The 'Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act', passed into law on 15.09.11, and it will revolutionise how the police in England and Wales are governed and held to account.
We used this page to provide regular updates on the passage of the Bill through Parliament.
The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act has become law following Her Majesty's gracious grant of Royal Assent.
Read the full Act here.
The Local Government Association have produced an excellent guide to PCCs for Councils and other partners - available here.
The House of Commons Library Guide to PCCs (aimed at the practicalities for potential candidates) is available here.
14 September (PM)
Completion of the Parliamentary Passage of Police Reform Bill
Peers debated the Police Reform bill for the last time between 16.00 and 19.30 tonight.
Turnout was high, and before the vote on the Police Bill, the Government won a very controversial vote in the face of combined opposition from Labour and the Cross Benchers by over 50, so our hopes of Peers’ exacting further amendments were very low.
In the event:
- Angela Harris (APA Vice President, LibDems) proposed that her model of a collegial Commission be re-inserted into the Bill – this was WITHDRAWN after a debate in favour of a vote on Lord Condon’s proposal – below:
- Lord Paul Condon (Crossbench, former Commissioner), proposed that PCC elections be held on the day of other elections, and not earlier than 2nd May 2013 – this was VOTED ON. The result was A TIE (222 v 222). Parliamentary rules meant that in such circumstances the proposal is considered to have FAILED.
- Lord Philip Hunt (Lab lead) proposes that implementation be delayed pending the report of a Royal Commission on Policing (and the other various reports into policing announced over the summer). This was VOTED ON and REJECTED by 194 votes to 227
- Lord Toby Harris (APA Vice President, Lab) proposes that in order to assist compliance with the Govt’s (new) requirement of a financial code of practice, and associated standards, the PCC must appoint four non executive members In the light of the loss of earlier votes, and having had a similar amendment voted on and lost during earlier stages, Lord Harris WITHDREW this amendment.
The Bill will now proceed to Royal Assent at Her Majesty’s pleasure – expected as soon as tomorrow.
Elections for PCCs will take place on November 15th 2012 across England and Wales. We understand that the transition for London (to the Mayor’s office for Policing and crime) is expected as early as Spring 2012.
14 September (AM)
- a. Peers will debate the Police Reform bill for possibly the last time today, beginning at c.15.40 until around 18.00 (and possibly again after 20.00)
The APA Briefing, sent to all Peers can be found here.
We will post live updates on the debate here: http://twitter.com/#!/assocpoliceauth and email the results of any votes asap.
Peers will debate and vote on these amendments: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2010-2012/0096/amend/ml096-i.1-6.html
These include the changes made by MPs on Monday, but also some new amendments suggested by Peers, as follows
- Angela Harris (LibDem) has asked that her model of a collegial Commission be re-inserted into the Bill
- Lord Paul Condon (CrossBench, former Commissioner), proposes that PCC elections be held on the day of other elections, and not earlier than 2nd May 2013. He will be supported by a number of Bishops.
- Lord Philip Hunt (Lab lead) proposes that implementation be delayed pending the report of a Royal Commission on Policing (and the other various reports into policing announced over the summer)
- Lord Toby Harris (Lab) proposes that in order to assist compliance with the Govt’s (new) requirement of a financial code of practice, and associated standards, the PCC must appoint four non executive members
The changes made by MPs to the Bill on Monday night are as follows:
- Rejected Peers’ (Angela Harris’s) amendment which replaced an elected PCC with a Commission and their appointed Commissioner, thus reinstating the Directly Elected Commissioner model, with the first elections next November.
- Accepted a new Government clause requiring PCCs to adhere to a financial code of practice set by the Secretary of State and rejected a Labour proposal that this code must consider the likely effect on police numbers
- Agreed a Government proposal to delay the introduction of PCCs to 15.11.12 and rejected Labour’s proposal that it should wait until after various HMIC reviews
- Rejected a Labour proposal to give the National Assembly for Wales final say over when (if) PCC elections should take place in Wales
- Accepted a Government proposal that the Secretary of State should have power to set the date for the second set of PCC elections (in 2016)
- Accepted various minor changes to rectify earlier drafting errors resulting in the regularisation of certain arrangements in London with those proposed for the rest of England and Wales (including provision for a PCC to exercise the same power over an Acting Chief Constable and a permanent Chief, namely to sack her/him)
- Did not vote on whether to insist that Police and Crime Panels must be politically balanced to reflect votes within the force area (amend laid, but following a debate and verbal assurances from the Minister, withdrawn by Cornish Lib Dem MPs)
- Rejected a Labour proposal to change the threshold for vetoes by the panel ‘from at least three quarters to no fewer than two thirds’
- Rejected a Labour proposal that the panel should have the power (by a 2/3ds majority plus) to veto a PCC’s decision to sack a Chief Constable and whether HMIC should have the power to refer any dismissal of a Chief Constable to the Home Secretary for review (who may then veto the sacking)
- Agreed to send the Bill back to the House of Lords for their Lordships’ debate this Wednesday,
- MPs agreed that they would return to the bill on Wednesday night (tonight) to debate on any further changes made (or re-inserted) to the bill by Peers this afternoon, ensuring that the Bill should receive Royal Assent before Recess begins on Thursday evening.
