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21 Apr 2008 : Column 1862W—continued

Coroners Bill (Draft)

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the reason for the time taken to introduce the Coroners Bill to Parliament is; and if he will make a statement. [198665]

Bridget Prentice: The Government are committed to reforming the coroner service for England and Wales, and to making non-legislative improvements ahead of a Coroners Bill. There was no space for the Coroners Bill in this Session’s busy legislative programme but the firm intention remains to introduce a Bill as soon as time allows. Measures to be introduced ahead of legislation include strengthening Rule 43 of the Coroners Rules 1984 to help coroners to prevent future deaths, revising the Charter for the Bereaved for a reformed service, and working with the Press Complaints Commission to establish whether their code of practice for editors could be refined, in respect of the reporting of inquests, for the benefit of bereaved families.

Coroners: Children

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he plans to take to ensure that coroners and local safeguarding children boards work together effectively to investigate child deaths. [198663]

Bridget Prentice: Arrangements are already being made to introduce a new Coroners Rule to ensure that coroners and Local Safeguarding Children Boards have the correct framework to work together effectively with their respective statutory responsibilities to investigate child deaths.

Coroners: Mesothelioma

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what representations he has received on the procedures used in coroners' inquests following a death from mesothelioma in the last 12 months [198687]

Bridget Prentice: In February 2007, my Department received the report of the British Lung Foundation on its research in to the investigation of mesothelioma deaths. My officials have met with representatives of the British Lung Foundation to discuss their report, and facilitated meetings between the Foundation and the Coroners Society. Following these meetings, best practice guidance for coroners and clinicians on how deaths from mesothelioma should be dealt with has been published on the Coroners Society website. The needs of the bereaved are integral to our proposals in regard to longer term reform of the coroners’ service. The appointment of a chief coroner and the introduction of national standards of service, which will be enabled by the Coroners Bill, will also address concerns about inconsistencies of practice between coroner areas. We will bring forward legislation as soon
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as parliamentary time allows, and continue to consult with the British Lung Foundation about those parts of the Bill which effect the investigation of mesothelioma deaths. In February 2008, I attended a parliamentary reception hosted by the British Lung Foundation and I was happy to give a commitment to work with them as the Government develops its policy further in these areas.

Crime: Victims

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the Answer of 31 March 2008, Official Report, column 555W, on crime: victims, what terms of employment or appointment were specified for the post of commissioner for victims and witnesses in the recruitment exercise. [199263]

Maria Eagle: The recruitment exercise carried out in 2006 for the post of Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses suggested a salary in the region of £120,000 depending on the knowledge, experience and skills of the successful candidate.

The Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004 required that the period of appointment must not exceed five years.

The recruitment exercise was carried out in accordance with the Code of Practice For Public Appointments.

Data Protection

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 7 March 2008, Official Report, column 2844W, on data protection, for what reasons (a) there was no Government response to the Council of Science and Technology’s 2005 report on data security and (b) none of the recommendations have been implemented. [198090]

Mr. Wills: The Council of Science and Technology’s 2005 (CST) report was one of a number of pieces of work being produced within and independent of Government in the last five years which influenced thinking on how to tackle the challenges of making better use of information whilst safeguarding personal data and helped inform the Information Sharing Vision Statement in September 2006. It was because of the useful work that Dr Mark Walport did with the CST that the PM asked him to undertake a comprehensive review with the Information Commissioner of the use and sharing of personal information in the public and private sectors.

The Government will take a considered view on what measures are necessary to strengthen the protection of personal information in the light of conclusions and recommendations of this review and the review by the Cabinet Secretary.

Departmental Advertising

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which of his Department’s initiatives and those of its predecessors have been advertised to the public in each of the last 10 years; and what the cost of each such campaign was. [192233]

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Maria Eagle: Since its creation on 9 May 2007, my Department, the Ministry of Justice and its agencies have advertised the following:

Radio (£) Press/poster (£)

Her Majesty’s Courts Service

Camberwell Green Magistrates Court Payback Scheme


HM Prison Service

National Prison Officer Recruitment



National Probation Service

Recruitment of Trainee Probation Officers


The predecessor Department to the Ministry of Justice (the Department for Constitutional Affairs—DCA) was created on 12 June 2003. It conducted the following advertising campaigns aimed at the public, and the following table sets out the costs of these campaigns.

Department for Constitutional Affairs
Radio (£) Press/poster (£)


Operation Payback (fine enforcement) (Phase 4)



Operation Payback (Phase 3)



Postal voting


Magistrates recruitment



18-24 voter registration



Operation Payback (Phase 2)



Magistrates recruitment



Operation Payback (Phase 1)



Magistrates recruitment


Spending on advertising campaigns by the DCA’s predecessor, the Lord Chancellor’s Department, was as follows:



Launch of the Community Legal Service and increasing awareness of family mediation



Raising awareness of lost land certificates


Publicising court closures



Magistrates recruitment


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Departmental Domestic Visits

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what visits he made to (a) Harrogate International Centre, (b) International Conference Centre, Birmingham, (c) Manchester Central, (d) Scottish Exhibitional and Conference Centre, Glasgow, (e) Edinburgh International Conference Centre, (f) Bournemouth International Conference Centre, (g) the Brighton Centre, Brighton, (h) the Riviera Centre, Torquay, (i) Queen Elizabeth Centre, London, (j) Excel Conference Centre, Docklands, London, and (k) Business Design Centre, Islington, London, in the period 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2007; and what events he attended at each. [197165]

Mr. Straw: My predecessor, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, spoke at the Queen Elizabeth Centre, London on 12 September 2005 to the Commonwealth Law Conference and on 10 March 2006 to the ESRC Devolution and Constitutional Change Conference. Lord Falconer also spoke at the Business Design, Islington, London on 10 January 2007 to the Public Guardianship Office staff conference.

Departmental Publications

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what guidance is issued to members of his Department on the authorship and publication on the internet of material relating to their official duties; and if he will make a statement. [196744]

Maria Eagle: The Civil Service Code, the Civil Service Management Code and Propriety Guidance on Government Communications, all provide guidance to staff on the publication of material relating to their official duties. Copies of each of these are in the Libraries of the House. They are also available on the Cabinet Office website at

Departmental Video Conferencing

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will take steps to set a target to increase the use of video-conferencing by his Department to reduce the need to travel to meetings. [195889]

Mr. Straw: The Ministry of Justice’s Sustainable Development action plan which was published on the 14 March 2008 requires the Department to produce a high level transport plan setting out measures that will enable the Department to reduce the impact of business travel on the environment. The increased use of video-conferencing equipment will be an integral part of the plan.

A copy of the action plan is available on the Ministry of Justice website at:

Feltham Young Offender Institution and Remand Centre

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the (a) name and (b) capacity is of each unit at HM Young Offender Institution Feltham; who
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the residential manager is of each; and if he will make a statement. [192684]

Maria Eagle: The information is set out in the following table. The numbers relate to operational capacity. It is not Prison Service policy to name individual members of staff.

Unit Name OpCap







































There is also Lapwing Unit which has 38 beds, which is currently commissioned as a 20 bed mental health inpatients unit, and is not on the establishment's certified normal accommodation.

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