In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Evan Davis.
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He might have thought out sourcing
public services did not work for the
taxpayer, but another profit warning
shows it may be doesn't work for
private companies either.
says it needs to streamline its
business and get it debt down, the
latest in a spate of knocks to the
whole outsourcing industry. We'll
take a long hard look at when
outsourcing helps and when it should
After decades of horrific violence
in Afghanistan the International
criminal Court is considering a war
crimes investigation. But could
justice, much like peace, proved
elusive in this war-torn country?
They don't want what
is sometimes called
low hanging fruit, basically.
The foot soldiers who carry out,
most directly, the nasty activities.
So you've got to apprehend those
people, and that's not so
And should we require
explicit consent before sex?
A new app seems to think so.
We'll talk to a barrister
about what consent is,
and how we get it.
Has outsourcing had its day?
For decades now, it has been
a mantra within government,
that virtually any activity is best
put out to the market -
running trains, prisons,
construction projects, anything.
For a long time, some have
thought that the private
contractors coin it in,
at the expense of the workers,
and the taxpayers.
But the news that a huge
private contractor, Capita,
has had to make a profit warning,
and has seen its share
price plummet today,
weeks after Carillion went bust,
raises the question -
work for anybody at all?
Capita is in a different place
to Carillion, it is taking action
that Carillion didn't,
to prevent itself becoming another
sad business casualty,
but it's problems are just
the latest to lead to a rethink
about the activity on the border
of the public and private sectors.
These are difficult times
for believers in the private
delivery of public services.
It's not just the demise
of Carillion, other contracting
companies face financial challenges.
are struggling, too.
Virgin Stagecoach pulling out
of its east coast contract.
In Haringey, the Labour council has
been rocked by division over
a public private partnership
for redeveloping social housing
and other public assets.
Is the game up for contracting?
These corporations, Mr Speaker,
need to be shown the door.
We need our public services
provided by Public employees
with a public service ethos,
and a strong public oversight.
It is commonly framed as binary.
Private sector, all good or all bad.
But in reality, when you think
of all the things that go
on inside an organisation,
it's an argument about
where you draw a line.
The line between what
you buy in from outside
and what you keep in-house.
It applies as much in the private
sector as the public.
Some areas are relatively clear-cut.
Few organisations will want
to maintain their own lifts.
It's a specialist task,
lift servicing companies will likely
be better at lift maintenance.
Unless you're a lift company,
lift maintenance is not your thing,
so it's one to contract out.
Government should absolutely
consider outsourcing in instances
where the thing that it wants to buy
is already being bought
by lots of other people.
So particularly if that's
goods like, you know,
pencils, or even catering,
a service but lots
of people are buying.
Similarly if it's really easy
to measure the performance then
Government is going to be able
to have a good idea whether or not
the provider it is paying has
delivered that service well.
And similarly, is there going to be
any reputation risk for Government?
In those instances Government should
absolutely be looking to outsource.
Sometimes you need
When Ken Livingstone introduced
a congestion charge to London
it was a formidable logistical task.
Capita made it happen.
And another advantage
was that Capita could be
penalised for any screw ups,
of which there were a few.
Risk was transferred.
But what about core activities?
Do we expect Government to outsource
the role of Government?
The big questions are about
the delivery of complex services,
so whether it's prisons,
or probation, or adoption,
Government is the only organisation
buying those services.
And there's not a proper market,
it's really difficult
to measure performance,
and if they go wrong the
Government's likely to get blamed.
I think that is where
the debate needs to be
about whether outsourcing
is right or not.
One challenge is that contracts
are hard to draw up and monitor.
You can argue about the definition
of an egg in a catering
contract if you want to.
The second challenge
is the companies which win
contracts are often the ones
who bid unrealistically.
With awkward consequences.
Firstly, Government is focused
on price rather than quality,
or value for money.
And as a result these firms bid very
low, but have become quite
overstretched and fragile,
which means they are more
likely to collapse.
