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7 May 2008 : Column 979W—continued

Criminal Proceedings: Genetics

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what research his Department (a) has commissioned and (b) plans to commission on the use of DNA mixtures evidence in court proceedings; [201451]

(2) what guidance his Department has issued to the courts on the use of low-tech DNA evidence in cases before the courts. [201452]

Maria Eagle: The Ministry of Justice has not commissioned any research on the use of DNA mixtures evidence in criminal proceedings, and has no plans to do so. Nor is it our practice to issue guidance to the courts on how to evaluate the admissibility of different kinds of evidence. However, the Independent Forensic Science Regulator will shortly be publishing a full response to the independent review “A Review of the Science of Low Template DNA Analysis”, which recommended the development of guidance on DNA technology for the use of participants in the criminal justice system generally. Furthermore, guidance on low copy number DNA evidence was issued jointly by the Crown Prosecution Service, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Interim Forensic Science Regulator to Crown prosecutors on 28 January 2008. It is available on the CPS website at:

Departmental Closed Circuit Television

James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of the extent to which closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) operated (a) by and (b) on behalf of his Department comply (i) with the Data Protection Act 1998, (ii) the CCTV Code of Practice published by the Information Commissioner and (iii) relevant BSI standards. [203246]

Mr. Wills: All CCTV systems installed in Ministry of Justice buildings are required to comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act and the CCTV Code of Practice published by the Information Commissioner, which has been adopted by the Ministry. MOJ CCTV systems are not currently required to conform with recently published BSI standards on digital CCTV recording, which are not a mandatory requirement. The Ministry's policy on CCTV compliance is reviewed bi-annually; the next review is due to be undertaken in December 2008.

Departmental Contracts

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the Answer of 3 April 2008 to the hon. Member for Fareham, Official Report, columns 1170-74W, on departmental contracts, to which property or properties the expenditure on GVA Grimley related;
7 May 2008 : Column 980W
and what the conclusion of the non-domestic rating challenge was. [202814]

Maria Eagle: The expenditure on GVA Grimley related to their work, during 2007-08 in challenging National Non Domestic Rating assessments on the following properties:

The rating challenge exercise resulted in savings in rates payments of £567,908 recovered in 2007-08, with continuing savings of £418,303 per annum.

Departmental Freedom of Information

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many freedom of information requests made to his Department were (a) answered (i) within 20 days, (ii) within 40 days, (iii) within 60 days, (iv) after 60 days, (b) not answered and (c) answered citing an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as a reason not to provide the requested information in each year since the Act came into force. [201721]

Mr. Wills: The Ministry of Justice has published two annual reports

containing statistical information on freedom of information requests received by monitored bodies (including central government departments) in 2005 and 2006. These reports can be found at the following address:

The 2007 annual report is currently being drafted for publication in June 2008. However, statistics on requests received in each quarter of 2007 have been published and can be found via my Department's website:

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires public bodies to respond to written requests within 20 working days of receipt, but allows additional time for the consideration of the public interest in disclosing the requested information.

The published reports provide statistics on the number of "non-routine" requests received during each period where: an initial response was provided within 20 working days; an initial response was given outside this time but a public interest test extension had been applied; an initial response was given outside this time and no public interest test extension was applied, and where no initial response had been given at the time the statistics were collected.

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The 2006 annual report provides statistics on the duration of the public interest test extensions in that year. Corresponding statistics for 2007 will be available when the 2007 annual report is published.

Information requests where deadlines were extended beyond 40 days is not collected in the form requested; however the proportion of resolvable requests the Department answered "in time" (i.e. meeting the deadline or with a permitted extension) in 2007 was 89 per cent.

For 2005 and 2006, the reports show the number of requests received by the Department which were withheld, either in full or in part, where an FOI exemption or EIR exception was applied. For 2007, the number of such requests was 176, based on aggregated quarterly statistics from 2007. Requests withheld solely under the exemption applicable to 'information
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available by other means' are not included; statistics on these are not collected centrally because they are dealt with as routine business.

Figures prior to 9 May 2007 are for requests made to the DCA.

