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27 Feb 2006 : Column 93W—continued

National Offender Management Service

Mr. Anthony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the National Offender Management Service has prepared a business case on commissioning. [52030]

Fiona Mactaggart: The NOMS strategic business case was published in October last year. The case for introducing commissioning and contestability is demonstrated in the partial regulatory impact assessment, published in November last year.


Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment the Government have made of the safety of removing failed Nepali asylum seekers to Nepal; and if he will make a statement. [51617]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 14 February 2006]: We continue to monitor closely the political and human rights situation in Nepal through key governmental, non-governmental and other human rights organisations. The asylum determination process assesses the protection needs of individual claimants and where the situation in Nepal impacts on the circumstances of an individual claimant then it is duly considered as part of that individual's claim.

All Nepalese asylum and human rights applications are considered by the Home Office on their individual merits, in accordance with our obligations under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Refugee status or other forms of leave are granted in appropriate cases.

We enforce the return of an individual only where we are satisfied that the person concerned will not be at risk and has been unsuccessful in any appeals against the decision in their particular case. We do not regard it as unsafe to return failed asylum seekers to Nepal and by providing asylum or other appropriate forms of protection to those who need it we ensure that only those who are not at risk are returned.
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Oakington Immigration Reception Centre

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children have been detained at Oakington Immigration Reception Centre for longer than 10 days in each of the last six weeks. [13258]

Mr. McNulty: Since July 2005 the situation has changed regarding the detention of children at Oakington as the family block closed on 29 October 2005.

Information on the number of children, detained under Immigration Act powers for a period of greater than 10 days at Oakington was collated on a snapshot basis from management information and is not National Statistics. The table covers the six week period—6 June to 11 July 2005.

Information on the number of persons detained under Immigration Act powers as at 24 September 2005 was published in the Quarterly Asylum Statistics publication on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at:
Minors(31) recorded as being in detention for more than 10 days at Oakington Reception Centre in the United Kingdom solely under Immigration Act powers as at the weeks commencing, 6 June 2005 to 11 July 2005(32)(5508830033)
Number of individuals

Week commencing Monday:Minors(31)
6 June12
13 June25
20 June18
27 June4
4 July36
11 July17

(31) People recorded as being under 18.
(32) Relates to current period of detention only.
(33) These data are provisional.

Official Document Photographs (Religious Clothing)

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what departmental guidelines have been issued on the wearing of religious clothing in photographs for official documentation; and if he will make a statement. [45544]

Andy Burnham: The United Kingdom Passport Service will accept photographs showing headwear worn for religious purposes provided that it does not obscure or cast any shadow on the face.

Park Police (Newham)

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations his Department has received on the activities of Newham Council's Park Police. [33122]

Hazel Blears: The Home Secretary received a letter from the right hon. David Davis MP on 4 November suggesting that Newham Council Parks Constabulary officers had been acting outside their remit. A reply outlining the result of a thorough investigation, together with instructions on how to acquire the full text of the report of this investigation, was sent on 6 December.
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Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will answer question 31031 tabled by the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South on 17 November 2005. [43633]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I refer the hon. member to the answer I gave on 17 January 2006, Official Report, column 1270W.


Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 20 July 2005, Official Report, column 1784W, on passports, if he will list the other public sector databases to which he refers; and if he will make a statement on how the linkages referred to will be made. [20867]

Andy Burnham: Subject to legislation, as outlined in the UK Passport Service Corporate and Business Plans 2005–10, we plan to establish an electronic link to the Office for National Statistics its records of births, marriages and deaths. This does not provide for a direct link between the two databases but rather allows for a system that will provided a verification of specific identity information provided on applications against records held by the ONS. This will eliminate reliance on paper documentation, thereby enhancing customer service and eliminating some types of fraud.

A similar arrangement will be sought with the General Register Offices (GROs) in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, so information can be verified against their nationality databases. Furthermore, a similar arrangement is being considered with the Department of Work and Pensions and Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. It is important to note that, by law, these checks would only be permitted for the verification of identity information provided for the purpose of a passport application or for determining whether to withdraw a passport. It would not entail the provision of any other information from these sources.

In 2006–07 we will be developing the systems to deliver these plans, subject to the passage of legislation, as part of the UKPS Personal Identity Project.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many fake passports have been seized in the UK in each of the last seven years. [53778]

Andy Burnham: The number of forged passports detected by the Immigration Service at UK ports of entry in each of the last seven years is as follows:

The total for 2005 is not yet available.
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Pension Liabilities

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate the net present value of accrued pension liabilities in respect of (a) present and (b) former employees of his Department. [52122]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme is an unfunded multi-employer defined benefit scheme and individual departments' pension liabilities are not available. The Cabinet Office: Civil Superannuation Resource Accounts for 2004–05 showed that the total pension liability at 31 March 2005 was £84.1 billion. The value of pension liabilities was assessed as follows:

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