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Column 1023Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mrs. Llin Golding, dated 18 February 1994 :
I am replying to your Parliamentary Questions to the Secretary of State for Social Security asking for details about the salary costs of staff in the Child Support Agency.
The forecast total salary costs for the Agency for the current year are £74 million.
Staffing costs by grade are not currently available.
I hope you find this information useful.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. Donald Dewar, dated 18 February 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Questions about the time taken to complete the maintenance application process by each regional centre of the Child Support Agency.
For the period from the 5 April to 31 December 1993, information is available on the percentage of cases cleared by individual Agency Centres within given time bands ; under 40 days, between 40 and 100 days, and over 100 days. This data is tabulated at Annex A. I hope you find this reply useful.
CSAC |<40 Days |>40 Days but|>100 Days |<100 Days |Per cent. |Per cent. |Per cent. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Belfast |52.11 |8.20 |39.70 Birkenhead |41.20 |15.80 |43.00 Dudley |45.02 |12.96 |42.02 Falkirk |46.30 |11.86 |41.83 Hastings |45.64 |11.77 |42.59 Plymouth |42.82 |11.85 |45.32 |--- |--- |--- Total |45.51 |12.14 |42.34 The times are measured from the receipt of the maintenance application form by the Agency, to the day after the assessment is completed. All data is from the Child Support Computer System, and is provisional.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mrs. Llin Golding, dated 18 February 1994 :
I have been asked to reply to your Question to the Secretary of State about the number of staff in the Child Support Agency who receive performance related pay.
The Agency operates its performance related pay scheme within the terms of the new national pay arrangements agreed by the Treasury and the Civil Service Trade Unions. These new arrangements have created a stronger link between pay and performance by replacing automatic annual increments with performance related progression. The level of any individual's performance related progression is governed by the Agency's personal review system.
In this system, each individual is set a number of challenging work and personal objectives, tailored to meet each person's
Column 1024experience and ability. Performance related pay is awarded in recognition of the level of individual performance achieved over the previous twelve months.
The Agency now employs 4,937 staff all of whom are eligible for consideration for an award of performance related pay based upon the agreed arrangements which are available for inspection in the Library.
I hope you will find this reply helpful.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : One hundred and twenty-five people have participated in the North Norfolk Action work experience scheme during its first six months of operation. At the end of that period there were 60 participants.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : A variety of opportunities are offered at Restart interviews in Cromer and North Walsham jobcentres. Since May 1993 North Norfolk Action has been one of them. By mid-February 1994 a total of 82 people had signed off after their restart interview without giving a reason.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when his Department was first notified of an incident which occurred in the channel tunnel in January in which two channel tunnel workers were taken to hospital for treatment after a bolt of electricity arced across from the main cable ; what is the standard procedure for notifying his Department of accidents in the channel tunnel ; if he will publish a table giving a full list of accidents in or around the channel tunnel notified to his Department, including dates, nature and injuries sustained ; and if he will make a statement.
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1985 apply to the United
Column 1025Kingdom side of the channel tunnel, and reportable accidents and dangerous occurrences must be notified to HSE. HSE informs the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority immediately of any fatal accidents or incidents with potential for major consequences. HSE also reports regularly to the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority other accident information to assist accident prevention on the French side of the project.
Mr. Rendel : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what are the current criteria for eligibility for the job interview guarantee scheme ; and by what percentage the number of eligible persons has increased since 1992.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service agency under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from M. E. G. Fogden to Mr. David Rendel, dated 18 February 1994 :
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the Job Interview Guarantee Scheme.
The current criteria for eligibility for the Job Interview Guarantee (JIG) scheme were introduced by the Employment Department in April 1993 as part of an overall review of eligibility for all the Group's programmes. The aim of the review was to streamline and bring together the criteria which had been developed over time for individual programmes.
The following are entitled to help through the JIG :
--people aged 18 who are unemployed for six months or more and in receipt of unemployment benefit, Income Support, Invalidity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Sickness Benefit or National Insurance credits.
--people with disabilities.
--indirect benefit recipients--the partner of a person who is unemployed and claiming unemployment benefit or Income Support where both partners are unemployed for 26 weeks or more.
--people involved in designated large scale redundancies. --people living in areas where a colliery has closed.
--people with literacy and numeracy needs.
--people needing basic training in English.
--people returning to the labour market after being away for a continuous period of two years or more and who have not received unemployment benefit or National Insurance credits through the Employment Service.
The number of clients unemployed and in receipt of benefits or National Insurance credits for six months or more in Great Britain and therefore eligible for JIG, as well as other programmes and initiatives, are as follows :
Year |Number ------------------------------ 1992 |1,269,000 1993 |1,548,000 1994 |1,545,000
These long-term unemployed people make up our main target group, although they may also fall into one or more of the other categories. We do not have specific information on numbers of clients within each of these other categories.
JIG continues to be an effective way of helping our priority clients out of unemployment and back to work. Through it we expect to place around 160,000 people into jobs in 1993/94, more than ever before.
I hope this is helpful.
Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to his answer of 2 February, Official Report, column 725, in what form he will respond to the EU's Green Paper on social policy before 31 March.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : I am satisified that the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 and its relevant statutory provisions ensures that employers offer adequate protection for all those engaged in work activities including school-age children. Local byelaws further regulate their employment.
The provisions of HSWA were extended by the Health and Safety (Training for Employment) Regulations 1990 to ensure that pupils taking part in work experience were fully protected.
