New Clause 3 - Pilot scheme on early intervention

Part of Children and Adoption Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:30 pm on 21 March 2006.

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Photo of Mark Williams Mark Williams Shadow Minister (Wales) 12:30, 21 March 2006

There is widespread agreement in Committee that pre-contact order mediation is something that we value and applaud. New clause 24   tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole and me would make a meeting between parties compulsory. We understand the need to encourage parents to consider mediation before taking matters to court and to keep the child’s welfare at the forefront of their minds. However, the point at which we deviate, I guess, from the Conservatives, is on the question of the need for mediation to be compulsory. We believe that there must be willingness on the part of both parties if mediation is to be valued.

We agree with the Conservatives about new clause 3(1) and the inadequacies and inconclusiveness of “Making contact happen or making contact work?” We believe that there should be a new pilot scheme, but the focus of our work is that mediation must be voluntary if it is to be truly effective. I see a flurry of watches, so I shall sit down.