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27 Oct 2003 : Column 114W—continued

Crime Detection

25. Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his Department's role in assisting the police to improve detection of crime. [134182]

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Ms Blears: Latest figures show that the number of detections rose in the last year, and that the detection rate remains stable. We are working with the police to improve rates. For example:


Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much has been spent by his Department and its agencies on (a) asbestos surveys and (b) the management and removal of asbestos since 1 January 2001; and what budget is available to (i) commission asbestos surveys and (ii) manage and remove asbestos from buildings in (A) 2003 and (B) 2004. [130919]

Fiona Mactaggart: No central records are kept on the costs and budgets for asbestos surveys or the management and removal of asbestos. This information could be obtained only at disproportionate costs. However, we can more readily provide information on the costs that the Prison Service have incurred in undertaking asbestos surveys and the necessary remedial work.

Since July 2001, the Prison Service has spent £1.85 million to manage their asbestos strategy, which has included undertaking surveys to identify the location and condition of asbestos on the prison estate and establish the risks. Since May 2002, the Prison Service has spent a further £1.7 million on remedial work on managing and removing asbestos where this was identified as being necessary by the surveys. In addition, asbestos will have been removed as part of various works projects to refurbish, demolish or upgrade existing accommodation. These costs would have been recorded in the relevant individual capital schemes and could be extracted only at a disproportionate cost. The Prison Service has a further £300,000 allocated for additional remedial work for the remainder of this financial year.

Asylum and Immigration (Publicly Funded Work)

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the results of the consultation paper, Proposed Changes to Publicly Funded Immigration and Asylum Work will be published. [133850]

Mr. Lammy: I have been asked to reply.

We received over 260 responses to the consultation paper. These have now been collated and analysed. The Constitutional Affairs Select Committee has also undertaken an inquiry into our proposals and is due to report shortly. We will be considering their report along with all other responses before any final decisions on future policy are made.

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Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the contracts for consultancy and other work carried out by Bechtel in each year since 1997 stating in each case (a) the nature of the work, (b) the value of the contract and (c) the duration of the contract; and if he will make a statement. [132594]

Fiona Mactaggart [holding answer 20 October 2003]: The available information held by the Home Office on contracts for consultancy and other work shows that the Home Office has not had any contractual agreements with Bechtel from 1997 to the present time.

Charity Commission

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the Answer of 4 July 2003, Official Report, column 549W, on the Charity Commission, when the Charity Commission will write to the hon. Member for Aylesbury; and if he will make a statement on the reasons for the delay. [130716]

Fiona Mactaggart [holding answer 16 September 2003]: This is a matter for the Charity Commission as the Government Department responsible for the regulation of charities in England and Wales. The Director of Operations wrote to the hon. Member on 5 August and a further copy of this letter will be sent to him and placed in the Library.

Community Support Officers

Mr. Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will make a statement on the recruitment of community support officers. [134175]

Ms Blears : Last year 27 police forces made successful bids for a share of the £19.5 million fund which enabled them to recruit, train and deploy 1,222 Community Support Officers (CSOs). This year £41 million was made available to continue paying for these and to recruit a further 1,234 CSOs. We are on course to reach the target of 4,000 CSOs by the end of 2005–06.

Recruitment standards are set by individual forces but there is comprehensive Association of Chief Police Officers, (ACPO) guidance available to assist them.


Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the reasons were for the delay in transferring the letter of 3 July, on behalf of Mr. R. A. Forde, from the hon. Member for Christchurch to the Department for Constitutional Affairs. [133536]

Caroline Flint: The letter was received in the Home Office on 8 July 2003. The delay in transferring the letter to the Department of Constitutional Affairs was principally due to officials wrongly identifying the appropriate Department to which the case should be transferred. Additional delays were caused by a failure to obtain a swift response from the other Departments when they were invited to accept the correspondence.

I am determined to see an improvement in the Home Office's performance in this respect. Officials are now reviewing the department's systems to prevent this sort

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of unacceptable delay from recurring. More widely, the Home Office is working with other departments so that robust protocols are in place for dealing with the effective and timely transfer of correspondence.

Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter to him dated 11 September from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, with regard to Mr. Muhammad Rafique. [133838]

Mr. Blunkett: I wrote to my right hon. Friend on 23 October 2003.

Criminal Records Bureau

Mr. Butterfill: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his answer of 1 September 2003, Official Report, column 974W, on criminal records checks, how many representations he has received; and from what organisations. [130657]

Paul Goggins [holding answer 17 September 2003]: We have received written representations from 32 bodies in the voluntary and community sector, about the increase in fees charged by the Criminal Records Bureau.

Representations have been received from the following:

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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his answer of 3 June 2003, Official Report, columns 141–42W, on Criminal Records Bureau unit costs, what the agency's latest estimate of unit costs in 2003–04 is. [131049]

Paul Goggins [holding answer 18 September 2003]: Based on the projections in the Criminal Records Bureau's Corporate and Business Plans 2003–04, the individual unit costs are estimated as:

Standard Paper Application25.00
Standard Telephone Application20.00
Enhanced Paper Application31.00
Enhanced Telephone Application26.00
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