The Boards

National Heritage Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 9:15 pm on 5th May 1983.

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Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West 9:15 pm, 5th May 1983

I beg to move amendment No. 41, in page 21, line 9 at beginning insert 'Subject to subparagraph (1B;),'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 42, 51, 52, 66, 68, 74 and 75.

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

Again, this is practically a drafting amendment. It is consequential to the amendment that I moved in Committee and empowers a Minister of the Crown to direct the boards of the Victoria and Albert and science museums to carry out certain functions on his behalf if, in his opinion, such delegation is appropriate. The amendments are intended to ensure that if one of those bodies were to be acting under ministerial direction and the Minister enjoyed any privilege, immunity or exemption, it should also enjoy the same privileges, immunities or exemptions when acting under his instructions. It would clearly be anomalous for a body to exercise functions for and on behalf of a Minister, yet not enjoy the amenities that that Minister would enjoy if he undertook the functions himself. I hope that the House will agree that it is a common sense provision.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 42, in page 21, line 11, leave out from 'Crown' to end of line 13 and insert— `(1A) The trustees and their staff shall not be regarded as civil servants and the Board's property shall not be regarded as property of, or held on behalf of, the Crown.(1B) In relation to any matter as respects which the Board act by virtue of a direction under section 2(4), the Board shall enjoy the same privileges, immunities and exemptions as those enjoyed in relation to that matter by the Minister giving the direction.'. —[Mr. Archie Hamilton.]

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

I beg to move amendment No. 45, in page 21, line 28, leave out 'the crafts' and insert 'craft'.

The amendment is purely technical and amends the list of fields of knowledge and experience to which the Prime Minister should have regard when appointing trustees, in line with the definition of the board's fields of interest contained in clause 2. It is a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

I beg to move amendment No. 46, in page 21, line 28, after 'management:, insert 'industrial relations'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

With this, it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 54, 60 and 69.

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

In Committee I undertook to see whether I could find an acceptable formula to meet the wishes of the Committee that experience in trade unionism, as well as other fields already listed in schedule 1 in respect of each of the four institutions named there, should be included. I was unhappy about the phrase "trade unionism" because in the context of the Bill it implied that the individual concerned should be experienced in the history and practice of trade unionism. I did not think that that was what the Committee had in mind, and thought it inappropriate in the context of the collections of the institutions covered by the amendments. However, I entirely share the view that was held throughout the Committee about the need for good industrial relations.

The institutions in the Bill have a good record in that respect and the Government had intended the word "management" to subsume a range of skills including competence in industrial relations matters. However, the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. Whitehead) and one or two of my hon. Friends made similar points. Having given it a good deal of thought, because this is a difficult one to get right, I think this is a reasonable solution.

Photo of Mr Phillip Whitehead Mr Phillip Whitehead , Derby North

I am grateful to the Minister for what he has done to meet the view of hon. Members on both sides of the Committee that management and industrial relations—I accept his formula entirely—should go hand in hand here if, as we all wish, we are to have a harmonious operation of the national museums. This form of words meets the aspirations of the Opposition in seeing that this area of expertise is covered. I should like also to Thank the Minister for his attempt in what I might call our half of the Bill to meet the points raised by the Opposition in Committee.

Photo of Patrick Cormack Patrick Cormack , Staffordshire South West

I should like to follow the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. Whitehead) in thanking my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Arts. Throughout our proceedings he has adopted a constructive and helpful approach. He has listened carefully not only in Committee but at meetings formal and informal. The Bill is all the better for that. This is an appropriate moment for that to be put on record from both sides of the House. Amendment No. 46 meets the point. Concern was expressed on both sides of the Committee that a phrase along these lines should be incorporated. I am grateful to the Minister for that and I am glad to add my tribute to that already eloquently voiced by the hon. Member for Derby, North.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

