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Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill [Lords]

Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

As amended in Committee, considered.

New Clause 1

Fostering

‘(1) Despite section 43, this Act applies to activity that is regulated activity by virtue of paragraph 1(5C) of Schedule 3.

(2) Subsection (1) does not affect the operation of this Act in relation to any other activity that is carried out in connection with a foster child.

(3) Subsection (4) applies if a person (P)—

(a) makes arrangements for another person to foster a child as a private foster parent, and

(b) has power to terminate the arrangements.

(4) P is, if he would not otherwise be, a regulated activity provider in relation to fostering carried out by the foster parent in pursuance of the arrangements.

(5) The following provisions of this section apply for the purposes of this Act.

(6) A person fosters a child if he is a foster parent of the child.

(7) A person is a foster parent if—

(a) he is a local authority foster parent within the meaning of section 23(3) of the Children Act 1989;

(b) he is a person with whom a child has been placed by a voluntary organisation under section 59(1)(a) of that Act;

(c) he is a private foster parent.

(8) A person is a private foster parent if he falls within subsection (9) and looks after a child—

(a) for reward, or

(b) in pursuance of an arrangement made by someone other than a member of the child’s family.

(9) A person falls within this subsection if—

(a) he fosters the child privately within the meaning of section 66(1) of the Children Act 1989,

(b) he would be so fostering the child but for subsection (2) of that section (minimum period of 28 days), or

(c) (in the case of a child who has attained the age of 16) he would fall within paragraph (a) or (b) if the child were under the age of 16.

(10) A person’s family includes—

(a) the person’s foster child;

(b) the foster child of any member of the person’s family;

and references to a family relationship and family member are to be construed accordingly.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: Government new clause 21—Crown application.

Government amendments Nos. 206, 207, 20 and 21.

Amendment No. 192, in clause 6, page 3, line 34, at end insert

‘Unless P has been authorized to act under the relevant provisions of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, or appointed by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.’.

Government amendments Nos. 22 to 25 and 32.

Amendment No. 258, in clause 16, page 6, line 16, leave out ‘has reason to believe’ and insert ‘suspects’.

Government amendment No. 40.

Amendment No. 259, in clause 10, page 6, line 20, leave out ‘has reason to believe’ and insert ‘suspects’.

Government amendment No. 41.

Amendment No. 260, in clause 10, page 6, line 23, leave out ‘has reason to believe’ and insert ‘suspects’.

Government amendments Nos. 44 to 47 and 50.

Amendment No. 193, in clause 14, page 10, line 12, leave out paragraph (h).

Government amendments Nos. 51, 58 to 63, 65 to 67 and 76.

Amendment No. 194, in clause 35, page 24, line 41, column 1, at end insert—

‘The register of attorneys and deputies maintained under the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act 2005

The Register of appointees authorised by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions under regulation 33 Claims and Payments Regs 1987’.

Amendment No. 195, in clause 35, page 24, line 41, column 2, at end insert—

‘The Office of the Public Guardian The Department for Work and Pensions’.

Government amendments Nos. 237, 92, 238, 144 and 147.

Amendment No. 242, in schedule 3, page 46, line 35, at end insert—

‘(f) providing information on the past or present whereabouts of any legal minor where that information is derived from any electronic communications network within the meaning of section 32 of the Communications Act 2003 (c. 21).’.

Government amendments Nos. 148, 151, 152, 154, 155 and 160.

Amendment No. 196, in schedule 3, page 50, line 8, after ‘Wales’, insert—

‘(d) The Office of the Public Guardian,

(e) The Court of Protection’.

Government amendments Nos. 161 to 168 and 181.

The coverage of the new vetting and coverage schemes is at the heart of how the scheme will work. The amendments improve the definition of both regulated and controlled activity, and they also clarify how the scheme will work for regulated activity providers and personnel suppliers.

On the amendments to the definition of regulated activity, new clause 1 and amendments Nos. 21, 144 and 181 ensure that it is an offence for a barred person to foster or provide care and accommodation to children for a ward or through arrangements made by an organisation. Any organisation that arranges a placement will be required to check and ensure that the carer is subject to monitoring and is not barred. That will include language schools arranging host families for students and local authorities placing children with foster carers, which is a point that the Liberal Democrats mentioned on Second Reading. The amendments also ensure that a foster carer can take day-to-day decisions concerning their foster child like any parent without being required to check every individual who helps to care for that child.

Amendments Nos. 147 and 154 ensure that school bus and minibus drivers who take vulnerable adults on day trips will be subject to the scheme, putting beyond doubt an area of uncertainty in the current arrangements—I know that that has recently become a live issue in some parts of the country.

Amendments Nos. 152 and 167 ensure that an individual on either barred list will be prevented from working as a member of staff for the independent barring board. Following discussions with representatives from the industry, we have amended the Bill to ensure that while chatroom moderators will be subject to the scheme, IT staff who do not see the content of the messages and who do not contact service users will not.

Given the complicated and non-exhaustive list of people who will be barred, should there not be an onus on the employer to make it clear in the job description that the job is subject to barring, because people could inadvertently criminalise themselves by applying for jobs that they do not know are on this extremely long list?

The hon. Lady has made an interesting point, and I shall return to the issue in discussing the amendments in terms not only of how we can get that information across to barred individuals, but of the fact that barred individuals will no longer be able to participate in activities on an infrequent basis, which is an issue that she raised in Committee.

I congratulate my hon. Friend on adopting my ten-minute Bill on moderators and incorporating it in the Bill and on introducing this group of sensible amendments. However, the issue of moderators who are based overseas remains unaddressed, and child protection agencies are concerned that moderating firms will seek to use overseas workers and thus escape the protections afforded by the Bill.

My hon. Friend has made a fair point, and I pay tribute to her work, which has helped us. She knows about the issues surrounding overseas vetting, which we shall discuss later today.

In line with the arrangements for the children’s work forces, amendments Nos. 159 to 163, 166 and 167 ensure that regulated activity relating to vulnerable adults includes local councillors who have responsibility for social services, trustees of vulnerable adults’ charities, the Commissioner for Older People in Wales and all Commission for Social Care Inspection inspectors.

Amendments Nos. 206 and 207 allow the definition of “regulated activity” for the purpose of barring to be amended by the affirmative resolution procedure, which I am sure that the House will welcome. That is in line with the power in clause 5 to keep the meaning of “regulated activity” up to date.

We have made important amendments to the requirements to check. Amendments Nos. 32, 44, 46, 47, 50, 52 and 76 clarify the commitment that we made in Committee that all prison and probation officers will be subject to the requirements of the scheme.

Amendments Nos. 40 and 41 ensure that a personnel supplier will commit an offence if they knowingly supply an individual who is barred or not subject to monitoring. In response to points made in the other place, we have also tabled amendments to the scope and mechanics of controlled activity.

Amendments Nos. 58 to 63 and 66 ensure that those with access to specific records on matters such as social services and education will be covered by the definition of “controlled activity”.

I am aware of a case in which my local education department passed to the local authority’s tendering department a comprehensive list of children with disabilities. The tendering department then distributed the list to several taxi operators, many of whom had gone out of business. Would the department be covered by such barring, and would it be required to restrict the information that it passed on?

My hon. Friend makes an interesting point. A taxi firm working with children or vulnerable adults would certainly require to be checked. A local authority that is providing lists of children needs carefully to consider what it is doing. As I say, those in local authorities who are responsible for such lists will be covered by the definition of “controlled activity”.

In line with our commitment in the other place, we have brought the provision of direct payments within the definition of “controlled activity”. That meets our intention to cover all social care staff. Amendments Nos. 60 and 65 reflect the fact that at least one local board in Wales provides in-patient and out-patient hospital services.

The hon. Member for Bridgend (Mrs. Moon) referred to tendering departments. I may or may not be on the same page as her on this subject, but, for the avoidance of doubt, is the hon. Gentleman telling the House that the responsibility for safeguarding or distributing information will be incumbent not only on local authorities but on any organisation that is contracted by a process of market-testing to work for it?

The holder of the list and people who have access to it will be part of the scheme. In the case cited by my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgend (Mrs. Moon), the information was passed on by the person who held the list. It is fair to question whether that should have happened in the first place. The Bill will require the person with control of the list to be cleared in relation to controlled activity.

In response to previous debates in this House, we have sought to strengthen the provisions on controlled activity. Amendments Nos. 232 and 238 help to do that, but I will speak to those when we reach the debate on offences.

These amendments are very important to the Bill. We have tabled them in response to issues previously raised in debate to ensure that the scope of the scheme is appropriate and that it is clear how it will work. I appreciate that hon. Members on both sides of the House may say, “My goodness, there are a lot of amendments”, but I hope that the example of this group shows that we have listened to previous debates. I commend the amendments to the House.

The Bill was first introduced in the other place in February, but, before that, about two years’ worth of consultation took place on its provisions. All the amendments that have been tabled today, however, amply illustrate that the Government have yet to complete their thinking on this important measure. The Minister says that there are so many amendments because the Government have been listening to the points that have been raised. I hope that he will remain in listening mode, and that he will take up many of the excellent points that my hon. Friends and I, and other hon. Members, will raise today.

The Bill as drafted will result in almost 10 million people being vetted, and under the amendments that we are considering today a great many more people would be covered. We hope that the Minister will follow the principle set out by the Minister for Children and Families, the right hon. Member for Stretford and Urmston (Beverley Hughes)—who is on the Front Bench with him—that the breadth of the bar is proportionate to the risk that is posed.

The amendments cover matters that have not been included in the Bill before. Given the lateness of their tabling—which has been pointed out not only by my hon. Friend the Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) but in points of order—will the Minister assure us that there is broad agreement among the interested groups in the proposals that have been tabled? It has been pointed out that there has been no time at all to consider the amendments in the detail that they deserve. New clause 1 will introduce fostering to the Bill for the first time. Under Government amendment No. 20 vulnerable adults’ accommodation is also included, while Government amendment No. 67 will bring local authority health boards into the Bill for the first time.

This group of amendments seeks to address the wide range of issues that we have debated in Committee and in the other place, and I hope that I shall be able to do them justice. We are pleased to see Government amendment No. 50, which brings prison officers within the terms of the Bill. I pay tribute to my noble Friend Baroness Buscombe for raising this issue in the other place and for pressing the Government to remedy that rather large omission from the original Bill.

Under amendments Nos. 168 and 162 the Secretary of State will be able to specify the activity to be regulated, in relation to children and vulnerable adults. Government amendment No. 26 will allow the Secretary of State to determine who is a regulated activity provider. In Committee, the Under-Secretary of State for Education and Skills, the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr. Dhanda) said that, over time, the Government would like to see as many people as possible being monitored in vetting and barring schemes. In the light of that, and of the amendments, and of some of the contributions to our debate on the ways and means motion, will he outline what criteria will be used to decide how to increase the number of regulated activity providers who are subject to monitoring, and to decide who is to be monitored? We need to understand better the Government’s thinking on these matters.

Throughout the debate on the Bill, we have all agreed with the Government’s intention that the breadth of the bar should be proportionate to the risk involved. Indeed, that is one of the Government’s key principles. The amendments, however, give almost unfettered power to the Secretary of State to extend the Bill’s scope in a way that would require very little debate on the Floor of the House. The Minister owes it to the House to explain that.

I fully understand the need to make provision for the future so that the Bill can keep pace with what is happening in the world. Indeed, developments in technology often make it very difficult to do that in many areas of our work. I hope, however, that the Minister will be able to give details of when he would bring the provisions into play, and when he would not. A Back-Bench amendment—unfortunately, I do not think it has been selected—referred to the implications of technology and would have ensured that the matter was specifically covered in the Bill. Is that the sort of issue that the Government are thinking about in including these quite broad provisions in the Bill? We need clarification on that.

There are a number of other amendments that introduce new concepts, which we have not debated before, into the Bill. I thank the Minister for taking the time to meet me and other colleagues to talk through some of the amendments. As he pointed out, we met twice, but with more than 200 amendments and 25 new clauses, there should probably have been a number of other meetings.

Following on from earlier comments about the Secretary of State and the possibility of the list changing, and about the provision of information, will my hon. Friend tease out how that additional information will be communicated—not only to Members, who may not have any further debate on the matter, but to everybody who takes an interest in the list being extended? Since we will not all have meetings with the Minister, it is extremely important that we make sure that there is fair, transparent and obvious communication for the benefit of all those who wish to make sure that they do not fall foul of any regulations.

I thank my hon. Friend for her contribution. As a Member who served on the Committee, she is knowledgeable about the Bill. I am sure that she will contribute to the debate that we will have on communication. We have tabled further amendments to pick up on that very issue. We need to make sure that there is a clear line of communication and that both employers and employees understand the true implications. If the Secretary of State is able to vary those who are covered by the Bill and extend the Bill’s remit, we need to make sure that it is clear how that is to be communicated to those who may already have been included on the barred list. We will pick up on that issue.

Amendment No. 45 introduces an interesting and new concept to the Bill, perhaps clarifying further the way in which the Bill will work. However, I would appreciate hearing the Minister’s thoughts—particularly in relation to where the courts are being invited to consider how an individual has attempted to interpret the issue of frequency when any judgment is being brought to bear as a result of a misdemeanour. Perhaps he could take the time offered by the debate to explain why that has been proposed at this stage and what has provoked the inclusion of amendment No. 45.

Amendment No. 59 introduces a closer definition of frequency, which my hon. Friends and I welcome inasmuch as that has been talked about from the beginning of the debate on the Bill—particularly by Lord Adonis in the other place. Bringing in some clarification at this point is useful. However, although amendment No. 59 contains a definition of frequency that involves the same person carrying out an activity

“on more than two days in any period of 30 days”,

it also still includes the term “frequently”, almost as if that were a separate issue. I would welcome clarification from the Minister on whether the Government intend to have two meanings for the word “frequently”: the tighter meaning of

“more than two days in any period of 30 days”,

and also an alternative meaning. If the Government do not intend there to be two meanings, why are both terms referred to quite specifically in the same amendment? We would have hoped to tease that out in Committee, but the provision was not in the Bill at that point.

Finally, amendment No. 92 gives the Secretary of State the ability to define by order what is or is not a family relationship or a personal relationship. That is quite a new area of discussion and I would welcome the chance to hear the Minister’s thoughts on it. To revert to the original statement by the Minister for Children and Families, the Bill should not intrude on family relationships. Conservative Members are therefore puzzled by the need for the Secretary of State to have the flexibility to move an order that would define a family or personal relationship.

In the interests of time, those are the only amendments that I will cover because we need to debate several others further down the selection list. However, I would welcome the Under-Secretary’s response to them.

I shall speak about amendment No. 242, which is in my name and that of seven other hon. Members, most of whom sponsored my ten-minute Bill on licensing child location services. The amendment would add to the list of activities relating to children that the Bill regulates the providing of information on the whereabouts of a legal minor that is derived from any electronic communications network.

I set out the arguments in detail in my speech in March on my ten-minute Bill. I shall not, therefore, go into them all again but set out the background briefly. Twenty years ago, the internet was perceived as a plaything for boffins, not as something that would mushroom so amazingly. We regard it now as a force for good but we also understand that it can be a force for evil through the mushrooming of distribution, for massive profits, of, for example, child pornography and abuse and the distribution of criminal funds. We are running to catch up with ourselves to keep control of it.

Mass surveillance of people through electronic means, sometimes without their knowledge, and potential electronic surveillance of children without the necessary controls to ensure that information does not get into the hands of people who would harm them, is another aspect of technology that is escalating. It is important to get to grips with the matter now and I hope that the Bill can be amended to do that, or that we can find some other mechanism for starting to license that development.

I congratulate my hon. Friend on championing the matter. As she said, technology is advancing fast and, although a voluntary code currently covers the matter, even those in the industry acknowledge that it does not apply to the latest satellite technology. Does she agree that we need urgently to cover that to safeguard our children?

I agree. The matter came to my attention through coverage of one of the big CeBIT international fairs in Hamburg. In the massive exhibition, someone had surveillance products, especially child location products. He said, “I can’t understand why every parent hasn’t rushed to pick up my teddy pack. You can just pop it in your child’s rucksack and have peace of mind.” How can there be peace of mind if we do not know whether the person who provided the equipment and popped it into a child’s rucksack was a parent or a paedophile? How does the organisation selling the product know whether parents or paedophiles have bought it?

My hon. Friend the Member for Luton, South (Margaret Moran) is right that the escalation of the technology is getting grossly out of hand and we must take hold of it and regulate it somehow. The mass market is being bombarded with one product after another. It is getting bigger and bigger, with more and more different products. It begins with a simple Teddyfone, which is attractive to a child. It would be easy for someone to persuade a child to take one. One may know the location of the Teddyfone, but not necessarily that of the child or whether the child is with the Teddyfone. It should not give peace of mind. The person who has given it to a child could also be tracking it because it can act as a listening-in device. As soon as someone phones it, it states the child’s location. That is dangerous and we have not got the matter under control.

My hon. Friend is right that there is a code of practice, which was drawn up with the mobile phone networks, so it covers only that part of the technology—not new forms of satellite technology. That is great if people need to know where someone is if they have had an accident or if somebody wants to use the sat nav system in their car, but not so good if a child is being tracked through that technology, or a jealous stalker is chasing someone. We really do not have the way of controlling it that we need.

Although there is a code of practice, it has turned out to be woefully inadequate, and I gave some examples in my speech on my ten-minute Bill. Just in the previous couple of weeks, three journalists had managed to track people without their knowing, outwith the provisions of the code, and they did not meet the requirements of the code. Even in respect of the technology to which the code is meant to apply, it has not been operated properly.

We need to get to grips with this matter. Indeed, the person who put me on to looking at it was the adviser to the children’s charities on internet and technology issues, who himself was involved in drawing up the code of practice—he definitely knows about it. One of a number of organisations that have contacted me since I introduced my ten-minute Bill is a company, whose representative has

“sat on the Codes of Practice for Location Based Services since its inception and run what has been ‘audited’ by the networks as the best of the best. I strongly support licensing of this industry”.

That comes from within the respectable end of the industry.

Action on Rights for Children welcomes my Bill, saying:

“We are extremely concerned about the rapidly expanding market in devices to track the whereabouts of children and young people. We believe this to be a classic example of a technology looking for a market, which in this case has been created by the exploitation of parents’ understandable, though largely groundless, fears for their children’s safety.”

We need to manage—to regulate—this industry. What made me realise that we might be able to do that through this Bill was the welcome inclusion of the provisions on vetting those involved in moderating chat services, which already introduce an element of control of the use of technology on the internet. We have done extraordinarily well in the work that has been done in trying to control other areas of abuse on the internet, such as child pornography, although we are always running to catch up, but let us grab hold of this one before it is too late.

I suggested on Second Reading and in Committee that we should try to amend paragraph 2(1)(e) of schedule 3, which is about moderators of chat rooms, but my hon. Friend the Minister wrote to me to say that that would not work in terms of the wording. I accept that, which is why my colleagues and I have tabled an amendment proposing a separate paragraph 2(1)(f), which would make this an additional activity to be regulated. It would not have the same force and range of licensing measures, which I would like us to move towards, but at least it would ensure that those who are involved in providing devices that can be a force for good, but also a potential force for evil, are subject to checks to make sure that they are responsible enough to be allowed to do so.

We could then perhaps follow up from that and talk about what other provision we should have for licensing, which I would like to have, in ensuring that the products are given only to the right people, and that there are checks, proper regulations and a proper regime in force on the provision and use of such equipment.

We are walking into a world where we could each easily be subject to surveillance without knowing it. If we do not get to grips with that now, it will be too late, and perhaps in a year we will be asking, “Why didn’t we get to grips with it?” We have been very slow. The Department of Trade and Industry even gave an enterprise award to one of those products. When we queried whether it should not have checked that out with the children’s organisations in relation to child safety issues, it said, “Why should we?”

That product supposedly deals with child safety, but the DTI had not clicked about that. Often, there is no matching up between Departments on what should happen, so the DTI does not necessarily know about the good work and expertise that rest, for example, in the Home Office. The Department for Education and Skills does not necessarily know about some of that technology and some ways in which we need to control it.

I urge that we take this issue on board and include it as an activity in relation to which we at least ensure that the people providing such services are properly regulated and vetted. We should move to a system of proper licensing for this area of technology. Otherwise, we may just find, even in a year, that we regret not grabbing it early when we had the chance.

I endorse the comments of the hon. Member for Amber Valley (Judy Mallaber), whose amendment I support. Getting round to the introduction of adequate protection in relation to the internet has taken time, and we need to be proactive in that area. Without doubt, tracking devices have two aspects to them. The aspect that relates to parents getting information is entirely good. The downside, however, is that in the wrong hands such devices have potential for the setting up of some very unpleasant crimes. It is now time to introduce into regulations a process that, eventually, can be used for licensing.

Many amendments have been tabled for consideration today, and in so far as they respond to the points made on Second Reading and in Committee we must welcome them. Whether we have the time to scrutinise the brand new amendments, however, is a real issue. If it has suddenly been decided that we must consider foster parents, which sounds fairly obvious, what other groups have we forgotten? Can we really put the Bill to bed tonight and feel that we have done a thorough job? I do not think so, and I am very concerned about that. Getting to grips with the vast number of Government amendments has been an enormous burden for a relatively small party such as ours.

Having said that, I particularly welcome the amendment relating to language schools, on which my hon. Friend the Member for Torbay (Mr. Sanders) made an excellent contribution on Second Reading. I also have language schools in my constituency, and he and I will feel happier as a result of the amendment. There has also been responsiveness to the points made in Committee about prison and probation officers, which is important.

New clause 1 specifically mentions private fostering, which sounds good in theory. However, given that the Government have never conceded to amendments tabled by Front Benchers from both main Opposition parties that would require a registration scheme for private fosterers, how will the information about the Bill be communicated to those who are privately fostering? At the moment, there is no way of tracking down everybody who is involved in private fostering. Therefore, we have a Bill that puts an enormous burden on and potentially criminalises such people, but no way to ensure that they even know about the Bill. It leapt off the page to me that private fosterers were an obvious group for attention.

Does the hon. Lady share my concern that many private fostering arrangements are on an inter-country basis? People are often asked to foster children from impoverished countries who are members of, or seen to be members of, their extended family. The familial relationship is not formal, but such people are considered aunties and uncles. How are we to ensure that those people are correctly informed of their duty under the Bill as it stands?

I thank the hon. Lady for reinforcing my point. I do not see how the provisions can be communicated to everyone to whom they apply. I hope that the Minister will address that matter.

Amendments Nos. 258 to 260 were tabled by me and my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, East (Sarah Teather), and I want to explain why it is necessary to delete “reason to believe” and instead insert “suspects”. The aim is to restrict the offence of use of a person not subject to monitoring to situations where it can be established that a regulated activity provider had actual knowledge or suspicion that someone was barred. We debated that many times in Committee. Given the decisions that will be made, we thought that precision was needed, and that we must not risk criminalising people in cases in which there might be genuine lack of knowledge.

There is a crucial difference between clauses 9 and 10, which is why our amendments address clause 10 in particular. Clause 9 relates to people who are barred, but clause 10 relates to the use of people who are not subject to monitoring. Using barred people for regulated activities is far more serious than using someone who is not monitored, as the use of the former obviously poses a greater risk to children and the vulnerable. That is not to imply that the use of a person who is not subject to monitoring is not a serious matter—it is. If a regulated activity is carried out by such an employee, severe disciplinary action, and even dismissal, may well result.

Our concern, however, is that the creation of offences targeted at people who make mistakes is excessive. Mistakes will be made, especially while the complicated system beds down. We suggest that, for a successful prosecution, the defendant must, at the very least, have some knowledge of the fact that someone is barred, but have failed to act on that knowledge. In other words, we would restrict criminalisation to situations in which, although the person “suspects”, rather than “has reason to believe”, that someone is not subject to monitoring, they still allow them to engage in regulated activity. I hope that the Minister will address that important point.

My hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Burstow) will speak to the amendments that he tabled, which are supported by our Front-Bench team, but first I should like to make a few comments. The hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mrs. Miller) mentioned family and friends. Liberal Democrat Members think it important to make it clear that the probable regulations on powers of attorney and guardianship should be all-encompassing, because they involve the handing over of a great deal of power. For example, someone might name a person as their attorney long before that power is used, and of course things could change in the intervening period. A personal friend of 15 years ago may have been involved in unacceptable activity in the intervening period. I would particularly like the Minister to address that point of view.

As I said on Second Reading, we are concerned that there is an information flow, for example between the Department for Work and Pensions and the Office of the Public Guardian. If either of those bodies learns something about somebody—for example, if there is a revocation of the power of attorney—will that be conveyed to the independent barring board, and will the board transfer information? I leave it to my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam to lead a detailed debate on the amendments, but I hope that the Minister will pay particular attention to my point about new clause 1.

I congratulate the hon. Member for Amber Valley (Judy Mallaber) on her amendment. I support both the spirit and the letter of that provision, because it deals with an important issue that must be aired and resolved—if possible, by means of the amendment, or reassurances from the Minister.

I welcome the extension of the remit of the legislation to chat room moderators. A few years ago I was a member of the Home Office’s internet child protection taskforce, which was responsible for a number of issues, not least the drafting of those parts of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, considered by the House in the last Parliament, that created the new offence of grooming. It is an important subject, and I was determined to be involved, as at the time I was dealing with constituency cases that centred on grooming. Any developments under the Bill to further protect young and vulnerable people are only to be welcomed.

My hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole (Annette Brooke) rightly asked whether we can be satisfied tonight that the Bill can safely pass from the House and be put to bed. I have tabled amendments Nos. 192 to 196 because I and a number of organisations outside the House are not entirely confident that that is the case. As she said, my amendments attempt to clarify how far the Bill will help to safeguard one of the most vulnerable groups of people in our land—those who lack capacity, who do not have the ability to make decisions for themselves and who necessarily have to rely on others to make decisions about their financial and other welfare considerations.

Throughout the progress of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, questions were asked in both Houses about how far there would be checks on people who act as attorneys, deputies or appointees from the Department for Work and Pensions because those people will have responsibility for the finances of vulnerable people. Attorneys and deputies also have decision-making powers over welfare. If the Bill is to do what it rightly says it aims to do—protect and safeguard vulnerable groups—it must ensure that someone who is barred from working with vulnerable people does not move on to a less well-policed part of the system and exercises power under the 2005 Act as an attorney, deputy, appointee, public guardian or court protection visitor.

The main thrust of the amendments—I am grateful to Age Concern in particular for its help and assistance in drafting them—is to probe how far the various lists work with each other: in other words, how the various agencies set up under mental capacity legislation will interface with the barring board and the barring register. For example, if someone has their attorneyship, deputyship or appointeeship revoked, as my hon. Friend said, because they have caused harm to a vulnerable person, that information should be passed to the barring board. Similarly, the barring board should inform the Office of the Public Guardian and the Department for Work and Pensions of those whom they have barred.

Amendment No. 192 would clarify beyond doubt that where a family member or a friend is acting in the capacity of an attorney, deputy or appointee, that activity is regulated. I welcome the Government amendment which is intended to deal with that in part, but what information will be given to attorneys, deputies and appointees—this thread has run through the debate—to explain to them that they will be covered by the Bill’s provisions? Will that be provided in the forms and guidance that are made available to them?

Amendment No. 193 would ensure that the Court of Protection, the Office of the Public Guardian and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions are under a duty to check whether a person who will be involved with the finances and personal welfare decisions of someone who lacks capacity is barred from working with vulnerable groups. What form of risk assessment will be put in place within those organisations to decide when checks with the barring register are necessary? Will there be consultation with organisations such as Age Concern and other interested parties about precisely how that risk assessment might be implemented and on what occasions it might be necessary to make a reference to the barring register?

Amendments Nos. 194 and 195 would ensure that the Office of the Public Guardian and the DWP were alerted when someone is subsequently barred by the barring board. Otherwise, someone with a record of abuse could continue to abuse as an appointee, deputy or attorney, and that surely cannot be right. Will the barring board see it as part of its duty to alert other organisations when it becomes aware that those people are also appointees and attorneys? Amendment No. 196 would ensure that those officials of the Office of the Public Guardian and the Court of Protection who visit people in private—again, I am talking about people who lack capacity and are most vulnerable—are also subject to checks.

There are clearly a number of areas where the Government are extending the measure. They have listened to representations. Further categories of persons will have direct access to vulnerable people who lack the capacity to make decisions for themselves. Those vulnerable people should be afforded the same protection as those who are in a chat room on the internet. That is why I hope that the Minister will give us a positive response.

We agree with the intention behind amendment No 192. We do not think that someone who is barred should be able to act as a deputy, have lasting or enduring power of attorney, or look after someone’s benefit. The hon. Gentleman has raised an important point in a very fair manner. We do not think it should be possible even for a family member or friend to act in that way, but that is dealt with in clause 43.

If, once the Bill was law, a person who previously was not barred but would now be barred had power of attorney, would that person be obliged to stand down? If he or she did not do so, would it constitute an offence?

I promise that I will come to that point, if the hon. Lady is patient. Later we will discuss an amendment that would remove the explicit provision from the Bill and allow a power to make regulations in that regard, as there may be other circumstances that require such clarity. I can reassure the House that we will use the regulations to ensure that a barred person cannot act as a deputy or an attorney, or receive someone’s benefits.

I am grateful for the Minister’s reassurance on amendment No. 192. He mentioned clause 43, entitled “Family and personal relationships”. Not all appointeeships, deputyships or attorneyships will be personal or family relationships. Can the Minister assure us that they will also be covered when they extend beyond the family?

I shall describe a new role for the Office of the Public Guardian in a moment.

Let me make clear in relation to amendment No. 193 that the Office of the Public Guardian and the Department for Work and Pensions will not automatically make checks on deputies or attorneys appointed under the Mental Capacity Act, or people looking after others’ benefits. Many of those who act in that capacity—although not all, as the hon. Gentleman says—are family members and close friends. In their case, compulsory checks are unnecessary and could be seen as intrusive. Making such checks compulsory has the potential to raise costs to all applicants massively without adding value. We have, however, allowed direct-payment recipients to choose whether to check those whom they choose to act for them. Similarly, we must respect the choice of those who are planning for the future by making a lasting or enduring power of attorney.

