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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what public consultations have been commenced by his Department since 1 April; and what the (a) closing date and (b) website address of each were. 
Each national public consultation carried out by the Department is normally published on the Lord Chancellor's Department website at http://www.lcd.gov.uk/consult/ confr.htm. However the third and fourth of these consultation papers were originally published online by the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions at http://www.elections.dtlr.gov.uk/consult. Following the recent machinery of Government changes both of these papers now fall under the responsibility of the Lord Chancellor's Department. Arrangements are currently being made for their transfer onto the Lord Chancellor's Department website.
|5) Selection procedures for the circuit bench and recordership||5 July 2002|
|6) Making Decisions: Helping people who have difficulty deciding for themselves||9 July 2002|
|7) Electoral RegistersAccess, Supply and Sale Regulatory Impact Assessment Questionnaire||13 June 2002|
|8) Electoral RegistersAccess, Supply and Sale Policy paper and draft regulations||13 June 2002|
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Matthew Taylor: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when and where Ministers in her Department have held meetings with Ministers and officials of the Irish Government since 1 June 2000; which Ministers were involved in each meeting; which Irish Government Departments were involved in each meeting; and which Ministers and officials from the Irish Government attended each meeting. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: I met the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform briefly in the margins of an Inter-governmental Conference on domestic violence entitled 'Raising the Standards', held in Dublin in December 2001. No other LCD Ministers have met Ministers or officials of the Irish Government since 1 June 2000.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department on what grounds a freedom of information request can be denied by the Government; and how many of these requests have been denied in the last five years, broken down by reason for denial. 
Yvette Cooper: The right of access to information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 will come into force on 1 January 2005. Until that date, requests for Government information will be dealt with in accordance with the non-statutory Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. Under the code, the approach to release of information should in all cases be based on the assumption that information should be released except where disclosure would not be in the public interest, as specified in Part II of the code. Part II of the code sets out categories of information that are exempt from the commitments to provide information under the code. These exemptions are listed in table 2.
Table 1 gives details of the numbers of requests under the code that were received and the number of code requests refused in the last five years for all of the bodies covered by the code. We do not have records of the reason for denial for each of the requests refused. However, if an applicant is dissatisfied with the response to their request they can ask the Department to review that decision internally. Table 2 sets out the number of times each exemption has been cited at this stage in the review process for the last five years. Monitoring reports on the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information are published annually and copies are available in the House Library.
|Year||Number of requests received||Number of requests refused|
(52) The code monitoring report for 2001 has not yet been published.
|Number of times cited in|
|1) Defence, security and international relations||4||5||4||3||0||21|
|2) Internal discussion and advice||18||11||10||7||11||72|
|3) Communication with the royal household||1||0||0||0||1||2|
|4) Law enforcement and legal proceedings||12||11||8||8||9||58|
|5) Immigration and nationality||0||6||0||2||0||9|
|6) Effective management of the economy and collection of tax||2||1||1||0||4||8|
|7) Effective management and operations of the public service||1||1||1||1||2||17|
|8) Public employment, public appointments and honours||0||3||4||1||3||14|
|9) Voluminous or vexatious requests||4||6||6||6||10||40|
|10) Publication and prematurity in relation to publication||3||3||4||0||3||13|
|11) Research, statistics and analysis||1||0||1||0||0||2|
|12) Privacy of an individual||6||9||3||5||2||30|
|13) Third party's commercial confidence||2||1||2||5||3||22|
|14) Information given in confidence||6||3||0||2||3||23|
|15) Statutory and other restrictions||7||2||0||0||2||13|
(53) The code monitoring report for 2001 has not yet been published.
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Mr. Grieve: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many trials in the Thames Valley Magistrates' Court area have been cancelled because of a shortage of legal advisers since November 2001. 
Yvette Cooper: I am advised by the Thames MCC that they have not cancelled any trials, but that approximately 300 trials have been postponed; deferred or rescheduled because of a shortage of legal advisers.
To place this figure in context, the statistical returns from the Thames Valley Magistrates' Court Committee show that proceedings in 55,261 criminal and civil matters were concluded, in the Thames Valley Magistrates' Court Committee area, in the period October 2001 to March 2002.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what arrangements are being made to transfer civil servants from national to local employment in connection with the replacement of magistrates' courts committees. 
Yvette Cooper: The Government said in the White Paper "Justice for All" (CM 5563) that it intends to legislate to integrate the management of the courts within a single national courts organisation to replace existing magistrates' courts committees and the Court Service. The new organisation will have local management boards operating within a national framework of standards. No arrangements are being made to transfer civil servants from national to local employment.
Tony Wright: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will list the performance targets that the Lord Chancellor's Department, its agencies and non-departmental public bodies are required to meet, apart from those set out in the public service agreements for 19992002 and 20012004; and if he will specify for each target (a) who sets it and (b) who monitors achievement against it. 
