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Lord Kilclooney: My Lords, I have just returned from a parliamentary delegation to Cyprus, where regrettably our Greek Cypriot hosts would not allow us to visit Northern Cyprus. Is the Minister aware that there is a growing acceptance among the Greek Cypriots that there can be no settlement unless
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Lord Triesman: My Lords, it is our intention to ensure that there is a new and strong United Nations initiative. At different times, each of the communitiesI want to be deliberately even-handed about thishas resisted that initiative. We must try to move both together, or it is extremely unlikely to succeed. I do not, however, think it inevitable that we cannot make progressnot least because the assessment is right. The accession discussions with the EU hold the keys to a number of changes that would make a fundamental shift in the position in Cyprus possible.
Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, in the forthcoming EU summit, which I think is this weekend, will this issue have a high priority? Does the Minister accept that developments are becoming quite dangerous, with the mood in Turkey changing to a distinctly hostile attitude towards the European Union, and talk being circulated of Turkey looking eastwards rather than westwards? Does he agree that it is becoming one of the priorities of the European Union to prepare itself and get into better shape to meet the network demands of the 21st century?
Lord Triesman: My Lords, I have much sympathy with the thought that underpins that question. There will of course be an assessment of the rate of progress of discussion of the chapters to see what has been achieved under the German presidency. A number of chapters have been opened and I believe that there are good signs of progress on them. We will have to press hard for other chapters to be opened at the very first moment that it is possible to do so. In those circumstances, I hope that Turkish public opinion will conclude that the process is worth continuing to engage in. That is what is needed, because it is absolutely right to say that public sentiment is drifting away as people strike postures saying that they do not want to see Turkey admitted at all. Turkish public opinion suggests that in some circles they are finding the process too unrewarding and too hostile.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): My Lords, I welcome the report as a contribution to thinking on the role of culture in international relations. The work that I have been leading on implementation of the recommendations made by my noble friend Lord Carter of Coles in his review of United Kingdom public diplomacy has focused on better strategic planning and co-ordination. We have put in place new structures for planning and governance, including a Public Diplomacy Board. We are undertaking joint planning with key partners to address the major opportunities presented by the 2012 Olympic Games.
Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall: My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that encouraging reply. Does he agree with the Demos authors that this countrys arts and cultural institutions are widely respected and admired all around the world? Does he also agree that in the past decade the Government have invested in them significantly, helping to create new opportunities for international works, such as the British Museums Africa programme, which have contributed greatly to programmes of cultural diplomacy? Does he accept, however, that for the role of culture in international relations to develop, we need to maintain the investment that we are making in our arts and culture and should not allow them to fall victim to competing demands? I am thinking particularly of the forthcoming spending review.
Lord Triesman: My Lords, a number of cultural organisations make an extraordinary contribution to our diplomatic effort; even if it is not always identified as being a diplomatic effort, it has that impact. The DCMS has taken a pivotal role in co-ordinating many of those organisations. In the case of the FCO, we are working very hard through our new system and in particular through the British Council, which carries a huge burden for us in this respect, to make sure that the world knows about the cultural achievements and products of the United Kingdom. We will fight very hard to make sure that the funding remains in place.
It also makes the point that we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. In 2005-06, the British Council was considering closing teaching centres in Istanbul and four other cities where public diplomacy benefit was thought to be not that considerable. This year, the British Council will be closing several other regional offices because of the reduction in numbers of government-funded overseas scholars coming to the UK. What assessment have the Government made of the effect of this withdrawal from locations around the globe in terms of the loss of benefit that their presence was and is bringing to the United Kingdoms overall cultural policy?
Lord Triesman: My Lords, the report of my noble friend Lord Carter made it clear to all of us that we needed to have much clearer criteria when we established our priorities and that we needed to direct our resources to those priorities. That view has been shared by the British Council and other public diplomacy entities. The world moves, and the priorities will plainly move along with it. We now have greater coherence and are introducing, perhaps for the first time, methods of measuring whether we are beginning to achieve the things that we are setting out to achieve, rather than doing things and hoping that they will somehow work.
Lord Inglewood: My Lords, I declare an interest as chairman of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art. Bearing in mind the widely expressed concerns about funding in all quarters of the cultural sector, does the Minister agree that it would make a major contribution towards relieving some of the problems that exist if financial mechanisms could be devised by his right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to encourage philanthropy from many of our fellow citizens who have made very large sums of money in recent years?