For a fuller explanation of all the (Government) amendments accepted in the Lords and ratified by MPs see: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2010-2012/0225/en/2012225en.htm
b. Next steps: Following Peers’ debates this afternoon, any changes that they make will be returned to MPs tonight and MPs will be asked to reverse changes made by Peers before 20.00. This process of ‘pingpong’ between the Houses could go on and on but it would be highly unusual for the Lords to send changes back a third time, in which case the Bill would receive Royal Assent tomorrow, Thursday, 15.09 (pending the availability of HMQ!) before MPs break for Party conference recess tomorrow evening.
Lords Briefing - Implications of Corporation Sole and Impact on Financial Governance
This briefing for peers, prepared by the Association of Police Authorities (APA), is intended to help inform debate in advance of the Report Stage of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill. It deals specifically with issues around financial governance and the implications of corporations sole.
Government amendments reflect Peers' concerns
The Government has responded to concerns expressed by Peers, many voiced by the APA by asking their Lordships to make a series of amendments to the Bill. View our short summary of the highlights here.
Unlikely that the Bill will receive Royal Assent before the Summer recess (19th July)
The Bill today commences ‘Report’ stage in the Lords. This will take four days and is likely to involve a series of votes being taken on around 6 issues of major concern regarding the police reform provisions already flagged up during the ‘Committee stage’. ‘Report’ will be over the following four days:
June 29 / July 4 / July 11 / July 13
Report is followed by a day debate called ‘3rd Reading’.
The latest information we have is that Third Reading in the Lords will be on 19 July.
This is the same day as the Commons break up for the summer thus making it unlikely on this timetable for the Bill to be agreed by both Houses and receive Royal Assent before the summer recess unless MPs decide to shorten their summer recess. We understand that this change reflects Peers’ concerns that the previous timetable would simply be too rushed to allow for meaningful debate of what will be a clutch of major amendments their Lordships will seek to confirm to the Bill at the final 3rd reading stage.
We understand that ‘Ping pong’ between the Commons and Lords, during which attempts are made to reach agreement on any points on contention between the Upper and Lower Houses is likely to take place in September when the Lords are back for a few days (5th – 15th) before party conferences.
Finally, the Government has announced that Peers’ recess for the party conferences will be cut short by a week (the Lords were due to return on October 10, just like the Commons but Peers will now be called back to make progress against what’s an increasing backlog of slowing down legislation – NHS bill, etc – on October 3rd). See: http://www.politicshome.com/uk/article/29938/working_peers_working_early.html. This means that Peers will be called back to work whilst the Conservative’s national party conference is ongoing in Manchester (October 2nd -5th).
Our best guesses are that these developments mean that:
Though this is a significant delay to the Government’s desired and oft-stated timetable, the Bill could still get though in time for elections next May. Rough calculations suggest that the Government has until early to mid October to get Royal Assent before it starts to endanger the timetable necessary to complete the necessary Regulations, and preparation by the Electoral Commission, in time for a new set of elections for PCCs on May 3rd 2012.
It looks increasingly unlikely that changes in London could go ‘live’ by October, but may just meet the second best target date of December
The House of Lords begins its clause by clause consideration of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill on 11.05.11 when Peers backed by 188 votes to 176 an amendment tabled by Baroness Harris of Richmond (Liberal Democrat, and Vice President of the APA) to scrap plans for directly elected police and crime commissioners. 13 Liberal Democrats, more than 38 Cross Benchers and Bishops voted against solo elected Police Commissioners. Read the full debate here.
6th May 2011
Peers will debate amendments to the Police Reform Bill, clause by clause in a committee sitting open to all members of the House on the following dates
Wednesday 11th May
Wednesday 18th May
Tuesday 24th May.
