One of the problems, as the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, said, is that the Government’s definition of domestic abuse, adopted from the general definition of the Association of Chief Police Officers, is not reflected in the law. The Government’s definition is:

“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality”.

The abuse,

“can encompass, but is not limited to … psychological, physical, sexual, financial … emotional”.

However, the current law does not capture the Government’s non-statutory definition of domestic abuse as there is no statutory framework around it. Currently, offenders can be prosecuted only for acts of physical violence, when such violence is often the culmination of psychological and minor physical abuse which constitutes domestic abuse, which is outside the reach of the existing criminal law and does not get reported until it has actually escalated into physical violence—which, to put it mildly, is a bit late in the day.

The figures have already been quoted, but I shall repeat them. According to the Home Office, last year 7% of all women reported having experienced domestic abuse, which is equivalent to 1.2 million women a year. Two out of three incidents involved repeat offenders. The reality is that on average women do not report abuse until there have been at least 30 incidents. Since the age of 16, according to statistics published by Women’s Aid and the Home Office, almost one-third of women have experienced domestic abuse. Interestingly —although perhaps that is not the appropriate word—one in three women who attend an A&E department does so because she has been domestically abused.

As the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, said, according to Women’s Aid, only 6.5% of domestic violence incidents reported to the police lead to conviction and 25% of domestic violence cases that are passed on to the Crown Prosecution Service result in no action being

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1150

taken. There is an issue around the successful prosecution of cases. In some cases, of course, the victim withdraws their statement to the police of domestic abuse or violence, does not come to court, or comes to court and gives evidence that is contrary to their original statement. However, bearing in mind that on average women do not report abuse until there have been at least 30 incidents, the strong likelihood is that any reluctance to go through the legal and court process is not because the domestic violence and abuse did not actually occur, but for other reasons.

An important reason for consultation, including on the specific points referred to in our amendment, is that following the introduction of specific domestic abuse laws in the United States, there was apparently a 50% rise in women reporting the behaviour, and with it a large increase in the number of perpetrators being brought to justice, along with a decrease of over one-third in incidents of abuse. One key area is the need to consult, as the Government have done, on criminalising abuse that involves coercive control in a domestic setting as well as making domestic abuse itself a separate criminal offence.

A further issue for consideration is whether the prosecution of domestic abuse and domestic violence cases should be subject to statutory time limits. Domestic abuse and violence has often gone on for some time before an incident is reported by the victim. Under the current arrangements, many earlier incidents that have occurred and which make up the totality of the abusive behaviour, cannot also be the subject of a prosecution along with the incident that finally led the victim to decide to report what had been happening.

Our amendment also calls for consultation to consider a new civil order which would be intended to prevent further contact that amounts to domestic violence, would prohibit the perpetrator from engaging in certain activities, perhaps including contact with the victim and the children of the victim, and would exclude the perpetrator from the victim’s home. Such a consultation could also consider whether a breach of this civil order should be a criminal offence and whether such notices and orders should extend across European boundaries, with offending histories and restrictions being shared.

The issues to which I have referred and those set out in the amendment providing for consultation are ones that outside organisations and experts in this field have advocated. The government consultation on coercive control has recently concluded. It would be helpful to know, first, what steps the Government intend to take following that consultation and, secondly, whether the issues referred to in my Amendment 49C and others to which I and other noble Lords have referred, are also either being considered by the Government or were part of the consultation that has just concluded. I hope that the Minister will be able to indicate in his response what issues or courses of action the Government are now considering following their consultation on strengthening the law on domestic abuse.

Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, I am in no doubt that there needs to be more effort, more prosecutions, more resources, better practice and better training in the

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1151

area of domestic abuse. I find it difficult to comment on the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, because it is essentially a trailer for provisions that we do not have before us, but the first steps must be about implementing the existing legislation in a consistent and robust fashion: prosecuting for physical and non-physical forms of abuse, both of which are possible. However, successful prosecutions are rare. I have mentioned training; there is a need for specialist training throughout the criminal justice system. The issue is hugely important to ensure, among other things, that the basics of violence in a domestic situation are properly understood.

The series of actions that constitute abuse are crimes now. Interestingly, the domestic violence charity with which I have the closest links, Refuge—I do not know whether I need to declare an interest in that I chaired it a while ago—commented in its response to the Government consultation that it is concerned that creating a separate domestic violence offence could in fact lead to it being treated less seriously and being downgraded. We know that the phrase, “It’s just a domestic”, is still hanging around. The charity points out that there is a risk that even physical offences may be downgraded, so I think that there is a debate to be had on that. It does not necessarily follow that badging what is a domestic crime would lead to it being regarded in a different way.

Lord Wigley: I have listened carefully to the noble Baroness. Does she accept that the potential crime of coercive control is not an offence at present? It was listed in the Government’s consultation, and that is one area in which progress could be made.

Baroness Hamwee: Indeed, and no doubt that is why the Government have consulted on it. I, too, am looking forward to hearing the results of the consultation, and I hope that if the responses indicate the need for legislation, there will be legislation. I am not saying that there should not be legislation to fill in any gaps, but that I am not convinced that a completely new approach is what is needed here.

Finally, because I am conscious of the time, I am aware that there is opposition in some quarters to relying on sentencing; in other words, regarding an offence as being domestic as an aggravating factor. If what is being considered in this debate is more serious sentences, we have to look at what sentences are available for the offences as they stand, so I would like to see a general debate about whether there is a sentencing element in this or whether it is about the offences in themselves.

Baroness Stedman-Scott (Con): My Lords, I, like my noble friend Lord Dobbs, have not been involved in the conversations during this Bill, but I speak because of the importance of the issue and our debating it in full. I am very glad to be discussing whether domestic abuse, including psychological abuse, coercive control and a pattern of abuse should be seen in the eyes of the law as a serious crime. The impact of domestic violence on women and their children can be devastating and long lasting, yet its essence of power and control is not criminalised.

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1152

My noble friend will be aware of surveys which show the strength of support for change. The Victims’ Voice survey found that 98% of victims feel that reform of the law is needed. A survey of front-line domestic violence professionals found that 97% agree that coercive control should be recognised in law, with 96% agreeing that patterns of behaviour and psychological abuse should be recognised in law.

I welcome the Government’s consultation and appreciate that it will take time for my noble friend and colleagues to consider the 700 or so responses before deciding whether legislation would provide better protection to victims, but, like other noble Lords, I look forward to hearing the outcome of the consultation. Changing the definition of domestic abuse in March last year was obviously a very important step, but there is a clear need to create a culture where victims report much earlier, are believed when they do and the dynamics and patterns of abuse are recognised and understood. Will my noble friend also look at other countries which have successfully criminalised psychological abuse, coercive control and clear patterns of behaviour, because this could be the catalyst which will not just save money but save lives?

Lord Bates: My Lords, first, I will make a brief response to my noble friend Lady Stedman-Scott. One of the things which struck me very much when I was preparing for this debate was the final page of the HMIC report into domestic abuse, which contains some of the statistics. It lists that in the 12-month period to 31 August 2013, the period which was reviewed, 1.01 million calls for assistance were as a result of domestic abuse. There were 269,700 crimes of domestic abuse. This figure goes to the heart of what my noble friend was saying: there were 57,900 individuals at high risk of serious harm or murder. On average, every 30 seconds, someone contacts the police for assistance with domestic abuse.

I think that those statistics show the importance of the issue which the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, has brought before the House this evening. I am sure that we are all very grateful to him for doing so, and also to the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, and the noble Baroness, Lady Smith. I am glad to have this opportunity. I entirely agree with the sentiment behind Amendment 49. Domestic violence and abuse are unquestionably serious crimes and must be treated as such. It is an appalling violation of the trust that those in intimate relationships place in each other. Last year, an estimated 1.9 million people were abused at the hands of those with whom they were closest.

The Government recognise that domestic abuse has not always been treated as the serious crime that it undoubtedly is. That is why, in September last year, the Home Secretary commissioned Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to conduct an all-force review of domestic abuse. HMIC published its findings in March and highlighted serious failings in the police response to these issues, which my noble friend Lady Hamwee touched on under the heading of “It’s a domestic” in terms of giving the seriousness to calls for help in this way that they would in any other circumstance in any other public place when somebody is under threat.

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1153

Moreover, the Home Secretary has initiated a number of other measures to improve the police responses to domestic abuse. This includes the establishment of a new National Oversight Group, which she chairs. While further legislation may have its place, new laws cannot be a substitute for the vital work of driving improvements in the response from the criminal justice agencies themselves.

In addition to the important operational improvements, the Government want to ensure that front-line agencies have the tools they need to provide the best possible protection for victims. In March, we announced a national rollout of the domestic violence protection orders, to which, again, a number of noble Lords have referred, that can prevent the perpetrator from having contact with the victim for up to 28 days, and the domestic violence disclosure scheme, which enables the police to disclose to the public information about previous violent offending by a new or existing partner. This, I felt, went to the heart of the issue raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, when she raised that harrowing case study of Laura and the inability to take action. Clearly, this was something where the domestic violence protection orders may not be the solution but they are certainly an indication of a recognition of the problem.

7.45 pm

In March last year we changed the non-statutory definition of domestic abuse to capture non-violent controlling behaviour because we recognise that abuse is not always physical, as a number of noble Lords have mentioned. Between 20 August and 15 October we ran a public consultation to gather views on whether the law needs to be strengthened to provide the best possible protection to victims and to keep pace with these developments. Violent behaviour was deliberately left out of the scope of the consultation. Violence perpetrated by one person against another clearly already falls within the range of existing criminal offences and is successfully prosecuted under the existing criminal law. Non-violent behaviour which is coercive or controlling in nature can be harder to recognise, but it can be equally damaging to its victims.

We have listened carefully to the front-line professionals, women’s groups and others, who tell us that stalking and harassment legislation, which could afford protection for victims through the criminal and civil courts, is applied inconsistently in cases involving intimate relationships. We are keen to explore whether more needs to be done to protect victims of abuse. However, legislation on this difficult and sensitive topic needs to be approached judiciously, as a number of noble Lords recognised. We have carried out a public consultation because the views of victims should be at the heart of any development of the criminal law on this important issue, as my noble friend Lady Stedman-Scott said. We want to see more perpetrators brought to justice. We do not want victims to be deterred from reporting by a legal framework or a criminal justice system that does not work for them.

I can assure the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, and the whole House that we are considering the more than 700 responses to the recent consultation as a matter of

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1154

urgency. This will necessarily take time and, of course, it would be wrong for us to pre-judge the outcome of the consultation at this stage. That being the case, I think it unrealistic to expect an announcement on the outcome of the consultation before the Bill leaves this House. However, I have no doubt that this issue will be picked up again in the other place, not least because Elfyn Llwyd, the colleague of the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, will be meeting the Home Secretary later this week. I pay tribute to the noble Lord and his colleague for the work that they have done on highlighting this important issue. Of course, should an amendment on this issue be made in the House of Commons, it would need to come back to this House for consideration.

Amendment 49C, standing in the names of the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, and the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, would place an obligation on the Government to hold a consultation on various other domestic violence provisions. As I have outlined to the House, the Government are pursuing a range of measures to improve protection for victims of domestic abuse, stalking and all forms of violence against women and girls. This includes improving the police response to managing perpetrators of these serious crimes. I am sure noble Lords will agree that we must be careful not to legislate unnecessarily. Often the goal of managing the perpetrators of stalking and domestic abuse effectively can be met through operational improvements. The Home Secretary’s work to drive delivery against the inspectorate’s recommendations is critical. The national oversight group which she chairs is focused on delivering immediate and tangible improvements in the response received by victims who are brave enough to come forward. The work of the group includes a review by the College of Policing of what works in tackling domestic abuse perpetrators and helping them to break the cycle. In itself, this work will result in significant improvements in the handling of offenders without the need for fresh consultations or legislation.

