|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): My right honourable friend the Prime Minister has today laid the government response to the Intelligence and Security Committee's report before Parliament.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): My honourable friend the Minister of State for the Home Department has discussed the proposals in detail with representatives from local authorities, telephone operators, the police, CPS and other agencies. In the light of these discussions we have modified the proposals in two main areas.
First, we propose a national, not an adoptive offence. Although this is as yet largely a local problem, an adoptive approach could lead to circumvention and be impractical. Second, we favour a more limited offence which would cover advertisements for the services of prostitutes and other sexual services in telephone boxes in public places rather than a general offence of unauthorised advertising. We believe the offence should attract a power of arrest. There should be a power to extend the offence, by affirmative resolution, to other structures providing shelter to the public, in case the activity is displaced to, for example, bus shelters.
As part of a co-ordinated approach, the Director-General of OFTEL is consulting with the telecommunications industry on how best to bring in effective call-barring schemes to deal with the nuisance of prostitutes' cards. My honourable friend the Minister of State for the Home Department believes that the co-ordinated action on call barring and the new criminal offence will enable us to crack down on this illegal and undesirable practice and protect local communities from the obvious nuisance that these cards cause.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): At the European Pharmaceutical Committee in September, member states agreed the case for a directive on traditional medicinal products. The European Commission subsequently circulated a preliminary draft to member states in order to assess the range of views about possible specific provisions. The proposals draw from work carried out by an expert working group of the committee for which the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) acted as rapporteur. We have placed a copy of the text in the Library. The MCA has recently held discussions with representatives of herbal interest groups to discuss our response to the Commission's proposals.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: If the proposals for a directive on traditional medicinal products can be agreed, we expect that it would provide a secure legal basis for regulating a wide range of traditional herbal remedies of the kind currently sold to the public under Section 12(2) of the Medicines Act 1968. It is unlikely
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Many products consisting of combinations of herbal and other ingredients can currently be sold legally in the United Kingdom--for example, under food or cosmetic law--and we anticipate that this will continue to be the case. Where, however, such combination products are classified as medicines, they require a marketing authorisation before they can be placed on the market.
At this very early stage in discussions on the European Commission's proposals for a directive on traditional medicinal products, it is not yet clear whether coverage would be restricted to traditional herbal remedies or whether in some circumstances traditional medicines containing other ingredients could also be permitted under the terms of the directive.
Following completion of parliamentary consideration of the Order a Departmental Circular will be published containing related guidance. The guidance will set out how best value authorities can consider workforce matters when selecting tenderers and awarding contracts. Our aim is to modify the restriction on consideration of workforce matters so that authorities can have proper regard to them in cases where they are relevant to best value and the quality of the contract.
These proposals meet two overriding objectives, first, by enhancing good procurement practice under best value and, secondly, by recognising that a well motivated and trained workforce is vital to the provision of quality local services. This will make a substantial contribution to achieving best value services in local government.
We have received over 120 responses to our consultation paper Best Value and Procurement: Handling of Workforce Matters in Contracting from local government, the private and voluntary sectors and individuals. We are grateful to those bodies and individuals that have responded. The revised guidance takes account of the views expressed. A list of respondents is being placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
The order and guidance apply to best value authorities in England and to police and fire authorities in Wales. The National Assembly will decide whether or not to make its own order for local authorities in Wales.
|Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|