Members of the Lords discussed family justice, specifically parental involvement in the welfare of a child. A government amendment to offer clarification and guidance in situations where parents try to settle arrangements out of court - making sure the welfare of the child remains paramount - was agreed without a vote.
Members also considered subjects including the right to mediation, parent carers' needs assessments and restrictions on the sale of tobacco to under-18s. A proposal to give the Children's Commissioner the authority to bring cases under the Human Rights Act was also explored.
The Children and Families Bill now goes to the Commons for consideration of Lords changes. It is scheduled for Monday 10 February.
Children and Families Bill report stage day five: Wednesday 29 January
Members of the Lords considered a proposal to give the Secretary of State for Health the power to make it an offence to smoke in a car while children are present. The amendment went to a vote with 222 for and 197 against, so the proposal was included in the bill.
A second amendment to allow local authorities to put the welfare of a child first when assessing the occupancy level in a home was also taken a vote, with members voting 154 in favour and 185 against. The change was not made.
Children and Families Bill report stage day four: Tuesday 28 January
Peers began by considering a proposal to address the status of sex and relationship education (SRE) within the national curriculum. An amendment to require SRE to be taught as a foundation subject in all key stages, and in all state-funded schools, went to a vote. Members voted 142 in favour and 209 against, so the change was not made.
Members then discussed how children can be protected from viewing adult content online. A suggestion that internet service providers and mobile phone operators be subject to statutory regulation overseen by Ofcom was taken to a vote, with 118 in favour and 153 against, so the proposal was not taken forward.
Children and Families Bill report stage day three: Tuesday 7 January
Members of the Lords discussed an amendment requiring the government to produce regulations for local authorities, setting out the necessary standards and quality of special educational provision. It was proposed that the regulations should be accompanied by guidance on how they can be met, and also be made available to the families of children and young people with special educational needs. The amendment went to a vote, with 197 in favour and 258 against, so the change was not made.
Children and Families Bill report stage day two: Tuesday 17 December
Members of the Lords discussed an amendment on family justice, covering parental involvement in the welfare of a child. The suggested change sought to offer clarification and guidance in situations where parents try to settle arrangements out of court - making sure the welfare of the child remains paramount. The amendment went to a vote with 225 in favour and 221 against, so the change was made.
The second vote concerned the responsibility of local authorities to develop an inclusive education system, giving disabled children the opportunity to access mainstream schools and staff trained to meet their needs. The amendment went to a vote with 205 in favour and 222 against, so the change was not made.
Children and Families Bill report stage day one: Monday 9 December
Peers began by discussing adoption, and an amendment seeking to change the guidance around matching a child for adoption went to a vote with 216 for and 233 against.
The debate then moved onto child trafficking, an amendment to introduce ‘child trafficking guardians’, to provide support to children who have been trafficked, went to a vote with 130 for and 145 against.
Children and Families Bill grand committee stage
The Children and Families Bill spent twelve days in grand committee in the Moses Room. The process is almost identical to committee stage taken in the chamber as members carry out a detailed line by line examination of the separate parts (clauses and schedules) of a bill.
Starting from the front of the bill, members work through to the end. Any member of the Lords can take part. The single exception is that votes do not take place in a grand committee. Any issues requiring a vote are resolved when the bill returns to the main chamber for report stage.
9 October (day 1)
14 October (day 2)
16 October (day 3)
21 October (day 4)
23 October (day 5)
28 October (day 6)
30 October (day 7)
4 November (day 8)
6 November (day 9)
11 November (day 10)
18 November (day 11)
20 November (day 12)
Children and Families Bill second reading: Tuesday 2 July
Lord Nash (Conservative), Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, opened the debate setting out the objectives of the bill. Members debated the issues covered in the bill spanning adoption, working rights for parents, children and education.
Children and Families Bill summary
The Bill seeks to reform legislation relating to the following areas:
- adoption and children in care
- aspects of the family justice system
- children and young people with special educational needs
- the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England
- statutory rights to leave and pay for parents and adopters
- time off work for ante-natal care
- the right to request flexible working.