The private members bill is worded such:
The Bill aims to ensure that public authorities and public servants would not be subject to any criminal or civil penalty as a result of the exercise of reasonable discretion in the performance of their functions.
Its provisions would cover public authorities, public servants and contracts for public services. The term public authority is defined by the Bill and includes the NHS, the police, local and central and devolved Government and non-departmental public bodies. The formal intent of the Bill is to indemnify public servants, central government, local government and other public agencies from legal action if they take decisions in good faith, as a result of the exercise of reasonable discretion, in the public interest.
So what would all that wording – actually mean?
It is obvious that anyone in the public service or life could, with this legislation, say that they were doing it [whatever it was] for the public good and with that their defence would be complete.
Although Bills like this rarely get through the parliamentary process we have to begin to ask questions as to why it was even thought up in the first place?
Odd, more so, is the voting record of Tim Boswell, when you look at that record would he seem the sort to write this Bill?
As Frustrated voter said on his blog:
Reasonable discretion is defined as being either, in the public interest or in the performance of their functions, in other words, it covers everything. The Bill seeks to include cover for all civil servants (and of course Ministers), for any mistakes they have made related to contracts for public services
Everything indeed – literally everything – as long as it was reasonable discretion.
How would any lawyer fight that – it would mean a massive case, the cost would be prohibitive and therefore these cases would never be brought to a court of law. This would also include no criminal cases against public servants – basically on the back of the police would not investigate because if they did, then they may be subject to a change in this law at a later date because they had. The whole thing is monstrously sinister.
There would be, at first looking at this, no other reason than to protect the whole public service body, anyone who is employed by local, central, devolved governments, and those who it contracted to do work for them – from IT companies to a local contractor of any sort.
The immunity in this Bill is – well, staggering.