I beg to move amendment No. 47, in page 23, line 3, at end insert— '(7) An industrial tribunal shall not consider a complaint whereby a dispute mentioned in sub-paragraph (6) is referred to it unless the complaint is presented to the tribunal before the end of the period of 3 months beginning with the date of the offer of employment or within such further period as the tribunal considers reasonable in a case where it is satisfied that it was not reasonably practicable for the complaint to be presented before the end of the period of 3 months.(8) An appeal shall lie to the Employment Appeal Tribunal on a question of law arising from any decision of, or arising in proceedings before, an industrial tribunal under this paragraph; and no appeal shall lie except to the Employment Appeal Tribunal from any decision of an industrial tribunal under this paragraph.'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

With this it will be convenient to take Government amendments Nos. 55, 61, 70, 73 and 76.

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

I should like to thank the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. Whitehead) and my hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire, South-West (Mr. Cormack) for their kind remarks. I shall have a word or two to say on Third Reading.

The amendment deals with offers of employment. As hon. Members will be aware, the Bill provides that offers of employment shall be made by each board and the commission to staff, the terms and conditions of which must on the whole be not less favourable than an individual's existing terms and conditions. Any dispute about whether such terms are less favourable will be referred to an industrial tribunal.

The amendments provide that, in the event of a dispute, the complaint must be referred to the tribunal within three months of the date of the offer or, in exceptional cases, within the period the tribunal considers reasonable in the circumstances. This will ensure that any disputes—we hope there will be none—are settled promptly.

The amendments give an additional safeguard, which exists elsewhere in legislation, by providing that an appeal against the decision of an industrial tribunal lies on a point of law to an employment appeal tribunal. That is the normal body for appeals against the decisions of industrial tribunals on a wide variety of employment matters, and the grounds on which appeals may be based are also those obtaining in other legislation. I believe that this extra procedure will be helpful to the staff and the board and that they will find it reassuring.

I hope that the House will approve the amendments.

Photo of Dr David Clark Dr David Clark Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

This matter has greatly concerned the Opposition. We have had a number of meetings about it. We are satisfied that the Minister has the correct formula and are grateful to him for bringing it forward.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

I beg to move amendment No. 48, in page 23, line 20, leave out 'four', and insert 'the greater of—

  1. (a) four, and
  2. (b) the number equal to one third of the number of trustees at the time concerned (treating any fraction as one).'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

With this it will be convenient to take Government amendments Nos. 56 and 62.

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

These amendments fulfil the commitment that I gave in Committee to raise the minimum size of the quorum of the boards of trustees of the Victoria and Albert museum, the science museum and the armouries to one third of the size of the board as currently constituted. Hon. Members on both sides of the Committee were interested in this point. The amendment provides that where the number of trustees is not equally divisible by three the quorum shall be rounded up to the nearest whole number. In legislation it is necessary to go into such detail.

A similar amendment is not required in respect of the board of the royal botanic gardens since the size of that board is already fixed at 12 and the Bill already provides that this quorum may not be less than four.

I think that this meets in full what the Committee wished to achieve. I hope the House will accept the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

I beg to move amendment No. 49, in page 23, line 38, leave out from first 'of' to end of line 40 and insert 'the provisions of the Exchequer and Audit Departments Acts 1866 and 1921 which relate to appropriation accounts—'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

With this we shall discuss Government amendment No. 57.

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

These technical amendments are required to ensure that all those provisions concerned with appropriation accounts and the Exchequer and Audit Departments Acts 1866 and 1921 are applied to the Victoria and Albert and science museums. I almost pray that the House will not ask me too many detailed questions about the 1866 and 1921 Acts.

I am assured that these amendments are technically necessary and that the House would be wise to adopt them.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

I beg to move amendment No. 50, in page 24, line 13, at end insert— '(4A) Each report shall include a statement of the total amount received by the Board by way of admission charges in the period covered by the report, and shall include information (in such detail as the Board think fit) about rates of, exemptions from and reductions in admission charges made by the Board.'