The second problem is that
Government has not put a huge amount
of work into overseeing and managing
these contracts well.
Which means that when these
organisations do collapse Government
is often taken unawares,
or doesn't have anything set up
to pick up the pieces.
So is it less a question
about public or private
being better, and more a question
of how effectively each
manages the other?
I'm now joined by Professor Mariana
Mazzucato, Director of the Institute
for Innovation and Public Purpose
at UCL, and Julian Glover,
who is Associate Editor
of the Evening Standard and formerly
advised David Cameron's
government on transport.
Good evening. We can start with
where it goes wrong. What would you
highlight where outsourcing goes
We use this word partnership.
Where it goes wrong is we don't
define what a good partnership. If
you talk to a biologist they would
say ecosystems candy
say ecosystems candy parasitic or
bionic. We can change the contracts.
There has also been this
self-effacing prophecy that the more
we outsource the brains of
Government to the public sector,
there has also been a lower
tolerance on it. You make it
conditional in terms of increasing
the quality. You should also
maintain direction. You should have
a sense of what kind of system you
You would keep the strategy
And you want the
brains to be able to buy the
Yes, but there is
also a question of profits. The
recent debate has been that these
companies are not profitable. Often
when they are not profitable, the
question is, is there a risk reward
relationship? There should be. They
are not taking risks. They are often
assuming that the public sector
continues to actually take on both
in the beginning the high-level
risk, but also then bails them out
when things go wrong. Often the
reward, even when it is there, is
not actually justified.
are in the Department for Transport.
You had all of those problems with
the East Coast and West Coast
franchises. Trying to write a
contract for something that would be
run by the public.
A lot of the
problems of these contracts in
different areas are linking to the
Government. The capability of
Government knowing what it has to be
to be a good customer. If you want a
hospital run in one place without
any changes, long period of time, it
isn't a bad idea to sign a lock in
contract for that period. Trouble
is, a few years and you decide to
shift. If you hand over a motorway
to the private sector, the public
sector has done a good job with the
makers, but as soon as you make a
choice it's an issue. The Government
doesn't know what it wants. It
changes its mind. Doing things with
a private contract is a good idea.
But you wanted diversity -- but you
want a big diversity. Government
centralising decisions will always
be difficult. When things were just
run through the centre, when it took
three months to get a telephone
through the post office, that wasn't
good. Direct organisations didn't
have a good reputation of
maintaining and building houses.
Outsourcing is the problem, it is
knowing what you want.
underbid. Virgin stagecoach underbid
for the East Coast Railway and they
couldn't make it work.
They were running things well.
Passenger satisfaction figures came
out, 90% for virgin route on the
east coast. The people losing out is
the company, which is burning
through its bond on East Coast. They
had to pay a lot of money to win the
But they race to get the
contract. They win the contract.
They have been overgenerous. Then
they are strapped trying to make up
the money on the little changes to
disagree with the point that
Government is inevitably almost,
because of its DNA, a bad client, or
isn't going to be deficient. That is
what you are saying. That is part of
the problem. An ideological problem.
There are many periods in history
where Government has functioned
extremely well. It has been both
ambitious, bold, and efficient. And
other periods come in recent
history, it hasn't been. That's not
just because things have changed.
There has been a narrative
which has often convinced, also
civil servants themselves, that
Government failures are even worse
than market failures. So, the gavel,
don't explore, don't take risks,
don't invest. When you start
investing, the machinery of
Government, it also going to be
I spent five years
working in the Department for
Transport. Working on projects.
Trying to get things happening. I
didn't find that culture. I found a
lot of investment from the Treasury,
not just borrowed money. Most things
happened before 2010, things like
the M25, signed by the Labour Party,
lots of the rail contracts, as well.
The enthusiasm was for the
Government to spend money and do
things. But you cannot...
have to have the capacity. Capacity
is the result of investment...
believe in a diversity of places
doing interesting things. I worry
about the idea. I sat on the fourth
floor, very good people, I worry
about them being in charge of
everything and planning everything.