Mrs. Clywd : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what discussions he has had with (a) the Child Accident Prevention Trust and (b) other agencies concerning the incidence of accidents involving school-age children at work.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : None, but officials of the Health and Safety Executive are represented on the council of the Child Accident Prevention Trust and have good contacts with a number of other relevant safety agencies.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1985 require employers and others to report to the Health and Safety Executive or to local authorities all accidents which involve employees and makes no exception for employees of school age. All fatalities at work become known to HSE either through accident reports, or through a coroner's office. HSE has no evidence to suggest that employers vary their approach to reporting according to the age of their employees.
Mr. Rendel : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what pilot projects have been carried out since 1992 of the foyer concept, whereby young people are given a place in a hostel if in exchange they give a commitment to train and look for work.
Miss Widdecombe : The Department is supporting five pilot foyers based in YMCA hostels in Nottingham, Norwich, St. Helens, Wimbledon and Romford. The pilots are being evaluated, with results expected later this year.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The independent Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration--the ombudsman--will investigate any complaints referred to him against the Health and Safety Executive--HSE--by Members of Parliament on behalf of their constituents. Further details are published in the Health and Safety Executive's citizens charter leaflets.
|Lodged |Partially|Upheld |upheld -------------------------------------------------- 1983 |1 |1 |- 1984 |- |- |- 1985 |- |- |- 1986 |- |- |- 1987 |2 |- |1 1988 |1 |- |1 1989 |- |- |- 1990 |1 |- |1 1991 |1 |1 |- 1992 |- |- |- 1993 |<1>1 |- |- <1>Decision pending.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects his Department's inquiries into the application by Mr. Rehman Suleman Ekhalwaya--Ref : 29/12/128--to join his wife in the United Kingdom, and referred by the high commission in Bombay will be complete ; when he expects a recommendation to be passed to Bombay ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will list those member states of the European Union whose armed forces will be qualified to stand as candidates for United Kingdom seats for the European Parliament ;
(2) which European Union member states' civil servants will be qualified to stand as candidates for United Kingdom seats in the European Parliament.
Mr. Bernie Grant : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library his previous and present guidelines for the use of gags in deportation cases (a) on board aircraft and (b) on the mainland of the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Charles Wardle : There are no such guidelines, but the recent joint Home Office/police review of removal procedures concluded that the use of mouth restraints--which had been suspended in August 1993--should not be resumed. My right hon. and learned Friend indicated in reply to a question from my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Sir I. Lawrence) on 12 January at columns 212-13 that he accepted that conclusion. A copy of the report of the joint review has already been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Rendel : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many instances of vandalism his Department estimates have occurred in each year between 1983 and 1993 as a result of drilling ventilation holes through the front doors of council homes in the north-east for the purposes of ensuring adequate combustion in natural gas fires.
Mr. Charles Wardle : Ten new projects were announced on 29 December 1993 and announcements on further projects are planned for 1994-95. As funding for the programme is to be included in the single regeneration budget--to be administered by the Department of the Environment--from 1 April 1994, the precise timetable for later projects will be drawn up in conjunction with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.
Sir Ivan Lawrence : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what conclusions he has reached of his examination of the criminal law on anonymity in sexual offence cases ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Howard : I have given careful consideration to this matter in the light of considerable public concern that was apparent towards the end of last year. I am satisfied, however, that the present law, which affords anonymity for complainants in sexual offence cases but offers no special protection for defendants, strikes a proper balance between the principle of open justice on the one hand and the need to ensure that victims of sexual offences are encouraged to come forward on the other. I therefore have no plans to alter the law in this area.
I believe that victims must continue to benefit from the current level of protection. Even with anonymity, criminal trial is a particularly harrowing process for the victim of a sexual offence and I believe that any diminution in the protection currently available, or doubts about the certainty of the protection, would be likely to increase the number of sexual offences that go unreported and unpunished. The law already allows for the prosecution of complainants whose accusations amount to perjury or an attempt to pervert the course of justice, and in those circumstances the rules relating to anonymity no longer apply.
So far as defendants in sexual offences cases are concerned, I am not persuaded that they should be treated differently from those charged with other serious crimes, who may also fear a loss of reputation. In a system of open justice some discomfort for defendants who are subsequently acquitted is inevitable. But openness is essential to the maintenance of public confidence in the criminal justice system and ensures that information that might encourage further witnesses to come forward is publicly available. I do not consider that there is a special case for infringing that principle in relation to defendants in sexual offences cases, as a matter either of general application or of judicial discretion in the individual case.
Ms Eagle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will list the national organisations dealing exclusively or primarily with women that are funded by the Voluntary Services Unit ;
(2) if he will list the umbrella organisations dealing exclusively or primarily with women that are funded by the Voluntary Services Unit ;
(3) if he will list the Merseyside organisations dealing exclusively or primarily with women that are funded by the Voluntary Services Unit.
Column 1030sets out the Government's latest economic forecast. The tax increases and public expenditure savings announced in the two 1993 Budgets put the public finances on a sound footing, and they help create the conditions for sustainable economic growth combined with low inflation.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what arrangements are being made to exclude the tax affairs of the royal family and hon. Members, currently administered by the Inland Revenue at Shipley in west Yorkshire, from being administered by a third party under the market-testing arrangements ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Dorrell : No such arrangements are necessary. If activities involving the processing, handling or holding of tax information at Shipley or elsewhere, were to be transferred to a private sector organisation, the Inland Revenue would remain responsible for continuing to ensure proper standards of privacy and confidentiality for all citizens including the royal family and hon. Members. In addition to contractual safeguards, the contracting organisation and its employees would be subject, in the same way as Inland Revenue employees, to the criminal sanctions--a fine or imprisonment or both--provided by section 182 of the Finance Act 1989 for unauthorised disclosure of taxpayer personal information.
Confidentiality is not a bar to market testing ; a lot of highly sensitive Government work is done by the private sector. But the Inland Revenue would need to be sure that an outside contractor could replicate existing security procedures and conditions.