Both the DWP and the Office of the Public Guardian will need to establish guidelines for their staff in relation to when it would be appropriate to make a check. It is likely that the guidelines will suggest that checks be made when concerns have been raised about a deputy attorney or appointee, but we will give the Office of the Public Guardian power to make those checks.

Amendments Nos. 194 and 195 seek to add the Office of the Public Guardian and the DWP to the list of bodies that maintain registers of professionals, such as the General Teaching Council. They are professional regulatory bodies, and we do not think that clause 35 is suitable for amendment of this kind. However, an amendment that I shall discuss later would allow the Office of the Public Guardian to become a supervisory authority for the purposes of the Bill. That means that it would be able to check any person acting or wishing to act under an enduring or lasting power of attorney, or as a deputy, to find out whether that person is barred. It would also be required to refer individuals to the independent barring board when abuse occurs. The hon. Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole (Annette Brooke) asked about that specifically.

I can also reassure Members that when the appointment of a DWP appointee is revoked for reasons of abuse, a referral to the scheme will be made. It will be set out in the DWP’s guidance to appointees. It will also be made clear to the appointee at the time of appointment. Where the Department for Work and Pensions has made a check on someone who is appointed to receive benefit on another’s behalf, it will be informed if that person’s scheme status changes. In addition, it will be made clear to those who seek to register as a DWP appointee that they will be committing an offence if they act as an appointee when barred.

Amendment No. 106 deals with where someone is working closely and on a regular basis with vulnerable adults and undertaking regulated activity. Court of Protection visitors do not undertake that sort of role in respect of individuals and do not have an ongoing relationship with the individuals that they visit. Their primary role is to carry out visits, collect information and produce reports to the Court of Protection or the public guardian to take such action as they require.

Amendments Nos. 258, 259 and 260 amend clause 10 so that an offence is committed where regulated activity providers or personnel suppliers “suspect” that an individual is not subject to monitoring rather than have “reason to believe” that that is the case. A regulated activity provider or personnel supplier would know whether someone is monitored if they have made a check. If they do not do so, they will commit an offence under clause 11. The check will also allow the regulated activity provider to register to be notified by the IBB if the individual stops being subject to monitoring.

The offence in clause 10 is designed to criminalise an employer who has made a check but goes on to employ someone, even though the check showed that the individual was subject to monitoring. In those cases, the employer would know that the individual was not subject to monitoring and it is those people—not people across the board—that we are aiming to criminalise. The provision also criminalises an employer who learns from a source such as the police or a regulatory body that the individual was not subject to monitoring. In those cases, the regulated activity provider would have reason to believe that the person was not subject to monitoring, but he would not know it. To change the wording from “reason to believe” to “suspect” would not significantly change the circumstances in which the offence was committed. If anything, it would widen the circumstances. An employer who was unsure could simply do an online check.

Amendment No. 242 is designed to ensure that those working for location-based services are covered by regulated activity. The mobile phone network operators and location service providers have acted to put in place a code of practice, covering passive location services, using mobile phone technology. As I pointed out in Committee, it is a new sector and we would need to consult on and assess the risk presented by individuals working in those services before looking to amend the definition of regulated activity.

Would my hon. Friend accept that even those involved in drawing up the voluntary code do not believe that it satisfactorily meets either the full range of technologies or the specific technology to which it was applied? They are among the strongest forces calling for licensing and regulation.

I appreciate that, but the Bill is not the proper vehicle for licensing in that way. I acknowledge the points that my hon. Friend has made—she did so in Committee, too—and it may well be possible to keep under review the issue of what counts or does not count as regulated activity. We have to be watchful and mindful about all areas of emerging technologies and I am grateful to my hon. Friend for bringing the matter to our attention. I can assure her that we will keep it under review.

The Bill provides the power to amend the definition of regulated activity by order so that new categories of work can be added, providing the flexibility to respond to new types of services and new ways of working with children. We will use the power where it is appropriate. I should also respond to questions about the regulations on regulated activity. I can confirm that the affirmative process would be used to ensure that a wider debate took place in this House.

I wish to clarify what the Minister has just said. Is it the case that amendments on the scope of regulated activity would be introduced only if they were related to developments in technology that might occur in the future?

No, I do not wish to define today what we may set down as regulated activities tomorrow. To relate that only to new technology would unfairly fetter the Bill and prevent us from adding other aspects to the regulated activities. Our stakeholders may come to us, for example, with a request to add to the regulated activities, so it would be overly prescriptive to limit any change to new technology.

On the hon. Lady’s points about stakeholders and stakeholder agreement, we have worked hard on the Bill over the summer, and I am pleased to say that we today received a letter from Mary Marsh of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, who said that she wished to express her belief that the new vetting and barring scheme will increase the confidence of children and parents, secure in the knowledge that the adults working with children are known not to present a risk. She also welcomes the amendments and changes that we have been working on over the summer, as do other stakeholders with whom we have been working.

I am also happy to join the hon. Lady in praising the work of Baroness Buscombe on the Bill, especially on the changes with regard to prison officers and the like. As I have already said, changes to regulated activities will be set out in regulations subject to the affirmative procedure. The hon. Lady also asked about frequency, and we are scheduled to have a detailed debate on that point later today. I am sure that we will reach those amendments, so I will respond to her questions then.

Given that it is highly improbable that we will reach those amendments because of the mountain of amendments we have to deal with, and the level of interest in the House, it would be helpful if the Minister could clarify the use of the term “frequency” or “frequently”. That does fall within this group of amendments and those who read the report of the debate would benefit from understanding the Government’s intention, especially if the term will be defined as having a particular meaning.

If you, Madam Deputy Speaker, do not mind me straying on to that ground to answer the hon. Lady’s point, I am happy to say that it is our intention that “frequently” should take its normal meaning. However, we have specified a period condition, which is any work that takes place for more than two days, or overnight, in a 30-day period. That will be specified in the Bill, but the term “frequently” will take its normal meaning.

I hope that hon. Members will accept the Government’s new clauses and amendments.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time and added to the Bill.

New Clause 2

Monitoring: fees

‘(1) This section has effect in respect of fees which may be prescribed in relation to applications for monitoring under section 21.

(2) In setting a fee for an application made during the period of five years beginning with the commencement of that section, the Secretary of State may take account of expenditure incurred, or which he thinks will be incurred, by him before the end of that period (taking one financial year with another)—

(a) in connection with the operation of IBB (including payments under paragraph 10A of Schedule 1);

(b) in respect of any other expenditure of the Secretary of State in connection with his functions under this Act.

(3) In setting a fee for an application made after that period, the Secretary of State may take account of expenditure incurred, or which he thinks will be incurred, by him—

(a) in making payments under paragraph 10A of Schedule 1;

(b) in respect of any other expenditure of the Secretary of State in connection with his functions under this Act.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (2), it is immaterial that any expenditure is incurred before the commencement of section 21.

(5) The power to prescribe fees is exercisable only with the consent of the Treasury.

(6) Fees received by the Secretary of State by virtue of section 21(1)(d) must be paid into the Consolidated Fund.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government amendments Nos. 68, 19 and 109 to 111.

Government new schedule 1—Transfers to IBB—

Amendment No. 6, in schedule 1, page 36, line 28, leave out sub-sub paragraph (c).

The new clause and amendments Nos. 68 and 109 are designed to provide flexibility for the Secretary of State in setting the vetting and barring scheme fee, and to give the Secretary of State a power to fund the independent barring board directly. Clause 21 currently allows the Secretary of State to set and receive a fee from applicants for monitoring. We want to make it clear that we want to set a fee that will enable the scheme to break even over the first five years of operation, and the new clause achieves that.

Amendment No. 68 clarifies the Secretary of State’s power to waive the fee for those who undertake regulated activity on a voluntary basis. We made that commitment on Second Reading and again in Committee, and I am happy to make it explicit today. Volunteers currently receive Criminal Records Bureau checks free of charge and we shall continue that approach.

Amendment No. 109 puts in place a mechanism for funding the IBB. The monitoring fee will be payable to the Secretary of State, not direct to the board. The IBB will be a free-standing statutory body, so we need to provide a power for the Secretary of State to pass funding on to it.

Amendments Nos. 110 and 111 ensure that arrangements for presenting IBB accounts to Parliament are in line with current practice. Amendment No. 19 and new schedule 1 make provision in relation to staff and property transfer schemes. Their purpose is to enable staff who work in the Department on the Protection of Children Act 1999, protection of vulnerable adults and list 99 barring schemes, as well as property deployed for the purposes of the current schemes, to be transferred to the IBB. It is usual to include such a provision in the Bill where staff and property transfers are envisaged. This set of provisions will ensure that the expertise of those operating the POCA, POVA and list 99 barring schemes may be transferred to the new vetting and barring scheme where appropriate. They will also ensure that property, like the IT system, may also be transferred. The detail of such schemes will be developed as part of the process of planning the implementation of the new scheme.

I commend the provisions to the House.

I thank the Minister for his explanation of these important provisions, especially new clause 2, but this is yet another example of the Government tabling amendments in the last few days. Funding the IBB is at the heart of making the Bill work, so when the Minister responds to the debate I should like him to explain why we have had to wait until this late stage for the Government’s proposals. It is important that Members scrutinising the Bill have all the facts at their disposal, because the measure will affect important groups of people. When important elements such as these provisions are not included when the Bill is introduced it makes our job difficult, especially as it is entirely unclear why they were tabled at this late date.

Putting that to one side, new clause 2 covers provisions which, as the Minister said, govern the fees applicable to monitoring under clause 21. Amendment No. 109 allows the Secretary of State to make payments to the IBB and amendment No. 68 tidies up some of the wording in relation to that power.

We are pleased that there is an implication in the new clause that fees will be capped for five years. We welcome that and I hope that the Minister will remember the comments made by my hon. Friends earlier in the debate about the need not just for capping but also for efficiencies. There will be a significant cost, which employers and other organisations will have to cover.

Does my hon. Friend agree that, although capping is welcome to prevent fees rising exorbitantly, the Minister should give an undertaking that the fees will be reviewed regularly after the initial five years, so that people will know how quickly fees are rising, if they rise, or, we hope, decreasing? Given that some fee structures seem to have risen remarkably quickly, people would welcome a regular review, perhaps annually or more often, if that is appropriate.

I thank my hon. Friend for her contribution. As the Minister is aware, the IBB will lay an annual report before the Department and the Secretary of State may specify what the report should cover. Perhaps the Minister will tell us whether a review of fees will be included in the report.

Costs are a matter of great concern. It is a shame that we could not debate the matter more fully in Committee. New clause 2 implies that fees can be used to recoup payments made to the IBB under amendment No. 109 or

“in respect of any other expenditure of the Secretary of State in connection with his functions under this Act.”

Under the Bill, the functions of the Secretary of State are extensive. There will be three significant cost areas. First, the Criminal Records Bureau may be used to provide information on the status of individuals who are monitored. Secondly, the IBB will eventually rely on the introduction of IMPACT, the police monitoring database, which is already £200 million over budget and several years late. Thirdly, in addition to the costs of the Department, there will be the cost of running the IBB. The Bill provides for the Secretary of State potentially to recoup all those costs from the fees that are charged. Will the Minister provide more detail? I am sure a number of organisations will view the provision with concern.

At present, development costs associated with, say, the Criminal Records Bureau are not set against the costs levied from individuals applying for a criminal record check. Are we to infer that the process is being changed and that in future we can expect all development costs to be levied from the charge imposed on applicants? That could have considerable implications for organisations that must apply for checks in order to continue to operate.

In Committee, the Minister said that it was his intention that the numbers monitored by the Bill should be expanded in future. He made it clear in reply to my intervention a few moments ago that that would not necessarily be only as a result of changes in technology, but that it could happen for other reasons. Can he reassure the House that the number of people being monitored will not increase purely to increase the revenue stream available to the Secretary of State to offset some of the rather high cost of implementing such an extensive Bill?

In answer to a parliamentary question, we learned that the average unit processing cost for the CRB was £26.10 in 2005-06. As we heard today, the cost of an advance disclosure is £34, which is due to rise to £36. There is quite a significant gap between those two figures. The House will be interested to know that the majority of requests made to the CRB are for advance disclosure checks at the higher cost of £34, soon to be £36.

The Minister said that the programme needed to pay for itself, but it is clear that it is currently more than paying for itself: a surplus is being generated as a result of the charging levels. What is that money is being used for? Does he intend to continue with that higher level of charge and, if so, will he give us a rough idea of what the unit costs will be for the new vetting and monitoring processes, and what the actual cost will be? Given the burdens that this will place on many employers, that will be of great interest.

In respect of voluntary and charitable organisations, I would appreciate it if the Minister could give us further assurances that there will continue to be no charges for checks on volunteers. I am sure that he will be able to do that, but it is still worth stressing that point.

Amendment No. 6 addresses the IBB’s ability to borrow money. As we covered that in Committee, I am pleased that it was decided that we could revisit it on Report. The amendment has been tabled only in the spirit of ensuring that there is transparency and sound financial management within the IBB. Although we have received assurances from the Minister that the provision that the amendment addresses is a standard provision that will be used rarely, it gives the IBB extensive powers, which the House should be aware of.

I would also like some clarification on the position of the Treasury in respect of this provision. From reading the reports on this area, it is my understanding that the Treasury will need to know that this provision will be used before it is agreed that it can be included in the Bill. Although the Minister assured us in Committee that it will be used rarely, some discussions must have gone on with the Treasury to reassure it that it is a required provision, and I ask him to share those discussions with us.

This is an important group of amendments, and I only wish that we could have had them before us in Committee, so that we could have explored them further at that stage.

Amendment No. 6 would remove the IBB’s power to borrow money in connection with the exercise of any of its functions. As the hon. Lady said, we debated it in Committee, and as I explained then—and confirmed in a letter that I circulated to all Committee members—the power to borrow is a normal one for any independent body to have, but it is not common for that power to be used. The kinds of rare circumstances in which a non-departmental public body might need to borrow money include where the normal funding mechanism failed for some reason—such as an administrative error or industrial action. In such circumstances, the body might need to obtain a temporary bank overdraft to meet a short-term financial requirement such as staff pay. If we fail to provide the IBB with the power to borrow, we will put it at unnecessary risk of an occasion arising when it cannot meet its financial obligations. That is why this power is included in the Bill.

The main purposes of the Government amendments in respect of funding are to clarify and qualify the flexibility in fee setting and the mechanism for funding the IBB. The Bill as published contains only a power to prescribe the fee; the amendments place more detail in its provisions. For example, they set out the period of time that the Secretary of State needs to take into account in setting the fee, and they make it clear that a zero fee may be prescribed. I am happy to make it clear again that we intend to ensure that volunteers do not have to pay the fee throughout the funding model of the first five years. I hope that the House will welcome that additional detail that clarifies and qualifies the funding arrangements.

To answer the hon. Lady’s question about regular reviews, it is the intention to have an annual review of that fee, as it is in respect of the CRB fee. We were quite clear about our intentions for funding the scheme when responding to questions raised in previous debates. We have realised that the Bill’s provisions could be clarified. For example, we repeatedly stated that the fee for volunteers will be waived, and we are now making the ability to do so explicit. I am sure that that clarification is welcomed.

Is the Minister completely satisfied that it is clear what the funding is intended to pay for? For example, is it intended to pay for updating all the computer systems and for any programming required in the regular progress updates that are so important if employers are to make checks? Given the big overruns in computer costs that have occurred, is he satisfied that the fee levied will be enough to cover the entire programme, including staffing costs?

It is for the entire funding of the IBB and its processes, which includes its computers. It is important to remember that this is about not just the costs incurred but the extra powers and securities that the Bill will give to vulnerable groups. It will also help employees by ensuring portability—they will pay a fee to get on to the scheme and will not have to pay another—and there is the added benefit of online checks. The vetting and barring scheme fee will be paid once when a person enters the scheme; there will be no new VBS fee when they change jobs. The new employer will be able to use the online check to confirm the person’s status in the scheme. As with the CRB disclosure fee, the VBS fee will be the individual applicant’s responsibility, but it will be open to the employer to pay the fee.

We want the IBB to have the borrowing power that I mentioned, but we hope that it will not need to be used. That is not a contradiction; rather, it is the prudent way forward. If Government funding arrangements failed, the IBB would still be able to meet its obligations. We do not expect it to borrow from the private sector or to generate any working capital. The power to borrow will not be used to allow it to run at a deficit. It will need to balance its costs and income each year; it will not exist to make a profit.

As the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mrs. Miller) rightly pointed out, in terms of the funding model, we need to look at the numbers in the scheme. In the first three years, more money is likely to be coming in as people register, but the costs in years four and five are likely to offset that. As fewer people come into the scheme and we get closer to the figure of 7 million people, the costs are likely to be put toward the process of continual monitoring. But as I said, work has been done to ensure that the funding model is secure for the full five years.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 3

Provision of vetting information

‘(1) The Secretary of State must provide a person (A) with the information mentioned in subsection (4) in relation to another (B) if—

(a) A makes an application for the information,

(b) the application contains the appropriate declaration, and

(c) the Secretary of State has no reason to believe that the declaration is false.

(2) The appropriate declaration is a declaration by A—

(a) that he falls within column 1 of a specified entry, and

(b) that B has consented to the provision of the information to A.

(3) In this section references to a specified entry are to an entry in the table in Schedule 4 specified by A in his declaration.

(4) The information is—

(a) if column 2 of the specified entry refers to children, relevant information relating to children, and

(b) if column 2 of the specified entry refers to vulnerable adults, relevant information relating to vulnerable adults.

(5) Paragraph (b) of subsection (2) does not apply if the specified entry is 17.

(6) If B consents to the provision of information to A in relation to an application under this section, the consent also has effect in relation to any subsequent such application by A.

(7) The Secretary of State may prescribe the form, manner and contents of an application for the purposes of this section (including the form and manner of a declaration contained in such an application).

(8) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision requiring a local authority which makes or proposes to make payments to or on behalf of a person in accordance with regulations under section 17A of the Children Act 1989 (c. 41) or section 57 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001 (c. 15) to inform the person of his right to obtain relevant information under this section.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: Government new clause 4—Meaning of relevant information in section (provision of vetting information).

Government new clause 5—Notification of cessation of monitoring.

Government new clause 6—Cessation of registration.

Government new clause 7—Declarations under sections (provision of vetting information) and (notification of cessation of monitoring).

Government new clause 8—Registers: power to apply for vetting information.

Government new clause 9—Supervisory authorities: power to apply for vetting information.

Government new clause 10—Supervisory authorities: notification of barring &c. in respect of children.

Government new clause 11—Supervisory authorities: notification of barring &c. in respect of vulnerable adults.

Government new clause 12—Prohibition of requirement to produce certain records.

Government new clause 13—Referrals: findings of fact immaterial.

Amendment No. 198, in clause 21, page 15, line 5, at end insert—

‘(c) specific enquiries are made to provide further relevant information on individuals who have resided outside the UK or who are usually resident outside the UK.’.

Government amendments Nos. 69, 70 and 72.

Amendment No. 200, page 15, line 39, at end add—

‘(13) The Secretary of State must ensure that—

(a) employers, voluntary organisations and employees are made aware of their rights and responsibilities under the terms of the Act,

(b) communication is undertaken to ensure that all parties are aware of which positions require monitoring,

(c) employers make potential employees aware of the monitoring status of each position as part of the recruitment process,

(d) any variations to the positions that are covered by monitoring are sufficiently communicated to employers, voluntary organisations, current and potential employees.’.

Government amendment No. 73.

Amendment No. 250, in clause 23, page 16, line 28, at end insert—

‘(5A) The Independent Monitor will review on an annual basis the quality of information provided by the IBB from regulated activity providers and any person who holds the records of convictions or cautions for the use of police forces.’.

Government amendments Nos. 74, 75, 77, 78, 235 and 83.

Amendment No. 197, in clause 35, page 25, line 12, at end add—

‘(10) The Secretary of State must make information on the dates that a monitored individual has been resident in the UK available to an individual requesting information on monitored status.’.

Government amendments Nos. 85 to 91, 95 and 96.

Amendment No. 5, in schedule 1, page 35, line 36, at end insert—

‘(d) establishing and maintaining a list of those who have applied to be monitored;

(e) monitoring the quality of prescribed information supplied to the IBB from regulated activity providers and any persons who hold records of convictions or cautions for the use of police forces;

(f) putting in place and regularly monitoring systems that maximise the accuracy of the monitored list and the barred list;

(g) establishing and maintaining a secure online system for access to barred lists for employers.’.

Amendment No. 3, in page 35, line 36, at end insert—

‘(8A) IBB shall implement a comprehensive and ongoing communications programme to ensure that all groups affected by the vetting and barring scheme are informed of their rights and responsibilities under the law.’.

Amendment No. 4, in page 35, line 41, at end insert—

‘(3) The report shall contain information on the quality of information provided to the IBB from regulated activity providers and any person who holds the records of convictions or cautions for the use of police forces.’.

Government amendments Nos. 130, 240, 171, 172, 241 and 174 to 177.

Amendment No. 203, in schedule 4, page 54, line 13, at end add—

‘(10) The Secretary of State will report in a statement to Parliament any breaches of security relating to information held on or related to the registers or available on-line.’.

Government amendments Nos. 182 to 184.

The amendments and new clauses relate to various aspects of information flows within the scheme.

New clauses 3 and 4 and amendments Nos. 69, 70, 74, 171, 172, 174 to 177, 182, 240 and 241 deliver the changes to the online check that I announced in Committee on 13 June. As I explained then, we want to ensure that the scheme is easy for employers to use so that it effectively supports them in their recruitment decisions, and making the information that they need available quickly and easily online is a key part of that.

Employers are required to ensure that all individuals engaged in regulated activity are “subject to monitoring”. That means that the individual has applied to the scheme, that they are not barred and that the Secretary of State is undertaking regular checks of key information sources to identify new information about the individual, which will deliver the continuous updating mechanism recommended by Sir Michael Bichard. For that reason, we propose that the online check should show whether an individual is “subject to monitoring”. As the Bill sets out, those who are barred cannot be subject to monitoring, and employers in regulated activities can use only people who are subject to monitoring. Showing whether an individual is subject to monitoring will therefore effectively ensure that employers do not recruit barred individuals.

As the Bill stands, the online check would show that an individual is barred or being considered for barring. That is sensitive information and making it available online would require security measures, which would make the check slower and more cumbersome for employers to access and use. As I explained in Committee, those changes will make it easier for employers to get the information that they need when recruiting staff.

New clauses 3 and 4 move the provisions on how a check is made from schedule 4 into two new clauses, one of which provides for the mechanics of the check and one of which provides for the information that is released. Schedule 4 will contain only the table of those who can make checks.

New clauses 5 and 6 and amendment No. 75 make similar changes to the notification system. They place more detail about the system in the Bill and change the information that is released. Employers who have registered an interest in an individual will be told that that individual has ceased to be subject to monitoring and so cannot be engaged in regulated activity.

Given that there may be a time lag, if an employer makes an inquiry and there is no information on the person in question, will that inquiry be logged, which would allow information received after the inquiry was made to be sent to the employer?

That question raises a couple of issues. First, the hon. Lady has made the good point that we must ensure that the time lag between someone’s status changing and an employer being informed that that person is no longer subject to monitoring is as short as possible. Secondly, when new employees—for example, a teacher—enter the work force, it takes a few weeks for the enhanced disclosure to come through. However, schools will be able to use the instant online check while they are waiting for the full enhanced disclosure, which will allow them to determine that individuals are not barred owing to their being subject to monitoring on the online list.

New clauses 8 to 11 and amendments Nos. 88 to 91 provide for supervisory authorities and professional regulatory bodies to receive more information, including confirmation that the individual is barred. They also consolidate the way that supervisory authorities are defined. Those bodies require that information to help them to carry out their inspection and regulatory functions. The security issues are minimised because only a small number of known bodies need this information. The provisions for supervisory authorities and professional regulatory bodies have therefore been covered separately in the new clauses inserted by the amendments.

New clauses 7 and 12 create new information offences. The first of those criminalises anyone making a false declaration to access individuals’ information illegitimately. The second criminalises employers who, with no right to do so, force individuals to provide the information about their criminal records history that they receive when they apply to be monitored.

Amendment No. 181 adds data held by the IBB and the Secretary of State in connection with his functions under the Bill to section 56 of the Data Protection Act 1998. It thereby criminalises employers who force individuals to make subject access requests for data under the 1998 Act as a condition of employment.

Amendment No. 73 expands the role of the independent monitor to include reviewing all decisions to withhold police information from an individual under clause 21 and reviewing a sample of the information that is provided to the vetting and barring scheme by the police. The independent monitor’s role, as set out in clause 23, covers only police information in connection with Criminal Records Bureau criminal records disclosures. The amendment adds police information in connection with applications for monitoring. That change responds to some of the points raised in the report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

New clause 13 and amendments Nos. 77 and 78 make it clear that a finding of fact such as in court proceedings or in an employment tribunal is not necessary for the purpose of any referrals to the IBB. That is because there may be no such proceedings in all the cases where we wish there to be a referral to the IBB. In the Bill as drafted, that was made clear in some of the referral provisions, but not all of them. The amendments remove any doubt.

The amendments provide for more streamlined flows of information within the scheme and so improve its operation. I therefore ask hon. Members to accept them.

I welcome several of the new clauses and amendments, which, again, give us the mechanics of how the Bill will work. The lack of those details when we discussed the Bill on Second Reading and in Committee made it difficult to be sure that we had got to grips with the Government’s intentions. While we welcome their inclusion at this stage, many Conservative Members wish that they had come a little earlier in the process.

I should like to focus my comments on our amendments Nos. 197, 198, 250, 3, 4 and 5, which address three key aspects that may not have been at the forefront of the Minister’s attention owing to his preoccupation with putting some of the detail into the Bill—the quality of the data that the IBB will use, the communication of the implications for employers, and the important issue of overseas workers.

I thank the Liberal Democrat Members who joined forces with us to support our amendment No. 3, which would establish as a core function of the independent barring board the need to implement a comprehensive communications programme. We examined that matter in detail in Committee. The Bill will affect some 10 million people, and, although we made some progress on the issue in Committee, we seem to have made no progress on getting the Government to address it thereafter.

As a result of amendments passed in another place, the IBB will have to notify by recorded letter individuals who have been barred. A Government amendment that we shall consider today will place a duty on a court to inform people that they have been barred as a result of a court decision. Those are examples of good communication of information. Also, the Minister has made it clear that local authorities should inform those receiving direct payments of the existence of the monitoring scheme, so that they can make use of it if required. That, too, is an example of good communication taking place. However, nowhere in the Bill is there a requirement to ensure adequate communication to employers and employees on these important matters.

Amendment No. 3 would place a duty on the IBB to implement a comprehensive communication plan. Given that the Bill makes it a criminal act to apply for a job while barred, if that job is monitored—as a large number will be—we believe that it will be imperative to communicate the implications of the Bill to all those involved. That should be provided for in the Bill. When we raised this matter in Committee, the Minister said that those communications would be made when the individual was barred. However, he has made it clear again today that he fully intends to increase the number of people and jobs being monitored. That will create a fluid situation that will change over time. Surely he must therefore understand the importance of adopting our amendment.

On the matter of the quality of the data that the IBB will be using to reach its decisions, I was surprised that the Government had not decided to take on board the comments that we made in Committee, because they have taken on board many others. The Minister acknowledged that it was an important issue, and we had a lengthy debate on the problems that have been experienced in this area by the Criminal Records Bureau. He rightly pointed out that only a relatively small number of people—in percentage terms—have experienced problems gaining employment as a result of the CRB putting out incorrect information. In absolute terms, however, thousands of people are affected by the problem, and I am sure that the Minister is aware that there are continuing concerns about the quality of the data being received by the CRB, not least because of the problems that police authorities are having in sharing on a broader basis the information that they hold.

To include in the Bill a fundamental role for the IBB to have regard to the quality of the data that it receives would safeguard not only employers and employees but the IBB itself, because its reputation would be undermined if people felt that it was not using data of a sufficiently high quality, or that it did not have the means to improve that data over time.

We examined the issue of overseas workers at length in Committee. I am therefore surprised, as are a number of interest groups, that the Government have made no headway on this matter. In Committee, the Minister acknowledged the importance of this issue, and implied that it would be looked at again on Report. Indeed, he said that more needed to be done in that respect. However, I am not aware that the Government have tabled any amendments or new clauses to deal with the matter.

In Committee, the Minister said that it was reasonable to raise the matter, but that it was perhaps not quite the right place to tackle the issue of foreign offences. In the spirit of being constructive, I went away to see whether we could table an amendment that could appropriately be included in the Bill—rather than something that was more to do with the offences of foreign nationals. In Committee, the Government quite rightly said that they have introduced measures so that those convicted of sex offences can sign the sexual offences register in the UK. Paragraph 20 of schedule 2 states that inclusion on the foreign barred list would lead to automatic barring in the UK. Those are welcome elements of the Bill, but is the Minister certain that he has full, open and unfettered access to all the relevant convictions held globally by individuals so that he can be satisfied that the measures that he has outlined so far are adequate? I am sure that the answer to that has to be no. We should return to that matter today, particularly given the issue of gaining accurate information from Asia and Africa.

The amendments that we have tabled take on board the discussion in Committee. We are trying to find a solution to this problem—I think that the Minister has some sympathy with that—and to find a way in which we can highlight to employers that the data being supplied to them from the monitoring organisation may not give them a full picture of the record of the individual, because that individual has not continually resided in the UK. As I understand it, currently the system makes no reference to where an individual has lived and therefore an employer is not able to assess whether the information covers the entire working career of that person.

The issue is important because, as the Minister knows from our debate in Committee, increasing numbers of people who work in our health service and areas that affect vulnerable adults come from overseas. That is to be welcomed because those people add greatly to the human resources that we have available in the sector, but we should not ignore the problems that that creates in terms of monitoring their history, in the same way as we monitor the history of people who are resident in the UK and have been throughout their career. I hope that the Minister will consider amendment No. 198, which increases the duties of the Secretary of State in respect of getting information about non-resident individuals.

