Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill — Report (2nd Day) (Continued)

– in the House of Lords at 8:32 pm on 4th February 2015.

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Clause 28: Power to issue guidance

Amendment 14B

Moved by Lord Phillips of Sudbury

14B: Clause 28, page 18, line 39, at end insert—

“( ) The Secretary of State shall not issue guidance to specified authorities which are qualifying institutions within the meaning given in section 11 of the Higher Education Act 2004 (qualifying institutions) until at least one calendar month after laying a report before both House of Parliament which includes estimates of the potential direct and indirect impact of implementation of such guidance with regard to—

(a) the culture of such authorities, particularly as regards academic freedom and mutual trust within the same, and

(b) the cost and bureaucracy arising within the same pursuant to this Part.”

Photo of Lord Phillips of Sudbury Lord Phillips of Sudbury Liberal Democrat 8:40 pm, 4th February 2015

My Lords, I shall speak to Amendment 14B, and my learned—not my learned—

Photo of Lord Phillips of Sudbury Lord Phillips of Sudbury Liberal Democrat

My—admirable and brilliant—noble friend Lady Williams is a co-signatory to that amendment and is going to speak to Amendment 14D. My noble friend Lord Norton of Louth, who unfortunately cannot be here, and the noble Viscount, Lord Hanworth, who is indeed here, also have their names to these amendments.

First, I thank the Minister again for the way in which he has tried to deal with the very many comments and complaints about the Bill. Major advances have been made. The most important, on which this amendment touches but does not major, is the agreement that there must be an affirmative resolution by both Houses before the guidance can take effect. That is a very important concession.

Amendment 14B deals with the preparatory work for the debate which will ensue when the resolution is put to this House and to the other House to bring the guidance into effect. What we say and what Amendment 14B provides is that there cannot be the debate on the affirmative resolution to bring the guidance into effect until at least 28 days after the Government have laid a report before both Houses containing what we would say is essential information in order for both Houses to be fully prepared to debate to best effect the guidance and whether to bring it into effect . We call this a common-sense measure.

The first thing to say is that it is abundantly clear that Part 5 has had very little coverage beyond this place. We heard earlier from the noble Lord, Lord Wilson, that the Cambridge colleges have only just woken up to Part 5 and the potential impact on them, and how they are all now riding very high horses, but very late in the day. Indeed, I have discovered exactly the same position in other parts of the university fraternity. There has been extraordinarily little media coverage of this extraordinarily important set of provisions. As a result, there is not, as one would have expected, the head of steam behind the reforms proposed from all round the House and intended to impact on the effect of Part 5 of the Bill.

We heard earlier from the Minister about the consultation. However, that has been extraordinarily inadequate. It was launched before Christmas and, as a result, had no publicity and very few seemed to have been even aware of its existence. The fact that there were only 160 responses, as I think the Minister said, tells the tale. That is a derisory figure when one considers the breadth of this set of provisions. One should also not forget that this is not just about universities but that this guidance covers a whole range of institutions and organisations in different parts of our civic life, not to mention thousands of schools and so on. I repeat: 160 respondents.

The other thing is that the facts elicited in the course of these debates have been sparse, to be generous.

At Second Reading, my noble friend the Minister gave no facts or indeed argument on the representations made across the House with regard to Part 5 beyond saying that there was going to be a meeting the following Thursday. We heard about the 2011 review of Chapter 2 of Part 5 but have had nothing since, even though the world has changed dramatically since then. We heard about the 2014 consultation, which I have already referred to. We heard from the Minister about the 2013 report of the terrorism task force, but that was not specific to universities. It covered the entire range of our national life and did not get near the issues covered in Part 5—in particular, the enforceable guidance.

We have heard, including this evening, about student terrorists. I think the statistic was that 31% of those convicted here of terrorist offences had been students. That seems to me to be an utterly useless statistic. Were they terrorists before they went to university, were they terrorists as a result of going to university or were they terrorists as a result of what happened to them after university? We have not the very slightest idea. Nevertheless, I would be so bold as to suggest that going to university in this country, far from making terrorists, unmakes them. Universities are engines of moderation, truth, objective inquiry, tolerance and so on. The odds are—if one could ever measure this, and I am quite sure one cannot—that the statistics would show a radical effect on people going to university against their becoming terrorists. However, this statistic is trotted out as if it had any significance at all or gave any justification whatever to the extraordinary imposition in Part 5, with this guidance which has the force of law.

I am glad to see that I was mistaken in thinking that the good noble Lord, Lord Norton of Louth, had departed to his university—he is here among us, happily. Those of us who tabled this amendment are all convinced about this, and it is fair to say that more and more people are becoming convinced of it. Indeed, almost everybody who learns about Part 5, and the impact on universities in particular, says, “What? Are you serious?”. We are being rather modest in putting forward Amendment 14B because it simply requires the Secretary of State to produce a report to both Houses, 28 days or more in advance of the debates on the affirmative resolution to bring the guidance into effect, in order that all of us here and in the other place can at least understand better the background and information which are relevant to this very contentious and difficult set of issues. We say in the amendment, as your Lordships will have seen, that the report must include an estimate of,

“the potential direct and indirect impact of implementation of such guidance with regard to … the culture of such authorities”— meaning universities—

“particularly as regards academic freedom and mutual trust … and … the cost and bureaucracy arising within the same pursuant to this Part”.

We had very eloquent statements from noble Lords in this debate and in the debate initiated by the noble Lord, Lord King, on the cultural impact of Part 5 and, in particular, the guidance: the effect on the relationships within a university; the impact on the trust that is the essential underpinning of a creative university, and so on. While it is not possible to gauge with scientific precision what the direct cultural impact is likely to be, one can make a sensible and intelligent attempt at estimating the impact by methods well known to social science. Similarly, and more easily, the cost of the bureaucracy that will be spawned by Part 5 can be much more easily ascertained. The impact report referred to by the Minister does not deal with that at all: it is the cost to government that it deals with. Many universities are beginning to realise that the cost to them of complying with the guidance could be very considerable indeed. Some are talking about employing in a university two full-time people to police all this. Then there is the bureaucracy and all the effects of that.

We view this as a basic provision to help ensure that the debates, when they come, are able to be well informed and of the calibre that we know we can expect from this House and the other place. The information that would be brought forth by the report that is required by this amendment would be the oxygen of an enlightened and wise debate, and of the decision arising from it. I beg to move.

Photo of Viscount Hanworth Viscount Hanworth Labour 8:45 pm, 4th February 2015

My Lords, I had an opportunity earlier this afternoon to read the letter from the noble Lord, Lord Bates, to those who intended to participate in today’s Report stage. I express my appreciation of his consideration in writing, but I must observe that the fast-track schedule of the Bill is severely impeding its proper parliamentary scrutiny. The Government have not given themselves enough time to think.

The letter points to the Government’s amendments of Monday that represented their response to the widely expressed anxieties about the way in which the statutory Prevent strategy was liable to conflict with the duty of freedom of speech enjoined by the Act of 1986. The Government also tabled an amendment two days ago that is ostensibly intended to ensure that the guidance issued in connection with the Prevent strategy will be subject to parliamentary scrutiny. In the judgment of the proposers of the current amendments, the Government’s concessions are inadequate. They are therefore calling for something more extensive and secure.

The letter of the noble Lord, Lord Bates, observes that, between 1999 and 2009, a full 30% of persons convicted of terrorist offences associated with al-Qaeda had attended a higher education institution. It is difficult to place this figure in an appropriate context, but given the extent of participation in higher education of the relevant age group, this seems a strikingly low figure. It might be interpreted as an indication of the efficacy of higher education institutions in diminishing the threat of terrorism.

The effect of higher education is typically to stimulate individualistic freedom of thought—the very antithesis of the dogmatic nostrums of the radical Islamists, which differ so markedly from the religious injunctions of Islam. A liberal higher education is undoubtedly a most effective means of combating ideological extremism. The success of British institutions of higher education as effective agents of counterterrorism ought to be widely recognised. Instead, the Government’s statutory

Prevent strategy, which promises to be clumsy and intrusive, threatens to subvert the role of higher education in countering Islamic radicalisation.

Another aspect of the statutory Prevent strategy disturbs me. It concerns the cost and bureaucracy that will be imposed on the designated institutions. As I observed in a previous debate, there has been a hypertrophy of bureaucracy in British universities for which the interventions of central government have been largely responsible. Nowadays, in almost every institution, the numbers of administrative staff exceed those of teaching staff—and by a significant margin in many cases. The Prevent strategy, with its specially appointed officers, mandated staff training courses, obligation to report compliance with its nostrums and duty to inform the police and others of any suspicions and anxieties, is a bureaucratic nightmare. Finally, I wonder whose opinions have been listed by the consultation on the draft guidance. If, as I strongly suspect, those few opinions have come predominantly from the administrative faculties of universities, then I suggest they should be treated with due caution.

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for moving this amendment and giving the opportunity to put one or two additional points on record. This amendment would not permit guidance to be issued to universities until a report had been laid before Parliament setting out the impact of—

Photo of Baroness Williams of Crosby Baroness Williams of Crosby Liberal Democrat

I apologise to the Minister but I was not aware that he was going to respond to the amendment now, which would rule out Amendment 14D to which I wished to speak. I turn to that amendment briefly to explain the point of it. It looks a very small amendment but it is a rather serious one.

Amendment 14D relates to those with whom the Secretary of State would consult in advance of putting out the various kinds of guidance, which has already been dealt with to some extent by the Minister in his very helpful amendment requiring an affirmative procedure by Parliament. That meets one of my major concerns, which is the involvement of Parliament in every way and at every stage of the Bill. That is absolutely crucial, especially given the scale of the challenge that the Minister on more than one occasion told us we must meet. The solidarity of Parliament in dealing with these issues is crucial.

Let me explain why I put down this amendment. It was for the very simple reason that absolutely nowhere in the Bill that I can find is there any requirement of any kind to consult the age group that we are most concerned about. There is absolutely none. There are no references to student organisations, youth organisations or for that matter young people at all. Yet I think many of us recognise—I will in just a moment give an example of this—that the most effective force to persuade young people to abandon any thoughts of terrorism is other young people. Statements by senior officials, however senior they may be, cut nothing like the ice and have nothing like the persuasive power as other young people who see the devastating effects of terrorism and bring those to the attention of their friends and colleagues.

One of the things I regret is that the statutory requirement that students should be represented on university bodies which we brought in with the Education (No. 2) Act 1968 was abandoned by the then Government in 1987, so there is no requirement of that kind any more in law. One of the great advantages of requiring that students be represented on, for example, university courts and academic panels was precisely that they were then brought into the operation of the university itself, and into its responsibilities and its authority. That became an important and significant factor in dealing with what one might call young extremism.

Probably very few people in this House remember that there was an earlier occasion in this country when we faced quite acute violence and even terrorism. It was in the late 1960s, when—people may recall, dimly at least—among other things, the London School of Economics was closed down, the University of Birmingham’s vice-chancellor was besieged in his office, and the University of Southampton saw huge demonstrations of hundreds of students up and down its campus, sometimes using moderate forms of violence. The University of Edinburgh challenged its own vice-chancellor, who then came out and stood on a mound in Edinburgh shouting through a bull-horn at his students. I could go on and on.

Looking abroad, the level of violence in American universities, in opposition to the war in Vietnam, was so high that students were shot to death in Kent State University, students took over the whole of the university administration in Columbia University, and engaged in fisticuffs with the police in the University of California. And as if all that was not enough, at the same time there was a fully fledged terrorism campaign in Germany. Some people will remember the name—Baader-Meinhof.

What we are looking at is not new. It is new in the sense that we now tend to regard the Islamic community as responsible for most of the reasons why we are so worried—but we have conveniently forgotten that we ourselves confronted a major student revolution in the 1960s, and so did other countries in Europe.

I mention this for two important reasons. One is that we should not drive ourselves into conceding to the fear of terrorism what we keep saying we would not concede to terrorism itself. That is a very dangerous road to go down, and I think we are getting quite close to it, as more and more fear and suspicion is built up, on the basis of what is at the moment—thank God—a relatively thin evidential base. I am not saying that that could not change, but we are beginning to get things almost totally out of proportion, and to be driven by fear, amounting in some cases to panic.

In 1968 we dealt with the revolution—and it was a real one—by including students in the structure of universities. They served on the main bodies in universities, including many administrative bodies, although we would not allow them any voice in standards, examinations or other things of that crucial kind. But in the administrative universe, yes, they were consulted and involved. They took part, and in the end most of them gave their full support to the effort to ensure that universities were independent, autonomous and free.

I am therefore very worried now. I recognise that the Government have a real problem. Indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Brockwell, put it well when he said that they were facing a double problem, one confronting the other. There is no reference to young voices, student voices or student organisations in this quite long Bill. That is a grave mistake. To put it bluntly, as the noble Baroness, Lady Warsi, implied in her passionate speech, we cannot avoid the struggle. We can make the struggle an intellectual struggle, and a struggle of conviction and commitment, but we cannot avoid it simply by saying, “We’re not going to have discussions of this kind”, because they will only go underground and become secretive and much more dangerous.