Would you go down the journey Corbyn
route? And say, what is wrong with
bringing this or in-house, we don't
need private sector involvement in
the NHS, we don't need private
people redeveloping our council
houses, let's do it differently?
What you should be doing is thinking
about the problem at hand, which is
very different to the Department for
Transport. Getting the different
people at the table. The public
sector should be there directing the
show when we are talking about
public services. If the private
sector does want a bit of the game
it has proved capable first. It has
to have capacity itself. We are
often talking about public sector
capacity. But from the recent
examples there is a inefficiency.
But also what kind of risks they
will take morte kind of investments,
getting the contract and the deal is
right which will produce public
value. That is what they should be
There has been an
argument about Haringey. The
redevelopment. Do you have an
opinion on that?
Julian, would you go far with the
more ideological right-wing approach
that says Government is a very good,
carry on, carry on sub contracting
as far as we have been?
I would go
both directions. Government should
be involved in some areas, and more
controlling, maybe suburban transit.
But don't forget the overground
railway in North and East London
which everybody loves is a myriad of
private contracts working together.
But well specified contracts because
they are directed. In other areas
there should be more competition,
less state direction. We shouldn't
assume all of the activities that
the state has some guided, moral
principle. The danger of thinking
any private activity is somehow not
as well-meaning for the public good
But there is a
complete lack transparency...
group of people doing things for the
growing interest can enhance things
for the well-being is a good thing
We have the
performance targets, the efficiency
gains of all of the different public
sector activities. Carillion,
capita, they have refused to provide
the data. We should get them to
provide the data.
Point made. Thank
BBC management took something
of a pummelling today at a hearing
of a committee of MPs.
Pay is the issue, but when
Carrie Gracie spoke to the MPs
about her experience -
remember she had resigned as China
editor as a protest at the lack
of pay equality with male
counterparts - the issue was not
just money but the conduct
of the BBC as an employer.
Our business editor Helen Thomas
watched the proceedings -
as did a lot of other people
in this building.
The BBC resisted publishing
the salaries of its top-paid staff.
Today, the corporation's management,
pay and culture was picked over
in the most public of settings.
I have said I don't
want any more money.
I'm not a fiscal
liability to the BBC.
This trying to throw money at me
to resolve the problem...
This will not resolve my problem.
My problem will be resolved
by an acknowledgement that my work
was of equal value to the men
who I served alongside
as an international editor.
We have a toxic work atmosphere.
It is going to get worse.
We have women leaving.
The credibility of management
is diminished and damaged.
You know, they are stumbling
towards a kind of Greek tragedy
where they make happen
of their own worst fears.
We are not in the business
of producing toothpaste
or tyres at the BBC.
Our business is truth.
We can't operate without the truth.
If we're not prepared to look
at ourselves honestly,
how can we be trusted to look
at anything else?
I need to be there alongside
the other great BBC women,
their work also marginalised,
helping the BBC to sort it out,
and the BBC management need to
stop treating us as
some kind of enemy,
putting up a kind of fortress
with the Emperor and his sons
behind the fortress wall.
This is a BBC that
belongs to all of us.
BBC bosses stressed their commitment
to equality, and their plans
for an improved approach.
The equality, and equality
particularly with women,
has been something I've felt very,
very strongly about
and wanted to fix.
So, how is it possible,
when there is only five
for one to be inadvertently
underpaid for years?
Well, the answer is, that's wrong.
Yes, but how is it possible?
It's not like there are hundreds
all round the world and you
lose track of who's doing what.
What we are doing, going forward,
is saying we want to make sure
that we keep these things regularly
under review, we're upfront
about it, so that we don't get
the point where the band
between someone who is a low pay
editor, if we are taking
the editor's say, and the top pay
editor is not justifiable.
The purpose of approvals has been
very much about controlling cost,
not about ensuring equality
or ensuring fairness,
and that's been a mistake.
