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Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

Volume 712: debated on Monday 13 July 2009

Statement

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Claire Ward) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 received Royal Assent on 26 July 2007.

An organisation is guilty of the new offence if the way in which its activities are managed or organised causes a death and this amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care to the deceased. A substantial part of the breach must have been in the way activities were managed by senior management.

The majority of the Act was implemented on 6 April 2008, with the exception of Section 2(1)(d) which makes the duty of care a custody provider owes to a person who is detained a relevant duty of care, and Section 10 on publicity orders where we await guidelines to be issued by the Sentencing Guidelines Council.

Procedures for caring for some of society’s most vulnerable or volatile people are highly complex. When the legislation was passed we explained that a period of three to five years would be needed for custody providers to prepare for implementation of Section 2(1)(d).

We are publishing a second annual report today which should be read in conjunction with the 2008 report. Our second annual report discusses the progress made by the various custody providers since this time last year and what remains to be done. While implementing the Act provides a useful catalyst and driver, reducing deaths in custody is a core part of long-term work by the Government together with custody providers and this long term agenda is reflected in the report.

We have made significant progress in the past 12 months and we remain on course to commence the implementation of Section 2(1)(d) by April 2011 as previously announced.

The report includes developments in Northern Ireland for which my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has responsibility under the Act.

Copies of the report can be found in the Libraries of both Houses. The report is also available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper office and on the Ministry of Justice’s website at www.justice.gov.uk.