Criminal Justice Bill
Lord Bassam of Brighton (Government Whip (technically a Lord in Waiting, HM Household); Labour)
Amendments Nos. 238 and 239 respond to an undertaking made by the Government in Committee in the Commons to consider, in light of a proposed amendment, whether to include local education authorities in the list of agencies on whom a duty to co-operate with the police, probation and prison services—the "responsible authority"—in the establishment of arrangements to assess and manage the risks posed by sexual and violent offenders will be placed.
These arrangements, commonly referred to as the multi-agency public protection arrangements, the MAPPA, were originally introduced by the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2001. The Criminal Justice Bill strengthens them by requiring other agencies to co-operate with the responsible authority in each area to the extent compatible with their existing statutory responsibilities.
In practical terms, including local education authorities in the "duty to co-operate" provisions will help the responsible authority to take fuller consideration of any risks that a particular offender may pose to children for whom the LEA has a statutory duty. It will also enable LEAs to draw to the attention of the responsible authority, and to the other duty to co-operate bodies, concerns that they may have about the vulnerability of a particular child to the risks posed by an offender.
Such a strengthening of the MAPPA will therefore improve inter-agency liaison and joint working to which the report of the noble Lord, Lord Laming, into the tragic death of Victoria Climbie drew attention. We have sought to respond here to concerns that were raised on this issue. I hope that these amendments will find support among noble Lords. I beg to move.