Previous Section Index Home Page

6 Jul 2005 : Column 490W—continued

Court Apparel

Mr. Purchase: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will issue guidance to the courts regarding acceptable dress for barristers appearing in court in order to discourage barristers from wearing wigs and gowns. [9371]

Ms Harman: The wearing of wigs and gowns in court by barristers is already governed by guidance in the form of Practice Directions made by the Lord Chancellor.

The Lord Chancellor has no immediate plans to make further directions, prior to the implementation of Constitutional Reform Act 2005 and the Concordat planned for April of next year.

Legal Aid

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether it is her intention that decisions on means-testing for criminal legal aid can be made on the day of the relevant court appearance, under the provisions of the Criminal Defence Service Bill. [9774]

Bridget Prentice: Under the proposed scheme empowered by the Criminal Defence Service Bill, a decision on means testing may be made at any time from the commencement of the case onwards, including on the day of appearance in court.

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether she plans to introduce a test for compliance with means-testing for criminal legal aid similar to that used for civil legal aid. [9775]

Bridget Prentice: Along with the means test for civil legal aid, the criminal means test proposed under the Criminal Defence Service Bill would be subject to a declaration that the evidence supplied is true and complete. Claims may be investigated by the Legal Services Commission that given information is indeed
6 Jul 2005 : Column 491W
truthful, complete and accurate. This investigation would take a similar form to that of the investigation for claims for civil legal aid.

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether she plans to give solicitors responsibility for (a) processing claims for legal aid and (b) obtaining documentary evidence under the means-testing provisions in the Criminal Defence Service Bill. [9776]

Bridget Prentice: Under the new scheme proposed by the Criminal Defence Service Bill, solicitors would not be responsible for processing claims for legal aid. This will be the responsibility of the Legal Services Commission. In practice however, the Commission would delegate this authority to grant teams within the courts who will carry out this function under a service level agreement between Her Majesty's Court Service and the Legal Services Commission. Solicitors may wish to assist their clients in completing the application forms, as defendants will be covered for this under the Advice and Assistance scheme.

Evidentiary requirements would be simplified under the proposed scheme. It would be the responsibility of the defendant to produce no more than a single wage slip or bank statement confirming their income. The new scheme will be transparent and administratively simple.


Child Support Agency

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the operation of the Child Support Agency in Northern Ireland. [9526]

Mr. Hanson: The agency produces an annual report and accounts, which provides detailed information on its performance against both ministerial and internal targets. The agency's report for 2004–05 will be laid in both the House of Commons and the Northern Ireland Assembly on 14 July 2005. Following this, the report will be available in the public domain.

Driving Standards

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what qualifications are required to be an examiner of those who are approved driving examiners; and what plans he has to review those requirements. [9829]

Angela E. Smith: Initial assessment of driving examiners is carried out by the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency's (DVTA) Supervising Examiners (SEs). This is followed by training and assessment by the Driving Standards Agency's (DSA) trainers at Cardington.

DVTA SEs are selected through internal promotion procedures. Candidates undergo initial screening, followed by a seven-week course in Cardington, which includes learning, coaching and assessment techniques.
6 Jul 2005 : Column 492W
The selection process for Cardington trainers includes assessment of presentation skills, in-car instruction and classroom sessions and is followed by a three-week training course.

The agency's process for assessing driving examiners and SEs is based on the DSA model. There are currently no plans to review these requirements.

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the driving test pass rate for each test centre in Northern Ireland was in each of the last five years. [9828]

Angela E. Smith: The driving test pass rate for tests carried out at each of the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency's centres is provided in the following table.

to date
Belfast Balmoral394134373236
Belfast Castlereagh354642413739
Overall Pass Rate534847474738

Housing Benefit

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the average time taken by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to process housing benefit applications in Northern Ireland was in 2004–05. [9522]

Mr. Hanson: The average time taken by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to process housing benefit applications in Northern Ireland at May 2005 is as follows:

Police Service

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many civilians are employed by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and in what categories of employment. [7827]

Mr. Woodward: In June the Police Service of Northern Ireland employed the equivalent of 3,475 civilians. These can be broken down as follows.
6 Jul 2005 : Column 493W