Was there anybody, then,
responsible for looking
at the equity across people's pay?
I think that would have
been done within news.
And I think we're accepting that it
wasn't done within news.
Is there any differential
which is justifiable?
We think there is, and I think
that this is based on...
Obviously not based
on gender at all.
It's based on the status of the job,
how often it's on the air,
how interested the audience are.
Straight ahead, please.
BBC management spoke
about their detailed plans
to do things better.
How they intend to address
the specific grievances
of BBC women was less clear.
Helen is with me now.
Helen, dramatic testimony, actually.
People were absolutely gripped by
it. Did we have much news from
We did. It was
dramatic, emotional, passionate. She
says she's been offered nearly
£100,000 in back pay. She'd been
told she'd been inadvertently
underpaid. She had a lower salary
for her first three years... Years
as China editor because she was in
development. As a very experienced
China editor, you could see that
grated. She talked about a breakdown
in trust and BBC management, and she
was hinting at a collective
blindness or incompetence in the
management of this issue, and
overall how the BBC treats some of
its staff. She was saying she wants
to stand up and fight for some more
junior women who perhaps can't.
BBC pre-empted a lot of this, coming
out with their own report and doing
interviews yesterday. Did we learn
much news from the BBC's answer to
I think the main
message was, yes, there may have
been mistakes in individual cases,
but there was no systemic gender
discrimination, and that the BBC's
processes and framework around pay
are being totally overhauled. We got
clarity on one thing. In management
size, the jobs of China editor and
north America editor are not
directly equivalent, so they should
not necessarily be paid the same,
but as you heard, in some cases the
disparity in these jobs had got too
An interesting question is
how many employers, what sectors,
have so many people whose pay is set
by individual negotiation and
discretion on the part of managers,
as opposed to people on a scale
where the pay kind of sick is a
I think this industry is
kind of unusual, but a lot of
industries will be looking at this
and how it is handled. Certainly
other media companies, but sectors
where there is discretion over
bonuses, flexibility over how you
retain people, pay hikes or invented
job titles to justify them. I think
there are lessons for companies
everywhere. One is that your gender
pay gap, that percentage figure,
tells you very little about this
other issue, which is equal pay for
people in the same jobs. A lawyer
said to me this week that we are
moving towards a world with more pay
transparency, and many companies
will be thinking, how confident am I
that my handle on relative pay would
stand up to a bit more scrutiny?
What's the economic
effect of Brexit?
There is an official assessment -
it's made the news in the last two
days, as it was leaked to the online
news service Buzzfeed, and it offers
a Whitehall view of the economic
effects of different Brexit
scenarios - all negative compared
to staying in the EU.
An awkward conclusion.
The government has experimented
with different ways
of trying to shrug it off.
One response was -
"Those civil servants -
they get up to all sorts
Then, "It's just preliminary
move along, nothing to see".
But - after saying that they
wouldn't publish the analysis,
today the government
said they would.
Let me start with
the terms of the motion.
We will provide the analysis
to the Select Committee
for exiting the European Union,
and all members, on a strictly
This means we will provide a hard
copy of the analysis to the chair
of the EU Select Committee,
and a confidential reading room
will be available
to all members and peers
to see a copy of this analysis once
those arrangements can be made.
Well, that may or may not change
people's minds when it comes -
but without waiting,
we now have a little more
from the leaked document.
Buzzfeed have released a line
on what it says about the estimated
effect of reducing EU immigration.
Alberto Nardelli, Buzzfeed's Europe
Editor, is with us -
he received the leaked document.
So what is the line on immigration?
I think the point on immigration in
the analysis is that it shines the
light on one of the other conundrums
this government is facing. It shows
that under different potential
policy scenarios, on the one hand
the number of people from the EU
arriving in the UK would be reduced
from about 90,000 to 40,000 a year.
