Report (5th Day)

Part of Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill – in the House of Lords at 6:00 pm on 20th March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Labour 6:00 pm, 20th March 2012

I support the amendment in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Linklater. I agree with everything she said. I remind the House that I currently serve on one of these committees in central London. It is not a statutory committee, but it is a very important committee from which I certainly benefit in my work as a magistrate, as I know all my colleagues do. Nevertheless, I want to make the point that there are other statutory committees. I am thinking of the bench training and development committees which are required to sit under statute. With the best will in the world, the officials administer those committees more thoroughly than they do the probation liaison committees, precisely because they are not statutory committees. For that reason alone, I recommend to the noble Baroness, Lady Northover, that the statutory provision would add weight to what is, after all, one of the Government's primary objectives, which is to make sure that the magistracy has confidence in community sentences.