24 Jul 2002 : Column 1294W
Agreement and supported by our Service Delivery Agreement. The targets and our current progress against them is set out in the Lord Chancellor's Department's Departmental Report (Cm 5408), which was published recently.
The Legal Services Commission (LSC) came into being in April 2000. Its targets are set out each year in its corporate plan, which is approved by the Lord Chancellor and laid before the Houses of Parliament. The Commission's chair reports progress and achievements directly to the Lord Chancellor. The LSC also reports progress in its annual report; its first report was published in July 2001. The second annual report, published on 22 July, reports against the 200102 to 200304 corporate plan. In its annual report, the Commission also reports against four categories of business performance targets: applications processed; bills paid; correspondence, appeals and reviews of civil funding decisions. The Commission's second corporate plan, for the period 200203 to 200304, sets out its 54 performance targets. These are broken down into 24 Community Legal Service targets, 13 Criminal Defence Service targets and 17 targets on the work of the Commission. These are set out in the following list.
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) has been in existence since April 2001 and will be publishing its first annual report later this year. CAFCASS's corporate plan for 200206, published earlier this year, includes the development of five key performance targets for use in the future. These are laid out in the following table.
The Information Commissioner sets her own performance targets which are set out in the Commissioner's annual reports, the latest of which was published in June 2002. These are laid out in the following table.
|KP1 1||The percentage improvement in the level of satisfaction to court and tribunal users||2 per cent. improvement on the current level of 79 per cent.|
|KP1 2||The percentage of civil cases heard within target (from allocation to track to hearing)||75 per cent.|
|KP1 3||The percentage of value recovered of enforceable warrants in the county court||76 pence in the pound|
|KP1 4||The percentage of public law Children Act cases dealt with in target (from commencement to final order)||70 per cent.|
|KP1 5||The percentage of defendants/appellants in the Crown court whose cases commence within target time||78 per cent.|
|KP1 6||The percentage of asylum appeals completed (through both the Immigration and Appellate Authority) within four months||65 per cent.|
|KP1 7||The percentage improvement in the European foundation for Quality Management Excellence Model score for the Court Service||10 per cent. improvement by March 2004|
24 Jul 2002 : Column 1295W
Legal Services Commission
CLSAccess to services: Key objectives and performance targets
Commence Family Information and Advice Network pilots
Secure a year-on-year increase in the number of CLS Information Points.
Commence further telephone advice and specialist support service pilot contracts
Ensure that by April 2002 the CLS Directory of General and Specialist help services is confined to Quality Mark holders
Issue proposals for the allocation of resources under the replacement General Civil Contract
Secure a year on year increase in the number of CLS information points.
CLSService quality: Key objectives and performance targets
Implement the Specialist Quality Mark (April 2002)
Implement Quality Mark standards for the Bar (certifying 100 chambers), mediation and websites
Complete peer review pilot (January 2003)
Complete cost compliance audit of all contracted suppliers by March 2003, reducing the number of suppliers with a 'poor' rating
Complete pilot supplier development projects in central and east London and Birmingham (March 2003)
Establish whether targets can be set for numbers of minority ethnic firms with contracts by March 2003
Introduce remuneration policy changes:-
grants for training contracts
payment of registration fees for specialist and generalist panels
To ensure that 95 per cent. of expenditure from the CLS Fund is on work carried out by quality assured suppliers by March 2004.
To increase the percentage of funding from Community Legal Service Fund and funding members of CLS partnerships going to CLS providers of legal services holding the Quality Mark.
CLSCo-ordinate service and provision: Key objectives and performance targets
75 per cent. of population covered by a CLS Partnerships strategic plan by March 2003.
Publish first report on the CLS Partnership performance indicators.
Achieve 100 per cent. population coverage of CLS Partnerships in England and Wales by March 2004.
24 Jul 2002 : Column 1296W
CLSValue for money: Key objectives and performance targets
Payments to suppliers by March 2003 not to exceed the value of claims by more than 2.5 per cent.
Make amendments to the General Civil Contract:
Simplifying the taking of sanctions against suppliers not complying with the contract.
Promoting value for money in not-for-profit agency contracts.
Bring 95 per cent. of new qualifying high cost cases under individual case contract.
Introduce and monitor value for money targets for social welfare law, legal help and non-family legal representation.
Secure a year on year increase in the number of disputes resolved with funding from the CLS Fund through ADR including mediation.
By March 2004 reduce CLS cost inflation to 0.5 per cent. p.a. for:
the average cost of very high cost cases (civil and criminal).
the average cost per case of legal help in a) immigration, and b) all other work.
CDSAccess to services: Key objectives and performance targets
LSC ensures access to quality assured criminal defence services:
Rota solicitors accept 80 per cent. of police station duty solicitor requests.
Police station duty solicitors to contact client within 45 minutes in 90 per cent. of cases.
100 per cent. coverage of magistrates' court sessions requiring a duty solicitor.
Introduce targeted remuneration policy changes:
pay for duty solicitor accreditation.
grants for training contracts.
