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Baroness Noakes: My name and that of my noble friend Lord Astor of Hever also appear against this amendment which we strongly support. It cannot be sensible to make the offence dependent on regular contact. The nature of the position creates the relationship that can be abused—and that relationship can begin from the outset of the child's exposure to the individual.

Lord Skelmersdale: I want rapidly to add my support to my noble friend Lady Blatch. On Second Reading, I said that she ought to consider bringing part-time teachers within the clause. I am delighted that she has done so and hope that the Minister is too.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I hope that I can reassure the Committee. What constitutes "regular" will depend on the particular factor or individual situation, but is obviously expected to cover not only the full-time class teacher or matron in a children's home but, for example, the peripatetic teacher who takes a child for music lessons once a week; the supply teacher who provides cover during the maternity leave of the regular teacher; or the physiotherapist who treats a child daily during a short period of convalescence in hospital. The distinction chosen in the Bill is not between part or full-time, it is "regular".

If the requirement that the adult looks after the child on a regular basis were to be removed, as the noble Baronesses, Lady Blatch and Lady Noakes, and the noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdale, propose, the offence would prohibit sexual relationships between, for example, a 17 year-old and the supply teacher who covers for only one day while the regular teacher is off sick. The noble Baroness, Lady Noakes, argues that it is the position of authority that is important. It is for her to consider whether she wants 16 and 17 year-olds

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to have that degree of restriction. In the Amy Gehring case, the supply teacher was, I believe, teaching for more than a full term.

As for the nurse who looks after a 17 year-old during a one-day stay in hospital, is there to be no allowance for a relationship to occur after the stay in hospital comes to an end? The intervention of the criminal law in such cases should be proportionate to the protection required. Would that be an undue interference in a relationship between two consenting adults? The effect of removing the word "regularly" would be to achieve that conclusion. As I said, the Bill is not intended to exclude supply teachers; the question is whether they have a regular relationship with the individual victim on the basis of their job?

Codes of conduct and disciplinary guidelines are the appropriate means of controlling consensual relations where existing requirements of the breach of trust offence are not met. To broaden the offence's scope would seriously undermine its true purpose and considerably weaken its credibility. It is a matter for the noble Baronesses and the noble Lord, but I earnestly ask them carefully to consider the credibility of the provision before they come back.

Baroness Blatch: The Minister can be sure that I shall come back, because his answer was hugely unsatisfactory. The Minister asks whether the young person wants that degree of restriction. I should argue it the other way round: does that young person deserve that degree of protection? I expect nurses not to sexually abuse children in their care. I am one of those old-fashioned mothers who regards her 16 year-olds as children. We do not send our children to hospital or school to risk their being abused by the very person who is acting in loco parentis.

The way in which the Minister dealt with the definition of "regularly" is highly unsatisfactory. There was no definition. There was not. I am a governor of a school in London. The noble Lord, Lord Puttnam, who is in his place, will know of the problems in some of the more difficult parts of our inner cities—but especially in London—where people pass in the night. Teachers come and teachers go. In fact, teachers arrive in the morning and have disappeared before the end of the day because they simply cannot manage the tasks that they have been given—perhaps with a very dysfunctional class of 14 year-olds.

All that I am saying is that abusers are often fly-by-nights, people who flit from one thing to another. The idea that if abuse had taken place, people would be caught by the Bill only if they were "regular", in some definition to be determined in future, is not reliable enough. I shall certainly return to the matter because the answer was unsatisfactory. I am grateful for the support that I have received and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 164 and 165 not moved.]

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Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 166:


    Page 12, line 4, leave out from "by" to end of line 7 and insert "Article 9 of the Health and Personal Social Services (Quality, Improvement and Regulation) (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 (S.I. 2003/431 (N.I. 9)) ("the 2003 Order") if in paragraph (4) of that Article sub-paragraphs (d), (f) and (g) were omitted;"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 167:


    Page 12, line 8, leave out "53(1)" and insert "53"

The noble and learned Lord said: Amendment No. 167 is a purely technical amendment that has been tabled to make the Bill accurate. Clause 24 is an interpretation clause relating to positions of trust. The meaning of "community home" is currently recorded as having the same meaning as in Section 53(1) of the Children Act 1989. The reference should, in fact, be to the whole of Section 53. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendments Nos. 168 to 171:


    Page 12, line 16, leave out "has" and insert "means a hospital within"


    Page 12, line 18, at end insert ", or any other establishment which is a hospital within the meaning given by Article 2(2) of the 2003 Order"

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    Page 12, line 18, at end insert—


""independent clinic" has—
(a) in relation to England and Wales, the meaning given by section 2 of the Care Standards Act 2000 (c. 14);
(b) in relation to Northern Ireland, the meaning given by Article 2(2) of the 2003 Order;" Page 12, line 20, at end insert—


""residential care home" means an establishment which is a residential care home for the purposes of the 2003 Order;"

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 24, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 25 agreed to.

Lord Grocott: I beg to move that the House do now resume.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

Community Care (Delayed Discharges etc.) Bill

Returned from the Commons with the Lords amendments in lieu of a Commons amendment, and the further Lords amendment to an amendment, agreed to.

        House adjourned at four minutes before midnight.

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Official Report of the Grand Committee on the

Water Bill [HL]

(Second Day) Tuesday, 1st April 2003.

The Committee met at a quarter before four of the clock.

[The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Tordoff) in the Chair.]

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Tordoff): The usual statement was read out at the beginning of the proceedings on this Committee stage, but perhaps I should remind those who were not here that if there is a Division in the Chamber while we are sitting in the Committee, we shall adjourn as soon as the Division Bells are rung and then return after 10 minutes.

Clause 7 [Rights to abstract for drainage purposes, etc]:

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer moved Amendment No. 22:


    Page 9, line 12, after "board" insert "or from an adjacent main river under the provisions of a current Water Level Management Plan"

The noble Baroness said: The amendment would create an exemption from the need for an abstraction licence where there is a water level management plan already in place. The Bill will require all sites to have an abstraction licence for more than 20 cubic metres a day. Where there are internal drainage boards, abstraction from rivers is currently managed under the Land Drainage Act 1991, which requires consents to cover abstraction.

This is a probing amendment to discover the relationship between the water level management plans and the proposals in the Bill. Also, we believe that in some areas, such as those covered by water level management plans, a large number of new licences will be required. Far from streamlining the regulation process, those new licences would be in competition with the water level management plan. The imposition of the licences would not add anything to an already complex process. The management plans are negotiated at length and discussed with all the interested parties. That seems to be an adequate way of managing the abstraction of water because of high levels of flow in the river. That is what water level management plans are designed to address.

The abstraction licences are appropriate where they try to impose a volumetric limit, but if the river is already full, we do not believe that the extra imposition of a licence would add anything to the way in which water is managed. I beg to move.

Lord Dixon-Smith: I offer general support for the amendment. If we have water management systems

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that are working satisfactorily under the existing remit without new legislation, should we change things unless it is essential? I accept that we have to change things from time to time, but in the interests of simplicity, if we do not have to change them it would be much better to leave things as they are, unless that leaves some insuperable obstacle.


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