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Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) of 13 December 2007, Official Report, columns 898-99W, on local government finance, if she will place in the Library a copy of the demographic change modelling which informed the settlement. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she (a) has given and (b) plans to give to local authorities on the provision without charge of local authority facilities for political campaigning. 
John Healey: Guidance with regard to the content, style, distribution and cost of local authority publicity is contained in the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity, issued by my Department under Section 4 of the Local Government Act 1986. In particular, the Code stresses that local authorities should not use public funds to mount publicity campaigns to persuade the public to hold a particular view.
Following consultation by my Department last year and the report of the independent Councillors Commission, we intend to consider further the future of the Code with local government stakeholders this year.
Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of each local authority in Englands spending on adult social care (a) in absolute terms and (b) as a proportion of total expenditure in each of the last three years; and what proportion of such expenditure was funded by central Government. 
John Healey: The information about spending on adult social services, in absolute terms and as a proportion of local authority revenue expenditure, in each of the last three years, for England was published for England has been published in Statistical Releases and editions of Local Government Financial Statistics and I have placed a table showing this information for individual local authorities in the Library of the House.
I understand this question to refer to the Bail Accommodation and Support Service. These are not bail hostels. The service provides accommodation in flats and houses with up to five people sharing, and support to users. A list of towns or areas where
accommodation is currently provided or is being sought was included in my written answer of 21 January 2008, Official Report, column 1655W. There is no accommodation used by BASS in Ribble Valley and there are no plans to acquire any. Five BASS properties are currently located in Lancashire providing 18 of the 20 bed spaces sought. At present we aim to provide 705 bed spaces in around 150 properties across England and Wales, mostly placing people in the community from which they originate.
Maria Eagle: In the last five years for which data is available (2002-06) no persons have been proceeded against at magistrates courts in England and Wales for offences under the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 or the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (which repealed and replaced the 1985 Act with effect from 3 March 2004).
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what percentage of Freedom of Information requests received by his Department have given rise to responses that have been published by his Department. 
Mr. Straw: My Department adopts a selective disclosure log whereby only information of wider public interest is routinely published. Between January 2005 and September 2007 my Department received around 2,300 freedom of information requests, 89 per cent. of which were answered in time and 2.2 per cent. were published on our disclosure log. This figure includes responses to requests received by the National Offender Management Service and the Office for Criminal Justice Reform since the Ministry of Justice was established in May 2007. It is of course open to the person making the FOI request to make the information received more widely available. I am ready to make arrangements for the hon. Gentleman to view other information released if he so wishes.
Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will list the special advisers employed in his Department and its predecessor since 6 May 1997; and what the (a) start and (b) end date of employment was in each case. 
Since 2003, the Government have published on an annual basis the names and numbers of special advisers in each pay band. For the most recent information I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 22 November 2007, Official Report, columns 147-150WS.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how much his Department and its predecessors spent on travel (a) within and (b) outside the UK for officials in each of the last 10 years; and what percentage of his Departments overall expenditure was spent on such travel in each such year; 
Maria Eagle: The spend on travel within and outside the UK for officials in each of the last 10 years is not separately identifiable in the Departments accounts. The Departments annual accounts group travel, subsistence, and hospitality in one line, and where it may be possible to separate the travel and subsistence element, to distinguish the travel element from this figure may be provided only at disproportionate costs.
Costs of overseas travel for officials incurred by the Department in the last 10 years are not separately identifiable within the Departments accounts and may be provided only at disproportionate cost.
The data on how many overseas visits, to which countries, and the related costs are not required to be centrally held. These costs are not separately identifiable within the Departments accounts and may be provided only at disproportionate cost.
The list includes details about the number of officials accompanying the Minister when non-scheduled travel is used for the trip. Copies of lists covering information going back to the 1997-98 financial year are available in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has to encourage the use of mediation in divorce proceedings not covered by legal aid; and if he will oblige solicitors to offer mediation to respondents entitled to legal aid in such proceedings where the applicant is a private client not so entitled. 
Bridget Prentice: The Government believe that mediation can offer considerable advantages over going to court in the settling of family disputes, especially where children are involved, irrespective of how cases are funded.
In proceedings where one of the clients is in receipt of legal aid, the Legal Services Commission (LSC) pays for an assessment meeting for both the funded client and the privately paying client to enable them to find out about the potential benefits of mediation without incurring costs. If mediation is considered appropriate, the LSC will continue to fund the legally aided client but the privately paying client will pay private rates set by the mediation service. Some services charge on a sliding scale, depending on the client's means.
Mediation by its very nature is a voluntary process and not suitable in all cases, for example where domestic violence is an issue. In both family and civil mediation, parties have to want the process to work in order to reach any agreement.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 23 January 2008, Official Report, column 2105W, on the Firearms Act 1968: convictions, what proportion of those found guilty were over the age of 18. 
|Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for offences under Section 5 of the 1968 Firearms Act, broken down by police force area and age group, England and Wales, 2006 ( 1,2,3)|
|10 to 17||18 and over||All a ges|
|Police force area||Proceeded against||Found guilty||Proceeded against||Found guilty||Proceeded against||Found guilty|
|(1) These data are on the principal offence basis.|
(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces.
As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
(3) The found guilty column may exceed these proceeded against, as it may be the case that the proceedings in the magistrates court took place in the preceding year and they were found guilty at the Crown court in following year, or the defendants was found guilty for a different offence to the original offence proceeded against.
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