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Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of people have received
 
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100 per cent. of a compensation award pursuant to section 13 of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. [46415]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority advise that in 2004–05 there were 32,993 full awards and 2,418 reduced awards. All the reduced awards were reduced under paragraph 13E of the compensation scheme.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what effect a Criminal Injuries Compensation award has on the payment of benefits to a claimant. [46418]

Mr. Plaskitt: I have been asked to reply.

Current income-support and jobseeker's allowance rules offer generous treatment to awards of compensation made to victims of violent crime. Our general policy is to allow injured people to safeguard their long-term financial position without losing benefit entitlement.

The normal and most beneficial way for an injured person to handle a large payment of compensation is to place it in trust. The capital value of a trust is entirely disregarded, as are any payments from it, provided they are intended and used for items other than everyday living expenses, for example, the injured person's special needs. Even when used for everyday living expenses, payments are disregarded if they are no more than £20 per week.

Following a recent review of the rules, a full disregard will apply to income derived from monies held in trust, as a consequence of a personal injury, from October 2006. This will align the income support and jobseeker's allowance rules with those in state pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit.

In addition, a new grace period of 52 weeks will be introduced, during which any lump sum personal injury payment, can be automatically disregarded without needing to be placed in a trust fund at the outset.

Criminal Records Bureau

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications to the Criminal Records Bureau are outstanding; and how many applications were outstanding in (a) September 2005, (b) June 2005 and (c) January 2005. [45504]

Andy Burnham: Information is not available to provide an answer in the specific format requested. However, during the 12 month period up to 31 December 2005, the average time for completion of all Enhanced Disclosures is 31.5 days, excluding any time an application has to be returned to a customer.

On this basis, the average for the periods specified in the hon. Member's question are:

These calculations include any time an application has to be returned to a customer and is not an accurate indication of the Bureau's performance, because
 
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Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) has no means of controlling when such information may be provided by the customer.

Departmental Savings

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what administrative savings have been made by his Department in each of the last eight years. [34945]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Value for money (VFM) improvements in administration contributes to the delivery of the Department's wider VFM targets. The 2004 Spending Review reclassified frontline operational costs for areas such as prison establishments and immigration case-working to Programme expenditure. This will enable a more effective focus in bearing down on headquarters and back-office overheads without damaging front-line delivery.

As set out in the Home Office Targets Autumn Performance Report 2005 (Cm 6707), during 2004–05 the Home Office and the Police Service achieved overall VFM gains worth £845 million per annum of which £554 million was cashable. Of these, Headquarters reform contributed £32 million, all of which was cashable, an important contributor being the a reduction in Home Office headquarters headcount.

DNA Profiles

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his answer of 16 January 2006, Official Report, columns 1111–2W, on DNA profiles, how many of the 24,000 DNA samples taken from children under 18 years who were never cautioned or charged were subsequently used successfully to prosecute a crime. [46987]

Andy Burnham: Information on the number of DNA profiles used successfully to prosecute a crime is not collected by the Home Office, but information is available on the number of such profiles which have been used to assist crime investigations. It has been established that to date 541 DNA profiles of the 24,168 DNA profiles taken from persons under 18 years who had not been charged or cautioned for an offence have subsequently been 'matched' to DNA recovered from unsolved crime scenes stored on the National DNA Database, providing the police with key intelligence leads on the possible identity of the offender and assisting crime investigation and detection.

Harmondsworth Detention Centre

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the procedures are for the delivery of private mail to detainees in Harmondsworth detention centre; and whether mail is read by centre staff. [47073]

Fiona Mactaggart: Post for detainees at Harmondsworth is received at the centre and the detainee's room number is noted on the top. It is then sorted into the relevant accommodation unit and distributed to the unit officer. Mail is opened by the detainees in front of the officer who ensures it contains nothing prohibited. Parcels are opened
 
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in the presence of the detainee in reception and any banned items are removed and placed in to sealed storage with the detainee present. A receipt is issued if items are retained.

The following applies to all removal centres, not only at Harmondsworth.

In accordance with Detention Centre Rule 27 (4), outgoing or incoming mail must not be opened, read or stopped unless there is reasonable cause to believe that its contents may endanger the security of the removal centre or the safety of others or are otherwise of a criminal nature or where it is not possible to determine the addressee or sender.

Where the centre considers it necessary to open outgoing or incoming mail (for the reasons referred to above) they must advise the relevant detainee of the reason for doing so and give the opportunity for him/her to be present when it is being opened.

The centre must keep a central record (i.e. not in individual case files) of every occasion where mail is opened, the reasons for doing so and whether the detainee was present.

Where parcels are received for detainees, these must be opened by the detainee in the presence of centre staff. Where the items therein are not ones which the detainee can keep in his/her personal possession, he/she should be advised of the reason for this and informed that they will be held with his/her property held by the centre. The detainee must be given a receipt for the property and a record must be kept.

Identity Cards

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent estimate he has made of the cost to (a) each Department and (b) each citizen of the introduction of the national identity card scheme. [43587]

Andy Burnham: The Home Office has developed its current best estimate of the cost of using the ID cards scheme to support the services which it oversees and these costs have been incorporated into the business case.

In deriving these estimates account has to be taken of current and planned levels of investment in similar or related technologies and the types of use required to support the particular services which the Home Office oversees. Not all services will require a high degree of integration between the ID cards scheme and other IT systems. For many, integration costs will be absorbed in the usual cycle of system upgrades and technology refresh. Therefore, these costs are not in our estimates and would be a matter for each department to consider based on their business case for using the scheme.

We cannot release the detailed estimated costs for integrating IT systems within the Home Office and other Government Departments at this stage as these elements may be acquired from the market. The estimates are therefore commercially sensitive and to release them may prejudice the procurement process and the Department's ability to obtain value for money from potential suppliers.
 
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The current best estimates for the cost to the citizen were outlined in the regulatory impact assessment published on 25 May 2005. The current best estimate for the cost of a passport and ID card package is £93. In October 2005, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced that a stand alone ID card for British citizens would cost £30.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations his Department has received from (a) Christian, (b) Hindu, (c) Muslim and (d) Sikh communities in the West Midlands region on the proposed identity cards scheme. [46878]

Andy Burnham: The identity cards programme team has received no representations from individuals or communities identifying themselves as either Christian, Hindu, Muslim or Sikh and living in the West Midlands region.

However, the special issues research conducted in October and November 2004, comprised a number of focus groups which included a group of Hindu females and a group of Sikh males from Birmingham. This issues raised from these particular groups was the concern that Sikh men would not have to remove their turbans in order to be enrolled on the ID card scheme. The group of Sikh men were also concerned that they might have to carry their ID card with them at all times. Both the Hindu female and Sikh male groups expressed views that the ID card was a positive idea as it would allow people to prove their identity and would assist if someone had a car accident for example. The Sikh male group also expressed a preference that staff working in the enrolment centres in areas of high ethnic minorities should be bi-lingual. The Hindu female group also expressed concerns that information on the Register might be 'sold' to private companies. The Identity Cards Bill which is currently before Parliament includes no such provision.


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