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My amendment is simple. It questions the Secretary of State's right to choose the consultees by the subjective test of those that "appear to him" to represent employees. Why have not the Government used the objective test in my amendment: those who he "has reason to believe" represent the interests of employees? Which organisations do the Government have in mind at present to be consulted under the provision? I beg to move.
Lord Bradshaw: In his reply, will the Minister tell us whether the pension scheme is to be fully funded, unlike those that we administer outside which are funded from the police authority's budget? The employees make a contribution but there is no employers' contribution, which is leading to a catastrophic future for police pension funds. I should like some sort of guarantee that the nuclear industry will make a contribution to the pension equal to that of employees, so that it is funded, not like that of the Fire Service and police nationally, which is not.
Lord Triesman: Let me deal with the issues in the order in which they arose. First, I understand why words such as, "appears to him", rather than, "has reason to believe", may be thought to imply a relatively subjective test, but that is the standard phrase that is used in legislation and a test is applied to it: that is, whether the method used by the Secretary of State is reasonable. The Secretary must act reasonably in the application of that test.
I am not 100 per cent certain that I have understood the full purpose of the amendments, but I would like to try and explore that, if I may. Paragraph 7 of Schedule 10 makes provision for the future pension
Baroness Byford: If I may help the Minister, I think he said that he would refer to "amendments" in the plural. My understanding is that we are debating the amendment on its own. I made that mistake earlier; it is easily done. We are discussing only Amendment No. 92.
The White Paper, Managing the Nuclear Legacy, made clear that the Government's intention was that staff terms and conditions should be fully protected on transfer of the UKAEA Constabulary to the new statutory police authority, precisely in accordance with the TUPE regulations. It also gave assurances that existing staff would retain their membership of the UKAEA pension scheme and that present and future employees of the police authority would continue to be eligible for the UKAEA combined pension scheme. That remains the case. I am happy to confirm that commitment, which stands.
I hope that I can reassure the noble Baroness that staff terms and conditions will be fully protected during the change. For the first time, there will be a statutory obligation on the police authority to implement any relevant Police Act regulations that address conditions of service for other police officers, unless differences for the constabulary are justified. The Bill will also make statutory provision for a police federation to provide representation for members of the constabulary on matters of welfare and efficiency. Those arrangements mirror those for other statutory police forces.
I know that the Police Federation for the UKAEA has been involved in discussions on these provisions of the Bill and would be involved in future. It is an independent part of the Police Federation as a whole. Therefore, there are links across policing as a whole and there is some chance of ensuring that, as things move forward for one group of police officers, they may move forward for others. That body will be the appropriate one to consult. I hope that that answers the noble Lord's question. The UKAEA pension scheme is a contributory, publicly funded scheme. That is how it will remain; that is the intention.
Paragraph 7 also provides for the Secretary of State to issue directions to UKAEA to modify its pension scheme, should that prove necessary. It requires consultation to be undertaken before a direction under
Reading the amendmentthis is why I said that I was not 100 per cent clear that I had understood itit does not substantively change the meaning of the paragraph or the duty of the Secretary of State to consult. As I said at the start, the Secretary of State will have to act reasonably when deciding which persons represent affected employees and therefore need to be consulted. I hope that I have given the most straightforward explanation of who will be consulted: the appropriate body that currently represents that group of employees. The wording is consistent with that used elsewhere in the Bill and it achieves the intended policy objective. On that basis, I hope that I have dealt with the questions raised in the two contributions. I ask the noble Baroness to withdraw the amendment.
Lord Skelmersdale: Before my noble friend responds to that invitation, perhaps the Minister would clarify something for me. The words "appear to him" are in the Bill. Does that mean that, if he gets it wrong, that would be open to judicial review?
Lord Triesman: As I understand the test applied in judicial review, it is a test of reasonableness in the administration of legislation. If unreasonableness were demonstrable or arguable, I guess that that test would be applied by judicial review in the courts.
Lord Triesman: Modification of the scheme, should it prove necessarywhich, I hope, was how I expressed itwould cover several possibilities. I do not want to be too speculative about that, but I could probably identify one or two possibilities. Perhaps in correspondence I could go into greater detail.
Legislative changes in pension schemes and how they operate may make it necessary to ensure that a scheme was modified to meet those requirements. These days, there may be changes to ensure that the scheme can fully meet all its commitments. It may need to be modified in that sense. The best way to deal with the matter may be for me to ensure that the examples of ways in which I know some pension schemes have been modified, because it has proved necessary to do so, are precisely what is intended here. That is my understanding.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: I am grateful to the Minister for assisting us and addressing some of the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, regarding funding of the scheme. I note that the Minister was puzzled about why I tabled the amendment as in his view it adds nothing and places no burden upon the Secretary of State regarding making a decision. The Minister said that the terminology used in the Bill is in general use. It may be used in the Bill but it is not used in other Bills. My experience is of Home Office Bills and social security Bills. In those Bills it is more usual to refer to the Secretary of State having to have a reason to believe something or reasonable grounds for believing.
I was very grateful indeed to my noble friend Lord Skelmersdale for asking the Minister whether the Government's drafting enabled someone to apply for judicial review. I was reassured when the Minister said yes. However, I still have a difficulty. If one applies for judicial review it may be more difficult to prove one's case if the Secretary of State simply has to say, "It appeared to me" rather than, "I had reasonable grounds for believing and these are the grounds upon which I reached that decision".
This is what I call a "bread-and-butter amendment", as in discussing Bills one always considers how the Secretary of State reaches a particular decision. I wish to reflect a little further on the matter and I may return to it when I have had a chance properly to consider the Government's responses to other amendments. I shall consider the drafting of Amendment No. 92 in the context of the generality of what the Government are trying to achieve. I shall withdraw the amendment at this stage, as, indeed, one must do in Grand Committee anyway. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.