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Ms Harman: My Department requires all new staff to attend Diversity Awareness Training. In December 2003 the Diversity Awareness Training course was updated to take account of the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations.
In addition staff in the Department were informed of the Religion or Belief Regulations through a number of communication channels. These included articles in staff magazines, team briefing sessions and guidance notes that were placed on the Department's intranet.
Vera Baird: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will commission research into the experience in Commonwealth countries of fixed-term judicial appointments and its applicability to the UK. 
Harry Cohen: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 have been referred to the Central Clearing House; and what proportion of these referrals have been accompanied by a recommendation that an exemption should be applied to the request. 
Ms Harman: Since the Freedom of Information Act came into force on 1 January, 2,080 cases have been referred to the Clearing House, including Internal Reviews and appeals to the Information Commissioner's Office. The first quarterly monitoring report is due to be published on 23 June providing a wide range of information on FOI requests received by central Government Departments.
Ms Harman: Under the Representation of the People Act 2000 the Secretary of State is obliged by law to consider any application from a local authority to pilot innovative voting methods and we will consider them on a case by case basis. We have no intention to amend the RPA 2000 in this respect.
Ms Harman: The Cheshire Advisory Committee is responsible for recruiting magistrates in Warrington and will be submitting its recommendations for appointment in July. In the past 1218 months the Advisory Committee have made particular efforts to raise awareness of the magistracy and target recruitment effort in Warrington, particularly those areas.
The Cheshire Advisory Committee are aiming to make eight appointments this year (five of which are from the north of Warrington covering the most deprived areas). four magistrates were appointed to the Warrington Bench in 2002, five in 2003 and six in 2004.
Ms Harman: There are no plans to disbar hon. Members from sitting in the Crown court as recorders. While full-time judicial office holders and some fee-paid judges are disqualified from sitting in both Houses, the Lord Chancellor does not feel that it is incompatible for recorders, deputy district judges, including magistrates' courts, and magistrates to discharge their judicial duties in parallel with their parliamentary and political responsibilities, provided they do nothing in their judicial capacity to suggest political partiality.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what estimate the Government have made of the cost to local authorities of the implementation of (a) postal voting on demand and (b) the provisions outlined by the Department for inclusion in the Electoral Administration Bill. 
Local authorities fund the administration of postal voting from their own budgets and the cost to them will vary according to demand in the local authority area concerned. Information about such costs is not currently collected centrally, but we intend to give the Electoral Commission the power to do so. All the proposals in the Bill are being costed as part of policy development.
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Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will list the private finance initiative and public-private partnership projects her Department is undertaking; and what the status of each is. 
Keith Vaz: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many and what percentage of staff in her Department have received training on the general and specific duties of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, broken down by (a) ethnicity and (b) grade. 
My Department provided training for all senior managers (Grades 7 and above in HQ and senior operational managers in a range of grades in its agencies) on the duties of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. This was through a series of seminars and supporting guidance notes. Approximately 750 senior managers (6 per cent. of staff) attended the training and this was then cascaded by the senior managers to their staff.
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At the same time the Department reviewed its Diversity Awareness Training course to include details of the duties under the Act. The Diversity Awareness Training course is a mandatory course for all new entrants to the Department.
The Department also reviewed its Employment Law for New Managers course to include details of the duties under the Act. The Employment Law for New Managers course is mandatory for all new managers in the Department.
Since 2002 the Department has been collecting data on training by responsibility level and ethnic origin. Due to the constraints of the current HR IT system we are only able to publish data by training type (developmental/business skills) and we do not have breakdowns for individual courses. The data collected is published in the Department's Equality and Diversity Report 200204.
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