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Mike Penning: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many defendants to allegations of domestic violence in the criminal courts were allowed personally to cross-examine the complainant in (a) England and Wales, (b) Hemel Hempstead magistrates court, (c) Watford magistrates court and (d) St. Albans Crown court in 2005. 
Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether the right hon. Member for Makerfield made comments on pre-publication drafts of the Electoral Administration Bill; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Harman: I can confirm that the right hon. Member for Makerfield was not shown pre-publication drafts of the Electoral Administration Bill. I refer the hon. Gentleman to my answer to his previous question on this issue for further detail.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will make a statement on the potential role on the internet and email in the process of (a) registering to vote and (b) voting in general elections. 
The electoral process needs to fit with modern lifestyles and allow better access for those who find the voting process difficult. To this end, the Government are exploring options to improve the process of electoral registration and voting process. Any improvements to the system would however need to take
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into account security considerations; being at least as secure, if not more secure, than arrangements currently in place.
When the Co-ordinated Online Record of Electors (CORE) project is fully implemented we are proposing that electors may be able to access their information securely online and notify an ERO of any changes via the CORE system. Some EROs already use email and the internet to improve efficiency in parts of the registration process. However the law does not permit the use of email or internet for all electoral registration functions. In additional to this, we will also look at how email and the internet might play a role in increasing access to and participation in voting.
Ms Harman: The Electoral Administration Bill, introduced on 11 October, includes a new duty on electoral registration officers to take all necessary steps to ensure comprehensive registers including sending the canvass form more than once to any address and making house to house inquires on more than one occasion. The Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA), as part of its ongoing programme of democratic engagement, is actively working with committed organisations to promote awareness of voter registration at the national and local levels and in particular to deliver a pan-London campaign ("Get London Registered") directed at London's 'urban youth'. DCA is also working with the Department for Education and Skills, student unions, universities and colleges and local authorities to encourage London's eligible student population to register to vote.
Ms Harman: The Electoral Administration Bill, currently before Parliament, includes a number of provisions that make changes to the electoral registration system. These include provisions to allow people to register to vote nearer the date of election; a new system of anonymous registration for vulnerable people; provisions allowing the piloting of the use of personal identifiers; the creation of a new duty on electoral registration officers to take certain steps in maintaining their registers; and the creation of a framework for the development of a consolidated central record of electors.
Separate to the Bill, draft Representation of the People (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2006 were laid in Parliament on 19 December 2005. This set of regulations includes changes to the rules governing access to, and the supply and sale of, electoral registers.
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Ms Harman: Operation Payback Two, the second in a series of nationally co-ordinated fine enforcement exercises, was undertaken by Magistrates' courts across England and Wales in November 2004. The initiative resulted in an increase in the payment of over £1.7 million.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many freedom of information applications her Department has received; how many have taken more than 20 days to process; and how many of these gave rise to complaints about the time taken. 
Ms Harman: My Department has received 394 freedom of information requests in the period 1 January 2005 to 30 June 2005. Of these, 99 took longer than 20 days to process. In the same period the Department received eight requests for internal review which included complaints about the time taken.
My Department is committed to publishing quarterly updates in relation to departmental performance under FOI, including information on both the volume and outcomes of requests. The bulletin for the second quarter was published on 30 September 2005 and can be found on the DCA website at http:/www.foi.gov.uk/statsapr-jun05.htm and in the Libraries of the both Houses. The next bulletin will be published before Christmas, whilst an annual report will be published in early 2006.
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs on what occasions the Government have (a) sought and (b) obtained an alteration in the composition of an Appellate Committee of the House of Lords; and what the reason for each was. 
On 4 March 2004 the Treasury Solicitor, acting for the Secretary of State for the Home Department in an appeal to the House of Lords in A and others v. Secretary of State for the Home Department, wrote to the Senior Law Lord drawing attention to a view expressed by a Law Lord in a published lecture in November 2001. She suggested that this view related to a central issue in the appeal and that it would not in the circumstances be appropriate for that Law Lord to sit on the enlarged Committee which would hear the appeal. The Senior Law Lord replied on 25 March 2004 stating that he had been informed by the Law Lord
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concerned (to whom the Treasury Solicitor had copied her letter) that in view of the position taken by the Secretary of State he would not wish to take part in the hearing of the appeal. He did not do so.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) when she expects to produce a revised edition of the code of practice issued under section 42 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005; and if she will make a statement; 
Sections 57 and 58 create the office of Public Guardian. Richard Brook was appointed as the Public Guardian designate and CEO of the Public Guardianship Office. He will take up his post from early February 2006. Work is underway on the design of the structure and detailed processes of the Office of the Public Guardian. This is the office that will support the Public Guardian in the discharge of his functions.
Part 1 of the Mental Capacity Act covers 44 sections (including sections 15 to 21) and two schedules and deals with, amongst other things, Lasting Powers of Attorney, the Court of Protection and the Independent Mental Capacity Advocate Service.
The Lord Chancellor appointed Sir Mark Potter as president designate and Sir Andrew Morritt as vice-president designate of the Court of Protection, with effect from 1 October 2005. A public consultation on the Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy Service was held by the Department of Health. This closed on 30 September 2005 and responses are currently being analysed. There will be further consultations on Lasting Powers of Attorney this month and Court of Protection rules and fees in the summer.
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