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Asylum Support Fraud

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the level of (a) fraud and (b) overpayment in respect of claims by landlords for accommodation provided under the NASS asylum

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support programme has been in each year since the establishment of NASS; how many investigations have been undertaken in each year; what the outcomes were; and if he will make a statement. [102778]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 13 March 2003]: The National Asylum Support Service (NASS) has entered into contracts with both the private and public sector to provide accommodation for asylum seekers. Under the terms of the contract a set price is paid for the accommodation provided but contractors are required to meet key performance indicators. There have been no investigations into suspected cases of fraud or overpayment.

The method of payment used by NASS to pay its contractors may, on occasions, result in a technical overpayment. This is caused by the need to make deductions from the contract price where there has been a failure to meet key performance indicators but the system is self correcting in subsequent months.

Award Schemes

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the award schemes in (a) 2001 and (b) 2002 promoted by his Department; what their scope was; when the relevant participating organisations are scheduled to be sent results; and whether other parties will be given notification of the results at the same time. [102052]

Beverley Hughes: The Queen's Golden Jubilee Award

From November 2002, the Home Department has been responsible for The Queen's Golden Jubilee Award (for voluntary service by groups in the community). This new, annual Award, which was launched in April 2002, is for outstanding voluntary groups of two or more people who have been operating in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, normally for a period of three years or more. Winning groups and the individuals who nominated them for consideration will be informed in confidence shortly before the public announcement on 2 June 2003.

The Philip Lawrence Awards

The Philip Lawrence Awards were established in 1996. They celebrate annually outstanding citizenship in their communities by young people. They are awarded in November or December of each year.

Home Office Police Research Award Scheme

The Home Office Police Research Awards have been granted every year since 1987. The Awards provide Home Office funding and support for police staff to carry out research and/or development projects. All individuals submitting an application are provided with feedback. Those who are successful undergo an induction training event whilst those who are unsuccessful are given suggestions, if and when appropriate, on how to improve their proposals for a future application.

Host police force areas are notified together with the candidates.

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The Ferrers Trophy

The Ferrers Trophy is awarded annually to the 'National Special of the Year'. There are also awards for Highly Commended and Team entries. They are open to all special constables and teams of special constables in England and Wales. The awards ceremony is held in June of each year.

The Tilley Award

The Tilley Award is open to all United Kingdom police forces for excellence in problem oriented policing. It was established in 1999. Winners and runners up are notified of the results in July with a formal announcement in September of each year.

The Prison Service has several award schemes for staff and prisoners. For staff they are as follows:

Butler Trust—Greening award

A new award for staff who have contributed towards improving the Prison Service's environmental performance was announced in August 2002 and the first winners will be presented with their awards in late March.

Staff Ideas Themed Competition "Making Prisons Greener"

In September 2001, the Prison Service launched its second central staff ideas themed competition "Making Prisons Greener". All the ideas have been featured in more detail in the Greening Operations Team's quarterly newsletter and in its annual environmental report published in July 2002.

Design a poster competition

The Prison Service, as part of its campaign to promote awareness of environmental matters among staff, launched a design a poster competition in 2001. This was aimed at staff and their families who were asked to submit designs for greening and energy efficiency posters to be used across the Service. The winning designs were used to produce posters that have been distributed to every prison and Service Headquarters.

The Elton Trophy Competition

The Elton Trophy Competition is an annual award scheme rewarding highly creditable performance in prison workshops. Eligibility for nomination was restricted to industrial workshops until 2002 when the scope was expanded to allow nominations from craft, charity and vocational training workshops.

Commendation awards are also made to individual members of staff directly linked to workshops who have contributed significantly to a workshop's success.

The Prison Service introduced performance arrangements in April 2001. These provide practical guidance on approaches to recognising individual performance outside the staff appraisal system. The arrangements encourage managers to recognise and acknowledge good performance by their staff. The methods suggested vary from a simple "thank you", to

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the award of vouchers to one-off financial rewards. There are a number of strands to the arrangements and consist of the following:

Prison Officer of the Year Award

This is an annual event introduced in 2002 as a method of "recognising, rewarding and celebrating the outstanding achievements of prison officers throughout the Service".