But it provides a hit on the
economy, and the problem the
government has is that the upsides
of Brexit, such as the trade deal
with the United States, the value to
GDP that this would provide, is far
smaller than that hit. This issue
cuts across this document.
the general economic effect was
negative, but specifically, the
benefit of going off and saying we
can trade with the US, because we're
not in the customs union or the
single market, is offset by the fact
that the immigration control you
have the freedom to impose is going
to more than wipe out the benefit?
Exactly. If you look at this
document, there is no scenario in
which nontariff barriers, even if
the UK were to stay in the single
market through the European Economic
Area, it would mitigate some of
those losses, but there is no
scenario in which all of those
losses would be eliminated. This
document doesn't aim to refight the
referendum. It says, Britain is
leaving be you. These are the
upsides and downsides. This is what
it looks like in terms of the impact
on the economy. Now, ministers,
decide what you want to do.
the things you have published out of
it, and you haven't published it
all, to protect your sources, all of
them, the upside affect of a trade
deal with the US is estimated at
approximately zero, isn't it? That
is how much bigger our economy is in
15 years' time, 0.2% bigger.
document includes trade deals with
China, New Zealand, the Gulf
countries, the some of those would
add about 0.2 to 0.4%.
It is very
little. Thank you.
Well, here to talk about
the implications of that report, I'm
joined by two of the biggest beats
from the Conservative jungle.
Peter Bone was a founding member
of the grassroots out!
That wasn't affiliated
to the official leave campaign
and had a stronger emphasis
on the need to cut immigration.
And Ken Clarke.
He is a passionate remainer,
a former cabinet minister
and of course Father of the House.
Good evening. Peter Bone, what do
you make of specifically the
immigration stuff, that they are
finding immigration as a negative?
You knew that.
We aren't only 132
days away from withdrawing from the
European Union, that is the good
news. On immigration, this is
Project Fear Mark two. We had
Project Fear before the referendum.
The British public listened to all
the arguments, the economic
arguments, and decided to vote
Leave. It Nigel Farage says there
will be a cost of immigration
reduction, but what do you think? We
will have a fairer immigration
system and the same rules and
regulations across the whole world.
We're not going to discriminate in
favour of the European Union. An
unemployed person from Romania or
somewhere could come into the
country now, where as a doctor or
nurse from India will have to go
through all the hoops. We will have
a fairer immigration system, and all
the parties can calibrate it how
Should we take these
figures are seriously? They have
been dismissed by a number of
Brexiteers. They say the immediate
forecasts following the referendum
It helps to understand
what they are. The present silly
debate we are having on Brexit is
made silly if anybody rejects any
expert that comes up with something
that doesn't fit their side of the
argument. Very high-powered people
have made a serious assessment on
the impact of the economy on the
things that might change, because we
don't know exactly what we are going
to do with our economic
relationships or with immigration.
As a Cabinet minister, this is the
kind of thing I would expect to have
from the officials, giving me their
best expert objective assessment.
They may have restrictive models
that building all the facts. I might
be affected by the groupthink. Most
of the economic changes, leaving the
single market, leaving the customs
union, is going to damage our
economy. We are leaving one of the
richest multinational free-trade
agreements in the world. This is an
expert attempt to say that it is
going to affect the economy by about
this amount. Everybody has always
known will stop immigrants from the
EU, young people coming to take jobs
that British people will not take
for some reason, for example in the
entertainment industry. This is a
fair way of assessing what the
impact might be, the best estimate
anybody is likely to make. It should
be published to the public and the
Cabinet should be allowed to see it.
Peter, do you agree that everybody
should be allowed to see it and make
their own judgment?
documents that have not been
completed. They never made it to the
Cabinet. They didn't even look at
what Theresa May is trying to
achieve, it didn't even look at that
model. If we are going to talk about
experts, let's talk about a
professor who says we are going to
be vastly better off. He has been
proved more right than the Treasury.
No, he hasn't.
The Treasury got it
totally wrong before.
He is the only
economist I know who thinks that we
will just open our tariff...
he more right than the Treasury? He
said there wouldn't be a disaster
after the referendum.