Importantly, amendment No. 197 makes disclosure of residency in the UK part of the monitoring process. As I am sure that the Minister is aware, we have a group of people working in our medical profession who do not reside in the UK, although they deliver services here. They are an important group who often offer GP or doctor services over weekend periods, when we might not be able to get adequate cover from people who reside in the UK. That opens up another problem. How do we make sure that our monitoring practices are working in the way that they are intended to work? I hope that the Minister is able to listen more to those points now that some of the basic issues in the Bill have been resolved. Perhaps he could think about how we can address that issue as we move forward.

I also welcome many of the Government amendments in this group. I want to address amendment No. 3, which it is important to support. Surely we can all agree that this scheme is going to work only if there is excellent communication to inform employers, workers, parents and other people about the new system.

The Bill and all its details are difficult enough for us in the Chamber to grasp. It will be especially difficult for those who have to work with it. I therefore believe that there must be absolute commitment to a good communications system. I envisage, through amendment No. 3, a communications strategy from the IBB, which will be implemented at various local levels. I hope that the Under-Secretary will confirm that he envisages local groups, organisations and local authorities participating in disseminating the information.

Has the Under-Secretary considered a kite-marking scheme, which would integrate the requirements of the law and best practice in communication with some of the other processes that must accompany the Bill? The vetting and barring scheme is only one tool in keeping children and vulnerable adults safe. There needs to be a culture of vigilance and training for staff, good child protection policies, a good system of checking references and so on. It would be helpful if the Under-Secretary considered a kite-marking scheme for all the different organisations that might be involved in communication and implementing best practice on all the important matters that will make the measure work and achieve what we want when we look back at the sequence of events, which was greatly informed by the Bichard inquiry.

Focusing on necessary aspects such as communication and the culture of vigilance will be additional to including some protection for overseas workers. If there are strong processes and everyone is looking out to ensure that employees have the training that they claim and references have been adequately checked, that would provide more comfort about the overseas workers’ position. I share the concerns of the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mrs. Miller) but appreciate that it is difficult to devise concrete proposals. We would all therefore like the Under-Secretary to deal with the position of overseas workers. There is no quick fix, but genuine rewards, such as a kite-marking scheme, for implementing the processes on the ground would be useful.

The hon. Member for Basingstoke mentioned the quality of data throughout our debates. She has been persistent on that important point and I hope that the Under-Secretary will address that issue.

I want to ask a question that the hon. Gentleman did not answer earlier. How can we communicate with private foster carers when we do not know who they are because there is no compulsory registration scheme? I would be grateful for an answer.

Amendment No. 198 would require the Secretary of State to ensure that further inquiries were made about individuals who live or have lived outside the UK while they are subject to continuous monitoring. Such inquiries could involve contacting the local police force in the area where the individual resided abroad or checking a foreign barred list, if it existed. It is not clear how the Secretary of State would carry out those inquiries. Employers can already request individuals to produce a certificate of good conduct from their local police force overseas. That will continue. Recruiting responsibly is part of an employer’s obligation and the new scheme does not replace that.

Amendment No. 197 would amend clause 35, which ensures that the Secretary of State will notify the keeper of a specified register when an individual becomes barred or ceases to be monitored. The amendment would require the Secretary of State to inform an individual—it is not clear whom—of the dates that a monitored person had been resident in the UK. Perhaps the intention is that the information would go to employers. If so, that would not be the effect of that amendment.

Whatever the intended destination, the amendment would require the Secretary of State to gather information about an individual’s residence abroad throughout their life. That would extend the scope of the scheme in a way that is neither practical nor desirable. A lot has been said—in Committee and, indeed, this evening—about the number of people that we need to have information on to make the scheme work. I wonder whether stakeholders, or the public, would be willing to take that on. I would have reservations about such a scheme.

I would like to set out the measures that the Government have already put in place to deal with those who have committed sexual offences abroad, whether UK citizens or foreign nationals, and who come to the UK. The notification order was introduced by the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and is designed to ensure that those convicted of sex offences overseas are made subject to the notification requirements of the sex offenders register in the UK.

Sexual offences prevention orders can also be made in relation to offenders convicted of sexual or violent offences overseas who pose a risk of causing serious sexual harm in the UK. More than 900 sexual offences prevention orders were granted in 2005-06. Breach of either order is a criminal offence.

The Criminal Records Bureau is developing relations and information sharing with other countries on a bilateral basis. However, the UK is well ahead of most countries in this area and some overseas information is simply not available. I understand the point that the hon. Member for Basingstoke is making when she says that we need more and better information, not least from abroad. I also know that serious work is being done with Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but in many respects we are at the mercy of the quality of information that exists abroad. We need to be able to tap into that.

I thank the Minister for furthering the debate on the issue. He says that he feels uncomfortable with the amendments that have been tabled, but does not give a reason for that. He might want to elucidate.

The Minister might feel uncomfortable about this issue, but it is causing concern not just among those on the Conservative Benches—I received a detailed briefing on it from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Although he is clearly unable to take the points that we are making fully on board, perhaps he will undertake to meet with the NSPCC to discuss them in more detail. It is making clear the fact that it also has an issue about the matter. Perhaps we have not yet come up with the right solution, but it needs to be addressed.

I am always interested in meeting with the NSPCC and am happy to do so, but my concern is the idea of a database logging the time that British subjects spend working or living abroad and having such a record of their lives, which is effectively what the amendment proposes. That is specifically where my concern lies, but I am happy to meet the NSPCC or anybody else who wants to push such changes to the legislation.

In relation to school staff, Department for Education and Skills guidance is being revised and will be underpinned by regulations requiring a mandatory CRB check for all staff, including those who have lived overseas. In addition, overseas staff should not start work until all relevant checks have been completed, including overseas checks. Hence, I ask hon. Members to consider not pressing their amendments.

The hon. Member for Basingstoke mentioned communication, as did the hon. Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole (Annette Brooke). We had a good debate on amendment No. 3 in Committee, and we now also have amendment No. 200, which places duties in respect of communications on the Secretary of State. As the hon. Lady says, I reiterated in Committee that I was wholly in agreement, as I was on Second Reading, on the need for a widespread and ongoing communications campaign. I appreciate the concerns that stakeholders must understand their rights and responsibilities, that the coverage of the scheme needs to be well known, that inadvertent criminal behaviour must be averted, and that a coherent, co-ordinated communications strategy is needed. We need a scheme that works, and in which people have total confidence. We are committed to instigating a thorough and ongoing communications campaign to create awareness, develop understanding and help employers and employees to prepare for their new responsibilities and rights. The IBB—when it is set up—and the Secretary of State will play distinct and co-ordinated roles in that campaign. I assure hon. Members that stakeholders will also have a big role to play.

The hon. Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole specifically mentioned a kite-mark, which was also an issue raised by the NSPCC, and I would be happy to have a dialogue with both the hon. Lady and the NSPCC about that.

Can the Minister explain to the House again what he means by his statement that inadvertent criminal behaviour must be averted?

Let me give the hon. Lady a specific example. Where an employer has done the necessary checks on an employee, but not regularly enough to meet the period condition under the guidance, it is important that such employers, who have done their bit to try to ensure that people are monitored and subject to monitoring, and who, inadvertently, have not obeyed the guidelines, are not criminalised for that. Across the board, we must ensure that people are aware of the law of the land and in what circumstances people are and are not subject to monitoring, which will require a great deal of communication.

I think that I am now in deeper trouble than before I asked the question, as the Minister seemed to imply that if the employer had done his bit but somehow got it wrong, we did not want to criminalise him inadvertently but to avert that. That seems so subjective that I struggle to see how on earth the provision could be made enforceable. Someone could just say, “I have done my bit”.

As has been said during the debate, this is a complex piece of legislation. I am the first to admit that. It is important, however, to get across to all employers what is required of them, because that is ultimately for the protection of vulnerable groups. It is pretty obvious that we do not want to criminalise people if they have not broken the law.

With reference to amendment No. 250—[Interruption.] Perhaps the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) does want to criminalise people inadvertently. The independent monitor’s role is to take a view of the provision of information, particularly that withheld from the application in accordance with clause 21(6). That is a specific function in line with the monitor’s role in respect of information provided under part 5 of the Police Act 1997. Oversight of other forms of information such as employer referrals would require different kinds of expertise and focus.

To go back to the Minister’s previous point, we have tabled an amendment to a later clause that would add the word “negligently”. If the provision were clarified by means of that word, would it not solve the problem raised by the hon. Member for St. Albans (Anne Main) about the difficulty of making sure that we criminalise only those people who act inappropriately, and do not attempt to put into criminal law something that ought to be dealt with through an employment decision-making process?

The hon. Lady makes an interesting point. She implies that, contrary to the legal advice that we have received, the measures in the Bill are not appropriate for protecting vulnerable groups. I am surprised that she should come in at this stage of the debate, having missed most of it, and disregard our legal advice, the measures that we are taking and the stakeholder support, and imply that all the people involved are wrong. Perhaps in the course of our debate she might care to tell us how she would do things better herself.

To get back to my point, we expect the independent barring board to engage with its stakeholders to identify and encourage best practice in the making of referrals, and to issue guidance if appropriate. We will set out what information is to be included in the referrals in regulations, so experience of operation of the scheme and of the IBB can be taken into account as we develop those requirements. It is intended that all referral information on which a barring decision is based will be provided to the person under consideration, as is the case at present.

On the operation of the IBB, amendment No. 4 would require the IBB’s annual report to contain information on the quality of the data provided to the IBB by regulated activity providers and any person who holds records of convictions or cautions for the use of police forces. As I said in Committee, it would be odd to require the IBB to report on one specific matter without specifying a lot of other detailed IBB functions that are to be covered in the annual report. The IBB will be free to report on the quality of information, so explicit provisions to that effect are not necessary.

The House might, in future, take a particular interest in one of the IBB’s functions. If so, it is highly likely that the Secretary of State will take an interest, too. The Secretary of State will have the power to direct the IBB to submit a report on any matter at any time. I foresee no difficulty in Ministers responding to any issues that hon. Members might raise. I hope that I have given the necessary assurances, and that hon. Members will not press their amendments.

Amendment No. 5 would add four new functions to the IBB’s core functions. As I said in debate on a similar amendment in Committee, the core functions set out in the Bill are the IBB’s essential decision-making functions relating to barring. The IBB will be an expert body with a tight focus on taking independent, expert decisions, supported by the existing structures of the Criminal Records Bureau. The addition of extra functions would risk diluting the focus of the IBB. The CRB is well placed to undertake functions relating to monitoring and online access for employers. The Bill therefore gives the Secretary of State, in the form of the CRB, those functions. The CRB has access to the police national computer and was set up to handle large volumes of information. It would only confuse matters if we gave the IBB similar functions.

Amendment No. 203 would place an obligation on the Secretary of State to report any breaches of the security of the barred lists or online checks in a statement to Parliament. It would be useful if I explained how the lists and the online checks will be made secure, and how we will avoid the problem, alluded to in Committee, of paedophiles being able to change information held about them online, as happened in America. First, and very importantly, the central barred lists will be securely protected from interference and will not be accessible to anyone outside the IBB and CRB. Information will be taken from those lists by the CRB and supplied to other bodies as appropriate, which means that the lists themselves are protected. We will take all appropriate security measures to ensure the integrity of those lists, and we will ensure that there are no opportunities to interfere with that data.

Will the Minister give the House an assurance that if problems arise with either the online database or any other part of the IT system that is integral to the good operation of the Bill he will be open about them, as such matters are of concern to everyone who has made a contribution to the legislation?

I will do so. As I said earlier, the IBB’s annual report is important to hon. Members and Ministers with a particular interest in the functioning of the board. As a result of the amendments, as I have explained, the online database will show only whether someone is subject to monitoring. The system that holds that information will be separate from the barred lists so that any breach of its security will not lead to a breach of the security of those lists. Annual reports by the Criminal Records Bureau and the IBB will include details of their performance, including information about any breaches. If there is a serious breach of security, the Secretary of State would naturally inform Parliament, so I do not think that an express duty is necessary. I therefore hope that hon. Members will not press their amendments.

As for the specific question of local authority fostering, there is a requirement to notify a local authority of a proposal to foster a child privately. At that point, we would tell the foster carers about the requirements, so I hope that that assists the hon. Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole and that she will not press her amendment.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 4

Meaning of relevant information in section (provision of vetting information)

‘(1) This section has effect for the purposes of section (provision of vetting information).

(2) Relevant information relating to children is—

(a) whether B is subject to monitoring in relation to regulated activity relating to children, and

(b) if so, whether he is undergoing assessment.

(3) Relevant information relating to vulnerable adults is—

(a) whether B is subject to monitoring in relation to regulated activity relating to vulnerable adults, and

(b) if so, whether he is undergoing assessment.

(4) B is undergoing assessment if—

(a) the Secretary of State is required to notify B as mentioned in section 21(3A) in connection with B’s monitoring application but has not yet done so;

(b) B has made a simultaneous application under section 113B of the Police Act 1997 but the Secretary of State has not yet issued an enhanced criminal record certificate under that section;

(c) in relation to subsection (2)(b), IBB is considering whether to include B in the children’s barred list in pursuance of paragraph 3 or 5 of Schedule 2;

(d) in relation to subsection (3)(b), IBB is considering whether to include B in the adults’ barred list in pursuance of paragraph 8 or 10 of that Schedule.

(5) In subsection (4)(b) “simultaneous application” means an application made simultaneously with B’s monitoring application under section 21.

(6) The Secretary of State may by order amend the preceding provisions of this section for the purpose of altering the meaning of relevant information relating to children or vulnerable adults (as the case may be).’.—[Mr. Cawsey.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 5

Notification of cessation of monitoring

‘(1) The Secretary of State must establish and maintain a register for the purposes of this section.

(2) The Secretary of State must register a person (A) in relation to another (B) if—

(a) A makes an application to be registered in relation to B,

(b) the application contains the appropriate declaration,

(c) the Secretary of State has no reason to believe that the declaration is false, and

(d) B is subject to monitoring in relation to the regulated activity to which the application relates.

(3) The appropriate declaration is a declaration by A—

(a) that he falls within column 1 of a specified entry, and

(b) that B has consented to the application.

(4) In this section references to a specified entry are to an entry in the table in Schedule 4 specified by A in his declaration.

(5) A’s application and registration relate—

(a) if column 2 of the specified entry refers to children, to regulated activity relating to children;

(b) if column 2 of the specified entry refers to vulnerable adults, to regulated activity relating to vulnerable adults.

(6) The Secretary of State must notify A if B ceases to be subject to monitoring in relation to the regulated activity to which A’s registration relates.

(7) The requirement under subsection (6) is satisfied if notification is sent to any address recorded against A’s name in the register.

(8) Paragraph (b) of subsection (3) does not apply if the specified entry is 17.

(9) If B consents to the provision of information to A under section (provision of vetting information) the consent also has effect as consent to any application by A to be registered in relation to B under this section.

(10) The Secretary of State may prescribe the form, manner and contents of an application for the purposes of this section (including the form and manner of a declaration contained in such an application).’.—[Mr. Cawsey.]

Brought up, and read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 6

Cessation of registration

‘(1) In this section references to registration are to registration in the register maintained for the purposes of section (notification of cessation of monitoring).

(2) Once a person is notified as mentioned in subsection (6) of that section, his registration ceases.

(3) The Secretary of State may cancel a person’s registration in such circumstances as are prescribed.

(4) The Secretary of State must cancel a person’s registration—

(a) if the person applies for it to be cancelled;

(b) in prescribed circumstances, if the person in relation to whom he is registered applies for it to be cancelled.

(5) When a person’s registration is cancelled under subsection (3) or (4)(b), the Secretary of State must notify him of that fact.

(6) The requirement under subsection (5) is satisfied if notification is sent to any address recorded against P’s name in the register.’.—[Mr. Cawsey.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 7

Declarations under sections (provision of vetting information) and (notification of cessation of monitoring)

‘(1) An individual commits an offence if, in an application made for the purposes of section (provision of vetting information) or (notification of cessation of monitoring)—

(a) he makes a false declaration, and

(b) he either knows that it is false or is reckless as to whether it is false.

(2) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.’.—[Mr. Cawsey.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 8

Registers: power to apply for vetting information

‘(1) If the keeper of a relevant register applies to the Secretary of State for information within subsection (2) in relation to a person (B), the Secretary of State must provide the keeper of the register with that information.

(2) The information within this subsection is—

(a) whether B is barred from regulated activity relating to children or vulnerable adults,

(b) whether IBB is considering whether to include B in a barred list in pursuance of paragraph 3 or 5 or 8 or 10 of Schedule 2,

(c) whether B is subject to monitoring in relation to regulated activity relating to children or vulnerable adults,

(d) if B is subject to such monitoring and the Secretary of State is required to notify B as mentioned in section 21(3A), whether the Secretary of State has yet done so, and

(e) if B is subject to such monitoring and has made a simultaneous application under section 113B of the Police Act 1997, whether the Secretary of State has yet issued an enhanced criminal record certificate under that section.

(3) The keeper of a relevant register may apply for information under this section in relation to a person only if—

(a) the person appears in the register, or

(b) the person is being considered for inclusion in the register.

(4) In this section—

(a) a relevant register is a register appearing in column 1 of entry 1 or 8 of the table in section 33(8), and

(b) in relation to a relevant register, the keeper of the register is the corresponding person appearing in column 2 of the table.

(5) In subsection (2)(e) “simultaneous application” means an application made simultaneously with B’s monitoring application under section 21.

(6) The Secretary of State may by order amend this section for the purpose of altering the information within subsection (2).

(7) The Secretary of State may prescribe the form, manner and contents of an application for the purposes of this section.’.—[Mr. Cawsey.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 9

Supervisory authorities: power to apply for vetting information

‘(1) If a supervisory authority applies to the Secretary of State for information within subsection (2) or (3) relating to a person (B), the Secretary of State must provide the supervisory authority with that information.

(2) The information within this subsection is—

(a) whether B is barred from regulated activity relating to children,

(b) whether IBB is considering whether to include B in the children’s barred list in pursuance of paragraph 3 or 5 of Schedule 2,

(c) whether B is subject to monitoring in relation to regulated activity relating to children,

(d) if B is subject to such monitoring and the Secretary of State is required to notify B as mentioned in section 21(3A) in connection with his monitoring application, whether the Secretary of State has yet done so, and

(e) if B is subject to such monitoring and has made a simultaneous application under section 113B of the Police Act 1997, whether the Secretary of State has yet issued an enhanced criminal record certificate under that section.

(3) The information within this subsection is—

(a) whether B is barred from regulated activity relating to vulnerable adults,

(b) whether IBB is considering whether to include B in the adults’ barred list in pursuance of paragraph 8 or 10 of Schedule 2,

(c) whether B is subject to monitoring in relation to regulated activity relating to vulnerable adults,

(d) if B is subject to such monitoring and the Secretary of State is required to notify B as mentioned in section 21(3A) in connection with his monitoring application, whether the Secretary of State has yet done so, and

(e) if B is subject to such monitoring and has made a simultaneous application under section 113B of the Police Act 1997, whether the Secretary of State has yet issued an enhanced criminal record certificate under that section.

(4) A supervisory authority may apply for information under this section only if the information is required in connection with the exercise of a function of the supervisory authority mentioned in section 36(7).

(5) In subsections (2)(e) and (3)(e), “simultaneous application” means an application made simultaneously with B’s monitoring application under section 21.

(6) The Secretary of State may by order amend this section for the purpose of altering the information within subsection (2) or (3).

(7) The Secretary of State may prescribe the form, manner and contents of an application for the purposes of this section.’.—[Mr. Cawsey.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 10

Supervisory authorities: notification of barring &c. in respect of children

‘(1) This section applies if—

(a) a person is newly included in the children’s barred list,

(b) the Secretary of State becomes aware that a person is subject to a relevant children’s disqualification, or

(c) having been subject to monitoring in relation to regulated activity relating to children, a person ceases to be so subject by virtue of section 22.

(2) The Secretary of State must notify every interested supervisory authority of the circumstance mentioned in paragraph (a), (b) or (c) (as the case may be) of subsection (1).

(3) A supervisory authority is an interested supervisory authority only if—

(a) it has applied to the Secretary of State to be notified if any of the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) occurs in relation to the person, and

(b) the application has not been withdrawn.

(4) A supervisory authority may apply to the Secretary of State under subsection (3)(a) only if the notification is required in connection with the exercise of a function of the supervisory authority mentioned in section 36(7).

(5) For the purposes of subsection (3)(b) an application is withdrawn if the supervisory authority notifies the Secretary of State that it no longer wishes to be notified if any of the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) occurs in relation to the person.

(6) A person is subject to a relevant children’s disqualification if he is included in a list maintained under the law of Scotland or Northern Ireland which the Secretary of State specifies by order as corresponding to the children’s barred list.

(7) The Secretary of State may provide that in prescribed circumstances a supervisory authority is not an interested supervisory authority for the purposes of this section.

(8) The Secretary of State may prescribe the form, manner and contents of an application for the purposes of this section.’.—[Mr. Cawsey.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 11

Supervisory authorities: notification of barring &c. in respect of vulnerable adults

‘(1) This section applies if—

(a) a person is newly included in the adults’ barred list,

(b) the Secretary of State becomes aware that a person is subject to a relevant adults’ disqualification, or

(c) having been subject to monitoring in relation to regulated activity relating to vulnerable adults, a person ceases to be so subject by virtue of section 22.

(2) The Secretary of State must notify every interested supervisory authority of the circumstance mentioned in paragraph (a), (b) or (c) (as the case may be) of subsection (1).

(3) A supervisory authority is an interested supervisory authority only if—

(a) it has applied to the Secretary of State to be notified if any of the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) occurs in relation to the person, and

(b) the application has not been withdrawn.

(4) A supervisory authority may apply to the Secretary of State under subsection (3)(a) only if the notification is required in connection with the exercise of a function of the supervisory authority mentioned in section 36(7).

(5) For the purposes of subsection (3)(b) an application is withdrawn if the supervisory authority notifies the Secretary of State that it no longer wishes to be notified if any of the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) occurs in relation to the person.

(6) A person is subject to a relevant adults’ disqualification if he is included in a list maintained under the law of Scotland or Northern Ireland which the Secretary of State specifies by order as corresponding to the adults’ barred list.

(7) The Secretary of State may provide that in prescribed circumstances a supervisory authority is not an interested supervisory authority for the purposes of this section.

(8) The Secretary of State may prescribe the form, manner and contents of an application for the purposes of this section.’.—[Mr. Cawsey.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 12

Prohibition of requirement to produce certain records

‘(1) A person (P) must not, in connection with—

(a) the recruitment of another person as an employee, or

(b) the continued employment of another person,

require that other person or a third party to supply him with a relevant record.

(2) A person concerned with the provision (for payment or not) of goods, facilities or services to the public or a section of the public must not, as a condition of providing or offering to provide any goods, facilities or services to another person, require that other person or a third party to supply him with a relevant record.

(3) Subsection (1) does not apply if the duties of the employee include activity of a kind mentioned in paragraph 2(1) or 6(1) of Schedule 3 and the activity is for, or for the benefit, of—

(a) P himself;

(b) a child, or vulnerable adult, who is a member of P’s family;

(c) a child, or vulnerable adult, who is a friend of P.

(4) “Family” and “friend” must be construed in accordance with section 43.

(5) A person who contravenes subsection (1) or (2) is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

(6) A relevant record is the record of information provided by the Secretary of State under section 21(3A).

(7) An employee is an individual who—

(a) works under a contract of employment, as defined by section 230(2) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (c. 18),

(b) provides any service under a contract for services, or

(c) holds any office,

whether or not he is entitled to remuneration; and “employment” must be construed accordingly.’.—[Mr. Cawsey.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 13

Referrals: findings of fact immaterial

‘(1) For the purposes of the provisions mentioned in subsection (2), it is immaterial whether there is a finding of fact in any proceedings.

(2) The provisions are—

section 27(3)(b) and (c);

section 28(4)(b) and (c);

section 31(2)(b) and (c) and (6)(a);

section 33(2)(b) and (c) and (6)(a);

section 36(2)(b) and (c) and (5)(a).’.—[Mr. Cawsey.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 14

Devolution: alignment

‘(1) The Secretary of State may, by order, make such provision (including provision amending any enactment contained in or made under any Act, including this Act) as he thinks necessary or expedient in consequence of or having regard to any relevant Scottish legislation or relevant Northern Ireland legislation.

(2) An order may—

(a) include provision for treating a person to whom a monitoring provision applies as if he were subject to monitoring in relation to regulated activity;

(b) confer power to make subordinate legislation (within the meaning given by the Interpretation Act 1978).

(3) Relevant Scottish legislation is any provision made by or under an Act of the Scottish Parliament which the Secretary of State thinks—

(a) corresponds to provision made by or under this Act,

(b) makes monitoring provision, or

(c) affects the operation of any provision made by or under this Act.

(4) Relevant Northern Ireland legislation is any provision of such legislation which the Secretary of State thinks—

(a) corresponds to provision made by or under this Act

(b) makes monitoring provision, or

(c) affects the operation of any provision made by or under this Act.

(5) Monitoring provision is provision for the collation and disclosure of information relating to persons who engage or wish to engage in activity which the Secretary of State thinks corresponds to regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults.’.—[Mr. Ivan Lewis.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government new clause 20—Devolution: Wales.

Government amendments Nos. 98, 120, 129 and 131 to 132.

Government new clause 14 enables provision to be made in future to take account of forthcoming Scottish and Northern Ireland legislation. Scotland is making provision for its own vetting and barring scheme through legislation currently before the Scottish Parliament. Northern Ireland will make its own provisions that will work in parallel with the England and Wales scheme and allow the IBB to make barring decisions about individuals living and working in Northern Ireland. Both the Scottish and Northern Ireland legislation will be finalised after the Bill has completed its passage through the House. Secondary legislation made under the Government new clause will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure if it amends the Bill’s provisions or confers a power to make secondary legislation.

Government amendments Nos. 120 and 129 provide that the IBB must not include someone on a barred list if Scottish Ministers have already made a decision about whether to include them on their list and the IBB has no new evidence. That will prevent them from being considered for more than one jurisdiction’s list on the basis of the same information, and therefore having to submit to different representation and appeals procedures in each jurisdiction. The intention is that inclusion on the Scottish, Northern Ireland, or England and Wales lists will result in a bar from regulated activity across the UK.

The amendments give the Secretary of State an order-making power that he can use to ensure that someone is considered for listing by the most appropriate barring authority, rather than by the barring authority that first becomes aware of information that could lead to listing. For example, if the IBB receives information about someone who is not subject to monitoring in England and Wales, but who is a member of the Scottish scheme, Scottish Ministers—and not the IBB—should consider new information on their case. Government amendment No. 131 provides that the Secretary of State must tell Scottish Ministers if the IBB includes someone on a barred list, to allow Scottish Ministers to ensure that the person cannot work with either children or vulnerable adults in Scotland.

Government new clause 20 allows certain powers to make secondary legislation to be exercised by Welsh Ministers. The powers significantly cut across devolved matters, such as the requirements for checks for school governors. The new clause requires the Secretary of State to obtain the agreement of Welsh Ministers before exercising secondary legislation-making powers that provide for requirements and powers that affect the National Assembly for Wales in its functions as an inspectorate. In exercising the remaining significant secondary legislation-making powers in the Bill, the Secretary of State must consult Welsh Ministers in relation to the powers’ impact on Wales.

Government amendment No. 132 provides that the IBB may provide information to Welsh Ministers relevant to their functions—formulating policy and monitoring delivery of that policy. The amendments ensure that vetting and barring operates successfully and coherently across the United Kingdom, and I commend them to the House.

I welcome the Minister to our debate on the thorny issue of devolution, which contributed greatly both to the number of Government amendments that have been tabled and the delay that prevented hon. Members from seeing them before our debate. It is only right to probe the issue a little further, especially Government amendment No. 120. I was surprised to learn that the IBB must not include someone on a barred list

“if a relevant Scottish authority has already considered whether the person should be included in a corresponding list on the same ground”.

Will the Minister give an undertaking that the UK will be bound to decisions that are made in Scotland only if we have full confidence that the Scottish equivalent of the IBB exercises the same burdens of proof and conducts itself in the same way as the IBB? Will he confirm that there is a similar provision in Scottish law, so that if the amendment is accepted we can be sure that Scottish authorities will pay heed to similar decisions made in the UK?

The hon. Lady makes a perfectly reasonable and valid point, and I hope that I can clarify the situation. The amendments deal with the theoretical possibility that someone can be required to make representations or appeals against the same evidence in England and Scotland when the restriction that is imposed in both jurisdictions is the same—a bar from regulated activity across the UK. It would be unreasonable to require someone already cleared in one jurisdiction to submit to the process in another jurisdiction. In practice, we do not envisage circumstances arising in which the IBB may wish to overturn a decision by Scottish Ministers not to bar, as the barring criteria applied by the IBB and Scottish Ministers will be closely aligned. Scottish processes are at a less advanced stage than ours, but there will be an opportunity, using the affirmative resolution if necessary, to look at any concerns raised by hon. Members. We are confident, however, that there will be an appropriate level of alignment.

Has the Minister sought assurances from Ministers in the Scottish Parliament that there will be not just close but direct alignment, and that the same provision will be in Scottish law?

I can assure the hon. Lady that reciprocal arrangements have been agreed at an official level, although I have not spoken directly to my counterpart in Scotland.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 15

Offences: other persons

‘(1) A person commits an offence if, in the course of acting or appearing to act on behalf of a regulated activity provider—

(a) he permits an individual (B) to engage in a regulated activity in relation to which B is not subject to monitoring,

(b) he knows or has reason to believe that B is not subject to monitoring in relation to that activity, and

(c) B engages in the activity.

(2) A person commits an offence if, in the course of acting or appearing to act on behalf of a personnel supplier—

(a) he supplies an individual (B) to another (P),

(b) he knows or has reason to believe that P will make arrangements for B to engage in regulated activity from which B is barred, and

(c) he knows or has reason to believe that B is barred from the activity.

(3) A person commits an offence if, in the course of acting or appearing to act on behalf of a personnel supplier—

(a) he supplies an individual (B) to another (P),

(b) he knows or has reason to believe that P will make arrangements for B to engage in regulated activity in relation to which B is not subject to monitoring, and

(c) he knows or has reason to believe that B is not subject to monitoring in relation to the activity.

