Section 83B — Account to be taken of religion, work and education

Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 4:30 pm on 17th June 2004.

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Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative 4:30 pm, 17th June 2004

Group 23 is on the account to be taken of religion, work and education in parenting orders, reparation orders and so on. Amendment 61, in the name of Donald Gorrie, is grouped with amendments 62, 65, 66, 77 and 79.

Photo of Donald Gorrie Donald Gorrie Liberal Democrat

The amendments seek to safeguard the position of people who do voluntary work or take educational or training courses by ensuring that they cannot be instructed to appear under a parenting order or community reparation order when they are doing that work or undertaking that training. We want to encourage people to take up such work or training, not deprive them of those opportunities because they are under certain orders. The point is minor, but helpful.

I should point out one minor technicality. Amendment 66 had to be lodged because it appears that, according to the law, universities are not places of education. Perhaps that issue should be pursued at another time.

I move amendment 61.

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

I call Sandra White, to be followed by Colin Fox. I ask members for brief contributions.

Photo of Sandra White Sandra White Scottish National Party

I will be as brief as possible.

I welcome—and the SNP supports—this group of amendments. I have said before that the bill must encourage, not punish. It is eminently sensible to allow someone to do voluntary work as part of the terms of a restorative order without making them take time off to appear in court as a result of a parenting order or some other order.

Photo of Colin Fox Colin Fox SSP

I welcome the amendments. I am sure that a primary aim of any youth justice system is to try to get youngsters to face up to the consequences of their offences. Any initiative that allows them to show the community that they have offended against that they are remorseful and prepared to undo some of their damage would be great. Given the vast sums of money that are spent on incarcerating people, the disposal that Donald Gorrie highlights should enjoy widespread support.

I hope that the minister will take into account the fact that the element of compulsion might act as a stigma instead of encouraging young people to get involved in reparation. I would certainly support such an order if it were voluntary. I hope that the minister will give some consideration to the fact that any voluntary order must be thoroughly supported by the agencies. As she knows, the public are losing faith in community service orders because they are not being properly supervised or completed.

In my discussions on Monday with the Broomhouse save our scheme campaign, I was interested to hear about the timebank initiative, which allows people to do voluntary work to rebuild their communities and rewards them with credits towards certain goals and community assets. I wonder whether the minister knows much about that initiative and whether she will consider introducing it in Scotland.

Photo of Mary Mulligan Mary Mulligan Labour

I am glad to be able to support all Donald Gorrie's amendments in the group. They are all technical, but they are important amendments that will ensure that the bill will define work and educational establishments sensibly for the purposes of parenting orders, community reparation orders, community service orders and supervised attendance orders.

The aim of amendment 61 is to clarify that "work" includes voluntary work for the purposes of section 83B, which provides that, in imposing a parenting order, a court shall try to avoid, as far as possible, the demands of the parenting order interfering with the parent's work or educational commitments. Therefore, it is appropriate that "work" for this purpose includes voluntary work. I am happy to support amendment 61. Amendment 62 is in a similar vein.

Amendments 77 and 79 make identical amendments to the existing provisions in the 1995 act for community service orders and supervised attendance orders. I have to say to Colin Fox that I am not aware that the public are losing confidence in community service orders. The Minister for Justice has been pursuing that route as an alternative to custody, which is something that we would all wish to support.

Amendment 66 provides that the definition of "educational establishment" for the purposes of section 245K is drawn as widely as possible. As with parenting orders, the current definition in the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 would exclude universities. However, as Donald Gorrie said, by leaving the term undefined, a court will give "educational establishment" its normal everyday meaning. I am happy to support amendment 66.

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

The question is, that amendment 61 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 26

For: Adam, Brian, Baillie, Jackie, Baker, Richard, Ballance, Chris, Ballard, Mark, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brown, Robert, Butler, Bill, Byrne, Ms Rosemary, Canavan, Dennis, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Cunningham, Roseanna, Curran, Frances, Curran, Ms Margaret, Deacon, Susan, Eadie, Helen, Ewing, Fergus, Ferguson, Patricia, Finnie, Ross, Fox, Colin, Gibson, Rob, Gillon, Karen, Godman, Trish, Gorrie, Donald, Grahame, Christine, Harper, Robin, Harvie, Patrick, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Kane, Rosie, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Leckie, Carolyn, Lochhead, Richard, Lyon, George, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, Macdonald, Lewis, MacDonald, Margo, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, Marwick, Tricia, Matheson, Michael, Maxwell, Mr Stewart, May, Christine, McAveety, Mr Frank, McConnell, Mr Jack, McFee, Mr Bruce, McMahon, Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Morgan, Alasdair, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Munro, John Farquhar, Murray, Dr Elaine, Neil, Alex, Oldfather, Irene, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Pringle, Mike, Purvis, Jeremy, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Robison, Shona, Robson, Euan, Ruskell, Mr Mark, Scott, Eleanor, Scott, Tavish, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Iain, Smith, Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stevenson, Stewart, Stone, Mr Jamie, Sturgeon, Nicola, Swinburne, John, Turner, Dr Jean, Wallace, Mr Jim, Watson, Mike, Welsh, Mr Andrew, White, Ms Sandra, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan
Against: Aitken, Bill, Brocklebank, Mr Ted, Davidson, Mr David, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Fergusson, Alex, Fraser, Murdo, Gallie, Phil, Goldie, Miss Annabel, Johnstone, Alex, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, Milne, Mrs Nanette, Mitchell, Margaret, Mundell, David, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

The result of the division is: For 95, Against 15, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 61 agreed to.

[Amendment 62 moved—[Donald Gorrie].]

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

The question is, that amendment 62 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 27

For: Adam, Brian, Baillie, Jackie, Baker, Richard, Ballance, Chris, Ballard, Mark, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brown, Robert, Butler, Bill, Byrne, Ms Rosemary, Canavan, Dennis, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Cunningham, Roseanna, Curran, Frances, Curran, Ms Margaret, Deacon, Susan, Eadie, Helen, Ewing, Fergus, Ewing, Mrs Margaret, Ferguson, Patricia, Finnie, Ross, Fox, Colin, Gibson, Rob, Gillon, Karen, Godman, Trish, Gorrie, Donald, Grahame, Christine, Harper, Robin, Harvie, Patrick, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Ingram, Mr Adam, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Kane, Rosie, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Leckie, Carolyn, Lochhead, Richard, Lyon, George, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, Macdonald, Lewis, MacDonald, Margo, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, Marwick, Tricia, Matheson, Michael, Maxwell, Mr Stewart, May, Christine, McAveety, Mr Frank, McConnell, Mr Jack, McFee, Mr Bruce, McMahon, Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Morgan, Alasdair, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Munro, John Farquhar, Murray, Dr Elaine, Neil, Alex, Oldfather, Irene, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Pringle, Mike, Purvis, Jeremy, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Robison, Shona, Robson, Euan, Ruskell, Mr Mark, Scott, Eleanor, Scott, Tavish, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Iain, Smith, Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stevenson, Stewart, Stone, Mr Jamie, Sturgeon, Nicola, Swinburne, John, Turner, Dr Jean, Wallace, Mr Jim, Watson, Mike, Welsh, Mr Andrew, White, Ms Sandra, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan
Against: Aitken, Bill, Brocklebank, Mr Ted, Davidson, Mr David, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Fergusson, Alex, Fraser, Murdo, Gallie, Phil, Goldie, Miss Annabel, Johnstone, Alex, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, Milne, Mrs Nanette, Mitchell, Margaret, Monteith, Mr Brian, Mundell, David, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

The result of the division is: For 97, Against 16, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 62 agreed to.