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Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of reports that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have used intimidation, extortion and violence against Sri Lankan Tamils living in the UK. [65749]

Hazel Blears: The LTTE has been a proscribed organisation in the UK since March 2001. As a consequence of being proscribed, fundraising, recruitment and a number of other activities by or on behalf of the LTTE are all offences under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Prosecution for those offences is a matter for the police and the prosecution authorities.

National Criminal Justice Board

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how frequently the National Criminal Justice Board meets; who sets the agenda; if he will place in the Library copies of the minutes of its meetings; and if he will make a statement. [32807]

Fiona Mactaggart: The National Criminal Justice Board (NCJB) meets monthly and its agenda is set by the Minister who chairs the meeting. I will place copies of the board's minutes in the Library.

The National Criminal Justice Board is the key high-level forum in which the services and departments reporting to the Home Secretary, the Lord Chancellor, and the Attorney-General, come together with the judiciary and others to exercise joint leadership over the Criminal Justice System.

The role of the NCJB is to develop the vision for Criminal Justice Reform and oversee its delivery, primarily by the 42 local criminal justice boards. The board's tasks include:
 
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A full membership list and a full description of the board's responsibilities contained in the Terms of Reference follow.
Membership list

NameTitle/Department
The right hon. Charles Clarke (chair for every third meeting)Home Secretary
Lord Falconer QC (chair)Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs
Lord Goldsmith QC (deputy chair)Attorney-General
Baroness Scotland QC (deputy chair)Minister of State, HO
Des Browne MPChief Secretary, HM Treasury
Mike O'Brien MP QCSolicitor-General
Paul Goggins MPParliamentary Under-Secretary of State, HO
Fiona Mctaggart MPParliamentary Under-Secretary, HO
The right hon. Harriet Harman QC MPMinister of State, DCA
Alex AllanPermanent Secretary, DCA
Jonathan Nancekivell-SmithCabinet Office
Sir Ronald De WittChief Executive, HM Courts Service
Clare DodgsonChief Executive, Legal Services Commission
Richard FosterChief Executive, CPS
Chris Fox QPM BSc DIS (representative Maria Wallis)President, ACPO (Chief Constable, Devon and Cornwall)
Sir John GievePermanent Secretary, HO
Tim GodwinAssistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police
Bob JonesAssociation of Police Authorities
Sir Igor JudgePresident of Queen's Bench Division, Chair of the Criminal Justice Council
Moira WallaceDirector General, CPCT, HO
Ken Macdonald QCDirector of Public Prosecutions, CPS
Professor Rod MorganChair, Youth Justice Board
Vacant (Helen Edwards—Acting)Chief Executive, NOMS
Kieran BrettNo. 10 Policy Unit
John SuffolkDirector General, CJ IT
Jane FurnissActing Chief Executive, OCJR
Neil WardService Director, Crime, HMCS

National Criminal Justice Board: Terms of Reference

The National Criminal Justice Board is responsible for supporting local boards to deliver the CJS's Public Service Agreement on the justice gap and confidence.

It will do this by:

The National Criminal Justice Board also has specific responsibility for:

National Offender Management Service

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements there are under the National Offender Management Service to ensure joint working for (a) planning, (b) resourcing and (c) implementing the Wales Reducing Reoffending Action Plan; and if he will make a statement. [49055]

Fiona Mactaggart: A Wales Pathfinder Project was commissioned by the Home Office with the agreement of the Welsh Assembly Government to examine ways of delivering a reducing re-offending strategy within the specific Welsh context. The outcome led to the joint Ministerial launch of Joining Together in Wales: an Adult and Young People's Strategy to Reduce Re-offending.

The strategy is based on the strong partnership between the National Offender Management Service and the Welsh Assembly Government and forms the basis of a consultation to implement the strategy.

The outcome of the consultation will help inform the development of a joint action plan that will reflect both the Welsh Assembly Government's responsibilities and those of the National Offender Management Service to reduce re-offending in Wales.

Offences Against the Person Act

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will bring forward proposals that the courts impose a fine or community sentence as the first option for offences under Section (a) 18 and (b) 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861; and if he will make a statement. [64863]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Government have no plans to restrict courts to non-custodial sentencing options for first time offenders for offences under Sections 18 and 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
 
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We established a Sentencing Guidelines Council in the Criminal Justice Act 2003. The Council is responsible for issuing guidelines on sentencing for the range of criminal offences. A consultation paper on assaults and other offences against the person was published last year and a draft guideline will be published in due course.