(4) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) or (3) is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

(5) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (2) is liable—

(a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to a fine, or to both;

(b) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both.

(6) If the commission of an offence under section 11 is due to the act or reckless default of a person who acts for or appears to act for the regulated activity provider—

(a) that person is guilty of the offence, and

(b) he may be proceeded against and punished whether or not proceedings are also taken against the regulated activity provider.

(7) In the application of subsection (6) to a person who is in Crown employment (within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996), section (Crown application)(2) must be ignored.

(8) For the purpose of subsections (2)(b) and (3)(b), Schedule 3 is modified as follows—

(a) in paragraph 1, sub-paragraphs (1)(b) and (3)(a) must be disregarded;

(b) in paragraph 6(1), the words “if it is carried out frequently by the same person or the period condition is satisfied” must be disregarded;

(c) in paragraph 6(4), paragraph (a) must be disregarded.

(9) In determining what is the appropriate sentence to pass in respect of a person who is convicted of an offence under subsection (1) in a case where the regulated activity falls within paragraph 1(1) or (3) or 6(1) or (4) of Schedule 3 the court must consider the extent to which the offender had regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State as to the circumstances in which an activity is carried out frequently.

(10) In relation to an offence committed before the commencement of section 282(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the reference in subsection (5)(b) to 12 months must be taken to be a reference to six months.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: Government new clause 16—Section (Offences: other persons): exclusions and defences.

Government new clause 17—Office holders: offences.

Government new clause 18—Sections 12 and (office holders: offences): checks.

Government new clause 19—Personnel suppliers: failure to check.

Government new clause 22—Controlled activity: regulations.

Government amendments Nos. 208 to 210 and 26.

Amendment No. 254, in page 4, line 10, clause 7, after ‘he’, insert

‘with the intention of misleading the IBB or a regulated activity provider’.

Government amendment No. 27

Amendment No. 255, in page 4, line 19, leave out subsection (3).

Amendment No. 201, line 21, at end add

‘or did not intend to seek to engage in activity from which he knew he was barred.’.

Government amendments Nos. 30, 211 to 213, 34, 35, 214, 36, 39 and 215 to 218.

Amendment No. 256, in page 7, line 10, clause 11, after ‘he’, insert ‘negligently’.

Government amendments Nos. 219 to 226.

Amendment No. 257, in page 8, line 22, after ‘he’, insert ‘negligently’.

Government amendments Nos. 227, 228, 52 to 55, 229 to 234, 236 and 93.

Government new schedule 2—Employment businesses: failure to check..

Government new schedule 3—Appropriate verification.

The amendments help to ensure that the offences in the Bill are appropriately focused and that they strengthen the provisions relating to personnel suppliers and controlled activity.

New clauses 15 and 16, and amendments Nos. 208 to 216, 229 to 231, 233 and 234 are technical amendments to ensure that the offences are appropriately focused. Amendments Nos. 208 to 210 ensure that the person or body with ultimate responsibility for regulated activity is responsible for checking individuals engaging in regulated activity. If no check is carried out, that person or body would be liable. In the case of an employee of a crèche within a high street store, the store would be the regulated activity provider. The amendments are important in ensuring organisations take their responsibilities seriously.

New clauses 15 and 16 and related amendments clarify the way offences bite on employees, ensuring that any person, including employees of a regulated activity provider, such as a school administrator, commits an offence if he knows that someone is barred and he permits them to engage in regulated activity. A person who acts on behalf of a regulated activity provider or personnel supplier will commit an offence if he knowingly permits an individual who is not subject to monitoring to engage in regulated activity or if he supplies him for regulated activity. Those who act on behalf of a regulated activity provider or employment business are guilty of an offence if the failure of the regulated activity provider or employment business to check was due to their “act or reckless default”. For example, an employee of a sports centre who fails to check on an individual who is being employed to teach children’s tennis lessons because he did not know it was a requirement to check would not have committed an offence. That goes back to what I was trying to explain earlier. Instead, the owner of the sports centre, or the sports centre if it is a company, would have committed the offence. However, if the centre manager asked someone to carry out the check and he deliberately did not, the individual would have committed the offence. That is both fair and appropriate as it ensures that all individuals in the children’s or vulnerable adult’s work force take seriously their responsibilities and take the necessary steps to ensure that individuals engaging in regulated activity are subject to monitoring. It will increase the protection the scheme provides. The amendments also allow us to take a similar approach to controlled activity.

We have made important amendments to the requirements to check. Clause 15 provides an easement from the requirement to check when an individual works in more than one NHS position at the same time—for example, a permanent NHS employee who also undertakes temporary NHS work on their day off. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Health made a commitment to revisit the clause and we now agree that relevant independent health care providers that provide NHS services under contract with the NHS should also benefit from the provision. Amendments Nos. 52 to 54 achieve this. For example, they would cover when a particular NHS trust contracts with an independent health care body to run a specialist treatment centre. If a member of staff employed by the independent body to work in the treatment centre agrees to cover a post at short notice within the NHS trust, the trust would not be required to make an additional check.

New clause 17 gives the Secretary of State the power to place a requirement on holders of certain positions to be subject to monitoring and to place requirements on an appropriate person to check. These will enable us to mirror the governor provisions in clauses 8(3) and 12 for certain positions of authority, such as trustees of children’s charities. We plan to consider with the Charity Commission whether it would be appropriate to require checks and in what circumstances. Depending on the circumstances, that might be a requirement on, for example, the chair of the trustees or a person nominated by the trustees and checked by the Charity Commission.

Amendments Nos. 218 to 220, 222, 228, 236 and new schedule 3 clarify how employers can comply with their duty to check that an individual is subject to monitoring and therefore not barred. They can do this themselves through an online check or an enhanced disclosure, or they can obtain equivalent confirmation from another source, such as an employment agency. Enhanced disclosures provide more information than an online check and can help employers assess whether an individual is suitable for a particular position. Enhanced disclosures are currently required in sectors involving very close contact with children, such as foster care and children’s homes. The new schedule provides the power to require employers to obtain an enhanced disclosure or check an individual’s status via an online check to allow supervised employment to begin while waiting for an enhanced disclosure.

New schedule 3 also explains what information a regulated activity provider must obtain from a personnel supplier or a contractor. For example, a girls’ dance school that hires a teacher from an agency could rely on written confirmation that the agency had registered an interest in the individual and had no reason to believe the individual was not subject to monitoring. However, if the employer was required to get an enhanced disclosure through regulations under the Bill, it would be required to obtain a copy of the enhanced disclosure from the agency. New clause 18 and amendments Nos. 226 and 227 explain how checks of a governor can be performed through an online check or an enhanced disclosure.

New clause 19, new schedule 2, and amendments Nos. 34, 35, 40 to 42 and 217 strengthen the provisions on personnel suppliers, such as employment agencies and businesses. The new schedule ensures that an employment business will commit an offence if it supplies an individual to engage in regulated activity and has failed to ensure that the individual is subject to monitoring. Amendments Nos. 34, 35 and 40 to 42 ensure that a personnel supplier will commit an offence if it knowingly supplies an individual who is barred or not subject to monitoring to engage in regulated activity, even where the activity takes place only occasionally.

In response to a previous debate in the House, we have sought to strengthen the controlled activity provisions. New clause 22 and amendments Nos. 232 and 238 provide the power to place a series of mandatory requirements on employers through regulations. We will use them to require employers to check, and to introduce the necessary safeguards when employing a barred person. I hope that that will be welcomed throughout the House, because it was pushed in Committee. Failure to comply with the regulations may result in a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £5,000.

The amendments that I have just explained are critical. They strengthen and clarify the way in which the scheme will be enforced, and I commend them to the House.

This group contains a good many Government amendments, as well as six new clauses and a new schedule. The Minister said that many of the amendments were technical, but there are also some important matters of principle. Moreover, as my hon. Friends and I have already pointed out, we have had to take on a huge amount of new material in a very short time. That will add enormous complication to the Bill, as if it were not complicated enough already. I do not think that this is the best way of pursuing legislation. However helpful the Minister has sought to be—and there have been a few odd meetings—there is still an awful lot of material for us to consider.

I welcome the strengthening of, for instance, measures relating to the treatment of acts by children and to personnel suppliers. At the beginning of the year there was a furore about paedophiles and other undesirables gaining access to schools, and in Sussex, my part of the world, personnel providers were seen as a weak link. It was a grey area: there was confusion over whose responsibility it was to check the background of certain people, including those supplied to teach or act as classroom assistants. Did responsibility lie with the education authority, or with the commercial business that provided the staff?

I am slightly confused about the grammatical relationship between amendment No. 209 and clause 6. The amendment would add a third paragraph to subsection (2)(a) and (b). As the word “if” already appears in the first line of the subsection, adding the new paragraph would cause it to appear twice. If that is not the case, why is the new paragraph preceded by a pair of brackets? There may well be a technical point here, if I may be terribly pedantic.

However, there is also a point to be made about the content of the amendment. It states that someone is a regulated activity provider

“if the regulated activity is carried out for the purposes of an organisation, his exercise of that responsibility is not subject to supervision or direction by any other person for those purposes”.

Surely that can apply only to single-handed organisations. Surely any person working in an organisation—be it a charity, a voluntary provider, an independent provider, a commercial company or a not-for-profit company—will have a boss, a line manager, someone who is ultimately responsible, unless the organisation is a one-man or one-woman business. In that case, as I understand the amendment, that one person would be the person whose activity would be subject to some form of restriction. I am genuinely slightly mystified, without disagreeing with the point that the amendment is trying to make.

Amendment No. 26 also seems fairly vague. It, too, refers to clause 6 and the definition of regulated activity providers. It would give the Secretary of State a fairly wide-ranging power by inserting the words

“The Secretary of State may by order provide that in specified circumstances a person who makes, or authorises the making of, arrangements (of any description) for another to engage in regulated activity either is or is not a regulated activity provider.”

What on earth does that mean? Can the Minister give us any examples of circumstances in which someone whom we would normally expect to be defined as a regulated activity provider engaged in a regulated activity would suddenly be exempt and given a get-out-of-jail card as a result of a determination by the Secretary of State—presumably by means of secondary legislation, not subject to any further ratification by the House? The Minister tried to give examples earlier to make the legislation clearer, but only succeeded in further confusing Opposition Members, at least. Perhaps he will have a better go at it this time.

Amendment 217 relates to clause 10, entitled “Use of person not subject to monitoring for regulated activity”. According to my reading of the amendment, the creation of offences in this context is not retrospective. This is another confusing point, which needs to be made absolutely clear to the many tens of thousands of people who will be subject to the legislation. Those people, who may now be employed quite legitimately, would be subject to restrictions or barred altogether if they applied for their jobs once the legislation was in force.

Let us say that a person occupies an existing post without having had to fulfil the proposed requirements. The nature of the job may technically change so that it becomes subject to vetting and barring procedures, although the person concerned has not moved to another job. Perhaps he or she works for a local authority. There have been big upheavals in social services and children’s services departments. The employee may have previously worked in a department where he or she did not come into contact with any vulnerable groups, because there were no such groups within that department’s remit. The department may then have merged with or become subsidiary to another department where other employees come into contact with vulnerable groups, young or adult.

The employee’s job will not necessarily have changed. His or her contract of employment and pay and conditions need not have changed. The job title may or may not have changed; but the organisation or department may have changed. What obligations will that person have at that stage, when continuing to do a job in exactly the same way as it was done the day before the reorganisation? What penalties could befall that person if he or she took no action? Would the defence of not knowing come into play, meaning that the person was not subject to prosecution?

I welcome Government amendment No 54, largely because we proposed it in Committee. It is a shame that the cameo appearance of the Under-Secretary of State for Health, the hon. Member for Bury, South (Mr. Lewis), has apparently ended, because it was he who, in Committee, took up the point that I made in proposing what was then Conservative-led amendment No. 139. What was said can be found in column 131 of the Hansard Standing Committee report. It was pointed out that given the various changes in the national health service, people were far more likely to come into contact with health providers who were not employed by the NHS, any NHS trust or any division of the NHS. They were providing an activity that was contracted in, as is increasingly happening in the fragmentation of the health service. Would it not be better if it referred to a person providing a form of health care rather than to the various divisions, organisations and structures in which it is provided? That, I believe, is what happens under amendment No. 54, which I certainly welcome. Given that the health authority’s contents and purposes no longer exist, the Government have taken out the reference to health authority from the list of what constitutes various health providers.

Having commented on the main Government amendments, I shall now deal with amendment No. 201—the only one in the large group tabled by myself and my hon. Friends. We are minded to divide the House on the amendment, which we believe deals with an important principle, and hope to have the opportunity to do so at some stage.

The amendment is designed to help the Minister in his inadvertent failure, seen rather glaringly earlier, to decide what is inadvertency and what is not. It is an important point because many people—some have calculated that it could be as many as a third of the adult working population—are inadvertently going to be covered and may become subject to continuous criminal record vetting. Given that 10 million Criminal Records Bureau checks have taken place since 2002, a very large number of the population could now be subject to prosecution if they do not take notice of—and, potentially, take action on—the new legislation.

The Minister will no doubt agree with our contention—he acknowledged in Committee that the principle was right—that it is unfair to penalise individuals who did not know that they were barred from engaging in an activity. As it stands, there are three main circumstances in which someone commits an offence. Under clause 7, an individual commits an offence if he

“seeks to engage in regulated activity from which he is barred”,

or

“offers to engage in regulated activity from which he is barred”

or

“engages in regulated activity from which he is barred”,

which is pretty all encompassing. Furthermore, the guilt test is fairly low and the onus of proof lies on the individual to show that they did not know that they were committing an offence, rather than the other way round, whereby it would have to be proved that they were acting misleadingly in trying to disguise committing or intending to commit an offence.

As the Minister acknowledged in Committee, it is not the Bill’s intention to criminalise people who may have been barred but who are not aware, for whatever reason, of the position. Schedule 3, which provides the guts of the legislation, has a very broad scope of regulated activities and will potentially catch thousands of people who are not directly involved in teaching or caring occupations, which form the focus of many of the activities at which the Bill is targeted.

On inadvertent behaviour, does my hon. Friend agree that there is an unequal emphasis, in that an employer has to do his bit and try his best, whereas a member of the public or a potential employee who seek to have their behaviour regularised will, if not careful, become criminalised? The degree of latitude afforded to the employee does not seem to be equal to that which is implied by the Minister’s comments to be afforded to the employer.

I think that my hon. Friend is right. The quandary into which the Minister inadvertently ambled earlier was the suggestion that an employer who carried out the necessary checks in good faith, in accordance with the legislation as required, would be fine, while if a subsequent check became necessary but was not carried out because of some notion of inadvertence, it would constitute a lesser offence than if someone had failed to take the necessary steps to conduct a check or register in the first place. That is an entirely discretionary reading. How does the Minister decide when an employer’s conduct is to be regarded as inadvertency for failing to pursue the follow-through as opposed to a deliberate intention not to bother because it would be against his interests to do so?

Let me clarify the position for the hon. Gentleman. The employer makes the check at the outset to see whether someone is barred to establish whether they should be subject to monitoring when taken on. The hon. Gentleman implies that the employer regularly has to check up and will somehow be criminalised for not doing so. It needs to be understood that the new system will ensure constant updating of information by the Criminal Records Bureau, so if someone subsequently ceases to be subject to monitoring, the employer will be informed through the due processes.

With respect, that does not answer the question. The Minister clearly set out his own interpretation of what should be regarded as either inadvertent or deliberate, based on entirely subjective grounds, which have no foundation in the Bill, as I have interpreted it. The important point is that the legislation is very complicated and places considerable requirements on a large number of people who currently go about their business in good faith and with no problems whatever, but who are subsequently going to have to take full cognisance of the letter of the law, rather than some discretionary interpretation that the Minister appears to have provided.

The hon. Gentleman and other Conservative Members have had their fun with the term “inadvertent”, which is fine, but he will recall that I was specifically describing the position around “frequency”. I said that someone had to carry out a check to ensure that a person lay within the period condition—whether it be more than two days within every 30 days, or within an overnight stay or working one day a month. If a court were to decide that a person had not done the job properly with respect to the frequency criteria that it had established—[Interruption.]

One cannot intervene on an intervention.

In a particular case like that, it is right for the courts to take into account the fact that there is guidance. What the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) is describing is very different and applies to a definition that, frankly, I have not given him.

My hon. Friend the Member for St. Albans (Anne Main) may be forgiven for confusing the Minister’s intervention with a speech, because he spent rather a long time adding an entirely new dimension to the debate. The subject of frequency did not come up at all when the inadvertency get-out clause, which the Minister has introduced today, was debated earlier. The point is that that is very confusing for hon. Members who are trying to get to the nitty-gritty of the legislation and it will be confusing for those who have to interpret, enforce and enact it, not to mention those who will suffer if they get it wrong. That is why amendment No. 201 is so important.

Too much onus is being placed on people to prove that they did not know something. It is very difficult to prove a negative. How do I prove that I do not know the capital of Kazakhstan? I should know it, because the film “Borat” is coming out soon and Kazakhstan has been all over the news. However, I cannot actually name the capital. I do know that it has a lot of unhappy members of its Government at present, but I cannot prove that I cannot name it. That is why the amendment is so necessary.

I am afraid that I cannot help the hon. Gentleman on the capital of Kazakhstan, but in the terms of clause 7(3) I would argue that I

“could not reasonably be expected to know”

that, even as a Member of Parliament. The hon. Gentleman castigated my hon. Friend the Minister for something that was entirely subjective, but amendment No. 201 is entirely subjective, and that is the real problem with it.

The hon. Gentleman is right in that clause 7 includes the defence that one

“could not reasonably be expected to know”.

The problem is that it refers to three different scenarios in clause 7(1), as I pointed out earlier, of someone who seeks to engage, offers to engage or actually engages. Clause 7(3) is not comprehensive enough to defend everybody against all three scenarios—acts that someone might have committed inadvertently. That is why it is necessary to introduce an intent provision. Surely it is better to have to prove intent—that someone intended to engage in regulated activity, intended to offer to do so or intended to actually engage in it.

The Minister mentioned earlier that communication of the requirements of the Bill will be essential, and we remain to be convinced about how the Government will undertake such a big task. It would be better to provide for a proper defence, which shows that someone did not just drift into committing the offence. The onus should be on the prosecutor to prove that the person had the intent to commit the offence.

Does not the wording of amendment No. 201 fall into the very trap that the hon. Gentleman gave of the difficulty of proving a negative in terms of the capital of Kazakistan—or whatever it is called? It would require the individual to prove a negative.

The hon. Gentleman would be expected to know how to pronounce Kazakhstan, even if he does not know its capital or how to spell it. The amendment would add another defence safety net. “Intent” has a basis in law for prosecution. As the hon. Gentleman knows as a lawyer himself, if the offence depends on intent, the law is clear on what is expected to prove it.

The amendment would beef up the defence provisions for someone who unwittingly breaches clause 7. It should be a defence to prove that one did not know or could not reasonably be expected to know, or that one had no intent of seeking or offering to engage, or of engaging, in the activity.

Clause 7 is a fundamentally important clause in a fundamentally complicated and complex Bill. I fear that it could be undermined by scooping up in its broad net many people who do not intend to fall foul of it. On that basis, I shall seek leave to divide the House on amendment No. 201, whenever we reach that point.

I broadly welcome the Government’s amendments, which deal with the issues that we discussed in Committee, especially our debate about NHS employees and whether people working under contract would be subject to the Bill. The clarification is very welcome. I shall address amendments Nos. 254 and 255 together, amendments Nos. 256 and 257 together, and then comment on amendment No. 201.

All those amendments have similar objectives and address the now thorny issue of the word “inadvertent”. I know that the debate earlier got rather over-excited, and the Minister was not keen to respond to my intervention. I hope that he will now respond with slightly better grace to what is intended to be a constructive addition to the debate. We are still not happy that the points that we made in Committee have been adequately addressed.

Amendments Nos. 254 and 255 seek to address the same points that the Conservatives seek to address through amendment No. 201. We are trying to restrict the offence of a barred person engaging in a regulated activity to situations in which there is an intention to mislead. The hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) has clearly laid out the concerns, including the point that it is difficult to prove a negative. We think that our wording is slightly better than that of the Conservatives, but if they push their amendment to a Division, we will support it because we are trying to tackle the same issue. I hope that the Government will accept the points that we are making and table an amendment at a later stage.

Is the hon. Lady concerned that the amendments could provide loopholes for paedophiles who wish to work in our schools?

No, that is not our aim. Clause 7 aims to prevent paedophiles from working in schools, not to punish them. Many other items of legislation deal with the punishment of paedophiles. Clause 7 would provide a safety net, and we do not believe that it is drafted appropriately. We should make it clear that those caught by the clause should be penalised only if it is their intention to mislead.

We have had an extensive debate about many of the confusions in this extremely complicated Bill. If the scope of regulated activity is enlarged by the Secretary of State during the making of regulations, it is likely that people will not know the full extent of such activity that may apply to them. If there is a decent vetting procedure, it should prevent people who are barred from getting through, so the purpose of the provision should be to criminalise those who act in a misleading way—for example, by giving a false name in a job application—not those who may inadvertently get something wrong.

Amendments Nos. 256 and 257 relate to clauses 11 and 12 and make a similar point. Although the Minister said that he does not want employers or regulated activity providers to be criminalised inadvertently, I am not clear which changes in the legislation would enable that to happen. We suggest that the addition of the word “negligently” might get around the Government’s problem. I am not sure what the Government’s solution is, so I hope that he will make clear how he intends the safety net to be set up.

It is common to use the word “negligent” in legislation when an act that is not of itself criminal may have such a detrimental impact that we make it or the failure to carry it out criminal. The word “negligent” is often used in such cases. Practice suggests that it is a useful word. I hope that the Minister will respond to the points I have made.

I apologise to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and to the House for not being in the Chamber at the beginning of the debate on this group. I particularly wanted to discuss amendment No. 201, which is the controversial one.

I have to tell the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) that he has been had in the Chamber—by me. Of course, I know how to pronounce Kazakhstan. When, during my earlier intervention, I indicated that I might not, the hon. Gentleman immediately said that I ought to know how to pronounce it.

Exactly. But in my intervention I did not intend to seek to indicate to the House that I did not know how to pronounce Kazakhstan, which is precisely the problem with the hon. Gentleman’s amendment. That light-hearted example shows that, if the amendment were accepted, I would get off scot-free from the charge of not knowing how to pronounce Kazakhstan. He quite reasonably points out that I should be expected to know how to pronounce Kazakhstan. I do know; he has been had. But it was to make the point that his amendment will create, inadvertently—I stress that word for him—a loophole that I am sure he and his colleagues do not want to create.

The hon. Gentleman freely admitted that he did not know how to pronounce Kazakhstan even though he had heard the pronunciation at least twice. That is not intent but a sure-fire case of not paying attention—

Perhaps there was a desire to mislead. The hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Rob Marris) is missing the point entirely. The Minister is giving extreme latitude to employers but not to employees, and if the hon. Gentleman had been in the Chamber for the whole debate he might have picked up on that point.

I had no intention of misleading the House. Had I done so, Mr. Deputy Speaker would have pulled me up. I was making the serious point that amendment No. 201 will create a loophole. The hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham told me that, because I am a lawyer, I should know this or that. I know a bit about intent, although I may be rusty—it was not my principal sphere of activity in the latter years of my practice as a lawyer before I entered this place. However, I know that throughout the law of England and Wales and, I suspect, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, too, in many cases there is a subjective test of intent and in many there is an objective test of intent—to put it in legal jargon.

Secondly, in legal terms of art, there is also throughout the law of England and Wales and, I suspect, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, too, the concept of basic intent and the concept of specific intent; for example, section 18 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, which refers to the intent to cause grievous bodily harm. That is an offence of specific intent, which means looking at the actions of an individual and at what was passing through their mind—their mens rea, or guilty mind, to translate the Latin.

The difficulty with amendment No. 201 is that it relies on a wholly subjective test of the individual’s state of mind, because its first word is disjunctive—namely “or”. Were the amendment to be passed, a person would no longer have the particular defence in the second line of subsection (3) of clause 7 that

“he did not know, and could not reasonably be expected to know”.

The person would simply have to say that they did not intend to seek to engage in an activity from which they knew they were barred. That is a wholly subjective test, which will create a large loophole.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman; no doubt the Kazakhstan loophole will be invoked by anybody who wants to prove that they did not have intent in such cases.

The hon. Gentleman applies subjectivity to the test, but if he is to be consistent he will have to agree that the Minister earlier introduced an enormously subjective test of inadvertence that had no basis in the legislation, whereby a business will be treated differently from somebody who carried out and followed the letter of the law, as set out in the measure.

There is a crucial difference. In that case, we were talking about the inadvertence of a business, but now we are talking about an individual—

I am not sure that it is, but I shall develop the point slightly.

To repeat myself, the amendment introduces a wholly subjective test, which is not helpful. I am sure that no Opposition Members will want the Kazakhstan loophole to go through, if it has—as I believe it does—the consequences that I have outlined. I urge the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham to reconsider the amendment. In his intervention, he referred to his criticism of my hon. Friend the Minister for subjectivity. As I pointed out earlier, the hon. Gentleman has criticised the Minister for something that was entirely subjective, but two wrongs do not make a right—[Interruption.] There is certainly one wrong: amendment No. 201, which is wholly subjective and not at all helpful in providing the protection that we all want.

Can the hon. Gentleman clarify his remarks? I realise now that he gave us some misleading information because, as he explained, he was testing the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton), and there was clearly an intention to do that, so, as there can be a test of the intention to mislead, will he comment on our amendment No. 254, which refers to

“the intention of misleading the IBB”?

Of course there can be a test of intention of misleading, but that introduces a more objective element—the testing of the intent—which is not present in amendment No. 201. That is the problem with that amendment. It is subjective because it is disjunctive, as I said, at the end of clause 7(3), and it would not be at all helpful.

The amendments reflect the concerns of hon. Members about unfairly criminalising individuals because of their lack of understanding of the scheme, and about the need for an effective communications campaign. Amendment No. 254 would mean that a barred person had committed an offence only if they engaged in regulated activity with the intention of misleading the IBB or a regulated activity provider. Through amendment No. 255, that would replace the defence that the Bill provides for a barred person who engaged in regulated activity without realising that they were barred.

The amendments would create a loophole potentially allowing people who wanted to harm children and vulnerable adults to engage in regulated activity without committing an offence. I doubt whether that is the aim of Liberal Democrat Members, but it would be the consequence of their amendments.

Does the Minister agree with his hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Rob Marris) that the amendments are a more objective test and introduce a safeguard that the Opposition are keen to include in the Bill, but that our amendments introduce a more objective test than amendment No. 201?

The safeguard that the amendment introduces could be exploited by someone to get into schools or work closely with vulnerable adults. Let us take as an example a barred person who did not intend to mislead their employer. Perhaps they still want to work with children, so they find an employer who knows they are barred to collude with. Under the amendment, the individual would not be committing an offence. That would be the consequence of the hon. Lady’s amendment. Are Opposition Members aware that the current offence for a person on the POCA or POVA list applies if the individual seeks to work in a regulated activity at present? Perhaps they do not think it should.

It would not be helpful to introduce an element into clause 7 that is based on the individual’s intention to mislead. It does, though, remain essential that an individual who does not know they are barred, or could not reasonably be expected to know, is not criminalised for seeking to engage in regulated activity. Far from providing a level of protection for barred people, to remove this defence in the way suggested by the second amendment would introduce a real risk that they would be unfairly criminalised.

The Minister asked us a question a moment ago. It is precisely because the current framework and the Protection of Children Act list and list 99 are not working properly that the Bill is deemed to be necessary. Clearly, there are problems at present.

The hon. Gentleman makes a good stab at it, but he knows perfectly well that the legislation is not being changed because of that facet of POCA and POVA. There are various reasons for the change, but that was a nice attempted smokescreen from the hon. Gentleman.

The hon. Lady failed to answer the question posed to her, so I shall move on.

Amendment No. 201 provides for a defence where a barred individual seeks to engage in activity without realising that it was regulated activity. As well intentioned as the amendment is, it is unnecessary and could introduce a dangerous loophole that Opposition Members are on the verge of voting to support. We certainly do not wish to criminalise individuals unfairly, so we will ensure that the scheme is well understood. Before the commencement of the Act, guidance will be issued that will provide further detail about what type of activity will be covered by regulated activity. We will consult stakeholders about the most effective means of ensuring that all those subject to the requirements of the scheme are aware which roles will be covered by the definition of regulated activity. We will also provide an advisory facility to employers and individuals to help them comply with the requirements of the scheme.

In addition, when an individual is informed that they are barred, the intention is that this communication will include an explanation of the types of activity from which they are barred. Setting this out clearly for newly barred people will help to minimise the risk that the amendment seeks to address. The amendment could in fact introduce a different risk—that unscrupulous barred individuals would seek to escape the offence in the Bill by arguing that they did not know that a particular activity was a regulated activity. That is what Opposition Members are considering supporting in the Lobby this evening. We are trying to keep devious paedophiles out of our schools, and the possibility opened up by the amendment is too great a risk. Hon. Members need to consider their position on the issue.

Government amendments to which I shall speak later will remove the need for a barred individual to consider the frequency of a particular activity. The definition of regulated activity for the purposes of barring will be simpler to understand as a result. This will make even more remote the likelihood of engaging, or seeking to engage, in regulated activity without knowing that it is regulated activity. The hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) claims that I am on the side of the employer. That is not the case. We are providing clarity for the employee about the meaning of frequency. He should concentrate and read the Bill to understand that.

Amendments Nos. 256 and 257 are intended to prevent regulated activity providers or appropriate officers from committing an offence if they fail to make an appropriate check or obtain relevant information where they are not at fault. Amendments Nos. 208 to 210 ensure that the person or body at the top of an organisation is ultimately responsible for checking individuals engaging in regulated activity. If no check is carried out, that person or body would be liable. These amendments are important in ensuring that organisations take their responsibilities seriously.

