Previous Section Index Home Page

3 Feb 2004 : Column 790W—continued

Criminal Records Checks

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what unplanned expenditure has been incurred in each financial year by (a) his Department and (b) the Criminal Records Bureau since the commencement of the Criminal Records Project. [141822]

Ms Blears: The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) is an executive agency of the Home Office. The CRB's Corporate and Business Plans for 2002–07 projected planned expenditure of £167.7 million up to 30 September 2003. Actual expenditure for the period was £123.9 million. In addition, £1.26 million was spent in the first financial year of the project, financial year 1999–2000. Planned and actual expenditure can be broken down by financial year as follows.

3 Feb 2004 : Column 791W

£ million

Planned Actual
Financial yearGross spendFee incomeOperating deficitGross spendFee incomeOperating deficit
¾ (to 30 September 2003)42.3038.60(3.70)33.8017.10(16.70)

The Home Office and other departments have contributed towards meeting deficits.

Mrs. Betty Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether the Criminal Records Bureau is meeting its targets for processing applications for taxi driver licences; [148481]

Ms Blears: I am unable to answer my hon. Friend's question about the percentage of applications for taxi-driver licences processed by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) within target times because the CRB does not hold information in that format. However, overall, the CRB has been consistently meeting its targets for processing Disclosure applications since June 2003. The following table illustrates the current position.

Service performanceDecemberYear to date
90 per cent. of Standard Disclosures issued within two weeksExceeded93 per cent.
90 per cent. of Enhanced Disclosures issued within four weeksExceeded92.9 per cent.
90 per cent. of calls answered within 20 secondsExceeded89.6 per cent.
5 per cent. of applications over six weeks oldExceededn/a

To the CRB, applications awaiting processing are those where an applicant has asked for a form to be sent out and the form has not been returned to the CRB. Applications being processed are those that have been fully and correctly completed by the customer and returned to the CRB. No disclosure applications for taxi drivers or anyone else are withheld from going on to the CRB computer system; all are immediately processed upon receipt.

European Arrest Warrant

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many EU member states have adopted the recent proposals for a European Arrest Warrant; and how many have indicated that they will adopt it in due course. [150661]

Caroline Flint: Eight EU member states are now operating the European Arrest Warrant (EAW). They are Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

3 Feb 2004 : Column 792W

The remaining member states are in the process of implementing the EAW into their domestic legislation.


Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what records are kept on extraditions to EU countries from the UK. [150791]

Caroline Flint: Since the commencement of the Extradition Act 2003 on 1 January 2004, the National Criminal Intelligence Service has maintained an electronic record of extradition requests to the UK from those EU countries which have implemented the European Arrest Warrant, while the Home Office has maintained an electronic record of extradition requests from other EU countries. Prior to 1 January this year, the Home Office maintained an electronic record of such requests from all EU countries going back to 1997; and there are earlier paper records.

Home Office Challenge Fund

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which local initiatives have benefited from the Home Office Challenge Fund; and how much each local initiative has received. [150191]

Fiona Mactaggart: In 2003–04 almost £2 million will have been allocated to 43 projects, both new recipients and existing ones, throughout the United Kingdom. These projects cover a range of innovative local schemes to help refugees play a full and active role in their new communities, for example through assisting access to the job market, acquisition of employable skills, English language tuition, and supporting families through education and training.

More information on all the selected projects is available on the Immigration and Nationality Directorate Home Office website.

List of organisations awarded grants from the 2003–04 challenge fund

East of England
Employability Forum28,650
East of England Consortium47,300
East London Somali Association43,585
Evelyn Oldfield Unit31,500
Refugees Into Jobs93,297
Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund40,000
Common Purpose32,000
Ethiopian Community Centre in the UK27,917
South London Tamil Welfare Group25,750
Hackney Playbus13,390
The Presswise Trust90,640
FOREF (Friends of Refugees Forum)12,950
Sierra Leone Refugee
Welfare Association21,750
Holy Cross Centre Trust31,500
Council for Assisting Refugee
North East
Newcastle City Council31,800
Mental Health Matters62,000
Stockton District Advice and Information Service12,588
North West
North West Consortium63,189
Toxteth Community College44,954
Liverpool Family Service Unit64,714
North West Consortium14,041
British Red Cross (running two projects)88,000
Scottish Refugee Council19,489
Prince's Trust44,800
Glasgow ESOL Forum35,506
South East
Care co-operatives19,570
Thanet Early Years Project14,404
Kent Refugee Action Network39,140
Community Self Build Agency33,000
South West
Women's Business Development Agency50,000
Cardiff City Council51,272
West Midlands
Wolverhampton Refugee Settlement and Integration67,364
Midland Refugee Council56,650
Yorkshire and Humberside
Refugee Lifeline40,000
Yemeni Economic and Training50,000
Yorkshire and Humberside Consortium46,014

3 Feb 2004 : Column 793W

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Home Office Challenge Fund will continue indefinitely; what funding will be made available in each of the next five years; and what criteria are used in allocating funding from the Challenge Fund. [150192]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Challenge Fund was introduced in 2001 to support local projects helping those who have fled persecution and been granted asylum in the UK to integrate into their new communities. Initially a three-year scheme, the Home Office announced in December 2003 that it planned to continue the Challenge Fund for the foreseeable future.

The availability and amount of funding over the next five years is dependent on future Spending Reviews and on evidence of how beneficial the funding stream has

3 Feb 2004 : Column 794W

been to support the integration of refugees. It is currently expected that £3 million will be made available for both 2004–05 and 2005–06.

When allocating funding, consideration is given to the relevance of the project to the Home Office integration strategy, outlined in "Full and Equal Citizens", to its cost-effectiveness, and to the expertise and reliability of the applicant and any partner, organisations; applications must, of course, be focused on refugees and those granted Humanitarian or Discretionary Leave. Projects are subjected to a programme of monitoring and evaluation in order to identify those projects that are most effective in helping to integrate refugees.

Next Section Index Home Page