The point of my amendment is that, in consulting about the advice to be given to universities, the Secretary of State should consult, first, the university administrations, but also, where there are proper student structures, the leaders of those structures. Any other decision will go down the route that is most dangerous of all with young people: it will divorce them from the older generation and make them feel that the only position they can take is one of contention with that generation. They will therefore not recognise that there is a crucial common ground of interest between the generations—the need to save the autonomy and the freedom of the universities, and the freedom of speech in universities. This may seem on the face of it a very minor amendment but because it would involve the Home Secretary, or her successor, in a discussion with not only universities but students we would have much more sensible guidance. It would reflect, as my noble friend Lord Scriven pointed out in describing his own council, things which are much closer to everyday reality for students and their parents.

I want to concentrate for a moment on the Muslim community; I discussed this briefly with the noble Baroness, Lady Warsi. The parents of many Muslim children come from very traditional backgrounds. They can therefore get quite easily frightened at the idea of going to university at all. If the university is seen as the source of wild radicalism, it becomes more and more frightening to the parents. So when I speak about involving the students I also mean that we should involve ourselves in a very large cultural gulf—the gulf between traditional, obedient and patriarchal cultures and the new culture that is still being absorbed by their sons and daughters, of this country’s liberalism and its freedom of thought and discussion. We have to talk to the parents as well and find out what they feel, and therefore begin to bring in the whole community.

We cannot avoid the struggle. That struggle involves all of us, who may or may not be Muslim, in learning enough about these other cultures—not least their religious beliefs—to be able to engage in real and serious argument. Nobody in this country is more capable and willing of doing that than our university faculties, many of which are already heavily engaged in studying these cultural relationships. The worst thing we could do would be to put them under a form of control that would be resented by the young, and either disregarded or much disliked by the seniors.

Photo of Baroness Smith of Newnham Baroness Smith of Newnham Liberal Democrat 9:00 pm, 4th February 2015

My Lords, perhaps I may briefly follow my noble friend Lady Williams. I declare an interest as a Cambridge academic and a fellow of Robinson College, where I am a graduate tutor and director of studies. I am also, across the university, senior treasurer of the European Society. We do not really expect a great deal of extremism in that society; it is probably a relatively straightforward society to be involved with. However, the person who was key to setting it up was a visiting French student. She was 22, dynamic and really wanted to get something going. She had far more bright ideas than I had at twice her age. I still think that I am young; as an academic, I am probably seen as middle-aged by my students and as relatively young by some of my colleagues. But this young woman came with a set of bright ideas and established an organisation. To impose duties on that organisation without any consultation is not necessarily helpful.

As the noble Baroness, Lady Warsi, said earlier, we need to engage in discussion and debate. If it is about Europe, it may be in some ways uncontroversial and not lead to extremism—but in a whole range of other societies, the debates might be controversial or difficult. However, the people who will best be able to say how they can deal with that are not academics, far less administrators, telling students what to do. It will be the students themselves coming up with ideas as to how to engage. I ask that we think through how to engage young people.

The noble Viscount, Lord Hanworth, asked who responded to the guidance consultation. Of the 160 people who responded, probably none was young. If we can bring those people in and engage them, partly through university structures but partly directly, we will get better decisions and ideas—and, ideally, a better way of implementing the Prevent duty in a way that engages young people and takes them with us, rather than a top-down approach which preaches to them in an unhelpful way.

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

My Lords, I am grateful to all noble Lords who have spoken in this brief debate. There have been some excellent contributions. First, I want to clarify something I said earlier which might have sent people down the wrong track. I talked about 42 responses which my noble friend Lord Phillips rightly pulled me up on as being a paltry number. That was the number of academic institutions which responded. In fact, the consultation produced 1,792 responses. Five consultation events were held—in Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham, London and Edinburgh—that reached a further 300 delegates from specified authorities, including representatives of higher education. So there have been some additional responses. Of course, it would be excellent to see more contributions.

The point that was made eloquently by the noble Baronesses, Lady Williams and Lady Smith of Newnham, on the importance of engaging young people is absolutely right. It would seem perfectly within the spirit and letter of both the guidance and of what we are putting forward here for academic institutions to engage with student bodies and societies; in fact, they should. They should ask, “What is the best way of implementing this within our institution?”. This would be entirely in keeping with the type of approach that we want. We are not talking about the European Society at Cambridge—unless there are instances there in which people could possibly be drawn into acts of terrorism. That would be unexpected and a surprise. We are talking about how to prevent people being drawn into terrorism—so a wider debate, crucially one involving young people, is very important.

Another element, which relates to what my noble friend Lord Phillips of Sudbury had to say in moving his amendment, is the impact of this. We have produced an impact statement on the Bill. My noble friend said that he does not accept what it says on page 7, but it does make some estimates as to the cost of implementing this across 2,000 higher and further education institutions in the UK. This is standard practice. For illustrative purposes, we assume that each institution requires one week of a junior officer’s time—a BIS liaison officer, working with the university—at a cost of £573. Also, it is not—

Photo of Lord Scriven Lord Scriven Liberal Democrat

The Minister has given those figures, but it also says clearly in the impact assessment that there are some areas where the risk has not been assessed for Prevent requirement purposes. It is not possible to estimate accurately how much will be required for additional Prevent activities. So the figures in the impact assessment are completely irrelevant because, in many areas, the assessment as to what Prevent activity will be needed has not been done.

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

That is a fair observation. We are in unknown territory, but in order to have an impact assessment, some basic assumptions have to be made. Those are the assumptions we are using to understand how this guidance would be implemented on the ground. Academic institutions might be able to undertake particular research about its effect.

Photo of Lord Phillips of Sudbury Lord Phillips of Sudbury Liberal Democrat

The concern we have is that an assessment of their costs has not been made. As I said in moving the amendment, the more that the universities and colleges have thought about this—and many of them have still not got the draft guidance—the more they realise that this is imposing a very considerable bureaucratic burden which they will have to pay for.

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 9:15 pm, 4th February 2015

I am conscious that we are rehearsing arguments from the previous debate. Our argument, in fairness, is that they have not seen the guidance because people have not actually seen the guidance, which has not been published following the consultation. It will be informed by the debate that we have had.

Our hope and desire, though, is that this is very light-touch. It deals with what most, or many, academic institutions are already doing; it links in with their existing programmes for how computers are used on campus or in the library. It builds on that rather than trying to build some new bureaucratic edifice, which in our view is not necessary.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Crosby Baroness Williams of Crosby Liberal Democrat

I am a little worried because the argument is moving towards the costs of bureaucratic reviews and so forth, and away from the central point that I believe to be critical for any chance of success in what the Government are trying to do: the formal involvement of young people. At the moment, and I hope my noble friend will forgive me for putting it this way, there is nothing in the Bill requiring universities to formally discuss with their own students how they handle the requests and guidance from the Government.

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Of course there is nothing in the Bill to say, stipulate or prescribe that, but there is nothing to stop it. I would have expected, although I am happy to reflect further on this—perhaps we should reflect further on these comments in the guidance when it comes forward—most higher and further education institutions to engage with the student body, particularly student associations, about how this should be implemented on their campuses in order for it to be effective, and not to be onerous but to be very targeted. That would be a very good thing to do.

I am conscious also that I was drifting in the direction of Amendment 14B from the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, rather than the noble Baroness’s Amendment 14D. Still, this has been a helpful debate to have; it has elucidated some important principles about the engagement of young people, and about ensuring that the costs and the impact of the duty and the guidance—when it is produced—should be evaluated and should be in the spirit of what is intended, which is to be light-touch, not onerous, and to be focused on what Clause 25(1) says about avoiding people being drawn into terrorism specifically. With that, I ask my noble friend to consider withdrawing his amendment at this stage.

Photo of Lord Phillips of Sudbury Lord Phillips of Sudbury Liberal Democrat

I thank the Minister. I have to be honest with him and say that he has not addressed at all the nub of Amendment 14B, which requires the report first of all to concentrate on the cultural impact on universities, particularly the academic freedom and mutual trust within them between staff, students and so on. He did not say a single word about that, which leaves me concerned, because either he thinks it is insignificant or he has no answer to our request for a report. Since everyone tonight—

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

My noble friend rightly chides us to say that we do not want to be overly bureaucratic or impose too many costs. To undertake qualitative and quantitative research on the scale that he proposes in the amendment would add a huge cost, if not to the Government then to the institutions themselves. We are simply saying here that we will set out some guidance and then leave it to the institutions for it to be evaluated. There will be a process—through HEFCE, should that be something that the consultation decides—for progress and how it is implemented to be evaluated. I would have thought that that would be more in keeping with the light-touch, focused approach that we are talking about, rather than avoiding getting drawn into a very bureaucratic approach, which he would rightly reprimand us for.

Photo of Lord Phillips of Sudbury Lord Phillips of Sudbury Liberal Democrat

I have to disagree with the Minister. It seems to me extraordinary to argue that we cannot afford to do our homework, so let us just make this law and see what happens. Because that is what he is saying. Also, it is no good talking about guidance without realising that, once it is brought into force, it has the effect of law; it becomes enforceable, even unto the point—the Joint Committee made this point—of somebody going to prison. A vice-chancellor could end up in prison if he or she flagrantly refused to comply with what he or she thought was a serious incursion on academic freedom.

I remain confused as to how the Government can say, well, it will all come out in the wash; we do not know what the academic consequences are, whether cultural or in any other way, but you can make a complaint later if it does not work. That is not good enough. This House should not be imposing a regime of this nature without the facts and without due research having been undertaken. We may be the only country in the developed world that will have a statutory regime of this nature. That alone should give serious pause for thought.

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

I want to clarify a remark that I made earlier. The impact assessment, referring to the higher education sector itself, higher and further education co-ordinators, actually refers to our assessment of the burden on university staff, rather than on the BIS co-ordinators, as I may have led my noble friend to believe.

Photo of Lord Phillips of Sudbury Lord Phillips of Sudbury Liberal Democrat

I am grateful for that, but I want to say a word on the second amendment. Most of the debate has been around the need to inquire of the students themselves how they view the consequences of the guidance becoming law. The Minister did not make reference to that. Does he agree in principle that universities, including the students, should be consultees prior to the guidance being finalised and brought into effect? This extends the duty of the consultation to universities under the provisions of Clause 28. I am bound to say that I cannot see, in view of all that the Minister has said, why the universities should not be consulted, along with the other two bodies named in the Bill. They are the people most affected and surely, therefore, the Government could at least say that they will be consulted before the guidance is finalised.

I hope that the Minister will respond to that and then I will consider withdrawing the amendment.

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

I am not sure that I can add a great deal more to what I have already said on this point, but I am happy to reflect further on my noble friend’s last point and I shall write to him ahead of Third Reading to clarify the position.

Photo of Lord Phillips of Sudbury Lord Phillips of Sudbury Liberal Democrat

That is a very fair way of wrapping this up, but just to make this clear, the Minister did not refer, in responding to the amendment, to the universities as such. All that he said was concentrated on the young people at the university. However, on the basis that he will have an open mind when looking at this—because it will cost the Government nothing to make the universities consultees, and I believe that it will go some considerable way towards assuaging the concerns that are behind both these amendments—I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 14B withdrawn.

Amendment 14C not moved.

Amendment 14D

Moved by Baroness Williams of Crosby

14D: Clause 28, page 19, line 6, at end insert—

“(ba) qualifying institutions within the meaning given in section 11 of the Higher Education Act 2004 (qualifying institutions) and their student bodies;”

Photo of Baroness Williams of Crosby Baroness Williams of Crosby Liberal Democrat

I have a very simple and totally inexpensive proposal, which is that in issuing the guidance the Secretary of State will make plain that he or she expects a university to consult its students before deciding to agree to accept the guidance that is then issued.

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

My Lords, I am happy to put this point on the record without further reflection. I believe that best practice should be that academic institutions should engage properly with students on how this Prevent guidance to have due regard to the guidance is going to be implemented. As we will discover in the next group, the guidance will come through an affirmative procedure in both Houses. I will reflect further on the noble Baroness’s comments ahead of that and make sure that her remarks are considered by the Secretary of State.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Crosby Baroness Williams of Crosby Liberal Democrat

In the light of that helpful response, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 14D withdrawn.

Amendment 14E

Moved by Lord Bates

14E: Clause 28, page 19, line 7, at end insert—

“(4A) Guidance issued under subsection (1) takes effect on whatever day the Secretary of State appoints by regulations made by statutory instrument.

A statutory instrument containing regulations under this subsection may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before each House of Parliament and approved by a resolution of each House.”

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

My Lords, I shall speak to government Amendments 14E, 14G and 15E. This group also includes Amendment 14F in the name of my noble friends Lady Hamwee, Lady Brinton, Lady Sharp and Lady Williams.

During our debates here and in those in another place there have been calls for the guidance that can be issued by the Secretary of State to specified authorities, which are required to have regard to it when exercising the Prevent duty, to be subject to further parliamentary scrutiny. The Government have argued that such scrutiny is not common in these circumstances. It has also been our position that, in any case, the full public consultation which has been ongoing would suffice to ensure that the resulting document was fit for purpose. As I remarked in Committee, the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, the experts in such matters, appears to have drawn the same conclusion.

However, I have been clear throughout your Lordships’ consideration of the Bill that we are keen to listen to the House. We recognise the strength of feeling that has been expressed on this issue, as well as the various comments which have been made about the draft guidance document that was put out for consultation. The noble Baroness, Lady Smith, has been particularly passionate in her calls for further scrutiny, and I pay credit to her determination on this matter.

