The House of Lords considered Commons amendments to the Public Bodies Bill on Wednesday 23 November.
The examination of MPs' changes to the Bill included a discussion on the proposed abolition of the Youth Justice Board. The Lords rejected this proposal when it checked and revised the Bill in March, saying the Government was wrong to seek the abolition of the Youth Justice Board.
Youth Justice Board for England and Wales
At the start of the discussion, the Government announced it would not be insisting on the proposal suggested in the Commons to abolish the Youth Justice Board, with Lord McNally, Minister of State for Justice, saying it is an issue in which the Lords has always taken a keen interest. He went on to say that, “It has therefore not been a surprise that the noble Lords have scrutinised and challenged our plans for the future governance of youth justice.”
A number of Members spoke in support of the Youth Justice Board. Lord Ramsbotham, the former chief inspector of prisons, who had asked the House to disagree with the Commons amendment on the abolition, described the move as, “particularly important in the light of the riots in the summer, because during that period the Youth Justice Board played an enormously important part both in liaising with, overseeing and helping the youth offending teams out in the community and in overseeing the introduction and reception into custody of people who required a great deal of help”.
Office of the chief coroner
The debate also covered amendment 53B, which ensured that the office of the chief coroner will continue. Congratulating the Government on its decision, Baroness Finlay of Llandaff said that it meant an enormous amount to those who have had bad experiences in the past, and have campaigned tirelessly to prevent others from suffering.
Next steps on the Public Bodies Bill
The Bill now goes back to the Commons for MPs to consider outstanding issues on the Bill.
If the Lords disagrees with any Commons amendments, or makes alternative proposals, then the Bill is sent back to the Commons. A Bill may go back and forth between each House (‘Ping Pong’) until both Houses reach agreement.
When both Houses reach agreement on the Bill it can receive Royal Assent and pass into law.