Lord Triesman: My Lords, I certainly acknowledge the role of philanthropy. There have been a number of other sources of funding, including very substantial ones from private businesses, which have supported exhibitions, musical tours through the British Council network, and so on. All these give us a greater capacity than if we were simply to rely on the Exchequer. We need to encourage all of that. There is a great benefit to everyone involved; philanthropists, of course, do it out of the goodness of their heart.
Lord Howarth of Newport: My Lords, does my noble friend recall that, when Nelson Mandela gave a talk at the British Museum, he said how proud he was that some of the most beautiful artefacts ever created on the continent of Africa were in the museums collection? Equally, was it not helpful when the British Museum's exhibition of classical Persian art and archaeology was jointly opened by our Foreign Secretary and the Vice-President of Iran? Will the Government consider how we can more systematically enable our culture to support our diplomacy and our diplomacy to support our culture? I declare an interest as a trustee of the Foundation for International Cultural Diplomacy.
Lord Triesman: My Lords, that is an excellent organisation. Of course, that is exactly what we must do, which is why I emphasise the work of the new Public Diplomacy Board in achieving that focus, making sure that we deliver it and that we can give good account of the public money that we spend; there is other money, as I have said. But the DCMS also does an outstanding job with the arts and cultural organisations to ensure that their international contribution is considerable. We have a new architecture and I genuinely believe that it is beginning to show the results that the House would wish.
Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, does the Minister agree that one of the best avenues for cultural diplomacy is the Commonwealth network? Does he share my dismay that the last annual report of the Foreign Offices activities and priorities did not mention the Commonwealth at all, except on the front cover, where it could not avoid it? Secondly, he said a moment ago that he was fighting hard to preserve the cultural diplomacy budgets of the British Council and the World Service and so on. Who is he fighting and what is the problem?
Lord Triesman: My Lords, in the lead-up to every Comprehensive Spending Review, a large number of people compete for funds, and I am not afraid or ashamed to say that I compete along with them. That is the nature of the work that we do, and I am doing it. The last report, to which the noble Lord has drawn our attention on one or two occasions, was constructed around thematic priorities and therefore probably did not refer to international organisations or individual countries by name. However, I wholly share his view about the importance of the Commonwealth. At the last CHOGM meeting, I was able to see some of that work in Malta and, happily, large numbers of people from Malta going to see it.
Moved, That the draft order and regulations laid before the House on 31 January and 1 February be approved. Considered in Grand Committee on 27 February, Eighth Report from the Statutory Instruments Committee.(Baroness Royall of Blaisdon.)
The noble Lord said: My Lords, the question of how the Government should express principles to inform practitioners making decisions under the 1983 Act as amended by the Bill has dominated our discussions and caused a great deal of interest, as evidenced this afternoon.
On Report I said that I would introduce an amendment at Third Reading to address the concerns raised. I pay tribute to noble Lords on all sides of the House who have taken part in discussions on this. I very much appreciate their co-operation and help. We first opened our discussions on the Bill in Committee on Monday 8 January. Understandably, the question of principles is very important. The Bill has been the subject of a great deal of debate both in your Lordships' House and in the community, among mental health patients and stakeholders, and it is not surprising that, with so many varied views about the legislation, the principles under which it will operate have been a matter of great interest and concern.
As noble Lords will know, the Government have no argument, and have not had any argument, with noble Lords who emphasised the importance of transparent principles to govern the behaviour of professionals. The problem all along for the Government was the technical difficulty of grafting new principles on to existing legislation, in contrast to the approach in Scotland, for example, where they started from scratch, or the long Bill, which we have discussed often during the passage of this Bill. Our amendment responds to the technical problems in noble Lords original amendments, and I hope that it answers the question posed by the noble Earl, Lord Howe, when he opened the debate on Report. The noble Earl explained that his amendment would provide for a clear statement from Parliament about the values that should inform and guide practitioners. This amendment achieves that.
The noble Baroness, Lady Barker, asked that we had a clear explanation of how the code of practice and the legislation work together so that practitioners were not confused. I readily agree with her that it is
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Our amendment places in statute a new requirement that the Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers include a statement of principles in the respective codes of practice for England and Wales, which should inform decision-making under the 1983 Act. The amendment legally obliges the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers to address certain fundamental issues in preparing this statement of principles. It also enshrines in legislation the duty of practitioners to have regard to the code in performing their functions under the Act, as elaborated by the judicial arm of this House in the case of Munjaz.
