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HOME DEPARTMENT

Corporate Killing

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on the introduction of health and safety legislation to deal with corporate killing; and if he will make a statement. [88047]

Hilary Benn [holding answer 19 December 2002]: We have a manifesto commitment to legislation and will do so when parliamentary time allows. I have discussed our proposals for increasing the liability of corporations to manslaughter with colleagues and will continue discussions in the light of the outcome of the regulatory impact assessment we are at present conducting.

CABs

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the publications produced by his Department that refer people to the Citizens Advice Bureau Service for advice and assistance; and whether Citizens Advice Scotland is informed of such referrals prior to publication. [84156]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 2 December 2002]: The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) Service in England and in Wales, and in Scotland is a valuable source of independent advice and information on a wide range of

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issues that affect and concern the citizen. This includes a number of areas of concern to the Home Office, such as immigration and crime. Given the CAB Service's knowledge and expertise, the Department makes frequent reference to CABx as a source of information and advice in its publications, websites, and press-notices and in its replies to correspondence from a number of interested parties.

The Home Office is committed to working with the Department of Trade and Industry, and other Government Departments with a working relationship with the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureau (NACAB) and Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), to ensure a productive partnership between Government and the CAB service, and the sharing of information and policy developments relevant to work of the service.

Immigration

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the French and the United Kingdom Governments will conclude a formal legal agreement to enable United Kingdom immigration officers at Calais to operate full United Kingdom border controls; what arrangements are being made for asylum seekers to claim asylum in the United Kingdom at Calais; and how they will have access to legal advice. [88214]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 19 December 2002]: The United Kingdom (UK) and French Governments are currently engaged in detailed negotiation on the agreement, which we hope will be concluded early in the new year. I am unable to provide information about the specific content of the agreement at this stage, but I can confirm that UK officials operating the current juxtaposed controls at Coquelles and the Gare du Nord in Paris do not accept asylum claims. Where such applications are made they remain the responsibility of the French authorities to consider. There are no plans to adopt different procedures at Calais. The current procedure operated at Coquelles and the Gare du Nord is in accordance with the requirements of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and the Dublin Convention. We will be consulting relevant organisations, including the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), in finalising these arrangements.

Peter Foster

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what discussions Home Office officials other than those referred to in the Home Office Statement on Peter Foster had with (a) the Chief Immigration Officer at Luton Airport and (b) the IND Removals Process Team on (i) 2 and (ii) 3 December on the subject of Peter Foster; [87461]

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Beverley Hughes: As my earlier statement on the events of 31 August to 4 December 2002 indicated, the only contact between Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) officials involved in the case and ministerial staff was the request for, and provision of, a factual account for Ministers of where the case stood by officials in the IND Removals Process Team. The acknowledgement in response to this asked for further updates as appropriate.

The IND Removals Process Team was alerted to media interest in the case by the Home Office Press Office who requested information to enable them to respond to enquiries from the media.

The Removals Process Team contacted the Chief Immigration Officer at Luton Airport to obtain the necessary information. In the second such conversation, on 3 December, the Chief Immigration Officer indicated that for the reasons given in the statement of events, i.e. that with the application for judicial review refused there was no reason to delay removal, he intended to set removal directions for the first available flight on or after 6 December.

Prison Service

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the IT developments within the Prison Service completed in the past two years; what developments are in production stage; and what his priorities are for development over the next five years. [81214]

Hilary Benn: The Prison Service outsourced its IT with effect from 1 July 2000. A major infrastructure upgrade is under way that will for the first time give the Prison Service a modern, networked IT system and provide 18,600 personal computers at over 170 sites in England and Wales. By early November 2002, implementation was about 50 per cent. complete and work is well under way at remaining sites. Completion is on target for 31 March 2003.

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In addition, the development and rollout of the Offender Assessment System (OASys) will enable the electronic exchange of information between the Prison and Probation Services and the electronic completion of documents that assist with offender risk assessments and the provision of information on reoffending and the risk of harm to others. This is on target to go live progressively from April 2003.

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Priorities for development over the next three years will be agreed later this year. The main projects which are likely to be developed over the next five years are:


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Tuesday 7 January 2003

ADVOCATE-GENERAL

Devolution

20. Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Advocate-General what devolution issues have been raised since 26 November 2002. [89155]

The Advocate-General for Scotland: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave today to the hon. Lady the Member for the Vale of York (Miss McIntosh), Official Report, 7 January 2003, column 10.

22. Ann McKechin: To ask the Advocate-General what devolution issues she has considered since 1 December 2002. [89157]

The Advocate-General for Scotland: Since 1 December 2002, 32 devolution issue cases have been intimated to me, all but one relating to criminal law. All of these have concerned human rights issues, a substantial number concerned undue delay in criminal proceedings, others included cases on the fixing of the punishment part of the sentence of a life prisoner to replace the old system of serving an indeterminate length of sentence and the powers of the Crown to use surveillance tapes from prison visiting rooms as evidence in a trial. The one civil case involved delay in an appeal from the application of a children's panel reporter to the sheriff for an interim exclusion order.

Human Rights

21. Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Advocate-General in how many cases she has intervened since 1 October 2002 on human rights issues. [89156]

The Advocate-General for Scotland: Since 1 October 2002, I have not intervened in any new cases on human rights issues. However, I did appear in person before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council on 15 to 17 October 2002 in the case of R v. Her Majesty's Advocate and the Advocate-General. This case involved delay in bringing criminal proceedings and breach of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.


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