Regarding the specific proposals put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, it is important to note that convicted stalkers and domestic abusers will already be captured by the police national computer. We are focused on improving data held on domestic abuse and making better use of existing databases rather than risking fragmenting systems by creating new databases or registers for each and every offence.

On the question of positive obligations, I also remain unconvinced that further legislation is required at this stage. The House will be aware that criminal behaviour orders, introduced by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, can be issued by any criminal court against an offender who is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to another person. These orders can include positive requirements to get the offender to address the underlying causes of their behaviour. The orders can be applied to perpetrators of any criminal offence, including domestic abuse, stalking and harassment. Given those flexible provisions, we do not see the need to create another civil order.

Finally, domestic violence protection orders are a new and highly effective tool for the police to provide immediate protection to victims of domestic abuse. I welcome the support for them from the noble Baroness

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1155

and other noble Lords who have spoken in this debate. The national rollout of these orders began only in March this year. The Home Office will be carrying out a full review of implementation in coming months, which will inform any future action. We will continue to work with our partners to keep these and a range of other options for protecting victims and managing perpetrators under review. Legislation requiring us to consult is unnecessary. The Government do not need to be compelled to consider improvements in tackling violence against women and girls. It is one of our top priorities.

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, for initiating this timely debate and ask him to withdraw his amendment in the knowledge that we will announce the outcome of the consultation on strengthening the law on domestic abuse as soon as possible, so that it can inform further debates on the Bill as it passes through the House of Commons.

Lord Wigley: My Lords, I am very grateful to those who have participated in this debate—the noble Baronesses, Lady Howe, Lady Hamwee and Lady Stedman-Scott, and the noble Lord, Lord Rosser—and to the Minister for his response. Needless to say, this was a probing amendment. It was a hook on which to hang an argument here and, had it been included in the Bill, in another place. I was encouraged to hear from the Minister that, as a result of the consultation that is currently going on, the Government most certainly have not closed their mind to the possibility of bringing forward further legislative proposals in the House of Commons when the Bill goes there and that there will be an opportunity for us to return to this matter if such amendments are built into the Bill and it comes back here.

I very much hope that the Government will look particularly at the issue of coercive control, although no doubt a number of other issues will come out of this consultation, and we will be in a better position to comment further when all that information and the Government’s response to it are available to us. On the basis of that and of the cross-party interest that has been shown in this matter and the commitment and the strength of feeling that there is on it, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 49 withdrawn.

Amendment 49A had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.

Amendment 49B

Moved by Lord Strasburger

49B: After Clause 69, insert the following new Clause—

“Investigatory powers and crime: legal privilege and journalistic source material

(1) In section 22 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (obtaining and disclosing communications data), after subsection (9) insert—

“(10) Subject to subsection (11), nothing in this section shall authorise the obtaining and disclosing of—

(a) items subject to legal privilege, or

(b) journalistic source material,

for the purpose of preventing or detecting serious crime.

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1156

(11) The obtaining and disclosing of the items and material referred to in subsection (10) may be authorised by a judge in accordance with the procedure set out in section 22A.

(12) In this section—

“items subject to legal privilege” has the same meaning as in section 10 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984;

“journalistic source material” means material which may identify a confidential journalistic source.”

(2) After section 22 of that Act insert—

“22A Authorisation by a judge to obtain communications data: legal privilege and journalistic source material

(1) This section applies to an application for a warrant or authorisation under section 22(11).

(2) A person designated for the purpose of this Chapter may apply to a judge for an authorisation.

(3) The application must be made in writing and must set out the grounds on which the application is made.

(4) An application for an authorisation under section 22(11) must be made on notice to any person to whom the authorisation or notice which is the subject of the application relates save that notice of an application is not required if the service of such notice may seriously prejudice the investigation to which the application relates.

(5) Where notice of an application for an authorisation has been served on a person, he shall not conceal, destroy, alter or dispose of the material to which the application relates except with the leave of a judge until—

(a) the application is dismissed or abandoned; or

(b) he has complied with an authorisation given on the application.

(6) An authorisation shall only be issued or granted if the judge is satisfied that—

(a) it is necessary for the purpose of preventing or detecting serious crime, and

(b) the conduct authorised is proportionate to what is sought to be achieved by that conduct, having particular regard to the importance of the protection of legally privileged communications and journalistic sources.

(7) In this section “judge” means a Circuit Judge.

(8) In this section and in section 22(10) “serious crime” means the committing or suspected committing of one or more of the offences in England and Wales specified in Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Serious Crime Act 2007.””

Lord Strasburger (LD): My Lords, Amendment 49B seeks to repair a serious flaw in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, a defect that has emerged only recently. Your Lordships will recall that many people inside and outside this House have been warning for years that RIPA as a whole is not fit for purpose because, among other things, its scope is far too broad; it has large built-in loopholes; its oversight provisions have proved to be hopelessly ineffective; and it has been left behind by several generations of new technology.

Perversely, the Government have been claiming for years that RIPA is the best thing since sliced bread so far as the regulation of intrusive powers is concerned. But in July this year, the Government finally bowed to the inevitable and accepted that all is not well with RIPA. They set up a review of the Act under David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation. His report is due before next year’s election, with a view to legislation in the next Parliament, but the particular problem that has just appeared will not wait two years to be dealt with; it needs to be addressed

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1157

immediately. It concerns the misuse of RIPA by the police in two ways: to uncover journalists’ sources and to access legally privileged information.

The problem with journalists’ sources was brought to light by the Met’s report on Operation Alice, which was its investigation into the “plebgate” affair. It revealed, presumably by accident, that Met officers had secretly used RIPA to get their hands on the phone logs of the Sun’s news desk and its political editor, Tom Newton Dunn. They then proceeded to trawl through a year’s worth of phone calls to find the source of the paper’s stories about “plebgate”. By the way, not a single prosecution has ensued from Operation Alice.

It then emerged that this was not an isolated case. We learnt that Kent Police had used RIPA to obtain the phone records of journalists working for the Mail on Sunday, and that the Suffolk Constabulary had used it against a journalist at the Ipswich Star. It would seem that there are many more cases but the police are very reluctant to reveal details. The Met commissioner steadfastly refuses to let on how many times his force has used RIPA in this way, or when or why, despite many demands that he come clean about this in his regular so-called transparency sessions, the most recent of which was in September.

Why does this matter? There is a well established tradition throughout the world that journalists do not reveal their sources, and many journalists have ended up in jail or worse—much worse—defending this principle. If potential whistleblowers in this country conclude that journalists can no longer guarantee their anonymity because the police can secretly identify them, a lot fewer whistles are going to be blown. They and we know what would happen to them if their cover was blown. They could be arrested; they would be intimidated; they would be ostracised; and they would lose their job and their pension. If insiders who know about wrongdoing stop coming forward because they can no longer be guaranteed anonymity, important information that deserves to be in the public domain will never see the light of day.

I will give the House a few recent examples. In uncovering the phone hacking scandal, the Guardian was helped by sources in the police, who provided important information on the condition that they remained unidentified. They did this in the public interest, knowing that senior ranks were promoting a false version of events to the press, the public and Parliament. If those sources had been identified, they would have faced the loss of their careers and their pensions.

In another example, two anonymous whistleblowers from inside BAE revealed wholesale corrupt payments by the arms company and that BAE had set up secret subsidiaries in the British Virgin Islands, which it was using to channel corrupt payments to Swiss bank accounts. Even more to the point, it was a third anonymous whistleblower, in an official position, who revealed to journalists that Prince Bandar of the Saudi royal family had been paid a total of £1 billion, plus a gift of a personal Airbus, in order to promote arms sales.

If it were not for whistleblowers, patients at NHS trusts such as Mid-Staffs would still be dying unnecessarily and police such as those at Hillsborough would still

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1158

be covering up their failings, as would corrupt politicians, dishonest businessmen and child-abusing celebrities.

Prying into journalists’ sources is not what RIPA was intended for, as has been confirmed by David Blunkett, the Home Secretary who took it through Parliament. Two weeks ago, when talking about RIPA, he said that no one at the time imagined that,

“legislation secured through parliamentary debate would be used to fetter the right of a free press in a democratic nation to do a responsible job”.

RIPA was supposed to be a weapon against terrorism and other serious crime, not for investigating internal police disciplinary matters and the like.

8 pm

Until recently, attempts by the police to access a journalist’s records have been dealt with under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. Under PACE, the police are obliged to apply to a judge for permission to access the phone records of a journalist. The judge needs to be convinced that a serious offence is involved and that the disclosure is in the public interest. The journalist is notified and may be represented at the hearing to contest the application. The PACE safeguards have worked well.

On the other hand, RIPA has no external real-time safeguards at all. Police applications for phone data are subject to no judicial oversight and are simply self-authorised by a so-called “designated person” who is usually a superintendent in the same force. There is no special treatment for journalists’ records; the journalist is not informed that the demand for the records is being made to his phone company, and the company is legally obliged to hand everything over without the journalist’s knowledge.

Kevin Hurley, who is the police and crime commissioner for Surrey and was once a chief superintendent in the Met, referring to the “plebgate” case, said that RIPA was used there,

“to compromise a journalist’s sources by the back door and without external scrutiny for no reason other than to defend the reputation of the Metropolitan Police Service. Seizing journalistic materials is a serious decision indeed, and one with consequences for our country as a whole. Such a move must be subject to debate and challenge in court if it is to have legitimacy”.

Responsible investigative journalism is a bulwark of our democracy. Unless we take action, this misuse of RIPA to evade the safeguards in PACE—or this “weasel wangle”, as Peter Preston has called it—will have a chilling effect on free speech. It will interfere with our freedom of information and with the public’s right to be informed, as defined in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The purpose of this amendment is to graft on to RIPA similar protections to those already applying under PACE: judicial oversight of applications involving journalists’ records and legally privileged information, and to require an open hearing with both sides represented. The judge will need to be satisfied that disclosure is necessary for the detecting or preventing of serious crime, and that the request for data is proportionate to what is being sought to be achieved with it. The judge will have to have particular regard to the protection of legally privileged information and journalistic sources.

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1159

The Home Secretary has spoken of amending the code of practice relating to RIPA as an alternative solution to this problem, but that would not offer the cast-iron protection that journalists and their sources need. Only primary legislation will achieve that.

The omission of these safeguards from RIPA is just one of the many flaws in this legislation. It can be argued, with justification, that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act is less about regulating the investigatory powers of government and more about conferring those powers without much regulation at all. Noble Lords should not forget that we only became aware of the particular abuse we are discussing today—the misuse of RIPA to access journalists’ sources—because it was inadvertently mentioned in the Met’s report on Operation Alice. If that had not happened, this practice would not have come to light. The terrible truth is that this House, this Parliament and this country have no idea about what RIPA is being used for by the police and by the many other public bodies that are authorised to use or abuse it.

RIPA gives highly intrusive powers to the police, the intelligence services and hundreds of other public authorities. Its drafting was so broad that there are no real constraints on how those powers can be used, or misused; and it all happens in secret and without any effective oversight by Parliament. It is no wonder, then, that RIPA has become a charter for snooping where there should be no snooping; and no wonder that it started to suffer from mission creep from day one, being used in ways that were not intended by its authors.

