Data Protection Bill [HL] - Commons Amendments

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 14th May 2018.

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Photo of Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Opposition Whip (Lords) 6:45 pm, 14th May 2018

My Lords, I too congratulate the Government on bringing forward these amendments. They cover a wide range but, as the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, said, they are an important part of the actual mechanics and workings of the system once it is going. We will certainly need a few successes where people believe that something has been done to make sure that their lives are easier, rather than more difficult, as a result of this legislation. Even your Lordships’ House will suffer quite considerably in the processing tasks that it will have to carry. I seem to remember that, after an informal chat with the Minister, we were going to get a statement from him about how he felt about that and how things might progress. Maybe I am pushing him a little too far; perhaps we will get a letter or something about it later.

I echo the congratulations to the noble Baroness, Lady Neville-Jones, who fought an understated but effective campaign on an important area, which I am glad to see was picked up. I thought the diversity amendments were the sort of thing that could easily have been dropped off for being too complicated and difficult. This is possibly not the right Bill but it is really important that we got them in here. There could have been use made of some provisions by employers and others who did not want to face up to the reality of the world today, saying that they would not be able to process data in a way that would allow us to see whether progress has been made on this.

We on the Labour Benches were also consulted by Thomson Reuters, which felt that there was a bit of a lacuna in some things it was asked to do about money laundering. I am glad that the Bill team finally came round on that and agreed that there was something there. It brought forward a measure.

I am particularly pleased about safeguarding, which was quite a late addition to Committee. We brought it back on Report. It was obviously something that needed much wider consideration. Again, I wondered whether there would be time to bring it through. It has been possible to do so. We now have a very satisfactory approach to this. It covers not just sports, which was the area we raised, but the wider consideration of vulnerable people in clubs and in health and welfare situations where there needs to be consideration of what process and steps could be taken if suspicions were raised. We do not have to read the papers today to realise how damaging that can be if it is not caught quickly. We welcome the amendments.