The hon. Lady should be reassured that new clauses 15 and 16 and related amendments ensure that individual employees of a regulated activity provider who fail to make a check commit an offence only if their failure to check was due to their act or reckless default. We believe that this is both fair and appropriate. It ensures that individuals take their responsibilities seriously but does not penalise individual employees who are not at fault. I reiterate my previous commitments and the commitments of my noble Friend in the other place that we intend to have widespread ongoing communications to ensure that organisations and individuals are aware of the requirements upon them.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time and added to the Bill.

New Clause 16

Section (Offences: other persons): exclusions and defences

‘(1) A person does not commit an offence under section (Offences: other persons) if B has not attained the age of 16.

(2) A person does not commit an offence under section (Offences: other persons) if the regulated activity—

(a) is regulated activity relating to adults, and

(b) falls within section 14.

(3) A person does not commit an offence under section (Offences: other persons)(1) if, in relation to any continuous period for which B is permitted to engage in the regulated activity—

(a) the permission is first given before the commencement of that section, and

(b) it continues to have effect after such commencement.

(4) Subsection (3) does not have effect in respect of permission which continues to have effect after such date as the Secretary of State specifies by order.

(5) A person does not commit an offence under subsection (1) of section (Offences: other persons) if—

(a) the regulated activity provider for whom he acts or appears to act falls within section 15,

(b) the permission mentioned in subsection (1) of section (Offences: other persons) commences at a time when B is engaged in relevant NHS employment mentioned in section 15(1)(b) in circumstances mentioned in subsection (3) above, and

(c) for the duration of the permission mentioned in subsection (1) of section (Offences: other persons) B continues to be engaged in that relevant NHS employment.

(6) A person is not guilty of an offence under section (Offences: other persons)(3) in relation to any period during which B is continuously supplied to another if the period begins before the commencement of that section.

(7) Subsection (6) does not have effect in respect of a supply which continues to have effect after such date as the Secretary of State specifies by order.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 17

Office holders: offences

‘(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations provide that a person commits an offence if—

(a) he engages in activity that is regulated activity by virtue of paragraph 1(9) or 6(9) of Schedule 3, and

(b) he is not subject to monitoring in relation to the activity.

(2) The Secretary of State may by regulations provide that a prescribed person (P) commits an offence if he fails in the prescribed period to make a check in accordance with section (sections 12 and (office holders: offences): checks) in relation to another person (B) appointed to a position mentioned in paragraph 4(1) or 6A(1) of Schedule 3.

(3) Regulations under subsection (1) or (2) may provide for defences to the offence.

(4) An offence created by regulations under this section is punishable on summary conviction with a maximum fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 18

Sections 12 and (office holders: offences): checks

‘(1) This section has effect for the purposes of sections 12 and (office holders: offences).

(2) P makes a check in accordance with this section if—

(a) he obtains relevant information relating to B in pursuance of an application under section (provision of vetting information), or

(b) he obtains a copy of an enhanced criminal record certificate relating to B issued in relation to P.

(3) P makes a check in accordance with this section if—

(a) an enhanced criminal record certificate relating to B is issued during the prescribed period.

(b) the application for the certificate is countersigned on behalf of P by a registered person (within the meaning of Part 5 of the Police Act 1997), and

(c) P obtains from the registered person the information mentioned in subsection (4) derived from the certificate.

(4) The information is—

(a) whether B is subject to monitoring, and

(b) whether the Independent Barring Board is considering whether to include B in a barred list in pursuance of paragraph 3 or 5 or (as the case may be) 8 or 10 of Schedule 2.

(5) In subsection (2)(a) “relevant information” means—

(a) in relation to a person appointed to a position mentioned in paragraph 4(1) of Schedule 3, relevant information relating to children (within the meaning of  section (meaning of relevant information in section (provision of vetting information));

(b) in relation to a person appointed to a position mentioned in paragraph 6A(1) of Schedule 3, relevant information relating to vulnerable adults (within the meaning of section (meaning of relevant information in section (provision of vetting information)).

(6) For the purposes of subsection (2)(b) an enhanced criminal record certificate is issued in relation to P only if—

(a) he countersigned the application for the certificate as a registered person for the purposes of Part 5 of the Police Act 1997 (c. 50), or

(b) the application was countersigned on his behalf by such a person.

(7) In this section “enhanced criminal record certificate” means—

(a) in relation to a person appointed to a position mentioned in paragraph 4(1) of Schedule 3, an enhanced criminal record certificate issued under the Police Act 1997 containing suitability information relating to children (within the meaning of section 113BA of that Act);

(b) in relation to a person appointed to a position mentioned in paragraph 6A(1) of Schedule 3, an enhanced criminal record certificate issued under that Act containing suitability information relating to vulnerable adults (within the meaning of section 113BB of that Act).’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 19

Personnel suppliers: failure to check

‘(1) Schedule (employment businesses: failure to check) (employment businesses: failure to check) has effect.

(2) The Secretary of State may by order make provision (including provision amending this Act) corresponding to Schedule (employment businesses: failure to check) in relation to the supply of persons by a personnel supplier otherwise than in the course of carrying on an employment business.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 20

Devolution: Wales

‘(1) In so far as a power to make subordinate legislation under any of the following provisions is exercisable only in relation to Wales, it is exercisable by the Welsh Ministers instead of by the Secretary of State—

(a) section 8(9) or (13);

(b) section 10(8) or (11);

(c) section 11(10);

(d) section 12(1), (4) or (5);

(e) section ((Offences: other persons): exclusions and defences)(4) or (7);

(f) section (Controlled activity: regulations)(1);

(g) section (Provision of vetting information)(8);

(h) paragraph 3(3) of Schedule (Employment business: failure to check).

(2) If the exercise of a power to make subordinate legislation under either of the following provisions will have effect in relation to any function of the Welsh Ministers to which the provision applies, or would apply in consequence of the exercise of the power, the Secretary of State must not exercise the power without the consent of the Welsh Ministers—

(a) section 36(1), (5) or (9);

(b) section 37(2);

(c) section (Supervisory authorities: power to apply for vetting information)(7);

(d) section (Supervisory authorities: notification of barring &c. in respect of children)(7) or (8);

(e) section (Supervisory authorities: notification of barring &c. in respect of vulnerable adults)(7) or (8).

(3) If the exercise of a power to make subordinate legislation under any of the following provisions will have effect in relation to Wales, the Secretary of State must not exercise the power unless he first consults the Welsh Ministers—

(a) section 5(3);

(b) section 14(1)(d) or (f);

(c) section 18(8);

(d) section 19(4)(f);

(e) section 22(1);

(f) section (meaning of relevant information in section (Provision of vetting information))(6);

(g) section 27(1);

(h) section 28(1), (2) or (3);

(i) section 29(2);

(j) section 31(1) or (6);

(k) section 32(2);

(l) section 33(1), (6) or (9);

(m) section 34(2);

(n) section 44(1)(g) or (11);

(o) section 48(1A);

(p) section 49;

(q) paragraph 1(1), 2(1), 6(1) or 7(1) of Schedule 2;

(r) paragraph 2(1)(f) or 6(1)(ea) of Schedule 3;

(s) paragraph 5 of Schedule (Employment business: failure to check);

(t) paragraph 14 of Schedule (Appropriate verification).

(4) A power to make subordinate legislation is a power to make regulations or an order.

(5) In the application of section 46 to the exercise of a power by the Welsh Ministers by virtue of this section—

(a) the reference in subsection (2) of that section to either House of Parliament must be taken to be a reference to the National Assembly for Wales;

(b) the reference in subsection (3) of that section to each House of Parliament must be taken to be a reference to the Assembly.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 21

Crown application

‘(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, this Act and any regulations or orders made under it bind the Crown.

(2) No contravention by the Crown of any provision of this Act or of any regulations or order made under it makes the Crown criminally liable.

(3) Despite subsection (2), this Act and any regulations or orders made under it apply to persons in Crown employment (within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996) as they apply to other persons.

(4) Subsection (2) of section 6 does not apply in relation to any activity carried out by the Crown.

(5) Each government department and other body performing functions on behalf of the Crown—

(a) if the department or body engages in regulated activity, is the regulated activity provider in relation to the activity;

(b) if the department or body engages in controlled activity, is the responsible person (within the meaning of section (Controlled activity: regulations)) in relation to the activity.

(6) In subsection (5) “body” includes office-holder.

(7) Nothing in this section is to be taken as in any way affecting Her Majesty in her private capacity (within the meaning of section 38(3) of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947).’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 22

Controlled activity: regulations

‘(1) The Secretary of State may, by regulations, make provision as to—

(a) the persons who are permitted to engage in controlled activity;

(b) the steps which must be taken by a responsible person in connection with permitting another to engage in controlled activity;

(c) circumstances in which a responsible person must not permit another to engage in controlled activity.

(2) The regulations may—

(a) include provision for a responsible person who contravenes any provision of the regulations to be guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction by a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale;

(b) in relation to such an offence, make provision corresponding to sections 16, (Offences: other persons) and ((Offences: other persons): exclusions and defences).

(3) A person is a responsible person if—

(a) he is responsible for the management or control of a controlled activity, and

(b) if the controlled activity is carried out for the purposes of an organisation, his exercise of that responsibility is not subject to supervision or direction by any other person for those purposes.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 23

Transitional provision

‘Schedule (Transitional provisions) has effect.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: New clause 24—Assessment of Under 18s on the barred lists—

‘(1) IBB must make a referral for therapeutic purposes, as specified in regulations, for a person under the age of 18 included on the children’s barred list after representations have been heard.

(2) IBB must make a referral for therapeutic purposes, as specified in regulations, for a person under the age of 18 included on the adults’ barred list after representations have been heard.’.

Amendment No. 1, in clause 4, page 2, line 24, leave out ‘only’.

Amendment No. 2, page 2, line 28, at end insert—

‘(2A) An appeal under subsection 1 may be made on the grounds that there are issues of fact that were unavailable to IBB at the time it made its decision and which in the opinion of the Tribunal would have been relevant to that decision.’.

Amendment No. 11, in clause 27, page 18, line 34, leave out ‘thinks’ and insert ‘has reason to suspect’.

Amendment No. 249, in clause 45, page 31, line 7, at end insert

‘“harm” has the same meaning as in section 31(9) of the Children Act 1989 (c. 41) but shall also include financial harm.’.

Amendment No. 251, in schedule 2, page 31, line 34, leave out paragraph (f).

Amendment No. 204, in clause 27, page 18, line 44, at end insert—

‘(4B) In this section—

“harm” means ill-treatment or the impairment of health, dignity or development;

“dignity” means identity, self esteem and self respect, and inclusion in social participation and interaction,

“development” means physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development’

“health” means physical or mental health,

“ill-treatment” includes sexual abuse and forms of ill-treatment which are not physical.’.

Amendment No. 205, in page 18, line 44, at end insert—

‘(4C) In this section harm includes intentionally or negligently causing a child or vulnerable adult to suffer financial loss or deprivation.’.

New schedule 4—

‘Transitional provisions

Advice by IBB

1 IBB must provide the Secretary of State with such advice as he requests in connection with—

(a) any decision in relation to the inclusion of a person in the list kept under section 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1999 (c. 14);

(b) any decision in relation to the inclusion of a person in the list kept under section 81 of the Care Standards Act 2000 (c. 14);

(c) any decision in relation to a direction under section 142 of the Education Act 2002 (c. 32) in relation to a person.

Existing restrictions relating to children

2 (1) This paragraph applies to a person who is—

(a) included in the list kept under section 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1999 (individuals considered unsuitable to work with children);

(b) disqualified from working with children by virtue of an order of the court under section 28, 29 or 29A of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000;

(c) subject to a direction under section 142 of the Education Act 2002 (prohibition from teaching etc).

(2) The Secretary of State may, by order, make such provision as he thinks appropriate—

(a) requiring IBB to include the person in the children’s barred list;

(b) requiring IBB to consider including the person in the children’s barred list;

(c) as to circumstances in which the person may make representations to IBB and the time at which such representations may be made;

(d) modifying the provisions of this Act so as to enable the person to engage in regulated activity of such description as is specified in the order in such circumstances as are so specified;

(e) modifying anything done under paragraph 13 or in paragraphs 14 to 19 of Schedule 2 in connection with IBB’s consideration of any matter relating to the person.

(3) An order under this paragraph may contain provision—

(a) enabling the General Teaching Council for England to make determinations on an application by a person who has ceased to be subject to a direction under section 142 of the Education Act 2002 in relation to his eligibility for registration under the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998;

(b) enabling the General Teaching Council for Wales to make determinations on an application by a person who has ceased to be subject to a direction under section 142 of the Education Act 2002 in relation to his eligibility for registration under the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998;

(c) for the Secretary of State to prescribe the procedure in relation to an application as mentioned in paragraph (a);

(d) for the Welsh Ministers to prescribe the procedure in relation to an application as mentioned in paragraph (b).

Existing restrictions relating to vulnerable adults

3 (1) This paragraph applies to a person who is included in the list kept under section 81 of the Care Standards Act 2000 (individuals considered unsuitable to work with certain adults).

(2) The Secretary of State may, by order, make such provision as he thinks appropriate—

(a) requiring IBB to include the person in the adults’ barred list;

(b) requiring IBB to consider including the person in the adults’ barred list;

(c) as to circumstances in which the person may make representations to IBB and the time at which such representations may be made;

(d) modifying the provisions of this Act so as to enable the person to engage in regulated activity of such description as is specified in the order in such circumstances as are so specified;

(e) modifying anything done under paragraph 13 or in paragraphs 14 to 19 of Schedule 2 in connection with IBB’s consideration of any matter relating to the person.

Existing restrictions: supplementary

4 An order under paragraph 2 or 3 may—

(a) modify any criminal offence created by this Act;

(b) create any new criminal offence,

but the penalty for an offence created by virtue of this paragraph must not exceed level 5 on the standard scale.

Modifications relating to monitoring

5 (1) The Secretary of State may by order provide that in relation to permission to engage in regulated activity having effect during the transitional period, references in section 11(1) and (1A) to ascertaining whether B is subject to monitoring in relation to an activity have effect as references to ascertaining whether B is barred from that activity.

(2) The transitional period is the period—

(a) beginning with the commencement of section 2, and

(b) ending with the commencement of section 21.’.

Government amendment No. 112.

Amendment No. 252, in schedule 2, page 37, line 13, leave out ‘include the person in the children’s barred list’ and insert—

‘(a) include the person in the children’s barred list;

(b) give the person the opportunity to make representations on any exceptional circumstances warranting removal from the children’s barred list if the inclusion is based on a caution.

(4) If it appears to IBB that it is not appropriate for the person to be included in the list, it must remove him from the list.’.

Government amendment No. 113.

Amendment No. 13, in schedule 2, page 37, line 33, after ‘if’, insert ‘on the balance of probabilities’.

Government amendment Nos. 114 to 118.

Amendment No. 243, in page 38, line 29, after ‘if’, insert

‘he has engaged in conduct which, in the opinion of an appropriate professional’.

Amendment No. 247, in page 38, line 30, leave out ‘it appears’ and insert ‘indicates’.

Government amendment No. 119.

Amendment No. 244, in page 38, line 41, at end insert—

‘(5) In subsection (4), “appropriate professional” means any of the following—

(a) a doctor;

(b) a psychiatrist;

(c) a registered social worker;

(d) a probation officer; or

(e) a person of a description prescribed by the Secretary of State for the purposes of this paragraph.’.

Amendment No. 253, in page 39, line 8, leave out ‘include the person in the adults’ barred list’ and insert—

‘(a) include the person in the adults’ barred list;

(b) give the person the opportunity to make representations as to why there are exceptional circumstances warranting removal from the adults’ barred list if the inclusion is based on a caution.

(4) If it appears to IBB that it is not appropriate for the person to be included in the list, it must remove him from the list.’.

Government amendments No. 121 to 127.

Amendment No. 245, in page 40, line 11, after ‘if’, insert

‘he has engaged in conduct which, in the opinion of an appropriate professional’.

Amendment No. 248, in page 40, line 12, leave out ‘it appears’ and insert ‘indicates’.

Government amendment No. 128.

Amendment No. 246, in page 40, line 23, at end insert—

‘(5) In subsection (4), “appropriate professional” means any of the following—

(a) a doctor;

(b) a psychiatrist;

(c) a registered social worker;

(d) a probation officer; or

(e) a person of a description prescribed by the Secretary of State for the purposes of this paragraph.’.

Amendment No. 12, in page 42, line 10, leave out ‘thinks’ and insert ‘has reason to suspect’.

Amendment No. 7, in page 43, line 9, leave out ‘thinks’ and insert ‘has reason to believe’.

Government amendments Nos. 133 to 135.

Government amendment Nos. 137 and 138.

Government amendment No. 239.

Government amendment No. 139.

I shall now deal with Government amendments. Amendments Nos. 137 and 138 clarify that no one will be automatically barred on caution or conviction for an offence committed when they were under the age of 18. I know that that will be particularly welcomed by the hon. Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole (Annette Brooke), who raised this matter in Committee. In addition, no one will be automatically barred for an order, such as a sexual offences prevention order, which was made against them when they were under the age of 18. Under-18s will, of course, be barred where appropriate, but they will have the opportunity to make representations to the IBB first.

Previous debates have raised queries about the treatment of pornography in the Bill. Our amendments will align the references to pornography in relation to what behaviour the IBB can consider for the purpose of inclusion in the lists. That fulfils commitments made at previous stages of the Bill’s progress. I remind the House that the IBB is already able to consider any behaviour involving pornography that harms a child or vulnerable adult. These amendments will catch conduct that does not necessarily harm a vulnerable person, but which could indicate that the individual is a risk to the vulnerable. The pornography amendments—Nos. 114 to 118 and Nos. 122 to 127—ensure that the IBB can consider behaviour involving child pornography and conduct involving violent pornography that the IBB considers to be inappropriate.

Amendment. No. 116 refers to

“material (in whatever form) which portrays children involved in sexual activity and which is produced for the purposes of giving sexual gratification.”

I note that the Minister has used the word “gratification”. In some recommended reading of the Department for Education and Skills and the Department of Health there is an extremely graphic description of a sexual relationship between a 14-year-old boy and a 10-year-old boy, both of which depict children and explicit sexual activities. One might argue that edification is somehow better than gratification. I feel that the involvement of children in this sort of activity should be deplored, full stop, and not only if there is gratification.

I will not stray too wide of the subject of the Bill. The hon. Lady has got hold of her press release for the day, but I do not think that it is relevant to the Bill.

As I was saying, the pornography amendments—Nos. 114 to 118 and 122 to 127—ensure that the IBB can consider behaviour involving child pornography and conduct involving violent pornography that the IBB considers to be inappropriate. That applies equally to barring for both lists—a change that has been made as a result of a debate in another place—thereby expanding the focus of the children’s list from just child pornography, so that it also includes violent pornography.

Interest in child pornography is a matter that we wish the IBB to be able to consider, given the sexual interest in children that that indicates. Clearly, anyone who is unable to understand that that is unacceptable behaviour is precisely the kind of person that the scheme was designed to consider for barring. Similar considerations apply in respect of the most extreme and violent forms of pornography. The Secretary of State has the power to give guidance to the IBB in relation to inappropriate behaviour involving violent pornography. It is intended that that should be used so that acceptable behaviour involving adult pornography is excluded from consideration, while all pornography that is unlawful can be considered.

We are discussing an important point, which merits a bit more attention than the Minister was prepared to give to my hon. Friend the Member for St. Albans (Anne Main). How will the welcome new legislation that the Minister’s colleagues at the Home Office will introduce on dealing with extreme images, particularly on the internet, interface with this legislation? Will it just be the case that anything not covered by that, which will be difficult to define, will be covered by a get-out clause in terms of this legislation? Will the Minister make mention of that, because it is important?

I am very happy to respond to that point, not least because it is pertinent and relevant to the debate. It also follows on from comments that the hon. Gentleman made in Committee.

As the hon. Gentleman rightly says, the Home Office is undertaking a consultation, particularly around the subject of violent and extreme pornography, and it is our intention as a consequence to feed that in through guidance to the IBB. It is important that we do that, and that there is a direct link between the work being undertaken by the Home Office. I assure the House that that is the case.

Amendments Nos. 113, 119, 121 and 128 respond to the debate on standards of proof that took place in Committee, when I clarified that the balance of probabilities applies to deciding matters of fact. The amendments make clear that a two-stage test applies in discretionary barring cases. In cases being considered because an individual has engaged in behaviour that has harmed a vulnerable person—I refer Members to amendments No. 113 and 121—the IBB must first be satisfied that the individual has engaged in relevant behaviour, before going on to consider whether it is appropriate to include the individual in the list. In respect of individuals who are considered to present a risk of harm to the vulnerable, the IBB must first be satisfied that the individual poses a risk of harm, and then go on to consider whether that risk justifies including the individual in the list.

Amendment No. 139 ensures that the court is under a duty to inform an individual who is convicted of an automatic barring offence that the IBB will bar him as a result, putting the convicted person in no doubt from the earliest possible moment.

Amendment No. 98 provides that an order under amendments No. 120 and 129 should be subject affirmative resolution procedure. Amendments Nos. 120 and 129 were discussed earlier. They allow the Secretary of State to specify by order the criteria that must apply in considering whether it is more appropriate that the IBB or Scottish Ministers should consider a person’s case.

Amendment No. 112 gives the IBB a power to make ex gratia compensation payments to any individuals who are adversely affected by IBB maladministration—a point that was made in Committee by the hon. Member for Brent, East (Sarah Teather).

Finally, new clause 23 and new schedule 4 create a new clause and new schedule specifying powers to transfer individuals from existing barred lists to the new children’s and vulnerable adults’ barred lists. Paragraph 1 of the new schedule allows the Secretary of State to require the IBB to advise him on decisions under the current schemes. That will help a seamless transition to take place. Paragraphs 2 and 3 relate to children and vulnerable adults respectively, and enable the Secretary of State to make an order setting out the procedure to be followed for transition and to ensure that the IBB can be required to include automatically, or consider for inclusion, anyone included in the current lists. I commend these amendments to the House.

I do not propose to detain the House for long on this group of amendments, especially as we had a lengthy debate on the last group we dealt with. I welcome some of the amendments that the Minister has just whizzed through, in particular the new provisions in respect of the treatment of children who could be caught up without any intention at all in some of this legislation. That matter was raised by Committee members of all parties. As always, I welcome additional safeguards in respect of affirmative resolution procedure for some of the measures, which the Minister has mentioned.

I want briefly to discuss the six amendments, which are meant to be constructive, in my name and those of my hon. Friends. Those dealing with harm were not debated in Committee, when we should perhaps have debated that issue at length. Amendments Nos. 204 and 205 would add to the Bill definitions of harm that are in no way controversial; indeed, I do not understand why they are not already in clause 27 and the Bill’s glossary. The Bill would be enhanced if we added to clause 27 the original definitions of harm given in the Children Act 1989, along with the definitions given in further amendments to that Act, and as contained in the Adoption and Children Act 2002—I remember debating them—which include harm being caused by exposure to the ill treatment of another. The latter definitions were concerned with the impact that scenes of domestic violence might have on vulnerable children, and a dignity definition was also added later.

Amendment No. 205 would also add the following, further definition of harm:

“In this section harm includes intentionally or negligently causing a child or vulnerable adult to suffer financial loss or deprivation.”

That is particularly pertinent to those who take advantage of vulnerable adults, be they the elderly and infirm or those with learning disabilities. Such people might be harmed by somebody defrauding them, in effect, of their funds, livelihood or property. It is clear that harm would be done to them in such circumstances, because they would suffer a financial loss or some form of deprivation resulting from that loss. Such deprivation could apply in various other circumstances, including those where the treatment of children was an issue.

The amendments would be a useful addition to the Bill and would make it absolutely clear how all-encompassing harm can be. Harm is not simply a question of punching somebody on the nose; there are many other ways of causing harm to an individual, particularly a vulnerable individual, without being as unsubtle as that.

Our other amendments in this group—Nos. 11, 13, 12 and 7—deal with the burden of proof and are linked somewhat to the previous debate, so I shall not go into them in great detail. Amendment No. 11 would remove the very woolly and subjective word “thinks” from clause 27 and replace it with the more legalistic term “has reason to suspect”. Amendment No. 13 would replace the word “if” in schedule 2 with the phrase

“on the balance of probabilities”.

It is a shame that the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Rob Marris) is not here, because he could apply his legal brain to that amendment and either cast it out on the basis that it is a double negative, or agree with it in order to enhance the Bill.

We need to include a definition for lower thresholds of proof, which is what amendment No. 12 seeks to do. Of course, in law “beyond reasonable doubt” is at the top of the hierarchy of proof, followed by “balance of probabilities” and “has reason to suspect”. In summary, amendment No. 11 would replace “thinks” with the latter phrase, and amendment No. 13 would replace “if” with “balance of probabilities”. Similarly, amendment No. 12 would replace “thinks” in schedule 2 with the phrase “has reason to suspect”, and amendment No. 7 would replace the word “thinks” in line 9 of schedule 2 with the phrase “has reason to believe”.

I hope that the Minister will welcome these amendments, rather than displaying the petulance that he displayed when we considered our amendments in the previous group, through which we were trying to be helpful. We were certainly not in the business of furthering the activities of paedophiles through those amendments, as he rather clumsily suggested, I think, earlier. The amendments in this group try to establish some basis in law for the fairness that we want to provide for everybody concerned. This legislation will work only if it is practical and is seen to be workable and fair by everybody concerned. If it is not, it simply will not work, and we will end up pursuing and prosecuting a lot of people who are in fact innocent of the charges set out in this legislation, and who certainly never had any intention of abusing vulnerable children and adults. In the process, we could well miss the genuine wrongdoers who are able to circumvent the law, and on whom our priorities should surely be placed in trying to ensure that the legislation is workable.

These are constructive amendments, tabled in an effort to enhance the Bill and to make it more watertight. As such, I hope that the Minister will respond to them in a rather more positive and less churlish way than he did to our amendments in the previous group.

I welcome the Government amendments that establish in the Bill that under-18s will not automatically be barred from working with children or vulnerable adults without the right to representations. There are a number of other Government amendments in this group that we support, particularly those clarifying the situation regarding pornography.

However, there is an aspect of the under-18s debate that the Government amendments do not cover. There are two circumstances in which the situation for under-18s is very different from that for adults. First, let us consider young people in a mutual sexual relationship where one party is under the age of consent—for example, a 17-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl. We know that such a relationship gives rise to difficulties under sexual offences legislation. Secondly, we must also consider young people who display sexually harmful behaviour.

I believe that all children who have been abused—about 16 per cent. of all children have been abused—should be offered therapeutic services. However, it is estimated that 90 per cent. of children in such circumstances receive no substantial support. Those are horrendous statistics and as is known, many children and young people who have been abused go on to abuse other children and vulnerable people, which is why the provision of therapeutic services is absolutely vital. Our new clause 24 calls for the IBB to

“make a referral for therapeutic purposes, as specified in regulations”—

we are not attempting to write this provision into the Bill tonight, just the principle behind it—

“for a person under the age of 18 included on the children’s barred list after representations have been heard.”

A similar difficulty would also apply to the adults’ barred list.

There is no comprehensive national strategy for children and young people who sexually abuse other children. Different local authorities take very different approaches to this work. Policy is unclear and services on the ground are sporadic. There is a worrying lack of knowledge and threadbare provision, and in general there is poor access to specialist treatment provision for many children in need of such services. Treating sexual abusers in any way other than punitively may be politically unpopular, and it is difficult to communicate complex messages about that group of people.

One is knowing whether sexual behaviour is harmless. Many children engage in activities that form a normal part of their sexual development, but sexual behaviour by young people exists on a continuum from mutually agreed experimentation to serious behaviour, such as multiple rape. Indeed, research shows that juveniles commit almost one quarter of all sexual offences, and such studies also contain clear evidence that many such children have suffered abuse or trauma. In particular, such behaviour is linked to sexual abuse, domestic violence and poor attachment, and a significant proportion of those who are seen by specialist services have severe emotional or learning difficulties.

It is essential that child protection and criminal justice agencies work together and that there is a clear obligation on social services departments to respond to that group of children and young people from a child protection perspective. Children and young people who go down the criminal justice route are unlikely to have their needs assessed adequately. The outcomes resulting from the different routes are inevitably very different. Social services may take no further action, whereas a custodial sentence can lead to a child being placed on the sex offenders register.

Initial abusive behaviour is often the response of a vulnerable set of children to their own experiences and difficulties, and it is a way of expressing anger and exerting power by those with complex issues and needs. Such children are still in the process of growing up, and they can be helped away from spiralling patterns of sexual abuse by an appropriate therapeutic intervention.

Where do parents fit in? I have listened carefully, and the hon. Lady is making a lot of sense, but should specialist services not be provided to parents in such cases? The matter involves not only children, specialist agencies, clinicians and social services, but parents, too. If parents are not involved, it is likely that children will fail.

That is the case most of the time. However, it is possible that parents may have abused a child who goes on to abuse others, which occurs more than occasionally.

Given that intervention, I shall again raise a constituency case. My constituents are the parents of someone who is in jail and who will probably never come out. At the age of 14, that person committed a minor sexual offence, and his parents sought an independent psychiatric report, for which they had to pay themselves. The report concluded that their son posed no danger to others in society, but he went on to commit a terrible offence when he was aged 19, which was a tragedy for two sets of parents. We do not know whether treatment would have worked, if it had been available in that case, but it might have worked, which is why I passionately feel that we need the proper provision of therapeutic services nation wide. I want the Minister to accept that such a provision should be included in the Bill, which is the only way to make the service available to all those who need it. I hope that the Minister will give the matter his full consideration tonight, even at this very late stage.

Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 would allow the tribunal to consider appeals from the IBB, if relevant facts emerge after the IBB has made its decision. We debated that point in Committee, where my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, East (Sarah Teather) made a number of valid points. However, having reread the Committee Hansard, we do not feel that that the question has been adequately addressed and therefore make no apology for raising it again.

Clause 4 contains the process that allows an appeal against a decision made by the IBB. It permits appeals to the tribunal, which was created by the Protection of Children Act 1999, against decisions not to remove people from the barred list or to include people on the barred list. When the Bill was originally published, an appeal was only permissible on a point of law, which caused considerable concern because a successful challenge would have had to establish that the IBB had made a mistake in the decision-making process, so we are pleased that the grounds for appeal have been extended to include the facts on which the IBB’s decision is based.

