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Mr. Amess: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what recent discussions her Department has had with Archbishop Peter Smith about the operation of the Mental Capacity Act 2005; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Harman: The Mental Capacity Act is about helping vulnerable people, and those who care for them, to make decisions. It provides a clear legal framework and safeguards to ensure that decisions will always be taken in the individual's best interests.
Throughout the development of this legislation the Government have listened to those with an interest in it. This includes Parliament, people who may lack capacity and their carers and families, many voluntary organisations and the Catholic Church. There have been no recent discussions with the Catholic Church on the operation of the Mental Capacity Act.
The Act is due to be fully implemented by April 2007. The Government will continue to work closely with all stakeholders who have an interest up to that date and beyond to ensure that we deliver the real benefits that the legislation sets out.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will place in the Library a list of the cases tried by each of the Crown court judges sitting at Chelmsford Crown Court in each of the last five years for which information is available. 
Peter Law: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment she has made of the adequacy of resources made available to the Information Commissioner to carry out his responsibilities; and what discussions she has had with the Information Commissioner on ways to speed up the processing of Freedom of Information Act appeals made to his office. 
Ms Harman: The Secretary of State is in regular dialogue with the Information Commissioner about his responsibilities under the Freedom of Information Act. The Information Commissioner has analysed his current workload and concluded that the high volume of appeals that he is processing at present are a result of the initial influx of requests that public authorities experienced in the first few months of FOI implementation.
Certain limits apply to the costs recoverable in cases under the small claims track and in relation to trials in fast track cases. In addition, Part 45 of the Civil Procedure Rules also provides for other fixed costs and fixed success fees in certain circumstances. The Government have no current plans to raise these limits.
12 Dec 2005 : Column 1755W
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether the judgments have been published in each case decided by the National Security Appeals Panel under (a) section 28 of the Data Protection Act 1998 and (b) section 60 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in each calendar year since its inception; and if she will make a statement. 
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to the answer of 5 December 2005, Official Report, column1058W, on state prayers, what constitutes the Royal Household for the purposes of her reply; to which (a) members of HM the Queen's family and (b) officials it extends; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Harman: For the purposes of the reply quoted, The Royal Household is taken to include those employed by members of the Royal Family who are authorised to act on behalf of the member of the Royal Family in fulfilling his or her public and official roles. When the term Royal Family is used in an official context it refers to The Queen and those members of Her Majesty's family who regularly undertake official duties and functions on Her Majesty's behalf.
Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the average payment was from the Adviser Discretionary Fund in each year since July 2001; and how many people received payments from the fund in each year; 
(3) how much his Department spent on the Adviser Discretionary Fund in each year since July 2001; and how much his Department has budgeted to spend on it in (a) 200506, (b) 200607 and (c) 200708. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions asking what the average payment was from the Adviser Discretion Fund (ADF) in each year since July 2001, how many people received payments from the fund, what maximum amount can be claimed from the fund in any 12 month period, when this was last reviewed, how the House is notified of such changes, how much the Department spent on ADF in each year since July 2001, and how much the Department has budgeted to spend on it in the
Information relating to the total spend, the average value of a payment and the number of awards made for each year since ADF was introduced in July 2001 is contained in the table below. The number of individuals that have received an award of ADF is not available because a customer may access the ADF more than once if necessary.
|Total spend||Average payment||Number|
On 9 May 2005 the procedures governing the administration of the ADF changed. The maximum amount that can be paid to a customer through ADF in any 12 month period without a business case to support the payment was reduced from £300 to £100. As this relates to a change of operational procedures and not a change in the nature of the ADF, it was not considered necessary to notify the House.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many full-time equivalent staff were employed by (a) the Employment Service, (b) the Benefits Agency and (c) Jobcentre Plus in each of the last five years; and what the projected staff levels are in each organisation for the next three years. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions concerning how many full time equivalent staff were employed by a) the Employment Service b) the Benefits Agency and c)Jobcentre plus in each of the last five years, and the projected staff levels in Jobcentre Plus for the next three years. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
|Year ending 31 March||Employment Service||Benefits Agency|
In 2002, following the formation of the Department for Work and Pensions, the Benefits Agency and Employment Service ceased to exist. As work from the Benefits Agency was divided between the Pensions Service and Jobcentre Plus, a direct comparison of total staffing before and after this change cannot be made.
|Year ending 31 March||Jobcentre Plus|
|Projected staffing levels|
|31 March 2006||71,008|
|31 March 2007||68,350|
|31 March 2008||66,461|
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