SEXUAL OFFENCES BILL [HL]|
7. Part 1 of this bill makes new provision for
sexual offences. Part 2 of the bill deals with other matters relating
to sex offenders and sexual offences (such as notification requirements
and prevention orders) replacing, in particular, Part 1 of the
Sexual Offenders Act 1997.
8. The delegated powers are described in the
memorandum to the Committee from the Home Office. The memorandum
is printed at Annex 2 to this Report. The powers are all conferred
on the Secretary of State. But the combined effect of clause 127(5)
of the bill and sections 29, 53 and 54 of the Scotland Act 1998
is that the powers are exercisable in relation to Scotland by
9. Clauses 18 to 22 create specific offences
where a person is in a position of trust in relation to a child
victim. Clause 23 defines what is meant by a position of trust
and sets out seven specific situations. Clause 23(1)(b) gives
the Secretary of State power, by order subject to affirmative
procedure, to add to that list. The Committee accepts the need
for such provision and considers that the affirmative procedure
is an adequate safeguard.
10. Clause 82 of the bill sets out the offenders
who are subject to the notification requirements of Part 2 of
the bill. Those requirements are set out principally in clauses
85(1), 86(1) and 87(1) and apply during the notification period
set out in clause 84. Clause 88 enables the Secretary of State
to make regulations, subject to affirmative procedure, requiring
someone to whom the notification requirements apply also to be
required to give notification before leaving the UK and on his
return to the UK. The regulations can prescribe information which
must be given. Failure to comply with a requirement imposed by
the regulations is an offence (clause 93) carrying a maximum penalty
on indictment of 5 years.
11. The principle which Parliament is being asked
to approve is clear from the bill and it is appropriate to leave
the detail to regulations. The power is confined to information
"about his departure
or his movements while outside
the United Kingdom" (clause 88(2)(c)) and "about the
offender's return" (clause 88(3)). The Committee therefore
considers that the delegation and the level of scrutiny are appropriate.
12. Schedules 2 and 3 set out lists of offences.
Schedule 2 lists the offences which make an offender subject to
notification requirements and liable to have a sexual offences
prevention order made against him. Schedule 3 lists additional
offences which make an offender liable to have a sexual offences
prevention order made against him. Clause 117 allows the Secretary
of State, by order subject to affirmative procedure, to amend
these lists and includes power to add new offences. The Committee
accepts that it is reasonable for these lists to be updated by
subordinate legislation, and considers that the delegation and
the level of scrutiny are appropriate.
Other Delegated Powers
13. There are other delegated powers in clauses
89 (designation of police stations), 94 (form of certificate),
95 (information about release or transfer) and 126 (commencement),
and the scope of rules of court is enlarged at clauses 98(3),
104(7) and 106(3). The Committee finds each of these delegations
to be appropriate.
14. There is nothing in the delegated powers
in this bill to which the Committee wishes to draw the attention
of the House.