Edward Snowden’s revelations demonstrate that RIPA has been used to legitimise the interception and storage of the private communications of millions of British citizens on a truly massive scale by exploiting antiquated statutory definitions and changes to communications technology. No matter what view is taken on the ethics of Snowden’s actions, nobody has disputed his accuracy. With that in mind, I ask the House to reflect on what he had to say about how innocent British citizens’ private data are being hoovered up without any limits:

“GCHQ has probably the most invasive network intercept programme in the world. It's called Tempora and it's the world's first Full Take, they call it, and that means content in addition to metadata, on everything”.

RIPA has allowed this to happen without Parliament or the people knowing a thing about it or being asked to consent to it. We were not asked; it just happened. It is to be hoped that David Anderson’s review will come up with a blueprint for an up-to-date, clearly defined and proportionate regime for authorising these highly intrusive techniques where they are needed and preventing their use where they are not justified. The next Parliament will then have to legislate. In the mean time, we have an urgent job to do. We need to stop the police from evading PACE’s protections for journalists’ sources and for legally privileged information. This amendment adds the missing provisions to RIPA to achieve that.

Before I sit down, I should mention that although this amendment was tabled late, I did all I could to circulate it and I am grateful for the widespread support it has attracted from the media, NGOs and several noble Lords who are unable to be in the House today.

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1160

The campaigning group Justice has been in touch to remind me that it made clear its support for more protection under RIPA for legal professional privilege in its earlier report,

Freedom from



I will close with the words of Chris Frost, chair of the National Union of Journalists’ ethics council:

“In my experience virtually every serious investigation is launched on the back of a … whistleblower who needs to remain anonymous for their protection”.

Since this is the first opportunity that the House has had to debate this matter I do not intend to divide the House at this stage. However, I will be disappointed if the Government reject this amendment outright, especially when all that is offered in its place is a review and no action before the general election or a review of the code of practice. I beg to move.

Lord Black of Brentwood (Con): My Lords, I declare an interest in this subject as executive director of the Telegraph Media Group and draw attention to my other media interests listed in the register.

I very much welcome this amendment. Although I have some concerns about aspects of the drafting, the noble Lord, Lord Strasburger, is to be congratulated on shining a spotlight on an incredibly serious and troubling issue arising from a piece of legislation that is now looking increasingly arcane. I fundamentally agree with him that we cannot wait for a permanent solution to this.

It is an issue that should concern every reporter in the UK and every citizen because of the impact on press freedom and the quality of our democracy. It is also an issue that has a resonance beyond our shores, which should be a real worry to us, because what we are doing in the United Kingdom is sending an authoritarian message to the rest of the world that it is all right for police forces or other public authorities to track down the confidential sources of journalists.

I do not need to dwell on the importance of confidential sources of information. It was put best in the case of Goodwin v United Kingdom in the European Court of Human Rights back in 1996:

“Without ... protection, sources may be deterred from assisting the press in informing the public on matters of public interest. As a result, the vital public-watchdog role of the press may be undermined and the ability of the press to provide accurate and reliable information may be adversely affected”.

That is absolutely right. As we heard, the use of confidential sources is vital for whistleblowing and investigative journalism, but it is also crucial for day-to-day reporting on matters of public interest. In a democratic society, people need to be able to talk to the media about current debates without fear of reprisal or retribution. The alternative is sterile political and public debate, with a profound impact on the substance of our character and democracy. That is what will happen unless the chilling impact of this out-of-date legislation is not reversed.

It is a matter of regret to me to have to ask why we should have been surprised by such recent revelations. The Newspaper Society, representing Britain’s regional press, and the Society of Editors made clear during the passage of RIPA back in 2000 that its terms would inevitably lead to an erosion of the confidentiality of

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1161

sources because they could so often be easily identified by information obtained under the new powers by a wide range of specified organisations. The newspaper industry at the time suggested that the number of organisations able to exercise RIPA powers should be limited, that the ground for the use of those powers should also be strictly limited to the most senior personnel and that all applications for use of such power should be subjected to prior judicial scrutiny, especially to protect confidential sources. The Act as it arrived on the statute book and various codes since then clearly did not provide adequate safeguards in any way.

Over the years since then, I have heard anecdotal evidence of the problems, often from local newspaper editors voicing their concerns, often about attempts to trace the source of leaks of council information by local authorities using RIPA powers of surveillance and access to telephone records. Occasionally, a case of this arose in the public domain. Back in 2010, the Derby Telegraph reported on how the local authority there dispatched two officers to a local Starbucks to spy on a reporter who had been seen talking to current and former council employees. That council used RIPA powers to do that because they give local authorities the right to watch and record people covertly. Just think about the disastrous impact on local press reporting of local authorities if such sources of information dried up. More importantly, we need to think about the impact on local people and democracy. Incompetence, waste and corruption in local government would remain uncovered and unpunished. It is the ordinary people who pay the bills for that who would really suffer.

As the noble Lord said, we are only now beginning to see the full extent of this problem, partly as the result of the work of the Mail on Sunday, which helped uncover this abuse through a sheer stroke of luck followed up by a brilliant piece of investigative journalism. My real concern is that we may be seeing only the tip of the iceberg. As the noble Lord, Lord Strasburger, said, we just have no idea about the extent of the abuse. Other examples that I have heard are extremely troubling. I draw noble Lords’ attention to the disturbing case of Sally Murrer, recently highlighted in Press Gazette. Thames Valley Police applied to a court to bug the conversations of this lady but did not tell the court that she was a journalist when it did so. Recently, that force had to admit that it used RIPA powers to bug the car of her alleged police source back in 2006. If either the law or a statutory code had forced police to make that clear, it would—as Gavin Millar, her QC, said—have ensured that the authorising authority had the chance to use the,

“correct, and very strict, legal test for overriding journalistic source protection”.

He also made the point that the use of the Act in this way, which he described as widespread, is almost certainly completely illegal under European law.

Mention of Europe leads me to a very brief point. I said earlier that I am anxious about the impact of this issue beyond our shores. It does not take a great deal of imagination to see how a Government in a Commonwealth country might look at how the law is

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1162

utilised here and deploy something similar in a turbo-charged manner in their own country. That is already causing considerable concerns among world press freedom organisations. Ronald Koven, the acting director of the World Press Freedom Committee, wrote to me and put it this way:

“Police the world over have repeatedly shown they cannot be trusted to exercise needed self-restraint and their zeal must be contained by independent judicial supervision. That has unhappily proven to be the case in Britain as well ... It is the view of the World Press Freedom Committee that the law should be amended to impose appropriate and effective judicial oversight”.

We need to be mindful of the way that this issue feeds into debates in Europe, too. There, the European Newspaper Publishers Association—on whose board I sit—made representations on protection of journalistic sources in respect of very similar EU legislation on access to communications content, communications data and surveillance. In the context of the issue that this amendment highlights, those concerns also need to be treated with the utmost seriousness if we are not to end up in exactly the same position in a few years’ time.

I am aware that the noble Lord produced this as a probing amendment and of course he is absolutely right to do so. I support the principles behind it—particularly that of prior judicial authorisation—but, as I said, I have some concerns about the detail, because I do not believe that it would actually deliver the extremely high threshold that should be needed for police or other authorities to be able to access journalists’ sources. I also do not think that judicial authorisation would necessarily apply in all the cases where RIPA powers can be deployed. It is a very good start, but further thought needs to be given in those areas. Of course, there are now a number of inquiries into this issue and the abuse of RIPA. I believe the impact on press freedom and on the quality of our democracy should be guiding features of those inquiries. I hope that my noble friend will listen to the strength of feeling and that—either in this House or another place—the Government will come back with their own amendment to deal with the issue that the noble Lord’s amendment highlighted so importantly today and which, in a free society, we should treat with the utmost seriousness.

Baroness Cohen of Pimlico (Lab): My Lords, I also rise to support the amendment. The noble Lord, Lord Strasburger, spoke about the need to align PACE and RIPA and thereby to protect journalism. I agree that journalistic material needs to be protected from police officers using RIPA provisions, which were designed originally to get at something completely different. It is equally important, though very much less a subject of public debate, to protect items subject to legal prejudice, which this amendment, if it became law, would do.

I am a solicitor—it is probably my only declarable interest—and, like all solicitors, a solicitor of the Supreme Court, which I would like everybody to remember as a statement. I have been consulted by people anxious about fraud, bribery and commercial organisations who are naturally seeking a safe and effective way of making their concerns known. They are whistleblowers. Any solicitor would make a file

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1163

note, and it is not a happy thought that a police officer, solely on his own authority, could seek access to that note and thus to the relationship of confidentiality with our clients that we lawyers have been brought up to believe is a vital foundation.

It may also fall to any practising solicitor to be consulted by someone seeking, as for example in the Jimmy Savile saga, to allege that serving police officers were complicit in abuse, and then to be approached by a police officer, perhaps seeking to head off trouble at the pass, being able to access information via RIPA without ever having to explain to a judge what evil it was he was specifically seeking to expose. I accept—of course, I do—that client confidentiality can and must be breached in extremis and with the issue of a warrant or authorisation by a judge, but it should not be possible for police officers to avoid the PACE rules or to go round them and get at the principle of client confidentiality by using legislation that was never intended to do that.

We solicitors are all members of the Supreme Court. We are bound to assist it, but we are bound to assist judges. We are not meant to be a branch of the Executive and, as such, we ought to be subject—and all legally applicable documents ought to be subject—to the power of the courts and not to the power of the police, or indeed, if push came to shove, to the Secretary of State. I commend the amendment.

Lord Thomas of Gresford (LD): My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the noble Baroness, Lady Cohen of Pimlico, and to make the same point from the point of view of the Bar. I do not think that legal professional privilege is fully understood. Certainly in the criminal field, there may be a perception that defence barristers get together with their client and cook up some story, and if only the police could have access to the instructions of the barrister or the solicitor, all would be revealed. The contrary is the truth.

If I can bowdlerise a little bit, when I see a client for the first time, I say to him, “Will you please not tell me any bull? I want to know the truth. Unless you tell me the truth, I am not able to help you. I am not able to give you proper advice, just as though you went to the doctor saying that you had a pain in your toe when in fact the pain was in your head. Tell me the truth”. It very often happens that the client will then come out with a story which you can then check against the other evidence in the prosecution case, and go back to him and say, “You did tell me a lot of bull. I really need to know the truth if I am to represent you properly”. He will change his story in some instances and will tell the truth. With that truth, you can win cases or you can mitigate the just punishment that will ultimately be imposed on him and advise him to plead guilty if that is the right thing to do.

It is an extremely delicate relationship between the client and the barrister or solicitor—I have been in the solicitor position as well—that many people do not understand. A judge understands it. If a judge, on a proper application being made to him, decides that it is in the public interest that this relationship should be investigated, and if there is something about the way in which the case is being conducted that gives rise to suspicion so that prying into the papers of the defence

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1164

is an appropriate thing to do, the judge from all his experience—all judges will have been through the mill themselves and will know precisely how these things should be approached—will give the ultimate permission for the file or the papers to be looked at. Generally speaking, though, he will not do so, and it is quite wrong if the police use RIPA powers—legislation that was intended for a completely different purpose—to break into that very delicate relationship and break it up.

That is the importance of the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Strasburger, and I support it entirely.