Departmental Public Participation

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 22 April 2008, Official Report, column 2012W, on departmental public participation, how many responses were received for each (a) survey, (b) questionnaire and (c) other service. [203102]

Mr. Wills: The information requested is detailed in the following table.

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Name of the survey etc Name of firm carrying out work (a) Survey (b) Questionnaire (c) Other

The Courts Experiences of Adults with Mental Health problems: Learning Disabilities and Limited Mental Capacity

British Market Research Bureau (BMRB)

26 Face to face interviews; 10 Telephone interviews; 16 questionnaires by email; Plus extensive desk research.

Victims Advocates Pilot Scheme Evaluation

British Market Research Bureau (BMRB)

74 interviews

Awareness of and development of offender management across prison and probation staff

Burns and Co.

36 responses

Focus groups—Victims of Crime, leaflet

Central Office of Information plus Burns and Co

62 participants over ten focus groups

Health and Social Care Professionals Awareness of the Mental Capacity Act (paper survey)

Distribution through Binleys. Survey conducted by Ipsos MORI

4,381 responses

The Pro Bono Work of Legal Executives

ECOTEC Research and Consulting

1,021 responses

Evaluation of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Social Security and Child Support Tribunals

ECOTEC Research and Consulting

98 Qualitative interviews at current as of 30 April

Salford Community Justice Initiative Evaluation

Evidence Led Solutions

156 Qualitative interviews

Tribunal Service Customer Satisfaction Survey

FDS International Ltd

2,672 responses

Testing of language and understanding of departmental strategic objectives with general public and staff

GfK NOP through Central Office of Information Communications

500 responses

48 participants over six focus groups

Sentencing and rehabilitation

ICM (via omnibus questions)

3,013 responses

HMCS Court User survey

Ipsos MORI

11,519 responses

Witness and Victim Experience survey

Ipsos MORI

30,936 responses in 2007-08

Inform, persuade, remind research

Ipsos MORI

6,513 responses

Nottingham Community Justice public opinion poll

Ipsos MORI

1,804 responses

Survey on Tackling and Preventing Sexual

Ipsos MORI

6,066 responses

Tribunal Service Customer Expectation survey

Ipsos MORI

730 responses

Customer Satisfaction questionnaire

Ipsos MORI

Nil responses. This questionnaire has not yet been used in the field.

Beacon Approach Evaluation

Ipsos MORI

54 responses

General Public Awareness of the Mental Capacity Act (Capibus survey)

Ipsos MORI

1,781 responses

Legal Professionals Awareness of the Mental Capacity Act (online survey)

Ipsos MORI

540 responses

Office of Public Guardian and Court of Protection Customer survey

Ipsos MORI

2,229 responses

Constitution Directorate tracker survey

Ipsos MORI

7,712 responses

Opinion Research, Merthyr Tydfil Community Justice Project


154 responses

35 participants in focus groups

Dedicated Drug Court Pilots: A Process Report

Matrix Knowledge Group

13 participants in focus groups; 78 structured interviews

Reporting restrictions in the Coroners Courts

Opinion Leader Research (OLR)

16 participants in one workshop

MOJ Staff Satisfaction Pulse Survey

Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) International

4,165 responses

Stocktake of attitudinal data

PA Consulting, Ipsos MORI

No responses—desk research

Public consultation for Community Justice Leicester


Consultation. Further details currently unavailable

HM Prison Service Annual Staff survey

Snap survey

24,630 responses

Tracker survey of local residents, Community Justice Centre, North Liverpool

Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS)

2532 responses

Public Perception of Risk and Protection from Serious and Violent Crime

Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS)

32 participants in focus groups

Preparatory facilitation for MOJ Engagement Study Working Group

Towers Perrin-ISR

25 participants in working group

Staff Opinion survey/Engagement Study/Culture Audit for all MoJ staff

Towers Perrin-ISR

Nil responses. This survey has not yet been used in the field.

Employment tribunal mediation pilot

Westminster University, fieldwork sub-contracted to British Market Research Bureau (BMRB)

143 responses

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