Clause 21

Part of Employment Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:15 pm ar 16 Hydref 2008.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Solicitor General, Shadow Minister (Justice), Shadow Solicitor General 2:15, 16 Hydref 2008

Regarding Government amendment No. 21, well spotted to the Minister or perhaps others in his team. As for Government amendment No. 20, yes, I fully appreciate that employers like to know when things are coming up.

My main concern about new clause 8 relates to safeguards. Will the Minister explain what safeguards he is proposing concerning the information that will be kept? Will he please outline how such information will be stored, how and when it will be transferred and when it will be disposed of? The concern for small businesses is that once in the system they will face arbitrary investigation as their details are passed from one agency to another, perhaps on an ongoing basis or for ever. Given the problems of lost data suffered by various Departments, will the Minister assure me and small businesses that information will be transferred only when absolutely necessary? I am interested to know how the information transfers will take place. Will it be through a centralised searchable database or by specific transfers on request? My concern is that there may be additional administrative and financial costs, when a simple phone call between investigators might be adequate.

My final concern is with the phrase “any purpose relating to that Act”, which is used extensively throughout new clause 8. It strikes me as the sort of broad umbrella term that could hide a host of things. What safeguards are there to ensure that this requirement will be complied with? Should we not have more definite parameters than “any purpose relating to the Act” within the Bill to ensure that the courts are not flooded with cases to interpret that phrase?