based on the recommendations of the Royal Commission (21 June 2001, col. 110). We will consider carefully all representations made within this context, but we will not allow consultation to become an excuse for excessive delay.

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Cabinet Committees

Baroness Pitkeathley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the membership of each Cabinet Committee.[HL264]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Prime Minister has today placed a copy of the current list of Cabinet Committees, their membership and terms of reference in the Library of the House. Details will also be updated on the Cabinet Office website.

Children Act: Responsibilities of Fathers

Lord Quirk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    With respect to Section 2 of the Children Act 1989, what are the duties and responsibilities of fathers; and where these are set out for public information.[HL80]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The Children Act 1989 does not define the responsibilities of fathers specifically, but Section 3(1) defines parental responsibility as all the "rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property". The Act does not set out the content of these rights, duties, powers and responsibilities.

Although the Law Commission Report on Guardianship and Custody (1988 Law Comm. No 172), on which the Children Act was based, specifically recognised the practical impossibility of providing a list of what might constitute parental responsibility, familiar components in law of "parental responsibility" include to name, to provide a home, to have contact, to protect and maintain, to discipline, to determine and provide for education, to determine religion and to provide consent for medical treatment.

Judicial Appointments: Northern Ireland

Lord Merlyn-Rees asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to appoint a Judicial Appointments Commissioner to oversee judicial appointments in Northern Ireland.[HL265]

The Lord Chancellor: Pending a decision on the devolution of justice matters, which are excepted matters under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and which would require primary legislation, I have decided to subject the appointment of judges and Silks in Northern Ireland to supervision and scrutiny by a commissioner. I have consulted the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland and others on the necessary adaptations to the model suggested by Sir Leonard Peach for England and Wales, and the post will be advertised in the press from tomorrow.

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The early appointment of a commissioner to audit, oversee and monitor all aspects of the existing appointments procedures is a practical step which will advance public confidence and provide strong reassurance about the integrity of the current system.

Judicial Appointments: England and Wales

Lord Tomlinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What further progress they have made in establishing a commission to oversee judicial appointments and Queen's Counsel appointment procedures in England and Wales. [HL266]

The Lord Chancellor: Professor Sir Colin Campbell was appointed as First Commissioner for Judicial Appointments by Order in Council made on 14 March 2001. He started work immediately on developing the commission's roles of auditing the judicial appointments and Queen's Counsel appointment procedures and investigating individual complaints. Sir Colin and I are very keen to progress to the next stage in the establishment of the commission, which will be the appointment of the first few deputy commissioners. There is also to be a commissioner for judicial appointments for Northern Ireland, who will additionally serve as a deputy commissioner in England and Wales. The posts will be advertised in the press from tomorrow, with a view to the appointments being made around the end of the year.


Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What consideration they are giving to the findings of the National Autistic Society's recent survey of adults with autism and Asperger syndrome and their carers entitled Ignored or Ineligible? The Reality for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders; and whether there is any action they will take to improve levels of support for them. [HL156]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Ignored or Ineligible covers a broad range of issues and its recommendations are being carefully considered. I met with representatives of the National Autistic Society on 2 July. My ministerial colleague, Ms Jacqui Smith, is meeting them shortly. They also met with Department of Health officials on 6 July.

The implementation of the Government White Paper Valuing People will improve services for people with autism who also have a learning disability. It does not preclude other people with autism from using learning disability services where they find them helpful.

By bringing together health, social care and education agencies we will also have the scope to improve opportunities and services for people on the autistic spectrum.

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People with autistic spectrum disorders will benefit from more general initiatives such as the NHS Plan, Quality Protects and the Mental Health and Children's National Service Frameworks.

Healthcare Provision: Number of Doctors in France

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have information on the number of doctors per capita in France; and, if so, whether they will publish it. [HL167]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Organisation of Economic Corporation and Development publishes data on the number of doctors per capita in France. This shows that the number of doctors per capita in France in 1998 was three per 1,000.

Healthcare Provision: Comparisons

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that the quality of healthcare provision in the United Kingdom should be no less favourable than the quality of such provision in other European countries such as France; and, if not, why not. [HL199]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Our ambition is to give our country the quality of healthcare provision that compares favourably with the best in Europe. A set of new policies, programmes and structures has been introduced since 1997 which have created in the National Health Service the conditions for a comprehensive approach to assuring and improving the quality of NHS care and patient safety.

This programme was developed in A First Class Service: Quality in the new NHS and expanded and strengthened in the NHS Plan, published in July 2000.

General Practitioners

Lord Smith of Leigh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the general practitioner per capita ratio on the lowest geographical basis for which figures are available; and[HL105]

    What information they have about the age profiles of general practitioners; and whether they can predict the level of retirements over the next five years.[HL106]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Information on the average number of registered patients per general practitioner by primary care group trust was published in March 2001 in the statistical bulletin General and Personal Medical Services Statistics England and Wales.

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Copies are available in the Library and on the Department of Health website at The statistical bulletin also includes data on the age profile of GPs, which, with information received from other sources including the NHS Pensions Agency, inform the Department of Health's workforce forecasts.

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