Previous Section Index Home Page

2 Feb 2006 : Column 694W—continued

Legal Aid

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what estimates she has made of the savings that would have been made had means testing for legal aid in (a) magistrates courts and (b) Crown courts not been abolished in 2001; and if she will make a statement. [47334]

Bridget Prentice: The previous means testing system was abolished because it was inefficient and costly to administer. In 1997–98, criminal legal aid contributions totalled £6.2 million, but the direct cost of administering the system was £5 million.

The purpose of re-introducing means testing through the Criminal Defence Service Bill is to ensure that the significant number of defendants who can afford to pay for their defence costs are now made to do so. The new means testing model will avoid the bureaucracy and delay associated with the ineffective contributory system of the past. Its implementation in the magistrates courts alone will deliver estimated annual savings of at least £35 million.

National Mediation Helpline

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many people are employed at the National Mediation Helpline. [44690]

Bridget Prentice: The Department has funded one full-time operator to work on the National Mediation Helpline for a year. Up to three other trained operators are available, on a part-time basis, to handle calls at peak times.

Visitor Visas

Keith Vaz: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what proportion of (a) oral and (b) written appeals against refusals for visitor visas were successful in each year since 2000. [46875]

Bridget Prentice: The proportion of family visitor appeals found in favour of the appellant in each year since 2000 at the adjudicator or immigration judge stage, is as follows.
 
2 Feb 2006 : Column 695W
 

Percentage

1 April to 31 MarchPaper hearingOral hearing
2000–013264
2001–023971
2002–033966
2003–043858
2004–053757
2005 (April to September)3152

The information for the period 2000 to 2004 is taken from the database of the asylum and immigration tribunal's (AIT) predecessor, the immigration appellate authority (IAA). The provisional information for 2005 is taken from the database of the AIT.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Consultant Referrals

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether, under the new consultant referral arrangements, a general practitioner may refer a patient to the relevant consultants' waiting list before his existing referrals have been dealt with. [47641]

Mr. Woodward: Under the new arrangements which I announced in January, all primary care referrals will be handled by a new central referrals management system from where, if they are non-urgent, they will be forwarded to new Integrated Clinical Assessment and Treatment Services (ICATS) for assessment of the most appropriate next step.

Separate arrangements will be put in place to find an appropriate and equitable resolution for existing referrals. These are currently being developed in collaboration with general practitioners and consultants.

Departmental Staff

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people employed by the Northern Ireland Office are based in each of the parliamentary constituencies in Northern Ireland. [44516]

Mr. Woodward: The following table shows a breakdown of Northern Ireland Office staff across each of the 18 parliamentary constituencies.
Parliamentary constituencyNumber of staff
Belfast East690
Belfast North49
Belfast South672
Belfast West3
East Antrim172
East Londonderry66
Fermanagh and South Tyrone1
Foyle7
Lagan Valley107
Mid Ulster1
Newry and Armagh2
North Antrim1
North Down11
South Antrim1
South Down1
Strangford19
Upper Bann3
West Tyrone22
Total1,828







 
2 Feb 2006 : Column 696W
 

The above figures include Northern Ireland civil service and Home civil service staff, industrial and non-industrial, permanent and temporary staff but not staff currently on career break, uniform Prison Service staff or Youth Justice Agency social workers at 1 January 2005.

Departmental Targets

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what data source he will use for the purposes of measuring performance against 2004 public service agreement target number 3; [29863]

(2) what data source he will use for the purposes of measuring performance against 2004 public service agreement target number 2; [29864]

(3) which data source he will use for the purposes of measuring performance against 2004 public service agreement target 1. [30279]

Mr. Hain: In common with the other Whitehall departments, the Northern Ireland Office provides details of the data sources used to measure performance against its 2004 public service agreement (PSA) targets in the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) SR2004 PSA technical notes which is available on the NIO website at http://www.nio.gov.uk. The SR2004 technical notes will also appear in the NIO's 2005 autumn performance report, due to be published on 15 December 2005, which reports progress against the PSA targets during the period April to September 2005.

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the data required to measure 2004 public service agreement target number 1 are from consistent data sources. [29865]

Mr. Woodward: There are two elements to the Northern Ireland Office's public service agreement target number 1. The first relates to increasing confidence in the police and policing arrangements and the second to increasing Catholic representation in the police service.

The composite baseline measure for confidence in the police and policing arrangement element of PSA target number 1 was calculated using a weighted average of three indicators from the April 2004 Northern Ireland omnibus survey (NIOS) and four indicators from the 2003–04 Northern Ireland crime survey (NICS). The now continuous NICS will be used to measure progress towards achieving this part of the target.

Both surveys are conducted by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency in accordance with national statistics principles. Their samples are drawn from a common sampling frame and are representative of the adult population of Northern Ireland. The NIOS, used to monitor performance during SR 2002, is conducted several times a year and has a smaller sample size than the NICS. From 2005, the NICS has moved from a biennial to a continuous basis, facilitating the production of more robust and more frequent performance measurement data than that previously available.

Data in relation to Catholic representation in the police has consistently been provided by the PSNI. The source of this data is the notification by existing officers
 
2 Feb 2006 : Column 697W
 
of their primary school attendance. The religious affiliation of new recruits will be determined from their own declarations based on guidance issued by the Equality Commission.

Housing

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he will publish the Planning Policy Statement on housing in rural areas; and if he will make a statement. [47642]

Mr. Woodward: It is anticipated that draft Planning Policy Statement 14—"Sustainable Development in the Countryside", that will contain policies on housing in rural areas, will be published in the first quarter of 2006.

Martin Kelly

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions he has had with the Police Service of Northern Ireland in relation to the investigation into the disappearance of Martin Kelly from Holywood in County Down. [47827]

Mr. Woodward: I am being kept fully informed by the Police Service of Northern Ireland about any developments in this case. However, as this is part of a live police investigation, I am unable to comment further.


Next Section Index Home Page