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I turn first to the comments of the noble Viscount. He is absolutely right in saying that this follows a precedent set by other codes, particularly PACE codes. There is, of course, an important difference. The PACE codes relate to criminal matters, whereas the provisions in the Proceeds of Crime Act are civil.
He asked whether it was intended to keep under review the operation of the code. Again, he is absolutely right in saying that we have to take account of the fact that there are constant changes in the ways in which criminal conduct is committed, and we have to keep up to date with those. I can assure him that the operation of the code will be kept under review.
The noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, will forgive me if I do not pick up on his grammatical points. I am sure that they are all goodalthough I took exception to one or two and was not sure that I agreed with them. But never mind. It is not possible to amend the code at this stage. Plainly, the noble Lord's points will be taken into account when there is a revision of the code. Dare I say that there was an opportunity to comment previously? Had those points been made at an earlier stage, they would no doubt have been looked at and either accepted or not as the draftsmen thought right.
I shall deal with the noble Lord's specific points. The first question, related to paragraph 9, was on the power to detain so that a search can take place. The noble Lord is right in saying that under Section 289(3) of the Act, the power to detain applies only where there is a search of a person, not where there is a search of an article. The code says that the person may be detained,
The second point, related to paragraph 22, was on reports to be made by Customs officers in Scotland. It states that they must be submitted to a "person appointed", who will be appointed by Scottish Ministers. The noble Lord is not right on this point. It is a devolution issue. The draft code covers Customs officers throughout the United Kingdom. In respect of police officers, a separate code is issued by Scottish Ministers. The difference between the two is that Customs matters are reserved under the Scotland Act 1998 whereas policing matters are not. That accounts for the difference in treatment between them.
The noble Lord also questioned whether the appointed person had yet been appointed. He has. A panel under Home Office chairmanship, which included a circuit judge and an independent assessor, met on two days in November to consider candidates from a wide field. My honourable friend the Under-Secretary has invited Mr Andrew Clarke to take up the post on 30th December.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham) rose to move, That the draft regulations laid before the House on 20th November be approved [2nd Report from the Joint Committee].
The noble Baroness said: My Lords, these draft regulations are entirely benign. I hope, therefore, not only that they will be welcomed, but welcomed uneventfully. They have two purposes. First, they will remove a barrier to volunteering among the unemployed. As your Lordships will be aware, those claiming jobseeker's allowance must generally be available to take up an offer of paid work immediately. Jobseekers who undertake voluntary activities are, however, allowed 48 hours' notice before they must start a job. That short period of notice leaves it difficult for voluntary organisations to manage the activities of unemployed volunteers. The amending regulations should make it easier. Claimant volunteers will in future have a week's grace before they must start employment. That will give voluntary organisations a week to arrange for others to do the work that the unemployed volunteers have been doing. They will thus have as much notice as many employers, whose employees must give a week's notice before quitting.
The relaxation in the rules should also make it easier for jobseekers to make a greater commitment to volunteering. At present, around one in 10 jobseekers participates in voluntary activities. We hope that this amendment may, in a modest way, enable that proportion to rise. By undertaking voluntary activity, unemployed people can both make a difference to their own community and improve their own lives. It does not always lead to a paid job; but it can help people to acquire more experience, skills and confidence, which may in turn help them to succeed in the labour market.
We do, however, need to retain the work focus of jobseeker's allowance if it is to be effective in getting jobless people into employment. So we propose that claimant volunteers should still be available at 48 hours' notice for an interview in connection with a job. That should prevent them from missing employment
The second purpose of these amending regulations is to take account of the introduction of statutory paternity and adoption leave. As your Lordships will know, this year's Employment Act introduced important new rights to help parents to balance their work and family lives. Those include, for the first time, rights to paid time off work for fathers and adoptive parents. Draft Regulation 5 deals with the need to provide that, while they are on paternity leave or the paid period of adoption leave, parents are not to be treated as available for employment. That is essentially a back-up measure, as we do not expect that, in practice, parents who are on leave from their jobs to look after their children will try to claim JSA. But, if they do, it is clearly reasonable to treat them as not being available for employment. It is also important to prevent double provision between JSA and statutory paternity pay or statutory adoption pay. Currently, women are ineligible for JSA while receiving statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance because they are not regarded as available for employment. We are simply extending this approach to cover the new situations created by the Employment Act.
In conclusion, these draft regulations have two aims. First, they indicatealbeit modestlythe Government's commitment to supporting an expansion of voluntary activity among unemployed people. Secondly, they deal with the need to provide that people on adoption or paternity leave are not to be treated as available for employment, should they try to claim jobseeker's allowance. I am satisfied that these draft regulations are compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. I commend them to the House. I beg to move.
Lord Higgins: My Lords, I agree that the draft regulations are benign and can be welcomed. The noble Baroness hopes that they will be welcomed "uneventfully", but I am not sure what she means by that. I have only two "events" to raise. First, the regulations do not appear to define voluntary work. I understand from what she has said that it means voluntary work for an organisation. That still leaves unanswered the question of what is an organisation in this context. She may be able to enlighten us.
Secondly, as the noble Baroness rightly points out, the regulations also cover statutory paternity leave or ordinary adoption leave. I am clear on what statutory paternity leave is, but I am unclear on what ordinary adoption leave is, as against extraordinary adoption leave, if there is such a thing. Perhaps she might clarify these points. Otherwise, I agree entirely that these are sensible regulations, which should be approved.
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