Previous Section Index Home Page

1 Mar 2006 : Column 803W—continued

Charity Collection Fraud

Angela Watkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to tackle bogus charity door-to-door collectors. [53237]

Paul Goggins: The Charities Bill, which is currently before Parliament, will establish a new licensing scheme for public charitable collections. As now, local authorities and the police will be responsible for enforcement of the scheme. Unlike now, local authorities will have full details of all the legitimate collection activity that is taking place in their area, making it easier for them to identify and deal with bogus collections. The new scheme builds on existing sanctions, with the addition of two new offences. When these new measures are implemented we will explore with relevant authorities how we can raise awareness and encourage best practice in tackling bogus collections and enforcing the new scheme.

Charity Commission

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much is expected to be saved as a result of meeting civil service workforce reductions targets in the Charity Commission. [52808]

1 Mar 2006 : Column 804W

Paul Goggins: The total cumulative savings expected to be made as a result of meeting civil service workforce reductions targets by the Charity Commission are at least £2.25 million by March 2008 arising from a reduction of 50 in its full time equivalent posts.

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the target level of employment expressed as full time equivalents is in the Charity Commission for April 2008. [52815]

Paul Goggins: The current target level of employment for the Charity Commission for April 2008 is 525 full time equivalents.

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what total efficiency savings were achieved by the Charity Commission in 2004–05; and whether these count towards current efficiency savings targets. [52818]

Paul Goggins: The total efficiency savings achieved by the Charity Commission in 2004–05 amounted to £0.2 million and contribute to the Commission's target for the 2004 Spending Review period.

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much of efficiency savings targets for the Charity Commission are to be cashable; and under what budget headings these cashable efficiency savings will be re-spent. [52832]

Paul Goggins: The Charity Commission's efficiency savings target includes £2.2 million that is cashable. This is generated from back office savings and will be offset against continuing operational activities, and new front line priorities emerging from the forthcoming Charities Bill.

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what targets he has set for the Charity Commission to achieve (a) efficiency savings and (b) Civil Service workforce reductions. [52946]

Paul Goggins: The Charity Commission, as a non-Ministerial Government Department, agrees its efficiency savings and workforce reduction targets directly with HM Treasury.

The Commission's targets are:

Child Protection

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of (a) the time taken to (i) investigate and (ii) charge individuals under child protection legislation and (b) the safeguards during investigations for the communities in which individuals under investigation (A) live and (B) work; and if he will make a statement. [49572]

Paul Goggins: I refer the hon. Gentleman to my answer of 14 February 2006, Official Report, column 1963W for part (a).

On part (b) there are a number of safeguards for communities during these investigations. The Government guidance for local agencies dealing with
1 Mar 2006 : Column 805W
child protection, 'Working Together to Safeguard Children' (1999), makes clear that they should consider the needs of other children who may be affected, (e.g. siblings and other children in contact with alleged abusers), when planning how inquiries should be handled and deciding what action is needed.

More recently, The Sexual Offences Act 2003 provided for risk of sexual harm orders (RoSHOs) which are civil, preventative orders that the police can apply to a magistrates court for in respect of a person over the age of 18 who, on at least two occasions, has engaged in sexually explicit conduct or communication with a child or children under the age of 16. The defendant may or may not have a conviction for a sexual or any other offence. The order may contain any prohibitions that the court considers appropriate but typically would include prohibitions on unsupervised contact with children.

In November 2005 the Department for Education and Skills published guidance on dealing with allegations of abuse against teachers and other staff, which was developed in co-operation with the Home Office and Crown Prosecution Service. The guidance is intended to provide effective protection for children, but at the same time to support school staff by ensuring that cases are dealt with as fairly and quickly as possible. It includes indicative target time scales for different parts of the process.

The Government plans to extend this approach to cover people who work with children in other settings. Implementation will be overseen by the Local Safeguarding Children Boards, to be set up in all local authority areas by April 2006. The guidance can be found at:

Closing the Gap

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the evidential basis was for the statement in Closing the Gap that police restructuring will assist the delivery of policing in rural areas. [47497]

Hazel Blears: Closing the Gap was informed by a confidential national assessment of police forces carried out by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary. The assessment was conducted against standards for the delivery of protective services which were agreed with ACPO and piloted in a number of forces. The forces included both metropolitan and rural forces to give a representative sample and to ensure that standards were applicable to both.

The national assessment was that no force achieved the highest standard overall, and only the two largest forces (in terms of officers) were rated as demonstrating significant proactive capability overall. On the basis of their analysis, which addressed the delivery of policing in all existing forces, HMIC recommended a reconfiguration to strategic forces of 4,000 or more officers as the best business solution".

The primary focus of restructuring is to improve the delivery of policing in all areas and to effectively protect the public. The creation of strategic forces with improved capacity and resilience will help to safeguard local policing by reducing the need to abstract officers from neighbourhood policing teams, and by allowing
1 Mar 2006 : Column 806W
for greater investment to pro-actively address some of the level 2 criminality which in turn can impact on local neighbourhoods. This will improve the policing service to all communities, both rural and non-rural.

Common Land

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on possible measures to prevent the nuisance use of by-ways and common land. [52345]

Hazel Blears: Home Office Ministers and officials regularly discuss environment-related crime and antisocial behaviour. These discussions have led to a number of legislative changes to tackle the dumping of waste and the gating of highways and by-ways affected by crime and antisocial behaviour.

Community Engagement (Policing)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the effectiveness of the use of (a) community beat officers and (b) community support officers in the Chorley constituency. [52622]

Hazel Blears: Deployment of officers to each basic command unit (BCU) in lancashire is an operational matter for the chief constable. A report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary on the southern BCU in Lancashire, which includes Chorley, was published in May 2005 and is on the HMIC website at: http//

The report acknowledges this BCU's strong commitment to community beat policing and confirms that the community support officers working within the BCU are appropriately deployed, working alongside community beat managers and relevant partner agency staff on high visibility patrol and quality of life and public reassurance initiatives.

Next Section Index Home Page