Baroness Smith of Basildon: My Lords, I can be fairly brief in this debate because I think the Minister will have heard the very real and deep concerns across the House on this. It is not the first time that concerns have been raised about the use or misuse of RIPA. In this instance we are talking about the rights of journalists obtaining information from confidential sources to retain that confidentiality without which some information may never come to light. Previously, there had been anecdotal reports of local authorities using the legislation, which the noble Lord, Lord Black, mentioned, including identifying whether parents were living in a school catchment area. These issues raise serious concerns and have serious implications for individuals and for issues of collective privacy.

I will say something about the wider and serious implications of misuse of the legislation, but I want to address the specific role of journalists’ sources. In effect, we are discussing how new technology has brought with it new challenges for a free press and for personal privacy. Thirty years ago, if the police wanted access to journalists’ sources, they would have to go to a court to obtain their notes. There were no mobile phone records they could access at that time. Similarly, we would not have seen journalists illegally hacking into private phone calls, as shamefully came to light more recently.

Over the weekend, like other noble Lords, I read some of the obituaries of Ben Bradlee, and this amendment came to mind as I was reading about his editorship of the Washington Post. I also watched “All the President’s Men”, which is one of my favourite films. The main people portrayed in that film—Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein and Ben Bradlee—uncovered the most serious corruption at the highest level of government. I might tag this amendment as “the Watergate amendment” because, although the jurisdictions are entirely different, the principle is the same. Would that story, with all the implications for democracy and secrecy, ever have been told if the Nixon Administration had been able to identify the Deep Throat source or access the records of the journalists he was speaking to? If Nixon had been able to obtain mobile phone records in secret, would we ever have found out what was going on? There will be parallels in the UK, although perhaps they will not be so dramatic. That underlines the value and importance of serious investigative journalism. I am not talking about sensationalist stories about people that most of us have never heard of, but about the best kind of journalism, which I hugely admire, acting in the public interest, not just on what is of public interest.

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1165

Noble Lords will recall that, when the Government brought in new powers into the DRIP Act by fast-track legislation to deal with serious and organised crime, including terrorism, we were highly critical of the way in which they acted and of the need to use the fast-track process. Part of our demands in supporting that legislation was that there should be a complete, thorough and independent view of RIPA. We have said for some time that it is becoming increasingly clear and obvious that RIPA is out of date and does not have the right kind of framework or the safeguards we need. Recent reports that RIPA has been used to access journalists’ sources reinforce that. It is right that the Interception Commissioner is looking at it, but in addition it is essential that we get a clear guarantee from the Minister today that this issue will be included as part of the comprehensive review of RIPA led by David Anderson, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, that was agreed by the Government during the debates on DRIPA.

For many, the world seems less safe today. We must be vigilant against organised and serious crime and terrorism. I believe that the public understand and support the need for measures that the Government must put in place to deal with these threats to our safety. In order to have and maintain that public support, it is vital that such powers are only ever used for the purpose for which they were intended. If those powers are abused, whether by government, police or local authorities, it undermines public confidence in the very measures needed for the most serious issues, and that puts us all at risk.

Of course, journalists are not above the law. Like anyone else, they need to be investigated if they have committed a serious crime, and I do not think anybody is arguing otherwise. As noble Lords have pointed out, there is already an independent judicial process with prior jurisdiction needed by which the police can apply for access to journalists’ information, but we have a long tradition of additional safeguards in law to recognise the role of a free press in a democracy and to protect whistleblowers, and this should not be compromised.

That is why we need the RIPA legislation to be examined in its entirety, including in context and in application, to ensure that the legal framework enables the police to access the data they need to solve serious crimes and to ensure that it does not have a chilling effect on free speech and the free press on which our democracy depends. The Government must ensure that David Anderson’s review is ambitious enough in scope to resolve these problems and to respond positively to the issue before us now. We seek an assurance from the Minister that this matter will be considered in the review. In addition, the Government must make it clear by whatever means are appropriate that such legislation must only ever be used for the purpose for which it was intended.

Baroness Williams of Trafford: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for explaining the purpose of this amendment. I do not believe there is any difference between my noble friend and me, or indeed any of your Lordships who have contributed to this

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1166

debate, on the key issue at stake here. We all agree that a free and fearless press is fundamental to a democratic society. A key element of journalism is the protection of sources, and I can assure your Lordships that the Government do not wish to do anything which would undermine the operation of the vibrant and independent press that operates in this country.

The amendment which my noble friend has moved seeks to require public authorities who acquire communications data under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 to seek the authorisation of a judge when the material requested is subject to legal privilege or relates to journalistic sources. However, this is unnecessary, given the strict regulation RIPA already contains and the additional safeguards we are already putting in place.

Communications data—the who, when and where but not the content of a communication—would reveal the telephone number a journalist or lawyer calls, but would not reveal any of what was said or written in a communication. Last month, the independent Interception of Communications Commissioner issued a statement in which he said that communications data,

“do not contain any details of what was said or written by the sender or the recipient of the communication. As such, the communications data retained by CSPs”—

communications service providers—

“do not contain any material that may be said to be of professional or legal privilege—the fact that a communication took place does not provide what was discussed or considered or advised”.

None the less, I recognise that this is a sensitive issue. It is personal information and RIPA already applies rigorous controls on its acquisition.

Communications data can only be obtained when their acquisition is necessary for a specified purpose, such as preventing and detecting crime, and then only when it is proportionate to do so. Anyone can complain to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal if they think the powers have been used unlawfully against them. The whole system is presided over, and reported on, by the Interception of Communications Commissioner, a senior judicial figure.

These controls apply to all requests for communications data, and I believe we have one of the most stringent systems to be found anywhere, with both strict internal controls and independent oversight. If any of your Lordships have doubts on this point, I would recommend reading the annual report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner. Sir Anthony May’s report, published in April of this year, includes a detailed account of how the system works and a full statistical breakdown of communications data requests.

However, we recognise the special considerations that apply to journalists, lawyers and a number of other professions which may involve access to sensitive information. We have announced plans to update the Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data Code of Practice. These changes will make clear that specific consideration must be given by the senior authorising officer to the level of possible intrusion in cases likely to involve the communications data of those engaged in certain professions who may have obligations of professional secrecy. These professions include journalism, as well as those of lawyers, doctors

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1167

and Members of Parliament, and will also include those known to be close contacts of members of these professions. Any application for communications data that are known to be the data of members of these professions or their close contacts will have to state this clearly in the application. It will also require that relevant information is available to the authorising office when considering necessity and proportionality. This change will make clear in the statutory code what is already existing best practice.

We will publish the updated draft code of practice for public consultation as soon as possible, noting the acting Interception of Communications Commissioner’s request to expedite publication of the code. It is also worth pointing out that on 6 October the acting Interception of Communications Commissioner, Sir Paul Kennedy, announced that he had,

“launched an inquiry into the use of RIPA powers to determine whether the acquisition of communications data has been undertaken to identify journalistic sources”.

It would certainly be premature to take any legislative action in advance of knowing his findings.

The noble Baroness, Lady Smith of Basildon, asked whether David Anderson’s review of RIPA would cover this area. I am sure that David Anderson will wish to look at all aspects of RIPA interception and communications data, including this issue.

In the light of the protections already available, the very clear commitment to strengthen these through the code of practice and the ongoing inquiry by Sir Paul Kennedy, I invite my noble friend to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Strasburger: My Lords, it has been an interesting debate. The House seems to have one view and the Minister seems to have another. I thank noble Lords who have partaken in the debate: my noble friends Lord Black and Lord Thomas, and the noble Baronesses, Lady Cohen and Lady Smith.

I do not think that the Minister was listening to what I said. Everyone outside the Home Office and the Foreign Office knows that the safeguards in RIPA have been proved ineffective time and again. I rather anticipated that the Government would try to fob us off with some tweak of the code of practice. Tweaking the code of practice is not going to offer the certainty that journalists need; it is not going to offer the transparency. All of this is still going to carry on in secret. We will not know what on earth is going on, and it will not give the press, the journalists or the media the opportunity to challenge the police’s intention to seek their phone records and others from the phone companies. So it will not take us any further forward at all.

I have to say that, as you might have detected, I am more than somewhat disappointed with the Government’s response. They have not listened to the debate. I hope they will reflect on the debate and come back with something more substantive. If not, I am quite sure that I and others, including those in another place, will return to this issue with a vengeance. However, for the sake of good order, I will withdraw my amendment.

Amendment 49B withdrawn.

Amendment 49C not moved.

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1168

Schedule 4: Minor and consequential amendments

Amendments 49D to 54

Moved by Lord Bates

49D: Schedule 4, page 76, line 25, at end insert—

“Visiting Forces Act 1952 (c. 67)

In the Schedule to the Visiting Forces Act 1952 (offences referred to in section 3), in paragraph 1(b)(xi), before “the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003” insert “sections 1 to 3 of””

49E: Schedule 4, page 76, line 33, at end insert—

“Senior Courts Act 1981 (c. 54)

In paragraph 3 of Schedule 1 to the Senior Courts Act 1981 (distribution of business to the family division of the High Court), after paragraph (h) insert—

“(ha) all proceedings under Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003;”.”

49F: Schedule 4, page 77, line 26, at end insert—

“Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 (c. 41)

In section 58A of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 (conditional fee agreements: supplementary), in subsection (2), after paragraph (f) insert—

“(fza) Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003;”.”

50: Schedule 4, page 77, line 38, at end insert—

“11A In section 222 of that Act (transfer of fine orders), in subsection (8), for “section 31 of the Powers of Criminal Courts Act 1973” substitute “section 139 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000”.”

50A: Schedule 4, page 77, line 38, at end insert—

“Family Law Act 1996 (c. 27)

In section 63 of the Family Law Act 1996 (interpretation of Part 4), in subsection (2), after paragraph (i) insert—

“(ia) Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, other than paragraph 3 of that Schedule;”.”

51: Schedule 4, page 79, line 6, at end insert—

“(1) Section 22 of that Act (order made: reconsideration of available amount) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (5), after paragraph (c) insert—

“(d) any order which has been made against the defendant in respect of the offence (or any of the offences) concerned under section 161A of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (orders requiring payment of surcharge).”

(3) In subsection (6), after “(5)(c)” insert “or (d).””

52: Schedule 4, page 81, line 21, at end insert—

“( ) Section 107 of that Act (order made: reconsideration of available amount) is amended as follows.

“( ) In subsection (4), after paragraph (c) insert—

“(d) any restitution order which has been made against the accused in respect of the offence (or any of the offences) concerned;

(e) any order under section 253F(2) of the Procedure Act requiring the accused to pay a victim surcharge in respect of the offence (or any of the offences) concerned.”

“( ) In subsection (5)—

( ) for “the court must not” substitute “the court—

(a) must not”;

( ) at the end insert—

“(b) must not have regard to an order falling within subsection (4)(d) or (e) if a court has made a direction under section 97A(2) or (4).””

53: Schedule 4, page 81, line 23, at end insert—

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1169

“( ) Section 121 of that Act (application, recall and variation) is amended as follows.

“( ) In subsection (5), for “(9)” substitute “(10)”.

“( ) For subsection (9) substitute—

“(9) In the case of a restraint order, if the condition in section 119 which was satisfied was that an investigation was instituted—

(a) the court must discharge the order if within a reasonable time proceedings for the offence are not instituted;

(b) otherwise, the court must recall the order on the conclusion of the proceedings.

(10) In the case of a restraint order, if the condition in section 119 which was satisfied was that an application was to be made—

(a) the court must discharge the order if within a reasonable time the application is not made;

(b) otherwise, the court must recall the order on the conclusion of the application.””

