Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (1) how many cases received legal aid in the North West region last year ; what was the average length of time taken to bring a case to court ; and what was the average cost of each case ;
(2) how many legal aid certificates have been issued in the last two years for preliminary work only in the North West region ; how many of these led to completed court cases ; and how many were incomplete and did not come to court.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The North-West region is served by four legal aid area offices which are situated in Chester, Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The offices at Chester and Newcastle also serve other areas outside of the region. It is not possible to distinguish assisted persons residing in the North-West region from those residing in the other areas covered. In the geographical areas covered by all four offices 112,029 civil legal aid certificates were issued in the financial year 1992 -93. According to statistical returns submitted by the courts 70,215 criminal legal aid orders were granted in the North-West region in the calendar year 1992. A further 2,563 criminal legal aid orders were granted by legal aid committees following appeals against magistrates' refusal of legal aid. The average cost of all legal aid bills paid in 1992-93 in England and Wales was as follows :
Civil legal aid £906
Criminal Magistrates' £449
Criminal Higher £840
Information is not available on the length of time taken to bring legally aided cases to court, but the average length of time taken from the granting of a civil legal aid certificate to the conclusion of the case is approximately three years.
Legal aid certificates are not issued in respect of preliminary work only. A certificate may however be limited to specific steps in the proceedings, pending counsel's opinion on the legal merits of the case. The Legal Aid Board's management information does not distinguish limited certificates from full certificates.
During the financial years 1991-92 and 1992-93 a total of 214,655 civil legal aid certificates were issued in the geographical areas covered by the area offices situated at Chester, Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle-upon- Tyne. The average duration of a legally aided case is three years and therefore the majority of cases commenced in the last two years will not have reached a conclusion. Out of a total number of 164,038 cases concluded in 1991-92 and 1992-93 in the geographical areas covered 106,962 were settled out of court or otherwise disposed of.
Column 742taking to ensure that solicitors receive adequate recompense for work carried out under the legal aid system where the value of the claim being pursued is for less than £3,000.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will ensure that where solicitors are pursuing claims of less than £3,000 with legal aid that the work is not delegated to an unqualified fee earner.
Mr. John M. Taylor : It is the responsibility of each solicitor doing legal aid work to ensure that work is conducted by the appropriate level of fee earner. The Lord Chancellor has no plans to change this.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make a statement on the amount spent on the new franchising arrangement for legal aid ; how many new posts were created ; and what are the costs of the new staffing arrangements of the franchising units.
Mr. John M. Taylor : In the year 1993-94 including recruitment, training and systems development, the new franchising arrangements costs were £3.4 million. Approximately 80 full-time equivalent posts have been created at an annual total employment cost of £2 million.
Mr. Janner : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many, and what percentage of officers in each of grades, 1 to 7 and overall, in his Department are (a) women, (b) from ethnic minorities and (c) disabled, respectively.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The number and percentage of officers in each of grades 1 to 7 and overall who are (a) women is set out in table 1. Information on the ethnic origin of officers and on numbers of disabled officers is obtained by the use of voluntary staff surveys. The number and percentage of respondents in each of grades 1 to 7 and overall who are (b) from ethnic minorities and (c) disabled, respectively, are set out in tables 2 and 3.
Table 1 Number and percentage of officers in grades 1-7 and overall who are women as at 25 March 1994 Grade |Number |Percentage -------------------------------------------- 1 |0 |0.0 2 |0 |0.0 3 |1 |9.1 4 |0 |0.0 5 |6 |17.6 6 |19 |21.1 7 |79 |37.2 Overall |7,922 |63.2 Note to table: The grades shown are for grade levels i.e. they include equivalent grades.
Table 2 Number and respondents of officers in grades 1-7 and overall who are ethnic minorities as at 25 March 1994 Grade |Number |Percentage -------------------------------------------- 1 |0 |0.0 2 |0 |0.0 3 |0 |0.0 4 |0 |0.0 5 |0 |0.0 6 |* |2.4 7 |* |2.2 |-- |-- Overall |916 |8.1 Notes to table: (1) The grades shown are for grade levels ie they include equivalent grades (2) Information on ethnic origin is collected by the use of a voluntary survey of all staff. To date 10 per cent. of staff have chosen not to respond to the survey. The figures quoted in the table are therefore based on the number of respondents. (3) The asterisks denote numbers that were so small as to enable identification of individuals, and are used to protect the privacy of those concerned.