The Government have therefore tabled two amendments which provide for parliamentary scrutiny of the draft guidance. Amendment 14E provides that guidance issued by the Secretary of State under Clause 28 will take effect on the day mentioned in regulations and that those regulations must be approved under the affirmative procedure. Amendment 14G provides that any subsequent revision of the guidance will also need to be approved in the same way by both Houses.

My noble friends have tabled Amendment 14F, which would have an effect similar to that of the Government’s amendments. I trust that the government amendments have provided them with the necessary comfort and reassurance and that they will feel inclined not to move their amendment.

Finally, I turn to Amendment 15E. This is a minor drafting change to remove the word “Assembly” from the term “Welsh Assembly Government”, to produce the correct term for that body, which is “Welsh Government”. This anticipates a change to be made by the Wales Act 2014, which will come into force on 17 February.

I would also like to take this opportunity to inform the House that it is likely that we will table some minor and technical amendments of this type for Third Reading, and possibly one in relation to commencement with the effect that Clause 28 would come into force on Royal Assent. This would enable Parliament to scrutinise the guidance as soon as possible. If required, we will table these further amendments as soon as possible, and I will keep noble Lords informed. I beg to move.

Photo of Baroness Lister of Burtersett Baroness Lister of Burtersett Labour 9:30 pm, 4th February 2015

My Lords, on behalf of the Joint Committee on Human Rights I would like to say how much I welcome the government amendment. It is nice to be able to welcome Government amendments unequivocally on this occasion. The Government have accepted just the one recommendation in our report, and we are very pleased that they have.

Photo of Baroness Brinton Baroness Brinton Party Chair, Liberal Democrats

My Lords, my name is on Amendment 14F and I also want to thank the Minister for his Amendment 14E. As I said in Committee, after going to war, curtailment of freedom is one of the most important things that a Government must consider doing. Given the seriousness of that, it seemed extraordinary that there was no scrutiny by Parliament, so I am grateful for that. On a slightly lighter note, and not strictly to do with this amendment, the fact that 33% of terrorists have been to university was repeated this evening. I wonder whether we need much more draconian measures for schools, given that 100% of terrorists will have attended school.

Photo of Lord Hannay of Chiswick Lord Hannay of Chiswick Crossbench

My Lords, this is a very welcome amendment that the Minister has moved, and I would like to thank him and his colleagues in the

Government for having inserted these necessary provisions. The more you look at the Bill, as far as universities and colleges are concerned—I am not talking about passports and TPIMs and so on—the heart of it is the guidance and the threat hanging over universities of directives from the Secretary of State. That is what is really going to determine whether this is workable, and whether it is or is not counterproductive.

The fact is that the amendment of the noble Lord basically shoots our fox by saying that they are not going to tell us what they are going to do now, but they are going to come before both Houses with the guidance. This is welcome, even if it is perhaps not too ungracious to point out that I am aware that affirmative resolutions in both Houses will no doubt be whipped, and that we will have no possibility of amending them. Having said that, the debates we have had at Second Reading, in Committee and now on Report, will have shown Ministers that the guidance on which they consulted universities and others, ending last week, was really upsetting to everyone, and would have had appalling results both in practicality and in the chilling affect, and so on. I hope we shall never again be told that because UUK produced some guidance like that, it must be okay. It is not okay to make a statutory guidance that tells people that if they are going to go to a university—as I am to Oxford tomorrow—to address a seminar, they have to produce a script two weeks in advance. It just is not going to work. I hasten to say I have not got a script yet.

The point I am trying make, which I hope the Minister will take on board, is that I had rather hoped that he would give us a list of the things in the guidance on which they consulted which they already know they are going to drop. He did some of that in an earlier debate, and if he could bring himself to repeat some of those things it would be good to do so now. But the lesson to be learnt is that huge care must be taken with the guidance, because that will determine whether the Act provides the kind of strengthened Prevent which we would all like to see, or whether it will have what is known as blowback. That must be avoided. So I hope that the Minister will take away from this experience, painful though it may have been, the feeling that the guidance is the heart of it, and that an awful lot of care needs to be taken, because things were not very well done in the guidance which was consulted on.

As for our discussion a few minutes ago, I can see that the noble Lord is pretty desperate not to concede that there should be another formal consultation, and he has avoided doing that, but I honestly think that when Ministers have cleared their minds about what they want to put in the guidance, they will be extremely well advised to contact universities—not necessarily every one of them—to see whether they have got it about right in terms of both practicality and freedom of expression and academic freedom. If they do not do that, the risks of blowback are considerable.

I hope that the noble Lord will draw from this experience first, the feeling that we are grateful to him for tabling the amendment but, secondly, that it is still all to play for as to whether this works.

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Liberal Democrat

My Lords, several groupings of amendments today and previously have called for quite a tour de force from my noble friend to respond. The House is very well aware of that and grateful to him for that, and for his openness to discussing the measures in the Bill. If I may say so, in the Modern Slavery Bill, too, he has set an extraordinarily high standard at the very end of the Parliament.

I follow the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, in my first point. My noble friend can take this as a comment or a question, as he feels most comfortable. My point is about further consultation. Such a strength of feeling has been shown in the debate on guidance that clearly the best outcome would be another round of consultation with the organisations concerned. The second best would be informal discussions between my noble friend and those who have expressed particular concern.

That takes me to my second point. I am well aware of the Government’s wish to move this along very quickly. My noble friend mentioned the commencement of Clause 28. I take that to mean that the guidance will follow shortly. People will be reading this debate in Hansard. They may have given up by this point, but some will have stuck it and will want to know when the guidance will be issued so that there will be a debate about it. If the Minister can say any more about the timing, that will be very useful to people outside the House.

Photo of Lord Phillips of Sudbury Lord Phillips of Sudbury Liberal Democrat

My Lords, I have one more technical question to ask the Minister; I have given him notice of it. His Amendment 14E starts by saying:

“Guidance issued under subsection (1) takes effect on whatever day the Secretary of State appoints”— so it appears to start by saying that this is solely about the timing of when the guidance should be brought into effect. But the second part of the amendment is technical, stating:

“A statutory instrument containing regulations … may not be made unless”, it is approved by both Houses.

That seems a very odd way to put the fact that the guidance is to be approved as to content as well as the timing of its coming into effect. It would have been much happier if the provision had said at the start explicitly that not only is the guidance taking effect on the day set out in the regulations, but that the content will be laid before Parliament.

One can erect a technical, logical argument that the content must be included within the timing, so to speak, but as this is so important, I would be most grateful if the Minister can confirm that Amendment 14E as drafted is intended to mean that both Houses of Parliament must affirmatively approve the content as well as the timing of the guidance.

Photo of Lord Rosser Lord Rosser Shadow Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Transport)

My Lords, I will be brief. We thank the Minister for the meetings we have had with him on the Prevent guidance, and also for his words about the important contribution of my noble friend Lady Smith of Basildon. We also thank the Government for responding positively to the arguments we and other noble Lords have made for the Prevent guidance and any future revisions to be subject to the affirmative procedure. Clearly the guidance will be crucial, and hopefully in drawing up that guidance following the conclusion of the consultation the Government will take full note of the views that have been expressed.

In Committee my noble friend Lady Smith of Basildon asked what action was proposed to counter radicalism, recruitment and grooming online, and said that this did not seem to be catered for in the guidance which at that time was out for consultation. I ask the Minister if this issue of online radicalisation will be covered in the guidance.

Finally, the Government wish to extend the duty to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism so that it covers three and four year-olds in nurseries nationwide. Will the Government respond to another question put in Committee by my noble friend Lady Smith of Basildon, by at some stage providing information on how many nurseries, preschool providers and childminders had access to the Prevent guidance consultation document and were aware that they could respond? How many in this group did respond, and in what vein?

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

My Lords, I am grateful for the wide welcome which the amendments have received from your Lordships. I can well understand that noble Lords want to hear more about the consultation that we had. The consultation finished on Friday, and we are now three working days in. I am blessed not only with a first-class colleague on the Front Bench in my noble friend Lord Ashton, but also with an outstanding Bill team behind me. However, even they might struggle to evaluate the 1,700 responses that have been received thus far in such a short period of time. I also know that there is a slight uneasiness—and quite rightly so—about my pre-empting the consultation outcome, as I did in Committee in relation to the provisions on advance notice of speakers. I probably should not go too much further down that route. However, this again is part of the process and part of the consultation. We will take this debate into account.

The noble Lord, Lord Rosser, asked about online safety. In paragraphs 68 and 69 on page 20 of the consultation document there is a provision which asks people to look at safety online. I also agree that the guidance will be absolutely critical in making sure that we get the right message across. We need to avoid a situation in which people see this as something which they have to fear as clamping down on freedom. They need to see it as good practice in ensuring not only the safety of their campus, but also the safety and security of our wider society. With that, I am happy to move my amendment, and I invite my noble friends not to move Amendment 14F.

Amendment 14E agreed.

Amendment 14F not moved.

Amendment 14G

Moved by Lord Bates

14G: Clause 28, page 19, line 10, leave out “and (3)” and insert “, (3) and (4A)”

Amendment 14G agreed.

Amendment 15 not moved.

Amendment 15A

Moved by Baroness Lister of Burtersett

15A: Clause 28, page 19, line 15, at end insert—

“( ) When issuing guidance under this section in relation to universities and other higher education institutions, the Secretary of State shall have due regard to the principle of academic freedom and to the matters specified in section 202(2) of the Education Reform Act 1988 (the university commissioners).”

Photo of Baroness Lister of Burtersett Baroness Lister of Burtersett Labour 9:45 pm, 4th February 2015

My Lords, in moving Amendment 15A, I shall speak also to Amendment 15C in my name and that of other members of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, two of whom apologised that they had to leave. Amendments 15A and 15C together would require the Secretary of State to have due regard to the principle of academic freedom, as already recognised by Parliament in Section 202(2) of the Education Reform Act 1988, when issuing guidance or directions under this section. It was quoted earlier, but I remind noble Lords that it includes a duty,

“to ensure that academic staff have freedom within the law to question and test received wisdom, and to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions”.

I believe that it was inserted by your Lordships' House and it would be appropriate if we were to do the same now.

I would argue that Amendments 15A and 15C are perfectly compatible with the Government’s own Amendment 15D. They would simply add to it by making explicit reference to the important duty to uphold academic freedom in the 1988 Act, which is currently missing. This is a duty that is very important to academics, as it puts flesh and bones in the context of higher education on to the more abstract duty of freedom of speech contained in the 1986 Act and referred to in the Government’s own amendment.

I think that we have all been guilty at times of conflating the two principles of freedom of speech and academic freedom. If I may say so, the Minister does so in his letter of 3 February to me and other noble Lords—and here I thank him for finding a few minutes yesterday to discuss the amendments with me. The letter refers to the impact that the Prevent duty might have on academic freedom of speech. Although the two principles overlap, there is also a clear distinction, which it is important to understand because it is at the heart of why the amendments matter. Here, I have to part company with the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, who is not in his place, when he suggested that one necessarily implies the other.

While I have always counselled my students against relying on Wikipedia, on the principle of “do as I say” rather than “do as I do”, I turn to it now because it provides a helpful working definition of academic freedom. It says that it is,

“the belief that the freedom of inquiry by faculty members is essential to the mission of the academy as well as the principles of academia, and that scholars should have freedom to teach or communicate ideas or facts (including those that are inconvenient to external political groups or to authorities)”.

It spells out:

“Academic freedom and free speech rights are not coextensive … Academic freedom involves more than speech rights; for example, it includes the right to determine what is taught in the classroom”.

In Committee, I illustrated my worries by citing a discussion of the Charlie Hebdo attack that colleagues instigated, open to all staff and students in my school at Loughborough University. What was at issue here was not so much the freedom of speech of staff and students as the academic freedom to feel safe to instigate such a discussion that might be interpreted as potentially drawing some students towards ideas that conceivably might lead them towards violent terrorism. If the duty to uphold academic freedom as well as freedom of speech was written into the Bill itself, it would, I hope, give some assurance to both lecturers and students that it is still safe to have such controversial discussions. If it is not written in, I fear a chilling effect on both—lecturers playing safe and not instigating debate on such controversial topics related to terrorism, or something like it, because of feeling pressure from university management not to take risks of this kind, and/or students feeling afraid to engage honestly and openly. This would then have the counterproductive effect, which was discussed quite a lot in Committee, of pushing extremist views underground rather than allowing staff and students to discuss them critically. Indeed, a Hansard Society student on placement with me put it very well. He said, “You prevent the peers of the extremists from engaging with them and you cripple their ability to persuade them to abandon extremist views”. Earlier, that point was made very eloquently by the noble Baroness, Lady Warsi, and the noble Lord, Lord Wilson of Dinton, who are not in their places.

I will also illustrate the point with reference to the draft guidance. Paragraph 57, for example, makes it clear that the Home Office expects universities to carry out a risk assessment of where and how their students might be at risk of being drawn into not just violent extremism but non-violent extremism, which, as Universities UK has consistently pointed out, is not generally unlawful. The noble Lord, Lord Macdonald, earlier referred to this bit of the guidance as hopeless. It is easy to see how in a university with risk-averse management—which is probably true of much of university management these days—this could translate into pressure on individual academics not to offer certain courses or lectures or to pursue certain research grant applications, or to discourage certain topics of inquiry by doctoral students.

