Clause 28

Offender Management Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:45 am ar 23 Ionawr 2007.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Orders and regulations

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

I rise briefly to seek clarification on clause 28. We have obviously discussed the breadth of the powers vested in the Secretary of State and the additional ability for further orders and regulations to be made that might widen and extend the scope of those powers. I have two technical questions for the Minister. First, how was it decided which order-making powers would be dealt with under the affirmative resolution procedure, rather than the negative resolution procedure? Secondly, will he clarify the order-making powers under clauses 4(1) and 33?

Photo of Gerry Sutcliffe Gerry Sutcliffe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

As the hon. Gentleman said, the clause sets out the level of parliamentary scrutiny for orders and regulations made under the Bill. It does not apply to orders establishing probation trusts or to commencement orders, which are not subject to parliamentary procedure.

Of those orders to which clause 28 applies, the following three are subject to the affirmative procedure: first, orders made under clause 10(2)(g), which allows the Secretary of State to add to the list of persons with whom data may be shared; secondly, orders made under clause 10(7), which provides the Secretary of State with the power to amend an enactment that prevents the sharing of data permitted under the clause, and thirdly, orders made under clause 30(2)(a), which relate to consequential or transitional provisions amending or repealing primary legislation. All other regulations will be subject to the negative resolution procedure. Our memorandum for the House of Lords Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee sets out in more detail our thinking on such matters.

Last Tuesday, during consideration of clause 4, concerns were expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford about the lack of parliamentary procedure for orders establishing trusts. I explained that in due course a trust might need to be established or dissolved for commercial reasons—for example, to bid for a contract or because a contract had been lost to another provider. It would be inappropriate to subject such commercial processes to parliamentary procedure. I undertook to consider further the points that he raised and I shall do so. Perhaps that is why the order-making powers in clause 10(2) to amend the definition of listed persons are subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

Clause 10(2) defines the list of persons with whom the Secretary of State, and others defined in clause 10(1), acting through the National Offender Management Service, can share information on a reciprocal basis. That power enables the Secretary of State to prescribe additional bodies by order. The order-making power is subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. We think that that is the appropriate level of scrutiny, given the ambit of the power. Although I did not make reference to the particular clause, I hope that the hon. Gentleman understands our reasons for using those procedures. I hope that I have been of help to the Committee.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 28 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 29 to 31 ordered to stand part of the Bill.