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

With this we shall discuss the following: amendment (a) to the amendment, leave out '(in such detail as the Board think fit)'. Government amendment No. 58, in page 27, line 21, at end insert— `(4A) Each report shall include a statement of the total amount received by the Board by way of admission charges in the period covered by the report, and shall include information (in such detail as the Board think fit) about rates of, exemptions from and reduction in admission charges made by the Board. '. Amendment (a) to the amendment, leave out '(in such detail as the Board think fit)'. Government amendment No. 65, in page 31, line 12, at end insert— '(5A) Each report shall include a statement of the total amount received by the Board by way of admission charges in the period covered by the report, and shall include information (in such detail as the Board think fit) about rates of, exemptions from and reduction in admission charges made by the Board. '. Amendment (a) to the amendment, leave out '(in such detail as the Board think fit)'.

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

These amendments fulfil the commitment I gave in Committee to hon. Members on both sides to ensure that the boards of the V and A and science museums would be under an obligation to report any admission charges that they imposed, including receipts from charges made at outstations and special exhibitions. They are also required to report rates of charges and exemptions and reductions.

The amount of information about these matters is, as I have drafted the amendment, for the boards' discretion. It would provide flexibility for the boards to present pertinent information that they considered helpful. There are similar provisions for the armouries. There is no point in including the royal botanic gardens, which have special arrangements for charges.

The hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. Whitehead) has tabled amendments to the Government amendments. They would require the boards to make full details of their charges available. I understand his wish for full details of rates and admission charges to be shown, but I doubt whether his amendment would achieve that. The removal of the words would leave it unclear as to where the responsibility for defining the amount of detail to be specified lay. It is possible that the barest minimum would be supplied.

There are one or two other difficulties. If there are too many details it is possible that we shall be in danger of not seeing the wood for the trees. We need not go as far as the hon. Gentleman has in mind. I do not feel passionately about the matter, but on balance I think that the Government amendment is best as it stands. In substance, it meets the points raised in Committee.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 51, in page 24, line 21, at beginning insert `Subject to sub-paragraph (1B),'. No. 52, in page 24, line 23, leave out from 'Crown' to end of line 25 and insert— `(1A) The trustees and their staff shall not be regarded as civil servants and the Board's property shall not be regarded as property of, or held on behalf of, the Crown.(1B) In relation to any matter as respects which the Board act by virtue of a direction under section 9(4), the Board shall enjoy the same privileges, immunities and exemptions as those enjoyed in relation to that matter by the Minister giving the direction. '. No. 54, in page 24, line 40, after `management,', insert `industrial relations,'.
No. 55, in page 26, line 11, at end insert— '(7) An industrial tribunal shall not consider a complaint whereby a dispute mentioned in sub-paragraph (6) is referred to it unless the complaint is presented to the tribunal before the end of the period of 3 months beginning with the date of the offer of employment or within such further period as the tribunal considers reasonable in a case where it is satisfied that it was not reasonably practicable for the complaint to be presented before the end of the period of 3 months.(8) An appeal shall lie to the Employment Appeal Tribunal on a question of law arising from any decision of, or arising in proceedings before, an industrial tribunal under this paragraph; and no appeal shall lie except to the Employment Appeal Tribunal from any decision of an industrial tribunal under this paragraph.'. No. 56, in page 26, line 28, leave out 'four' and insert `the greater of—

  1. (a) four, and
  2. (b) the number equal to one third of the number of trustees at the time concerned (treating any fraction as one).'