The Government’s free speech amendment is helpful in relation to the draft guidance in so far as it refers to visiting speakers and events but it does not address the academic freedom issues that are the stuff of everyday academic life as lived and breathed by academics and students. Robert Moretto’s legal advice, to which I referred in our earlier debate, suggests that, as currently drafted, the guidance “seeks to avoid” the kinds of issues raised by the tension between the Prevent duty and existing freedom of speech and academic freedom duties of such concern to noble Lords. It therefore gives the individual academic little clarity. The Government’s amendment goes some way towards providing that clarity but I suggest that if the Minister could go away and come back at Third Reading with something that incorporated these amendments too, it would do the job even better.

Because of the tight timescale with fast-tracking, it has not been possible to have the kind of more in-depth informal discussion that would have been normal between the stages of the Bill. My noble friend Lady Smith of Basildon has already referred to the problems that this has created. I think that the problems have been as much for the Minister and his team as for anyone else. It would be such a shame if, for this practical reason, we lost the opportunity to strengthen the Bill in a way that I believe is totally compatible with the Government’s aims.

If the Minister felt able to go a bit further—again, I appreciate how far he has already moved on this part of the Bill—it would give some reassurance to the academic community who are so anxious about this Bill and who I fear will have been very disappointed at the outcome of the debate on the second group of amendments. I beseech the Minister to be as flexible as possible, but if it really is impossible will he at least commit to ensuring that the guidance states that due regard must be had to the principle of academic freedom as recognised in the Education Reform Act 1988, although this does not address the question of directives, as these amendments do. I beg to move.

Photo of Baroness O'Loan Baroness O'Loan Crossbench

My Lords, I support the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, on Amendments 15A and 15C, to which I have added my name. I thank the Minister for listening and for giving effect through his new amendments to at least part of the arguments which we raised on freedom of speech in the context of the Prevent duty in Part 5. But as the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, has said, there remains the issue of academic freedom, which was discussed in the debate on the earlier group.

Academic freedom was given statutory protection under Section 202 of the Education Reform Act. It imposes a duty on university commissioners to,

“have regard to the need … to ensure that academic staff have freedom within the law to question and test received wisdom, and to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions, without placing themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs or privileges they may have at their institutions”.

This protection is vitally important to academics. There can be no doubt that policies, opinions and even moral values change, and with those changes come the need to challenge existing wisdom and to seek new ways and new processes within the law.

We see that particularly in university teaching and research, where the good academic enthuses his or her students through proper exposure to their research, often in ground-breaking areas where the conventional wisdoms no longer provide the necessary answers. Academics need the freedom to bring into their lecture theatres voices and ideas which may even offend received wisdom and the necessary challenge can then take place. Above all, they need to be sure that in pushing the boundaries for the common good they do not place in peril their livelihoods and their careers.

These amendments are of the utmost importance. Some 540 of the UK’s most senior academics signed a letter in Tuesday’s Guardian warning that the Bill would place an unlawful and unenforceable duty on universities. They call for the Government to take steps to ensure that academic freedom remains uncompromised by efforts to tackle extremism in the UK. I hope that the Minister will accept that Amendments 15A and 15C would enhance the proposed arrangements in respect of the Secretary of State’s guidance and directions to universities in the context of the Prevent duty and would protect academic freedom while not hindering the very proper fight against terrorism.

The amendments would give assurance to academics, young and old, in the work they must do, which can be both brave and challenging, and I would like noble Lords to look at some of that work. It is not easy to challenge what may be received wisdom in communities which have been radicalised, but equally it is not easy to challenge received wisdom in communities where there is an illusion but not the reality of democracy. I am sure noble Lords know where I am going: I am going to Northern Ireland.

In the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, the Northern Ireland civil rights movement, and ultimately the universities, played a profoundly important role in challenging the status quo in Northern Ireland using non-violent methods. I wish to refer noble Lords to a description of non-violent methods for this purpose. It states that,

“non-violent extremism … can create an atmosphere conducive to terrorism and can popularise views which terrorists exploit”.

For decades there were those in the universities and colleges who said that Bloody Sunday was a tragedy and an outrage and that the Government of the United Kingdom, in the publication of the report on the atrocities of Bloody Sunday, had done a terribly wrong thing. That was, if you like, a challenge to democracy as it stood at the time, and those academics were sometimes in a difficult place. There is no doubt that the articulation of the fact that the Bloody Sunday shootings were unlawful may well have been used as a justification for violence by those who subsequently went to violence and extremism of the most violent kind, but that does not mean that the efforts by academics to bring these matters to the attention of society and to have the truth told should have been condemned and prevented because they might have drawn people into terrorism. There is something more fundamental at stake here.

Noble Lords also know of the allegations of wrongdoing on Iraq and our entry into the war in Iraq. You could argue that the identification of what happened that led us into the Iraq conflict and brought us out of it, leaving a serious state of disarray and a huge tragedy behind it, was wrong—we await the report of the Chilcot inquiry—but you could also argue that the challenge of going into the war in Iraq, which many noble Lords opposed, and what happened in Iraq was a justified challenge, and yet it may well have given rise to a justification for extremism even in this country.

The essence of freedom of speech and freedom of expression and academic freedom is that the truth will be protected and cherished, and that people will have the right to say things which even Governments find very difficult to take and which ultimately may be proved to be true.

In conclusion, I urge the Minister to think very carefully about what is being done here. We must learn from our most recent past and from the decades of violence in Northern Ireland. For example, the question might be asked: to what extent, had there been an acknowledgement of the wrong that occurred in the early years of the Troubles at the hands of the state, would there have been the violence that ensued? I was blown up by the IRA, but I do not deny that there are questions about what the state did there.

These simple amendments in the names of the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, and my other colleagues on the Joint Committee on Human Rights will go some way to counteracting the chill factor to which so many noble Lords and so many academics have referred in the context of these measures.

Photo of Baroness Sharp of Guildford Baroness Sharp of Guildford Liberal Democrat 10:00 pm, 4th February 2015

My Lords, I rise to speak to Amendment 15B in my name and that of my noble friends Lady Brinton, Lady Williams and Lady Hamwee. Before speaking to that amendment I would like to say that I have a great deal of sympathy with the arguments that have been put forward by the noble Baronesses, Lady Lister and Lady O’Loan. If the Minister is going to think again about his amendment, I hope that he can find some way of incorporating these thoughts into that amendment. I realise that, as it stands, it covers guidance. The issue that we are coming on to, which is the issuing of directions, carries that forward and has a much more direct challenge to the autonomy of universities than the issuing of guidance.

The other amendment is directed entirely to Clause 29, which gives the Home Secretary the power to direct any authority, including universities and other educational institutions, to issue a direction if she is not satisfied that the authority has been discharging its duty under Clause 25(1).

We discussed this at considerable length in Committee and I do not want to repeat the arguments that we rehearsed at that stage. The Minister in reply to that discussion stressed that this was in every way a last resort power which it was hoped would hardly, if ever, be used. He suggested that perhaps it was just there in the background to try to make sure that people took the guidance seriously. Nevertheless, considerable disquiet remains about its possible usage. This probing amendment seeks to clarify the procedures which might be used. It seeks to ensure that the Government inform the authority of any direction that they are minded to make, and that the authority concerned should have the opportunity to make representations before any final decisions are made to issue such a direction. It also seeks to ensure that the Secretary of State will consider those representations before making the final decision. It seems natural justice that, where such a last resort power is used, the institutions concerned should have a chance to know why the power is being used and to make their own case against it.

Photo of Lord Thomas of Gresford Lord Thomas of Gresford Liberal Democrat

My Lords, if the Minister is not prepared to accept Amendment 15B, can he assure the House that a direction that has been issued would be subject to judicial review and, in the consideration of the judicial review, that the court would bear very much in mind whether a proper opportunity had been given to the university concerned to consider the complaint and to make representations about it? If that were an assurance from the Dispatch Box, I think that the amendment would no longer be necessary.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Crosby Baroness Williams of Crosby Liberal Democrat

My Lords, I have one short point, which has not been raised before, to add to this part of the debate. We now have in this country approaching 100,000 overseas students, a high proportion of whom—about one-third—come from China. A directive from a Minister to a university, as perceived by an overseas student from China, would be very close to being a government censure on that university. The amendment moved by my noble friend at least gives an opportunity for a university to set out why it has refused to take the action that the Secretary of State has enjoined it to, and to explain whether this is a relatively minor aberration or a serious defiance of the directions that the university has been given. That really could be quite important in terms of the attraction to students coming from overseas countries, especially those that have—shall we put it like this?—rather coercive Governments.

Photo of Baroness Smith of Basildon Baroness Smith of Basildon Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

My Lords, it has been an interesting debate. I particularly want to look at Amendments 15A and 15C in the names of the noble Baronesses, Lady Lister, Lady O’Loan, Lady Buscombe and Lady Kennedy. This seems to be very similar to the debate we had earlier, and to the ones we had last week and at Second Reading, about how we define academic freedom and freedom of speech. My impression from listening to what the Minister has had to say in responding and from what I think he intended by his amendment—my noble friend Lady Lister made this point—is that this is about looking at those things together, as a whole. The noble Lord, Lord Pannick, I think, made the point that he took the Minister’s amendment—Amendment 15D—to incorporate academic freedom as well as freedom of speech. So our discussion here, in some ways, is not about the principle—I think the Minister has made clear his view on the principle of this—but about making sure that the detailed legislation is correct.

I must say that I do not agree with the noble Baroness, Lady O’Loan, about what the consequences of that could be. I do not think it would prevent a discussion of the origins of the Troubles in Northern Ireland or that it would have those dire consequences. However, the perception among some academics that it may do is quite worrying.

Photo of Baroness O'Loan Baroness O'Loan Crossbench

If a university has a group of people who want to hold a meeting, or if an academic wants to bring a speaker in, and the purpose is to challenge vociferously something which the Government have done, could that not conceivably constitute non-violent extremism? Could the university not, under the directions to be issued by the Secretary of State, find itself in a position where it has to determine whether or not it allowed that meeting to take place? That is all I was saying.

Photo of Baroness Smith of Basildon Baroness Smith of Basildon Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

It is quite a leap to say that a challenge to the Government automatically becomes something extreme. We are challenging the Government here today in terms of the debate we are having but, from what the Minister has been saying during this debate, that challenge to the Government is not being seen as extremism at any point. However, my noble friend Lady Lister made the point about the perception among academics of their freedom being curtailed. My noble friend was very clear in her comments about what she was seeking: to be absolutely clear in the Bill, or if need be in guidance, about that academic freedom and about the need, as quoted in the Education Reform Act 1988,

“to ensure that academic staff have freedom within the law”— as was said earlier, all freedom of speech is qualified within the law—

“to question and test received wisdom, and to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions”.

I do not think, from what the Minister is saying, that he wants in any way to curtail that. This seems to be largely a technical point and one that, I hope, can be easily resolved. I hope he will address it in comments that he makes today. Perhaps he will be able to take it away and reflect on it or, indeed, ensure that it will be in guidance. However, some reflection on this point, which seems to me to be entirely compatible with his Amendment 15D, would be very helpful.

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

My Lords, I will just deal with a few points from this debate. This group of amendments deals with Clauses 28 and 29. I will refer first to Clause 28, particularly the now amended subsection (4A). The point was raised by the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, who asked whether it would be possible for the affirmative resolution, which is coming forward on the guidance, to cover more than just the date when it will be brought in, which was one reading of the amendment. I confirm, of course, that it will cover both the date and the content of the guidance. We recognise that that is a very important part. It is not clever wording trying to curtail debate. We recognise that that is the intent and I wanted to take the opportunity before we leave Clause 28 to put that on the record.

The noble Baroness, Lady Lister, in moving her amendment, asked that the Secretary of State,

“have due regard to the principle of academic freedom”, when issuing guidance or giving direction. We have already amended the Bill to ensure that particular regard is paid by the Secretary of State to the duty to secure freedom of speech in higher and further education, as set out in Section 43 of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986. The interplay between the duty in that Act and the principle of academic freedom set out in Section 202(2) of the Education Reform Act 1988 is an interesting one.

The Education Reform Act defines academic freedom as, in particular, the ability for academic staff to question and test received wisdom, and to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions, without placing themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs or the privileges they may have at their institutions. I well acknowledge the remarks made by the noble Baroness, Lady O’Loan, who told us very powerfully in earlier stages of the Bill about the rigours of actually teaching constitutional government—I think it was—in Northern Ireland during the time of the Troubles. We accept that what is described here is effectively a subset of freedom of speech which higher and further education institutions have a duty to secure through Section 43 of the 1986 Act.

Furthermore, I note that the 1986 Act extends the duty to secure freedom of speech not only to academic staff but also to employees, students—to whom the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, referred—and visitors. It covers both higher and further education institutions, whereas the matters referred to in Section 202 of the 1988 Act are only pertinent to the academic staff of universities.

Without going any further at this stage, I would like to reflect on what the noble Baroness said, without saying anything binding. I certainly understand where she is coming from, if it is a matter of interpretation. We just need to check that with lawyers. If she is willing not to press that amendment, I will certainly give an undertaking to look at it again and perhaps come back with some comments at Third Reading.