54: Schedule 4, page 81, line 43, at end insert—

“( ) in subsection (3), after “Criminal Justice” insert “(Children)”.”

Amendments 49D to 54 agreed.

Clause 71: Transitional and saving provisions

Amendments 55 and 56

Moved by Lord Bates

55: Clause 71, page 52, line 9, at end insert—

“( ) An order under section 97B(2) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (inserted by section (Orders for securing compliance with confiscation order)) may be made in respect of any confiscation order (within the meaning of Part 3 of that Act) that is made on or after the day on which section (Orders for securing compliance with confiscation order) comes into force.”

56: Clause 71, page 52, line 44, at end insert—

“( ) section 65;”

Amendments 55 and 56 agreed.

Amendment 57 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List..

Amendments 57A and 57B

Moved by Lord Bates

57A: Clause 71, page 53, line 1, leave out subsection (10) and insert—

“( ) In relation to an offence committed before the commencement of section 154(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, a reference to 12 months in the following provisions is to be read as a reference to 6 months—

(a) section 66(3)(a);

(b) in the Prison Act 1952, subsection (4)(b) of the section 40CA inserted by section (Knives and offensive weapons in prisons) above;

(c) in the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, paragraph (b) of the subsection (2) inserted in section 5 by section (Offence of failing to protect girl from risk of genital mutilation)(4)(b) above;

(d) paragraph 4(5)(b) of the Schedule inserted in that Act by section (Female genital mutilation protection orders)(2) above.”

57B: Clause 71, page 53, line 4, at end insert—

“( ) The reference to an offence under section 1, 2 or 3 of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 in section 3A(8) of that Act does not include such an offence committed before the coming into force of section (Offence of failing to protect girl from risk of genital mutilation) above (which inserts section 3A in that Act).

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1170

“( ) In proceedings under section 3A of that Act, a defence under subsection (5)(b) of that section may not be negated by reference to steps that the defendant could have taken (but did not) before the coming into force of section (Offence of failing to protect girl from risk of genital mutilation) above.”

Amendments 57A and 57B agreed.

Clause 72: Extent

Amendments 58 to 59B

Moved by Lord Bates

58: Clause 72, page 53, line 10, at end insert—

“( ) section (Knives and offensive weapons in prisons).”

59: Clause 72, page 53, line 15, after “66” insert “and Schedule 3”

59A: Clause 72, page 53, line 16, at end insert “and (1A)”

59B: Clause 72, page 53, line 16, at end insert—

“( ) sections (Offence of failing to protect girl from risk of genital mutilation) and (Female genital mutilation protection orders).”

Amendments 58 to 59B agreed.

Clause 73: Commencement

Amendments 60 to 64A

Moved by Lord Bates

60: Clause 73, page 53, line 34, at end insert—

“( ) paragraphs 11A and 26 to 33 of Schedule 4 (and section 70(1) so far as relating to those paragraphs).”

61: Clause 73, page 53, line 35, leave out “Chapter 3 of Part 1 comes” and insert “The following provisions come”

62: Clause 73, page 53, line 37, at end insert—

“( ) Chapter 3 of Part 1;

“( ) paragraphs 2, 34 to 38 and 47(3) of Schedule 4 (and section 70(1) so far as relating to those paragraphs).”

62A: Clause 73, page 53, line 40, leave out “section 67” and insert “sections 67 and (Offence of failing to protect girl from risk of genital mutilation)”

63: Clause 73, page 54, line 9, leave out “sections 19 to 23” and insert “section 21”

63A: Clause 73, page 54, line 12, leave out paragraph (d) and insert—

“( ) section 45 and Schedule 1;

“( ) sections 46 to 49.”

63B: Clause 73, page 54, line 19, leave out “45” and insert “46”

64: Clause 73, page 54, line 20, after “66” insert “and Schedule 3”

64A: Clause 73, page 54, line 20, at end insert—

“( ) section (Female genital mutilation protection orders).”

Amendments 60 to 64A agreed.

In the Title

Amendment 65

Moved by Lord Bates

65:In the Title, line 7, after “children;” insert “to make it an offence to possess a knife or offensive weapon inside a prison;”

Amendment 65 agreed.

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1171

Music Education

Question for Short Debate

8.37 pm

Asked by Lord Aberdare

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of music education hubs and the National Plan for Music Education.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Con): My Lords, as the noble Lord’s Question for Short Debate is now being taken as last business, the time limit for the debate becomes 90 minutes rather than 60 minutes. Speeches should therefore be limited to seven minutes, except for the speeches of the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, and the Minister, which remain limited to 10 and 12 minutes respectively.

Lord Aberdare: My Lords, I am delighted to introduce this short debate on the national plan for music education, even if it is somewhat later than might have been anticipated. I put down my Question last June, before the Government’s announcement of extra funding for the plan, but I believe there are still issues about its funding and delivery that are worthy of debate. I am very grateful to all noble Lords who have put down their names to speak and look forward to hearing what they have to say from their often much more knowledgeable standpoints than I can claim as a mere music consumer, albeit a passionate one, and now also a singer in the Parliament choir.

The second paragraph of the national plan, published by the Departments for Education and for Culture, Media and Sport in November 2011, says:

“Our vision is to enable children from all backgrounds and every part of England to have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument; to make music with others; to learn to sing; and to have the opportunity to progress to the next level of excellence”.

That is indeed a visionary commitment, and one in which the Government should take pride. The challenge now is to ensure that those ambitious aims are delivered.

The plan’s central element is the creation of a network of local or regional music educational hubs across England. The devolved regions are, of course, not covered. These hubs, 123 of them, are responsible for co-ordinating the delivery of music education in their areas, working in partnership with schools, local authorities, music teachers and others. Their central government funding comes from the DfE but is administered by Arts Council England, which oversees them. In addition to the four core roles spelt out in the vision, the hubs were given three extension roles—to provide training and CPD for schools staff, develop instrument loan schemes and offer access to large-scale or high-quality music experiences for students.

I do not plan to rehash the case for the value of music in schools, which is rightly taken pretty much as a given in the plan, but one message coming through strongly to your Lordships’ Digital Skills Committee, on which I sit, is the central importance of creativity to the UK’s future skills base and competitiveness. There is nothing like music for learning creativity, as

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1172

well as other key skills such as team work, communication and discipline. The main question for us today is whether the plan is on track to achieve its aims and what government and others can do to increase its success.

I shall raise some issues relating to the hubs and their performance to date. Perhaps inevitably, these start with finance. Up to July, central government funding for local music education services, going back before the plan was launched, had been declining year by year, from a total of over £82 million in 2010-11 to £58 million in 2014-15, and no announcement had yet been made on funding beyond that. Furthermore, DfE published a consultation document suggesting that local authorities should not use any of the education support grant that they received from the department to support music education activities in schools. So the announcement later that month that funding for the year to March 2016 would be increased by £18 million, with £17 million of that going to hubs, was excellent news, especially as the ESG proposal was dropped at the same time. The Government deserve warm congratulations on this, at least as far as it goes.

However, there remain some important questions. How and when will the £75 million for 2015-16 be allocated to individual hubs? Will the extra money be dedicated wholly to fulfilling their existing roles? What will happen after March 2016? For hubs to be able to plan ahead properly, they need assurance that they will continue to be funded, preferably at the 2015-16 level, up to the end of the plan period in March 2020. A commitment of that kind was given by the Prime Minister for youth sport in February, so why not for music?

Central government funding represents only one-third of total funding for hubs across the board, although it ranges from 13% to 100% for individual hubs. Schools provide another 31%, with the remainder coming from parents at 17%, local authorities at 8% and other sources at 10%. With local authority funding declining from £25 million in 2010-11 to £14 million in 2012-13, and likely to continue to do so, and with parents seen as unable to contribute much more than they already do, confidence in the level and continuation of the central government funding commitment becomes all the more crucial.

There are other concerns. The performance of hubs is patchy, with some doing much better than others in building partnerships, raising funds and engaging schools, students and parents in stimulating worthwhile and effective activities within the four core roles. I am not aware of much evidence of initiatives to share good practice and encourage weaker hubs to learn from and emulate those that do better, so I was encouraged to receive a briefing from the Mayor of London’s office that outlined the excellent work that hubs in London are doing, with support from the mayor and his music fund, and which expressed the willingness of the GLA to work with DfE, the Arts Council and local authorities to develop a high-quality training programme for music hub leaders. The mayor and his music education task force will launch a London music pledge next month, which includes CPD and new resources for teachers. Another exemplar is the Greater Manchester music hub, working effectively with nine music services

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1173

in partnership with three local orchestras and the Royal Northern College of Music. London and Manchester may be special cases, but that seems to be just the sort of good practice sharing that is needed. What will the Government do to promote it?

There is worrying evidence, too, that students from poorer socio-economic groups and areas, and children with special educational needs, are not benefiting as much from the music education services on offer. Disadvantaged children are under-represented in ensembles and choirs. The noble Lord, Lord Lipsey, led a debate in July focusing on the fact that young people with disabilities are considerably less likely to be involved in musical activities than other students.

Access to instruments is another problem. Some of your Lordships may have seen the recent Channel 4 programme, “Don’t Stop the Music”, in which the pianist James Rhodes encouraged people with spare or unused instruments to loan or donate them to schools. Few hubs offer instrument loans at present, but perhaps they could be encouraged to link in to schemes like this.

Another concern is a growing shortage of music teachers. The Henley review recommended the creation of a primary teaching module, but since this has no funding attached to it, few potential teachers are taking it. Finally, the absence of music from Ofsted’s inspection framework means inevitably that schools give less priority to their music education activities than they might otherwise do, particularly as current league tables do not measure arts subjects.

Although it is outside the ambit of this debate, I am especially sorry to learn that the land of my fathers, albeit a few generations back, Wales, the so-called land of song, has no central funding for music services at all and that children there are 10% less likely to learn an instrument than those in England. What a disastrous failure to capitalise on what should be such an asset for Wales.

The national plan for music education is a visionary plan, with enormous potential educational, musical, cultural, creative and economic benefits. Of course I do not expect the Government, let alone the Minister today, to fix all the issues I have highlighted at a stroke. But should they not be blowing their trumpet rather more fortissimo to promote the success of the plan and to find ways of fixing these concerns? It would be interesting to hear something about the views of the plan’s monitoring board on the progress being made. This has now been transformed into a cultural education board. I hope that the Minister will confirm that this is not a step towards converting music education hubs into cultural education hubs.

The national plan for music education should be actively driven forward as a developing success story, which will help to cement and enhance the UK’s leading world position in music and creativity. I urge the Government, Arts Council England and the Minister today to be even more positive and energetic in supporting and advancing it. It would be sad indeed if the plan were allowed to fall short of its vision because of a lack of energy or commitment, when its success is so important to us all.

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1174

8.47 pm

Lord Black of Brentwood (Con): My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, on securing this debate. We are all extremely grateful to him for doing so. I declare my interest as a member of the council of the Royal College of Music.

I was lucky enough to have an amazing music education at school, starting with learning the trumpet at the age of nine, and then taking on three other instruments—some of them, it has to be said, to avoid sports lessons, but that is another story—playing in orchestras and ensembles, singing in the choir, and learning the theory and history of music. I could not have wanted for more, and it has become my lifelong passion as a result. But what I—and, I suspect, all noble Lords—want is for every child to have the opportunity to have their life enriched by music in this way. The establishment of the hub programme, on the back of the national plan for music education, goes a long way to achieving that, and the Government are to be congratulated on their support for it.

