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25 Oct 2006 : Column 1997W—continued

European Community Association Agreement

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will answer question 30942, tabled by the hon. Member for Brent, East on 17 November 2005 on the European Community Association Agreement. [66886]

Mr. Byrne: I replied to the hon. Member on 18 October 2006, Official Report, column 1305W.

Foreign Criminals

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of people convicted in England and Wales in the last 12 months were non-British nationals. [94967]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Data from the Court Proceedings Database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform are not able to identify the nationality of people convicted in England and Wales.

In a written ministerial statement of 23 May 2006, Official Report, column 78WS, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary set out the eight priority areas to be addressed by the enforcement and criminal agencies involved in the deportation of foreign national prisoners. Points one and two of this plan tackle the absence of a unique personal identifier for individuals who come into contact with the criminal justice, immigration and asylum systems and that there is no legal requirement to provide evidence of nationality when in contact with the criminal justice system. My
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hon. Friend the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality set out the progress we are making against these areas in a written ministerial statement on 19 July 2006, Official Report, column 29WS and will continue to update Parliament on progress.

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign prisoners were deported in (a) July, (b) August and (c) September 2006. [94128]

Mr. Byrne: The information is not available in the format requested. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary set out in his statement to the House on 9 October 2006 that the Director General of the Immigration Nationality Directorate had written to the Home Affairs Committee on the same day. A copy of this letter has been placed in the Library and it highlights deportation consideration and deportation action taken since April this year.

Foreign Nationals

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the policy of his Department is in relation to the issue of work permits for foreign nationals; and if he will make a statement. [85393]

Mr. Byrne: The work permit arrangements are a key part of the Government’s managed migration strategy, which seeks to offer legal routes for the admission of foreign nationals who possess skills and qualifications that are in short supply here and who will contribute to the economy. We also wish to encourage and support inward investment. Work permit policy is designed to strike the right balance between enabling UK based employers to recruit or transfer skilled people from abroad and protecting job opportunities for resident workers.

As part of our Five year Strategy for Asylum and Immigration, ‘Controlling our Borders: Making Migration work for Britain’ announced in 2005, we will be replacing the current routes for employment-related migration by a simpler, single points-based system. This was outlined in the Command paper ‘A Points Based System: Making Migration Work for Britain’ published on seven March 2006.

Identity Cards

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how citizens will be able to correct errors in the National Identity Register relating to their profile. [96405]

Joan Ryan: The implementation of the National Identity Scheme will include the introduction of measures to ensure that errors in an individual’s record are avoided on application and thereafter, any error can be easily noted and quickly corrected.

During the application process, a number of steps will help avoid errors. There will be:

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Once an individual is enrolled on the National Identity Register, there will be a number of methods for the individual to review what information is held on their record. An individual will continue to be entitled to request a subject access request under the Data Protection Act to review their record; in addition, the Government have indicated that they intend to introduce an online facility where, subject to secure remote authentication, an individual will be able to review their record and thus, ensure that it is accurate. Should an individual notice an error on their record, they will be able to contact the Identity and Passport Service through a number of different channels to rectify the error, subject to secure remote authentication. At present, the channels being considered include post, telephone and internet.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what penalty fine system will apply under the proposed national identity card scheme. [96411]

Joan Ryan: The Identity Cards Act 2006 provides for civil financial penalties, rather than fines, in the following areas: failure to comply with a requirement relating to compulsory registration (section 7), failure to notify changes affecting the accuracy of an entry in the Register (section 10) and failure to surrender an invalid ID card (section 11). Penalties relating to compulsory registration may only come into force after further primary legislation.

A fine—as well as a custodial sentence—may be imposed by a criminal court for criminal offences set out in sections 25 to 30 of the Act. These offences are related to the possession of false identity documents or are targeted at criminal activities which may be undertaken by people involved in administering the scheme. Offences in this latter category include unauthorised disclosure of information from the Register and tampering with the Register.

Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the targets are for the immigration and nationality directorate’s response time to letters from hon. Members; and what percentage of responses met the target response time in the latest period for which figures are available. [93439]

Mr. Byrne: The published target is to answer 95 per cent. of Members’ letters on immigration and nationality directorate—related matters within 20 working days. Although we still have some way to go to achieve that standard, performance has none the less already improved significantly from 34 per cent. in 2004 to 76 per cent. for the period September 2005 to August 2006, the latest period for which figures are available.

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Internet Service Providers

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to inform the public which internet service providers block access to sites containing child pornography. [95597]

Mr. Coaker: We have not made public which internet service providers (ISPs) block access to sites containing child abuse images. However, transparency and confidence are vital components of effective self-regulation. The majority of ISPs are prepared individually to say whether they are blocking or not. We are working with them to put in place arrangements to publish and maintain the full list of ISPs blocking these websites.

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the costs to internet service providers of blocking access to child pornography sites; and what discussions he has had with colleagues at the Department of Trade and Industry on this matter. [95598]

Mr. Coaker: This is new technology and different internet service providers (ISPs) are developing different solutions that are effective on their specific infrastructures. We recognise there are genuine cost issues for ISPs, particularly smaller ones, not just in developing the solution, but in administering it and in subscribing to the Internet Watch Foundation list, but take the view that the costs are proportionate to the benefits.