I turn now to Amendment 15B in the name of my noble friend Lady Sharp, which would require the Secretary of State, prior to making a direction, to inform the authority of that intention and to give the authority the opportunity to make representations before the direction is made. Any decision made by the Secretary of State must be reasonable and proportionate. In most circumstances, this would require only the steps outlined; so in that sense, we believe that this amendment is not necessary. I can also assure the House once again that it is the Secretary of State’s intention, as a matter of policy, to use this power only as a last resort, when other means of securing compliance through discussions with the authorities—who will be at liberty to make representations at that stage—have been exhausted. I should also reiterate that both the Prevent oversight board, on which our noble friend Lord Carlile sits, and the courts—to answer the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford—will play a role in the process of giving and enforcing such a direction.

To clarify, we do not want, as it were, to run to the bottom line on this point of the direction. It is a necessary consequence of making statutory the requirement to have due regard that there must be some legal doorstop. If people refuse to abide by the law then, just as with any other law, ultimately it trickles down to the court and might end up in contempt of court. We recognise that we are treading on very sensitive ground here. I am sure that all Secretaries of State will weigh that very carefully. Also, they must have particular regard when issuing that direction to the freedoms outlined in the 1986 Act.

With that reassurance to my noble friend and the promise to reflect on the amendment moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, I ask noble Lords to consider not pressing their amendments at this stage.

Photo of Baroness Lister of Burtersett Baroness Lister of Burtersett Labour 10:15 pm, 4th February 2015

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who spoke in support of Amendments 15A and 15C, in particular the noble Baroness, Lady O’Loan. Her experience in Northern Ireland is very relevant to our discussions and throws real light on what is at issue here. I am also grateful to my noble friend Lady Smith, although I do not think that anyone is saying that this would necessarily cause that effect. This is the whole concept of the chilling effect: it is about perception and what people fear. I will not go into the phenomenology and so forth, but perceptions become reality because that is how people think. The chilling effect is very real.

I am most grateful to the Minister. I could not, because of the breakneck speed at which we must go through this, really ask for more than that he is prepared to go away and reflect. I accept that it is not binding. However, I trust that he will look very seriously to see what might be possible to come back with at Third Reading. I am very grateful to him. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 15A withdrawn.

Clause 29: Power to give directions: general

Amendments 15B and 15C not moved.

Amendment 15D

Moved by Lord Bates

15D: After Clause 29, insert the following new Clause—

“Freedom of expression in universities etc

(1) This section applies to a specified authority if it is the proprietor or governing body of—

(a) an institution that provides further education (within the meaning given by section 2(3) of the Education Act 1996), or

(b) an institution that provides courses of higher education (within the meaning given by section 579(1) of that Act).

(2) When carrying out the duty imposed by section 25(1), a specified authority to which this section applies must, if subject to the duty imposed by section 43(1) of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 (freedom of speech in universities etc), have particular regard to it.

(3) In relation to specified authorities that are subject to that duty, the Secretary of State must have particular regard to it—

(a) when issuing guidance under section 28;

(b) when considering whether to give directions under section 29.”

Amendment 15D agreed.

Clause 33: Chapter 1: interpretation

Amendment 15E

Moved by Lord Bates

15E: Clause 33, page 21, line 18, leave out “Assembly”

Amendment 15E agreed.

Clause 34: Assessment and support: local panels

Amendment 15F

Moved by Baroness Hamwee

15F: Clause 34, page 21, line 30, leave out “in place” and insert “available”

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Liberal Democrat

My Lords, I will also speak to Amendments 15G, 15H and 15J. I referred at the start of this afternoon to the infrastructure which goes along with the statutory duty created by this Bill—the bureaucracy, cost and so on. I do not underestimate or undervalue the negative impact to which I also referred earlier. I read then a part of the response to the consultation on the draft guidance from the London Borough of Sutton. It also referred to descriptions of working across borough boundaries. That made me realise that the legislation may not reflect the current realities of the way local government works.

Sutton talks about sharing,

“a great deal of information and planning with neighbouring boroughs around risk and consequent Channel planning ... This cross border risk identification and consequent planning is not considered in the guidance”.

It goes on to talk about training, and about,

“‘borrowing’ a Police Prevent Engagement Officer (PEO) from the Police in a neighbouring Borough. There is no PEO allocated to Sutton”.

It continues:

“It would clearly be impossible to provide the frontline training for staff in local authorities and education institutions and organisations suggested in the guidance without significant additional funding”.

I shall come to that on the next group of amendments, when I will talk about collaboration in training.

That is a response to the guidance, but should there be something in the Bill? Local authorities are increasingly sharing back office functions, and indeed some front office functions as well. Children’s services and adoption services may be shared, as may any number of services. So should a local authority have “a panel … in place”, as Clause 34(1) requires? I suggest that a panel should be “available” instead. An authority should have access to a panel. It would still have the duty; it would not be avoiding responsibility. But as the clause is worded, would each authority be required to have its own panel? I hope that the Minister will be able to reassure us that local authorities can share functions as I have described.

Clause 34 is about Channel, whereas the previous chapter dealt with Prevent. The point comes up here, so can the Minister confirm that guidance will allow for cross-border as well as multi-agency working? I suppose the bottom line is that the Bill should not actually make cross-border arrangements of this sort ultra vires. If that can be dealt with in guidance, fine. But as the Minister is going to be reflecting so much over the next two or three days, perhaps he could get somebody else to reflect on that point—because if we lose the opportunity to make it clear in the Bill, we shall be in trouble.

In relation to Amendment 15G, my noble friend Lord Carlile drew attention to the need to recognise that when we talk about housing providers, we do not usually mean local authorities. He mentioned the Peabody trust, I think, as probably having the most social housing in London. He mentioned a point that had not previously occurred to me, about recognising the knowledge that housing providers have of their tenants, and the important role that they can therefore play. Understandably, having heard those comments, the Minister answered in terms of the panel. But I am not so concerned about that, because Clause 35(4) provides for co-option. It does not use that term, but that is what it amounts to: there can be appointed,

“such … persons as the … local authority considers appropriate”.

It could therefore appoint a representative of the housing providers.

The amendment, which is the same as the one to which I spoke in Committee, is about the support to be provided to, or required by, an individual. Clause 34 deals with the support that the panel can provide or facilitate, and subsection (5) deals in general terms with the support plan. There is no mention of specific services in it, so housing could be read as being included in those arrangements. However, subsection (6) applies when,

“a panel determines that support should not be given”, and is considering,

“whether the individual ought to be referred to a provider of any health or social care services”.

Why is that reference so narrow? There must be other relevant services, and I would have thought that housing was pretty obviously one of those. Stable accommodation plays an important role in stabilising someone who has a chaotic or difficult life. I have referred to “other” services because there seems to be no reason to limit the clause, as drafted. The clause does not require the provision of any services; what it requires is the consideration of whether an individual should be referred, and the arrangements to refer him. If there is no positive reason to limit the clause, I am bothered that the Government may be quite unnecessarily depriving the local authority of a tool that it could use.

I hope that, at the very least, the Minister can take this on board. Earlier today, somebody said, “I hope the Minister will go away”, and then there was a pause; let me put it as hoping that he will take away the possibility of guidance covering this issue. Similarly with my earlier point, the point here is that the Bill should contain an assurance that other referrals are within the powers of the panel. I do not read it that way, but I am happy to defer to those who are more skilled in interpreting what legislation actually means. This is another vires point, and I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friends for tabling these amendments and allowing us to return to the measures in Chapter 2 of Part 5, relating to programmes to support individuals at risk of being drawn into terrorism. Of course in England and Wales, these provisions relate to the existing Channel programme, which we are putting on a statutory basis. My noble friends’ contributions have benefited from great experience of local government and I will seek to address the issues raised by their amendments.

Amendment 15F relates to the duty requiring each local authority to ensure that a panel is “in place” for its area to provide support to people identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. The amendment would substitute “available” for the current term “in place”, aiming to ensure that there is flexibility to allow for panels to be in place for combined local authority areas. I hope that I can reassure my noble friend that this amendment is, in reality, unnecessary because Clause 39(3) already provides for one panel in a local authority area to serve multiple local authorities. Local authorities have the flexibility to determine whether to run their own panel or conduct panels with one or more other local authorities.

Amendments 15H and 15J would add to the list of members of a panel any other local authority which was “served by the panel”. I assure my noble friend that the intention here is that some authorities may wish to co-operate by having one panel serving a number of areas and, in those circumstances, would want to ensure attendance by all the local authorities concerned. In certain areas this may be the most suitable approach, and the Government would support this. As I have said, Clause 39(3) already ensures that the panel must include a member from each local authority and each police force where a panel serves more than one area. In addition, the proposed legislation already anticipates other local authorities sitting on a panel by listing them in Schedule 7 as partners to the panel. This means that they are subject to the duty to co-operate with the panels under Clause 36. These additional local authorities would most certainly be invited to attend if a person from their area was under discussion.

Amendment 15G would add “housing” to the list of additional services to which a panel should consider making an onward referral if it was considered that support from the panel was inappropriate. This follows up on a point made by my noble friend Lord Carlile when we debated these clauses in Committee. There are of course many types of support which a panel could consider in these circumstances. I reassure noble Lords that the guidance which will be produced specifically mentions housing as one of these.

My noble friend asked, “Do housing providers attend Channel panels?”. The answer is yes. In Westminster local authority housing advisers have attended Channel panels where appropriate. This is particularly important where vulnerable individuals have already been allocated social housing. For matters concerning new allocations it is the responsibility of the local authority to take this forward. In relation to the Bill, it seems more appropriate to confine the list to those types of support most essential to safeguard health and immediate welfare.

I hope that my noble friend is satisfied with the explanation that has been put on the record and that I will not have to take the amendment away to think again. Perhaps she can reflect on this and withdraw her amendment.

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Liberal Democrat 10:30 pm, 4th February 2015

Before my noble friend sits down, I should say that he referred to Clause 39, where the reference is to the “combined area”. I intended my questions to be rather broader than the combined area—where authorities collaborate to provide particular services and activities. As I understand the term—and

I may be wrong in this—that does not amount to a combined area. More current experience in local government indicates that I may be right. I took my examples from the response of the London Borough of Sutton. I did not name it, but it was talking about working in collaboration with Croydon. I think both Croydon and Sutton would be pretty surprised if they were thought to be a combined area. I am prepared to reflect, but I am trying to give my noble friend an opportunity to respond, since he has not sat down yet—in the House of Lords parlance.

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Of course we will look again at any suggestions, particular one coming from the borough of Sutton. We are saying that, where the duty applies, and the Channel panel covers a number of local authority areas, they would be deemed combined for the purposes of the Channel programme. I am happy to look at that and perhaps it is something about which I can write to my noble friend, though I may not need to do so. Co-operation between local authority officers would be permissible, not just in combined areas. Local authorities could co-operate; “combined” is a specific term and it would cover those areas too.

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Liberal Democrat

On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 15F withdrawn.

Amendment 15G not moved.

Clause 35: Membership and proceedings of panels

Amendments 15H and 15J not moved.

Amendment 15K

Moved by Baroness Hamwee

15K: After Clause 39, insert the following new Clause—

“Costs of prevention and of local panels

As soon as practicable after the end of each financial year the Secretary of State shall report to Parliament the costs incurred by local authorities and other specified authorities attributable to compliance with the duties under sections 25 and 34, and what specific grant has been made by the Secretary of State to meet those costs.”

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Liberal Democrat

My Lords, I have referred previously to the cost of the statutory duties—in relation not just to the substance, but to the infrastructure built by the Bill. This amendment refers both to,

“local authorities and other specified authorities”, but I particularly had in mind local authorities. I am not sure that I have yet done so, but I declare an interest in that I am joint president of London Councils.

I have previously mentioned the “new burdens” principle, which might be expected to apply to these activities, and I have previously referred to some of the costs which have been estimated by the Government. London Councils is unconvinced by these.

My noble friend Lord Scriven will speak to this amendment, so I shall simply explain that, as a way of drawing attention to the costs, the amendment proposes an annual report to Parliament by the Secretary of State. The matter could be included in a report dealing with other matters. Maybe there should be some prospective reporting of the costs anticipated to be incurred.

On the first day of Report, I think it was, the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, referred to the refusals to disclose money allocated to the Metropolitan Police for counterterrorism for security reasons, though, as he observed, some detail of that budget eventually comes into the public domain as it is scrutinised by the London Assembly. I used to chair the Assembly’s budget committee, so I remember all that.

There should be as much transparency in this area as possible. There is a lot of concern about the costs and, in any event, what money is spent on what is a matter of public interest. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Scriven Lord Scriven Liberal Democrat

My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lady Hamwee, and I thank the Minister for guiding the Bill so ably and patiently through the House. I am aware of the time, so I will try not to keep the House too long.

Until now, the debate has been about putting on to a statutory footing the powers that some specified organisations will have and some that they will not. The Minister, along with others who support this going on to a statutory footing, has indicated that this is to bring the rest up to the standard of the best. I know, as I am sure do many people who have had responsibility for public service and budgets, that bringing things up to the best does not necessarily mean being able to do it on the cheap; there is a cost associated with it.

Evidence has come from a number of organisations. In my former life as leader of a council, I was not one who participated in the Oliver Twist-type approach to budgeting by always asking for “more, please”; that is not the approach. However, when new burdens or new statutory responsibilities are being put on an organisation, it is only fair that it is adequately funded for those. As I say, evidence has come from a number of sources in the past couple of months about putting this on to a statutory footing—for example, from the Quilliam Foundation, the Local Government Association and a number of local authorities. More revealingly, the Audit Commission, when it did a report on Prevent in 2008-09, made it clear that resources were needed if this was going to be done effectively and efficiently. I assume that the Minister and the Government want to see this being done in that way.

