Tuesday 12 April 2005
Press Notice no. 8 of Session 2004-05
ELECTRONICALLY TAGGING PARENTS IS NOT THE ANSWER TO ENFORCING CHILD CONTACT ORDERS SAYS JOINT PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE
Plans to electronically tag parents who do not comply with child contact orders should be dropped from the Draft Children (Contact) and Adoption Bill, according to a report published today by a Joint Committee of MPs and Peers.
Instead, the Committee proposes that a new 'time and place requirement' could be imposed by the courts to help make an existing court order work (for example, to ensure a parent is at an agreed location at an agreed time to allow contact to take place).
Clive Soley MP, Chairman of the Joint Committee, said:
"Provisions to electronically tag parents who breach child contact orders is disproportionate and could be particularly difficult for the children of the parent concerned."
"Our proposed 'time and place requirement' would give family courts a flexible power to ensure that the arrangements set out in the court's original contact order were not frustrated. The requirement would contain a clear warning that continued disregard for the order would lead swiftly to enforcement action."
Other recommendations include:
Sustaining parental relationships: The Committee recommends that, in making their decisions, family courts must have regard to the importance of sustaining a relationship between the children and the non-resident parent. Clive Soley MP said: "We hope that creating a legal requirement for family courts to have regard to the importance of sustaining a relationship between children and the non-resident parent will help to preserve these crucial relationships."
Mediation: The courts should be given the discretion to refer parents to a mediation information session, in order that they can explore whether mediation would be useful in their situation. This is not, and should not be confused with, a recommendation for compulsory mediation.
Inter-country adoption: There is no UK based agency solely dedicated to inter-country adoption. The Committee recommends that the new Government take steps to establish an inter-country adoption agency, to enhance good adoption practice and inform the Government about any unsatisfactory practices in countries that children are adopted from.
Notes to Editors:
1.The Joint Committee was appointed on 9 February 2005 to consider and report on the Draft Children (Contact) and Adoption Bill, published by the Department for Education and Skills in February 2005. The members of the Committee were as follows:
House of Commons:
Vera Baird MP
Virginia Bottomley MP
Mr David Chidgey MP
Ann Coffey MP
Jonathan Shaw MP
Mr Clive Soley MP (Chairman)
House of Lords:
Earl of Dundee
Baroness Gould of Potternewton
Baroness Howarth of Breckland
Baroness Massey of Darwen (until 2 March)
Baroness Morgan of Drefelin (from 2 March)
Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne
2.The report will be published by The Stationery Office at 00.01 Tuesday 12 April 2005: Draft Children (Contact) and Adoption Bill, Joint Committee on the Draft Children (Contact) and Adoption Bill, Session 2004-05, HL Paper 100, HC 400. The full text of the report will be available on the day of publication at
3.Embargoed copies of the report are available from 11am, Monday 11th April. Clive Soley MP, Chairman of the Committee, will be available for interview by telephone between 2.30pm - 5pm on Monday 11th April.
If you would like to collect a report, or arrange an interview, please contact the Committee Office on 020 7219 8659 or e-mail:
[email protected] as soon as possible.
4.The text of the Draft Children (Contact) and Adoption Bill (Cm 6462) can be found at
5.The Committee heard from 26 witnesses in person and received over 60 written submissions.
6.The electronic tag is a tracking device, usually used to monitor a curfew imposed by court order. The tag can be in the form of a band that fits around a wrist or ankle. Compliance with the curfew is checked with a monitoring unit placed in the home, connected to a central control room by a telephone line. Tagging has typically been used for convicted offenders instead of a prison sentence, or to allow them to serve the reminder of a sentence outside of prison.
For further information contact Jake Vaughan on 020 7219 6076