My predecessor, my hon. Friend the Member for Wythenshawe and Sale, East (Paul Goggins) along with the then Department of Trade and Industry Minister my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Alun Michael) held meetings with ISPs on 22 and 28 March 2006.

Miscarriages of Justice

Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many (a) re-appointments and (b) competitions for the appointment of an independent assessor to assess ex-gratia payments from public funds under section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 of compensation for miscarriages of justice there have been since 1976; [94398]

(2) how the applicants for appointment as Independent Assessor of claims for compensation for miscarriages of justice were assessed; by whom they were assessed; how the competitions for appointment as Independent Assessor were advertised; how many applicants applied in respect of each competition; what procedure exists for unsuccessful applicants to raise concerns about the handling of the selection process; and what further competitions are proposed; [94403]

(3) who has held the appointment of Independent Assessor to assess ex gratia payments from public funds or under section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 of compensation for miscarriages of justice since 1976; for what period each person held that appointment; on what terms and conditions of engagement each Independent Assessor has been appointed; and what remuneration was payable to each in each year of their appointment; [94405]

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(4) what changes in the remuneration of the Independent Assessor have recently been proposed; and what changes will be introduced in respect of his remuneration for assessments of compensation from 19 April 2006. [95105]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Sir Michael Ogden QC was independent Assessor of compensation for miscarriages of justice from February 1978 to July 1989, succeeding Sir Walker Carter, who had discharged these duties since 1957. Sir Michael was formally appointed to the role in November 1985 and was appointed under section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 in November 1988. Sir David Calcutt QC succeeded Sir Michael Ogden on 27 July 1989, and was re-appointed in July 1994 and July 1999. Lord Brennan assumed the role on 27 July 2001. He remains in post, having been re-appointed by the Home Secretary on 27 July this year for a second five-year term. No further competition for the post is intended until Lord Brennan’s appointment is due to come to an end.

I have placed copies of Sir David Calcutt’s and Lord Brennan’s terms and conditions of appointment in the Library. It has not so far been possible to trace those relating to Sir Michael Ogden.

The only appointment that was subject to formal competition arrangements was Lord Brennan’s. This was run in accordance with the guidance issued by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments, and in partnership with Capita RAS. It was advertised in The Lawyer, The Law Society Gazette, and Counsel magazine, and on the Top Jobs and Home Office internet sites. The 57 applications were assessed against the requirements of Schedule 12 to the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and the job specification. An initial sift was undertaken by independent assessors appointed by Capita RAS, and the five shortlisted candidates were interviewed by a panel comprising Mr. David Cooke (the then Deputy Director of the Criminal Policy Group in the Home Office, who chaired the panel), Ms Petra Laidlaw (an independent member provided by Capita RAS), and Sir David Calcutt.

The Assessor’s fees are paid, per case, at Band C of the Cabinet Office’s Fees for Judicial Appointment and Appointments to Tribunals, Inquiries and Appeal Boards. At the request of Sir David Calcutt, an additional, special daily fee rate was introduced on 1 August 1992 in respect of more complex cases. A table showing those rates follows. On 27 July 2006 a revised fee structure was implemented, under which Lord Brennan is paid £360 per case for interim assessments and advice cases, £500 per case for straightforward final assessments, and £1,000 per day for complex cases.

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Assessor of compensation for miscarriages of justice special fee rates
Higher rate (per day)
Financial year Fee Fee inclusive of VAT

1 August 1992 to 31 March 1993



1 April 1993 to 31 March 1994



1 April 1994 to 31 March 1995



1 April 1995 to 31 March 1996



1 April 1996 to 31 March 1997



1 April 1997 to 31 March 1998



1 April 1998 to 30 November 1998



1 December 1998 to 31 March 1999



1 April 1999 to 31 March 2000



1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001



1 April 2001 to 27 July 2001



27 July 2001 to 31 March 2002


1 April 2002 to 31 March 2003


1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004


1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005


1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006


1 April 2006 to 26 July 2006


Police Complaints

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what procedures are in place to monitor the effectiveness of the police response to telephone complaints from the public. [89446]

Mr. McNulty: Contact management features in HMIC's Baseline Assessment, which complements the statutory performance indicators by providing a qualitative measurement of police performance. In its thematic inspection of police contact management, ‘First Contact’ published in November 2005, HMIC has developed a best practice framework and assessment matrix that forces can use to self-assess their performance and that HMIC use in the inspection process to grade forces and to identify strengths and areas for improvement.

Ports (Security)

Mr. Hogg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what instructions have been given to immigration officers at ports of entry who wish to verify the identity of a person wearing a veil or other garment which has the effect of concealing the face of the person wearing it. [94142]

Mr. Byrne: In accordance with the Immigration Act 1971 all persons arriving in the United Kingdom must satisfy an immigration officer as to their nationality and identity.

Where there are sensitive or cultural reasons why it is not possible for a person to remove a veil or other garment at the immigration control, they will be taken to a private area where, in the case of a woman, a female officer will ask them to lift their veil so that their identity can be verified.

Most people are usually content to do this but there are powers to refuse entry to persons who cannot be satisfactorily identified.

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