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3 July 2006 : Column 891W—continued

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what buildings and refurbishment works are planned for (a) the gymnasium, (b) the chapel, (c) the workshop and (d) other areas of HMP Lewes; and what the (i) estimated cost and (ii) expected start date is in each case. [81046]

Mr. Sutcliffe: No major building works or refurbishments are currently planned for the gymnasium, the chapel or the workshops at HMP Lewes. A major capital refurbishment of F wing is planned to start on site in January 2007 at a cost of around £11.5 million, and a maintenance scheme at a cost of around £0.25 million to render the chapel is due to start on site in November 2006. The local works department has recently improved the showering facilities for the gymnasium.

Probation Service

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total funding allocated for the (a) recruitment and (b) training of probation officers was in each of the last eight years. [79955]

John Reid: The recruitment and training of probation officers is funded by the Home Office via grants to local probation areas. The recruitment responsibility is delegated to areas therefore there is no information available centrally about the specific amount dedicated to this function.

Figures for the funding of the training programme are available from the time of the creation of the National Probation Directorate in 2001. They are as follows:

Financial year Amount (£)











Proceeds of Crime Act

Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many actions for recovery of assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 have been undertaken following conviction for the employment of illegal migrants. [58727]

Mr. Coaker: This information is not held centrally but I understand that asset recovery action is currently under consideration in at least one major case involving the employment of illegal migrants. I am unable to comment further at this stage.

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Security Industry Authority

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his written statement of 16 February 2006, on the Private Security Industry Approved Contractor Scheme, what assessment he has made of whether companies should achieve membership of the scheme under Option 3 if they (a) meet standards that do not correspond directly and exactly to the 89 indicators of the Option 4 scheme as set out by the Security Industry Authority and (b) cover different criteria in more depth. [59021]

Mr. Coaker: To provide assurance that all approved contractors have achieved the necessary standards all of the 89 requirements must be met. An approved contractor cannot compensate for failure to meet some requirements by excelling in others—this would lead to uncertainty over what approval means and could undermine the credibility of the scheme.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether employers in the security industry will be able to (a) employ staff and (b) use contractors who have applied for a licence to the Security Industry Authority but who have not yet received a licence. [62265]

Mr. Coaker: The Private Security Industry Act 2001 imposes sanctions on those who undertake defined security activities without a licence from the SIA and those who supply unlicensed security operatives undertaking those activities. Companies that hire security firms whose personnel include unlicensed staff are not committing any offence, since the Private Security Industry Act 2001 places the onus on the individual and the company that provides security services, not on the customer. Where in-house employees are required to be licensed, the employer and individual are both responsible for ensuring this occurs.

Companies that have been awarded approved contractor status by the SIA are able to legally deploy a proportion of security staff while their licence applications are being processed.

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people are employed by the Security Industry Authority to process licence applications; and what training they are given. [77003]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 19 June 2006]: The Security Industry Authority (SIA) has contracted BT Syntegra as its Managed Service Provider (MSP) to process all aspects of licence applications, with the exception of the final licensing decision. BT Syntegra has employed and extensively trained 152 full-time employees to carry out this task.

To increase processing capacity during this period of high demand, the SIA has supplemented the MSP staffing levels with a temporary in-house processing centre employing an additional 12 security cleared temporary staff who work directly to the SIA. These temporary staff members are supervised at all times and are only utilised to initially check accurate completion
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of application forms and identification documents. They received comprehensive induction training prior to deployment, and are issued with training notes and guidance templates. Following induction they shadow experienced permanent employees for a minimum of one week, and are subject to daily coaching and supervision. Also daily training sessions provide extra guidance on application/document checks.

