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4 Dec 2007 : Column 1192Wcontinued
Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) receptions to and (b) releases from young offender institutions located (i) nationally and (ii) in London took place in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Hanson: Young Offender Institutions accommodate sentenced prisoners aged from 15 to 21. The following table shows the number of sentenced young offenders received into prison establishments in England and Wales in each year from 2002 to 2005, broken down into those sentenced by courts in London and those sentenced by courts outside of London.
We do not currently have consistent data to compare releases with receptions but expect to have reliable data for 2007 in early 2008.
These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what role his Department is playing in the review of the academies programme; and if he will make a statement. 
Andy Burnham: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 21 November 2007, Official Report, column 916W. Treasury officials are working closely with PMDU and DCSF officials, both in carrying out the review and overseeing the review.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the Child Benefit Office has spent on (a) potted plants, (b) taxis and (c) staff parties in the last five years for which figures are available. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 27 November]: The information is as follows.
(a) Child Benefit Office has spent nothing on potted plants;
(b) Information is only available at disproportionate cost; and
(c) I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 22 October 2007, Official Report, column 29W.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the Child Benefit Agency spent on staff travel overseas in the last 12 month period for which figures are available; and which destinations were travelled to. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 27 November 2007]: It has been necessary for one child benefit official to travel overseas on official business, to Belgium, in the 12 month period ending 30 November 2007. The cost of air travel and hotel accommodation was reimbursed by the European Commission and the net cost to the Department for other travel and subsistence costs necessarily incurred on those trips was £104.06.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reasons the helpline number 0845 302 1444 for enquiring about child benefit database concerns is a premium rate line; if he will ensure that people are able to call the helpline at local tariff rates; and if he will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy: This is not a premium rate line. HMRC policy is to operate customer facing helplines using an 0845 prefix rather than premium rate lines. The cost of calls to 0845 and other non geographic numbers is dependent on several factors. Calls are charged to the customer based on the tariff arrangements they have with their service provider, the device they use for the call and the location from which they call.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many child benefit claimants there are in (a) Northamptonshire and (b) Kettering constituency. 
Jane Kennedy: Figures showing the number of families receiving child benefit at regional and parliamentary constituency level for the UK are published on the HMRC website:
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information the National Audit Office (NAO) is entitled to request from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on child benefit claims; and by what mechanisms such information is provided to the NAO by HMRC. 
Jane Kennedy: The NAO derive their authority from four main Acts of Parliament; these are the Exchequer and Audit Department Acts 1866 and 1921, the National Audit (NAO) Act 1983 and the Government Resources and Accounts Act 2000. They have a right of access at all reasonable times to all official documents that they reasonably require for the purposes of their audit. The mechanisms by which such information is provided to the NAO vary according to the request.
On 13 November HMRC initiated immediate increased security with a new process:
transfers will now only take place if they are absolutely necessary;
written authorisation for the transfer has to be given by senior HMRC manager; and
a clear instruction has been given regarding the appropriate standard of protection for the transfer.
Where directors decide that a data transfer by disc is unavoidable such media must, in every case, be securely encrypted at the appropriate level.
On 20 November the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC's data handling procedures to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, the chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information from the child benefit database was requested by the National Audit Office from HM Revenue and Customs in October; and in what respect the information sent in response was more extensive that that requested. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 26 November 2007]: There is an ongoing Metropolitan Police investigation into the matter, and the Chancellor has appointed Kieran Poynter, chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers, to investigate HMRC's security processes and procedures for data handling. As part of his review Kieran Poynter has been asked to produce an interim report by 14 December.
Mr. Gauke: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the measures HM Revenue and Customs have taken to (a) prevent, (b) detect and (c) prosecute identity theft related to tax credit awards. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 26 November 2007]: HM Revenue and Customs have robust strategies in place for tackling fraud including a range of checks throughout the life of each claim. They continually refine and develop their processes to ensure they stay one step ahead of those who seek to de-fraud the system and respond quickly when new threats are identified.
HMRC have embedded compliance specialists in contact centres to provide additional support and specialist knowledge and raise fraud awareness.
If fraud is suspected, payments are stopped. HMRC always investigate allegations of fraud and can and do prosecute.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the grade was of the HM Revenue and Customs official who downloaded and posted discs containing confidential child benefit information. 
Jane Kennedy: I refer the hon. Member to the statement given in the House by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 20 November 2007, Official Report, columns 1101-04. It would be inappropriate to provide further information relating to this issue as there is an ongoing Metropolitan Police Service investigation.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the role of TNT in the loss of two discs containing personal details of families claiming tax credits; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what steps he is taking to search for the missing discs containing information about families claiming tax credits. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 26 November 2007]: No tax credit data was lost on the two discs in question.
There is an ongoing police investigation in relation to the loss of discs containing child benefit data. The police are conducting searches and the priority remains to find the missing data.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many calls there were to HM Revenue and Customs Child Benefit Helpline on each day since 19 September 2007. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 26 November 2007]: The following table provides HMRCs best current estimate of all calls handled by the child benefit helpline on each day from 19 September 2007 until 21 November 2007 inclusive.
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