Jon Trickett: To ask the Solicitor-General what guidance has been provided to (a) the Crown Prosecution Service and (b) police in relation to statutory charging arrangements and pre-charge bail from a police station to obtain a charging decision from a Crown Prosecutor. 
The Solicitor-General: On 21 May 2004, the Director of Public Prosecutions issued guidance to police officers and Crown prosecutors under section 37A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. The guidance sets out the cases that must be referred to prosecutors for charging decisions and the circumstances in which a release on bail before charge may be appropriate in accordance with the amendments to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, introduced by the Criminal Justice Act 2003.
In April 2005, further guidance was issued to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the police on the subject of granting pre-charge bail to obtain a charging decision from a Crown prosecutor. The guidance was formulated as a result of issues raised during the implementation of the statutory charging arrangements, and establishes a standardised approach to the operation of pre-charge bail.
The decision to detain or grant pre-charge bail to obtain a charging decision from a Crown prosecutor is solely for the custody officer. There is no need to consult a Crown prosecutor to authorise the granting of bail or to confirm the conditions
The Solicitor-General: Following an article published in The Guardian newspaper on 13 October 2005, the SFO can confirm that information has been passed to it, in connection with alleged corruption of a DTI employee. The information provided is being considered to determine whether there is sufficient evidence, or realistic prospect of obtaining sufficient evidence, to justify commencing an investigation.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Solicitor-General what progress has been made, in terms of (a) headcount reductions and (b) cost savings, in achieving the efficiency objectives set for the Law Officers' Departments by the Gershon review. 
The Solicitor-General: Progress was reported in Budget 2005 and in the Annual Report for the Law Officers' Departments 1 . Further progress will be reported in the individual Law Officers' Departments Autumn Performance Reports and, at aggregate level, in the pre-Budget report.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Solicitor-General who in the Law Officer's Departments has been made responsible for achieving the efficiency objectives set for the Departments by the Gershon review. 
Mr. Cash: To ask the Solicitor-General if the Attorney-General will place his advice to the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the compatibility of the Terrorism Bill with the Human Rights Act 1998 in the Library. 
The Solicitor-General: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has made a statement under section 19(l)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998 giving his view that the Terrorism Bill is compatible with the Convention rights. Given the long-standing convention on not disclosing the content of Law Officer advice nor whether or not such advice exists, it would be wrong to comment further on this issue.
David Mundell: To ask the Leader of the House further to the answer of 24 October 2005, Official Report, column 83W, on Scottish legislation (scrutiny), how much time was spent on scrutinising Scottish legislation between (a) 199293 and (b) 19992000, broken down by bill. 
Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how his Department plans (a) to monitor and (b) to disaggregate information on how direct budget support provided as bilateral aid is spent. 
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with the European Commissioner for External Trade on (a) the Economic Partnership Agreements and (b) the World Trade Organisation meeting in December. 
Hilary Benn: I have had several discussions on both these issues with Commissioner Mandelson since he took up office. Most recently, the commissioner joined the informal meeting of EU Development Ministers which I hosted on 23 and 24 October in Leeds, by video-conference. There we discussed in particular the importance of a credible package of Aid for Trade" measures to be in place before the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in December, so that developing countries can see that we are serious in addressing their concerns over trade reforms, and also so that they will be able to adjust to new trading circumstances as well as benefit from the opportunities that trade liberalisation can bring.
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when his Department first received warning of a food crisis in Niger from (a) the Early Warning System of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, (b) the Famine Early Warning System Network of the US Agency for International
7 Nov 2005 : Column 4W
Development, (c) the FAO-WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission and (d) his Department's officials based in that country. 
Hilary Benn: The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)'s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) produces two sets of reports that warn of imminent food crises in Africa. The Foodcrops and Shortages Report" from February 2005 stated that the harvest in Niger was normal against the five year average, and did not require exceptional and/or emergency assistance. The Food Supply Situation and Crop Prospects" Report in April 2005 similarly omitted Niger from its list of countries facing food emergencies. Only in its June 2005 edition did the Foodcrops and Shortages Report" recommend emergency assistance for Niger, and only in September 2005 did Niger feature on FAO/GIEWS' list of countries facing food crises.
The FEWSNET bulletin first flagged Niger as a country under Warning Status" in December 2004, but it was not until June 2005 that this was upgraded to Emergency Status" demanding highest priority urgent action".
DFID attended the presentation of the World Food Programme (WFP)/FAO's initial Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) findings from the Sahel region in December 2004, where cereal production for the entire region was reported as average, in spite of drought and locusts, but where pockets of need were identified within all the Sahel countries. Based on the evidence, DFID judged that large scale food aid would not be required at that time.
DFID does not have any officials based in Niger. The London based humanitarian unit responsible for monitoring emerging crises in Africa had been monitoring the situation in the Sahel since the locust invasions of August 2004. In April 2005, the first incontrovertible evidence of a deteriorating situation was provided by Medecins Sans Frontieres. A full account of DFID's subsequent response is set out in my parliamentary written statement on the Niger food crisis made on 11 October 2005, Official Report, columns 2627WS.
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