Clause 98 - Right of officers of the service to have

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:00 pm on 4 December 2001.

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Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Conservative, North West Norfolk 6:00, 4 December 2001

Will the Minister clarify one or two points? Clause 98(1) on page 52, in line 12 states ''at all reasonable times''. When might the times not be reasonable?

Subsection (2) is about records, a matter that we shall discuss in another clause, but which I want to flag up now. I want to ask the Minister if there is an obligation on agencies to keep all records, and how long the obligation lasts. Will the agencies have to keep the records in perpetuity? What will happen if, for example, the agency is taken over or goes out of business, or if the people running it retire? What obligations are there on the successor agency? Perhaps the Minister will let me know.

Subsection (2)(a) refers to the proceedings in question and subsection (2)(b) to the evidence in the proceedings. What sorts of proceedings are referred to? Perhaps the Minister will outline the categories or types of proceedings.

Clause 98(3) states:

''which would otherwise prevent the record in question being admissible in evidence.''

What circumstances are being referred to? I hope that the Minister will be able to enlighten me on those points. My hon. Friend the Member for East Worthing and Shoreham may want to make a few remarks.