Previous Section Index Home Page

16 Oct 2002 : Column 859W—continued


Racial Harmony

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what policies he is planning to improve racial harmony in Britain. [74445]

Beverley Hughes: The Community Cohesion Unit, part of the Home Office, is committed to improving community cohesion—which will contribute to improving racial harmony. It supports local authorities and other public bodies to tackle immediate problems in communities; integrating community cohesion into mainstream policy and practice; and developing and disseminating knowledge, experience and expertise to local authorities.

It is, for example, funding a programme of community facilitation to encourage dialogue and tackle local grievances or misunderstandings that threaten good community and race relations. A Ministerial Group has been established from across Government whose role is to ensure that their policies promote community cohesion, and it is working with the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), Local Government Association (LGA) and Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) to produce practical guidance on community cohesion for local authorities. A draft of this guidance was made available earlier in the year.

The new Government PSA target on race equality, on which the Home Office leads, will deliver improvements in race equality and community cohesion over the next three years,

The EC Article 13 Race Directive, which should be transposed into UK law by 19 July 2003, establishes, for the first time, a minimum standard of legal protection from racial discrimination across Europe. The UK's domestic legislation already conforms to most of the provisions of the Directive. However, some technical amendments to the Race Relations Act 1976 will be required in order to implement it. The Government is

16 Oct 2002 : Column 860W

considering a range of legislative options for achieving this. The Government intends to issue another public consultation exercise on the detailed proposals. This will take place in the autumn.

Crimes Against Children

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what procedures are in place to ensure that overseas-recruited (a) health workers and (b) social workers who are working with children have not been convicted of an offence that relates to crimes against children. [74319]

Hilary Benn: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by the Minister for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Redditch (Jacqui Smith).

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced in his speech to the Labour Party conference on 2 October that forthcoming legislation on sex offenders will include a new order to make those convicted of sexual offences abroad subject to the registration requirements of the Sex Offenders Act if they come to the United Kingdom.

Devolution (Scotland)

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what co-ordination he has undertaken of Departments' assessment of the implications of the entitlement card proposals for the devolved powers of the Scottish Parliament. [71964]

Beverley Hughes: Home Office officials met with counterparts in the Scottish Executive to discuss issues of particular relevance to the devolved administration, prior to the publication of the consultation paper on Entitlement Cards and Identity Fraud. These contacts will continue during the consultation exercise.

The consultation paper states that any legislation to establish an entitlement card scheme would be enacted by the Westminster Parliament, as any scheme would need to operate on a UK-wide basis if it was to be effective as an immigration control measure.

One of the detailed options for the scope of any legislation would allow organisations to link services to a card scheme via their own legislation. Under these arrangements, it will be a matter for the Scottish Executive and Parliament to decide whether to link the services they are responsible for to a card scheme. However, they could not prevent the issuing of a card for purposes which are outside the scope of their powers, for example, the UK card as a travel document in Europe.

Departmental Bodies

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many jobs under the remit of his Department in (a) the core department, (b) non-departmental public bodies, (c) executive agencies and (d) independent statutory bodies, organisations and bodies financially sponsored by his Department and other such organisations, are located in (i) Scotland, (ii) England, excluding Greater London, (iii) Greater London, (iv) Wales, (v) Northern Ireland and

16 Oct 2002 : Column 861W

(vi) overseas, broken down by (A) whole-time equivalent jobs and (B) the percentage per individual department, body or organisation. [72728]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 24 July 2002]: The Home Office's central personnel systems do not track jobs only staff. As staff may share a job, and as a job may be vacant awaiting the posting of staff it is not possible to provide an answer in the form requested without incurring disproportionate cost.

16 Oct 2002 : Column 862W

Home Office staff figures in each region and nation of the United Kingdom are published in ''Civil Service Statistics'' year on year and placed in the Library. Staffing Figures for non-departmental public bodies are published in ''Public Bodies 2001''.

Home Office Staffing figures as at 1 April 2001 are set out in the table. Information is provided, as at that date, to enable comparisons with other Government departments.

ScotlandLondonRest of EnglandWalesNorthern IrelandOverseas
Dept/Body/ Organisation 1 No. (FTE)%ageNo. (FTE)%ageNo. (FTE)%ageNo. (FTE)%ageNo. (FTE)%ageNo. (FTE)%ageTotal (FTE)
Core Home Office including Immigration and Nationality Departmenta112.80.98163.966.33921.031.854.
Fire Service Collegec0000152.8100000000152.8
Forensic Science Servicec00722.632.91,32260.34146.46.700002191
Passport & Records Agencyc2200.767.32544.4819.841,623.359.16258.649.43116.764.2600%2743.94
Prison Servicec106,400.615.334,785.982.9777.51.9000041,965



aCore department (excluding agencies)

bNon-departmental public body

cExecutive agency

dindependent statutory body, organisation or body financially sponsored by the department

1 Permanent Staff (fte) by Region as per MANDATE figures 31/03/01

2 Data from Passport & Records Agency is as 8 October 2002

Asylum Seekers

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what contact his Department has had with the Chief Executive of the City of Edinburgh Council regarding the potential impact of establishing an asylum seeker accommodation centre at RAF Turnhouse on council services in Edinburgh; [74184]

Beverley Hughes: Following the announcement of the shortlist of eight sites in January, my officials conducted initial consultations, including with the Leader of City of Edinburgh Council and other officers. Detailed consultations will be undertaken if it is decided to submit a planning notification in respect of the Air West Edinburgh site.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the measures taken to deter bogus asylum seekers in the last two years by the EU. [74450]

Beverley Hughes: In December 2002 Council adopted the EURODAC Regulation establishing a computerised central database of fingerprint images, as well as the electronic means for Member States to transmit fingerprint images to the central database. Once operational, expected to be early next year, EURODAC will enable the fingerprints of asylum applicants and certain other third country nationals to be compared to support the application of the Dublin Convention and its successor. This will enable the rapid identification of those seeking to abuse asylum systems by making multiple and differing claims throughout the European Union.

In December 2001 the Laeken European Council called for urgent action to combat illegal migration, itself linked to the making of fraudulent asylum claims. In February 2002, Member States adopted a comprehensive Action Plan, which included measures on border management, readmission agreements and co-ordinating work in source and transit countries. The Seville European Council in June 2002 agreed a range of further measures to combat illegal migration.

Next Section Index Home Page