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19 Jun 2003 : Column 390W—continued

Interface with Faith Communities

Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) women and (b) men there are amongst the faith community members of his Department's Working Group which is reviewing the Government's Interface with Faith Communities. [115975]

Fiona Mactaggart: There is one woman and six men faith community members of the group.

The faith groups were encouraged to nominate a woman. However, most nominated a suitably qualified man and it would not have been appropriate for us to reject these nominations on the grounds of gender alone.

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We are conscious of the need to ensure proper representation of women and young people in faith consultations. We will be looking at this issue as part of this review.

Race Relations Amendment Act

Angela Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in his Department and non-departmental public bodies on implementing the requirements of the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000; and if he will publish the results of the monitoring required by the Act. [117620]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Home Office is committed to promoting equality and diversity for the communities we serve and also for our staff. This accords with the Department's purpose of working with individuals and communities to build a safe, just and tolerant society and our aim to support strong and active communities in which people of all races and backgrounds are valued and participate on equal terms. The Home Office published its Race Equality Scheme on 25 April 2002, in line with the requirements of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. We have identified a number of areas of our work as having a high potential impact on race equality and race relations, including policies on reducing crime and disorder, on police leadership, powers and relations with the public, on victims of crime, on drugs and on active communities, community cohesion and race relations. Our scheme commits us to assessing and consulting on new policies, and monitoring policies generally, for their impact on race equality and race relations.

The Police Complaints Authority, National Crime Squad, National Criminal Intelligence Service and Commission for Racial Equality have all published race equality schemes in line with the requirements of the Act. Although not required to do so, the Central Police Development and Training Agency (Centrex) has also published such a scheme; and the Parole Board, which has already produced an action plan against racial discrimination, on which it has consulted the Commission, is preparing a scheme.

Mr right hon. Friend the Home Secretary appointed Mary Coussey as Independent Race Monitor for ministerial authorisations to discriminate on grounds of nationality, and of national and ethnic origin, in immigration and nationality functions. Her first interim report was published in November 2002. The Prison Service is in the process of revising its Race Equality Action Plan to take account of issues raised by the Commission for Racial Equality following the Commission's formal investigation of the Service.

The Home Office has published a number of reports setting out the results of monitoring of the position of minority ethnic people in relation to our policies and employment practices, for example the Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System 2002 report, published in March 2003; and the milestone report on the Home Secretary's Race Equality Employment Targets (covering staff targets for the Home Office and Prison, Police, Fire and Probation Services), published in January 2003. We are currently collating and analysing data from monitoring of the Home Office's own employment processes relating to the first year of

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operation of the Department's Race Equality Scheme and expect to be in a position to publish the results in September 2003.

Sustainable Development

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on steps he is taking to meet the commitments set out in his Department's framework for sustainable development. [118784]

Fiona Mactaggart: A full statement of the steps the Home Office is taking to meet the commitments set out in the Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate is available on the Home Office website at

The main actions referred to in the statement are:


Portcullis House

Pete Wishart: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission what the total cost was of Portcullis House. [119890]

Sir Archy Kirkwood: The current expected final cost is in the region of £234 million, as outlined in the National Audit Office report: "Construction of Portcullis House" (HC750 of Session 2001–02), published on 19 April 2002. This figure covers the cost of the building, professional fees, furniture and fittings, but is subject to the settlement of final accounts with suppliers.


Department for Constitutional Affairs

Mr. Cash: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the functions of the Department for Constitutional Affairs; and what the statutory authority is for the (a) exercise

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of the Lord Chancellor's functions by the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and (b) transfer of those functions to the Secretary of State. [120180]

The Prime Minister: Statutory functions are being transferred in the normal way by order under the Ministers of the Crown Act 1975. The right hon. Lord Falconer of Thoroton QC has been appointed as Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, and for the transitional period as Lord Chancellor. The transfer of functions from the Lord Chancellor to the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs will be completed once the position of Lord Chancellor is abolished.

The majority of the statutory functions of the Department for Constitutional Affairs will be the same as for the former Lord Chancellor's Department. The right hon. Lord Falconer of Thoroton QC will be responsible for the appointing, or advising on the appointment of, judges, during the transitional phase as Lord Chancellor. His other functions include:

In addition the Department's responsibilities include the following:

In addition, the Department will be responsible for the overall devolution settlement and the Scotland and Wales Offices have become a part of the Department for Constitutional Affairs, while retaining their distinct identities and with civil servants in those Offices reporting to their respective junior Ministers and Secretaries of State.

The Secretary of State is also responsible for:

The policy responsibilities of the Department for services for children and their families, including responsibility for CAFCASS, are transferring to the new Minister for Children in the Department for Education and Skills.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Prime Minister whether the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs will receive the pension entitlement of the Lord Chancellor (a) during the planned transition period before the

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proposed abolition of the office and (b) subsequently, if the office is abolished; and if he will make a statement. [120022]

The Prime Minister: No. The Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs has elected to receive only a salary and pension equivalent to that received by other Secretaries of State in the House of Lords.

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