Butler Trust Award

The Trust was established as a registered charity in 1985 to promote and encourage positive prison regimes. An independent annual award scheme was set up to recognise exceptionally dedicated and often creative work undertaken by any person working in the Prison Service. The Service's performance recognition arrangements encourage nominations for the award.

Staff Ideas Scheme

Staff are encouraged to contribute to the Ideas Scheme which has been extant for a number of years. The scheme exists on two tiers. Firstly, there is local consideration of ideas specific to the local working environment. Secondly, there is national consideration of service-wide ideas that would have implications for policy or regular working practice. The objective of the scheme is to improve policy developments and make practices and procedures more effective and cost-efficient. Ideas are recognised with monetary awards from £25 up to £3,000, or with a small encouragement gift such as a pen.

Prisoner award schemes for prisoners consist of the following:

Bricklaying Competition

The Prisoners' Learning and Skills Unit (PLSU) based in the Department for Education and Skills contributes towards annual bricklaying competitions for prisoners. These competitions, which are recognised by UK Skills, are administered using National Skills Competition guidelines and judged independently by the Guild of Bricklayers. The winning team from the Scottish Prison Service Competition is invited to compete in the final for prisons in England and Wales.

Koestler Award Trust

PLSU also supports the Koestler Award Trust, which runs an annual competition in a wide range of creative arts for those in prisons, young offender institutions, high security psychiatric hospitals and secure units. 64 judges, working for free, send critical comments to the entrants which encourages communication between the artist, the Trust and the Education Co-ordinator and tutors in establishments. The work is judged in May and June and certificates sent to the award-winners in July. Award cheques are sent to Governors to be credited to the prisoner's private cash.

Koestler's annual exhibition of award-winning work is held in September.

Windlesham Trophy

The Windlesham Trophy is awarded every year to the prison judged to have the best kept gardens. The scheme includes individual commendation awards. These recognise exceptional talent, or an outstanding contribution to a garden's success, or input into prisoner training or rehabilitation. The competition is open to all prison establishments in England and Wales. The results

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are published throughout the Prison Service in the first week of August each year. The Royal Horticultural Society provides a panel of three experts to judge the final round. There is press interest local to the winning establishment, and occasional interest from national and specialist gardening press.

Cap Le Hague Nuclear Reactor

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements are in place for the protection of the Isle of Wight in the event of an attack on the Cap Le Hague nuclear reactor in France. [102839]

Mr. Meacher: I have been asked to reply.

In the event of any overseas nuclear incident (arising from an accident or a deliberate act) the Government's National Response Plan for Overseas Nuclear Accidents and RIMNET would be activated. A copy of this plan is available in the Library.

The UK Government would expect to receive notification of such an incident via the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), European Commission Urgent Radiological Information Exchange (ECURIE), bilateral agreements between Governments for exchange of information (France, Denmark, Holland, Norway and Russia are signatories) or an alert from one or more of the 93 gamma dose rate monitoring sites that comprise the UK's national radiation monitoring network (RIMNET).

An assessment of the likely impact of any release of radioactivity on the UK would be made immediately using all available information together with dispersion prediction modelling provided by the Meteorological Office. Using global weather information the current and forecast meteorological scenario would provide early estimates of the trajectory and the time of impact in the UK. This information when combined with environmental monitoring will allow the Government to assess projected levels of contamination and likely coverage.

A Technical Co-ordination Centre would be set up in the purpose-built Defra emergency room in London, from where a team of officials experienced in dealing with emergencies would co-ordinate the response to the incident. Public information and advice based on this information would be prepared and distributed from the Technical Co-ordination Centre to all the authorities and organisations with responsibilities for protecting the public and the environment including those on the Isle of Wight if the island was likely to be affected.

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