Table 3 Number and Respondents of Officers in Grades 1-7 and Overall who have a Disability as at 25 March 1994 Grade |Number |Percentage -------------------------------------------- 1 |0 |0.0 2 |0 |0.0 3 |0 |0.0 4 |0 |0.0 5 |0 |0.0 6 |* |2.5 7 |* |2.8 |-- |-- Overall |446 |4.6 Notes to Table: (1) The grades shown are for grade levels i.e. they include equivalent grades. (2) Information on disability is collected by the use of a voluntary survey of all staff. To date 23 per cent. of staff have chosen not to respond to the survey. The figures quoted in the above table are therefore based on the number of respondents. (3) The asterisks denote numbers that were so small as to enable identification of individuals, and are used to protect the privacy of those concerned.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what percentage of public appointments made by his Department in 1993 were of (a) Asians and (b) black people ; and if he will list their names.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The figures for public appointments made by the Lord Chancellor's Department and the Northern Ireland Court Service in 1993 are for (a) Asians 1.5 per cent. and for (b) black people 1 per cent. This answer does not include judicial appointments. It is not our practice to give names : when asking appointees for information on their ethnic origin it is our practice to make it clear that it will be used only for statistical purposes.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what major building projects valued at over £1 million are being or have been wholly or partly financed since 1989 in (a) Doncaster, (b)
Column 744Barnsley, (c) Rotherham and (d) Wakefield by his Department ; and what was the cost of each project to his Department.
Mr. John M. Taylor : (a) In Doncaster, the Lord Chancellor's Department comissioned a new Crown court building which became ready for use in the third quarter of 1989. The final total cost of the scheme was £5 million--inclusive of site purchase costs, construction and design costs. An extension to the magistrates court is now currently being designed. It is estimated to cost £2.6 million and construction is likely to begin during 1995-96.
(a) There are no plans at present for a new court building scheme in Barnsley.
(c) In Rotherham the construction of a new ten courtroom magistrates court building commenced in February 1992 and is now in the final stage, and is due to become operational in early May. The full cost is likely to be £5.4 million.
(d) In Wakefield there are proposals to build a new magistrates court to contain six courts. If approved, construction could commence in 1997-98 and the estimated cost would be approximately £7.8 million.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many Proton cars were purchased by his Department in each of the last 10 years for which information is available ; and at what cost.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what measures the Lord Chancellor has taken to ensure that (a) High Court judges and (b) circuit judges receive training in race awareness ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Training for members of the judiciary is a matter for the Judicial Studies Board. I can tell the hon. Member that the board includes race awareness as a standard topic in all its refresher and induction seminars attended by High Court judges and circuit judges. In addition, the board is developing a programme of seminars on these issues for all circuit judges, recorders and assistant recorders in England and Wales to be carried forward over the next two years.
Mr. Boyes : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what was the total cost of official entertainment in the Lord Chancellor's Department in each year since 1990-91 ; if he will list the receptions held in each year at his Department's expense ; and what was the cost of each reception.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Three principal receptions are funded each year by the Department : the Lord Chancellor's breakfast at the commencement of the legal year, a summer reception given by the Lord Chancellor for members of the media and--since 1992-93--a reception in the Inner Temple given by the Lord Chief Justice. The costs of these events, and the total costs of official entertaining each year since 1990-91, are given in the table.
Column 745While other individual receptions may have been held, the cost of identifying them and their related expenditure would be disproportionate.
a Lord Chancellor's Department official entertaining |Lord |Lord Chief |Media |Total |Chancellor's|Justice's |reception |breakfast |reception |£ |£ |£ |£ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1990-91 |7,105.59 |- |- |19,022.93 1991-92 |8,661.32 |- |605.94 |20,894.90 1992-93 |9,816.84 |1,433.89 |734.55 |20,697.44 1993-94 (to the end of February |8,008.63 |1,594.10 |653.15 |17,463.63
Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to his answer of 23 March, Official Report, columns 271-72, if he will make it his policy to collect centrally information on the expressed political affiliations of magistrates and applicants for the magistrates bench.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Information is collected centrally for each bench on the expressed political affiliations of magistrates. The Lord Chancellor has no plans to collect centrally similar information on applicants.
Mr. David Hunt : I have today placed copies of the Employment Service annual performance agreement for 1994-95 in the Library. The new targets represent a considerable challenge to the Employment Service. I have set a demanding target of placing 1.7 million unemployed people in jobs next year. And I have asked the chief executive to give a high priority to helping unemployed people who face particular difficulties in getting back to work.