The Royal College of Music is part of the Tri-borough Music Hub, which covers Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham and Westminster. Those are three boroughs with wide socio-economic disparities. In maintained schools in those areas, more than half the pupils speak English as an additional language, compared with 15% nationally, and more than 35% of children qualify for free school meals—more than double the national average. That is just the sort of area where the provision of music education for the disadvantaged is most needed. The college, working with the Royal Albert Hall and Aurora Orchestra, along with 30 delivery organisations, provides a hub which was formed in August 2012 and now serves 154 schools and is responsible for the music education of all children aged five to 19 across the three boroughs. It works strategically with all the schools and music teachers to ensure that music in the curriculum is delivered to the highest quality, providing instrumental tuition, Saturday music centres, orchestras, flagship choirs and massed performances.

This hub has been highly successful in delivering the laudable aims set out in the national plan for music education, about which the noble Lord spoke, with a very high proportion of the schools in the area actively engaging with it. However, like all other hubs, it faces challenges. The biggest—I suspect this is likely to be a recurring theme this evening—is certainty of funding, which is much needed. However, that is also impacting across the whole music education sector for the post-2016 period. When looking at future budgets, one thing we need to take much greater account of are the very high costs involved in hiring suitable venues for large-scale rehearsals and concerts, yet these events, which allow children to take part in very big orchestral or choral events, are crucial to a balanced music education.

We also need to ensure that the work that is done is reaching children from disadvantaged backgrounds. There is something of a postcode lottery about the provision of music education—the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, rightly described it as patchy—and the playing field is still uneven across the UK. Music is a subject where independent school facilities still far outstrip

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1175

those of state schools. That is a shame, because we should never forget the key that role music education can play in helping shape and improve the lives of those who have not had the best start in life. It is they who need music the most. At the front of the national plan is a quote from Aristotle:

“Music has a power of forming the character and should therefore be introduced into the education of the young”.

It is that spirit which enthused the authors of the report, and it is one that we should be mindful of.

Finally, we have to recognise that the hubs are the start of a journey throughout life for talented young musicians. Some will go on to further study or will make music their careers. They will need continuing support, based on that most expensive educational premise: one-to-one tuition. Here, as your Lordships have discussed before—I am sure this issue arose in the debate initiated by the noble Lord, Lord Lipsey—the role of the conservatoires is absolutely essential. I would be grateful if the Minister, in her closing remarks, would restate the Government’s strong commitment in this area—a commitment which is essential to the delivery of a first-class music education for all our children.

8.53 pm

Lord Lipsey (Lab): Perhaps some noble Lords think that music education is a bit of an airy-fairy subject—a “nice-to-have” but not a “must-have”. If there is one canard which the debate initiated by the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, enables us to quash, it is this. Music is not just a “nice-to-have”, it is central to good education, as central as maths and English.

Research evidence is conclusive that music improves educational performance. Perhaps I might be permitted to cite one supporting fact. Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, which I have the privilege of chairing, is the second-ranked higher education institution in the country for employment—eat your hearts out Oxford and Cambridge—and 98.9% of our students are in work or further education six months after graduating. Of course, many of them are employed in music.

However, it turns out that a music education is also very attractive to employers because musicians have been taught to work hard, concentrate and set themselves goals, which are just the kind of qualities that make somebody a good employee. That is as true in schools as it is in conservatoires and universities. Music education is not just a cultural asset, although it is that. It is an economic asset too.

The Motion and speech of the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, draw attention to the long-term funding of the new music hubs, set up following the excellent report by Darren Henley in 2011. Of course, all our hearts leapt at the £18 million that the Government found in July for music education. First—sorry to look a gift horse in the mouth—that is only for a single year. We have no idea what will happen beyond that year. It has to be put in the context of the slashing of the budgets that went on before—from £82.5 million to £58 million next year, according to the campaign group Protect Music Education. It is not surprising

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1176

that local authorities are cutting, because they are being cut themselves. We are not spending nearly enough.

It is interesting that both speakers so far have used the word that I was about to use about the performance of the hubs: “patchy”. Patchy is it. Some are performing miracles. Others are not. It is certain that the Government’s pledge:

“Music education hubs will ensure that every child aged 5-18 has the opportunity to sing and learn a musical instrument, as well as perform as part of an ensemble or choir”,

is not being met.

Besides money, two other things would be helpful. The first is investment in leadership development for those people running the hubs. The second—this is particularly important, as the James Rhodes programmes show; I will come back to this—is that you need to educate head teachers and teachers in the value of music. They are under tremendous pressure from Ofsted, the Government and the Michael Goves of this world to show their results in maths and English. That can take their attention away from music, but that music is as central to education as those things. Head teachers need to be taught that.

You cannot get away from it. The heart of the failure is the shortage of funds. I am not sure how many noble Lords saw the Rhodes programme—a wonderful programme introduced by James Rhodes, the concert pianist, whose music, he said, led him away from drug addiction at an early age. He traced many of the problems that are being faced to the lack of instruments. Kids are improvising with toilet rolls and tin cans—Mickey Mouse music. James launched a campaign to get families to root out the instruments from their lofts and cellars. To see on that programme the kids' faces when they received these instruments was a very great joy to behold.

There are so many good people and so many good organisations working in this field. Just to take some that have walked through my door recently in my role as chair of the All-Party Classical Music Group: Future Talent, helping children from particularly deprived backgrounds; Voces Cantabiles Music—excuse my Latin—from the Gresham Centre, working with 20,000 students a year in the UK and internationally; and the One-Handed Musical Instrument Trust on which the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, was kind enough to point out that we had a debate earlier this year. These are people devoted night and day to music. The passionate devotion of many of the hub leaders—not all, but many—is great, but the mountain that has to be climbed remains very steep. At the end of the day, only the Government can resource the base camps which make the ascent possible. That is why we look forward to the forthcoming ministerial response this evening.

8.58 pm

Baroness Walmsley (LD): My Lords, I fear that I am going to agree with all the noble Lords who have spoken—I hope it is not boring, but at least it will be short. I speak as one who cannot remember how to do quadratic equations but whose whole life has been enriched by music and the other arts. My love of these things took root when I was a child and is thanks both

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1177

to my parents and to the inspiring teachers at my schools who gave me the opportunity and skills to enable me to sing and act. What I did not realise at the time was that taking part in these things was actually benefiting my academic achievement in other areas. Music is worth studying in its own right and for its wider educational value. It teaches young people how to memorise patterns and musical and verbal phrases, how to work as a team and how practising hard enables them to become really skilled at something. Music also builds up self-confidence and self-control. These skills are hugely beneficial for learning other subjects and in the workplace.

In the second review from Darren Henley—the one on cultural education in England, in 2012—he talked about the idea that the study of cultural education subjects in schools in itself creates a culture. This is clearly true. The very best schools, with really strong grades in English, maths and science, offer brilliant music, drama and dance, and stunning displays of art and design. I am sure that there is no coincidence in that. However, we need information for head teachers and chairs of governors to ensure that they recognise the value of musical and cultural activities in their schools. The decisions on budgets and funding are usually made at a school level, so those who do not value music are less likely to ensure that it is a vibrant part of school life. The amount of money available to spend on music in primary and secondary school budgets is far, far larger than the money given to music education hubs, so this local spend really matters. I am one of those who, right from the start, has very much regretted that there is no cultural subjects pillar in the English baccalaureate; there really should be. Perhaps it is good that it is falling into disrepute and disuse.

The first Henley report resulted in the music education hubs, as we have heard, and I think that, on the whole, they have been very successful. They have certainly demonstrated success that can be spread around. However, in order for them to continue they need skilled leadership. We need some of the additional money that has been announced to be invested in leadership for the people running those hubs. It is important that we grow a generation of skilled leaders to run the hubs to their full capability. Can my noble friend the Minister confirm that this will be done?

I also join others in making the point about equality of opportunity. There are concerns about progression in music for talented youngsters from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. New research from ABRSM, the exam board of the royal schools of music, shows that children from poorer backgrounds are far less likely to progress through the instrument exam grades than those from better-off homes. This means that we are failing to unlock the talent and potential of these young people, which is a real tragedy. Again, can the Minister tell us whether the Government plan to do anything about this?

Finally, as a resident of Wales, I join the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, in regretting that the Welsh Government are not providing money for instrument tuition for children. I use the words of Dylan Thomas:

“Praise the Lord! We are a musical nation”.

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1178

My husband and I very much enjoy watching the youth Eisteddfodau on the television. The joy on the faces of Welsh children when they sing is quite palpable. Clearly, Welsh children love to sing. What a pity it is that that innate musicality is not supported to develop their talents in instrumental working as well as singing. Unfortunately—well, no; I do not mean “unfortunately” —what I mean is that education in Wales is of course a devolved matter, and so all we can do in your Lordships’ House is call on the Welsh Government to do something about what has just been identified.

9.04 pm

Lord Berkeley of Knighton (CB): My Lords, when I made my maiden speech in your Lordships’ House I mentioned that one of the most moving experiences I had had recently was to receive a letter from an inmate of Wormwood Scrubs. I had been working with the Koestler Trust to put instruments into prisons. This man wrote to say that he was incredibly grateful to have been able to use a guitar and that had he had this instrument 15 years earlier he probably would not be serving life for murder. In other words, the means of expression that this instrument gave this prisoner was a release of those turbulent feelings that he had. As we have already heard from many noble Lords, research has discovered that even with children who are quite damaged music can often get through where nothing else can.

I too would like to praise the Government for having had the wisdom to find more funds recently and for recognising that the creative industries are a very important part of the economic and social make-up of this country. It is also important to realise for the future that children who are going to be the top players, if you like the top earners, of tomorrow need to start early. They need to get their fingers and muscles adjusted to the strings, for example, of a violin. They need to be playing instruments at the age of five to have any chance of reaching the top echelons. But it is not just the tops echelons in which we are interested, as we have heard. It is the social cohesion that music brings that is so important.

Before I talk a bit more about what has been achieved and what could be achieved, I would like to mention other areas of music. I am sure that the right reverend Prelate who follows me will endorse my plea to help cathedral choirs retain their music. This is such an important part of this country’s tradition, whether it be Byrd or Tallis or Blow. These are the great masterworks which are part of our heritage. Hopefully it will continue, with my colleagues creating music for churches in the future.

When the Government produced the Department for Education document about more music for the Arts Council to distribute, as my noble friend Lord Aberdare said, it said something important. I am going to repeat it because it is so important as a mantra. If the Government can keep to this, we will be on the right footing:

“We expect every child to have the opportunity to sing, play instruments, solo and in groups and to be able to take these skills further if”,

through talent or inspiration they so wish.

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1179

That is a wonderful starting point, but against it we must look at the conclusions of Making Music, by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. This paid tribute to what has been achieved but also said:

“Although the trajectory over the last 15 years is generally positive, there are”—

your Lordships have heard this before—

“areas of concern: many children and young people have not had access to instrumental lessons, while others have no engagement with formal music tuition after primary school”.

What it goes on to say is so important. It says that children from lower socioeconomic groups, just those ones who might turn to violence,

“continue to be significantly disadvantaged compared with their peers from more affluent backgrounds. Sustained, progressive music education tends to be the preserve of children born to wealthier parents”.

As we heard from the noble Lord, Lord Black:

“This report shows that adults who had private lessons as children and sat a music exam were much more likely to still play an instrument—and the higher the grade achieved, the more likely they were to continue learning.

The cost of learning to play and of taking lessons is a major barrier and children without access to tuition are significantly less likely to carry on playing. Regional provision is variable and the diverse ways in which learners progress are not necessarily well supported by the sector”.

