|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Pond: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to change the name of the United Kingdom Passport Agency; and when he will publish the Agency's framework document. 
30 Mar 2001 : Column: 847W
Mr. Straw: Following a Quinquennial Review in January 2001, an announcement was made that Ministers had agreed that the Passport Agency should retain its status as an Executive Agency for another five years and that it should continue to manage the Criminal Records Bureau. The Agency will be changing its name to reflect its broader responsibilities and will now be called the Passport and Records Agency. The Agency's Framework document has been published today. Copies of the revised document will be placed in the library.
Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will make authorisations under section 19D of the Race Relations Act 1976 (as amended) in respect of the carrying out of immigration functions. 
Mrs. Roche: I have today placed a copy of the authorisation made under section 19D of the extended Race Relations Act in the Library, together with a brief explanatory note. Decisions on immigration and asylum applications will continue to be made on the merits of each individual case in accordance with immigration legislation and policies approved by Ministers. The authorisation mainly concerns the process by which such decisions are reached, and covers the following areas:
Mr. Straw: I announced my intention to establish a Government Technical Assistance Centre, using £25 million of Capital Modernisation Funding, in a written reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South (Mr. Cunningham) on 27 March 2000, Official Report, column 1W.
30 Mar 2001 : Column: 848W
The facility will now be known as the National Technical Assistance Centre (NTAC). This is to reflect clearly that it will provide technical assistance to law enforcement agencies nationwide. NTAC will be a 24 hour centre operated by the Home Office on behalf of all the law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies, to process lawfully intercepted communications and lawfully acquired material and make it intelligible to intelligence analysts. It will also support criminal investigations through the provision of evidential material derived from electronically protected data.
Although, for reasons of physical security, NTAC will be located within the headquarters of the Security Service, the Home Office will retain responsibility for the day-to- day management of NTAC beyond when it acquires an initial operating capability. Once the operation of NTAC is firmly established, that decision will be reviewed.
NTAC will handle material obtained under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and be subject to review by the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Intelligence Services Commissioner. It will also be subject to the safeguards contained in that Act.
NTAC may also process material lawfully acquired under the Security Service Act 1989, the Intelligence Services Act 1994 and the Police Act 1997 for which it will be subject to review by the Intelligence Services Commissioner and the Surveillance Commissioners. It will also be subject to the scrutiny of the courts in respect of its handling of lawfully seized material and material lawfully acquired through the exercise of other statutory powers.
For 2001-2002 a total of £18,060,937 will be awarded to cover a wide range of volunteering and employee volunteering schemes, and community development projects. Forty-seven organisations will receive grants for the first time.
The amount available for these grants has been increased by £8 million over the next three years, with organisations sharing an extra £1 million this year, a further £3 million in 2002-03 and an extra £4 million in 2003-04.
30 Mar 2001 : Column: 849W
surveillance by Her Majesty's Prison Service under Part II of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000; who in the Prison Service may apply to use the power; and if he will make a statement on the use of intrusive surveillance in private prisons. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: The Secretary of State will authorise the use of intrusive surveillance carried out by Her Majesty's Prison Service under Part II of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) on application by persons holding an office, rank or position in Her Majesty's Prison Service itself. In practice, the Governor in charge of the relevant prison will make the case for such an application to be made. This case will be submitted to a Senior Civil Servant with operational experience within Prison Service Headquarters who will be a Gold Commander (in the case of a hostage situation) or, otherwise, an Area Manager or the Head of Security, one of whom will formally make the application to the Home Office. This process will be laid down in the Security Manual followed by Her Majesty's Prison Service. Within the Home Office, applications will be scrutinised by a dedicated warrants unit, headed up by a Senior Civil Servant charged with providing advice to the Secretary of State. A full audit trail will be available to the Chief Surveillance Commissioner who has a statutory responsibility to oversee the use of intrusive surveillance by Her Majesty's Prison Service.
Intrusive surveillance may be used in private prisons, and will be regulated by Part II of RIPA. A Senior Civil Servant with operational experience at Gold Commander, Area Manager or Head of Security level within Prison Service Headquarters will make an application to the Home Office in response to a case made by the Director of the relevant prison. Authorisations will be given by the Secretary of State. Private prisons are contractually obliged to follow the procedures set out in the Prison Service Security Manual which will set out how the application process will operate.
Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the Government's plans to encourage and enable people aged 50 years and over to volunteer and become involved in their communities. 
Mr. Boateng: I have received the report of the advisory group of experts, drawn mainly from the voluntary sector and chaired by my noble Friend Baroness Greengross of Notting Hill, whom the Government asked last year to develop a plan to enable those aged 50 and over to become or continue to be involved with their local communities.
The report recommends the establishment of an independent Experience Corps Company to take forward action. The Government warmly welcome this proposal and will be providing funding of £19 million over the next three years to facilitate it. We will be working with Baroness Greengross, as the company Chairman, to develop an agreed way forward. A copy of the group's report has been placed in the Library.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|