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26 Mar 2007 : Column 1267Wcontinued
Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much her Department spent on (a) sponsoring newspaper or publication supplements and (b) funding advertorials in newspapers and other publications in the last year for which figures are available; and what the topic was of each. 
Ms Harman: For the period March 2006 to March 2007 my Department placed the following advertorials:
In November 2006 an advertorial was placed in Media Today to help raise awareness of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 among health and social care practitioners. The cost for this was £204.
Mrs. May: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many meetings (a) she and (b) her Department's Ministers held with trade union representatives in 2006. 
Ms Harman: During 2006 (a) I held two meetings with trade union representatives; (b) other Ministers in my Department held 13 meetings with trade union representatives, as set out in the following table.
|(1) Two meetings with union representatives were held jointly by Lord Falconer and Bridget Prentice and one jointly by Lord Falconer and Baroness Ashton.|
Lynne Jones: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether criminal actions under section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 can be pursued for any period, so long as evidence still exists. 
Vera Baird: No. Disclosure of protected information under section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 is a summary offence. The relevant time limit is set out in section 127 of the Magistrates Courts Act 1980. Under that section, a court can only deal with an alleged offence if a complaint or information is submitted to the relevant authorities within six months of the event that gave rise to it.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment the Government have made of the effect on those (a) affected by domestic violence and (b) on low incomes of the proposed changes to legal aid arrangements; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Harman: Domestic violence is a cross-Government priority and formalised through the formation of the Inter-Ministerial Group for Domestic Violence. The Group comprises of Ministers from nine Government Departments and the three devolved administrations. In light of the assessments and priority need, the group prepares an Annual Delivery Plan and reports against progress each year. The report for 2006-07 will be published shortly together with the Delivery Plan for 2007-08.
Domestic Violence proceedings are a priority area for legal aid funding. The Legal Services Commission's (LSC's) Funding Code Criteria for domestic violence cases are wider than for most other family and non-family areas; they are not limited to any specific definition of domestic violence or abuse. When appearing in a family court, persons of limited means will be funded in all but the most exceptional of circumstances. As a separate measure to the wider programme of legal aid reform as set out in Legal Aid Reform: The Way Ahead the financial eligibility limits for legal aid for domestic violence victims will be raised and both income and capital limits will be able to waived, by the LSC, on a discretionary basis from 9 April 2007. In criminal proceedings, the Crown Prosecution Service represents the victim of domestic violence.
John Hemming: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) which Minister would be responsible for assessing whether systemic miscarriages of justice were occurring in the family courts; 
(2) if she will establish a review of family court cases where Dr. David Southall retained a special case file. 
Ms Harman: My right hon. Friend The Lord Chancellor is responsible for supporting the efficient and effective administration of the courts. The judiciary is primarily responsible for guarding against miscarriages of justice and they are entirely independent of the executive. It is open to the parties in an individual case to seek legal advice about the route to appeal if they are dissatisfied with the outcome of the case.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Skills has inquiry-ordering powers in relation to the exercise by local authorities of their children's services functions. In 2004, a review of cases that were before the family courts, and of children for whom the courts have made care orders (under section 31 of the Children Act 1989) was undertaken by local authorities at the request of my right hon. Friend the
Secretary of State for Education and Skills, the results of which were reported to Parliament. There are currently no plans to conduct a review of family court cases in which Dr. David Southall has been involved.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact on delivery of services to researchers of the reduction in support for the National Archive. 
Vera Baird: The National Archives measures the delivery of its services against published key performance indicators. At this point in the performance year, the National Archives is meeting all of its published targets relating to the delivery of services to researchers, of which the principal measure is customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction with services provided at Kew and at the Family Records Centre in Islington is currently running at 95 per cent. against a target of 90 per cent.
Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) whether an individual will be entitled to refuse to provide the personal identifier details in the event that the Government introduces personal identification in polling stations pursuant to the Electoral Administration Act 2006; and whether that individual would be entitled to receive a ballot paper and vote in such circumstances; 
(2) whether she plans that an individual will have to provide his or her signature in a polling station before voting. 
Bridget Prentice: I refer the hon. Gentlemen to my previous answer of 31 January 2007, Official Report, column 336W.
Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the reasons are for the differences in the procedures in relation to personal identifiers for those that vote by post and those who vote in person at a polling station. 
The Electoral Administration Act, as approved by Parliament, provides for a polling
station voter to provide a signature, while a postal voter must provide both a signature and date of birth. The greater level of security applied to postal voting addresses concerns about the security of postal voting.
Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much funding Kent county council is providing for the proposed Academy on the Isle of Sheppey. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 2 February 2007]: Kent county council has made a public commitment to provide £1 million sponsorship towards the proposed Academy on Sheppey. Any additional funding required will be identified as the Academy proposals develop.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in what ways the 300(th )Anniversary of the Act of Union between England and Scotland will be officially commemorated in events and activities in English schools. 
Jim Knight: The Department considers it important that schools have autonomy to plan their own timetables, including the commemoration of significant events. The current curricula for both Citizenship and History provide opportunities for schools to discuss the Act of Union. For instance, the statutory Citizenship curriculum for all secondary schools requires that pupils be taught about the origins and implications of the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the work of parliament and government.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many admissions appeals were heard for pupils in the Peterborough Local Education Authority in each year since 1997; how many were successful; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 23 March 2007]: The information requested is shown in the table, as reported by schools and local authorities.
|Appeals lodged by parents against non-admission of their children to maintained primary and secondary schools 1997/98 to 2004/05, Peterborough local authority area|
|Appeals heard||Appeals decided in parents favour||Appeals heard||Appeals decided in parents favour|
|Number of appeals lodged||No .||%( 1)||No .||%( 2)||Number of appeals lodged||No .||%( 1)||No .||%( 2)|
|(1) Number of appeals heard by a panel expressed as a percentage of the number of appeals lodged by parents. (2) Number of appeals decided in parents' favour expressed as a percentage of the number of appeals heard by a panel. Source: Admission Appeals Survey and the Annual Schools Census.|
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