We are poorer
since the referendum. Let me answer
you. There is no doubt that large
sections of the population are
poorer now than they would have been
if we had voted to remain, because
it set off a devaluation, because it
damaged confidence in British
sterling assets, and that caused
inflation. The real wages of many
people are not keeping up with this
The lowest unemployment
for 40 years!
The reason we need an
analysis is to stop having slogans
from Brexiteers, and all this
nonsense to denounce any attempt to
I think we have
demonstrated that having a fewer
number is doesn't necessarily
resolve the argument! Thank you
The past week has seen
horrific violence in
the Afghan capital Kabul.
Indeed the country has seen
horrific violence for much
of the past 40 years.
And during that time there's been
very little real justice
for any of the victims.
No process of criminal trial
for war crimes, nor a peace
and reconciliation process either.
But it is possible that
the International Criminal Court's
prosecutor could launch a formal
war crimes investigation.
And today is an important
one in that process -
because it is the last day
on which victims can
make their submissions
to judges at the court,
saying why they think
there should be an inquiry.
That's whether they are accusing
the Taliban, the CIA
or Afghan officials.
Secunder Kermani has
been talking to victims
to hear their stories,
and their feelings
about obtaining justice.
Just to warn you, some
of the testimony in the film
is extremely graphic.
Hospital CCTV cameras captured
the moment a huge Taliban bomb
exploded on Saturday outside
a police compound across the road.
It had been hidden
inside an ambulance.
Over 100 people died.
It's just one of the many potential
crimes against humanity
committed in Afghanistan
by many different groups.
Now judges at the International
Criminal Court are beginning
to examine submissions from victims
here in Afghanistan.
They are deciding whether to
authorise an official investigation
into war crimes that could see
charges being levelled
against high-ranking Taliban
members, against CIA officials,
and leading figures
in the Afghan government.
32-year-old Samara worked
as a cook in an orphanage.
She was killed in another suicide
bombing by the Taliban
in Kabul last July.
Now, Samara's 17-year-old
daughter, Fatima, wants
the International Criminal Court
to bring charges
against the Taliban.
She's lost faith in
the Afghan authorities.
Fatima says she's not
afraid of reprisals.
But to get justice for Fatima's
mother, those responsible
would first need to be identified,
then somehow arrested.
You've got to catch the Taliban -
or you've got to catch
You've got to bring them
to The Hague, and you've got
to put them on trial,
and you need evidence,
and that evidence comes
in the form of documents,
it comes in the form
of witness statements,
and that gathering exercise,
for an institution that doesn't
have its own police force,
is incredibly problematic.
The proposed investigation
by the ICC would look at crimes
committed from May 2003.
That would cover some
prisoners taken from
Afghanistan to Guantanamo Bay.
Many were initially held
at the Bagram detention centre,
just outside Kabul.
Campaign group Reprieve are making
submissions to the ICC
on behalf of three men.
When you look back at the kinds
of things that happened
to the prisoners detained
in Afghanistan, in Bagram,
in other secret facilities,
we're seeing all manner of abuses,
including Russian roulette
with guns, men held in stress
positions for days, doused
with freezing water,
attacks on their genitals...
Abuses that really destroy the men
both physically and psychologically,
and what's important to remember
here is that these abuses
were perpetrated at the behest
of the top commanders.
American officials have
described the proposed
investigation in Afghanistan
as "unwarranted and unjustified".
The United States isn't signed up
to the International Criminal Court,
and that's not all.
A Bush-era law passed by Congress
says that if any American personnel
are ever sent for trial at the ICC,
US authorities are allowed to use
all means necessary to free them.
That could, in theory,
mean military action.
The ICC prosecutor is also asking
to investigate allegations of abuse
by Afghan officials.
Perhaps the most high-ranking
alleged offender was
General Abdul Rashid Dostum.
The current Vice President has been
dogged by claims of human
rights abuses for decades.