There is good news and bad news. How about looking at one idea that would cost nothing? This would be to say not only to schools but also to Ofsted that we want you to up the importance of music.

9.10 pm

The Lord Bishop of Lichfield: My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, on introducing this important and timely short debate. I welcome the national plan for music education, which emphasises the importance of music and the creation of music education hubs in this country, I also welcome the fact that the report has taken note of the recommendations made in the Henley review, perhaps the most comprehensive and thorough review of the state of music education in England for many years. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley of Knighton, for his support of church music as well.

There are many benefits in the national music plan, some of which we have already heard about. In particular, it gives an overview of funding aimed at providing a more efficient and equitable system than the one which has traditionally been used. Funding is now weighted for deprivation and allocated on a per-pupil basis rather than the traditional postcode lottery operated through local education authorities. These hubs provide an innovative and interesting method of co-ordinating music education and development between pupils, schools and communities. It fosters the kind of networks that are necessary to develop a thriving local music scene, and there are clear targets which everyone can understand. These are all good things; in theory they are extremely encouraging, and indeed I am encouraged. I welcome them wholeheartedly.

However, I agree with noble Lords who have used the word “patchy”. In my own diocese of Lichfield, the issue about the hubs is that they are often spread too thinly over very large areas, making it difficult for them to be effective. The Lichfield hub reaches right

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1180

across Staffordshire and teams up with surrounding hubs in Shropshire and the Black Country. While the hubs themselves are a good thing, and the targets they are to be held accountable to are clear, they do not cope well with the sheer number of children they have to deal with on a regular basis. Although the national music plan ring-fences spending on music education, all noble Lords who spoke before me in the debate cited figures that reveal a recent massive decrease, which somewhat undermines any attempt at planning for the future. More reliable help is needed in this department.

We have heard that numerous studies have been conducted over recent years which show the benefits of singing, playing and listening to music not only to general health and well-being, but also to an individual’s mental health. Given the Government’s interest in improving the well-being of the public, perhaps I may suggest that increasing access to music and encouraging participation in performance would be one of the simplest and most effective ways of improving the physical and mental health and well-being of the whole population.

Programmes run by the cathedral, such as the choristers’ arts programme and the MusicShare concerts, along with the curriculum singing days over the year, make improvements in behaviour, cognitive ability and language plain to see. I offer a big thanks to people such as my director of music at the cathedral, Cathy Lamb, who is for so many people the Gareth Malone of the area, opening up possibilities that they hardly dreamt of.

Music is not just a cultural tradition. Having the opportunity to participate in regular music events enables children to grow in self-confidence. That is the trouble with cutting funds. Over the past year it has been noticeable in Staffordshire that the reduction in availability of the Sing Up campaign has generated a marked deterioration in the general ability of children and young people to engage with and understand music. As cuts are made, the success of instrumental learning and one-to-one music lessons is diminished, which significantly affects the opportunities for students to progress. Recognition of the importance of music in education and for general well-being is essential if it is not to return to being seen as elitist, where only those with surplus money can afford lessons.

The benefits of a high-quality music education for children are numerous and significant, and of particular use for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. If we intend to make any alterations to the national music plan, they should be in the form of an increase in the number of hubs as well as an increase in the regular means of funding for them. This would help to resolve the problems experienced by our local hub in Lichfield. The national plan for music education in schools is not just viable and financially sustainable in the long term, it is, as other noble Lords have said, absolutely necessary for healthy and happy education. It should be extended and improved to help build a happy and prosperous society, where children of all backgrounds can appreciate the benefits of a high-quality music education.

Given the interest in the long-term viability of the national music plan which this debate demonstrates, perhaps I might suggest that there be a review of the

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1181

effectiveness of the national music plan so that its practical implementation can be better understood and improved. Without music, particularly without music in worship, we are only half human. Our children deserve their schools to open the treasure chest for them afresh in each generation.

9.15 pm

Baroness Eaton (Con): My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, for initiating this very interesting debate. I have thoroughly enjoyed the contributions from other noble Lords. I am not a musician, but I can truly say that some of the most enjoyable and fulfilling occasions in my life have involved music: the absolute joy of singing in the Christmas Oratorio, the delight of singing madrigals in an English garden on a summer’s day, the pleasure and discipline of playing a violin with an orchestra.

Without my musical education in school, which started at a very early age, I doubt that I would have enjoyed such pleasures. I did not go to an expensive school; I was state educated. At the age of four, we had a percussion band and learnt French time names, and that I found very useful in all the aspects of music in which I have been involved. We learnt the violin in a group session. We were singing in a choir which was selected and trained to sing well for Speech Day. We were given free tickets by the local authority for the Hallé Orchestra concerts. In those days, the director of music of the local authority was very happy to give up his Saturday mornings to take a group of young musicians and train them into an orchestra.

We must not regard the activities that I have just described as being part of life in a bygone era. I share the desire expressed by all noble Lords here today that we wish to see all children enjoying a good music education, because we have heard the benefits that this brings. Learning an instrument, singing in a choir, learning to enjoy listening all have a very important role in children’s academic, creative and social development. Others have expressed that very well already in this debate.

It is a grave disservice to our children if music is badly taught and poor-quality performance is accepted. I was at an event recently where a junior-school choir sang to a poor-quality CD of backing music, with no attempt at clear diction or anything tuneful. The fact that the children appeared to enjoy themselves and, as the audience said, looked very sweet, seemed to be regarded as a good result. If we wish to see children enjoying singing and doing it to a high standard, we need go no further than our cathedral choirs, which we have already heard a lot about today. There, the children enjoy it, they have the discipline and the quality and standard are excellent. There is no reason why other children in school should not also achieve excellence.

Many children benefit from excellent music teaching from excellent teachers, but, sadly, this is not the case everywhere. Developing more competent music teachers is essential if our desire to see improved quality and experiences for our children is to happen.

The national plan for music education in England was an ambitious statement of intent and I congratulate the Government on it. I, too, am pleased to hear of the

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1182

extra resources that have been put into music education. As we have heard, music education hubs were set up to augment music teaching in schools and colleges. Will my noble friend tell the House what monitoring of the performance and progress of the hubs takes place? If there is any underachievement, what actions are taken to improve those hubs? What progress is being made towards the aim of having a qualified music teacher in each school?

9.20 pm

Baroness Uddin (Non-Afl): My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, for allowing me to take part in this interesting debate. It was a rare pleasure to encounter ancient philosophy in the preface to the audacious national plan for music education. The Government’s strategy from 2011 cites Plato’s words:

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, and life to everything”.

I believe those words. Dare I hope that music was a calming influence on even Michael Gove’s period of office in the Department for Education?

Unsurprisingly, there have been numerous studies about how the study of music and instruments benefits the brain. In 2003, Harvard neurologist Gottfried Schlaug identified notable differences in the brains of adult musicians versus non-musicians. More recently, studies at Northwestern University’s neuroscience labs in Illinois and Emory University in Atlanta have also pointed to the beneficial effect of childhood exposure to musical instruments, and suggest that playing music as a child can help compensate for cognitive declines in later life.

However, despite the weight of academic evidence about the benefits of music and the former Education Secretary’s pronouncement about Plato’s view that “Without music, life would be an error”, the Government are now countenancing consigning some children to such “erroneous” lives without music. Only three years ago, the Secretary of State for Education gave the assurance that the national plan for music education would achieve the Henley review’s guiding principle that:

“Children from all backgrounds and every part of England should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument”,


“to learn to sing”.

It is reported that provision remains patchy, as the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, said, and access for all has not been achieved. Ofsted concluded that in the first year of operation, music provision remains weak and poorly led, and it found few examples of good practice in music hubs—brought into existence to improve the quality and consistency of music education—notwithstanding what the mayor has said about what is happening in London, and of course what is happening in Manchester.

Given all the work that remains to be done to realise the promised achievements of the national plan for music education, how can the Department for Education consult on removing the onus from local authorities to support music services? I hope that the Minister will pick up this point. The department’s consultation document points to music hubs to pick

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1183

up the slack but with downwards budgetary pressure and patchiness of provision, surely this would jeopardise the principle of access for all children and undermine the Government’s strategy. Do the Government continue to support the principle that every child should have the chance to learn an instrument?

My work with people with an autism spectrum disorder, and my own family experience, have shown time and again how music can bring joy and peace and improve the quality of life of people for whom speech or social interaction are cumbersome. Autism takes many different forms but is a lifelong condition, believed to affect more than one in 100 people. It often affects verbal communication and social interaction. Some academic studies and a wealth of anecdotal evidence suggest that children with autism often respond very well to music.

As well as benefiting the brain, the study of instruments can calm people and help them to focus. I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Eaton, that the principle of learning an instrument can improve performance in other areas. Even simply listening can be edifying. Last month, I visited the Tower Project, a day centre for young autistic men and women in Tower Hamlets, where I met a young lady who could not speak but could sing. Music brought her the most happiness during her days at the centre. In these circumstances, music is not a luxury but is essential education.

Only yesterday, the Mayor of Newham told Members of Parliament how he has provided free instruments and tuition in music for all Newham children who wished to access this. I suggest that we should go further at looking at the potential of music education, particularly for people with autism and other developmental conditions. Local authorities, working in tandem with music hubs, are essential agents, given their links to schools and day centres. The onus on them to promote music education must be retained.

The national plan for music education identified that, unlike in art and drama, children with special educational needs are under-represented in music GCSE. What progress has been made in addressing this since the plan was published? How do the Government propose to increase the participation of children with autism and special educational needs in music classes?

I have never belonged to any of the elite music institutions that have thus far been mentioned, but music has been embedded in, and has enlightened, my life. I recall the role that music played in many freedom struggles across the globe, from the protest ballads of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez during the Vietnam War—inspiring a generation of young peace-seekers in the sixties—to the role of Shadhin Bangla Betar Radio belting out to the freedom-seeking citizens, “Amar sonar Bangla ami tomay bhalobasi”, the national anthem of Bangladesh, during the Bangladesh liberation war. It was secretly played by my mother, who took a great risk with her otherwise hidden radio, and inspired my generation. I can say with conviction that music can and does have a profound and lasting effect on a national psyche.

To deprive any child of a musical education is, in the spirit of a former Secretary of State for Education and the words of Plato before him, an error. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, and the right

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1184

reverend Prelate that music education must not become the preserve of those children whose families can afford to pay for music tuition. Indeed, we should do more to harness its potential to improve the quality of life for the many disadvantaged in society. I hope the Minister will give some consideration and attention to this issue, particularly as to how we can safeguard music teaching and ensure that appropriately trained teachers are available to meet the needs of people with disabilities during these times of funding constraints.

9.28 pm

The Earl of Clancarty (CB): My Lords, the key question to ask about music education in schools is this: is the total number of school children from lower income groups leaving primary school who achieve a certain proficiency in the playing of recognised instruments increasing or decreasing? That is the fundamental measure which should tell us whether greater opportunities are being given to children in music education.

It is heart-warming to see all children playing in the school orchestra, but as James Rhodes has noted,

“banging an African drum for 30 minutes once a week for 10 weeks is not a music education”.

I would be wary, then, of arguments or statistics that revolve purely around participation.

A parent whose children are accomplished performers suggested to me that there are valid comparisons to be made between playing a musical instrument and participating in sport. Both require students to put in much time and effort in order to be at all good: there are basic skills to be learnt in playing the violin or piano, as in football or netball. These skills need to be taught by teachers who know what they are doing. Children need to be given the opportunity to begin in the early years to have a chance to develop their interest.

