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Bridget Prentice: The information requested is not held centrally in this form. However, information on the overall number of persons found guilty of various fraud related offences under the Representation of the People Act 1983 between 1998 and 2006 is set out in the following table.
|Persons found guilty in England and Wales of various fraud related offences under the Representation of the People Act 1983|
1. Convictions do not necessarily occur in the same year that proceedings are initiated.
2. Offences under the Representation of the People Act include tampering with nomination and ballot papers etc. making false declarations as to election expenses, bribery, treating, undue influence and personation offences.
3. Figures for 2002 exclude any cases in Staffordshire.
The Electoral Commission has plans in place to analyse the Crown Prosecution files on electoral fraud post 2006. This process will help to provide an up to date record of the number of successful electoral fraud prosecutions.
We are continuing to work closely with the Electoral Commission, police, political parties and returning officers to raise awareness and strengthen systems to ensure that fraud is detected and prosecuted.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what assessment he has made of whether to make HMP Chelmsford a category C prison; and what factors he has taken into account in that assessment; 
(4) what recent change there has been to the capacity of the young offender facility at Rochester; and what effect this has had on numbers of young offenders from London being placed in Chelmsford Prison. 
Chelmsford serves the YO population for London and the South East of England. In its management of the YO population, the National Offender Management Service tries to ensure that young offenders are held as close to their home area as possible. However, prison population pressures mean that some YOs from outside the local area need to be held at HMP/YOI Chelmsford at present.
Changes to capacity at HMYOI Rochester have not yet taken place. We anticipate that the planned 300 additional places at Rochester will be available by October this year with around 50 further places expected at a future date. This will enable us to review the YO catchment area for Chelmsford and to consider plans to reduce the number of YOs held there from outside the area.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many domestic air flights members of (a) his Department and its predecessor and (b) its agencies made within mainland Britain in the most recent year for which figures are available; and at what cost. 
The number of domestic air flights taken by members of the Department and its agencies can be provided only at a disproportionate cost, as this information is not held at one central point.
The cost of domestic air flights for the Department and its agencies may be provided only at a disproportionate cost. This type of expenditure is not separately identifiable within accounting systems, as it is included in travel and subsistence as a whole.
All official travel by Ministers and civil servants is undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Code and the Civil Service Management Code respectively. Copies of these are available in the Library of the House for the reference of Members.
Mr. Wills: It is not possible to provide details of the amount spent by the Department on organising and hosting conferences in the last 12 months as this information is not held centrally and could only be obtained by manually contacting each division within my Department at a disproportionate cost.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when the sanctions in relation to voter registration brought in under recent legislation will be brought into force; and if he will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: A new offence of supplying false information of any kind to a registration officer in connection with electoral registration, came into force in time for the 2006 annual canvass. Anyone found guilty of the supplying false information at registration can be fined up to £5,000 or sentenced to up to six months' imprisonment.
Bridget Prentice: There are no proposals to ring-fence funding for electoral registration activities. Funding is included in the local authority formula grant issued by central Government. Once these funds are allocated, decisions on how it is utilised are a matter for the local authorities concerned. However, there is also a parallel protocol, which states that unless there is an exceptional reason to do so, money provided to local authorities for discharging their statutory responsibilities should not be ring-fenced.
However, section 67 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 allows the Electoral Commission to set and monitor performance standards for electoral services. In developing standards the Commission undertook a data collection exercise with all electoral registration officers (EROs) in Great Britain following the 2007 annual canvass and published results on April 30 2008. At the same time EROs were asked to supply financial data by 31 July 2008. These results are expected to be published by autumn 2008 and should give us a better understanding of the costs of electoral registration in Great Britain for the last financial year.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what mechanisms are in place to (a) enable, (b) encourage and (c) require electoral registration officers to consult other (i) local and (ii) central Government databases to (A) cross-check and (B) augment their compilation of electoral registers. 
Bridget Prentice: Electoral registration officers (EROs) are required to take all necessary steps to register eligible electors and were granted the power to inspect records held by any person that the ERO is permitted to inspect.
