Cmnd. 2742 (The Child, The Family and The Young Offender)

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th January 1966.

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Photo of Mr Norman St John-Stevas Mr Norman St John-Stevas , Chelmsford 12:00 am, 27th January 1966

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether it is Her Majesty's Government's intention to implement the proposals contained in the White Paper on The Child, The Family and The Young Offender, Command Paper No. 2742.

Photo of Mr Philip Goodhart Mr Philip Goodhart , Beckenham

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether it is still Her Majesty's Government's intention to implement the proposals contained in the White Paper on The Child, The Family and The Young Offender, Command Paper No. 2742, in view of the widespread criticism of those proposals.

Photo of Mr Mark Carlisle Mr Mark Carlisle , Runcorn

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department from what bodies representations have been received by the Home Office on the Government White Paper, The Child, The Family and The Young Offender, Command Paper No. 2742; and what action he is proposing to take in the light of these representations.

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

The proposals in the White Paper were published for the purposes of discussion before legislation. I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a list of the bodies which have submitted comments. These show widespread support for the underlying principles contained in the White Paper, but include criticism of some of the details for giving them effect. In deciding the legislation which we intend to introduce we shall give due weight to the views that have been expressed.

Photo of Mr Norman St John-Stevas Mr Norman St John-Stevas , Chelmsford

While thanking the right hon. Lady for that extraordinary reply, may I ask whether she will not endeavour to increase the deservedly high reputation of her right hon. Friend by persuading him to withdraw this muddled and inadequate White Paper, for which he is in no way responsible and which has been so devastatingly criticised by probation officers and magistrates throughout the country?

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

I think that the whole House will realise that those who disagree with anything are usually much more vocal than those who agree. Disagreement seems to be better news than agreement. I should, however, like to tell the House that among the bodies which give general support to the White Paper, with some reservations about the details, are the Association of Municipal Corporations, the County Councils Association, the Association of Children's Officers, the Association of Child Care Officers and the Police Federation of England and Wales.

Photo of Mr Mark Carlisle Mr Mark Carlisle , Runcorn

Would not the Minister of State nevertheless agree that this White Paper has few friends and a great many enemies? [HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."] In particular, would she agree that the most invidious proposal of all is that to entitle family councils, sitting in private, to send children away to possibly long-term detention by agreement with their parents? Will the right hon. Lady agree to abandon this thoroughly ill-considered proposal?

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

I reiterate that it is not true to say that there has been widespread opposition. During the last few months I have spent a considerable amount of time receiving deputations from those who wished to see me about this matter and the impression that the hon. Member has given is quite wrong. Indeed, the proposal concerning family councils does not include sending children away without recourse to a family court where that is so desired.

Photo of Mr Philip Goodhart Mr Philip Goodhart , Beckenham

Will the Minister of State remember that probation officers, many magistrates and many of the children's officers have condemned this Report most substantially? Does the right hon. Lady's reply mean that we will not have legislation this Session?

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

I am well aware that some probation officers and magistrates have criticised the Report. It is quite contrary to my knowledge to say that children's officers have criticised it. The Association of Children's Officers is very enthusiastic about the Report. It is the intention of the Government to legislate when time can be found available.

Photo of Mr Reginald Freeson Mr Reginald Freeson , Willesden East

May I ask my right hon. Friend not to be deterred by the rather blinkered questions which we have been getting from certain hon. Members opposite? Will she recognise or remind the House that the publication of the White Paper has stimulated some really good fresh thinking at local authority level concerning future development of family welfare services?

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

Yes. I should like to thank my hon. Friend for what he has said. That is true, quite unlike the recent publication from the Conservative Party which dismissed the whole of juvenile delinquency in 700 words.

Following is the list:

  • Association of Chief Police Officers of England and Wales.
  • Association of Child Care Officers.
  • Association of Children's Officers.
  • Association of Education Committees.
  • Association of Municipal Corporations.
  • Central Council of Probation and After-Care Committees for England and Wales.
  • Conference of Principal Probation Officers.
  • County Councils Association.
  • Family Welfare Association.
  • Federation of Committees for the Moral Welfare of Children.
  • Federation of Soroptimist Clubs of Great Britain and Ireland.
  • Inner London Education Authority.
  • Institute of Journalists.
  • Justices' Clerks' Society.
  • Magistrates' Association.
  • National Association of Head Teachers.
  • National Association of Probation Officers.
  • National Council of Voluntary Child Care Organisations.
  • National Council of Women of Great Britain.
  • National Marriage Guidance Council.
  • National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
  • Police Federation.
  • Residential Child Care Association.
  • Royal Medico-Psychological Association.
  • Standing Conference of National Voluntary Youth Organisations.
  • Standing Conference of Organisations of Social Workers.
  • Welsh Joint Education Committee.
  • (This list excludes local branches of organisations, individual local authorities and local benches of magistrates.)