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Written Ministerial Statements

Wednesday 2 February 2005


Draft Children (Contact) and Adoption Bill

The Secretary of State for Education and Skills (Ruth Kelly): Following the publication of our consultation response "Parental Separation: Children's Needs and Parents' Responsibilities: Next Steps" on 18 January, I am pleased to say that the draft Children (Contact) and Adoption Bill is today being presented to Parliament.

This Bill takes forward the commitment we made in the Green Paper "Parental Separation: Children's Needs and Parents' Responsibilities" to provide the courts with more flexible powers to facilitate contact and enforce contact orders.

At present, contact orders can be enforced only through contempt of court proceedings leading to fine or imprisonment. Courts have quite rightly been reluctant to use these measures because of the potential negative impact on the children involved. That is why they need more flexible, more realistic powers, of the sort that this Bill will provide. It will allow the courts, at any stage, to:

And where an order has been breached, the courts will also be able to:

In addition, the Bill will provide more clarity in the law about the mechanism by which inter-country adoptions from individual countries may be suspended where there are concerns about child welfare.

I believe that this draft Bill, alongside the wider programme of reform set out in our Green Paper and the response document published on 18 January, will make a real difference to the family justice system in this country, and help provide better outcomes for children and families faced with the difficulties of parental separation.


British Embassy (Kinshasa)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Chris Mullin): In light of continuing instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the fragile security situation in Kinshasa, the Government have authorised
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the deployment of armed guards to our British Embassy in Kinshasa in order to safeguard embassy staff and ensure the mission can continue to operate.

The Government take seriously their obligations to contribute to peace and security in the DRC. We have a development programme for the DRC worth £34 million for the financial year 2004–05. Upgrading the security of our embassy will enable staff to continue to contribute to the peace process in the DRC. The DRC Government have been informed of our intention and is content with the arrangements we propose to protect our staff.

A UN arms embargo, targeting rebel groups operating in the east of the country, has been in place on the DRC since 28 July 2003. An EU embargo has been in place on the country since 7 April 1993. We fully support these measures and have informed the UN DRC Sanctions Committee and EU partners of the deployment.


Criminal Records Bureau

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Paul Goggins): The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) proposes to introduce measures to reduce the number of organisations currently registered with the CRB, through the setting of an annual threshold for the submission of disclosure applications by registered bodies. At present there are some 13,000 organisations registered with the CRB of which just 20 per cent. process 80 per cent. of all disclosure applications.

Setting an annual threshold will be a key part of the CRB's strategy to enhance the efficiency of, and improve standards within, the registered body network. Those organisations that remain registered will be better equipped to carry out their responsibilities under the CRB code of practice, receiving enhanced support and assistance from the CRB in carrying out their obligations. We shall consult widely with registered bodies and other stakeholders prior to the change.

The CRB and its major stakeholders recognise that public safety and the integrity of the disclosure service relies upon the widespread adoption of robust internal processes by registered bodies, particularly in terms of properly verifying the identity of disclosure applicants, ensuring that eligibility criterion are met, and forms are completed correctly.

The current assurance and compliance regime has highlighted that a significant number of registered bodies do not, for one reason or another, comply with all of the CRB's key guidelines or the CRB code of practice. A more compact registered body network, working in greater partnership with the CRB and composed of high-volume users would allow the CRB to focus its resources more effectively to improve compliance and support the evolving role of registered bodies.

The CRB remains committed to providing appropriate means of access for those organisations that wish to continue to use the disclosure service, and will work with in partnership with low-volume users to
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find alternative arrangements that best suits their requirements; keeping cost and bureaucracy to a minimum.

The introduction of such a threshold will be subject to a formal consultation process followed by the laying of regulations under sections 120AA and 120ZA Police Act 1997.


Downing Street Engagements

The Prime Minister (Mr. Tony Blair): I have today placed in the Library of the House a list of functions hosted by Mrs. Blair in Downing Street between November 1998 and January 2005.
Functions Hosted by Mrs Blair in Downing StreetNovember 1998—January 2005