He is currently in Turkey in de
facto exile after one
particularly grim allegation.
In late 2016, Ahmad Ishchi,
a political rival of Dostum's,
says he was beaten and sodomised
on his orders.
Dostum refused to appear
in court in Afghanistan.
Ishchi believes the ICC
should now step in.
Dostum denies any wrongdoing.
His spokesman says
Ishchi was never raped.
The judges of the International
Criminal Court still need to decide
whether to authorise a formal
alone level charges.
But this is a country where people
are desperate for some
kind of accountability
after years of violence.
It's not a modern problem,
establishing that a potential sexual
partner is happy to become
an actual one.
Fumbling a way through the flirting,
the come-ons or the rejections
is part of growing up.
But the issue of sexual
consent has never been
as charged as it is today.
In fact, an app has come along
to help would-be partners make
explicit their permission to proceed
in a contract.
The fact that it describes itself
as secured in the blockchain
will either inspire
confidence or scepticism.
But whether the app takes off,
is this kind of formal contracting
process seriously the answer
to the many cases of disputed
consent, or confused intentions?
What kind of consent should people
be comfortable with?
I'm joined by Kate Parker,
who has set up a charity called
The Schools Consent Project,
which sends lawyers into schools
to discuss issues relating
to consent and key sexual offences.
Good evening. Some of this is
motivated by what is happening in
Sweden. Maybe you can tell us. They
have passed a law which says
explicit consent is required.
exactly that. I'm not a Swedish
lawyer. Their law has done a U-turn.
Originally it was that for a rape
prosecution or conviction it had to
be threats of violence. Obviously
there were lots of permutations to
that. That has now moved to a
position where there has to be
explicit, verbalised consent.
Failing that, a conviction will be
What do you think of the
idea of a nap where you literally, I
think it involves a photo, you can
take various boxes. -- the idea of
I think that is problematic
in a number of ways. Anything that
purports to externalise and modify
consent, some hours possibly before
any sexual interaction takes place,
is a worry. Consent is a live thing.
It involves two human beings
checking in with each other.
Exactly. You might give a
licence for one thing, and in actual
fact what happens in the bedroom
turns out to be something completely
I think it is
unworkable. But trying to open up
conversations about consent, as my
charity does, is important.
sceptical about explicit, requiring
explicit verbal consent, or not.
Because everybody just thinks of
conversations where people fumble
through very awkwardly, really.
a legal perspective, going back to
Sweden's law, it almost reverses the
standard of proof. There are
scenarios where you read somebody's
nonverbal cues and you are able to
understand that they are consenting.
The example, a couple who might have
been together 20 years is unlikely
to check in with one another that
explicitly and say, due consent to
this, that? -- do you consent. There
might be situations that do not
require verbalised consent.
this schools project. What is your
advice to young people about how to
engage in this? It can just be so
awkward and embarrassing. There are
so many other things you are trying
Absolutely. There might
be alcohol involved, nervousness,
whatever it might be.
Communication, we say, is the
answer. That doesn't mean saying, do
you consent to this?
Exactly, we do
not want a turn-off, what is the
Something like does
this feel good to you? What do you
like? Opening up the channels of
communication is really important
with young people. Even just
discussing it in a classroom, so
they have some kind of pre-thinking
before they find themselves in these
scenarios. We think it's very
Just put the other side,
99.9% of cases will be dealt with
perfectly finally on that kind of
basis. There will be .1% where there
will disputed consent. Maybe you do
just have to go the Swedish way,
because those ones are so awful that
you have to say, look, everybody
else has to go with explicit
consent, so we can deal with the
point 1% that are not.
our law on consent, our law says a
person consent if she or he agrees
by Joyce and has the capacity to
make that choice. As I understand,
there is no agreement that it should
change. -- by choice and has the
capacity. Your own personal standard
might have to be higher than the
rather than capacity, for example.
Thanks very much. That is all we
have time for this evening. Kirsty
will be back in this chair tomorrow.
Have a very good night.