Offences Committed Abroad

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to enable offences which are committed abroad to be subject to further investigation in this country with a view to prosecution. [65788]

Fiona Mactaggart: As a general rule, our courts have jurisdiction to try offences that are committed within this country's territory only. This is because generally speaking the Government believe that trials are best conducted in the jurisdiction in which they occurred not least because there are very real difficulties associated with the obtaining of the evidence necessary to effectively prosecute here offences that are committed in foreign jurisdictions. The Government have no plans to depart from this general rule.

We have exceptionally, however, assumed extra-territorial jurisdiction over some serious crimes such as murder where the factors in favour of the ability to prosecute here outweigh those against. In many cases such jurisdiction is adopted where there is a consensus that action needs to be taken at the international level. Such offending includes terrorism, genocide, war crimes, hijacking, serious corruption, sex tourism and trafficking in human beings. Where extra-territorial jurisdiction is assumed it is often restricted to offences committed by UK nationals abroad.

Overseas Doctors

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether trainee doctors from theCommonwealth will require work permits before they can be interviewed and short listed for medical jobs. [64674]

Mr. McNulty: Work permits are only issued once a non-EEA national has been offered a relevant post and not at the interview or short listing stage. In most cases the work permit will only be issued where there are no suitable resident workers to take the job.

The work permit system applies to all non-EEA nationals coming to the UK for employment, unless they qualify under another category of the Immigration Rules. Commonwealth nationals who are not EEA nationals (who are not nationals of the UK, Cyprus or Malta) will therefore require a work permit unless they are otherwise eligible to work in the UK.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he held with (a) the British Medical Association, (b) organisations representing immigrant doctors and (c) NHS hospital trusts on the recent changes in immigration rules and their impact on doctors; and what discussions he had with the Secretary of State for Health. [65016]

Mr. McNulty: The permit free training rules were first amended in July 2005, Since then officials have been discussing with COPMED, the BMA Junior Doctors
 
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Committee and organisations representing overseas doctors the arrangements for those already in training and to agree what further guidance and clarification is needed to deal with the new arrangements.

The Department has been working closely with NHS Employers to provide guidance to the NHS.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what period of grace will be allowed to senior house officers in training in the NHS before they are asked to leave on the grounds of an expired visa. [65021]

Mr. McNulty: Senior House Officers training in the NHS with leave as a postgraduate doctor or dentist granted prior to the changes will continue on the same conditions as before. Overseas doctors and dentists can use this leave to complete their current training posts and to seek suitable new training posts. Doctors and dentists who want to remain in the UK beyond this time will need to apply for an extension of stay in another category.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether jobless doctors already in the UK will be able to apply for Tier 1 status. [65023]

Mr. McNulty: Those currently in the UK with leave as a postgraduate doctor or dentist will be able to use their existing leave to seek suitable new posts until that leave expires. Doctors and dentists wishing to remain after their leave expires will need to apply for an extension of stay in another category.

In the future, as is currently the case, doctors and dentists will not be granted leave to seek employment. As stated in the Command Paper, A Points-Based System: Making Migration Work for Britain published on 7 March, they will be admitted to the UK as Visitors in order to take the PLAB Test or IQE. If successful in the test, they will be able to switch into the new points based system if they meet the relevant requirements.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he plans to issue full guidelines on work permits, categories and the detailed operation of the new immigration rules. [65027]

Mr. McNulty: Full guidance on work permits can be found on the Working in the UK website at www.workingintheuk.gov.uk.

Full guidance on the new requirements of the Immigration Rules are already available on the IND website at: www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk.

Details of the implications of the changes for the medical community is available on the NHS Employers website at: www.nhsemployers.org.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether international medical graduates taking a medical job in the UK can switch the basis of their stay if they have (a) postgraduate leave, (b) leave as a visitor and (c) leave as a dependent of another migrant. [65034]

Mr. McNulty: There have been no changes to the switching provisions.
 
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As before, those with leave as a postgraduate doctor or dentist can switch into leave as a work permit holder if they meet the relevant requirements.

Dependants of certain categories of the Immigration Rules are permitted to take employment in the UK, such as the dependents of work permit holders. However there is no provision for those in the UK with leave as a dependent to switch into work permit employment in their own right.

There has never been any provision to allow those present in the UK as visitors to switch into work permit employment.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether doctors with a work permit who change employers as part of their training programme will require a new work permit; and whether the new job is contestable by EU or EEA nationals. [65035]

Mr. McNulty: Under the current work permit arrangements, doctors on a training programme will be required to obtain a work permit for each part of their training.

Following the recently announced changes to the rules on Postgraduate Doctors and Dentists transitional arrangements have been put in place to ensure that those who were already in training in the UK on 7 March can switch into the work permit system without their posts needing to be advertised first.

The Home Office and the Department of Health are continuing to discuss the work permit arrangements for doctors and dentists in training programmes in the UK with the relevant bodies.


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