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Mr. Dismore: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will bring forward a Government new clause to the Compensation Bill [Lords] to define desirable activity; and if she will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: The Government do not intend to introduce a new clause to define desirable activity. The provision in Clause 1 of the Bill gives the court the flexibility to consider all the relevant circumstances of the case to reach a fair and just decision. Including a definition of desirable activity could imply that certain types of desirable activity would have more weight than others, and would not reflect the existing law.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will bring forward a Government new clause to the Compensation Bill [Lords] to overturn the House of Lords judgment in the case of Barker; and if she will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: The Government fully understands the concerns that have been expressed about the judgment and are determined to find the best way to address the resulting issues for the claimants involved. As the Prime Minister has indicated, we are looking at this very carefully and hope to be in a position to make an announcement in the next couple of weeks.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will provide an explanatory note to define the phrase desirable activity in the context of clause 1 of the Compensation Bill [Lords]. 
Bridget Prentice: Defining the phrase desirable activity is not necessary or appropriate. The concept which it embodies is the very well-established one of taking the wider social value of activities into account. This reflects the existing law and the courts are already able toand dotake these matters into account when considering all the circumstances of an individual case.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what Constitutional Affairs Select Committee recommendations her Department has (a) accepted and (b) implemented since 2001-02; and if she will make a statement. 
The Committee have since produced a number of reports. The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, my Department has made it clear, in the Government responses to Select Committee reports, whether or not we accept Committee recommendations. Where accepted, we aim to implement within an appropriate time scale.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the set-up costs were of the co-ordinated online record of electors (CORE); and what she estimates the running costs of CORE will be in the next three financial years. 
Bridget Prentice: Since its inception in late 2003, expenditure of £1,726,631 has been incurred by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Department of Constitutional Affairs on Phase I of the CORE project-supporting in house system providers and third party vendors so that their electoral registration systems can output electoral register data in an agreed EML format standard.
At this stage of the project, estimates are not available for the cost of procuring a CORE information system or associated annual running costs. These will be identified shortly as part of the CORE Phase II development process.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 May 2006, Official Report, column 732W, on county court records, whether she has received representations on (a) the Departments contract with Registry Trust and (b) the appropriateness of the contract in the context of European legislation on the re-use of public sector information. 
Ms Harman: No representations have been received by the Department on its contract with Registry Trust Ltd., nor its appropriateness in the context of European legislation on the re-use of public sector information.
Registry Trust Ltd., in its role as Registrar of the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines, carry out a statutory function on behalf of the Lord Chancellor. Therefore, the provisions of Directive 2003/98/EC, requiring public sector bodies to avoid as far as possible exclusive agreements between themselves and private partners when establishing the principles for re-use of documents, do not apply to its contract with Registry Trust Ltd.
No group receives transcripts of court proceedings as a matter of course. However, transcripts are provided on request subject to payment of the appropriate transcription fees and, where necessary, subject to the necessary permission being granted by
the court. In addition, transcripts are provided to the Court of Appeal in any case where appeal proceedings have been initiated.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether judges have the power to order that transcripts of court proceedings be given, free of charge, to parties other than those that normally receive them as a matter of course. 
Ms Harman: There is no statutory provision that empowers judges in the Crown court to make such an order. However, transcripts are provided on request subject to payment of the appropriate transcription fees and, where necessary, subject to permission being granted by the court. Transcripts of proceedings in the Crown court are provided free of charge to any party that has been granted a right to representation by the Criminal Defence Service for the purposes of appeal proceedings. In civil proceedings, if a party to the action requires a transcript then one will be provided upon payment of the appropriate transcription charges. Under provisions in the Civil Procedure Rules an unrepresented appellant who is in difficult financial circumstances may make a request to the judge that the cost of a transcript be borne at public expense. Parties other than those to the proceedings are required to make an application to the judge for a transcript and pay the appropriate transcription fees.
Mr. Clegg: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will list the criminal offences created in legislation sponsored by her Department since April 2005, broken down by Act. 
Ms Harman: Section 44 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 creates an offence of ill-treatment or neglect. Section 35 of the Inquiries Act 2005 creates summary offences for failure to comply with orders from an inquiry chairman.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will take an early legislative opportunity to bring forward amendments to the Data Protection Act 1998 to provide that the name and identity of the author of personal data are disclosed to anyone who has sought disclosure of personal data about themselves under the provisions of the Act. 
Vera Baird: We have no plans to do so. The Data Protection Act 1998 does not necessarily prevent the disclosure of such information to individuals making subject access requests to organisations for data about themselves. However, the name and identity of those who are the authors of, or who have otherwise processed that data are, themselves, personal data. Any decision on whether or not that information should be disclosed would need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will issue guidance on the Data Protection Act 1998 that the provisions of that Act should not prevent the exchange of relevant data between police and the owners of post box addresses at which vehicles involved in road traffic accidents are registered. 