CategoryMain grantMain grant agencyPatten fundedPatten funded agencyOther fundedOther funded agency
Accident Investigator1
Accounting Technician5
Admin Assistant493.25125.521
Admin Officer464.2528.75131
Architectural Liaison Officer1
Armourer Technical Grade 24
Assistant Secretary Grade 51
Assistant Crime Controller1.75
Assistant Emergency Planner1
Ass. Investigating Officer53
Ass. Solicitor Grade 51
Ass. System Developer22
Business Liaison8
Business Manager23.75
Chief H&S Officer1
Chief Medical Officer1
Chief Nursing Adviser1
Chief Pilot1
Clinical Psychologist11
Crime Prevention Adviser1
Crime Scene Investigator47
Catering Manager1.75
Deputy Chief Medical Adviser1
Deputy Dir. Human Resources1
Deputy Head of Media1
Director of Finance and Support Services1
Director of Human Resources1
Director of Physical Education1
Diversity Manager1
Diversity Officer2
Deputy Principal (DP)181
DP of Accounts1
DP Force Supplies Officer1
DP Management Accounts1
DP Project Sponsor434
Driving Instructor21
Education Adviser1
Employee Support5
Executive Officer I54.58
Executive Officer II198.751011
Explosives Inspector3
First Aid Instructor3
Fingerprint Investigator44
Fingerprint Officer146
Fingerprint Assistant91
Fire Officer1
Fingerprint Technician2.75
Fingerprint Photographer1
Garment Technician1
Graph Officer3
Photographic Officer1
Higher Scientific Officer1
H&S Administration1
H&S Adviser4
HCS Grade 71
HCS Senior Principal1
Head Financial Accounting1
Head Management Accounting1
Head Info Comp Technology1
Head of Media1
Head of Simulated Learning1
Head of Transport1
HOLMES Index146
HR Project Analyst1
Instructional Officer1
Investigation Officer2.75
Jnr Occupational Psychologist3
Kennel Assistant23
Legal Adviser1
Mapping Officer10.75
Medical Adviser1
Management Accountant11.75
Nursing Adviser3
Occupational Health Nurse2.5
Occupational Health Adviser1
Personnel Manager5
Personnel Officer186
Personal Secretary23.75
Photographic Officer261
Physical Education Co-ordinator1
Physical Education Instructor8
Grade 761
Prin. Crime Scene Investigator8
Telecommunication Engineer1
Occupational Psychologist2
Principal Grade3
Practice Nurse2
Press Officer11.5
Programmer Assistant23.75
Project Manager6455
Principal Technical Officer5
Public Affairs1
Range Warden1
Research Assistant2
Risk Assessor3
Systems Analyst172
Support Management1
Scientific Officer2
Senior Armourer1
Senior Graphic Officer1
Senior Legal Assistant1
Senior Project Manager4
Senior Systems Analyst5
Senior Store Person1
Support Grade Band 11
SGB1 Comms Assistant118.513
SGB1 Messenger/Driver213
SGB1 Reprographics Officer6
SGB1 Security Guard326
SGB2 Armoury Officer3
SGB2 Day Cleaner198.2541.5
SGB2 Messenger6.75
SGB2 Paper Keeper2
SGB2 Range Warden1
SGB2 Reprographics Officer 21
SGB2 Section House Warden1
SGB2 Section House Store Person1
SGB2 Split Duty Cleaner13.252
SGB2 Station Staff15
Security Guards2
Building Administration1
Snr Crime Scene Officers1
Snr Fingerprint Officers11
Snr H&S Adviser1
Snr Imaging Officer4
Snr Personal Secretary1
Snr Press Officer5
Snr Scientific Officer1
Snr Traffic Warden23
Staff Officer26.52.752
SO Accountant2
SO Results Analyst1
Personal Assistant1
Quality of Services Officers2
Snr First Aid Instructor1
Engineer SPTO2
Station Receptionist74
Store Person2
Store Officer Grade C3
Store Officer Grade D1
Snr Telecommunications Man1
Support Grade 18.53
Support Grade 221
Support Manager 34.5
Systems Integration Architect1
Systems Support Officer2
Training Police Analyst114
Tailor Assistant1
Technical Grade 111
Technical Research Officer1
Telecommunication Engineer73
Telecoms Engineer 19
Telecoms Engineer 220
Telecoms Mechanic14
Ten Print Administrator5
Traffic Warden743
Trainee Accountant1
Transport Assistant4
Transport Co-ordinator594
Training Support Officer2
Typing Manager27.5

6 Jul 2005 : Column 497W

Next Section Index Home Page