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Child Support Agency

David Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will provide a substantive reply from the Chief Executive of the Child Support Agency to the letter from the hon. Member for Walsall, North of 23 April concerning a constituent Ref. PCU113052. [61111]

Malcom Wicks: The Chief Executive, Mr Doug Smith, has now written to my hon. Friend.

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Combat Effectiveness and Gender Study

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Minister what discussions she has had with the Ministry of Defence on the combat effectiveness and gender study. [58256]

Ms Hewitt: I have not had specific discussions with my right hon. Friend the Minister for Defence about his study of combat effectiveness and gender. I understand, however, that the Equal Opportunities Commission has been involved with the Ministry of Defence in analysing the role of women in the forces leading up to the study which was published on 22 May.

Employment and Race Directive

Julie Morgan: To ask the Minister if she will make a statement on the recent conclusion of the consultation on the article 13 employment and race directive. [58259]

Ms Hewitt: We have had an excellent response Towards Equality and Diversity consultation: over 850 submissions from individuals, businesses—including smaller enterprises; the voluntary sector; public employers; and a wide range of representative bodies.

We are analysing the responses and will begin further consultation on may detailed issues in the autumn. We will put a summary of the results of the consultation in the Libraries of the House at the same time.



Mr. Dismore: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has to review the (a) qualifications criteria, (b) age criteria and (c) method of appointment to the judiciary; and if he will make a statement. [57697]

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Ms. Yvette Cooper: (a) Eligibility for appointment to professional judicial office is determined by statute. There are no plans at present to review these requirements.

(b) The Lord Chancellor has recently reviewed age criteria and on 30 April this year he removed most of the age limits previously in place for judicial appointments for which he is responsible.

(c) The Lord Chancellor asked Sir Leonard Peach to review judicial appointment procedures in 1999, and following the recommendations in that report, an assessment centre approach is being piloted for the current Deputy District Judge (Civil), Deputy District Judge (Magistrates) and Deputy Queen's Bench Masters competitions. The pilots will run during October and November this year. Assessment activities, lasting one full day, will include role-plays, written exercises, a written test, and an interview. The pilot will be evaluated in early 2003.

The Lord Chancellor is committed to ensuring that there is an open effective and accessible system where everyone who is eligible for, and who wants, an appointment has a fair chance to secure it.

Crown Court (Buckinghamshire)

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if it is his policy to move towards a single location for a Crown Court within Buckinghamshire. [61561]

Ms. Yvette Cooper: There is currently only one Crown Court location within Buckinghamshire, namely Aylesbury. This has been the case since the introduction of the Crown Court in 1972.

Freedom of Information

Norman Baker: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list those attending the March seminar held in connection with implementation of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, indicating which Departments had a ministerial presence. [61412]

Ms Yvette Cooper: Attendance at the seminar held on 13 March, by the Centre for Management and Policy Studies was as follows:

The Rt. Hon. Baroness BlackstoneMinister of State (Arts)Department for Culture Media and Sport
Ann Campbell MPParliamentary Private Secretary to Secretary of StateDepartment of Trade and Industry
Mr. Ian Cawsey MPParliamentary Private Secretary to Lord WilliamsHouse of Lords
Mr. George Foulkes MPMinister of StateScotland Office
Mr. Mike Gapes MPParliamentary Private Secretary to Secretary of StateHome Office
The Rt. Hon. Harriet Harman QCSolicitor GeneralLaw Officers' Department
Mr. Denis Haughey MLAJunior MinisterNorthern Ireland Executive
Ms Ruth Kelly MPEconomic SecretaryHM Treasury
Mr. James Leslie MLAJunior MinisterNorthern Ireland Executive
Mr. Christopher Leslie MPParliamentary SecretaryCabinet Office
The Lord McIntosh of HaringeyGentleman at Arms Captain of the Yeoman (Deputy Chief Whip)House of Lords
Mr. Colin Pickthall MPParliamentary Private Secretary to the Foreign SecretaryForeign and Commonwealth Office
Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCParliamentary SecretaryLord Chancellor's Department
Mr Neil Turner MPParliamentary Private SecretaryDepartment for Work and Pensions
Dr. Alan Whitehead MPParliamentary SecretaryDepartment for Transport, Local Government and the Regions
Chairs and Speakers
Mr. Michael Wills MPParliamentary SecretaryLord Chancellor's Department
Mr. Alan CogbillDirector, Civil Justice and Legal ServicesLord Chancellor's Department
Mr. Lee HughesHead of Freedom of Information and Data Protection DivisionLord Chancellor's Department
Other Attendees
Ms Alice FrenchPrivate OfficerLaw Officers' Department
Miss Ruth GardinerAssistant Private SecretaryLord Chancellor's Department
Mr. Stephen CowanPrivate SecretaryNorthern Ireland Executive
Mr John HughesSenior Civil ServiceHome Office
Mr. David LambySpecial Adviser to the Secretary of StateDepartment for Education and Skills

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Human Rights Act

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Advocate-General how many cases have been brought against her Department under the Human Rights Act 1998; and what has been the cost in (a) legal fees to defend cases and (b) compensation payments. [45098]

Advocate General: No cases have been brought against either me or my right hon. Friend the Secretary of state for Scotland under the Human Rights Act 1998. Human rights are now integrated in the general law and are rarely the sole basis for a challenge.

In Scotland human rights points may arise as Xdevolution issues" as defined in paragraph 1, Part I of schedule 6 to the Scotland Act 1998 and since May 1999 over 1,400 devolution issues have been intimated to me.

We do not collect information centrally about the costs to public funds, legal fees or compensation payments in cases which include a human rights issue. In most cases it would be difficult to single out associated costs relating to the human rights element.


Human Rights Act

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many cases have been brought against her Department under the Human Rights Act 1998; and what has been the cost to public funds to date in (a) legal fees to defence cases and (b) compensation payments. [45056]

Mrs. Liddell: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given today by my hon. and learned Friend the Advocate-General.

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Members of Parliament (Personal Data)

Mr. Forth: To ask the President of the Council what information is held by his Department on each hon. Member in relation to (a) personal relationships, both current and past, (b) financial status and dealings, (c) connections with companies and interest groups, (d) connections with Governments and (e) published works; and what was held in January 2002. [61820]

Mr. Robin Cook: My department does not hold such information.

It does however, maintain a database which contains the names and contact details of each right hon. Member who is a Privy Counsellor.


Prescribing Policies

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what powers doctors possess to prescribe drugs in contravention of local authority policy; what drugs have been prescribed by doctors against local authority policy; how many people have received drugs against local policy in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [56708]

Mr. Lammy: The prescribing duties of general practitioners are set out in the National Health Service (General Medical Services) Regulations 1992. Schedule 10 and Schedule 11 of these regulations list the drugs which may not be prescribed by GPs. Local NHS bodies have no power to introduce additional statutory restrictions.

Hospital specialists are expected to prescribe within the terms of local service agreements.

We do not collect detailed information about local prescribing policies.

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