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Integrated Casework Directive

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library the figures for the analysis of the work of the Integrated Casework Directorate which he placed in the Library in graph form as part of his answer of 13 December 2000, Official Report, column 1W, on the Integrated Casework

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Directive; and if he will update those figures to the present date. [107091]

Mrs. Roche: I have placed in the Library a table giving a breakdown of the weekly output of the Integrated Casework Directorate (ICD) in the four categories against which the recovery of the ICD's business would be measured in the first instance, from 1 January 1999 to the week ending 14 January 2000.

ICD--overall BMA output 1999-2000

January February March
BMA category1998 (19)181522295121926512
a General/Settlement casework4,100524948568059811,2881,9262,1412,5633,2723,030
c Asylum 1st Decisions650025142159192230246173228185362
d Asylum Appeals despatched to I.A.A2500037595991127126118143134
h European250002623354511595156197222
a General/Settlement casework2,8014,0683,1502,7693,5504,1503,4713,0283,4744,1334,0203,400
c Asylum 1st Decisions2502262682843515755574009641,0131,0721,014
d Asylum Appeals despatched to I.A.A18017875134130143140184201178241193
h European17918727216521323912214029224718586
a General/Settlement casework3,5213,2524,6113,5393,6863,1534,0203,6022,9553,8474,6434,607
c Asylum 1st Decisions1,0911,1418601,066655451652685833711807710
d Asylum Appeals despatched to I.A.A231260253269243262290254215164153102
h European94168117313341562734599399411404191
a General/Settlement casework4,0934,3665,7724,3875,5195,4225,6246,6164,8946,0295,2565,969
c Asylum 1st Decisions690587607493687592628565567554469615
d Asylum Appeals despatched to I.A.A15818622425014616317611814287135128
h European1621159917713312816167158140165228
a General/Settlement casework6,1055,7906,0215,0591,5263,2803,8315,759
c Asylum 1st Decisions62068152563895523547870
d Asylum Appeals despatched to I.A.A14613512514213231109110
h European28020622223707108202

(19) Agreed average

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Commission for Racial Equality

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when Sir Herman Ouseley will retire as Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality; and when he will announce the name of his successor. [107072]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Sir Herman Ousely is scheduled to retire as Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality on 31 January 2000. My right hon. Friend, the Home Secretary, expects to announce his successor shortly.

UK Passport Agency (Sick Leave)

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the average number of days lost through sickness in the Passport Agency in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999 and (d) in each month of 1999. [107077]

Mrs. Roche: The information requested is set out in the table.

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Average sick absence per employee (working days)

YearAverage number of days

The agency has reduced its sickness absence rate by nearly 14 per cent. since 1996.

The monthly breakdown for 1999 is as follows:


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Family Reunification Directive

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the impact on the United Kingdom's immigration policy of the draft EC Directive on family reunification; and if he will make a statement on Government policy on that draft directive. [107070]

Mrs. Roche: The Protocol on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland, annexed to the Treaties by the Treaty of Amsterdam, provides that the United Kingdom is bound by Community measures adopted under Title IV only where it opts in to any measure. The Government will decide whether to opt in to the draft Directive on family reunification within three months of the formal publication of the proposal and will inform Parliament accordingly. The Government's Explanatory Memorandum on the proposal, submitted for scrutiny on 10 January, provides an initial analysis of the impact of the draft Directive on United Kingdom law were the United Kingdom to opt in to this measure.

Indirect Discrimination

Ms Rosie Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the Government's policy is on indirect discrimination; and if he will make a statement. [107345]

Mr. Straw: The Government are committed to achieving a step change in race equality in this country. The Race Relations (Amendment) Bill is part of our programme to ensure that the public sector sets the pace in this drive towards equality. We want to send the clearest possible message that discrimination is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. The Government are, therefore, proposing two changes to strengthen the provisions of the Bill.

First, after very careful deliberation we have decided to extend the indirect discrimination provisions of the Race Relations Act 1976 to the functions of public authorities to be newly caught by the Act and we will bring forward an amendment to provide for that. The Government have always been in favour of this in principle, but were concerned to ensure that such a provision would be effective without leaving public bodies open to routine legal challenge in circumstances where their policies were entirely proper. Since the Bill was published, however, we have listened carefully to the arguments put forward about the issue and have concluded that, on balance, the risk of spurious challenge is outweighed by the principle of including indirect discrimination in respect of public sector functions in the Bill.

Direct and Indirect racial discrimination is already prohibited under the Race Relations Act 1976 in the fields of employment, training, education, housing and the provision of goods, facilities and services in respect of the public and private sector. The Act is already being extended by the Bill to new fields in the public sector which have previously been determined by case law not to be a "service" and to which prohibitions on direct or indirect discrimination did not, therefore, apply. The Act will now extend to areas such as the implementation of central and local government's regulatory, economic and social policies and law enforcement in respect of indirect discrimination as well.

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Secondly, the Government also see the promotion of equality as a positive way of eliminating unjustifiable indirect discrimination in these and other fields. Our setting of targets for ethnic minority recruitment, retention and promotion and our guidelines for mainstreaming race equality into policy development and implementation are examples. We are already committed to placing the promotion of equality by public bodies on a statutory footing. We will reinforce that commitment by bringing forward a Government amendment to the Race Relations (Amendment) Bill to enshrine the principle on the face of the Bill as a positive duty, leaving room for consultation on how the duty will operate in practice and how it will be enforced.

The amendments will be brought forward at Commons Committee stage. We are meanwhile considering whether there should be any procedural safeguards consistent with the principle of non-discrimination.

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