Vera Baird: We have no plans to do so. The Data Protection Act 1998 is administered and enforced independently of the Government by the Information Commissioner and it is his role to produce advice and guidance on the proper application of the Act.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many copies of her Departments annual report (Cm 6820) were produced; at what cost; who was sent copies; at what cost; who was consulted on the text prior to publication; on what criteria the retail price was decided; and if she will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: My Department received 500 copies of the DCA departmental annual report under the terms of its contract with TSO, at a cost of £25,134 (including VAT). These were distributed free-of-charge to key stakeholders such as the judiciary, other Government Departments, magistrates, MPs and Lords, the legal profession, DCA Agencies and DCA staff. Approximately 300 of the copies were sent to external recipients via second-class post, at a total postage cost in the region of £588.
Key policy officials within DCA consulted with cross-criminal justice system partners (Home Office, CPS, Office for Criminal Justice Reform) and HM Treasury on the text and the final version approved by Ministers. The Stationery Office set the retail price of £20.50 for the report based upon their production costs for the report.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs which official has lead responsibility for progress on each of the targets set out on pages 37 to 45 of the departmental annual report (Cm 6820); to whom each such official reports; what recent discussions she has had on implementation of each target; and if she will make a statement. 
Vera Baird: Ministers have regular meetings with officials to discuss progress in delivering key initiatives and targets. The structure of the Department for Constitutional Affairs is available on the Departments website at www.dca.gov.uk and this site also outlines ministerial responsibilities and names senior officials. There is also an organisational chart on pages 138-39 of the departmental annual report.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the (a) name, (b) professional and academic qualifications and (c) relevant experience are of the Chief Accounting Officer of her Department. 
Vera Baird: Alex Allan is the Principal Accounting Officer at the Department for Constitutional Affairs. He holds an MA in Mathematics (Cantab), and an MSc in Statistics (Lond). Among his extensive experience in Whitehall Departments, 14 years of his career were spent at Her Majesty's Treasury.
Accounting Officer is a role that the Permanent Secretary combines with his personal responsibility for the overall organisation, management and staffing of the department and for department-wide procedures in financial and other matters. The Accounting Officer is assisted in the discharge of these duties by suitably qualified and experienced senior managers including the Director General of Finance.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs which (a) individuals and (b) organisations received an embargoed copy of each (i) consultation document and (ii) White Paper produced by her Department in (A) 2005 and (B) 2006; and if she will make a statement. 
Vera Baird: Embargoed copies of the Legal Services White Paper in 2005 and the draft Coroners Bill produced by DCA in 2006 were received by a range of individuals and organisations. One organisation received embargoed copies of the Draft Inquiry Procedure (UK Inquiries) Rules consultation document from my Department in 2006. The majority of DCA consultations are not embargoed.
Chairman of the Bar Council
President of the Law Society
President of the Chartered Institute for Patent Agents
President of the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys
Dean of the Arches and Auditor, Master of the Faculties
Chair of the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee (CASC)
Opposition spokesmen Oliver Heald MP, Simon Hughes MP, Lord Goodhart QC and The Right Honourable Lord Kingsland QC, The Lord Chief Justice
Chairman, Office of Fair Trading (OFT)
Chief Executive of Citizens Advice
Chief Executive of Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC)
Chairman of National Consumer Council (NCC)
Chairman of Prudential PLC
Chairman of Which?
The Immigration Services Commission
At a press briefing held on the morning of publication, but before publication time, embargoed copies were made available. The press, legal professions and members of the Consumer Panel (Which?, NCC, EOC, OFT, Citizens Advice, Federation of Small Businesses) were invited.
The Draft Inquiry Procedure (UK Inquiries) Rules consultation document was received from DCA by ARACS Conference Services (conference organisers) ahead of publication on 1 March 2006. ARACS gave the copies out at a public seminar on public inquiries held after publication. The seminar was attended by around 40 people with knowledge or experience of inquiries, for example, solicitors.
Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what checks electoral returning officers are required to undertake to establish eligibility of candidates standing in UK elections. 
Bridget Prentice: At UK elections, it is for candidates themselves to determine whether or not they are eligible to stand for election. The Returning Officer's role is to ensure compliance with the procedural requirements relating to the information to be provided in the nomination papers.
Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what penalties are in place for candidates in UK elections who falsely claim (a) residential and (b) business status in order to stand in such elections. 
Bridget Prentice: Mechanisms exist for the removal from office of candidates in UK elections who falsely claim eligibility to stand and are elected, but are subsequently found to be ineligible to hold that elected office.
There are currently no penalties that attach to the candidate other than their removal from office. However, the Electoral Administration Bill will make it an offence of corrupt practice for a candidate to knowingly give a false declaration in a nomination paper as to their qualification to stand.
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