It would be worth looking at the fact that historically something in the region of £140 million per year, or even more, was previously allocated to Prevent, and large cities were getting somewhere in the region of £600,000 per annum to deal with Prevent issues. I always go to impact assessments because they are very revealing, and I notice that in this one the Department for Communities and Local Government indicates that authorities will need somewhere between £4,000 and £40,000. Past evidence suggests that to do this to the best, large authorities need somewhere in the region of £600,000. It is telling that the impact assessment says that we do not have complete data on all the specified authorities that will be affected, and that is why there may be a discrepancy.

Manchester City Council, in a report that went to its cabinet only a few months ago, highlights specifically the financial burden that this is now having on a city such as Manchester, and says clearly that it cannot be sustained at its present level. So there is evidence historically; there are people who are not providers, or not public statutory bodies, such as the Quilliam Foundation, and existing providers of Prevent, who are saying that resources will be needed.

The London Borough of Sutton has done some work on the consultation and says that for such a borough, somewhere between £50,000 and £60,000 would be required for a Prevent co-ordinator—looking at local government, that is about the rate that such people are paid. Somewhere in the region of £250,000 would be required for new interventions, based on best practice from Wandsworth. Sutton also anticipates somewhere in the region of a £150,000 per annum increase in capacity for core safeguarding work, child protection and early work interventions.

This is not cheap. This is not work, if we are going to do it effectively, that can be done with existing resources; that is becoming very clear. The cost from Sutton does not include some of the extra work needed for administration and, as my noble friend Lady Hamwee suggested, some of the extra work needed for looking cross-border at a larger area.

Staff training is a full duty within the guidance. I quote from paragraph 37, which states:

“Local authorities will be expected to ensure that frontline staff have a good understanding of Prevent, are trained to recognise vulnerability to being drawn into terrorism and are aware of available programmes to deal with this issue”.

Staff training in itself will run into many hundreds of thousands of pounds for large authorities. Some of them have between 8,000 and 10,000 staff. The impact assessment states that it will cost £62 for 20 members of staff trained. For a local authority with between 8,000 and 10,000 front-line staff, as some of our large metropolitan authorities have, it will mean £31,000 to carry out just one section of the guidance. That is a significant cost.

I suggest that the duties placed on the public sector will be far more than the anticipated £10 million to £14 million per annum that the impact assessment suggests. I will give one example of why the figures are completely inadequate. Staff training is anticipated in the impact assessment to require an allocation by government of £300,000 per annum. There are 254,000 staff employed by the public sector in the north-east region. Assuming that only 50% of those are front-line staff, that is more than £300,000 per annum. Yet £300,000 per annum is being given for the whole country for staff training.

The amendment tries to get a commitment that, if we are going to go down the route of putting this onto a statutory footing and we want to make sure that local public bodies carry out best practice, adequate funding is provided. If not, the Government’s target of meeting best practice will not be achieved. Resources will not be available, particularly in the present climate in terms of public sector resources. So I ask the Minister the questions asked by my noble friend Lady Hamwee: will new burdens apply to the new duties that are to be put on the public sector, and will money be put forward annually, as the amendment says, before Parliament, so that local authorities and other public bodies locally will be compensated for the duties they will have under a statutory footing?

Photo of Baroness Smith of Basildon Baroness Smith of Basildon Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 10:45 pm, 4th February 2015

I have a very brief comment. I listened with great interest to the noble Lord’s comments. I think he was right to ask those questions, and I am sure he shares my concern that the coalition Government cut substantial funding from Prevent, so fewer local authorities have benefited in the past couple of years. There are questions to be asked of the Minister because Prevent is very important. We recognise that by making it statutory, but I regret the cuts the coalition Government have made to the Prevent programme.

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

My Lords, in considering these amendments, I defer to the extensive and detailed local government expertise of my noble friends Lady Hamwee and Lord Scriven. Before I respond to the specifics of the amendment, I repeat that in relation to the Channel guidance, we are consulting local authorities and specifically Channel panel chairs. We would be very happy to consult London councils—Sutton was mentioned in particular—to take account of their views and concerns and to address them in any guidance that is issued. If other local authorities feel the same, that would be welcomed.

Amendment 15K concerns the costs of implementing the duties in Chapters 1 and 2 of Part 5. The amendment would require the Secretary of State to report to Parliament on the costs incurred by specified authorities and on the grant made to meet those costs. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister has already announced £130 million of extra resource over this year and next to meet the increased terrorist threat from Syria and Iraq. Some of this funding has been earmarked for the implementation of the duty in the chapter. I am not trying to suggest that it is all going there. The vast majority, I think, is heading towards the security services for technology capability.

Channel panels already exist in all areas of England and Wales. Under existing arrangements, which should not change in practice as a result of this legislation, the Home Office provides funding for Channel police practitioners who co-ordinate activity in organising cases and supporting panels. Each of the nine police regions receives funding to support the Channel programme. For national security reasons, we do not publicly provide a breakdown of police counterterrorism spend by individual projects, capabilities, work streams or police force areas. Disclosure could identify areas where the threat to the national security of the UK is greatest and where there are vulnerabilities in different regions and capabilities. I hope that that helps in some way to explain the reasons behind this.

The Home Office also funds theological and ideological interventions—so that which is not provided by the local authorities is provided by the Home Office. We therefore do not consider that local authorities should incur extra costs as a result of the implementation of this chapter. Any statutory services provided would be met through existing funding.

Photo of Lord Scriven Lord Scriven Liberal Democrat

The impact assessment states that extra work will happen because of the statutory duty, so the Government have made very clear that extra costs, not just to local authorities but to other statutory bodies within local areas, will be brought about by the new statutory duties. I am not clear what to follow as the specific guidance: the answer that the Minister is helpfully trying to give or the Government’s impact assessment, which is very clear about extra costs being associated with these new statutory duties—not just for local authorities but for other statutory bodies as well.

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

I am happy to look at that. We are consulting on this. A little bit like the discussion we had on universities and higher education earlier on, it might be the case that there is some misunderstanding about the level of the duty which will be required as a result of this new law. That is the reason why the consultation will be very helpful. It is something that I will take away and reflect back on, and also feed back to colleagues in the Department for Communities and Local Government in relation to this, with whom we work closely. I will also perhaps write to the noble Lord with a little more information if I can. In the mean time, if the noble Baroness would be willing to withdraw her amendment, I would be grateful.

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Liberal Democrat

My Lords, I, too, am bemused about whether this is a new burden or whether the cost will be nil. I do not have the impact assessment with me, but looking back at the costs that I quoted in Committee on 28 January, I see that I referred to the impact assessment estimating that the total cost of the measures for England and Wales would be around £40 million, although within that, the cost of placing Channel panels on a statutory footing has been estimated at nil. Perhaps everybody is right. I am also bemused at the figure of £62 to train 10 staff. That seems remarkably little. I presume that it covers the trainer and the time of the staff being trained. My noble friend and I have both been quoting Sutton because we have had the material to help us. It is certainly right to say that in terms of London boroughs, Sutton is a small borough.

I am grateful to my noble friend for agreeing to make sure that at least the information that has been put out is correct and that there are no queries hanging over that, and particularly for his offer to consult with the umbrella organisation London Councils. I have no doubt that this topic is one which will be raised repeatedly in conversations between local authorities and DCLG, as well as with the Home Office, but I am glad to have had the opportunity to air this, and it is important that the points made by my noble friend have got out into the open. I am sorry, I am not suggesting that there has been any attempt not to reveal anything. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 15K withdrawn.

Amendment 16

Moved by Lord Ashton of Hyde

16: Before Clause 42, insert the following new Clause—

“Reviews of operation of Part 1 etc

(1) The person appointed under section 36(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006 (“the independent reviewer”) is also responsible for reviewing the operation of the provisions listed in subsection (2).

(2) The provisions are—

(a) Part 1 of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001;

(b) Part 2 of that Act as it applies in cases where a use or threat of the action referred to in section 4(2) of that Act would constitute terrorism;

(c) the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008;

(d) Part 1 of this Act.

(3) In each calendar year the independent reviewer must, by 31 January, inform the Secretary of State and the Treasury what (if any) reviews under this section the reviewer intends to carry out in that year.

Those reviews must be completed during that year or as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of it.

(4) The independent reviewer must send to the Secretary of State a report on the outcome of each review as soon as reasonably practicable after the review is completed.

(5) On receiving a report under subsection (4), the Secretary of State must lay a copy of it before Parliament.

(6) The expenses and allowances that may be paid under section 36(6) of the Terrorism Act 2006 include expenses and allowances in respect of functions under this section.

(7) In this section “terrorism” has the same meaning as in the Terrorism Act 2000 (see section 1(1) to (4) of that Act).”

Photo of Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

My Lords, I am pleased to have the opportunity to return to Part 7 of the Bill today, and particularly matters relating to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, which I know is a topic which has generated much interest and thoughtful debate among your Lordships at earlier stages of this Bill.

Your Lordships’ House is in no doubt of the importance of the office of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. David Anderson QC, the current incumbent, who has occupied this role since February 2011, and who my right honourable friend the Home Secretary holds in the highest regard, already does an excellent job reviewing key pieces of UK counterterrorism statutes. His recommendations help us to ensure that our counterterrorism legislation is fair, effective and proportionate, and that it strikes an appropriate balance in the face of the very real and serious threat we face from terrorism, which has been acknowledged across all sides of the House.

This office, which has existed in various forms over 35 years, has traditionally been occupied by individuals of judgment, independence and legal expertise. A number of previous incumbents are esteemed Members of this House and have contributed to vital public debate about our counterterrorism powers. It is with this in mind that the Government have given very careful consideration to the weight of views expressed by this House, the other place and David Anderson himself during the debate on this Bill, and it is why, in part, I am bringing forward Amendments 16 to 21 for your Lordships to consider today. These amendments make important changes to the role of the independent reviewer and, separately, are intended more clearly to define his relationship with the proposed Privacy and Civil Liberties Board already provided for in the Bill.

Of the six amendments proposed by the Government, the first—Amendment 16—recognises that unsatisfactory gaps have developed over time in respect of the independent oversight of key pieces of counterterrorism legislation which in turn make it more challenging for the independent reviewer, and indeed the Government, to provide full assurance to the public that all of our counterterrorism powers operate as intended.

Amendment 16 therefore inserts a new clause which will extend the remit of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation to include other counterterrorism legislation to ensure that those Acts are the subject of independent scrutiny and, in turn, that the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, to which I will turn later, can support him in reviewing the operation of these laws.

In practice, that will mean that in addition to those Acts currently subject to review—the Terrorism Act 2000, Part 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006, the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 and the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011—the independent reviewer will also be able to review Part 1 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, and Part 2 of that Act in so far as the power is used in cases relating to terrorism; the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008; and Part 1 of this Bill, containing the new temporary passport seizure and temporary exclusion order powers, when enacted.

It is right and proper, however, that we do not risk the important role of the independent reviewer becoming diluted by expanding its remit to a much wider and less well defined list of statutes. This change to the independent reviewer’s remit will be limited to true counterterrorism provisions and will ensure that its scope does not stray into other areas which might properly fall—or at the very least stray—within the remit of other independent oversight bodies.

I will deal with the other government amendments in a moment but, before doing so, I would like to touch on Amendment 16A, tabled by my noble friend Lady Hamwee. This amendment would extend the independent reviewer’s remit further still by adding to it the statutory responsibility to review Part 2 of the Justice and Security Act, covering closed material procedures, and the power of the Secretary of State to deprive citizenship, in certain circumstances, under Section 66 of the Immigration Act 2014.

I recognise that my noble friend has a long-standing interest in those specific issues, and I appreciate that she has tabled the amendment intending to ensure that important areas of the law have sufficient oversight. However, I hope that I can reassure her that, in the Government’s view, that change is unnecessary.

The closed material provisions contained within Part 2 of the Justice and Security Act 2013 are already by their very nature subject to robust oversight. Each application for a closed material procedure is scrutinised in detail by a judge. The judge then keeps that application under review as necessary throughout the proceedings, to ensure that there is no detriment or unfairness to any party. The Ministry of Justice also publishes annual statistics on the overall use of closed material procedures.

In addition to that judicial oversight inherent in any individual use of CMP provisions, Parliament has already provided for review of the power as a whole. Section 13 of the 2013 Act requires that the Secretary of State must—I repeat “must”—appoint a person to review the operation of Sections 6 to 11 of the Act, the closed material procedure provisions, at the five-year mark from commencement.

I hope that your Lordships will appreciate that bringing the provisions within scope of the review by the independent reviewer could result in unnecessary duplication and may unnecessarily encroach into the territory of the appropriate reviewer, to be appointed by the Secretary of State in future.

Similarly, Parliament has already provided that the use of immigration powers is overseen by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration. The Immigration Act 2014 contains the power to deprive an individual of British citizenship where their conduct is seriously prejudicial to the United Kingdom. Section 66 of the Act provides that within one year of that provision’s commencement, which is July this year, the Secretary of State must—and again the word is “must”—appoint a person to review its operation. That person’s report will be laid before Parliament. That person could be David Anderson, as we have previously said, but we also need to be mindful of the many competing demands on his time. The important point here is that the provision already exists in statute, and we think that it would be inappropriate to seek to duplicate it in this legislation.