Tue 11/01/2005Charity—Jewish Women's Aid
Wed 15/12/2004Charity—Downside Up—Xmas Party
Wed 15/12/2004Tea—Woman's Own Children of Courage award winners
Tue 14/12/2004Charity Reception John Soanes Museum
Tue 07/12/2004Charity—Art Depot Trust
Thu 02/12/2004Lunch—wife of the President of South Korea
Thu 02/12/2004Charity—Worshipful Company of Feltmakers of London
Tue 23/11/2004Charity—PACT
Thu 18/11/2004Reception—Awarding of the Entente Cordiale Cancer Prize together with the wife of the President of France
Thu 18/11/2004Lunch—with the wife of the President of France
Tue 16/11/2004Charity—Bristol Cancer Care
Thu 11/11/2004Tea—MPs / Children
Wed 10/11/2004Charity—Toy Trust
Tue 09/11/2004Charity—FARA
Wed 03/11/2004Tea—Children's Champions
Tue 02/11/2004Charity—Theodoras Trust
Mon 01/11/2004Charity—Lord Mayor's Appeal
Wed 20/10/2004Charity—Oxford Children's Hospital
Tue 19/10/2004Charity—Actionaid
Wed 13/10/2004Tea—President of Iceland
Tue 12/10/2004Charity—Turning Point
Tue 05/10/2004Charity—Samaritans
Thu 23/09/2004Charity—selection of Charities Mrs Blair supports
Tue 21/09/2004Charity—Teenage Cancer Trust
Wed 15/09/2004Charity—DIPIN
Tue 14/09/2004Charity—Friends United Network
Wed 08/09/2004Charity—Royal Live Saving Society
Tue 07/09/2004Charity—Noah's Ark
Tues 31/08/2004Tea—Prime Minister of Malta + wife
Tue 20/07/2004Charity—Hope for Children
Tue 13/07/2004Charity—Hansard Society
Tue 06/07/2004Charity—Dig Deep Purple
Wed 30/06/2004Tea—Citizenship Foundation
Tue 29/06/2004Charity—ParentTalk
Wed 23/06/2004Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 22/06/2004Charity—CAFOD
Tue 15/06/2004Charity—LIPA
Tue 15/06/2004Tea—Leeds Gallery
Wed 19/05/2004Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 18/05/2004Charity—Norwood
Thu 13/05/2004Tea—DCMS TASS
Tue 11/05/2004Charity—MDA
Thu 6/05/2004Lunch—wife of the President of Poland
Tue 04/05/2004Charity—Plater College
Tue 27/04/2004Charity—Harindah Veriah Trust
Wed 21/04/2004Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 20/04/2004Charity—Mary Ward Legal Centre
Wed 31/03/2004Charity—British Institute of Comparative Law
Tue 30/03/2004Charity—Rotary Club of London
Wed 24/03/2004Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 23/03/2004Charity—Princess Royal Trust for Carers
Tue 16/03/2004Charity—League of Jewish Women
Tue 09/03/2004Charity—Pact
Wed 03/03/2004Charity—History of Parliament Trust
Mon 01/03/2004Charity—Youngminds
Mon 23/02/2004Charity—Centrepoint
Tue 17/02/2004Charity—British Institute for International and Comparative Law
Tue 10/02/2004Charity—SENSE
Tue 03/02/2004Charity—Jordan River Village
Tue 27/01/2004Charity—Seeds for Africa
Tue 20/01/2004Charity—Liverpool School for the Blind
Tue 13/01/2004Charity—Cystic Fibrois
Wed 07/01/2004Charity—MacMillan
Tue 16/12/2003Tea—MPs / Children
Mon 15/12/2003Charity—International Service
Fri 12/12/2003Charity—Barnardos Dinner—Chequers
Wed 10/12/2003Charity—MS Society
Wed 10/12/2003Tea—Woman's Own Children of Courage award winners
Tue 09/12/2003Charity—Scope Children's' Party
Tue 09/12/2003Charity—Volunteer Reading Help
Tue 25/11/2003Charity—Royal College of Surgeons
Thu 20/11/2003Lunch—Wife of the President of the USA ( Mrs Laura Bush)
Wed 19/11/2003Charity—Body & Soul
Thu 13/11/2003Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 11/11/2003Charity—The Old Vic
Tue 04/11/2003Charity—Longford Trust
Tue 28/10/2003Charity—Lepra
Thu 23/10/2003Tea—National Families and Parenting Institute
Tue 14/10/2003Charity—Lord Mayor's Appeal—Save the Children
Wed 08/10/2003Charity—RAFT
Tue 07/10/2003Charity—Family Fund Trust
Thu 25/09/2003Charity—Debra
Wed 10/09/2003Charity—Bristol Museums Tea
Tue 09/09/2003Charity—Damilola Taylor Trust