We listened to the debate on this issue very carefully. It is clear that there are certain values that this House regards as fundamental in the exercise of powers under the Act. We share those views and have given careful thought to those fundamental values and how they might be most effectively brought to bear in the context of the Act. We have included them as matters that must be addressed in preparing a statement of principles to be included in the code of practice for England and Wales. That will ensure that the key values expressed in Committee and on Report are given effect.
I need not go through the entire list of issues, as they are self-explanatory, but perhaps I might comment on two of them. In Committee, the noble Lord, Lord Williamson, drew attention to the importance of patients participating as fully as possible. Indeed, much of the debates around principles focused on the benefits and desirability of patient autonomy. That is why the fundamental issues include respect for patients and involvement of patients in planning, developing and delivering care and treatment appropriate to themselves. That will support the best practice of considering the past and present wishes and feelings of patients and treating them with dignity to improve their well-being.
We listened to the concerns raised in the House, including those of the noble Lords, Lord Adebowale, Lord Bragg and Lord Patel of Bradford, regarding the treatment of black and minority-ethnic groups. A number of noble Lords have pointed it out at various stages of the Bill, and we agree that there is evidence of disproportionate use of detention, seclusion and restraint for patients from a black and minority-ethnic background. As I stated in previous debates, we are addressing this issue through Delivering Race Equality, in England, and the Race Equality Action Plan, in Wales. But we will include a requirement to address unlawful discrimination. That is up front in the legislation as a fundamental matter that must be addressed in the principles to guide practitioners.
We have listened carefully to Peers concerns regarding the legal effect of these principles and the code generally, in particular those of the noble Lord, Lord Carlile. As I said, the status of the code has been
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We support the idea of principles and we believe that the implementation of the legislation should be undertaken in a principled manner, but there are serious difficulties with grafting new principles on to existing legislation. That is why we think that the code of practice is the best vehicle to convey those principles to inform practitioners decisions under the Act. I hope that this amendment convinces noble Lords that we are serious and that we agree with the sentiment behind the amendments tabled in Committee and on Report. We have listened carefully to noble Lords. I hope that we reach a satisfactory conclusion of very constructive debates in your Lordships House and outside on the critical area of principles. I beg to move.
Earl Howe: My Lords, I express my personal and very considerable appreciation for the Ministers constructive approach to this important issue following our debates at earlier stages of the Bill and for the efforts that he has personally made in helping to frame the amendment now before us. I also thank him for facilitating discussions between noble Lords on this side of the House and the Cross Benches and members of the Bill team over the past two weeks, and for his willingness to allow some of our suggestions to be incorporated in the wording of the amendment. At the start of Committee I frankly did not think that we would reach this position. Without the Ministers commitment that simply could not have happened.
I am sure that the Minister will not take it amiss if I say that what we have here is not perfection. Perfection, from our point of view, would have been a set of clear, overarching principles in the Mental Health Act. For reasons that we know aboutmainly practical and legal onesthe Government did not feel that this idea could be taken forward. I was sorry about that but, given that this was how they felt, this amendment represents a more than acceptable second best, which should achieve much of what we were hoping to achieve through our amendment in Committee. In particular, it demonstrates to service users and professionals in mental health care that Parliament has put its imprint not only on the code, which is, of course, important, but also on the Act itself as regards the basic principles that should govern it and be read into it. It is a message that Parliament itself rather than officials, managers or doctors, regards the subject headings set out in proposed new subsection (2B) of the amendment as matters of universal applicability in the way that the Mental Health Act is to be interpreted and implemented. That signal should be understood within the framework of our earlier debates, when noble Lords spoke of the values that should permeate decisions and actions taken under the Act and what
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If we are to embrace this amendment, we need to do so with our eyes open. Although the Secretary of State is bound by the amendment to act in certain ways, we can see that much of what happens will depend on his or her own opinions and decisions. That aspect of the drafting is less tight than I would have liked; nevertheless, we should not overlook the considerable significance of subsection (2D), which expressly binds the code of practice and the implementation of its principles into the Act. That is a major plus.
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