Perhaps I could now revert to the other amendments which the Government have tabled. We recognise that extending the remit of the independent reviewer cannot be considered in isolation, and inherently brings into question the appropriate reporting frequency for those Acts which are subject to review. David Anderson has previously reported that he is operating at the limit of his capacity. The Government are clear that he should not be constrained in his ability to carry out these important reviews, even with the assistance and advice of a fully constituted Privacy and Civil Liberties Board and the secretariat that will support that board.

This is why, through Amendments 17, 20 and 21, we are removing the current requirement for the independent reviewer to review annually all legislation within his purview, with one exception which I will come to in a moment. This will provide him with significant flexibility in his work programme, so that he is able to concentrate on areas which he believes are the most deserving of review in a particular period. The discretion being afforded to the independent reviewer by these amendments demonstrates the Government’s trust in this long-standing and highly effective office. I hope that your Lordships will agree that it is right that one piece of legislation, the Terrorism Act 2000, which is a core piece of counterterrorism legislation, should continue to be subject to annual review. This Act will be the sole statute which remains subject to an annual reporting requirement.

Let me now turn to the important change we are making to the proposed Privacy and Civil Liberties Board which is set out at Clause 42 of the Bill, and which is intended to further support the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. Noble Lords and a number of my honourable and right honourable friends in the other place have been clear during the debates on this measure that it is essential for there to be clarity about how the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board will operate alongside the independent reviewer, given its intended status as a board to support him and help him discharge his functions.

The Government have reflected carefully on the views of your Lordships and further discussion with David Anderson, and are bringing forward Amendments 18 and 19 to Clause 42. David Anderson has acknowledged that the relationship between him and the new board is resolved. We intend that this board will genuinely enhance the independent reviewer’s capacity and, if it is to do so, it is right that he should be able to direct board members to carry out particular tasks. These amendments therefore explicitly provide that the board will operate under his direction and control.

In addition, we are ensuring that the regulations made under this clause provide for the Secretary of State to appoint members to the board, having considered recommendations from the chair of the board, thus ensuring that the independent reviewer will have a key role in the appointment of the board’s members.

David Anderson has helpfully posted his reaction to these amendments on his website over the weekend. I am pleased to say that he describes his views as,

“on the whole, rather positive”.

He says that the Government have listened to what he has said and that these amendments address three of the five concerns which he had previously expressed. These are, first, expanding the independent reviewer’s remit; secondly, giving him greater flexibility in reporting; and thirdly, clarifying the relationship between the independent reviewer and the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board. I have already described those changes in detail.

I shall deal briefly with the other two issues that David Anderson raised and seek to explain to your Lordships why we have not sought to address them. David Anderson would like greater flexibility to review powers not contained in specific counterterrorism legislation. I have already touched on this in dealing with the amendment from my noble friend Lady Hamwee. The reason why we did not seek to legislate on that point is that we do not want to create overlap or ambiguity in our oversight arrangements. Many powers exercised in the counterterrorism field already have existing arrangements for review and oversight. For example, the use of interception and acquisition of communications data, provided for in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, is a vital tool in the fight against terrorism but is reviewed by the independent Interception of Communications Commissioner. Similarly, surveillance powers in that Act are regulated by the Surveillance Commissioner. As I have already said, the use of immigration powers is overseen by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration. Such duplication of oversight arrangements could reduce the clarity for the public on where to look for assurance about the proper exercise of such powers.

I shall deal briefly with the other issue raised by David Anderson. He is concerned about the lack of written assurance of access to classified papers. I simply make the point that no Government have ever sought to withhold sensitive papers from the independent reviewer, a point which he himself explicitly recognised in his last annual report and on his blog. I can imagine the opprobrium that would be heaped on the Government were they to seek to do so; it would be a powerful disincentive, particularly as comments on any inappropriate decisions, in his view, would no doubt quickly appear on his blog.

It is worth reading in full the final paragraph of David Anderson’s blog. He says:

“But it would be wrong to sound a churlish note. These amendments, should they find their way into law, will greatly improve the Bill. It will be for me to ensure that they improve the quality of the independent review for which I am responsible”.

I very much welcome this conclusion. I also welcome the sentiment expressed earlier in his message, which I hope will reassure those of your Lordships who have questioned the wisdom of establishing the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board at all. He says:

“If skilled and practical people are appointed to the Board, content to work under the Reviewer’s direction, the capacity for independent review will be improved”.

I trust that government Amendments 16 to 21 provide greater clarity and reassurance about our approach to these important issues, and I hope that I have been able to reassure my noble friend Lady Hamwee that her amendments are not needed, given that there is already existing statutory provision for independent review of the Acts that she is concerned about. I would therefore invite her not to press her Amendment 16A and I beg to move.

Amendment 16A (to Amendment 16)

Moved by Baroness Hamwee

16A: Before Clause 42, line 12, at end insert—

“(e) Part 2 of the Justice and Security Act 2013;

(f) any provision of immigration and nationality law to the extent it is used for counter-terrorism purposes”

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Liberal Democrat 11:00 pm, 4th February 2015

I welcome the government amendments. In my clumsy way, I tried to deal with the issues raised by the independent reviewer about his remit and the new board at the last stage. The Minister referred to two of the five issues that the independent reviewer sought to cover, which I tried to cover at that last stage. I am flattered that he suggested that my Amendment 16A comes from my own interest and concerns about the Justice and Security Act and the disclosure of sensitive material, closed material proceedings, special advocates and all the rest of it, as well as my concerns about immigration and nationality law. I indeed have those concerns but I cannot say that this is a self-started amendment. I was asked to pursue the subject. The independent reviewer has made clear that he wants this. He does not seek to go beyond the counterterrorism area. I hope that the amendment is clear on that. His blog has already been quoted and I shall quote from it too. He wrote:

“It is however a shame that the Reviewer was not also given the opportunity to review the operation of other powers, including immigration powers, to the extent that they are used for counter-terrorism purposes. I have no evidence whatsoever that any of those powers is used in an improper manner. But in such a sensitive and secret area, it is as well to have the assurance that only independent review can provide”.

He continues by quoting from his report of last July, which said:

“More than one person of a suspicious cast of mind has suggested to me that the unreviewed powers (for example, the use of the Royal Prerogative to withdraw passport facilities) are likely to be used for the purposes of doing the Government’s ‘dirty work’”.

I suggest my amendment because the independent reviewer has a holistic approach to this whole area. Individual case oversight and different reviewers, to which my noble friend has referred, while reassuring, do not meet the points that the reviewer has in his mind. He clearly looks at how the whole of counterterrorism legislation is operating and has ranged beyond the relatively narrow legislative remit that he has had in the past. Previously, I have heard him say that he is not seeking a turf war with other reviewers but, equally, he does not see these things in silos, which is why this amendment has come forward. I beg to move.

Photo of Baroness O'Loan Baroness O'Loan Crossbench

My Lords, I support the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee. This amendment derives from the work of the Joint Committee on Human Rights in scrutinising the Bill. We took evidence from a number of people, including the independent reviewer. It was his recommendation about the major gaps in his function which should be filled which led to the creation of this amendment. I did not put my name to it to lead it because, in my innocence, I thought that there was a possibility that we might get to it earlier in the evening when I would be engaged in a committee. I have much to learn about your Lordships’ House.

As the noble Lord, Lord Ashton, rightly says, the independent reviewer had identified these major gaps. The Government have also accepted and recognised those gaps. I think that the independent reviewer has been looking at the whole architecture of counterterrorist legislation and has tried to ensure that there is—I do not like to use the word holistic—a complete, effective and standard-based approach to the review, which I do not think is provided by individual case-by-case judicial proceedings.

The opportunity here is simple and it would not add a great deal to the work of the independent reviewer were the Government to consider again this amendment. As the Minister has said, the office of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation is very highly respected in the country. I have worked very closely with some of the predecessors of David Anderson QC and I know how very significant that work is.

We are just asking for two issues to be moved into the remit of the independent reviewer under this amendment. As the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, has said, the first concerns Part 2 of the Justice and Security Act 2013, which deals with closed material procedures. Those procedures apply in litigation, which very often is litigation that is seeking compensation in claims against the Government and other authorities, and where there is a problem that there is material the disclosure of which will be damaging to the interests of national security.

Your Lordships will undoubtedly remember the robust and difficult debates we had in this House not long ago as we moved to the introduction of those procedures and the concerns that were articulated about the application of the rights under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Act was passed with that important counterterrorist provision that enables protection for and defence of government cases, which is what it is really all about. The other provisions on immigration and nationality law are there only to the extent that they are used for counterterrorist purposes. The amendment would not create any additional national security or significant funding issues and would complement and further inform the work done by the independent reviewer. As the Minister said, it would provide some welcome accountability for the significant powers given to the authorities under this legislation and allow the Government to give reassurances to the public such as those articulated by the noble Lord, Lord Ashton.

The noble Lord referred to the various forms of review for the legislation. I will not go through them one at a time, your Lordships will be pleased to hear, but the Joint Committee on Human Rights, in the absence of any review of closed material procedures, was not satisfied that there is sufficient oversight. Mr Anderson said that he needed a junior. On the board he will probably get lots of juniors to help him but the fact remains that he has said, and continues to say, that oversight of Part 2 of the Justice and Security Act, in particular, is important. I ask the Minister to think about this again.

I am pleased to see that the Minister has recognised the independent reviewer’s need for additional resources. I am sure that if he were to amend his Amendment 16 to include our Amendment 16A it would not require many additional resources.

Photo of Lord Thomas of Gresford Lord Thomas of Gresford Liberal Democrat 11:15 pm, 4th February 2015

My Lords, I will not follow my noble friend Lady Hamwee and the noble Baroness, Lady O’Loan, on Amendment 16A but will turn to Amendments 18 and 19 in this group.

The Minister may recall that in Committee I asked what the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board was for and I think that Amendment 19, particularly in paragraph (b), is a rather elegant solution to the question I posed in that, obviously, the board will be chaired by the independent reviewer and he can decide in which direction he wishes to take the board and to what degree it should cover the ground that he feels to be necessary. I welcome Amendments 18 and 19 and thank the Government for thinking again on these issues.

There is only one outstanding issue—the degree to which the board would have access to sensitive material. That will have to await another day when, no doubt, the independent reviewer will be able to transfer to the Minister concerned at the appropriate time the degree to which he feels the board requires access and is inhibited by the fact that it does not see the same papers as he will see. The board would clearly be much more efficient if it was cleared for security purposes to the same degree as the independent reviewer.

The issue in Committee was whether the board was for oversight or support. That question has been soundly answered. Clearly the board is there to support the independent reviewer and I am grateful to the Minister for making that clear.

Photo of Lord Butler of Brockwell Lord Butler of Brockwell Crossbench

My Lords, I too am grateful for the consideration that the Government have given to this matter and, in particular, to the powers of the independent reviewer. I am also grateful to the Minister for the frankness of his speech and for the way he has reported the reactions of the independent reviewer, which are obviously not an absolutely wholehearted welcome. I think it is excellent that the powers have been extended in the way that they have been.

I have an open mind on the amendment of the noble Baronesses, Lady Hamwee, Lady O’Loan and Lady Ludford. I think that it would be good if the independent reviewer had the power—not the sole responsibility—to look at any provision of immigration and nationality law to the extent that it is used for counterterrorism purposes. That is clearly within his remit. The Minister himself said that it might very well be that Mr Anderson will be asked to be the person to report on the operation of the closed procedures in Part 2 of the Justice and Security Act. Therefore, I am rather sympathetic to those amendments and I do not think it would be very difficult for the Government to accept them.

However, I am sympathetic to the Government’s wish not to have too much duplication in this area. As a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee, which also roams over this area, I would like to say that we, too, have no problem with Mr Anderson. His co-operation with us is very good. We have no difficulty with the fact that we are looking at things which he is also looking at.

On his reservation about access to secret material, I am afraid that this intensifies my concerns about the very existence of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board. I think it is an improvement that Mr Anderson is to be consulted on and will have influence over the appointment of the members of the board and that it is there to support him. He has asked that he should have a written assurance that he should have access to all the secret material that he wants. I am sure that the Government would not have the slightest difficulty in giving Mr Anderson that assurance. But it complicates his relationship with the board, because, as the noble Lord has just said, the Government might well have reservations about that very secret material—the freedom to have the most secret material there is extended to the members of the board. I think that may be unnecessary. Clearly it would be difficult for Mr Anderson if he has access to material and the board has not.

All this leaves me with doubts about the utility of the board. I am glad that it is there to support Mr Anderson. I know that he needs more support. In responding to this, can the Minister say whether it is intended that the secretariat of the board should be the extra support that Mr Anderson needs? I do think that he needs extra support, but I would like to see the support there without the existence of the board, the utility of which I greatly doubt.

Photo of Baroness Ludford Baroness Ludford Liberal Democrat

My Lords, very briefly, given the hour, I think we can all agree that the independent reviewer is not only a formidable lawyer but a master of modern communication with his blogs and tweets.