We have agreed an exceptionally demanding target that 29.5 per cent. of total unemployed placings should be long-term claimants. This will mean finding jobs for at least 500,000 people who have been unemployed for six months or more. There will also be two new targets aimed at offering extra help to people who have been unemployed for 12 months and 24 months. I have also agreed the highest ever target for finding jobs for people with disabilities.
Mr. Rowe : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will provide a table showing for each training and enterprise council in England the number of people covered by the youth training guarantee who have been waiting for over eight weeks for a YT place ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 746138. This was a fall of 97 per cent. from March 1993 when the total was 5,424. This is excellent progress and a tribute to the efforts of training and enterprise councils, careers services and all others involved in placing young people into training. The following table gives information for each TEC :
YT guarantee monitoring YT seekers: waiting >8 weeks |March 1993|March 1994 ------------------------------------------------------- Avon |88 |8 AZTEC |156 |0 Barnsley/Doncaster |36 |0 Bedfordshire |115 |0 Birmingham |110 |0 Bolton/Bury |41 |0 Bradford |15 |0 Calderdale/Kirklees |18 |0 CAMBSTEC |69 |0 Central London |136 |5 Central England |14 |4 CEWTEC |18 |2 CILNTEC |143 |1 County Durham |62 |3 Coventry/Warwickshire |79 |0 Cumbria |33 |1 Devon and Cornwall |66 |2 Dorset |23 |2 Dudley |2 |0 ELTEC |19 |0 Essex |373 |0 Gloucester |28 |0 Greater Peterborough |23 |0 Greater Nottingham |32 |0 Hampshire |207 |3 HAWTEC |19 |0 Heart of England |15 |1 Hertfordshire |107 |9 Humberside |47 |0 Isle of Wight |37 |5 Kent |338 |0 LAWTEC |40 |4 Leeds |37 |0 Leicestershire |27 |0 LETEC |439 |2 Lincolnshire |19 |1 Manchester |106 |1 Merseyside |42 |1 METROTEC |21 |0 Milton Keynes |32 |5 Norfolk/Waveney |4 |7 NORMIDTEC |13 |2 North Yorkshire |79 |3 North West London |111 |0 North Nottingham |91 |2 North Derbyshire |42 |1 North London |66 |4 Northamptonshire |62 |2 Northumberland |47 |7 Oldham |36 |0 QUALITEC |20 |0 Rochdale |18 |0 Rotherham |4 |0 Sandwell |10 |0 SECTEC |0 |0 Sheffield |156 |0 Shropshire |19 |0 SOLOTEC |206 |1 Somerset |97 |0 South Thames |476 |0 South Derbyshire |25 |1 Staffordshire |4 |0 Stockport |16 |0 Suffolk |13 |1 Surrey |94 |4 Sussex |66 |24 Teesside |45 |3 Thames Valley |185 |3 Tyneside |60 |2 Wakefield |18 |2 Walsall |3 |2 Wearside |0 |2 West London |36 |0 Wiltshire |68 |5 Wolverhampton |2 |0
Mr. Faber : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the report by the Review Board for Government Contracts on its 1994 annual review of the profit formula for non-competitive Government contracts.
Mr. Aitken : The Government have accepted the overall target rate of return on capital employed as recommended by the review board in its report. The new rate will be 18.2 per cent. compared with the current rate of 19 per cent., both on the basis of historic costs. It will be effective from 1 April this year. There are other points arising from this report and from the board's report on the seventh general review last year which officials will be discussing with the Confederation of British Industry as part of our continuing drive to secure maximum value for money from our defence contracts and ensuring a fair return for our contractors. Copies of the report are being placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Aitken : The chief executive of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment at Porton Down is responsible for research to ensure that the United Kingdom armed forces are provided with effective protective measures against the threat that chemical and biological weapons may be used against them. He has been set the following challenging key performance targets for 1994-95 : 1. To deliver to time 90 per cent. of the programme milestones agreed with the customers and have the work rated by the customer as meeting or exceeding the agreed objectives.
2. To respond to 85 per cent. of requests accepted for unplanned urgent advice within the timescale negotiated at the outset.
Column 7483. To deliver the agreed work programme within the aggregate of the programme costs agreed with each customer-- including individual package customers within the applied research programme.
