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Mr. Amess: To ask the Solicitor-General what process was followed in the appointment of the Director of Public Prosecutions; where the post was advertised; how many persons applied for the post; how many were short-listed for interview; whether consideration was given to a candidates political views; how each was appraised; what criteria were adopted for each candidate; how many candidates were rejected; and if she will make a statement. 
The Solicitor-General: The Director of Public Prosecutions was appointed by the then Attorney-General in 2003. He was unanimously recommended for the post by a panel which was chaired by the then First Civil Service Commissioner and also comprised two permanent secretaries and a serving Appeal Court judge. The post was advertised in the national media and a firm of executive search consultants was engaged. Sixteen applications were considered and three candidates were interviewed. Ken Macdonald QC was identified as the best candidate for his experience, his leadership qualities and vision. Candidates political views were not a relevant consideration.
Norman Baker: To ask the Solicitor-General for what reason the Crown Prosecution Service took the decision that it was not in the public interest to proceed with the prosecution of Martin Allen. 
The Solicitor-General: In order to commence a prosecution, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) applies a two-stage test. First, there has to be sufficient evidence for there to be a realistic prospect of conviction. Secondly, if there is sufficient evidence, it has to be in the public interest to prosecute. A prosecution will normally take place unless there are public interest factors tending against a prosecution which clearly outweigh those tending in favour of a prosecution.
Having thoroughly reviewed the available evidence, the CPS concluded that there was sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against Mr. Allen for a number of criminal offences, but that there were a number of public interest factors against a prosecution, which outweighed those in favour.
In this case, matters relating to Mr. Allens health and the surrounding circumstances were significant in deciding that a prosecution was not in the public interest. It would not be appropriate to give further details, as this would breach confidentiality.
Norman Baker: To ask the Solicitor-General what (a) legal advice and (b) recommendations the Crown Prosecution Service received from counsel before taking the decision whether to prosecute Martin Allen; and if she will make a statement. 
The Solicitor-General: An advice file was submitted by the Metropolitan Police to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in September 2005. As part of its review, the CPS requested advice from counsel on what, if any, criminal offences had been committed by Mr. Allen.
In October 2005, the CPS received counsels advice. Counsel concluded (assuming that a number of facts could be proved) that there may be sufficient evidence to charge Mr. Allen with three offences: one alleging forgery, one alleging the use of forged documents and one alleging criminal damage. Counsels advice was based upon the prosecution being able to prove a number of facts. In relation to two of those facts, counsel made suggestions as to how they might be proved.
Following an extensive and complex investigation, in March 2007, the CPS concluded that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute Mr. Allen for three offences. However, having considered the public interest factors in favour of a prosecution and those against, the CPS concluded that the factors against a prosecution outweighed those in favour. Accordingly, the Metropolitan Police were advised that a prosecution was not required in the public interest.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Solicitor-General what resources have been provided to the Prisoners Learning and Skills Unit since its formation; what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of its work; and if she will make a statement. 
The resources provided to the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills Offenders Learning and Skills Unit (OLSU), and its predecessors, since the transfer of offender learning and skills, in 2001, are as follows:
|Financial year||Budget ( £ million)|
The OLSU has been effective in raising the profile of the skills and employment agenda for offenders in custody and in the community. The 2005 Green Paper Reducing Re-offending Through Skills and Employment and the follow-up Reducing Re-offending Through Skills and Employment: Next Steps (2006) documents have set out a clear agenda for action for the strong partnership between the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Work and Pensions.
The Solicitor-General: The Attorney-General's office keeps data on prosecutions under Part III of the Public Order Act 1986, relating to offences concerning conduct intended to, or likely to, stir up racial hatred. The following table captures the relevant AGO data for the period 1997 to 2007 inclusive. The AGO statistics are recorded by reference to the year in which each case was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service by the police, rather than the year in which an offender was charged or eventually convicted.
|Number of persons charged||Number of persons convicted||Other outcome( 1)|
|(1) Key to abbreviations:|
A = acquitted
D = dropped
O = ongoing
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether it is his Departments policy to use (a) incandescent light bulbs and (b) LED lights for festive decorations on departmental premises. 
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what his Departments policy is on the selection of (a) real and (b) artificial Christmas trees for his Departments festive decorations; and how real trees are disposed of. 
Mr. Hain: The Wales Office uses both real trees and artificial trees. Its real trees are obtained from sustainable resources, via the Ministry of Justice, which also provides the facility for disposal and recycling of the trees.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many air miles were travelled by Ministers in his Department in each year since 2000; and what estimate he has made of the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced as a result. 
|Miles||CO 2 tonnes|
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many miles he and other Ministers in his Department travelled on short haul flights in the last 12 months; and what estimate he has made of the total amount of carbon emissions produced as a result of these flights. 
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether the standard terms and conditions of purchase used by his Department in the procurement of goods and services from the private sector prohibit the assignment of debt. 
Barbara Follett [holding answer 4 December 2007]: Since the formation of the Government Equalities Office in summer 2007, no assessment has been made. However, as a matter of good practice, we will consider pay issues once the terms and conditions of the new office have been finalised.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what proportion of staff in the Government Equalities Office are (a) male, (b) female, (c) black and minority ethnic male and (d) black and minority ethnic female. 
Barbara Follett [holding answer 4 December 2007]: Following the announcement of the establishment in summer 2007 of the Government Equalities Office, staff transferred from the Communities and Local Government. The following data do not include a number of staff who have recently joined the office.
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