Clause 21

Part of Employment Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:15 pm on 16 October 2008.

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Photo of Pat McFadden Pat McFadden Minister of State (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) (Employment Relations and Postal Affairs), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 2:15, 16 October 2008

The hon. Gentleman is right to ask how the clause will work and what we have in mind. As I said in my opening remarks, when a minimum wage officer or agency standards inspector is called to inspect an organisation because of a report, if they feel that there is also a high risk of non-compliance in the other field of law, they may tell the other enforcement body about it instead of two sets of inspectors going in. Officers will be able to pass on information about a business that is found to be non-compliant. I also said such provisions operate without difficulty for the Gangmasters Licensing Authority. As hon. Members may be aware, that body operates in the field of agriculture and food production. The agency standards inspectorate works in the rest of the economy.

I would like to reassure the hon. Gentleman on the issue of data loss. We are not talking about the mass transfer of personal data, but the inspection of employment premises with a view to ensuring that they adhere to the law. We are fully aware of the concerns that he raised and we take them seriously.

New clause 8 will not affect the legal restrictions that prevent agency standards inspectors and minimum wage officers from disclosing information to other bodies. The phrase “any purpose relating to that Act” should not be too wide. It limits the use of the information to the enforcement of the two pieces of legislation that are specified. Both pieces of legislation contain criminal sanctions for disclosure that is not for the purposes of the legislation.