See the full list of amendments submitted for debate here (updated daily)
28th April 2011
Last night Peers voted at 23.40 to allow the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill to pass ‘2nd Reading’ and continue onto its next stage of scrutiny: a Committee of all Peers, to examine the bill line by line, starting on May 11th. This vote to allow the bill to proceed, was, as usual for this stage, simply procedural (counted by Noble shouts of ‘aye’) and not counted.
We provided a live stream summary throughout the 7hours of debate, highlighting the key points – you can view this by scrolling through our twitter stream here:
- Very High attendance (70plus Peers virtually throughout) – around 7x the numbers for equivalent debates in the Commons, with the red leather on the Opposition, Liberal democrat and Cross Benches especially well populated
- Long (7hour), expert serious debate enlivened by those with significant experience including former Chief Constables, PA Chairs, Victims and Police Complaints Commissioners, former Chief Inspectors of Prisons, Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Bishops and a former Home Secretary and Policing Ministers from all sides
- Just 1 in 5 of the 50+ Speakers spoke up in support of PCCs
- Former Home Secretary Michael Howard led the charge for PCCs (to challenges from the Opposition who cited his stout opposition to elections and the consequent politicisation of policing when he created Police Authorities in 1994/5). He explicitly summed up the rationale for PCCs in the simple terms; solving the ‘insurmountable problem’ that hardly anyone could name the Chair of their local police authority. Conservatives supporting the Government were John Patten, David Maclean and Gordon Wasserman.
- Not a single LibDem spoke in favour of PCCs as proposed. Though LD Peers made clear their intent to amend the bill in order to improve, rather than to wreck it (e.g. by pilots), this, to our knowledge is the first time that under the present coalition, every LD speaker in a debate in the Lords has not explicitly backed the Government line.
- Only one Peer from the Crossbenches (Former West Mids Chief Constable Lord Geoffrey Dear) spoke up in favour of PCCs (and even his speech was rich in unanswered questions about how it might work)
- The LibDems (including newly appointed LibDems) reaffirmed their determination to put down amendments to secure: Pilot schemes (perhaps 3years and in a mix of 2or3 different force areas), Stronger checks and balances on PCCs (greater powers for the Panel), and significant changes to the provisions as they will affect London
- A succession of Labour Peers made clear that they remain 'resolutely opposed to PCCs' and would make 3 demands of the Government: a HMIC evaluation of the likely impact of PCCs, referenda triggers (similar to those for introducing elected mayors) in every force area, 3yr pilot schemes in a range of areas (urban / rural / shire / unitary etc).
- Responding for the Government, Baroness Neville Jones was steadfast in her critique of Police Authorities ‘inadequate’ record and the Government’s determination to press on with reform, without pilots and without delay. She did however concede that the Government accepted that the Bill could be improved and that Lords from all sides would need to ‘come together’ on this bill to ensure it could pass.
- More than 10% of all speakers on PCCs quoted directly from the APA’s briefing.
27 April 2011
The House of Lords will begin it's consideration of the Bill with a 2nd reading debate between approximately 3pm and 10pm. The APA will provide a live update of proceedings from our twitter feed 'AssocPoliceAuth'.
22 February 2011
The Public Bill Committee of 20 MPs considering the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill have finished their work. See a summary of the changes agreed by the Committee here.
5 January 2011
The Association of Police Authorities has welcomed an invitation by the Public Bill Committee for people to submit their views on the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill. The APA news release can be found here.
One of the proposals of the Bill is that police authorities would be scrapped from 2012 and replaced by Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) who would hold the police to account on behalf of the public.
Why not respond to the consultation by sending your views to email@example.com. The views expressed will be considered by the Public Bill Committee - a cross-party group of 20 MPs.
1 December 2010
The APA has commented on the newly published Home Office Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill. You can find these comments here, and the new bill here.
In addition the APA Chair Rob Garnham spoke on the Daily Politics Show (BBC 2), outlining his concerns with the Home Office proposals. This can be found here.
The Association of Police Authorities (APA) has outlined its vision for the future of policing in a report submitted to the Home Office consultation, Policing in the 21st Century. Please find this here.
We have also commissioned two reports – one from Ipsos MORI to assess the public view on police reform (here) and a cost analysis from Boxwood Consulting on the likely costs of introducing Police and Crime Commissioners (here).
The main document published by the Home Office outlining all these changes can be found here.