I have a few brief but, I hope, appropriate comments. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Harborough has already made a plea about the implementation dates. The youth court is perhaps a victim of the criminal justice system in being subject to a sentencing regime that covers the span of many pieces of legislation and implementation dates that are dealt with in a less than logical fashion.
That allows me to refer again to the reading material from the Prison Reform Trust recommended earlier, in which the sentencers said that they were all grappling with the new legislation. They referred to the new provisions, not necessarily in temperate language, as “idiotic” and the introduction of so many complex changes as “lunatic”. They made particular reference to the piecemeal introduction of the new provisions. The plea with regard to the clause, when the logic is obviously to abolish certain youth orders and related amendments, is that the implementation of the new regime in relation to youth rehabilitation orders and associated matters should be done in a logical and comprehensive fashion. That should be made clear at a very early stage to all practitioners to ensure that, at the point of delivery, the youth court is not trying to work out what is, or is not, implemented and can deliver justice in a consistent manner.
As the Committee will recognise, clause 6 will abolish the five existing community sentences for young offenders and replace them with a generic youth rehabilitation order, which we have spent some time discussing in Committee. The question of implementation is important and I am grateful to the hon. Member for Enfield, Southgate for raising that today. Obviously, the Bill needs to pass through both Houses of Parliaments before it will receive Royal Assent. It is likely that that process will be completed by early to mid-2008 at the earliest. My perspective is that the sooner that that is done, the better, but obviously it will take some time. Given that, I do not expect that we will implement the legislation until 2009 at the earliest.
The order—I refer to clause 6, and the abolition of youth orders and their replacement by youth rehabilitation orders. We will need to look at the important issues of delivery and training, which I will examine during the course of the Bill and will consider when the legislation has passed both Houses of Parliament.