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had on the potential dismissal of workers in the private security industry on 20 March 2006 due to licences not being issued by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) by that date; and what steps he has taken to prevent such an occurrence. [60529]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 21 March 2006]: I took on ministerial responsibility for the SIA on 4 May. My predecessor Paul Goggins met with the SIA on a number of occasions to discuss the impact of the implementation date of 20 March 2006. The SIA put in place a system 14 months before the 20 March 2006 to manage the transition to licensing. This date was agreed after consultation with the industry, who had undertaken to submit their applications in good time. While some did submit their applications in good time, other parts of the industry failed to do so. The SIA wants all of the security industry to be compliant with the law as soon as possible and has taken additional steps to speed up the processing of licence applications. These include temporarily doubling the capacity of the SIA's licensing system and working closely with companies to reduce applicant error rates. Enforcement action is a matter for the SIA and the police. ACPO and the SIA have issued joint Enforcement Guidelines in which they stated they intend to take a measured and proportionate approach to enforcement.

Sexual Offenders

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people convicted of sexual offences against children have been deported to the UK from abroad in each of the last five years. [77158]

Mr. Byrne: Anyone encountered by the Immigration Service being deported to the UK back from abroad is referred to the police for appropriate registration, and so records are not collected by IND.

Criminal Records

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the effect of Regulation 7 (1) of the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Registration) Regulations 2006 on small and medium-sized organisations; [76155]

(2) which organisations have had their registered body status cancelled as a result of the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Registration) Regulations 2006; [76156]

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(3) if he will commission a race equality impact assessment in relation to the decision of the Criminal Records Bureau to cancel the registration of organisations that submit fewer than 100 disclosure applications each year; [76157]

(4) for what reason the Criminal Records Bureau requires a minimum of 100 disclosure applications to be made by a body for that body to qualify as a registered body. [76158]

Joan Ryan: Following a public consultation exercise last year, a full regulatory impact assessment was completed, and placed in the Library along with the regulations. This included a small firms impact test which acknowledged that small organisations would probably not be able to satisfy the minimum threshold and would need to approach other organisations in order to obtain checks on their employees and incur the associated costs. However, in some cases it was concluded that the costs of using such an organisation would be lower than the administrative costs of running and maintaining a small volume registered body. No race related issues were identified during the consultation.

The changes arose from a key recommendation of the 2002 independent review of the CRB and were supported by the recent Bichard inquiry that recommended reducing the number of registered bodies from over 14,000 that existed at the time. It also follows the CRB’s own research that revealed that up to a third of registered bodies were not fully complying with the guidance and the code of practice and explanatory guide issued by the CRB which is a condition of registration. One of the areas of weakness was in completing the requisite identity checks on applicants.

The intention is to make the registered body network more professional and more experienced in the disclosure process which will allow the CRB to ensure that the network of users is proficient in the security and policies of the CRB. Setting an annual threshold is a key part of the CRB’s strategy to enhance the effectiveness of, and improve standards within the registered body network.

The CRB will provide advice, guidance and support to organisations on the options available to access the disclosure service before their registration is cancelled due to low volume.

The CRB has written to some 2,800 organisations to inform them that they are to become deregistered. These organisations have submitted 10 or fewer applications in the last 12 months.


Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much has been spent by his Department on taxi travel in the 2005-06 financial year; and what proportion of such travel was undertaken in each nation and region of the UK, including London. [37482]

Mr. Byrne: The recorded total cost of taxi travel in the 2005-06 financial year in the Home Department was £806,000.

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Obtaining the proportion of such travel as undertaken in each nation and region of the UK, including London, could be done only at disproportionate cost.


Mr. Khabra: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 22 June 2006, Official Report, columns 2128-29W, on visas, why records are not maintained of the number of visitors
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who leave the country before or at the expiry of their permitted stay; and if he will make a statement. [81124]

Mr. Byrne: Physical embarkation controls were withdrawn at seaports in 1994 and reconfigured at major airports in 1998. The five year immigration strategy for asylum and immigration, published in February 2005, contains details of our plans, through the e-Borders programme, to strengthen and modernise our border control including providing an electronic record of all those entering and leaving the UK. This is scheduled to commence in 2008.

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