Tue 09/09/2003Charity—Herinder Veriah Trust
Wed 03/09/2003Charity—Disability Foundation
Wed 16/07/2003Charity—International Planned Parenthood Federation
Tue 08/07/2003Charity—One Family
Thu 03/07/2003Charity—Jewish Chernobyl Children
Tue 01/07/2003Tea—MPs / Children
Mon 30/06/2003Charity—Children in Crisis
Thu 26/06/2003Lunch—wife of the President of Russia
Tue 24/06/2003Charity—Cliff Richard Tennis Foundation
Mon 23/06/2003Tea—MPs / Children
Thu 19/06/2003Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 17/06/2003Lunch—wife of the President of Pakistan
Tue 17/06/2003Charity—Freud Museum
Mon 16/06/2003Tea—Re-launch of the National Youth Parliament Competition
Tue 10/06/2003Charity—SOS Sahal
Tue 20/05/2003Charity—Corinne Burton Trust
Mon 19/05/2003Charity—Hospitality Action
Tue 13/05/2003Charity—Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology
Wed 07/05/2003Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 06/05/2003Charity—emmaus UK
Tue 29/04/2003Charity—Mercy Ships
Tue 08/04/2003Charity—Colon Cancer
Tue 01/04/2003Charity—Thare Machi The Starfish Initiative
Tue 25/03/2003Charity—Shado
Mon 24/03/2003Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 18/03/2003Charity—Lady Taverners
Tue 11/03/2003Charity—Kisharon
Tue 04/03/2003Charity—Terence Higgins Trust
Thu 27/02/2003Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 18/02/2003Charity—Institute for Jewish Policy Research
Mon 10/02/2003Charity—UK for UNHCR
Tue 04/02/2003Charity—Grandparents Association
Wed 29/01/2003Charity—Police Dependants' Trust
Tue 28/01/2003Tea—Silver Trust
Tue 21/01/2003Charity Reception—Council for Christians and Jews
Thu 16/01/2003Charity—Shakespeare Schools Drama Festival
Tue 14/01/2003Charity—Unicef
Wed 11/12/2002Tea—Women and Public Appointments Launch
Wed 11/12/2002Tea—Woman's Own Children of Courage award winners
Tue 10/12/2002Tea—MPs / Children
Mon 09/12/2002Charity—Loomba Trust
Tue 03/12/2002Charity—Roundhouse
Mon 25/11/2002Charity—Fabian Society
Mon 18/11/2002Charity—Prisoners Education Trust
Fri 08/11/2002Tea—MPs / Children
Mon 23/09/2002Charity Reception—Lord Mayor's Appeal
Tue 17/09/2002Charity—Inside Out Trust
Tue 10/09/2002Charity—Sane
Tue 03/09/2002Charity—Sheffield Museums and Galleries
Mon 22/07/2002Charity—Sargent Cancer Care
Thu 11/07/2002Tea—MPs / Children
Mon 08/07/2002Charity—Spouse in the House Club
Thu 04/07/2002Tea—Motorola Youth Parliament
Wed 03/07/2002Charity—Endometriosis Society
Tue 25/06/2002Charity—Down Syndrome Educational Trust
Sat 22/06/2002Charity Dinner—Chequers Roald Dahl
Wed 19/06/2002Charity—Canon Collins Educational Trust for Southern Africa
Thu 13/06/2002Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 11/06/2002Charity—Jubilee Action
Tue 28/05/2002Charity—Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children
Mon 27/05/2002Charity—Family Mediators
Thu 23/05/2002Tea—MPs / Children
Wed 22/05/2002Charity—Children's Wish Foundation International
Tue 14/05/2002Charity—Young People with ME
Wed 01/05/2002Charity—Cord Blood
Thu 25/04/2002Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 23/04/2002Charity—Sight Savers International
Thu 11/04/2002Charity—Oxford Philomusica
Tue 19/03/2002Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 12/03/2002Charity—Prisoners of Conscience
Mon 11/03/2002Charity—LJMU Hardship Fund
Tue 26/02/2002Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 05/02/2002Charity—Saving Faces
Mon 04/02/2002Charity—Donald Dewar Memorial Chair of Social Justice
Wed 30/01/2002Charity—Guide Dogs for the Blind
Tue 22/01/2002Charity—Plan International
Mon 21/01/2002Tea—Charity Launch AEEU Learning Plan
Tue 15/01/2002Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 18/12/2001Charity—Barnardos
