|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what each of the phases is of the Strategy Unit's Health Strategy, Analytical Report; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy:
The Analytical Report was phase one. It assessed health outcomes in the United Kingdom, trends and drivers of future demand and issues relating to health care capacity. The report was
3 Nov 2005 : Column 1352W
submitted as a contribution to debate across Government and are available on the Strategy Unit website (www.strategy.gov.uk).
Dr. Cable: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many charging orders relating to unsecured debt were made in each month since 1990, broken down by region; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Harman: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will place in the Library a copy of her Department's Skills Development Plan. 
Bridget Prentice: Copies of the Departmental Skills Development Plan 200409 and the 2005 update to the plan have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what proportion of new recruits to her Department do not have a level 2 qualification in English and mathematics. 
Bridget Prentice: My Department does not collect statistical data on the number of new recruits with level 2 qualifications.
General recruitment asks for administration experience or the relevant qualifications (ie five GCSE's or equivalent at grade C or above including English language) for administrative grades or two A-levels (and English language for executive grades.
Recruits can therefore be appointed on the basis of their experience or qualifications and no distinction is made between the two.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what methods of assessment of (a) literacy and (b) numeracy skills are used as part of the recruitment process by employees of her Department. 
Bridget Prentice: My Department carries out no formal assessment of literacy and numerical skills for new recruits below senior civil service level.
General recruitment asks for administration experience or the relevant qualifications (ie five GCSE's or equivalent at grade C or above including English language) for administration grades or two A-levels (and English language) for executive grades. Certain posts at executive grade and above involve written or IT tests for posts in a policy area, communications or IT.
All appointees to senior civil service posts in the Department will have attended a full-day assessment centre prior to their panel interview. The assessment
3 Nov 2005 : Column 1353W
centre includes a written exercise in which candidates are given a mixture of word-based evidence and numerical data to analyse and evaluate. This exercise is assessed in relation to a candidate's ability to build a constructive argument from the data provided.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what plans she has to review the legal aid process; and if she will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: Legal aid in Northern Ireland is currently the subject of a significant reform programme following the enactment of the Access to Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2003. The Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission has succeeded the Law Society of Northern Ireland as the body responsible for operating the Legal Aid Scheme. The Commission is responsible for providing publicly funded legal services on a basis which will ensure that limited public funds are targeted at meeting the needs of the most vulnerable in society.
Mike Penning: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many solicitors carry out legal aid work in the constituency of Hemel Hempstead; and if she will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: There are currently seven solicitor firms with offices located in Hemel Hempstead that presently hold a legal aid contract with the Legal Services Commission to carry out a variety of publicly funded work. The Commission does not hold information about the number of solicitors employed in each office. Solicitors located in other areas may regularly undertake legal aid work in Hemel Hempstead, for example providing advice at police stations.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if the Government will allocate funds separately for civil legal aid and criminal legal aid. 
Bridget Prentice: My Department allocates a single budget to the Legal Services Commission. However, Section 5(2) of the Access to Justice Act 1999 places a duty on the Lord Chancellor to notify Parliament of the sums he determines are appropriate for the funding of services provided by the Community Legal Service (CLS). No such provisions apply for funding the Criminal Defence Service (CDS).
Sammy Wilson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the total cost of legal aid has been in each year since 200304. 
Bridget Prentice: Expenditure on legal aid in England and Wales during 200304 and 200405 was £2,077 million and £2,037 million respectively.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much the Department has spent on external media relations in each month of the last year. 
Bridget Prentice: The Department spent £5,670 on external media relations in each month of the last year.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment the Government have made of the effect of its proposals to lower the threshold for losing deposits in parliamentary elections on the ability of extremist political parties to nominate candidates. 
Ms Harman: The Government's assessment of the Electoral Commission's recommendation to lower the threshold for losing deposits in parliamentary elections is that it would be expected to result in encouraging more independent candidates and smaller parties to engage in the political process. Maintaining the current subscriber system, coupled with the £500 deposit, will ensure that those who seek to bring the democratic system into disrepute by standing as frivolous candidates or for commercial gain will be deterred.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 October 2005, Official Report, column 165W, on the Royal Prerogative, whether the Prime Minister is made aware that he is exercising a power under the Royal Prerogative at the time he exercises it. 
Ms Harman: Ministers take decisions under the authority of the powers available to them and under the rule of law.
Robert Key: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the in-service date is for the new courts centre in Salisbury. 
Ms Harman: The current programme under the new court in Salisbury will be ready for use in spring 2008.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many (a) outstanding asylum appeals, (b) outstanding immigration appeals and (c) outstanding entry clearance appeals were transferred from the Immigration Appellate Authority to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal in April; and how many appeals in each category are awaiting determination by the tribunal. 
Bridget Prentice: Information available from the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) indicates that, at the end of March 2005, (a) 16,300 asylum cases, (b) 10,500 immigration cases (comprising in-country and entry clearance appeals) and (c) 8,600 family visitor cases were outstanding with the Immigration Appellate Authority (IAA).
Under transitional legislation, all outstanding work with the IAA was transferred to an appropriate stage of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) following its commencement on 4 April 2005.
3 Nov 2005 : Column 1355W
As at the end of June 2005, the latest provisional figures from the AIT indicate that there were 12,650 asylum appeals, 17,550 immigration appeals (comprising in-country and entry clearance appeals) and 17,800 family visitor appeals considered to be outstanding before the AIT.
It is not possible to provide the proportion of those appeals transferred from the IAA to the AIT, which are still considered to be outstanding, without incurring disproportionate costs.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|