Ensure that by March 2004 90 per cent. of people in police stations requesting the service of a duty solicitor receive the service within 45 minutes.
Ensure by March 2004 100 per cent. access to a quality assured solicitor for people charged with criminal offences and meeting the interests of justice tests.
Ensure that by March 2004 all magistrates' courts are covered by the duty solicitor service.
Ensure that 95 per cent. of expenditure from the CDS Fund is on work carried out by quality assured suppliers by March 2004.
24 Jul 2002 : Column 1297W
CDSValue for money: Key objectives and performance targets
Introduce new payment regime for police station duty solicitor claims (April 2002).
Extend the counsel graduated fee scheme in the Crown court to cover all cases with trials of up to 25 days in length.
Ensure payments to all suppliers under the General Criminal Contract do not exceed the sums billed by more than 510 per cent. during the year.
Complete cost compliance audits of all contracted suppliers by March 2003, reducing the number of suppliers receiving a 'poor' rating.
Transfer accountability from the Court Service for legal aid in the Crown and Higher courts (April 2003).
By March 2004 reduce CDS cost inflation to 0.5 per cent. p.a. for:
the average cost of very high cost cases.
the average cost of all CDS representation (excluding very high cost cases).
CDSContribute to CJS Plan: Key objectives and performance targets
200203 to 200304
Contribute to CJS strategic targets:
Reduce by 2004 the time from charge to disposal of defendants
Improve the standard by which the CJS meets the rights of defendants.
Improve the level of public confidence in the CJS by 2004, including that of ethnic minority communities.
LSCEnsure sufficient asylum legal services: Key objectives and performance targets
Reduce the volume of applications for asylum refused on grounds of non-compliance with application rules.
Reduce the number of adjournments of appeals before the adjudicators because of the lack of representation.
LSCEnsure actions and decisions are justifiable to those affected: Key objectives and performance targets
Put in place mechanisms to ensure equal opportunities are promoted by the Commission's priority decision making activities by 31 May 2002.
Develop and apply an organisational standard for consulting users and stakeholders, including those with special needs.
LSCQuality and efficiency: Key objectives and performance targets
Improve levels of supplier satisfaction with:
Communication about important issues.
Consistency of decision making.
Improve the levels of consistency in:
Audit decision making.
Funding and bill assessment work.
Cash flow to suppliers.
Attain published customer service standards, including:
reduce the time files are held for audit.
providing prompt feedback on cost compliance audits so it is co-ordinated with the management audit or, where this is not possible, provided within 28 days of the completion of the file audit.
24 Jul 2002 : Column 1298W
LSCDeveloping people: Key objectives and performance targets
Achieve improved staff satisfaction with:
How people are helped to understand their performance.
Training and development opportunities.
Improve recruitment and selectionmeasured by the number of new staff who complete their probation period successfully.
Improve quality of personal objective setting.
Complete an independent verification of LSC's position within the labour market.
Ensure all staff have a personal development plan.
Deliver an average of nine days training per full time employee.
Put in place mechanisms to ensure equal opportunities are promoted for staff by May 2002.
LSCDeveloping systems: Key objectives and performance targets
Develop MI systems for:
Damages on deposit.
Complete supplier information and audit performance management system (Aug 2002).
Migrate the core business systems to a new IT platform (Jan 2003)
|KPI 1||Performance against CAFCASS National Standards. We will establish in 200203 performance benchmarks and targets for evaluation of service provision.|
|KPI 2||Satisfaction with CAFCASS services. We will establish in 200203 ways of measuring satisfaction of children, families and other stakeholders with the CAFCASS service.|
|KPI 3||Timeliness and quality of service to the courts. We will establish our performance baseline by the end of 200102 and in 200203 establish measures of timeliness and quality of the service provided to courts.|
|KPI 4||Value for money targets for service. We will undertake work in 200203 to establish measures of value for money.|
|KPI 5||Human Resources. We will establish in 200203 measure of performance, alongside development of the CAFCASS Human Resources Strategy.|
|Estimate and targets|
|Output measure/Performance indicator||200203||200304|
|Number of weighted transactions processed||361,223||237,155|
|Number of weighted transactions processed per officer day||(54)82.61||(54)83.77|
|Assessment and complaints|
|Total requests for assessment received||13,500||14,000|
|Complaints not investigated|||||
|No assessment made||945||980|
|Complaints investigated and closed||120||120|
|Contact with our customers|
|Telephone inquiries received by the information line||57,000||57,000|
|Calls received per line hour||9.36||9.36|
|Data protectionpublic awareness|
|Percentage of large data controllers aware of subjects' rights||85.0||86.0|
|Percentage of small data controllers aware of subjects' rights||60.0||62.0|
|Percentage of data subjects aware of own rights||42.0||42.0|
|Freedom of informationpublic awareness|
|Among the public (percentage)||15.0||15.0|
|Within public authorities (percentage)||25.0||35.0|
(54) Dependent on increased staffing to handle current level of telephone calls.
24 Jul 2002 : Column 1299W
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