Wed 12/12/2001Tea—Woman's Own Children of Courage award winners
Mon 10/12/2001Tea—Women in Public Services Launch
Thu 06/12/2001Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 04/12/2001Charity—Kids
Tue 27/11/2001Charity—Tuberous Sclerosis
Tue 20/11/2001Charity—Resource for Autism
Thu 19/11/2001Lunch—wife of the King of Jordan— Queen of Jordan Tea—wife of the President of Romania—Mrs Nastase Tea—wife of the President of Pakistan—Mrs Musharraf
Wed 14/11/2001Charity—MHA
Thu 08/11/2001Charity—Kids out
Thu 01/11/2001Tea—MPs / Children
Wed 24/10/2001Charity—Holocaust Educational Trust
Tue 25/09/2001Charity—Antaxia Tangliecsta
Wed 19/09/2001Charity—Tommy's The Baby
Tue 18/09/2001Tea—TUC Women
Mon 17/09/2001Charity—Lord Mayor's Appeal
Mon 10/09/2001Charity—Manchester City Arts
Mon 09/07/2001Charity—Wyndham Place Charlemagne Trust
Tue 03/07/2001Charity—The Disability Partnership
Wed 27/06/2001Charity—Help the Aged
Tue 26/06/2001Charity—Alzheimers Society
Mon 25/06/2001Tea—Motorola Youth Parliament
Tue 19/06/2001Charity—CSV
Thu 14/06/2001Lunch—wife of the President of South Africa
Wed 13/06/2001Charity—Spinal Research
Tue 22/05/2001Charity—Ataxia-Tekengiectasia Society
Fri 20/04/2001Reception—World Travel Leaders
Thu 05/04/2001Tea—1951 Women's European Tour
Wed 04/04/2001Charity—contact a Family
Wed 28/03/2001Charity—In Aid of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture's Under-One-Roof Appeal
Wed 14/03/2001Charity—Variety Club of Great Britain
Mon 12/03/2001Charity—St John's Hospice
Thu 08/03/2001Tea—MPs / Children
Wed 28/02/2001Reception—World Women Lawyers Conference
Thu 15/02/2001Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 06/02/2001Charity—Gingerbread
Thu 25/01/2001Tea—MPs / Children
Thu 14/12/2000Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 12/12/2000Tea—Woman's Own Children of Courage award winners
Thu 23/11/2000Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 14/11/2000Charity—National Opera Studio
Wed 08/11/2000Charity—Bliss
Wed 13/09/2000Charity—Chronic Disease Research Foundation
Tue 18/07/2000Reception—American Bar Association
Thu 26/06/2000Tea—wife of the President of Russia— Mrs Putina
Wed 12/04/2000Charity—John Grooms Capital Appeal
Mon 10/04/2000Charity—Chicken Shed Theatre
Thu 30/03/2000Tea—MPs / Children
Mon 27/03/2000Charity—Denning Centenary Appeal
Wed 22/03/2000Tea—Whizz Kids Board Meeting
Wed 15/03/2000Charity—Liverpool John Moores University
Thu 02/03/2000Charity—RNIB
Wed 01/03/2000Tea—Community Legal Service
Tue 29/02/2000Tea—Children/MPs
Thu 24/02/02000Charity—Roy Castle Lung Foundation
Mon 07/02/2000Charity—Spouse in the House Club
Tue 25/01/2000Charity—Home-Start UK
Mon 17/01/2000Charity—British Red Cross
Thu 16/12/1999Tea—MPs / Children
Wed 15/12/1999Tea—Woman's Own Children of Courage award winners
Thu 18/11/1999Tea—MPs / Children
Wed 27/10/1999Charity—DEBRA
Mon 25/10/1999Tea—War Widows
Thu 21/10/1999Lunch—Wife of the President of China
Tue 14/09/1999Charity—Stroke Association
Thu 29/07/1999Tea—MPs / Children
Wed 21/07/1999Breakfast—wife of the President of Pakistan
Wed 07/07/1999Charity—Leuka 2000
Mon 05/07/1999Charity—UNICEF "World Children's Day"
Wed 23/06/1999Tea—MPs / Children
Thu 24/06/1999Tea—wife of the Hungarian Prime Minister
Tue 15/06/1999Tea—Motorola Youth Parliament
Thu 20/05/1999Tea—MPs / Children
Tue 11/05/1999Charity—St Mary's Hospital, Paddington
Thu 15/04/1999Tea—MPs / Children
Mon 29/03/1999Tea—Daily Star Gold Award Winners
Wed 10/03/1999Tea—MPs / Children
Thu 28/01/1999Charity—Media Trust's Community Channel
Thu 28/01/1999Tea—MPs / Children
Wed 09/12/1998Tea—MPs / Children
Wed 02/12/1998Charity—Refuge
Wed 18/11/1998Charity—Shelter

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