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The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving the National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of Functions) (No.2) Order 2000, I should like, with the leave of the House, to speak also to the National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of Functions)(Variation) Order 2000. Perhaps I may speak to that latter order first.
The National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of Functions) (Variation) Order 2000, to which I shall refer as "the variation order", will help to secure the well-being and safety of children in schools in Wales by allowing the Secretary of State for Education and Employment to exercise concurrently with the Assembly the powers under Section 218(6) of the Education Reform Act 1988, to bar or restrict employment in the education sector. Historically the power to bar or restrict a person's employment in the
A number of discussions have taken place between the Assembly and the DfEE with a view to identifying the best way to proceed. This variation order provides a solution that will allow the Department for Education and Employment's dedicated unit to tackle the outstanding Welsh cases and to bar or restrict people from employment in Wales as well as England. It will ensure that the DfEE's dedicated unit has the powers to ensure that cases are dealt with promptly and adequately throughout England and Wales without taking away the ability for the Assembly to take on this role in future if it becomes feasible.
I turn now to the National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of Function) (No. 2) Order 2000, which I shall refer to as "Transfer (No. 2)". That order includes the Assembly as an emanation of the Crown entitled to receive notice if a court regards a provision of secondary legislation as incompatible with a right under the Human Rights Act 1998, and is considering making a declaration to that effect. The Human Rights Act generally comes into effect on 2nd October this year, and it is proposed that Transfer (No. 2) will also come into effect on that day.
Section 5 of the Human Rights Act states that where a court is considering whether to make a declaration of incompatibility, the Crown is entitled to notice. This is so that the Crown, which usually has ultimate responsibility for the legislation being considered by the court, can take part in the proceedings. This is particularly important as a declaration of incompatibility will be likely to lead to pressure for amendment legislation that is compatible with convention rights to be brought forward as soon as possible.
Subsection (2) of Section 5 of the Human Rights Act lists those emanations of the Crown entitled to receive notice. These are UK Ministers and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The National Assembly for Wales was not included in the list from the outset because it does not have primary legislative powers. However, the Assembly can of course make subordinate legislation, which may also be considered incompatible with the Human Rights Act by a court.
This proposed Transfer (No. 2) Order will bring the National Assembly within Section 5(2) of the Human Rights Act in relation to a court considering a declaration of incompatibility on subordinate legislation made in relation to Wales by the Assembly
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton) rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 12th June be approved [22nd Report from the Joint Committee].
The noble Lord said: My Lords, I am pleased to speak to this order which, when approved, will help to combat the serious offence of counterfeiting currency. All currencies should be protected against the activities of counterfeiters whose activities attack not only financial transactions but can also threaten the very stability of a state.
It is here that UK legislation, which is otherwise comprehensive and effective, needs amendment to enable us to participate more fully with our European partners in the fight against counterfeiting. The kind of technological developments to which I have already referred mean that the offence of manufacturing counterfeit currency can be carried out in more than one jurisdiction. For example, someone in the UK may design on a computer part of an image intended to be printed on a counterfeit note. He can then send it electronically to a "colleague" or co-conspirator abroad for the work to be completed.
It is this kind of scenario which the present amendment is designed to address. The order will enable us to prosecute in England and Wales any offence of counterfeiting where a "relevant event"--in other words, any element which contributes to the offence--takes place within England and Wales. This kind of jurisdiction is already in place for other offences of dishonesty, such as theft, fraud and forgery, which
I should stress at this point that these counterfeiting offences apply to all legally issued currencies: the US dollar, the Swiss franc and the Spanish peseta are all equally protected by our legislation. There is no question of this amending order giving extra protection to any one currency over and above any other.
For the reason that this amendment will enable the UK to participate effectively in combating the serious offence of forgery at an international level, I urge noble Lords to approve the order. I commend it to the House.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, the two draft orders make what might best be described as running adjustments to the data protection regime established when the Data Protection Act 1998 was brought into force on 1st March of this year. I shall briefly explain their effect.
I shall deal first with the Designated Codes of Practice (No. 2) Order. In February, noble Lords approved seven orders subject to affirmative resolution under the 1998 Act. Among them was the Data Protection (Designated Codes of Practice) Order 2000. That order designates five media codes of practice for the purposes of Section 32 of the 1998 Act.
It was a matter of considerable concern to the Government to discover that after the draft order had been approved by your Lordships' House, one of the codes which it designates--the Press Complaints Commission's code--was out of date. I wrote to the noble Viscount, Lord Astor, and the noble Baroness, Lady Nicholson, to inform them of this mistake and undertook to bring forward a fresh order to regularise the position.
That is the purpose of the new order. The original order designates specific editions of the various codes. Designating specific editions means that each time a code is amended, a new order will be required. As we have seen, this can give rise to problems. To avoid such problems in the future, we have decided to follow a different approach in the new order. This designates
I turn now to the Data Protection (Miscellaneous Subject Access Exemptions) (Amendment) Order. This order makes one small change to the Data Protection (Miscellaneous Subject Access Exemptions) Order 2000 which was also among the original package of draft subordinate legislation approved in February. The Data Protection Act 1998 creates a right, subject to exemptions, for individuals to see the information which is held about them. Among other things, the original order allows that right to be restricted where adoption records held by local authorities are concerned. The justification for this is that it can sometimes be harmful for the individuals concerned to learn about the background to the adoption. Following the approval of the original order, it was drawn to our attention that adoption records are not held only by local authorities. Approved adoption societies can also hold such records, and similar considerations apply to access to them. At the request of bodies representing such voluntary adoption societies, we are therefore bringing forward this order to apply the exemption to them as well.
I apologise to noble Lords that it has proved necessary to bring these two orders before your Lordships' House so soon after the implementation of the 1998 Act. However, I hope that noble Lords will understand the need for these changes to be made. I commend the orders to the House.
Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 21st June be approved [23rd Report from the Joint Committee].--(Lord Bassam of Brighton.)
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