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24 May 2007 : Column 1436W—continued

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much had been received by the Child Support Agency by non-resident parents but not sent on to the parent with care on the most recent date for which figures are available; and what the figure was on the same day in each year since 2003. [134122]


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Mr. Plaskitt: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, date 24 May 2007:

Statement of balances
£000
31 March 2006 31 March 2005 31 March 2004 31 March 2003

Funds awaiting clearance

7,739

9,610

8,487

7,671

Cleared funds awaiting distribution

6,416

14,189

11,012

10,718

Total

14,155

23,799

19,499

18,389

Notes:
1. Figures for March 2007 are not yet available for publication as they are subject to National Audit Office scrutiny ahead of the publication of the Agency’s 2007 annual report and accounts.
2. Cleared funds awaiting distribution include payments, which are in the process of being paid out but are subject to standard banking processing, which take three working days. It also includes cases for which further information is required before maintenance payments can be released.

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what average time was taken for applications to the Child Support Agency to be processed from the initial application to clearance stage in each quarter since spring 2003; and what the average wait was for such cases. [136488]

Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 8 May 2007]: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, date 24 May 2007:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many applications were made to the Child Support Agency in each quarter since spring 2003; and how many were (a) cleared for maintenance payments and (b) cleared for closure in each quarter. [136489]

Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 8 May 2007]: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 24 May 2007:

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the Child Support Agency expects to be able to secure maintenance payments in the case of the constituent of the hon. Member for Birkenhead Lyndsy Graves; and what the reasons are for the time taken to do so. [139036]

Mr. Plaskitt: The administration of the Child Support Agency is the matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 24 May 2007:


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DNA

Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 3 May 2007, Official Report, column 1826W, on DNA, on how many occasions DNA data collected by the Child Support Agency were made available to other (a) Departments, (b) agencies and (c) public authorities. [136703]

Mr. Plaskitt: The administration of the Child Support Agency is the matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 24 May 2007:

English Language

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has plans to extend the additional funding for English as a second language training proposed for London to other UK cities with large populations of residents for whom English is not a first language. [131824]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The Budget announced £5.7 million funding to trial short, work-focused approaches to provide training in English as a second language in the London Cities Strategy pathfinders for parents with English language needs on benefits and tax credits.

We will use this additional provision to supplement the current range of provision in London, targeting the needs of this priority group, helping to make better links between English language skills and employment outcomes.


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Any extension of this approach into other cities will be considered after evaluation of the London pilots.

IT Projects

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which information technology projects are being undertaken by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies; what the (i) start date, (ii) original planned completion date, (iii) expected completion date, (iv) originally planned costs and (v) estimated costs are of each; and if he will make a statement. [102111]

Mrs. McGuire: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 22 May 2007, Official Report, column 1162-68W, to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable).

Social Security Benefits: Fraud

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 10 May 2007, Official Report, column 467W, on social security benefits: fraud, if he will list and describe the other techniques referred to; how the caller's voice is recorded using voice risk analysis software if the customer is not present; and whether the Department intends to test the voice risk analysis software with customers (a) present and (b) absent. [137693]

Mr. Plaskitt: The Department intends to test voice risk analysis software in combination with questions designed to highlight risk factors and identify other inconsistencies in real-time telephone conversations.

Justice

Criminal Justice Act 2003

Mr. Cox: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (1) what assessment she has made of the impact on the conviction rate of those pleading not guilty before the courts of the provisions of sections 100 to 103 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003; [138936]

(2) what estimate she has made of (a) the number of contested trials in which, since the commencement of sections 100 to 103 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, evidence of bad character has been admitted, (b) the number and percentage of those trials which have resulted in conviction and (c) the percentage of all trials before the courts in which such evidence has been admitted; [138937]

(3) what assessment she has made of the overall effects on the criminal justice system of the implementation of sections 100 to 103 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. [138938]

Mr. Hanson: Detailed statistics on these matters are not collected routinely. However, following the implementation of Part 11 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, we have conducted a research project to evaluate the effect of the bad character provisions. The aims of the research are: to determine how frequently applications are made to adduce evidence about the bad character of the defendant and of non-defendants
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in criminal trials and how frequently applications are granted and refused; to establish how the provisions are being implemented and interpreted by legal practitioners and the courts; to explore what impact the provisions have had upon the balance struck between prosecution and defence interests in criminal trials; to consider to what extent, if any, the provisions have had a differential impact upon defendants or non-defendants from black and minority ethnic groups; and to explore whether the provisions have had any impact upon witnesses’ willingness to give evidence. This research is currently undergoing a peer review process.

Departments: Epilepsy

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice how many people with epilepsy are employed by her Department; and if she will make a statement. [139104]

Vera Baird: This information can be obtained only at a disproportionate cost given that it is not recorded centrally.

Within the former DCA briefing papers are disseminated to workplace support advisers (formerly welfare) and HR advisers on how to deal with reasonable adjustments for those people with epilepsy.

The Prison Service is committed to work with each individual member of staff who has a disability, including those with epilepsy, to ensure the most appropriate reasonable adjustments are made to enable them to continue working for us.

Elections

Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice how much was spent by her Department on the use of electronic counting technology and equipment for the May 2007 elections to the Scottish Parliament; and if she will make a statement. [137686]

Bridget Prentice: My Department did not incur any expenditure on the use of electronic counting technology and equipment for the May 2007 elections to the Scottish Parliament.

Fines: Victim Support Schemes

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice how much is expected to be received from payments of the victims surcharge in financial years (a) 2007-08, (b) 2008-09, (c) 2009-10 and (d) 2010-11. [138892]

Ms Harman: It is estimated that £15.1 million of surcharge monies will be collected in the first full year of implementation, but this estimate did not explicitly relate to 2007-08. The estimate is expected to remain valid for future years. No estimates have been made for specific financial years.

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice what will happen to money received from payments of the victims surcharge. [138893]


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Ms Harman: Monies received from the victims surcharge will go to the victims fund that will be dispersed to projects and schemes to support the victims and witnesses of crime.


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