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Iam today arranging for the publication of research commissioned by the Office of Criminal Justice Reform from IPSOS MORI on public attitudes to alternatives to prosecution.
The research, conducted during March 2006, involved interviews with 1,027 people aged 15 and over in England and Wales and four focus groups. There were also six focus groups with victims and witnesses to test their views of out of court penalties for
adults and youths. The research was commissioned as part of a review of out of court penalties which I have been leading.
Whilst the research has been available to criminal justice practitioners since last June, we are now putting it into the public domain because of the general interest in its existence. The findings show that:
Nine out of 10 participants think that first time minor criminal offences need not necessarily be dealt with by the courts;
Half of those participants think a caution or reprimand would be the most appropriate disposal;
Six out of 10 participants think that second minor offences (that this is after a FPN or warning has been given) could be dealt with out of the courts;
A quarter of participants think the best way to deal with second minor offences is by a caution with conditions attached, such as compensation or making amends;
A 44 per cent. majority of participants felt the most appropriate way to deal with offenders who own up to minor offences was for them to make amends to the victim, for example by compensation or an apology.
I am placing copies of the material in the Libraries of both Houses.
|Appointment will commence on 2 April 2007|
Currently Chief Executive of George Baternan & Son Ltd. a position held since 1994. The previous eight years were spent at Scottish & Newcastle Breweries PLC were he became Managing Director of Newcastle Breweries Ltd. Previous employment was with Proctor & Gamble Ltd. where he became Associate Advertising Manager.
He is currently Pro-Chancellor and Deputy Chair of the University of Northumbria, Deputy Chair of Lincolnshire and Rutland Learning and Skills Council, Chair of Princes Trust, Lincolnshire. Also holds Non-Executive Directorships with J.D. Wetherspoon, Bullman Pub Company Ltd, Boston, Investors in Lincoln, The Newcastle Initiative, Newcastle Enterprise Trust and St. Marys Training and Enterprise Centre, Newcastle.
Founded and is Managing Director of Strategic Spur Ltd., Marketing Consultancy in 2004. Previous ten years worked for Boots PLC where she became Head of Global Market Research for Boots Healthcare International. Previous to this spent seven years with Smith & Nephew Consumer Products as Group National Account manager.
The Minister for Trade (Mr. Ian McCartney): Sir Christopher Hogg, the Chairman of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), is today publishing proposals for consultation on measures to improve the FRCs internal governance. The Government welcomes this consultation
The FRC is the independent UK regulator and standard setter for accounting, auditing and the actuarial profession. The FRCs remit was significantly expanded in 2004 as a result of the Governments review of audit and accounting regulation, following the corporate scandals in the United States and elsewhere earlier in the decade. Its responsibilities were further expanded in 2006 to include actuarial standards and regulation, as recommended by the Morris Review.
Since his appointment as Chair in January 2006 Sir Christopher has been reviewing the FRCs internal governance arrangements. While these arrangements have operated well, Sir Christopher has concluded there is now a strong case for changes to enhance the FRCs transparency, efficiency and independence. The Government agree with Sir Christophers view and welcomes the consultation document he is publishing.
The changes Sir Christopher is proposing include merging the FRC Council, which at around 30 members is a large group, and its management board, to form a single governing body of directors. The new governing body would be larger than the existing six-strong board, to enhance its balance, composition and effectiveness. The majority of the governing body will be non-executive directors, including the Chair and Deputy Chair. In addition, the chairs of the FRCs operating bodies would become directors for the first time.
Sir Christopher is also recommending changes to the process for appointing directors to support the new arrangements and ensure the new governing body reflects the range of skills and experience required. At present, the Secretary of State makes all appointments to the Board of Directors, with the exception of the Chief Executive who is appointed by the FRC. Under the new arrangements, the Secretary of State would appoint only the Chair and Deputy Chair of the FRC. The other directors would be appointed by a Nominations Committee chaired by the FRC Chair, through an open and transparent process, following the same principles as set out for public appointments by
the Office of the Commissioner for public appointments. The committee, guided by a template of the range of skills and experience the board should include, will establish clear, objective criteria for individual appointments.
The Government believe the FRC has adapted well to its new responsibilities, and that it continues to receive strong support from companies, investors, the accountancy profession and other stakeholders. The Government are therefore confident the FRC under the new governance arrangements will continue to make an essential contribution to ensuring open, efficient and competitive markets and a strong enterprising corporate sector. Corporate reporting and governance in the UK are widely recognised domestically and internationally as being of a very high standard generally. The FRCs integrated and market-led approach to regulation effectively underpins these standards.
Action will continue to be taken against bankrupts and company directors in respect of financial misconduct or dishonesty and I have asked the service to increase its enforcement output by 7 per cent. over that achieved in 2006-07. Companies Investigation Branch will continue to investigate the affairs of companies in the public interest and I have set targets in relation to the timeliness of dealing with complaints made and the handling of investigations that follow from those complaints.
The services Enabling the Future strategy, a major programme of IT led investment, will deliver savings over the period of the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review and I have therefore set the service a target to have reduced its case administration fees by 15 per cent. by 31 March 2011.
The Corporate Plan is available at: www.insolvency .gov.uk
|Published Targets 2007-08||Target 2007-08||Target 2006-07|
|Case Administration Targets|
In addition to these targets the service is required to meet centrally promulgated targets relating to replying to correspondence from hon. Members, making payments to suppliers and reducing sick absence levels. The service will also look to maintain Charter Mark and Investors in People accreditation following reassessments during 2007-08.
|Other Targets||Target 2007-08||Target 2006-07|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Mrs. Anne McGuire): The United Kingdom played an active role in negotiating a new convention on disability rights, which was adopted by the United Nations on 13 December 2006. On the 14 December, the Prime Minister said that he hoped the UK would be among the first states to sign the convention, Official Report, written answers, column 1288W.
The convention opens for signature on 30 March and our signature tomorrow and that of other states will mark a significant step forward to ensuring that around 650 million disabled people worldwide will enjoy their human rights on an equal basis with every one else. It is the culmination of negotiations lasting more than four years in which disabled people have played a central role in the content of the convention.
Work is underway to check the UKs legislation, policies and practices against the conventions obligations. Before ratification, the convention will be laid as a command paper before both Houses of Parliament, together with an explanatory memorandum. It will also be sent to the Joint Committee on Human Rights for them to consider. Either, or both Houses, might decide to hold a debate.