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Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the demographic profile of those people who are most likely not to be registered to vote; what the conclusions were of such research; and if he will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: The Government have not commissioned or evaluated any specific research on the demographic profile of people who are most likely not to be registered to vote. However, the Government did utilise some existing research in 2005 as a basis for further work towards identifying an evidence base for policy development and service targets.
The Electoral Commission found in their report, Understanding Electoral Registration, published in September 2005 that the most likely electors not to be registered to vote included young people, those residing in private rented accommodation and those belonging to certain minority ethnic groups.
Information arising out of the evidence base and the Electoral Commission's report were used to mount a registration campaign in London for 18 to 24-year-olds and to inform work on registration, which fed into various measures in the Electoral Administration Act 2006.
Bridget Prentice: A number of organisations including the Electoral Commission, the Association of Electoral Administrators, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers and the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission) have all made representations to the Ministry of Justice in favour of introducing individual registration. In addition, the Committee on Standards in Public Life recommended that the Government move towards a system of individual registration in Great Britain in its report of January 2007.
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 in Great Britain.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the latest timetable is for the Co-ordinated Online Record of Electors database to be fully operational; and which parts of the United Kingdom the database will cover. 
Bridget Prentice: It is not possible for me to provide a firm date on which I expect CORE to be fully operational until the CORE keeper has been confirmed. The Electoral Commission is the Governments preferred choice to fulfil this role, and discussions between my officials and those in the Commission are continuing on this point. In the meantime good progress is being made: electoral register data standards are to be implemented by 1 December 2009. Throughout 2008 we will be talking to all users, including political parties and Electoral Registration Officers, to define the CORE Service Model. I expect this work to be completed in early 2009.
Maria Eagle: The Legal Services Commission (LSC) currently funds four community legal advice centres together with the relevant local authority. These are in Gateshead, Leicester, Derby and Portsmouth.
A preferred bidder has been identified to run the community legal advice centre in Hull, due to come into operation shortly. The LSC is in active discussions with nine further local authorities about the possibility of jointly commissioning community legal advice centres or networks for their locality, with the aim of bringing them into operation before April 2010. These are: Barking and Dagenham, Cardiff, the Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend, East Riding of Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, Manchester, Stockport, Sunderland, Wakefield and West Sussex.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what criteria the Legal Services Commission applies to decide which organisations receive the contracts to run the new community legal advice centres. 
Maria Eagle: The Legal Services Commission assesses bids to provide community legal advice centres against a list of essential and desirable criteria. The document setting out the detailed criteria has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many magistrates there were in each local authority area in England and Wales in (a) 1996-97 and (b) the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Straw: Magistrates are appointed and assigned to Local Justice Areas by Advisory Committees. Advisory Committee areas do not accord with local authority areas, and it is therefore not possible to provide an answer in the format requested. In (a) 1996-97 figures were collected on a calendar year basis. Figures showing breakdown by Advisory Committee are not available for those two years.
Figures are now collected on a financial-year basis. The following table provides a breakdown of the numbers of magistrates in each Advisory Committee area for the financial year ending 31 March 2008.
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