Clause 35

Education and Skills Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:15 am on 21st February 2008.

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Parenting orders

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools)

I beg to move amendment No. 187, in clause 35, page 19, line 1, leave out ‘, but need not,’.

This is a short amendment to question whether a phrase such as “but need not” in a subsection that gives a permissive power for a parenting order to include a particular requirement is proper legislative language. Clearly, if the provision gives rise to a permissive power rather than a requirement, it already is the case that the power need not be used. The phrase is tautologous and rather folksy in its drafting and, therefore, should be removed.

Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Minister of State (Schools and Learners), Department for Children, Schools and Families, Minister of State (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (Schools and Learners)

The phrase “but need not”, however folksy, is commonly used in legislation. It is used in the provisions in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 in respect of parenting orders for antisocial behaviour. In this Bill, it emphasises that the court has discretion in respect of the requirements imposed in the order.

It is important that orders are tailored to meet the individual needs of the parent so that he or she can most effectively deal with the behaviour that is of concern. That discretion, which is made exceptionally clear by the use of “may” and “but need not”, reflects that. I would argue that the phrase should be retained, and I hope that the hon. Gentleman will withdraw his interesting amendment.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools)

I tabled it as an interesting amendment, Mr. Bercow, but the matter has now been debated at length, so I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 35 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 36 ordered to stand part of the Bill.