Select Committee on Environmental Audit Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from The Home Office

What input has your Department had to the UK preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development?

  The Home Office is not represented on MISC 18, although an official has attended meetings of the WSSD inter-departmental group and we receive the related papers. All Departments were consulted on the communications strategy before it went to MISC 18 or clearance. The proposals included the use of a logo and raising the profile of WSSD as appropriate in Ministerial speeches and events.

Please set out which sustainable development indicators your Department has lead responsibility for and which other indicators the Department's policies particularly impact upon.

  The Home Office has lead responsibility for the sustainable development indicators on crime, fear of crime and voluntary activity. It also has a significant impact on community spirit and index of local deprivation indicators.

  The British Crime Survey (BCS) 2001 indicates that between 1997 and 2000 overall crime fell 21 per cent, which included significant decreases in domestic burglary, vehicle related theft and all violent crime. The National Crime Recording Standard is being introduced, which will require the police to record, by April 2002, more of the crimes reported to them.

  The Department is working to ensure that by 2004 the levels of fear of crime in the key categories of violent crime, burglary and car crime, reported in the BCS, are lower than levels reported in the 2001 BCS. It will develop a multi targeted communication strategy to establish effective messages addressing the perception of fear and establish links relevant programmes across Government which impact on the fear of crime.

  The Department promotes voluntary and community activity and supports a healthy and cost effective voluntary sector. It is working towards a Public Services Agreement target to make significant progress towards getting one million more people involved in their communities by 2004. Other initiatives include the provision of £55 million to boost volunteering in communities and the launch of the Experience Corps.

What systems does your Department have in place to monitor progress on how far the Department's policies are contributing to UK progress on sustainable development and the issues that were mapped out in Agenda 21 after the Rio Earth Summit in 1992?

  The Department contributes to the Government's annual report on sustainable development for those policy areas for which we have lead responsibility, for example crime and fear of crime. Details on how we monitor these issues is covered in the answer to the question above on sustainable development indicators.

  In addition we are developing Departmental sustainable development indicators. In so doing we are looking not only at the policy areas for which we have responsibility, or a significant impact, but also the indicators which have an impact on the Home Office as an employer and upon its operations and estate management.

  The Home Office policy development checklist includes sections on sustainable development and environmental appraisals. The checklist also provides advice to staff on what factors they should take into account when considering what impact, if any, their policies have on the environment. We are currently considering the Integrated Policy Appraisal framework drawn up by DTLR (and being adopted by other Departments, including DEFRA and Department of Health) as a possible means of ensuring sustainable development is taken into account to an even greater extent in developing policy.

  Policy makers are advised that submissions to Ministers should contain a section on environmental impact. Heads of policy units have also been advised directly to integrate environmental considerations into policy proposals and have been supplied with a copy of the Green Minister's leaflet on Sustainable Development.

  The Department is putting together its bid for the 2002 Spending Review. Those responsible have been asked to identify which sustainable development indicators their bids will impact upon, and to consider ways of eliminating or reducing any negative impact.

March 2002

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 25 April 2002