On 4th April 2017 the House of Lords considered amendments made by MPs to the Government’s Children and Social Work Bill. Government Minister Lord Nash proposed that the Lords accept an amendment to provide compulsory relationships education at primary schools. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Rev Donald Allister, spoke in favour of the amendment, which was accepted by the House.
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, I am very happy indeed to support government Amendments 12 and 13 on relationships and sex education and on PSHE. Compulsory provision and statutory guidance are necessary in these areas. The Church of England welcomes this and we very much look forward to the consultation.
We particularly welcome the decision to reverse the name and put “relationships” rather than “sex” at the heart of this policy. This is not about just sex or sex education. It puts sex in its proper context of committed and consensual relationships. But it is also about friendships, resilience, good disagreement and living with difference. It is about tackling bullying, self-image, social media, advertising and so much else. It is about supporting children and preparing them for adult life.
On 8th November 2016 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Children and Social Work Bill at its Report Stage. Bishops took part in two votes on amendments to the Bill: one from Crossbench Peer Lord Ramsbotham to remove Clause 29 pertaining to the disclosure and publication of information and one from Labour’s Lord Watson of Invergowrie on behalf of Lord Dubs, pertaining to safeguarding unaccompanied refugee children. Lord Watson wished to remove the amendment after the Government pledged to make provision via other means, though some peers opposed the withdrawal, and the House divided. See here also.
On 8th November 2016, the House of Lords considered the Government’s Children and Social Work Bill at its Report Stage. They debated an amendment co-sponsored by the Bishop of Durham and Lord Dubs on the welfare and protection of unaccompanied migrant children. Lord Watson of Invergowrie moved the amendment on behalf of Lord Dubs and the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke on behalf of the Bishop of Durham. The Bishop welcomed the Government’s commitment to publishing a strategy to implement the substance of the amendment.In her response, Baroness Williams of Trafford, Minister of State for the Home Office, paid tribute to the work of the Church:
The Bishop of Leeds My Lords, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham is unable to be here and sends his apologies, but he wishes to add his voice to those that warmly welcome the Government’s commitment to publish the strategy to ensure the safety and welfare of unaccompanied children coming from Europe and beyond.
On 18th October 2016 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Children and Social Work Bill at its Report Stage. The Bishops of Chester and Leeds supported an amendment from the Earl Listowel to improve the support available for care leavers. The Bishop of Chester’s speech is here. Continue reading “Votes – Children and Social Work Bill”
On 18th October 2016, the House of Lords considered the Government’s Children and Social Work Bill at its Report Stage. The Bishop of Chester spoke in support of an amendment proposed by the Earl of Listowel aiming to improve support for care leavers.
The Lord Bishop of Chester My Lords, I add my strong support for the amendment, which was moved by the noble Earl with a mastery of succinctness and clarity across the issues he covered, backed up by the other noble Lords who spoke. There are powerful arguments for the amendment.
On 6th July 2016 the House of Lords continued to consider the Government’s Children and Social Work Bill in Committee. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, sponsored and moved an amendment on data collection on factors underlying child maltreatment. The amendment was withdrawn following debate. The Bishop said:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, in moving this amendment I should explain that I speak on behalf of the noble Baroness, Lady Lister of Burtersett, who has done the bulk of the work on this amendment. She is unable to be present today and sends her apologies.
Amendment 99 would require the Secretary of State to report to Parliament within six months of Royal Assent on ways of implementing the World Health Organization’s recommendation in the European Report on Preventing Child Maltreatment regarding improved data collection for monitoring and evaluation. The recommendation points to the,
“urgent need for reliable and valid data”,
on, among other things, “socioeconomic factors”, reflecting the earlier statement in the report that:
“Child maltreatment is linked to variations in socioeconomic means”.
On 6th July 2016 the House of Lords continued to consider the Government’s Children and Social Work Bill in Committee. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke during debate on an amendment from Labour’s Lord Warner on personal advisers. The amendment was withdrawn following debate. The Bishop said:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I rise to express not dissimilar concerns to the noble Baroness, Lady Howarth. I firmly support the tenor of what is proposed, but at the same time I go back to Second Reading when the noble Baroness, Lady Hughes, raised the question of foster carers. Some foster carers will rail against the professionalisation of advice. If we believe that there needs to be flexibility in the range of personal advisers, we need to beware of the Bill being so constraining that we lose that flexibility. Continue reading “Children and Social Work Bill 2016: Bishop of Durham queries arrangements for personal advisers”