We suggest that appeals to the tribunal should also include appeals on facts not available to the IBB when the original decision was made, because there are likely to be situations in which relevant facts come to light after an IBB hearing. As clause 4(4) requires the tribunal’s permission to make an appeal, it will not permit vexatious or merit-free appeals, but it will give the tribunal appropriate leeway to consider relevant activity. I ask the Minister to consider whether the Bill covers new facts emerging after the IBB’s decision.

Amendments Nos. 249 and 251 concur with Conservative amendments Nos. 204 and 205. They are based on the same premise, that the definition in the Children Act 1989, which covers a range of physical as well as non-physical forms of mistreatment, was satisfactory. Our amendments would add “financial harm” to the definition of harm, and the Conservative amendments specifically mention “dignity”, although I feel that that is included in the definition of “ill treatment” in the 1989 Act. The IBB will make critical decisions on risk of harm, but how can it make such decisions if the Bill does not include a clear definition of “harm”? Given the lack of a clear-cut definition, that cannot be the correct process by which to judge whether somebody should be on a barred list.

Conservative amendments Nos. 11 and 12 would leave out “thinks” and insert “has reason to suspect”, and we have signed up to them. We had a long debate on the matter in Committee, where my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, East and I were convinced that the use of the word “thinks” was wrong, which is one of many examples of how this important Bill is woolly at the edges. It is all very well for the Minister to suggest that we are trying to encourage paedophiles to take up inappropriate activities, but throughout the passage of the Bill we have been committed to tightening up the definitions so that the mechanism is clear, consistent and controlled, which is important.

The principle behind amendments Nos. 252 and 253 is the most important in this group. As Conservative Members have said, people will automatically be placed on the barred list, and there will be no right to make representations under the Bill as it stands. We have been told that the categories of offences that will lead to inclusion on the list without the right to make representations will be introduced in secondary legislation.

Given the offences on the illustrative list, it is difficult to think that there will be too much to worry about. The problem is that we do not know precisely which list of offences the Minister will bring forth when the regulations are introduced. As I understand it, a list of the offences that will place somebody on the automatic barring list if they are convicted or cautioned will be approved by affirmative resolution. That means that we will have to vote against the whole list or for the whole list—there is nothing in between. There is no scope for affirmative resolution to modify the list.

My hon. Friend the Member for Brent, East and I attempted to table a suitable amendment, but its complexity was beyond our skills, which is probably why it was not selected. However, we received a great deal of support from the Bill Clerks who helped us to write it, and I express my gratitude for that. The amendment proposed a super-affirmative resolution that would allow us to make modifications when considering the secondary legislation. That procedure was used when we debated the Identity Cards Bill—

Order. I have allowed the hon. Lady a glancing reference to her amendment, but as it was not selected she may not debate it.

Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. If I may just complete my sentence, I promise that I will move on.

As I said, there is a precedent for this procedure, so I would like the Minister to consider it. However, as an alternative we suggest an amendment to automatic barring whereby a person should be given the opportunity to make representations on why he should be moved from the children’s barred list or from the adults’ banned list where there are exceptional circumstances, but only in cases based on a caution. As I said, it is difficult to find examples from the current list, because they are pretty awful offences for which someone would end up on the barred list. The amendment would establish a presumption that certain people will be on the barred list but leave the possibility of exceptional circumstances.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has expressed concern that

“the list of criteria for automatic inclusion on the barred lists has not been included in primary legislation”.

It suggests that the lack of provisions on representation could create an incompatibility between the Bill and articles 6 and 8 of the European convention on human rights. Article 6 clearly provides a right to a public hearing. That has been described as a fundamental guarantee, the purpose of which is to protect litigants from the administration of justice in secret with no public scrutiny. The Bill provides for no public scrutiny. Case law has established that any procedures where civil rights are determined without hearing the parties’ submissions are incompatible with article 6.

Our amendment would, in place of the automatic bar, give the IBB a power to allow people not to be placed on the list in exceptional circumstances. I stress that that would apply only in respect of a caution. For example, somebody who is just over 18 may not have realised the age of a girl with whom he has engaged in a sexual relationship. The IBB should have the scope to decide that the circumstances are so unusual that the person concerned presents no danger.

Amendments Nos. 243, 244, 246, 245 and 248 deal with an issue that was debated at considerable length in the other place—the basis on which an assessment of the risk of harm might be made. It was suggested that a recently qualified counsellor—not many qualifications are required—might become concerned by comments made or fantasies expressed to them by a patient and could pass them on for assessment by a professional in the field. Of course, confidentiality issues are involved.

I hope that the Minister will give due consideration to the many amendments to which I have spoken.

Let me begin with the therapeutic services that the hon. Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole (Annette Brooke) mentioned. We have discussed the matter on several occasions, and when we met last week she was kind enough to let me know that she intended to raise it. Although I am sympathetic to the argument about providing therapeutic services, the Bill is not the appropriate place to do that, not least because it would involve the “Every Child Matters” onion of services. This is an enabling Bill to set up an independent barring board to make barring decisions, not a Bill related to those services.

On automatic barring, the hon. Lady rightly says that there is a draft list on which we will consult widely. After 10 years, even those who are automatically barred will have a right to appeal, if they wish to take it up. We are discussing that list with stakeholders. If I may, I will read out some of the offences from the list of offences giving rise to automatic barring. In respect of the children’s list, they include:

“An offence contrary to section 1(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 (rape)”,

where the victim is under the age of 16,

“An offence contrary to section 5 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 (sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of thirteen)…An offence contrary to section 1 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (rape)”,

where the victim is under the age of 16,

“An offence contrary to section 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (assault by penetration)”

where the victim is under 16, and

“An offence contrary to section 5 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (rape of a child under 13)”.

The adults’ list refers to the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which covers offences

“against persons with a mental disorder impeding choice”.

That should give the House a flavour of the kind of offences that we believe should result in an automatic bar, without the right of appeal, although a right of review in 10 years will be built in, should a person want to exercise it.

My hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole (Annette Brooke) said clearly in her speech that, judging by the illustrative list, we saw no reason to think that there would be a problem. Our concern, however, is that we have not seen the final list, and that we shall be able to vote yes or no only when we see it; we shall not be able to modify it unless the Minister undertakes to use the super-affirmative resolution procedure to allow us to do so.

I can tell the hon. Lady that I am committed to ensuring that there is a dialogue, and that we involve stakeholders when we set up the list. The list to which I have referred is illustrative of where we are coming from with regard to these offences.

Amendments Nos. 1 and 2, which provide for an appeal to the Care Standards Tribunal on the basis of a fact that was unavailable to the IBB when it made its barring decision, are unnecessary. The IBB already has the power to reconsider its decisions where new facts are available that were relevant to the decision to bar. I hope that that will give hon. Members food for thought, and that they will reconsider the amendments in the light of that. It would be surprising, for example, if the IBB barred a person on the basis of a conviction that was quashed following the decision to bar, and the board was not then able to reconsider the case. I am pleased to put it on record that the IBB will have this power, under paragraph 13(1)(d) of schedule 1. The procedure in such a case would be for the barred individual to apply to the IBB for his case to be reconsidered on the basis of the new factual evidence. This process would be simpler, quicker and cheaper than providing for an appeal to the Care Standards Tribunal.

New clause 24 would require the IBB to refer barred people under 18 years old to therapeutic services. I have just explained my thinking on that issue, and I hope that that will satisfy hon. Members. Amendment No. 7 relates to paragraph 17(5) of schedule 2, which provides that the IBB must not take into account police information that the chief police officer “thinks” it would not be in the interests of the prevention or detection of crime to disclose to the person under consideration. The amendment seeks to replace “thinks” with “has reason to believe”. This amendment is unnecessary in drafting terms. It is intended that the chief officer should “think” that it would not be in the interests of the prevention or detection of crime to disclose the information on the basis of a reasonable thought. So the chief officer must have a reason to justify his belief. This is lawyer talk, but these are the assurances that we have been given by our lawyers. On the introduction of the Bill in another place, subsections (1) and (3) of clause 26 contained the expression “reasonably thinks”. By amendments made at an early stage in the Bill’s progress the word “reasonably” was removed for the same reason—the word was considered legally unnecessary.

Amendment No. 11 applies to the obligation to refer to the IBB. This obligation arises when the employer dismisses or would have dismissed an employee. It is the employer’s own reason for making the dismissal that is important for purposes of the obligation to refer. There is no practical difference between an employer who has dismissed an employee because he “thinks” that the employee has harmed a child and an employer who has dismissed an employee because he has “reason to suspect” that the employee has harmed a child.

As we said in Committee, there is no question of a certain standard of proof having to be met before referrals under this clause have to be made. It will be for the IBB, when assessing the evidence, to determine whether the employee engaged in relevant conduct, and that will be assessed on the balance of probabilities. It is important that the IBB has all the evidence available to it on which to make a decision. It can then decide whether to accept the evidence. That is part of the professional judgment that we will expect the board to make.

Under amendment No. 12 the IBB would have to give permission for a review of a previous decision to bar an individual. Paragraph 16 of schedule 2 already ensures that, when barred people ask for a review of their case, the IBB can refuse their request if it is obvious that there is no prospect of success. Our intention is that the IBB only has to “think” that someone may have a reasonable case for a review in order to give permission for a review to go ahead. In other words, the board must believe that it is possible that the individual’s circumstances have changed. It does not have to be satisfied that the person should be removed from the list at the stage at which it grants permission for a review. I hope that that explanation will satisfy hon. Members.

Amendment No. 13 raises the issue of the standard of proof in relation to the decision to include someone in the children’s list. Government amendment No. 113 makes it clear that this is a two-stage decision. The first stage is for the IBB to establish whether someone has engaged in “relevant conduct”. The board must be satisfied of this on the balance of probabilities, as we discussed in Committee. Having taken legal advice, however, I am satisfied that it is neither necessary nor usual to put such a requirement on the face of the Bill. The second stage is for the IBB to judge whether it is appropriate to bar the individual, and, as this is an expert opinion, it is not susceptible to a standard of proof. It is a matter for the IBB’s judgment.

Amendments Nos. 252 and 253 would ensure that all those who receive cautions for offences that would otherwise lead to automatic barring without the right to make representations would be given the right to make representations in relation to any exceptional circumstances that might warrant their removal from the list. I have already set out where we are coming from on this issue. In the case of cautions, an individual has admitted their guilt and we believe that they should be treated in the same way as someone who has been convicted of that offence. The automatic barring offences, without a right to make representations, will be restricted to a small number of the most serious sexual offences such as the rape of a child and the others that I mentioned earlier. In regard to these few offences, we do not believe that any exceptional circumstances could justify the individual being allowed to work with children. This is a clear and important safeguard under the new scheme, and we would not wish to water it down.

Amendment No. 251 was contingent on a new clause that was tabled by the Opposition tabled but not selected. On its own, it would mean that the regulations prescribing the offences that lead to automatic barring would not be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

Amendments Nos. 243 to 248 deal with people who are referred to the IBB on the ground that, although they have not engaged in relevant conduct, they may present a risk of harm to children or vulnerable adults. Amendments Nos. 243, 245, 247 and 248 would require the IBB to obtain an opinion from an appropriate professional that indicated that the person may present a risk of harm to children or vulnerable adults, before it could propose to include the person in either barred list. I reassure hon. Members that the practice of the IBB will ensure that expert views are obtained where appropriate. The IBB will itself be an expert body and will be able to assess a case once the evidence has been assembled.

Amendments Nos. 204 and 205 seek to provide a definition of harm to cover where an employer has to refer information to the IBB because an individual may pose a risk of harm to a child or vulnerable adult. Although I sympathise with the intention behind the amendments, I still believe that the Bill deals with the matter in the right way. Amendment No. 204 seeks to incorporate the concept of dignity, and amendment No. 205 the concept of financial loss, in the term harm. Those are both important concepts, but they would be included in the normal meaning of the term harm, which encompasses financial deprivation and the impairment of self-esteem and self-respect. Were we to accept the amendments, there would be a risk that if a further type of harm needed to be covered in future, it would be necessary to amend the definition through primary legislation—a problem that would not arise were we to rely on the normal meaning of the word. I therefore ask hon. Members not to press their amendments.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

Clause 1

Independent Barring Board

Amendment made: No. 19, in page 1, line 5, at end insert—

‘( ) Schedule (transfers to IBB) (transfers to IBB) has effect.’. —[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 5

Regulated activity

Amendments made: No. 206, in page 3, line 13, after ‘Schedule’ insert

‘, or any of the modifications of that Schedule in the provisions mentioned in subsection (4),’.

No. 207, line 16, at end insert—

‘(4) The provisions are—

section 7(4);

section 9(5);

section 10(2A);

section (Offences: other persons)(8);

paragraph 4 of Schedule (employment businesses: failure to check).’. —[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 6

Regulated activity providers

Amendments made: No. 208, in page 3, line 22, leave out ‘has responsibility’ and insert ‘is responsible’.

No. 209, line 23, after ‘activity’ insert—

‘( ) if the regulated activity is carried out for the purposes of an organisation, his exercise of that responsibility is not subject to supervision or direction by any other person for those purposes,’.

No. 210, line 24, after ‘makes’ insert ‘, or authorises the making of,’.

No. 20, line 26, at end insert—

‘( ) A person (P) is also a regulated activity provider if he carries on a scheme—

(a) under which an individual agrees with P to provide care or support (which may include accommodation) to an adult who is in need of it, and

(b) in respect of which a requirement to register arises under section 11 of the Care Standards Act 2000.’.

No. 21, line 26, at end insert—

‘(2A) A person (P) is also a regulated activity provider if section (Fostering)(4) (fostering) so provides.’.

No. 22, line 36, after ‘person’ insert ‘—

‘(a) ‘.

No. 23, line 37, leave out ‘(m), (n) or (o)’ and insert

‘or (m) or 6A(1)(a), (d) or (e)’.

No. 24, line 38, at end insert—

‘(b) as a deputy under section 16(2)(b) of the Mental Capacity Act 2005;

(c) as member or chief executive of IBB;

(d) to any position mentioned in paragraph (a), (b) or (f) of section 44(10) or to exercise any function mentioned in that subsection’.

No. 25, line 38, at end insert—

‘( ) For the purposes of subsection (5) it is immaterial whether P is also acting in any capacity other than as a family member or friend.’.

No. 26, in page 4, line 7, at end insert—

‘( ) The Secretary of State may by order provide that in specified circumstances a person who makes, or authorises the making of, arrangements (of any description) for another to engage in regulated activity either is or is not a regulated activity provider.’. —[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 7

Barred person not to engage in regulated activity

Amendment made: No. 27, in page 4, line 18, after ‘fine’ insert ‘not exceeding the statutory maximum’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Amendment proposed: No. 201, in page 4, line 21, at end add

‘or did not intend to seek to engage in activity from which he knew he was barred.’.—[Tim Loughton.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

Clause 7

Barred person not to engage in regulated activity

I beg to move Government amendment No. 28, page 4, line 21, at end insert—

‘( ) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (1) to prove—

(a) that he reasonably thought that it was necessary for him to engage in the activity for the purpose of preventing harm to a child or vulnerable adult (as the case may be),

(b) that he reasonably thought that there was no other person who could engage in the activity for that purpose, and

(c) that he engaged in the activity for no longer than was necessary for that purpose.’.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: Government amendments Nos. 29, 31, 33, 37, 38, 42, 43, 45, 48, 49, 56, 57, 64, 140 to143.

Amendment No. 199, in schedule 3, page 45, line 5, at end insert—

‘(e) an employer using their professional judgment may produce a statement defining frequency in relation to that particular establishment if the definition of frequency is equal to or less than the definition in the Act’.

Government amendments Nos. 145, 146, 149, 153, 156 to 159 and 169.

As the Bill has progressed through both Houses, few matters have been more subject to debate and examination than what has come to be known as the “frequency test”. Similarly, many of our key stakeholders have engaged us in constructive discussions about our intentions for that.

In the Bill, “frequently” is key to the definition of most forms of regulated activity. For the bar, the requirements to check and the requirements to be subject to monitoring to apply, the activity in most contexts has to be carried out frequently. Debate has focused on two critical issues: first, whether barred individuals should be able to undertake any work involving close contact with vulnerable groups, and secondly, how employers and individuals should interpret the term “frequently”. The Government amendments cover both issues.

For the application of the bar, the concern put to us is that even very brief or occasional contact with a barred person constitutes too great a risk. We have received several representations from stakeholders, including the NSPCC, about that. We have listened carefully to the debate and further considered our original position. Consequently, I am now moving amendments that would prevent people on a barred list from engaging in regulated activity and make it a criminal offence for an employer to engage them, even when the activity was brief or occasional. I hope that the House will support that, although, after dividing on amendment No. 201, I am not sure whether that will happen. However, that is the rationale behind amendments Nos. 29 and 38, the result of which would be that, when an individual was barred, he would be barred—full stop. That is the right way forward. It means that a barred volunteer would be prevented from helping out at a summer youth camp, even if it took place over only a day or two.

However, we recognise that, in an emergency, it may be necessary for barred individuals to engage in a specific regulated activity and that to criminalise them for doing so would be counter-productive. Amendments Nos. 28 and 37 create a defence when a barred individual has to engage in regulated activity to prevent harm and when no one else is around who could engage in that specific activity. That is intended to cover only a limited range of situations, for example, when a doctor barred from working with children has to administer first aid to a child who has had an accident in the street.

Amendments Nos. 31, 43, 48, 141, 145, 146, 149, 156 and 159 will make consequential changes on that modified approach to the application of the bar elsewhere in the Bill. I should also mention that amendment No. 42 means that the frequency of an activity will also be irrelevant in relation to the requirement on personnel suppliers to ensure that an individual whom they supply is subject to monitoring.

Also in that territory, amendments Nos. 143 and 158 are intended to ensure, for example, that a barred parent can enter a school to attend their child’s parents’ evening or that an individual on the adults’ barred list can visit their sick mother in a care home. However, a barred person who carries out an activity in a school, for example, with the opportunity for contact with vulnerable groups will be prevented from doing so where the activity involves work, paid or unpaid, in connection with the purposes of the school.

While a barred person will now be barred from regulated activity of any duration, we believe that the requirements to check and to be subject to monitoring should still apply only when the amount of contact is above a certain threshold. Our amendments will clarify that threshold, taking on board our debates on the issue.

Amendments Nos. 140, 142, 153, 157 and 169 set out the circumstances in which the Government intend that the requirements to check and to be subject to monitoring should kick in. They ensure that activities that take place overnight will be regulated activity. They also define contact taking place on three or more days in a 30-day period as regulated activity. Those circumstances are referred to in amendment No. 169 as the “period condition”. Similar revisions are made to the definition of controlled activity by amendments Nos. 56, 57 and 64.

That means that employers will be required to check, and individuals will need to be subject to monitoring, if they are operating, for example, a conference crèche for children that lasts for three days or longer.

I thank the Minister for giving way, because I want to put a specific question, and he might be able to answer later if I ask it now. Can he confirm that a crèche that is operated for less than two hours per day, which means that it does not come within Ofsted regulations, but which is in a fairly public place—for example, a sports centre in a town centre—and which, for the most part, but not necessarily, has different children attending every day, is covered by the provisions in the Bill?

I understand that that is a regulated activity, but these provisions are not about the frequency of the activity provided by the provider, but how frequently an employee is at work. If the hon. Lady is asking about an employee who works for only two hours a month, that is a different question. If she is asking about regulated activity, that is defined by the nature of that activity. So, yes, I understand that that is a regulated activity.

Similarly, a volunteer helping out at a school campsite will need to be subject to monitoring if they are looking after the children overnight. It will be optional for employers to check individuals engaged in regulated activity lasting less time than those circumstances specified in the “period condition”, to which I think the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mrs. Miller) will refer.

Beyond those situations, the requirements to check and to be subject to monitoring will still apply when an activity is carried out “frequently”. The word “frequently” will take its normal meaning and, as I have said previously, guidance will set out the Secretary of State’s broad interpretation that the term will cover activities that are carried out once a month or more often. However, to provide a measure of protection for employers and individuals who follow that guidance, we have tabled amendments Nos. 33, 45 and 49, which will require the court to take into account when imposing penalties for failure to comply with the regulated activity requirements the extent to which employers and individuals have followed the Secretary of State’s guidance.

We have listened carefully to previous debates, and I believe that those amendments will be welcomed, as they ensure that being barred means precisely that. They clarify when the requirements to check and to be subject to monitoring apply, and they reduce the risk of employers and individuals being unfairly penalised in circumstances where they have followed the Secretary of State’s guidance. On that basis, I commend the amendments to the House.

Yet again, we are considering an important string of amendments—important because “frequent” and “occasional” have been among the most problematic terms in the Bill and have given cause to considerable debate in the House and in the other place. Also, a great many representations have been made by stakeholder groups.

The Government’s original position in Committee, when they were pressed on the matter, and indeed on Second Reading, was that those definitions did not require further clarification because they would take their “everyday meaning”—despite the fact that both terms are relative and that there is no generally accepted everyday meaning for either “frequent” or “occasional” in English law.

Many hon. Members, including those on the Conservative Benches, felt that to leave such a key concept undefined would be to store up a great deal of trouble, not to mention create extra work for the army of lawyers that has clearly been involved in drafting the Bill. Therefore, we are glad that the Government have worked over the summer, through a working party including many reputable organisations, to reconsider the position and take into account some of the debate in Committee. The tabling of amendments Nos. 56, 57 and 64, which tightly define “frequently” as any two-day period occurring in a 30-day period, has allowed us to start to get a feeling for what is meant here.

Amendment No. 169 takes that welcome clarification a little further by specifying that that new “period condition”, as it is called, is also satisfied if the activity in question occurs between 2 am and 6 am, covering another area that was debated hotly in Committee regarding overnight stays. That activity also needs to give the opportunity for face-to-face contact with children or vulnerable adults.

No doubt the wording is better than the original, but Conservative Members feel that there is room for a little more improvement. Before we get on to that, I want to ask the Minister to provide further clarification on amendments Nos. 33, 45 and 49, which, again, will introduce a new idea to the Bill on Report. Those amendments provide that the courts may take into account the extent to which employers and individuals guilty of offences under clauses 8, 10 and 11 have taken account of guidance as to the meaning of “frequency”. We have not debated that previously, and it would be interesting to know the Government’s intent. As we have said, the vetting and barring system must be robust—the reason for the Bill is that the current system is not robust. It must also be simple for employers and employees to navigate and understand; otherwise, it will not move us forward.

The amendments might suggest—perhaps the Minister will elaborate—that the Government think that the new rules will not be well understood, and that employers and employees may unintentionally misapply the rules and be guilty of criminal offences. Is the Government’s intention to try to provide a caveat in case of misunderstanding? If so, we might need to discuss that further. Perhaps the Minister will also enlighten the House as to how often he expects the provisions to be used, and whether he will monitor them to assess whether there is a fundamental flaw in the working of the Bill. Will he tell us how he will conduct that monitoring, and what actions will be taken?

As many hon. Members and other groups have mentioned, the amendments also touch on the need to communicate clearly to employers and employees their rights and responsibilities under the law, and to inform barred persons of which activities they can and cannot engage in. The system is complex, so it is imperative that the Government communicate adequately to all concerned, as we have discussed. However, amendments Nos. 33, 45 and 49 imply an expectation that in at least some cases people will commit offences due to a lack of understanding of the rules. By tabling the amendments, perhaps the Minister has inadvertently reiterated the official Opposition’s case, which is supported by our Liberal colleagues, that further communication is needed.

On a related point, we are also concerned that the Bill does not do enough to involve those on the front line who will try to implement this increasingly complex legislation, particularly employers. In Committee, the Government said that there was a great difference between different settings, so the idea of one definition of frequency simply would not work, and that flexibility was needed to ensure that the Bill would work in practice. Obviously, the Government have slightly changed their position, and now have a much tighter definition.

Our amendment No. 199 would provide a little more of what the Government have been trying to achieve in the Bill—not just providing a structure and a process but engendering a culture of vigilance among those dealing with children and vulnerable adults—and could be just what the Minister is looking for. It allows employers to use their own professional judgment to determine what constitutes a frequent activity in relation to their own setting, but only if the definition were equal to or less than that contained in the Bill—two days in any 30-day period. The amendment would put some of the responsibility on those who must implement the Bill, rather than perpetuate a tick-box culture in which it is felt that as soon as the Bill has been put in place, everything that is required has been done. I hope that the Minister will give further consideration to the amendment. The maximum period defined by amendments Nos. 56, 57 and 64 would not be threatened, but more people would be involved in the process.

Amendments Nos. 28 and 37 would allow barred persons to engage in regulated activities in emergency situations, of which the Minister gave an excellent example. Again, we have not debated the issue previously, so perhaps the Minister needs to provide a little further explanation. Although we have not tabled an amendment because of lack of time, given the extent to which certain individuals look for loopholes in the law—let us not revisit Kazakhstan at this stage, but I would tell the House that its capital is Almaty—does he not think that the two amendments may have a perverse consequence? Amendments Nos. 28 and 37 would give barred persons a right to engage in regulated activities in an emergency. For instance, a doctor who is barred would be able to administer first aid to a child who had collapsed. What would apply in a situation in which an individual who is not monitored, as opposed to barred, wants to provide emergency assistance to a child or vulnerable adult? It could be argued that such a person would be in a worse situation than one who has been barred.

Perhaps the Minister needs to provide further explanation, but there is no provision in the Bill to allow those who are not monitored to administer what would otherwise be defined as a monitored activity. Last week, there was a wonderful example, which I am sure that the Minister heard about, of a lollipop man being taken ill. A local council did not feel it appropriate to permit any other individual to help children cross a road, and the police unfortunately could not supply the manpower. Instead of having an adult help them cross the road, children had to cross a major road, which had been associated with a number of fatalities, by themselves. Will the Minister clarify whether amendments Nos. 28 and 37 would mean that a barred person would be able to help a child who was in danger trying to cross a road? Would the non-monitored person be at a disadvantage? I am sure that the Minister has already thought about that potential perverse outcome of the Bill, but because we cannot debate the issue further, given the lateness of tabling, I would very much value his feedback.

We are grateful that the Government have listened and have tabled amendments in relation to the definition of frequency. I was troubled when the Committee stage finished, as I genuinely thought that a big loophole existed in relation to five-day overnight camps, on which I spoke at great length. I am relieved that the amendments have been tabled. I thank the Minister for listening, and the civil servants who have worked hard on the amendments.

I do not share the concerns of the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mrs. Miller) about exceptions, such as cases in which someone responds to an emergency. I have a friend whose heart stopped beating, and 10 years later, we can truly say that she is here only because there happened to be a doctor walking next to her on the pavement. If he had been on the adults’ barred list, he could not have carried out that function, so I understand the purpose of the amendment, even if there is concern about unintended consequences. I have a few worries about the implementation of amendment No. 199, as problems with employment law and other legislation could arise. However, I entirely understand the sentiments behind it, and what it is trying to achieve.

First, on guidance on frequency for the courts, the Secretary of State will issue guidance on his broad interpretation of the term, “frequently”. When a regulated activity offence has been committed, and the court is deciding a sentence, it must consider the extent to which the employer or individual interpreted “frequently” in line with the Secretary of State’s guidance. If the court reaches a different interpretation of “frequently”, the intention is that it will be more lenient in its sentence if the offender has adhered to the guidance. For example, an employer may be prosecuted in court because he did not make a check for an activity that took place once every six weeks; instead, he made checks only once every four weeks, because that was what was recommended in the guidance. The amendments will essentially provide a measure of protection for employers and individuals who have to interpret “frequently”.

The hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mrs. Miller) spoke about “frequently”, and wished that the provisions went further, so that checks could be made on people who are employed for under two days or a week, or who are not employed for overnight periods. Organisations are allowed to do that—they are well within their rights to do so. Under the Bill, a school or other organisation is entitled to make that check if it wishes to do so.

With regard to people who are not monitored, the hon. Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole (Annette Brooke) and I mentioned the example of someone falling ill in the street, and a person giving them emergency first aid. If someone is not monitored, they are not part of the scheme, and may never have applied to be part of it, so there is nothing to prevent them from administering first aid or helping in an emergency. It would be different if they did so frequently, as a job—

Yes, or if they took such action regularly as a volunteer. That is the key difference, so I hope that I have helped to explain the situation.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 7

Barred person not to engage in regulated activity

Amendments made: No. 29, in page 4, line 21, at end insert—

‘(4) For the purposes of this section, Schedule 3 is modified as follows—

(a) in paragraph 1, sub-paragraphs (1)(b) and (3)(a) must be disregarded;

(b) in paragraph 6(1), the words “if it is carried out frequently by the same person or the period condition is satisfied” must be disregarded;

(c) in paragraph 6(4), paragraph (a) must be disregarded.’.

No. 30, in page 4, line 21, at end insert—

‘( ) In relation to an offence committed before the commencement of section 282(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (c. 44), the reference in subsection (2)(b) to 12 months must be taken to be a reference to six months.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 8

Person not to engage in regualted activity unless subject to monitoring

Amendments made: No. 31, in page 5, line 16, leave out subsection (10).

No. 32, in page 5, line 21, leave out from ‘if’ to end of line 24 and insert

‘the regulated activity—

(a) is regulated activity relating to vulnerable adults, and

(b) falls within section 14.’.

No. 33, in page 5, line 34, at end insert—

‘( ) In determining what is the appropriate sentence to pass in respect of a person who is convicted of an offence under this section in a case where the regulated activity falls within paragraph 1(1) or (3) or 6(1) or (4) of Schedule 3 the court must consider the extent to which the offender had regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State as to the circumstances in which an activity is carried out frequently.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 9

Use of barred person for regulated activity

Amendments made: No. 211, in page 5, line 36, leave out ‘regulated activity provider’ and insert ‘person’.

No. 212, in page 5, line 38, leave out ‘and’.

No. 213, in page 5, line 39, at end insert ‘, and

( ) B engages in the activity.’.

No. 34, in page 5, line 41, leave out ‘a regulated activity provider’ and insert ‘another (P)’.