4. To increase the overall efficiency of CBDE by reducing net expenditure, as shown in the net expenditure account, by 1 per cent. 5. To develop, in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence, an appropriate system of trading to provide greater empowerment of the customer by April 1995.
6. To continue the agreed market testing programme with the objective of placing the service level agreement/contract by 31 March 1995.
7. To survey customers to identify appropriate measures of the quality of service provided by CBDE to the Ministry of Defence, and conduct a full customer satisfaction survey on the basis of these measures by March 1995.
8. To develop a strategy for a formal quality plan for the conduct of all research carried out at CBDE. This will include : standards of planning, management, execution and reporting of the work to the customer ; measures of customer satisfaction ; and peer review of scientific rigour, novelty and innovation.
Invitations to tender are now being issued for my Department's requirements for additional support helicopters. In consequence, my Department will enter into parallel negotiations with Boeing (Chinook) and Westland (EH101 Utility) on the basis of its normal NAPNOC--no acceptable price, no contract--procedures, to determine the specifications, performance details, terms and conditions and prices, against which further support helicopters might be supplied. Accordingly, separate single invitations to tender are being issued to Boeing Defense and Space Group and to Westland Helicopters Ltd. for return on 30 June 1994, on the clear understanding that respective performance and value for money considerations will be taken into account as part of the Department's normal process of evaluation and will influence the Department's eventual decision on what support helicopters to buy.
Sir Geoffrey Johnson Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has investigated the security aspects of the events leading to the resignation of Sir Peter Harding ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Rifkind : These matters have been investigated. The principal conclusion is that no evidence has been found of any compromise of classified or sensitive information. Nor has any evidence been found, in the events which led to Sir Peter's resignation as Chief of Defence Staff, of any intelligence operation or criminal conspiracy against him.
Column 749service career and manpower structure and terms and conditions of service ; and if he will publish terms of reference for the review.
Mr. Hanley : Further to the answer I gave the hon. Member for South Shields (Dr. Clark) on 9 February, Official Report, columns 362-63, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has now invited Mr. Michael Bett to lead the independent team which will be conducting this major independent review of service career and manpower structure and terms and conditions of service. Further appointments to the team will be announced in due course. Terms of reference for the review are as follows :
The review is to examine service career and manpower structures, and terms and conditions of service, and recommend changes required to render them appropriate to the needs of the 21st century. The review is to take account of changes in military commitments and deployment patterns, including any which may flow from the defence costs studies. It should draw on work already conducted in each service, and may need to subsume the current in- house review of the armed forces pension scheme. It should examine practices within the armed forces of other nations, and within other major organisations in the United Kingdom.
The review should propose future structures which are robust, flexible, efficient and cost-effective, paying particular attention to :
(Current practice in such areas as length of service, career patterns, deployment patterns, rank structure and trade structures ;) b
The relationship between responsibility, rank, trade and pay, and the concept of performance pay ; current sources of dissatisfaction ; and the scope for a rationalised pay and allowance structure. (The review should seek to contribute to the reduction over the longer term of the overall resource cost of manpower, and should identify clearly the resource implications of its proposals. It should at the same time take full account of the requirement to maintain disciplined, highly trained and well- motivated armed forces, and of the particular requirements of service life.
The Review should consult widely within MOD, the Office of Manpower Economics and the services ; and should ensure that the Armed Forces Pay Review Body and the Senior Salaries Review Board are consulted on matters within their remit.
The review team will be led by Mr. Bett and will be supported by a small MOD project team. It is to submit its final report to the Secretary of State for Defence within 12 months of its starting work.
Mr. Harris : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make the sea between Lands End and the Isles of Scilly a mandatory reporting and monitoring area for ships under the international convention for the safety of life at sea.
Mr. Norris : There is already international agreement that laden vessels should report their intention to enter the traffic separation scheme in place between Lands End and Isles of Scilly. The United Kingdom is taking a leading role in international negotiations which should lead to changes in the safety of life at sea--SOLAS--convention and to the establishment of a legal framework for the mandatory reporting of ship movements.
Mr. Carrington : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what resources will be made available to local authorities affected by increased levels of rail traffic resulting from the channel tunnel for noise mitigation.
Mr. Freeman : Supplementary credit approvals of £1 million and £0.25 million respectively were previously allocated to Kent and Surrey county councils for jointly-funded schemes agreed with British Rail for the provision of acoustic barriers alonside existing tracks at locations in the areas expected to be most affected at night by noise from international freight trains. Kent county council has decided also to offer double glazing for certain isolated properties which could not be protected by noise barriers.