I welcome the broad support for Amendment 16A given by the noble Lord, Lord Butler. I want to press the Minister a little on some of his replies: first, on the potential clash with the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration. I have just tried to flick through his last annual report but I do not think that he touches on anything to do with national security or powers linked to counterterrorism. As the noble Lord, Lord Butler, has just said, there is a way of dovetailing to make sure that there is no clash. What Amendment 16A proposes is very much to the extent that immigration and nationality law is used for counterterrorism purposes, which is not broadly the focus of the borders and immigration inspector.

Then there was a reference to a one-off review of Section 66, on deprivation of citizenship. However, a one-off review is not the same thing as continuous review and monitoring, so that is really apples and pears.

I join the noble Lord, Lord Butler, in wondering about the Secretary of State at some point, possibly several years hence, appointing an overseer of Part 2 of the Justice and Security Act. The Minister said that that person could be the independent reviewer. Why wait? Why risk setting up two separate posts, which would be inefficient and potentially add some costs? Why not short-circuit the exercise by deciding now to give that function to the independent reviewer? As my noble friend Lady Hamwee said, the case-by-case judicial oversight of the court is not what is meant here by the independent reviewer’s role in having that overview of the way that Part 2 of the Justice and Security Act, on closed material proceedings, has been employed in a whole string of cases. It is rather different. I would press the Minister to give a little more justification as to why Amendment 16A is not feasible.

Lastly, I may not have heard the Minister correctly—it may, again, be the lateness of the hour—but I am not sure that he gave an in-principle explanation of why it is not possible to have a statutory basis for the access to secret material. Of course, I accept what he and the independent reviewer have said—that in practice there has not been a problem and that if the Government tried to be obstructive, we would all know about it pretty soon. However, I do not think that he explained what the policy, or legal or other difficulty, is.

Photo of Baroness Smith of Basildon Baroness Smith of Basildon Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

My Lords, as we glide through the final hour of the day, it is appropriate that we also glide through the final amendment. I congratulate the Government on the fact that the consultation on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board ended on 30 January and we have new amendments to debate on 4 February. That is quite an achievement.

I am grateful to the Minister, as we are significantly better placed than we were when the Government first announced this back in July, when the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, and I were debating the DRIPA legislation. This was announced with no detail, although the detail then emerged that this was going to replace the independent reviewer. The Government wisely listened to those who said that this was a dreadful idea and could not see the logic behind it—but we then moved into an area where there was a lack of clarity and confusion. The Minister will be aware that we put down significant amendments in Committee on this, and I greatly welcome the amendments today.

I am also grateful to the Minister for meeting me to discuss this issue. He knows it was of enormous concern to us. Although I share some of the reservations of the noble Lord, Lord Butler, we are in a much better place. From what we are seeing here and from what the independent reviewer, David Anderson, is saying, he will find a way to make the board work effectively and be useful to him. The noble Lord made the point about him asking for a junior counsel or barrister to work with him. It seems to me that he has the opportunity here, if the board is acting under his direction and control, for somebody who is on the board to fulfil that role for him. I would not envisage a secretariat of the board—I am not sure how much of a secretariat the board will need—but certainly a board acting under his direction and control will provide an opportunity for him.

The other issue that we raised in our amendments was that the remit of the board should deal specifically with the impact of counterterrorist legislation on communities. I know that the independent reviewer already sees that as part of his role, but it is not explicitly in the amendments before us today. I do not think it necessarily matters, as long as it is made clear that he continues to see that as he does at the moment.

The issue was raised about the secret material to which he might have access. There is also an issue with the board, which I think is mitigated by the new amendments, that the independent reviewer—of necessity, through the work he does—builds up relationships internationally as well as nationally with people who will share information with him, which is essential to his assessment and the work that he does around counterterrorism legislation. We all want to work with him, and he will want to ensure that he does not jeopardise those relationships, so there needs to be some clarity at some point about the information that is available to the boards.

I understand and sympathise to some extent with Amendment 16A. I am not quite sure about paragraph (f), which refers to,

“any provision of immigration and nationality law to the extent it is used for counter-terrorism purposes”.

I am not sure how often immigration and nationality law is used for counterterrorism, but it often impacts on counterterrorism. I would have thought that the impact of such laws was of more value and more interest. It might be helpful to Parliament and to Government to have opportunities and occasions where that examination by the independent reviewer—taken in context with other legislation specifically on counterterrorism—would be useful, but I am not sure I would specifically limit it.

One area that I was considering was the policies and guidance relative to counterterrorism, particularly in relation to intelligence-sharing policy and guidance. That might be an area that he will want to look at in the future, because that indeed directly impacts on counterterrorism. I understand the points being made; it probably gives some flexibility. I also understand the issue about resources, but flexibility is probably going to be essential because laws do not exist in a vacuum. I entirely agree that we do not want to find that we are duplicating roles and overlapping the work and operation of other commissioners or the independent reviewer of borders and immigration legislation. There will be areas where the Government will need to have some flexibility for the independent reviewer to ensure that he effectively reviews counterterrorism legislation without missing some important information that impacts on that. I congratulate the Government; this is a significantly better amendment than what was before us when it was first announced at various stages, and it has our full support.

Photo of Lord Butler of Brockwell Lord Butler of Brockwell Crossbench 11:30 pm, 4th February 2015

The way the noble Baroness talked about the relationship between the independent reviewer and the board underlines the importance of the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Thomas, about clarifying whether the board is to be supportive or consultative. She talked as if the board was going to be part of the support staff for the reviewer, which would be excellent—but in that case, it is rather funny to call it a board. Why not just call it his staff?

Photo of Baroness Smith of Basildon Baroness Smith of Basildon Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

I think that there is probably an element of face-saving in calling it a board. The amendment makes clear that it would act under the,

“direction and control of the Independent Reviewer”.

So he can make of the board—or whatever you want to call it—what he will. That is an opportunity for him, and I am sure that he will not be slow to take it.

Photo of Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have spoken. They were broadly in support—although I fear that we may not be able to persuade the noble Lord, Lord Butler, that this is a good idea. However, I will come to what the independent reviewer thinks of it later.

One thing that is important to say right at the beginning will answer, to a certain extent, the points made by my noble friend Lord Thomas, the noble Lord, Lord Butler, and some other noble Lords as well, about the information that the board itself will be able to see. We think that it is important that any individuals appointed to the board are provided with an appropriate level of security clearance; so the independent reviewer is cleared to see classified information—and, if necessary, the same will apply to members of the board. Of course, the independent reviewer has a great deal of influence on who is appointed to the board. The Home Secretary will work on his recommendation, although of course it is ultimately the Home Secretary’s decision. I think that covers most of the points made by my noble friend Lord Thomas. I am grateful for his support on that.

The noble Baroness, Lady Smith, mentioned what she said at Third Reading about communities—sorry, I meant what she said in Committee. Third Reading is on Monday; we go from week to week in no time at all. The present reviewer sees that issue. On the point about the board working under his direction and control, I do not see any reason why that should change. He will be able to use the benefits of the members of the board to continue with those areas that he wants to focus on. One reason we have removed the annual necessity for reviews, with the exception of the Terrorism Act, is that the independent reviewer will now be able to conduct thematic reviews instead of just purely linking them to individual bits of legislation. Again, I take the point about the relationships that he has built up over the years—including with foreign countries. As to him being chairman of the board and using board members as support, I do not see any reason why that should change, either.

There was talk about whether the secretariat would supply support and whether the members of the board will be there to provide advice or work for him. I think that both are the case. They will work under his direction and control, and he will also be able to appoint people who have particular skills in different areas that he can draw on. For example, he might be able to appoint someone who is—this was nearer to his original idea—a junior barrister who is appropriately security cleared. However, I take the point that one might not describe that in common parlance as a board, but the name is what we have. Several noble Lords talked about the label on the tin representing what is inside. On that subject, privacy and civil liberties are obviously important in connection with terrorism legislation. If you open the tin which is so labelled and see inside, “Chaired by and under the direction and control of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation”, you would get a pretty good idea of what the board is about.

Moving on to my noble friends Lady Hamwee and Lady Ludford, I fear we will not be able to go as far as they want. We extended the remit of the independent reviewer and think that it is right to draw limits on that. I agree that a one-off review is not the same as a review by the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. Equally, judicial oversight is not the same, but it is oversight and reassurance for each individual case on those closed material proceedings. It has value. At the moment, we have drawn the line where we have, for the reasons I said: mainly because of overlap and duplication. We think that the way we have done it at the moment concentrates on those—

Photo of Baroness O'Loan Baroness O'Loan Crossbench

How can there be duplication if the Government were to include Part 2 of the Act and appoint the independent reviewer to review it? There is nobody currently reviewing that legislation and there will not be for five years, so how can that be duplication? It will not avoid duplication but simply prevent review.

Photo of Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

The review that the noble Baroness referred to was what Parliament laid down in the Act. That was what Parliament required as the oversight for that Act. We will have to stay with the extended remit as we have put it. At the moment, I am afraid that I cannot make any guarantees that we will extend it to the Acts that my noble friend Lady Hamwee asked for.

Finally, on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, whether or not it is what the independent reviewer wanted, he may be making the best of a bad job, but he has stated that,

“if skilled and practical people are appointed to the Board, content to work under the Reviewer’s direction, the capacity for independent review will be improved … the Government has listened to what I have been saying, and put forward changes which should significantly improve the ability of the Independent Reviewer to do an effective job”.

I am therefore confident that the changes we are proposing will further enhance his ability to provide robust oversight of the full range of counterterrorism legislation on the statute book, including this Bill, once enacted. I again ask my noble friend to withdraw her amendment.

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Liberal Democrat

My Lords, it is late, but it has been a worthwhile discussion and I am glad to have had support, although maybe slightly qualified support in some cases, for the principle of my amendment to Amendment 16. I say to the noble Baroness, Lady O’Loan, that if her name had been the lead name on the amendment, we would probably have reached it at about 5.15 pm, because that is the way it always goes.

The noble Baroness, Lady Smith of Basildon, used the terms “extent” and “impact”. I do not think that there is really anything between us on the substance, but she reminded me of the amendment that I tabled at a previous stage, referring to any other law relating to counterterrorism and national security legislation, and then adding something about considering whether such legislation contains appropriate safeguards, is proportionate and necessary.

I think that that Minister made my point for me, because in describing the changes to the timetable that the independent reviewer must observe, he said that now he would have more opportunity to make thematic reviews. That is precisely why I would like to see the provisions in the amendment included in the Bill. I can see that that is not going to happen, but this will not be the last time that the point is made. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 16A (to Amendment 16) withdrawn.

Amendment 16 agreed.

Amendment 17

Moved by Lord Ashton of Hyde

17: Before Clause 42, insert the following new Clause—

“Reviews of operation of other terrorism legislation

(1) In section 36 of the Terrorism Act 2006 (review of terrorism legislation)—

(a) in subsection (2), for “carry out a review of those provisions and,” substitute “carry out—

(a) a review of the provisions of the Terrorism Act 2000, and

(b) a review of the provisions of Part 1 of this Act, and,”;

(b) in subsection (4), for “subsection (2)” substitute “subsection (2)(a)”;

(c) after subsection (4B) insert—

“(4C) In each calendar year the person appointed under subsection (1) must, by 31 January, inform the Secretary of State what (if any) reviews under subsection (2)(b) the person intends to carry out in that year.

Those reviews must be completed during that year or as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of it.”

(2) In section 31 of the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (independent review of operation of Part 1 of that Act), for subsection (2) substitute—

“(2) In each calendar year the person appointed under subsection (1) must, by 31 January, inform the Treasury what (if any) reviews under this section the person intends to carry out in that year.

Those reviews must be completed during that year or as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of it.”

(3) In section 20 of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 (reviews of the operation of that Act)—

(a) for subsections (2) and (3) substitute—

“(2) In each calendar year the independent reviewer must, by 31 January, inform the Secretary of State what (if any) reviews under this section the reviewer intends to carry out in that year.

Those reviews must be completed during that year or as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of it.”;

(b) omit subsections (7) to (9).”

Amendment 17 agreed.

Clause 42: Privacy and Civil Liberties Board

Amendments 18 and 19

Moved by Lord Ashton of Hyde

18: Clause 42, page 27, line 31, leave out paragraph (b)

19: Clause 42, page 27, line 39, leave out subsection (4) and insert—

“( ) Regulations under this section must—

(a) provide for the Secretary of State to appoint members of the board after considering any recommendations made by the person appointed under section 36(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006;

(b) provide for the board to be chaired by that person and to be subject to his or her direction and control.”

Amendments 18 and 19 agreed.

Clause 45: Transitional provision

Amendment 20

Moved by Lord Ashton of Hyde

20: Clause 45, page 29, line 22, at end insert—

“( ) A reference to a calendar year in the following subsections does not include a year before 2016—

(a) subsection (3) of section (Reviews of operation of Part 1 etc);

(b) subsection (4C) of section 36 of the Terrorism Act 2006 (inserted by section (Reviews of operation of other terrorism legislation)(1) above);

(c) subsection (2) of section 31 of the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (substituted by section (Reviews of operation of other terrorism legislation)(2) above);

(d) subsection (2) of section 20 of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 (substituted by section (Reviews of operation of other terrorism legislation)(3) above).”

Amendment 20 agreed.

Clause 48: Commencement

Amendment 21

Moved by Lord Ashton of Hyde

21: Clause 48, page 30, line 13, leave out “section” and insert “sections (Reviews of operation of Part 1 etc) to”

Amendment 21 agreed.