The Electoral Commission has issued guidance to EROs encouraging them to use this power and advises of the records that may be inspected which will help to provide and cross-check additional information to assist them in their registration duties.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding of local authority registration officers in relation to their objectives to increase voter registration; what assessment he has made of the relationship between additional funding and increased voter registration; and if he will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: As part of the development of the Electoral Administration Act 2006, which included a new duty to undertake work to ensure all eligible people were registered to vote, a need for additional resources was identified. Monies were made available to support this work as part of the funding provided for the implementation of the Act.
Section 67 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 allows the Electoral Commission to set and monitor performance standards for electoral services. In developing standards the Commission undertook a data collection exercise with all Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) in Great Britain following the 2007 annual canvass and published results on April 30 2008. At the same time EROs were asked to supply financial data by 31 July 2008. These results are expected to be published by autumn 2008 and should give us a better understanding of the costs of electoral registration in Great Britain for the last financial year.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the effect that individual voter registration would have on (a) levels of voter registration and (b) the accuracy of the register; and if he will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: The Government have not made any assessment of the impact that individual voter registration is likely to have on the levels of registration and the accuracy of the register, but we are aware that any new system of electoral registration in GB would need to be tailored to current circumstances, and in particular would need to address the challenge of under-registration.
The Government are committed to the principle of individual registration. But this will be a far-reaching reform, and it will need to be undertaken with great careboth to make sure a new system is robust, and to ensure that it properly tackles the problem of under-registration.
Our vision for electoral registration is clear: we want to protect the rights of every eligible person to participate in the United Kingdom's democratic process by ensuring complete, accurate and secure electoral registration.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether incentives are available for the participation of local authority chief executives in electoral administration; and if he will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: Electoral administration in England and Wales is the responsibility of returning officers and electoral registration officers. Although they are by statute local authority officials, they act independently when carrying out their electoral duties. In law, local authority chief executives have no role in electoral administration, however, in practice they are often the returning officer or electoral registration officer and so should be aware of the duties of these posts and their importance.
The Electoral Administration Act 2006 included at section 67 provisions to enable the Electoral Commission to set performance standards for electoral administration and to require returning officers and electoral registration officers to report on how they have met those standards. The intention is to encourage all administrators to reach the standards of the best. We would expect local authority chief executives to be concerned if their local authority was seen to be under-performing in this area.
In addition, my Department provides funding through its Participation Fund to electoral officers in support of their duty to take such steps as they consider necessary to encourage electoral participation in their areas. The intention is to encourage electoral officers to pursue activities aimed at increasing awareness of and involvement in the democratic process and raising the profile of electoral issues.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will take steps to collect information on (a) the revenue raised by local authorities from the sale of electoral registers and (b) the use to which such monies are put; and if he will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: The Government do not intend to take steps to collect information on the revenue raised from the sale of electoral registers. The fees charged for the sale of the registers are set with a view towards recovery of the costs of administration. Local authorities do not sell copies of the electoral register for profit, as governed by the Representation of the People Regulations 2001 (as amended in 2002).
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which local authorities have initiated proceedings to levy a fine on households who do not submit a register of electors form in response to the annual canvass since the sanction was brought into force. 
Bridget Prentice: This information is not collected centrally. However, I understand that only a few local authorities have initiated proceedings for failure to complete and return an annual registration.
Electoral Registration Officers have a duty to compile and maintain an accurate register and they have a number of mechanisms available to them in achieving this including the new duty. It is a decision for them, whether they initiate proceedings for non-completion of the annual canvass form.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what rate of interest is paid by the National Offender Management Service when it does not pay invoices promptly in accordance with its procedures. 
Mr. Hanson: Where the National Offender Management Service does not pay a valid invoice on time, it will abide by the conditions and rates set out in the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 as amended 2002 should the supplier wish to invoke its rights under the Act.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the timescale is by which the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) is expected to pay invoices when full details of the payee have been registered on the NOMS computerised system. 
Mr. Hanson: Exact timescales are determined according to the negotiations with individual suppliers, but most commonly the National Offender Management Service contracts stipulate that payment shall be made to the supplier within 30 days of receipt by NOMS (at its nominated address for invoices) of the supplier's valid original invoice, including full seven-digit official purchase order number.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many applications for grants to ensure disabled access at polling stations were made by Warrington borough council in each of the last three years; and how much was awarded on each occasion. 
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