No. 35, in page 5, line 42, leave out ‘the regulated activity provider’ and insert ‘P’.

No. 214, in page 6, line 2, leave out subsection (3).

No. 36, in page 6, line 11, after ‘fine’ insert ‘not exceeding the statutory maximum’.

No. 37, in page 6, line 11, at end insert—

‘( ) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove—

(a) that he reasonably thought that it was necessary for the barred person to engage in the activity for the purpose of preventing harm to a child or vulnerable adult (as the case may be),

(b) that he reasonably thought that there was no other person who could engage in the activity for that purpose, and

(c) that the barred person engaged in the activity for no longer than was necessary for that purpose.’.

No. 38, in page 6, line 11, at end insert—

‘(5) For the purposes of this section, Schedule 3 is modified as follows—

(a) in paragraph 1, sub-paragraphs (1)(b) and (3)(a) must be disregarded;

(b) in paragraph 6(1), the words “if it is carried out frequently by the same person or the period condition is satisfied” must be disregarded;

(c) in paragraph 6(4), paragraph (a) must be disregarded.’.

No. 39, in page 6, line 11, at end insert—

‘( ) In relation to an offence committed before the commencement of section 282(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (c. 44), the reference in subsection (4)(b) to 12 months must be taken to be a reference to six months.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 10

Use of person not subject to montioring for regulated activity

Amendments made: No. 215, in page 6, line 15, leave out ‘and’.

No. 216, in page 6, line 17, at end insert ‘, and

( ) B engages in the activity.’.

No. 40, in page 6, line 19, leave out ‘a regulated activity provider’ and insert ‘another (P)’.

No. 41, in page 6, line 20, leave out ‘the regulated activity provider’ and insert ‘P’.

No. 42, in page 6, line 24, at end insert—

‘(2A) For the purposes of subsection (2)(b), Schedule 3 is modified as follows—

(a) in paragraph 1, sub-paragraphs (1)(b) and (3)(a) must be disregarded;

(b) in paragraph 6(1), the words “if it is carried out frequently by the same person or the period condition is satisfied” must be disregarded;

(c) in paragraph 6(4), paragraph (a) must be disregarded.’.

No. 43, in page 6, line 29, leave out subsection (5).

No. 44, in page 7, line 5, leave out from ‘if’ to end of line 8 and insert ‘the regulated activity—

(a) is regulated activity relating to vulnerable adults, and

(b) falls within section 14.’.

No. 45, in page 7, line 8, at end insert—

‘( ) In determining what is the appropriate sentence to pass in respect of a person who is convicted of an offence under this section in a case where the regulated activity falls within paragraph 1(1) or (3) or 6(1) or (4) of Schedule 3 the court must consider the extent to which the offender had regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State as to the circumstances in which an activity is carried out frequently.’

No. 217, in page 7, line 8, at end insert—

‘(10) A person is not guilty of an offence by virtue of subsection (2) in relation to any period during which B is continuously supplied to another if the period begins before the commencement of that section.

(11) Subsection (10) does not have effect in respect of permission which continues to have effect after such date as the Secretary of State specifies by order.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 11

Regulated activity provider: failre to check

Amendments made: No. 218, in page 7, line 10, after ‘if’ insert ‘—

(a) ’.

No. 219, in page 7, line 11, leave out ‘without making an appropriate check’ and insert—

‘(b) B engages in the activity, and

(c) he fails to ascertain whether B is subject to monitoring in relation to the activity.’.

No. 46, in page 7, line 11, at end insert—

‘( ) A person does not commit an offence under subsection (1) if the regulated activity—

(a) is regulated activity relating to vulnerable adults, and

(b) falls within section 14.’.

No. 220, in page 7, line 11, at end insert—

‘(1A) A regulated activity provider ascertains whether B is subject to monitoring only if—

(a) he obtains an appropriate verification in accordance with Part 1 of Schedule (appropriate verification) and neither of Parts 2 and 3 of that Schedule is prescribed in relation to him,

(b) he obtains an appropriate verification in accordance with Part 2 of that Schedule and that Part is prescribed in relation to him, or

(c) he obtains an appropriate verification in accordance with Part 3 of that Schedule and that Part is prescribed in relation to him.’.

No. 221, in page 7, line 12, leave out subsection (2).

No. 222, in page 7, line 14, leave out subsection (3).

No. 47, in page 7, line 17, leave out ‘14 or’.

No. 48, in page 7, line 20, leave out subsection (6).

No. 223, in page 7, line 25, leave out subsections (7) and (8).

No. 49, in page 7, line 42, at end insert—

‘( ) In determining what is the appropriate sentence to pass in respect of a person who is convicted of an offence under this section in a case where the regulated activity falls within paragraph 1(1) or (3) or 6(1) or (4) of Schedule 3 the court must consider the extent to which the offender had regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State as to the circumstances in which an activity is carried out frequently.’.

No. 224, in page 7, line 42, at end insert—

‘(10A) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he provides written confirmation under Schedule (appropriate verification) that is false in any material respect, and

(b) he either knows that it is false or is reckless as to whether it is false.

(10B) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) or (10A) is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.’.

No. 225, in page 7, line 43, leave out subsections (11) to (15).—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 12

Educational establishments: check on members of governing body

Amendments made: No. 226, in page 8, line 22, after ‘officer’ insert ‘(P)’.

No. 227, in page 8, line 23, leave out ‘obtain relevant information (within the meaning of Schedule 4)’ and insert

‘make a check in accordance with section (sections 12 and (office holders: offences): checks)’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 13

Personnel suppliers and regulated activity

Amendments made: No. 228, in page 8, line 37, leave out Clause 13.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 14

Exception to requirement to make monitoring check

Amendments made: No. 50, in page 9, line 39, leave out subsections (1) and (2) and insert—

‘(1) Regulated activity falls within this section if it is carried out for the purposes of or in connection with any of the following—

(a) an establishment for the detention of persons in lawful custody (within the meaning of section 44(7)(a) to (c));

(b) a recreational, social, sporting or educational activity provided wholly or mainly for vulnerable adults;

(c) a course of education or instruction which is provided wholly or mainly for vulnerable adults and is of a prescribed description;

(d) the provision of services, by or on behalf of a person who provides or manages housing, to vulnerable adults in connection with that housing;

(e) welfare services of a prescribed description;

(f) dealing with payments by a person appointed to receive them as mentioned in section 44(10)(f).

(2) Activity does not fall within this section if the individual engaging in the activity is a prison officer acting in the course of his duty.

(2A) In subsection (2) “prison officer” includes—

(a) a prisoner custody officer within the meaning of section 89(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 (c. 53);

(b) a custody officer within the meaning of section 12(3) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

(2B) Activity does not fall within this section by virtue of paragraph (b) of subsection (1) if—

(a) the activity is carried out by or for a local authority in connection with the provision of community care services within the meaning of section 46 of the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990;

(b) the activity is carried out by or in an establishment in relation to which a requirement to register arises under section 11 of the Care Standards Act 2000;

(c) the activity is carried out by an agency in relation to which such a requirement arises;

(d) the activity is carried out by a person to whom Part 2 of that Act applies in pursuance of an order under section 42 of that Act of 2000;

(e) the activity is carried out by an NHS body within the meaning of section 15(3) or by a person who provides health care for such a body.’.

No. 51, in page 10, line 23, leave out ‘(c), (d), (e) and (f)’ and insert ‘(b), (c), (d) and (e)’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 15

NHS employment

Amendments made: No. 52, in page 10, line 38, leave out

‘in pursuance of arrangements made by another person’.

No. 53, in page 10, line 45, after second ‘employment’ insert ‘—

(a) ’.

No. 54, in page 10, line 45, after ‘body’ insert ‘, or

(b) with a person who provides health care for an NHS body (wherever the health care is provided).’.

No. 55, in page 11, line 5, leave out paragraph (d).—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 16

Offences: companies etc.

Amendments made: No. 229, in page 11, line 10, leave out ‘or 11’ and insert

‘11, (controlled activity: regulations), (prohibition of requirement to produce certain records) or 30 or Schedule (Employment business: failure to check)’.

No. 230, in page 11, line 16, leave out ‘or 11’ and insert

‘11, (controlled activity: regulations), (prohibition of requirement to produce certain records) or 30 or Schedule (Employment business: failure to check)’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 17

Offences: Employees

Amendments made: No. 231, in page 11, line 24, leave out Clause 17.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 18

Controlled activity relating to children

Amendments made: No. 56, in page 12, line 1, after ‘person’ insert

‘or it is carried out by the same person on more than two days in any period of 30 days’.

No. 57, in page 12, line 6, at end insert

‘or it is carried out by the same person on more than two days in any period of 30 days’.

No. 58, in page 12, line 6, at end insert—

‘( ) it is carried out by the person while engaging in any form of work (whether or not for gain),’.

No. 59, in page 12, line 9, at end insert—

‘( ) An activity falls within this subsection if—

(a) it consists in making payments under section 17A of the Children Act 1989 or the provision of assistance either in connection with the making of such payments or securing the provision of services paid for out of them,

(b) it is carried out frequently by the same person or it is carried out by the same person on more than two days in any period of 30 days, and

(c) it gives the person the opportunity mentioned in subsection (7)(a).’.

No. 60, in page 12, line 9, at end insert—

‘(4A) An activity falls within this subsection if it is carried out as mentioned in subsection (7B) frequently and it gives a person carrying out the activity the opportunity to have access to—

(a) health, educational or social services records relating to children;

(b) information provided pursuant to section 117(1) of the Learning and Skills Act 2000;

(c) in the case of a person carrying out an activity mentioned in subsection (7B)(b), records of family proceedings (within the meaning of section 8(3) of the Children Act 1989) held by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service;

(d) in the case of a person carrying out an activity mentioned in subsection (7B)(c), records of family proceedings (within the meaning of section 8(3) of the Children Act 1989) held by the National Assembly for Wales.’.

No. 61, in page 12, line 12, leave out ‘or (4)’ and insert ‘(4) or (4A)’.

No. 62, in page 12, line 21, at end insert—

‘(7B) The activity is carried out—

(a) for, or on behalf of, a local authority (in the exercise of its educational or social services functions);

(b) for, or on behalf of, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service;

(c) for, or on behalf of, the National Assembly for Wales (in the exercise of its functions under Part 4 of the Children Act 2004 (Welsh family proceedings));

(d) for, or on behalf of, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority;

(e) for, or on behalf of, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools in England;

(f) for, or on behalf of, HM Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales;

(g) for, or on behalf of, an establishment or agency in respect of which a requirement to register arises under section 11 of the Care Standards Act 2000.

(7C) In this section—

“educational records” includes individual child information within the meaning of—

(a) section 99 of Childcare Act 2006,

(b) that section as modified by section 100 of that Act, or

(c) section 101 of that Act;

“local authority”—

(d) in relation to the education functions of a local authority, has the same meaning as in section 579(1) of the Education Act 1996;

(e) in any other case, has the meaning given by section 1 of the Local Authorities Social Services Act 1970;

“social services functions” has the meaning given by section 1A of that Act;

“social services records” means records obtained or held by a local authority in the exercise of its social services functions.’.

No. 63, in page 12, line 22 leave out ‘(7)’ and insert ‘(7C)’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 19

Controlled activity relating to vulnerable adults

Amendments made: No. 64, in page 12, line 31, after ‘person’ insert

‘or it is carried out by the same person on more than two days in any period of 30 days’.

No. 65, in page 12, line 42, at end insert—

‘( ) the making of payments under section 57 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001 (c. 15);’.

No. 66, in page 13, line 2, after ‘records’ insert

‘or social services records (within the meaning of section 18(7C))’.

No. 67, in page 13, line 18, at end insert—

‘( ) a Local Health Board;’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 20

Controlled activity: Guidance

Amendments made: No. 232, in page 13, line 44, leave out Clause 20.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 21

Monitoring

Amendments made: No. 68, in page 14, line 33, leave out ‘the prescribed fee’ and insert

‘such fee (if any) as is prescribed’.

No. 69, in page 14, line 41, leave out paragraph (c) and insert—

‘(3A) The Secretary of State must—

(a) provide the individual with any disclosable information that he has, or

(b) notify the individual that he has no disclosable information.

(3B) Disclosable information is information provided to the Secretary of State under subsection (3)(b) in relation to the individual, but does not include information to which subsection (6) applies.

(3C) Subsection (3A) does not apply if the individual made an application for an enhanced criminal record certificate (under section 113B of the Police Act 1997 (c. 50)) simultaneously with his monitoring application.’.

No. 70, in page 15, line 16, leave out subsection (7).—[Mr. Dhanda.]

I beg to move amendment No. 71, in page 15, line 31, leave out ‘United Kingdom Passport Agency’ and insert ‘Identity and Passport Service’.

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 79 to 82, 84, 94, 97, 99 to 108, 136, 150, 178 to 180 and 185 to 191.

Government amendments Nos. 79 to 82, 84, 106 to 108, 179 and 185 ensure that the Bill does not extend to devolved matters. The provisions in the Bill for referral of information from the independent barring board and the Secretary of State to some UK-wide health professional bodies will be removed from the Bill, and will be provided for instead in an order under section 60 of the Health Act 1999. The change does not affect the original policy intention that professional bodies will be notified when a registrant is included on a barred list, and will be provided with other information held by the IBB that is relevant to their functions.

Amendments Nos. 71, 94, 97, 99, 102 to 105, 136, 150, 178, 180 and 185 to 191 make minor and consequential amendments. I ask hon. Members to accept these technical amendments.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 72, page 15, line 39, at end insert

‘as if an application under this section were an application under that section’.––[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 23

Independent monitor

Amendment made: No. 73, in page 16, line 28, at end insert—

‘( ) all cases in which information is withheld from an individual because it is information to which section 21(6) of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 applies;

( ) a sample of cases in which relevant information (within the meaning of section 21(5)(b) of that Act) is provided to an individual in pursuance of section 21(3A)(a) of that Act.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 25

Provision of vetting information

Amendment made: No. 74, in page 17, line 20, leave out Clause 25.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 26

Notice of barring and cessation of monitoring

Amendment made: No. 75, in page 17, line 23, leave out Clause 26.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 27

Regulated activity providers: duty to refer

Amendments made: No. 233, in page 18, line 25, leave out

‘person having any responsibility for the management or control of controlled activity’

and insert

‘responsible person (within the meaning of section (Controlled activity: regulations))’.

No. 76, in page 19, line 5, leave out subsection (6) and insert—

‘(6) If regulated activity engaged in by P—

(a) is regulated activity relating to vulnerable adults, and

(b) falls within section 14,

subsection (2) must be read as if for “must” there were substituted “may”.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 29

Regulated activity providers: duty to provide information on request etc.

Amendment made: No. 234, in page 20, line 22, leave out

‘person having any responsibility for the management or control of controlled activity’

and insert

‘responsible person (within the meaning of section (Controlled activity: regulations))’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 31

Local authorities: duty to refer

Amendment made: No. 77, in page 21, line 28 [Clause 31], leave out subsection (5).—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 33

Registers: duty to refer

Amendments made: No. 78, in page 22, line 33, leave out subsection (5).

No. 79, in page 23, line 4, leave out subsection (8) and insert—

‘(8) In this section—

(a) a relevant register is a register appearing in column 1 of the following table, and

(b) in relation to a relevant register, the keeper of the register is the corresponding person appearing in column 2 of the table.

Relevant register

Keeper of the register

1.   The register of teachers maintained under section 3 of the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998 (c. 30)

The General Teaching Council for England or the General Teaching Council for Wales, as the case may be

2.  The register of pharmaceutical chemists maintained under section 2 of the Pharmacy Act 1954 (c. 61)

The registrar appointed under section 1 of that Act

3.  Either of the lists of medical practitioners kept under section 2 of the Medical Act 1983 (c. 54)

The registrar of the General Medical Council

4.  The dentists register kept under section 14 of the Dentists Act 1984 (c. 24) or the dental care professionals register kept under section 36B of that Act

The registrar appointed under section 14 of that Act

5.  The register of optometrists or the register of dispensing opticians maintained under section 7 of the Opticians Act 1989 (c. 44), or the register of persons undertaking training as optometrists or the register of persons undertaking training as dispensing opticians maintained under section 8A of that Act

The registrar of the General Optical Council

6.  The register of osteopaths maintained under section 2 of the Osteopaths Act 1993 (c. 21)

The Registrar of Osteopaths

7.  The register of chiropractors maintained under section 2 of the Chiropractors Act 1994 (c. 17)

The Registrar of Chiropractors

8.  The register of social workers and social care workers maintained under section 56 of the Care Standards Act 2000 (c. 14)

The General Social Care Council or the Care Council for Wales, as the case may be

9.  The register of qualified nurses and midwives maintained under Article 5 of the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001 (S.I. 2002/253)

The registrar appointed under Article 4 of that Order

10.  The register of members of relevant professions maintained under Article 5 of the Health Professions Order 2001 (S.I. 2002/254)

The registrar appointed under Article 4 of that Order

(9) The Secretary of State may by order amend the table in subsection (8) by inserting an entry or amending or omitting an entry for the time being contained in the table.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 34

Registers: duty to provide information on request

Amendment made: No. 80, in page 23, line 16, leave out ‘35(5)’ and insert ‘33(8)’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 35

Registers: notice of barring and cessation of monitoring

Amendments made: No. 235, in page 23, leave out line 38 and insert—

‘( ) But, in that subsection, relevant information does not include—

(a) information that any of the events mentioned in subsection (1)(a) and (b) has occurred in relation to the person;

(b) the information mentioned in subsection (2)(b);

(c) information falling within paragraph 17(5) of Schedule 2.’.

No. 81, in page 23, line 40, leave out ‘the following table’ and insert

‘entry 1 or 8 of the table in section 33(8)’.

No. 82, in page 24, line 1, leave out lines 1 to 44.

No. 83, in page 25, line 4, leave out subsection (8).

No. 84, in page 25, line 10, leave out subsection (9).—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 36

Supervisory authorities: duty to refer

Amendments made: No. 85, in page 26, line 3, at end insert—

‘( ) the National Assembly for Wales in respect of its functions under Chapter 1 of Part 10 of the Education Act 2002 (c. 32);’.

No. 86, in page 26, line 10, at end insert—

‘( ) the Public Guardian in the exercise of his functions;’.

No. 87, in page 26, line 14, at end insert—

‘( ) the Charity Commissioners for England and Wales in the exercise of their functions;’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 37

Supervisory authorities: duty to provide information on request

Amendment made: No. 88, in page 26, line 33, leave out subsection (4).—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 38

provision of information to supervisory authorities

Amendments made: No. 89, in page 26, line 37, leave out paragraphs (a) and (b) and insert

‘has information that it thinks is relevant to a supervisory authority’.

No. 90, in page 27, line 2, at end insert

‘or information that any of the events mentioned in section (supervisory authorities: notification of barring &c in respect of children)(1)(a), (b) and (c) or (supervisory authorities: notification of barring &c in respect of vulnerable adults)(1)(a), (b) and (c) has occurred in relation to a person’.

No. 91, in page 27, line 3, leave out subsection (4).—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 39

Power to require certain information to be obtained

Amendment made: No. 236, in page 27, line 6, leave out Clause 39. —[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 40

National Assembly for Wales

Amendment made: No. 237, in page 27, line 26, leave out Clause 40. —[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 43

Family and personal relationships

Amendments made: No. 92, in page 28, line 29 [Clause 43], at end insert—

‘( ) The Secretary of State may by order provide that an activity carried out in specified circumstances either is or is not—

(a) carried out in the course of a family relationship;

(b) carried out in the course of a personal relationship.’.

No. 93, in page 28, line 30, leave out subsection (6). —[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 45

Interpretation

Amendments made: No. 94, in page 31, line 6, leave out

‘have the same meaning as in’

and insert

‘must be construed in accordance with’.

No. 95, in page 31, line 16, at end insert—

‘“supervisory authority” must be construed in accordance with section 36(7).’.

No. 96, in page 31, line 21, at end insert—

‘( ) Nothing in this Act affects any power to provide information that exists apart from this Act.’. —[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 46

Orders and regulations

Amendments made: No. 97, in page 31, line 32, at end insert—

‘( ) by order under section (Devolution: alignment)(1) if it contains provision amending this Act or confers power to make subordinate legislation,’.

No. 238, in page 31, line 32, at end insert—

‘( ) in regulations under section (Controlled activity: regulations),’.

No. 98, in page 31, line 33, after ‘48(2)’ insert—

‘(ea) by order under paragraph 5A or 10A of Schedule 2,’.

No. 99, in page 31, line 33, leave out ‘by order’. —[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 48

Supplementary, incidental, consequential etc. provision

Amendments made: No. 100, in page 32, leave out line 3 and insert at end insert—

‘(1) Power to make subordinate legislation under this Act includes power to make—’.

No. 101, in page 32, leave out lines 6 to 8 and insert

‘as the person making the subordinate legislation thinks necessary or expedient’.

No. 102, in page 32, line 9, at beginning insert—

‘(1A) The Secretary of State may by order may make such further provision as he considers appropriate—

(a) for the general purposes, or any particular purpose, of this Act;

(b) in consequence of any provision made by this Act;

(c) for giving full effect to this Act or any provision made by it.’.

No. 103, in page 32, line 9, leave out ‘An order’ and insert ‘Subordinate legislation’.

No. 104, in page 32, line 9, after ‘subsection (1)’ insert ‘or (2)’.

No. 105, in page 32, line 10, at end insert—

‘( ) References in this section to subordinate legislation are to an order or regulations under this Act.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 50

Extent

Amendments made: No. 106, in page 32, line 16, leave out ‘(2)’ and insert ‘(3)’.

No. 107, in page 32, line 18, leave out subsection (2).

No. 108, in page 32, line 20, leave out ‘and 24’ and insert ‘, 24 and 41’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

New schedules 1 to 4 brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

Schedule 1

Independent barring board

Amendments made: No. 109, in page 35, line 43, at end insert—

‘Funding

10A The Secretary of State may make payments to IBB of such amounts, at such times and on such conditions (if any) as he thinks appropriate.’.

No. 110, in page 36, line 10, leave out ‘lay’ and insert ‘send’.

No. 111, in page 36, line 10, after report insert

‘to the Secretary of State, who must lay them’.

No. 112, in page 36, line 22, at end insert—

‘Payments in connection with maladministration

(1) If IBB thinks—

(a) that action taken by or on behalf of IBB amounts to maladministration, and

(b) that a person has been adversely affected by the action,

IBB may make such payment (if any) to the person as it thinks appropriate.

(2) “Action” includes failure to act.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Schedule 1, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 2

Barred lists

Amendments made: No. 113, in page 37, line 33, leave out sub-paragraph (3) and insert—

‘(3) IBB must include the person in the children’s barred list if—

(a) it is satisfied that the person has engaged in relevant conduct, and

(b) it appears to IBB that it is appropriate to include the person in the list.’.

No. 114, in page 38, line 13 [Schedule 2], leave out from ‘involving’ to end of line 14 and insert

‘sexual material relating to children (including possession of such material);’.

No. 115, in page 38, line 13, at end insert—

‘(ca) conduct involving sexually explicit images depicting violence against human beings (including possession of such images), if it appears to IBB that the conduct is inappropriate;’.

No. 116, in page 38, line 22, at end insert—

‘( ) “Sexual material relating to children” means—

(a) indecent images of children, or

(b) material (in whatever form) which portrays children involved in sexual activity and which is produced for the purposes of giving sexual gratification.’.

No. 117, in page 38, line 22, at end insert—

‘( ) “Image” means an image produced by any means, whether of a real or imaginary subject.’.

No. 118, in page 38, line 25, leave out ‘(1)(c)’ and insert ‘(1)(ca)’.

No. 119, in page 38, line 34, leave out sub-paragraph (3) and insert—

‘(3) IBB must include the person in the children’s barred list if—

(a) it is satisfied that the person falls within sub-paragraph (4), and

(b) it appears to IBB that it is appropriate to include the person in the list.’.

No. 120, in page 38, line 41, at end insert—

‘Restriction on inclusion

5A (1) IBB must not include a person in the children’s barred list—

(a) only on a particular ground if a relevant Scottish authority has already considered whether the person should be included in a corresponding list on the same ground (whether or not it decided to include him in the list), or

(b) if, in accordance with such criteria as the Secretary of State specifies by order, it is more appropriate for the person’s case to be considered by the relevant Scottish authority.

(2) A relevant Scottish authority is such authority as the Secretary of State specifies by order as exercising for the purposes of the law of Scotland functions which correspond to those of IBB.

(3) A corresponding list is a list maintained for the purposes of the law of Scotland which the Secretary of State specifies by order as corresponding to the children’s barred list.’.

No. 121, in page 39, line 28, leave out sub-paragraph (3) and insert—

‘(3) IBB must include the person in the adults’ barred list if—

(a) it is satisfied that the person has engaged in relevant conduct, and

(b) it appears to IBB that it is appropriate to include the person in the list.’.

No. 122, in page 39, line 36, leave out paragraph (c).

No. 123, in page 39, line 38, at beginning insert—

‘( ) conduct involving sexual material relating to children (including possession of such material);’.

No. 124, in page 39, line 38, at beginning insert—

‘(ca) conduct involving sexually explicit images depicting violence against human beings (including possession of such images), if it appears to IBB that the conduct is inappropriate;’.

No. 125, in page 40, line 4, at end insert—

‘( ) “Sexual material relating to children” means—

(a) indecent images of children, or

(b) material (in whatever form) which portrays children involved in sexual activity and which is produced for the purposes of giving sexual gratification.’.

No. 126, in page 40, line 4, at end insert—

‘( ) “Image” means an image produced by any means, whether of a real or imaginary subject.’.

No. 127, in page 40, line 7, leave out ‘(1)(c)’ and insert ‘(1)(ca)’.

No. 128, in page 40, line 16, leave out sub-paragraph (3) and insert—

‘(3) IBB must include the person in the adults’ barred list if—

(a) it is satisfied that the person falls within sub-paragraph (4), and

(b) it appears to IBB that it is appropriate to include the person in the list.’.

No. 129, in page 40, line 23, at end insert—

‘Restriction on inclusion

10A (1) IBB must not include a person in the adults’ barred list—

(a) only on a particular ground if a relevant Scottish authority has already considered whether the person should be included in a corresponding list on the same ground (whether or not it decided to include him in the list), or

(b) if, in accordance with such criteria as the Secretary of State specifies by order, it is more appropriate for the person’s case to be considered by the relevant Scottish authority.

(2) A relevant Scottish authority is such authority as the Secretary of State specifies by order as exercising for the purposes of the law of Scotland functions which correspond to those of IBB.

(3) A corresponding list is a list maintained for the purposes of the law of Scotland which the Secretary of State specifies by order as corresponding to the adults’ barred list.’.

No. 130, in page 43, line 19, at end insert—

‘( ) If IBB so requests, the Secretary of State must inform IBB which police forces are relevant police forces in relation to a person.’.

No. 131, in page 43, line 36, at end insert—

‘The Secretary of State must inform the Scottish Ministers if a person is included in a barred list.’.

No. 132, in page 43, line 36, at end insert—

‘IBB may, at the request of the Welsh Ministers, provide them with such information relating to the exercise of its functions as it thinks may be relevant to the exercise by the Welsh Ministers of any of their functions.’.

No. 133, in page 43, line 44, before ‘list’ insert ‘specified’.

No. 134, in page 43, line 45, leave out from ‘Kingdom’ to end of line 47.

No. 135, in page 44, line 10, at end insert—

‘( ) The Secretary of State may specify a list for the purposes of sub-paragraph (1)(c) only if he thinks that inclusion in the list has a corresponding or similar effect to inclusion in a barred list.’.

No. 136, in page 44, line 10, at end insert—

‘(e) section 42 of the Armed Forces Act 2006.’.

No. 137, in page 44, line 10, at end insert—

‘(2A) For the purposes of determining whether any of the criteria is satisfied in relation to a person, ignore—

(a) any offence committed before he attained the age of 18;

(b) any order or direction made before that time.’.

No. 138, in page 44, line 20, at end insert—

‘( ) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (2A) an offence committed over a period of time must be treated as committed on the last day of the period.’.

No. 239, in page 44, line 24, leave out ‘or cautions relating to offences committed’ and insert ‘made, or cautions given,’.

No. 139, in page 44, line 25, at end insert—

‘A court by or before which a person is convicted of an offence of a description specified for the purposes of paragraph 20(1)(a), or which makes an order of a description specified for the purposes of paragraph 20(1)(b), must inform the person at the time he is convicted or the order is made that IBB will include him in the barred list concerned.’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Schedule 2, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 3

Regulated activity

Amendments made: No. 140, in page 44, line 33, at end insert

‘or the period condition is satisfied’.

No. 141, in page 44, line 34, leave out sub-paragraph (2).

No. 142, in page 44, line 38, at end insert

‘or the period condition is satisfied’.

No. 143, in page 45, line 1, leave out ‘the activity’ and insert—

‘( ) it is carried out by a person while engaging in any form of work (whether or not for gain),

( ) it’.

No. 144, in page 45, line 22, at end insert—

‘(5C) It is a regulated activity relating to children to foster a child (as mentioned in section (Fostering)).’.

No. 145, in page 46, line 20, leave out ‘, (2)’.

No. 146, in page 46, line 23, leave out ‘and (2)’.

No. 147, in page 46, line 35, at end insert—

‘(f) driving a vehicle which is being used only for the purpose of conveying children and any person supervising or caring for the children pursuant to arrangements made in prescribed circumstances.’.

No. 148, in page 47, line 9 [Schedule 3], at end insert—

‘( ) But a person does not moderate a public electronic interactive communications service as mentioned in sub-paragraph (4)(b) or (c) unless he has—

(a) access to the content of the matter;

(b) contact with users of the service.’.

No. 149, in page 47, line 14, leave out ‘(2),’.

No. 150, in page 47, line 36, leave out ‘childminding or’.

No. 151, in page 48, line 16, leave out ‘or chief executive’ and insert

‘, chief executive or member of staff’.

No. 152, in page 49, line 11, at end insert—

‘Exceptions

The Secretary of State may, by order, provide that in such circumstances as are specified an activity which is a regulated activity in relation to children is not to be treated as a regulated activity.’.