More recently, I have agreed to provide further credit approvals of £0.375 million to Kent, to cover the balance of its costs, and £0.336 million to the London borough of Bromley, which has also agreed a joint noise mitigation scheme with BR.
As stated in my answer of 18 February, Official Report, column 1007, I and my colleagues will be prepared to consider TPP applications for resources in 1995-96 from other authorities in London which agree schemes with BR. Such applications will be considered on their merits and in the light of the resources available.
Mr. Freeman : The information point at Victoria is open Monday to Saturday 07.00am to 10.15pm, Sunday 08.00am to 10.00pm. Service information can also be obtained from telephone inquiry bureaux between 07.15am and 9.00pm daily, by ringing 071-928-5100 or 0273-206-755.
I have considered the consultants' report very carefully. I have also had discussions with the TRL trade unions. The consultants concluded that retention of TRL in the public sector would risk the laboratory being unable to respond adequately to changes in its market and so lead to a cycle of cumulative decline. The likelihood is therefore that TRL would be unable to continue to offer its current breadth of research. The consultants' analysis confirmed that privatisation was both feasible and desirable in allowing the laboratory to compete more effectively across a wider market than is currently available to it.
I am satisfied that privatisation will provide the best opportunity for TRL's future progress. In setting objectives for the sale I shall have regard to a number of requirements, including to the need to secure the
Column 751Government's continuing requirement for high quality, independent transport research at good value for money, and the needs of staff working in the laboratory.
I shall announce details of the form of sale in due course. My current aim is to provide for a competitive sale, attracting bids for the whole of the TRL business from a wide range of possible purchasers. I hope privatisation can be achieved during 1995-96.
Mr. Dunn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement concerning the introduction of compulsory competitive tendering to the management and provision of services for the new local authority on-street parking enforcement system under the Road Traffic Act 1991.
Mr. Norris : In November 1993 the Department of the Environment consulted local authorities nationally on a draft order to extend compulsory competitive tendering to the provision and management of services for the new local authority on-street parking enforcement system under part II of the Road Traffic Act 1991. This system is being applied initially only in London but is being extended to the rest of England and Wales.
In general the authorities supported the principle of extending CCT to these services but some were concerned about the timing of its introduction. In particular the Parking Committee for London, which includes a representative from each London local authority, felt that the suggested commencement date of April 1995 should be deferred for six months. I have accepted this view and decided that CCT will apply from 1 October 1995 in the metropolitan areas and London, and following the local government review in other areas. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment will be laying an order before the House shortly.
Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it mandatory for ships with hazardous cargoes to give notice of their intention to sail through the Pentland firth, in accordance with changes in the safety of life at sea convention.
Mr. Norris : There is already international agreement that laden vessels should report their intention to transit the Pentland firth. The United Kingdom is taking a leading role in international negotiations which should lead to changes in the safety of life at sea--SOLAS--convention and to the establishment of a legal framework for the mandatory reporting of ship movements.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 23 March, Official Report, column 251, what penalties exist for ships carrying hazardous cargoes that do not use the safe deep water route around the Hebrides.
Mr. Norris : The Department is applying increasing pressure on the owners of ships carrying hazardous cargoes to use the deep water route west of the Hebrides. There is evidence to suggest that this is having a positive effect.
Mr. Norris : Whilst there are no requirements for reports to be made at the moment, the Department is applying increasing pressure on shipowners to comply with internationally agreed recommendations, and the United Kingdom is taking a leading role in international negotiations to set in place a legal framework for the mandatory reporting of ship movements.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many ships carrying hazardous cargoes from the United Kingdom via the Hebrides have (a) made use of the safe deep water route via the outer Hebrides and (b) passed through the Minches in the last year.
Mr. Norris : This information is not held in the form requested. I can say, however, that in the last 12 months 113 ships carrying hazardous cargoes have reported their intention to use the Minch to HM Coastguard at Stornoway.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 23 March, Official Report, column 251, what legal force backs the measures in place to keep ships carrying hazardous cargoes away from environmentally sensitive areas.
Mr. Norris : Routeing measures around the United Kingdom are in accordance with agreements reached at the International Maritime Organisation. For the most part they are voluntary and are enforced by complaint to the flag state of a transgressing vessel. The United Kingdom is actively engaged in negotiating in the IMO on mandatory routes which can be put in place to protect environmentally sensitive areas.