No. 57, in page 27, line 2, leave out from first `of' to end of line 4 and insert 'the provisions of the Exchequer and Audit Departments Acts 1866 and 1921 which relate to appropriation accounts—'. No. 58, in page 27, line 21, at end insert— `(4A) Each report shall include a statement of the total amount received by the Board by way of admission charges in the period covered by the report, and shall include information (in such detail as the Board think fit) about rates of, exemptions from and reductions in admission charges made by the Board.'. No. 60, in page 28, line 6, after `management:, insert `industrial relations,'.
No. 61, in page 29, line 27, at end insert— '(7) An industrial tribunal shall not consider a complaint whereby a dispute mentioned in sub-paragraph (6) is referred to it unless the complaint is presented to the tribunal before the end of the period of 3 months beginning with the date of the offer of employment or within such further period as the tribunal considers reasonable in a case where it is satisfied that it was not reasonably practicable for the complaint to be presented before the end of the period of 3 months.(8) An appeal shall lie to the Employment Appeal Tribunal on a question of law arising from any decision of, or arising in proceedings before, an industrial tribunal under this paragraph; and no appeal shall lie except to the Employment Appeal Tribunal from any decision of an industrial tribunal under this paragraph.'. No. 62, in page 29, line 44, leave out 'three'. and insert `the greater of—

  1. (a) three, and
  2. (b) the number equal to one third of the number of trustees at the time concerned (treating any fraction as one).'—[Mr. Channon.]

Photo of Mr Neil Macfarlane Mr Neil Macfarlane , Sutton and Cheam

I beg io move amendment No. 63, in page 30, line 30, leave out '30 November' and insert `31 August'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

With this we shall discuss Government amendments Nos. 64, 71, 72, 78, 79. 80, 81 and 82.

Photo of Mr Neil Macfarlane Mr Neil Macfarlane , Sutton and Cheam

These amendments are all concerned with auditing arrangements for the armouries, Kew and the commission. They have three objectives. First, amendments Nos. 63 and 71 recognise the general desire of Parliament to speed up the production of accounts and are in line with the timetable now being applied to Government Departments.

Amendments Nos. 64, 72 and 81 provide that the first financial year for the armouries, the royal botanic gardens, Kew, and the commission are to be longer than 12 months. The idea quite simply is to avoid the time, trouble and expense of requiring the bodies to produce full audited accounts—and in the case of the commission a report—covering the short setting-up period. This is a sensible amendment which I commend to the House.

Thirdly, amendments Nos. 78, 79, 80 and 82 enable the Secretary of State to give directions about the date by which the commission's statement of accounts is to be prepared and ensure that the statement of accounts included in the annual report will be the audited statement of accounts.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 64, in page 30, line 39, after second 'with', insert 'the second'.

No. 65, in page 31, line 12, at end insert— '(5A) Each report shall include a statement of the total amount received by the Board by way of admission charges in the period covered by the report, and shall include information (in such detail as the Board think fit) about rates of, exemptions from and reductions in admission charges made by the Board.'. No. 66, in page 31, line 25, leave out from beginning to end of line 33 and insert— 'Subject to sub-paragraph (2A), the Board shall not be regarded as the servant or agent of the Crown or as enjoying any status, immunity or privilege of the Crown.(2) The trustees and their staff shall not be regarded as civil servants and the Board's property shall not be regarded as property of, or held on behalf of, the Crown.(2A) In relation to any matter as respects which the Board act by virtue of a direction under section 22(5), the Board shall enjoy the same privileges, immunities and exemptions as those enjoyed in relation to that matter by the Minister giving the direction.'.

No. 68, in page 31, line 45, leave out 'this Part' and insert 'the following provisions'.

No. 69, in page 32, line 3, after 'management,', insert 'industrial relations,'.

No. 70, in page 33, line 23, at end insert— '(7) An industrial tribunal shall not consider a complaint whereby a dispute mentioned in sub-paragraph (6) is referred to it unless the complaint is presented to the tribunal before the end of the period of 3 months beginning with the date of the offer of employment or within such further period as the tribunal considers reasonable in a case where it is satisfied that it was not reasonably practicable for the complaint to be presented before the end of the period of months.(8) An appeal shall lie to the Employment Appeal Tribunal on a question of law arising from any decision of, or arising in proceedings before, an industrial tribunal under this paragraph; and no appeal shall lie except to the Employment Appeal Tribunal from any decision of an industrial tribunal under this paragraph.'.

No. 71, in page 34, line 29, leave out '30 November' and insert '31 August'.

No. 72, in page 34, line 38, after second 'with', insert `the second'.