No. 153, in page 49, line 15, at end insert

‘or the period condition is satisfied’.

No. 154, in page 49, line 23, at end insert—

‘(ea) driving a vehicle which is being used only for the purpose of conveying vulnerable adults and any person caring for the vulnerable adults pursuant to arrangements made in prescribed circumstances;’.

No. 155, in page 49, line 32, at end insert—

‘( ) But a person does not moderate a public electronic interactive communications service as mentioned in sub-paragraph (2)(b) or (c) unless he has—

(a) access to the content of the matter;

(b) contact with users of the service.’.

No. 156, in page 49, line 33, leave out sub-paragraph (3).

No. 157, in page 49, line 40, at end insert

‘or the period condition is satisfied’.

No. 158, in page 49, line 40, at end insert—

‘( ) it is carried out by a person while engaging in any form of work (whether or not for gain),’.

No. 159, in page 50, line 3, leave out ‘, (3)’.

No. 160, in page 50, line 5, after ‘the’ insert ‘inspection’.

No. 161, in page 50, line 9, leave out from beginning to ‘is’ in line 10.

No. 162, in page 50, leave out line 12 and insert—

‘(7) Inspection functions are functions relating to the inspection of—’.

No. 163, in page 50, line 12, at end insert—

‘( ) a local authority (within the meaning of section 1 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 (c. 42)) in the exercise of its social services functions (within the meaning of that Act),’.

No. 164, in page 50, line 19, at end insert ‘or

( ) any person, other than a local authority, providing English local authority social services or Welsh local authority social services within the meaning of that section,’.

No. 165, in page 50, leave out line 20 and insert—

‘in so far as the inspection relates to social services, care, treatment or therapy provided for vulnerable adults by the establishment, agency, person or body.’.

No. 166, in page 50, line 24, leave out sub-paragraphs (9) and (10) and insert—

‘(9) The exercise of a function of a person mentioned in paragraph 6A(1) is a regulated activity relating to vulnerable adults.’.

No. 167, in page 50, line 33, at end insert—

‘6A (1) The persons referred to in paragraph 6(9) are—

(a) member of a relevant local government body;

(b) director of adult social services of a local authority in England;

(c) director of social services of a local authority in Wales;

(d) Commissioner for older people in Wales or deputy Commissioner for older people in Wales;

(e) charity trustee of vulnerable adults’ charity;

(f) member or chief executive or member of staff of IBB.

(2) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (1)(a), a person is a member of a relevant local government body if—

(a) he is a member of a local authority and discharges any social services functions of a local authority which relate wholly or mainly to vulnerable adults;

(b) he is a member of an executive of a local authority which discharges any such functions;

(c) he is a member of a committee of an executive of a local authority which discharges any such functions;

(d) he is a member of an area committee, or any other committee, of a local authority which discharges any such functions.

(3) Any reference in sub-paragraph (2) to a committee includes a reference to any sub-committee which discharges any functions of that committee.

(4) A charity is a vulnerable adults’ charity if the individuals who are workers for the charity normally include individuals engaging in regulated activity relating to vulnerable adults.

(5) An individual is a worker for a charity if he does work under arrangements made by the charity; but the arrangements referred to in this sub-paragraph do not include any arrangements made for purposes which are merely incidental to the purposes for which the charity is established.

(6) In this paragraph—

“area committee” has the same meaning as in section 18 of the Local Government Act 2000 (c. 22);

“charity” and “charity trustee” have the same meanings as in the Charities Act 1993 (c. 10);

“executive”, in relation to a local authority, has the same meaning as in Part 2 of the Local Government Act 2000 (c. 22);

“local authority” has the same meaning as in the Education Act 1996 (c. 56);

“social services functions”, in relation to a local authority, has the same meaning as in the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 (c. 42).

(7) In relation to a local authority—

(a) which is a children’s services authority (within the meaning of the Children Act 2004), and

(b) which has not appointed a director of children’s services under section 18 of that Act,

in sub-paragraph (1)(b) above the word “adult” must be ignored.’.

No. 168, in page 50, line 33, at end insert—

‘The Secretary of State may, by order, provide that in such circumstances as are specified an activity which is a regulated activity in relation to vulnerable adults is not to be treated as a regulated activity.’.

No. 169, in page 50, line 33, at end insert—

‘Part 3

The period condition

(1) The period condition is satisfied if the person carrying out the activity does so at any time on more than two days in any period of 30 days.

(2) In relation to an activity that falls within paragraph 2(1)(a), (b), (c) or (d) or 6(1)(a), (b), (c), (d) or (f), the period condition is also satisfied if—

(a) the person carrying out the activity does so at any time between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m, and

(b) the activity gives the person the opportunity to have face-to-face contact with children or vulnerable adults (as the case may be).’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Schedule 3, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 4

Vetting information

Amendments made: No. 240, in page 50, line 36, leave out paragraphs 1 and 2 and insert—

‘1 This is the table referred to in sections (provision of vetting information) and (notification of cessation of monitoring)—

Column 1

Column 2

1. Person who permits, or is considering whether to permit, B to engage in regulated activity relating to children

Children

2. Person who permits, or is considering whether to permit, B to engage in regulated activity relating to vulnerable adults

Vulnerable adults

3. Person who permits, or is considering whether to permit, B to engage in controlled activity relating to children

Children

4. Person who permits, or is considering whether to permit, B to engage in controlled activity relating to vulnerable adults

Vulnerable adults

5. Personnel supplier in connection with the supply, or possible supply, of B to another person for B to engage in regulated activity relating to children

Children

6. Personnel supplier in connection with the supply, or possible supply, of B to another person for B to engage in regulated activity relating to vulnerable adults

Vulnerable adults

7. Personnel supplier in connection with the supply, or possible supply, of B to another person for B to engage in controlled activity relating to children

Children

8. Personnel supplier in connection with the supply, or possible supply, of B to another person for B to engage in controlled activity relating to vulnerable adults

Vulnerable adults

9. Person who has parental responsibility for a child and is considering whether B is suitable to engage in regulated activity in relation to the child, but not if B is permitted to do so by an independent regulated activity provider

Children

10. Parent who is considering whether B should be a private foster parent (within the meaning of section (Fostering)) in relation to his child

Children

11. Person (except the parent of a child to be fostered) making or who has made arrangements for another to foster a child who is considering whether B is suitable to live in premises in which the child is fostered

Children

12. Local authority (within the meaning of the Children Act 1989) in the exercise of functions under section 67 of that Act considering whether B is suitable — (a) to foster a child privately (within the meaning of that Act); (b) to live in premises in which a child is so fostered.

Children

13. Person who is considering whether B is suitable to engage in regulated activity in relation to a vulnerable adult who is a friend or family member of the person, but not if B is permitted to do so by an independent regulated activity provider

Vulnerable adults

14. Person who carries on an adult placement scheme and is considering whether B is suitable to live in premises in which an adult is provided with accommodation as part of the scheme

Vulnerable adults

15. Person who is permitting, or considering whether to permit, B to have access to health or educational records relating to a child

Children

16. Person who is permitting, or considering whether to permit, B to have access to health records relating to vulnerable adults

Vulnerable adults

17. Appropriate officer (within the meaning of section 12) who is required to obtain relevant information relating to B

Children

18. Person who is permitting, or is considering whether to permit, B to engage in an activity in respect of which financial resources are provided pursuant to section 5(1) or 34(1) of the Learning and Skills Act 2000 (c. 21), if engaging in the activity gives B the opportunity to have contact with children

Children

19. Person of a prescribed description who is performing a prescribed function in connection with B in such circumstances as are prescribed

(a) Children (if prescribed for the purposes of this entry); (b) vulnerable adults (if prescribed for the purposes of this entry)

1A The Secretary of State may by order amend any of entries 1 to 18 in column 1 of the table.’

No. 171, in page 53, line 3, leave out ‘entry 1’ and insert ‘entries 1 and 5’.

No. 172, in page 53, line 5, leave out ‘A is considering whether to permit B to engage in’.

No. 241, in page 53, line 8, leave out ‘and 6’ and insert ‘, 6, 9 and 13’.

No. 174, in page 53, line 15, leave out paragraphs 4 to 8.

No. 175, in page 54, line 7, at end insert—

‘Parental responsibility has the same meaning as in the Children Act 1989 (c. 41).’.

No. 176, in page 54, line 7, at end insert—

‘A regulated activity provider is an independent regulated activity provider unless it is a company wholly owned by B.’.

No. 177, in page 54, line 10,  leave out ‘care or support (which may include accommodation)’ and insert

‘accommodation, in the home in which the individual ordinarily resides,’.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Schedule 4, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 5

Amendments

Amendments made: No. 178, in page 54, line 15, at end insert—

‘Part 1

Existing lists

Children Act 1989 (c. 41)

1 (1) In Schedule 9A to the Children Act 1989 (child minding and day care for young children), after paragraph 4(2)(b) insert—

“(ba) he is barred from regulated activity relating to children (within the meaning of section 3(2) of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006);”.

Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998 (c. 30)

2 The Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998 is amended as follows.

3 Section 2(4) (advisory functions of General Teaching Council) is omitted.

4 In section 3(3) (eligibility for registration), after paragraph (a) insert—

“(aa) barred from regulated activity relating to children (within the meaning of section 3(2) of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006),”.

5 (1) Section 15 (supply of information following dismissal etc) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1)—

(a) in paragraph (a) for “a person’s services on a ground mentioned in section 142 of the Education Act 2002” substitute “the services of a registered teacher on a ground mentioned in subsection (1A)”;

(b) in paragraph (b)—

(i) for “a person’s” substitute “a registered teacher’s”;

(ii) for “section” substitute “subsection”;

(iii) for “the person” substitute “the teacher”.

(3) After subsection (1) insert—

“(1A) The grounds are—

(a) misconduct;

(b) professional incompetence;

(c) conviction of a relevant offence within the meaning of paragraph 8 of Schedule 2.”

(4) In subsection (2)—

(a) for “a person” substitute “a teacher”;

(b) for the words from “such of the following” to the end substitute “the Council”.

(5) In subsection (3)—

(a) for “a person” substitute “a teacher”;

(b) for the words from “such of the following” to the end substitute “the General Teaching Council for Wales”.

(6) Omit subsection (4).

(7) In subsection (5) for the definition of “relevant employer” substitute—

““relevant employer” means—

(a) a local education authority;

(b) a person exercising a function relating to the provision of education on behalf of a local education authority;

(c) the proprietor of a school;

(d) the governing body of a further education institution;

“education” includes vocational, social, physical and recreational training;

“proprietor” and “school” have the meanings given in the Education Act 1996;

“further education institution” has the meaning given in section 140 of the Education Act 2002;”.

6 (1) Section 15A (supply of information by contractor, agency, etc) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1) for “another person (the “worker”)” substitute “a registered teacher (the “teacher”)”.

(3) In subsection (2)—

(a) in paragraph (a) for “section 142 of the Education Act 2002” substitute “section 15(1A)”;

(b) in paragraph (b) for “section” substitute “subsection”;

(c) in paragraph (c)—

(i) for “worker” substitute “teacher”;

(ii) for “section” substitute “subsection”.

(4) In subsection (3)—

(a) for “worker” substitute “teacher”;

(b) for the words from “such of the following” to the end substitute “the Council”.

(5) In subsection (4)—

(a) for “worker” substitute “teacher”;

(b) for the words from “such of the following” to the end substitute “the General Teaching Council for Wales”.

(6) In subsection (9)—

(a) for “Subsections (4) and” substitute “Subsection”;

(b) for “they apply” substitute “it applies”.

7 In paragraph 1(4) of Schedule 2 (disciplinary powers of Council), for the words from “of the powers exercisable” to the end substitute “of the powers exercisable by the Independent Barring Board under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006”.

Protection of Children Act 1999 (c. 14)

8 (1) The Protection of Children Act 1999 is amended as follows.

(2) Sections 1 to 4C and 7 (list of persons considered unsuitable to work with children) are omitted.

(3) In section 9 (the Tribunal)—

(a) in subsection (1), omit the words from “which shall exercise” to the end;

(b) in subsection (2)—

(i) omit paragraphs (a) and (b);

(ii) in paragraph (d), for “68, 86, 87 or 88” substitute “or 68”;

(iii) omit paragraph (e);

(c) omit subsection (3A).

(4) In section 12 (interpretation)—

(a) in subsection (1), omit all the definitions except the definition of “prescribed”;

(b) omit subsections (2) to (3A).

Care Standards Act 2000 (c. 14)

9 Sections 80 to 89 and 91 to 93 of the Care Standards Act 2000 (list of persons considered unsuitable to work with vulnerable adults) are omitted.

Childcare Act 2006

10 (1) In section 75(3) of the Childcare Act 2006 (disqualification from registration), after paragraph (b) insert—

“(ba) he is barred from regulated activity relating to children (within the meaning of section 3(2) of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006);”.

Part 2

Other amendments’.

No. 179, in page 54, line 17, leave out paragraphs 1 to 6.

No. 180, in page 55, line 23, at end insert—

‘Police Pensions Act 1976 (c. 35)

(1) The Police Pensions Act 1976 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 7(2) (persons eligible for police pensions), after paragraph (cf) insert—

“(cg) a member of staff of the Independent Barring Board who holds the office of constable;”.

(3) In section 11—

(a) in subsection (1) (references to membership of a police force etc.), after paragraph (bf) insert—

“(bg) service, by a person holding the office of constable, as a member of staff of the Independent Barring Board;”

(b) in subsection (2) (meaning of “police authority”), after paragraph (f) insert—

“(bg) in relation to any service such as is mentioned in subsection (1)(bg), it means the Independent Barring Board;”

(c) in subsection (3) (meaning of “police force”), in paragraph (b), after “(bf),” insert “(bg)”.

Police Act 1996 (c. 16)

(1) Section 97 of the Police Act 1996 (police officers engaged on service outside their force) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1) (meaning of “relevant service”), after paragraph (cg) insert—

“(ch) temporary service with the Independent Barring Board on which a person is engaged with the consent of the appropriate authority;’.

(3) In subsections (6)(a) and (8), after “(cg)” insert “, (ch)”.’.

No. 181, in page 55, line 23, at end insert—

‘Children Act 1989 (c. 41)

In section 68 of the Children Act 1989 (persons disqualified from being private foster parents) after subsection (3) insert—

“(3A) A person shall not foster a child privately if—

(a) he is barred from regulated activity relating to children (within the meaning of section 3(2) of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006); or

(b) he lives in the same household as a person who is barred from such activity.”’.

No. 182, in page 55, leave out lines 36 to 40 and insert—

‘() After section 113B insert—

“113BA Suitability information relating to children

(1) In such cases as are prescribed, an enhanced criminal record certificate must also include suitability information relating to children.

(2) Suitability information relating to children is—

(a) whether the applicant is barred from regulated activity relating to children;

(b) if the applicant is barred from such activity, such details as are prescribed of the circumstances in which he became barred;

(c) whether the applicant is subject to monitoring in relation to regulated activity relating to children;

(d) whether the Independent Barring Board is considering whether to include the applicant in the children’s barred list in pursuance of paragraph 3 or 5 of Schedule 2 to the 2006 Act.

(3) Expressions used in this section and in the 2006 Act have the same meaning in this section as in that Act, except that “prescribed” must be construed in accordance with section 125 of this Act.

(4) “The 2006 Act” means the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.

113BB Suitability information relating to vulnerable adults

(1) In such cases as are prescribed, an enhanced criminal record certificate must also include suitability information relating to vulnerable adults.

(2) Suitability information relating to vulnerable adults is —

(a) whether the applicant is barred from regulated activity relating to vulnerable adults;

(b) if the applicant is barred from such activity, such details as are prescribed of the circumstances in which he became barred;

(c) whether the applicant is subject to monitoring in relation to regulated activity relating to vulnerable adults;

(d) whether the Independent Barring Board is considering whether to include the applicant in the adults’ barred list in pursuance of paragraph 8 or 10 of Schedule 2 to the 2006 Act.

(3) Expressions used in this section and in the 2006 Act have the same meaning in this section as in that Act, except that “prescribed” must be construed in accordance with section 125 of this Act.

(4) “The 2006 Act” means the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.

113BC Suitability information: power to amend

(1) The Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument—

(a) amend section 113BA for the purpose of altering the meaning of suitability information relating to children;

(b) amend section 113BB for the purpose of altering the meaning of suitability information relating to vulnerable adults.

(2) Such an order is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.”

( ) In section 114 (criminal record certificates: Crown employment), in subsection (3), for “Sections 113A(3) to (6) and 113C to 113F” substitute “Section 113A(3) to (6)”.

( ) In section 116 (enhanced criminal record certificates: judicial appointments and Crown employment), in subsection (3), for “113C to 113F” substitute “113BA to 113BC”.’.

No. 183, in page 56, line 2, at end insert—

‘( ) before subsection (2) insert—

“(1B) The Secretary of State may require the chief officer of a police force to make available such information as he may specify for the purpose of determining, in relation to applications under section 113B, whether the police force is a relevant police force.”;’.

No. 184, in page 56, line 19, at end insert—

‘Data Protection Act 1998 (c. 29)

1 (1) The Data Protection Act 1998 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 56 (prohibition of requirement as to production of certain records) in the table in subsection (6)—

(a) in the second column of the entry relating to the Secretary of State, after paragraph (f) insert—

 

“(g) His functions under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.”

(b) after the entry relating to the Department of Health and Social Services in Northern Ireland insert—

“4. The Independent Barring Board Its functions under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.”

(3) In section 75 (commencement etc.), after subsection (4) insert—

“(4A) Subsection (4) does not apply to section 56 so far as that section relates to a record containing information relating to—

(a) the Secretary of State’s functions under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, or

(b) the Independent Barring Board’s functions under that Act.”’.

No. 185, in page 56, line 27, leave out paragraphs 9 and 10.—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Schedule 5, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 6

Repeals

Amendments made: No. 186, in page 57, line 19, at end insert—

‘Police Act 1997 (c. 50)

Sections 113C to 113F’.

No. 187, in page 57, line 20, at beginning insert—

‘Children Act 1989 (c. 41)

In Schedule 9A, in paragraph 4(2), paragraphs (a) and (b)

Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998 (c. 30)

Section 2(4)

 

In section 3(3), paragraph (a)

 

Section 15(4)

Protection of Children Act 1999 (c. 14)

Sections 1 to 4C and 7

 

In section 9(1), the words from “which shall exercise” to the end

 

In section 9(2), paragraphs (a), (b) and (e)

 

In section 9(3A)

 

In section 12, all the definitions in subsection (1) except the definition of “prescribed”, and subsections (2) to (3A)

 

Section 13

Care Standards Act 2000 (c. 14)

Sections 80 to 89, 91 to 99 and 101

 

In Schedule 4, in paragraph 26, both of the sub-paragraphs numbered (2) and sub-paragraph (4)’.

No. 188, in page 57, line 20, column 2, after ‘Sections’ insert ‘24 and’.

No. 189, in page 57, line 21, at end insert—

 

‘In section 42(1), the definition of “disqualification order”

 

Schedule 4’.

No. 190, in page 57, line 21, at end insert—

‘Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (c. 15)

Schedule 14, paragraph 2’.

No. 191, in page 57, line 21, at end insert—

 

'In Schedule 7, paragraphs 155, 157 and 158

Education Act 2002 (c. 32)

Sections 142 to 144

 

In Schedule 21, paragraphs 75, 76(b), 86(2), 121, 122(a), 123 and 128

Adoption and Children Act 2002 (c. 38)

In Schedule 3, paragraph 94

Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003 (c. 43)

Section 189(1) to (3)

 

In Schedule 9, paragraph 14

Criminal Justice Act 2003 (c. 44)

Section 299

 

Schedule 30

Children Act 2004 (c. 31)

Section 39

 

In Schedule 1, paragraph 11

 

In Schedule 2, paragraphs 6 and 7

Civil Partnership Act 2004 (c. 33)

In Schedule 21, paragraph 49A

Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (c. 4)

In Schedule 11, paragraph 35

Inquiries Act 2005 (c. 12)

In Schedule 2, paragraphs 18 and 19

Childcare Act 2006 (c. 21)

In section 75(3), paragraphs (a) and (b)’.

—[Mr. Dhanda.]

Schedule 6, as amended, agreed to.

Order for Third Reading read.

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Throughout our debates Members on all sides of the House, and in the other place, have given tremendous recognition to the importance of the measures in the Bill. Ensuring that children and vulnerable adults are safeguarded from harm is at the heart of the responsibilities of both Government and Parliament. It is a responsibility shared with employers, parents, families, and the work forces that support children and vulnerable adults. I am therefore grateful—and I know that I speak for the Under-Secretary of State for Education and Skills, my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Dhanda)—for the fact that our debates at all stages of the Bill’s passage have been constructive and valuable, and above all have demonstrated the commitment on both sides of the House to better safeguarding for children and vulnerable adults. That has been reflected in the significant degree of consensus in both Houses. The Bill has rightly received the close scrutiny that it deserves and has greatly benefited from constructive probing by all who have participated.

I thank you and your colleagues, Madam Deputy Speaker. I thank our Chairmen in Committee, the hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Derek Conway) and my hon. Friend the. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Martlew), for their generous but firm management of our deliberations. I thank the hon. Members for Basingstoke (Mrs. Miller) and for Mid-Dorset and North Poole (Annette Brooke), who ably led from the Opposition Benches and the hon. Members for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) and for Brent, East (Sarah Teather). I thank the Minister responsible for children and families, my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester, who, as I am sure Members will agree, has done a sterling job on his first Bill—not the easiest to be asked to steer through. I thank the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, North (Joan Ryan), and all my hon. Friends who have taken an active part in the debate. I also thank the Clerks and our officials, who have supported us through every stage of this difficult process.

The Government are committed to ensuring that safeguarding vulnerable groups remains a top priority. Staying safe is one of the five outcomes in the cross-Government “Every Child Matters” programme, and seeks to ensure that safeguarding becomes everyone’s business across the range of children’s services. The Bill is part of that programme. It will also greatly improve the safeguarding of adults in the most vulnerable circumstances. The “dignity in care” campaign that I shall launch shortly will aim to create a care system in which there is zero tolerance of abuse and disrespect of older people, but the Bill extends much more widely than that, covering a full spectrum of services in which abuse may occur.

Let me further remind Members of the significance of the Bill. It fully implements recommendation 19 of the Bichard report. I am sure that every Member will recall the tragic circumstances, the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham, that led to that inquiry and shocked the nation. In response to the inquiry, we have established a wide-ranging and ambitious programme of work to address the systemic failures that it identified. The House has been updated regularly on progress. The Bill puts in place a major element of the response and delivers on important commitments given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, West (Ruth Kelly) in January, when she was Secretary of State for Education and Skills.

As I am sure Members will agree, discharging these important commitments has not always been an easy task. It covers a difficult and complex area, and we have been asked to reconcile very different imperatives. We are determined to have the most robust system of vetting and barring possible; at the same time, it must be simple and practical for employers to implement, or it will get in the way of recruitment. It also needs to be fair, with robust procedures. As the hon. Member for Basingstoke said, our extended debates about such issues as “frequency” have helped to ensure that the scheme is effectively constituted.

I am genuinely grateful for the constructive approach throughout the House to resolving the challenges. I believe that the Bill now provides for a tough, well-balanced and effective vetting and barring scheme, and I commend it to the House.

Conservative Members agree with the intention behind the Bill, and welcome the debate that we have had since its introduction in the other place in February. I commend the Under-Secretary of State for Education and Skills, the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr. Dhanda), and his colleagues for the way in which they have listened to the arguments, and for their willingness to amend the Bill and thus—we hope—improve it, although I am sure that Members in all parts of the House wish they had listened a little earlier to some of the points raised. We could then have avoided the deluge of 25 new clauses, four new schedules and 250 Government amendments that was presented only a short time before today’s debate.

The Bill has been expected and consulted on for more than two years, and has been debated since February. It is therefore difficult to understand why so many Government amendments were tabled at the eleventh hour. Many provide the basic details of how the vetting and barring scheme will work. We have been asking for those details for the past six months, and they should have been thought through before, rather than after, the Bill was presented to us. With that in mind, I thank the teams from the Department for Education and Skills and the Public Bill Office, who have worked tirelessly and often under great pressure as a result of the Government’s late tabling of amendments. They have, as always, been an integral and invaluable part of the process.

Some four years after the tragedy that led to the Bichard inquiry, there are still too many examples of existing vetting procedures being implemented haphazardly. That was highlighted only in June, in Ofsted’s report on recruitment practices in schools.

We were presented with a somewhat hollow Bill in February, despite the two years that had elapsed since the Bichard report. There was a lack of definition, a lack of detail on the processes to be followed and a disregard for many of the findings in the consultations that had been held—specifically the DFES’s own post-Bichard consultation, which called for much of the clarity in terms and definitions for which we, and other Members, have continued to press today. Even after more than six months, there are still no definitions of some of the key terms in the Bill.

My colleagues and I are pleased that the debate has led to some changes. Much of the spadework in the other place was done by my noble Friend Lady Buscombe, both in debate and in behind-the-scenes meetings, on the issue of read-across between the vulnerable adults’ and the children’s barred lists. It was widely felt to be a fundamental flaw in the Bill as initially presented.

I commend the work done on Second Reading and in Committee by my hon. Friend the Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton). As always, he brought his wit and depth of knowledge to debates in Committee and on Report. I want to thank my hon. Friends the Members for St. Albans (Anne Main), for Reading, East (Mr. Wilson) and for Bexleyheath and Crayford (Mr. Evennett) for their continued support and their contributions to our debate. We must not forget our two Committee Chairmen—my hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Derek Conway) and the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Martlew)—who oversaw that particular stage and, despite some trying times, kept our debate in reasonably good humour.

Considerable improvements have been made in respect of read-across, how some detailed processes will work and clearer definitions. Many of the amendments will prove fundamental to the operation of the legislation and we should thank the Government for them. I realise that the Under-Secretary of State for Education and Skills, the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr. Dhanda), has been in a difficult position because he inherited the Bill from the Minister for Children and Families. He was not in the driving seat—or, indeed, even in the Department—when the Bill was first introduced. Perhaps he would agree that the handling of the Bill has not been an example of great parliamentary process and that a review might be in order.

Conservative Members remain concerned about clauses dealing with the position of those who are barred if they inadvertently apply for monitored jobs, and we have debated the issue extensively. We are also concerned, as we stated clearly in Committee, about the Government’s intention to expand the number of people monitored under the Bill in future. As we know, the Government have the ability to achieve that without much further debate in the House. We shall certainly monitor that matter closely. When the Bill was introduced, the right hon. Member for Stretford and Urmston (Beverley Hughes) firmly stated that one of the principles behind the Bill was that the breadth of the bar imposed should be proportionate to the risk. I hope that Ministers continue to adhere to that and that they are open to revisiting the provisions if they appear to have created unintended consequences, perhaps along the lines that we have discussed today.

The amount of reworking of the Bill at such a late stage is also worrying because a number of areas require further attention. We have already mentioned the use of vague terms and we have had little time properly to debate critical issues such as the development of the IMPACT police national database. It is now delayed until 2010, yet it was one of Bichard’s key criticisms of the progress that the Government have made so far. Overseas workers is another matter—we debated it earlier—that was virtually ignored in the later stages of our debate on the Government amendments.

We wish the Bill well as it passes from here to wherever it goes next, but there remains a need for a fundamental change to the process of vetting and monitoring. We all agree that it needs to take place, but we urge the Government closely to watch the impact of the Bill in practice. We support the intention to make the vetting system better, but we do not want the Bill to become an unwieldy instrument that, instead of simplifying the position, adds even more complexity. In short, we simply hope that the Bill does not become a sledgehammer to crack a nut. We hope that the Government will monitor the impact in as much detail as possible as the Bill is implemented.

I thank all the Ministers who were involved with the Bill. They have been extremely courteous throughout and although we may not have received all the explanations as they were intended—we may not have been satisfied at the time—I believe that every attempt was made to respond on the various points of debate. I would like to thank the Bill team. This is the first time that I have had to telephone someone on the team to get help with understanding some Government amendments. It is not surprising that we needed clarification, but it was good to see the explanations come in at 9.37 pm last Wednesday. That contact was very helpful, as was the meeting with the Minister.

I reiterate my thanks to the Public Bill Office team, who have been extremely helpful, to the Committee Chairmen and, of course, to my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, East (Sarah Teather) for supporting me and joining in whenever matters needed clarifying. She has made a great contribution. I also wish to thank Baroness Walmsley, because enormously valuable work was done in the other place and the Bill was much improved by the time that it reached us.

It was surprising how many amendments were accepted. I commented in my speech on Second Reading that I was not hopeful that amendments would be accepted, and in fact the pendulum may have swung too far in the other direction with the many amendments we have seen in the past few days. However, I appreciate Ministers’ responsiveness on many matters, in particular those about which we expressed the greatest concern.

The Under-Secretary of State for Education and Skills, the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr. Dhanda), said that the legislation is complex, but that might prove to be an understatement. It is very complex and that has to be a concern for us all. From the start, we have all seen the Bill as being of great importance and significance. We will all always remember the events at Soham and the revelation that some information could have been passed on. In fact, there was lots of information around, but it had not gone through the various channels or been put together so as to lead to someone taking action. We have many examples of similar situations in world history and that was another example of failure of communication. Given the system that was in place, it was impossible for anybody to put together all the pieces of information available.

It seems a long time since the Bichard report in 2004 and there has been much consultation on the Bill. Have we achieved what we set out to do? That is a difficult question to answer and I have to admit to some nagging doubts. Because we have had so many Government amendments, I am not convinced that we have been able to scrutinise them properly in the short time available. There may well be unintended consequences that we have not envisaged tonight. That is a serious issue and I hope that Ministers will reflect on that and carry out some of the monitoring that the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mrs. Miller) suggested.

The Under-Secretary of State for Health, the hon. Member for Bury, South (Mr. Lewis) rightly said that safeguarding vulnerable groups is everybody’s responsibility. I could not agree more. We have to work on changing our culture so that we put children and vulnerable adults first. We must implement the available safeguards and do any extra checking necessary. To protect others, we must be on our guard.

I repeat my thanks to everybody who has worked on the Bill and I hope that it works out as intended.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed, with amendments.

COMMITTEES