In this era of hubs and partnerships, I nevertheless believe that the emphasis still needs to be on the schools themselves and what the Government are doing for schools. That is where policy should be directed. I have, then, concerns about expert charities coming into schools in deprived areas. That is great in the short term for the schools concerned and may indeed help to change a culture, but there are questions. What about the schools that do not have the luxury of being serviced by such a charity? What happens if a charity disappears from the scene? The problem of music hubs being the major policy initiative is that it is too piecemeal and indirect a strategy to deal across the whole country with the underlying problem, which is, quite simply, lack of resources—hence Ofsted’s report last year that said there has been “little discernible difference” made to music in more than two-thirds of the schools investigated despite the current large spend on music hubs.

Ultimately, a culture of music education and music making must emanate from the schools themselves. But for this to happen, the Government must provide in all schools money dedicated to instrument buying, money for the specialist staff required—crucially in primary schools—and time for proper tuition, both in performing and listening to music. A school with an inherent culture of music-making and music

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1185

education—or one encouraged to develop such a culture through the provision of resources—is likely to draw in every child with a potential interest in music. If the schools infrastructure is not addressed then the danger is, as for all arts education, that music will become the preserve of the middle classes, since it is expense—the same thing as lack of resources—that will exclude children from poorer backgrounds.

9.32 pm

Baroness Jones of Whitchurch (Lab): My Lords, first, I very much thank the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, for tabling this debate this evening. I thank all noble Lords for their excellent contributions. It is clear that across the House we have an understanding of the transformative power of music as well as an impressive unanimity on the challenges to this sector, which I am sure the noble Baroness will address.

Like many noble Lords, we welcomed the Henley report and the subsequent national plan for music. It led many to think that the Government finally understood the real significance of music in our schools and in our culture. Sadly, despite the excellent examples of good practice around the country which we have heard this evening, the overall reality is that the delivery of the national plan remains a source of frustration and disappointment to many. Why is this? We contend that the heart of the problem is inconsistency at government level. At the same time as Michael Gove was signing off the music national plan, he was devising a curriculum review which excluded music from the EBacc at GCSE level. Despite subsequent concessions in 2013, music now has to fight for space in the curriculum in a way it did not in the past. The result is that the numbers taking GCSE music have been dropping, down 9% since the last election.

As we have heard, this inconsistency is further illustrated by the rather precarious nature of the funding of music hubs. Again as we heard, in the three-year period from 2011 to 2014, national funding dropped from £82 million to £58 million. This was compounded by the DfE advising local authorities that they should no longer contribute to music education. While the announcement in July of an extra £18 million for music hubs was welcome, it does not balance the shortfall. As we have heard, this is creating a long-term funding crisis where the hubs feel unable to invest, employ staff or really develop the plans that they are expected to deliver.

Another consequence of this funding dilemma is the increasing evidence that music education is being casualised, with fewer full-time time music teachers working in schools and more working for hubs on zero-hour contracts, trying to supplement their incomes with private tuition and maybe even other less relevant work. The result of this is that the profession is being deskilled, with a lack of investment in music teachers and their continuing professional development as well as a lack of promotion possibilities for music teachers, which cannot be good for the quality of teaching going forward.

Finally, as the reports from Ofsted and the Arts Council have confirmed, the postcode lottery remains. Some music hubs are doing excellent work and others

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1186

are struggling to make their mark. Some seem to have defined their role as data collectors and others seem to be paying themselves inflated salaries at the expense of improving local provision. At the same time, children from disadvantaged families continue to have less access to quality music education, so we are failing on the central mission of the national plan to extend a good musical education to all children.

We have to ask whether we are confident that the Arts Council has sufficient levers to raise the game of the mediocre music hubs and schools to that of the best. Where will the real drive and authority to meet the original aspirations come from? Will the new cultural education board bring sufficient additional clout to really make a difference? Surely what we need is a guarantee that every child will have a good musical grounding as well as access to watching the best live performers. Surely Ofsted could play a greater part by insisting that no school will be rated outstanding unless it delivers a broad and balanced curriculum, including a central role for the arts and more specifically, music.

I know that we have rehearsed these arguments and that there is a great deal of unanimity this evening. I hope that we have given the Minister sufficient challenges on which to come back and address those many issues. I look forward to her response.

9.37 pm

Baroness Jolly (LD): My Lords, this has been a really delightful debate and I have a huge personal interest in this. The best lesson that I learnt at school was to read music and sing, and it has given me a portable instrument which I have been able to take all around the world with small choirs. I feel that all children should have the same opportunity.

All noble Lords asked about disadvantaged children and music. It is a core role of music education hubs to ensure that every child, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to learn a musical instrument through whole class ensemble teaching, and to help ensure that children from lower income backgrounds have access to instruments and tuition, hubs of discounted instrument hire and lessons for children who are in receipt of free school meals.

I join other noble Lords in thanking the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, for enabling us to discuss with such expertise—and, it must be said, passion—the national plan for music education and the long-term financial sustainability of the hubs. As I know other noble Lords are aware, there is already much excellent work that we can celebrate following the publication of the plan in November 2011. The 123 hubs which were set up in August 2012, managed by Arts Council England, are working hard to improve the quality and consistency of music education throughout the country. Data from their first academic year of operation showed that, in that first year, hubs gave nearly 500,000 children the opportunity to learn an instrument for the first time as well as working with almost 15,000 school choirs, orchestras or bands.

In order to monitor progress against the plan we have set up a cultural education board chaired by Nick Gibb, Minister of State for School Reform, Ed Vaizey,

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1187

Minister of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Darren Henley, the managing director of Classic FM whose report led to the national plan for music education being adopted.

My noble friend Lady Walmsley and the noble Lords, Lord Aberdare and Lord Lipsey, spoke about music hubs giving a patchy service and asked whether DfE will support hub leadership to improve. Arts Council England is putting in place a system of peer-to-peer support for hub leaders, and DfE is currently considering spending allocations to hubs for 2015-16 and will consider whether some of the money should support training for hub managers. Arts Council England is working with all hubs and directly challenging underperformance as well as supporting hubs to improve.

Noble Lords are aware that the plan provides a vision which extends to 2020 and confirmed three years’ funding. Long-term government funding cannot be decided ahead of next year’s general election, but we were very pleased to announce in July—several noble Lords referred to this—an extra £18 million for music education in 2015, which takes the total investment to at least £75 million for the next year. In total, £246 million has been provided for the first three and a half years. I have no access to the Prime Minister but, on his pledge to support sport until 2020, I am quite happy to pass the view of the House to the Deputy Prime Minister.

The national plan recognised that central government funding would provide a contribution to the work of music education hubs, rather than being expected to meet the full costs. A key feature of the hubs’ role is an increased emphasis on partnership working, and they are expected to attract additional investment from other sources. The pattern is very different across hubs. In one hub, government funding accounted for only 13% of the total. In others, government funding was the sole source. This needs to improve. Arts Council England is supporting hubs to improve their business and brokerage skills so that they can widen their income sources and expand their core services to schools and young people.

Arts Council England is looking at encouraging the spreading of good practice. In response to the comments made by the noble Lords, Lord Lipsey and Lord Aberdare, who both used the word “patchy”, hubs are expected to draw in funding from a wide range of sources, such as local authorities, schools, parents and third-sector grants. There are many examples from across the country of hubs securing funding. Noble Lords asked for an example of children in deprived areas. In Hull, the hub has received £10,000 from one council ward to provide bursary funding for local pupils who cannot afford instrumental lessons. East Riding hub is receiving donations of up to £10,000 per year through its engagement with the parent-led Friends of the East Riding Youth Orchestras. In Kirklees, the hub has secured £10,000 from the John Paul Getty foundation to support its orchestral week initiatives.

The noble Lord, Lord Black, talked about the Tri-borough Music Hub north of the Thames. Perhaps it might like to work in partnership with the South London Riverside Partnership, which consists of the hubs of Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark working together. Those hubs south of the river united

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1188

their resources and applied for a £99,000 grants for the arts award for a strategic project in partnership with the London Philharmonic Orchestra education team. The BrightSparks education concerts are designed to extend the work of music hubs by providing opportunities for more than 32,000 school children to engage with a symphony orchestra of world-class musicians. The sharing of knowledge, skills and resources between the music hubs and the orchestra has been key to the success of the project so far, helping to raise the profile of the hubs and enabling them to extend and sustain their offer to schools.

It is easy to focus on music education hubs and forget the other elements included in the national plan for music. It is important to be aware that we are continuing to fund the vibrant In Harmony programme, based on the famous El Sistema programme in Venezuela. I listened to the noble Baroness, Lady Eaton. Nothing is new. She was talking about learning the violin in groups, and I can remember my brother doing exactly the same 50 years ago. In Harmony aims to transform the lives of children in six deprived areas: Liverpool, Lambeth, Telford and Wrekin, Newcastle, Nottingham and Leeds.

We are continuing to fund Music for Youth, which provides opportunities for young musicians to perform in some of the UK’s most prestigious venues and gives thousands of young people the opportunity to experience a range of high-quality live music. Thousands of London school children had the opportunity to attend the Primary Proms in the Royal Albert Hall earlier this year, and thousands more children from across the UK will have the opportunity to perform in, or to attend, the School Proms which take place next month, again in the Royal Albert Hall.

My noble friend Lord Black asked me, on behalf of the Government, to reaffirm the commitment to conservatoires. The music and dance scheme receives £28 million a year from the DfE and shares the commitment to allowing all pupils the opportunity to fulfil their talents, regardless of income. The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley of Knighton, might be interested to know that one of the recipients of that money is Wells Cathedral School. That sort of tradition is being carried on.

We are continuing to support national youth music organisations such as the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. These provide opportunities for talented pupils to perform at the highest level, whatever their family income. As well as funding specific opportunities for pupils, the national plan was designed to improve the infrastructure and there has been progress here too. For example, the level 4 Certificate for Music Educators qualification has been developed by the music education sector to professionalise and acknowledge their role in and out of school. Students can train for the qualification with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music or with Trinity College London. New resources aimed at supporting primary teachers to teach music have been developed and published.

The noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, asked what the Government are doing to support the sharing of good practice; I think that I have covered that reasonably well. My noble friend Lady Walmsley asked about the

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1189

EBacc; it is one of those chestnuts that keep coming around. Music GCSE continues to be the headline measure of school performance—the five As to Cs including English and maths measure. Reformed accountability measures from 2016 will include eight subjects, including music.

I still have many questions to answer, so I intend to respond by letter to noble Lords whose questions I have not had time to answer. However, we have heard the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley of Knighton, talk about music therapy. This was echoed by the noble Baroness, Lady Uddin, who spoke about autism; of course, she is an expert in that area. There is a need to start early, to train the muscles and get the muscle memory going. There is the mantra of singing with instruments, solos and in groups. We must work at it.

28 Oct 2014 : Column 1190

There are large events that children gain so much from going to see and take part in; we have spoken about the proms.

The Government cannot act alone. We are working with schools, hubs, local authorities, the music education sector, music charities, commercial organisations and others to support the vision of a high-quality music education for all young people across England. By drawing the organisations together, we are now witnessing the start of a new era of partnership working in the music sector for the long term. I hope that noble Lords will be reassured by the debate—and, I hope, my letter—that the national plan for music education is alive and well and that music hubs will continue to play an increasingly pivotal role in promoting and delivering its aspirations for many years to come.

House adjourned at 9.49 pm.