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21 Jan 2004 : Column 1271Wcontinued
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to encourage people to take part in community action for the purposes of civic renewal. 
Fiona Mactaggart [holding answer 12 January 2004]: The Home Office recognises that local communities are best placed to define and solve their own problems and that they should be able to work with the relevant authorities and organisations in a flexible way. This approach is termed civil renewal and can be applied across areas such as policing, criminal justice, and the work of drug action teams.
In terms of policing and police reform, for example, in the last six months three police authority areas have been identifiedCheshire, Merseyside and Northumbriato test out new ways to engage with communities. The lessons they learn will be fed through to the work of a Practitioner Panel which will identify and share good practice in citizen-focused policy and community engagement.
Reform of the criminal justice system will continue to address the challenge of developing more effective community engagement, so that individuals and communities affected by crime can play an active part in solving the crime-related problems in their local areas, and can feel greater confidence in the criminal justice system.
As another example of the civil renewal approach, the Home Office is monitoring what drug action teams across the country do to engage local communities. Progress is good, including a grants scheme for black and minority ethnic community groups to carry out research into the health needs of their communities and generate ideas for service improvements.
The Home Office is currently consulting the community and voluntary sector about practical ways to build capacity in communities in order to achieve civil renewal. It has also recently launched the Active Citizenship Centre, which is the centre for research in best practice and case studies of civil renewal.
21 Jan 2004 : Column 1272W
|Length of time taken to reply to correspondence|
|Correspondence from Member of parliament relatingto matters other than immigration, nationality andHM Prison Service||(20)15|
|Correspondence from Members of Parliament relatingto immigration, nationality and HM Prison Service||(20)20|
|Correspondence, including emails, from members ofthe public||(20)20|
The latest available figures show that 60 per cent. of letters from hon. Members are now replied to within the target. This is an increase on the figure of 36 per cent. achieved in May 2003. Although this indicates a considerable improvement, the department is committed to improving this further.
Mr. Blunkett [holding answer 19 January 2004]: The National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre (NISCC) is continually monitoring the threat of electronic attack on the UK's Critical National Infrastructure. NISCC's assessment is that the overall threat from electronic attack is increasing but remains less attractive than a conventional attack. While the threat of the sort of attack that could disable a critical service is considered to remain low, less serious but damaging attacks that might deface a website or deny service from a website are assessed to be more likely.
Andy Burnham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people in each police force area were charged by police with driving without insurance in each of the last five years. 
21 Jan 2004 : Column 1273W
|Number of offences|
|Police force area||1997||1998||1999||2000||2001|
|Avon and Somerset||15,354||16,891||15,094||14,609||13,022|
|Devon and Cornwall||8,422||7,231||7,493||9,233||8,648|
|London, City of||2,669||3,127||2,517||1,738||1,824|
|England and Wales||396,967||389,956||387,266||391,551||388,167|
(21) An offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988 s143(2).
(22) Excludes companies, local authorities etc. One person may be proceeded against more than once on the same occasion.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of staff in his Department contribute to a charity through the Give as You Earn scheme; how much money is donated to charity per month by staff in his Department through the scheme; and what steps he is taking to encourage greater participation in the scheme by staff in his Department. 
21 Jan 2004 : Column 1274W
Fiona Mactaggart: Figures for staff in central Home Office and Immigration and Nationality Directorate contributing to the Give as You Earn (GAYE) scheme are outlined in the table. Figures are taken from the November 2003 payroll. Figures for other agencies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs) are currently not available.
|Number of payees contributing||770 out of 20,162|
|Percentage of payees contributing||3.82|
|Monthly amount collected||£8,877.48|
Home Office staff can find information on how to contribute to the GAYE scheme from their personnel unit; or electronically, via our Intranet. Promotion of the scheme has recently taken place in some small areas in London. The Human Resources Policy Section is currently working on a strategy to publicise the scheme across the whole Department. This work has been suspended because of the current pay dispute, but I would envisage that the strategy will be implemented in the spring.
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