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30 Jun 2008 : Column 714W—continued


Asylum: Iraq

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will make a statement on the operation of the Locally Employed Staff Assistance Scheme, with particular reference to (a) the provisional and transitional arrangements for (i) accommodation, (ii) schooling, (iii) language training and (iv) other support, (b) longer term plans for those benefiting from the scheme and (c) the position of those currently located in third countries. [212015]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 19 June 2008]: Since we announced our intention to help those who served our forces in Iraq families have begun arriving in the UK, with more to come this summer. They are given housing, English lessons, financial support and have a case worker who helps them to resettle and access health and education services. Accommodation is provided through a variety of providers who assess the housing needs of families to provide suitable short and long term accommodation. Advice and training to enable access to work is also provided by appropriate agencies.

By providing both current and former locally engaged staff with indefinite leave to remain in the UK we are showing a real commitment to providing a new start for the staff who have worked for us in Iraq. The first group of former staff were interviewed (in a third country) by UK Border Agency staff in May 2008 and those accepted will arrive in the UK from July onwards. The UK Border Agency will return in July to interview the second group of former locally engaged staff.

British Nationality (Honorary Citizenship) Bill

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2008, Official Report, column 967W, on the British Nationality (Honorary Citizenship) Bill, if she will place in the Library a copy of the file; and if she will make a statement. [214047]

Mr. Byrne: I will write to the hon. Member with the information it is appropriate to release.

British Nationality: Assessments

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many times the Life in the UK Test was (a) taken by an applicant and (b) passed in each year since its introduction. [214007]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 26 June 2008]: Applicants may take the Life in the UK Test as many times as they wish but records are not kept of how many times each individual applicant takes the test. The number of tests taken and passed since its introduction is:

2005 2006 2007 2008 January to April All tests to date

Total tests

7,398

155,879

308,126

101,386

572,789

Pass

5,249

105,403

214,705

73,424

398,781

Fail

2,149

50,476

93,421

27,962

174,008

Pass rate (percentage)

71.0

67.6

69.7

72.4

69.6


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Colonel Karuna

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the reasons are for the detention of Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, commonly known as Colonel Karuna, a Sri Lankan citizen; what his immigration status is; and whether he is being considered for deportation. [213816]

Mr. Byrne: It is the general policy of the UK Border Agency not to disclose to a third party personal information about another person, including information concerning their immigration status, as well as personal details, mainly for reasons of privacy, data protection and child protection.

Departmental Assets

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department over what period her Department depreciates the asset value of its (a) vehicles, (b) computer hardware, (c) bespoke computer software, (d) standard computer software, (e) furniture and (f) telecommunications equipment. [213228]

Mr. Byrne: The Department depreciates its fixed assets over periods consistent with the accounting standards laid out in the Financial Reporting Manual.

Departmental Aviation

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individual domestic air flights were undertaken within mainland Britain by representatives of (a) her Department and (b) its agencies in the most recent year for which figures are available; and at what cost. [211003]

Mr. Byrne: The Department recorded spend of £1.17 million on domestic flights in financial year 2007-08; information on the number of domestic flights undertaken by Home Office can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Criminal Records Bureau spent £4,000 on 16 flights; Identity and Passport Service spent £472,000 on approximately 2,500 flights.

The above figures are subject to audit of the Department’s 2007-08 Resource Accounts.

The Department expects all official travel to be carried out by the most efficient and economic means available, taking into account the cost of travel and subsistence, savings in official time, management benefit, and the needs of staff with disabilities.

Travel by Ministers and civil servants is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code and the Civil Service Management Code respectively.

Departmental Buildings

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the value of the property held by (a) her Department and (b) associated public bodies was at the most recent date for which figures are available. [212886]


30 Jun 2008 : Column 716W

Mr. Byrne: Details of the value of property held, including valuation dates, can be found at Notes 1 and 14 to the Department's 2006-07 Resource Accounts on the Home Office website at:

The value of property held by the following executive non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) can be found in their own published annual reports and accounts for 2006-07 which can be obtained from the Stationery Office, relevant body or at the following website addresses:

Public body Website

Serious Organised Crime Agency

http://www.soca.gov.uk/assessPublications/socaAnnualReport0708.html

Independent Police Complaints Commission

http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/index/resources/evidence_reports/corp_reports-plans.htm

Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner

http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc0607/hc07/0757/0757.asp

Security Industry Authority

http://www.the-sia.orq.uk/home/aboutsia/publications/publications_financial.htm


Values for National Policing Improvement Agency, which formed on 1 April 2007, will become available when its 2007-08 set of accounts is finalised.

Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisers

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 27 March 2008, Official Report, column 351W, on ministerial policy advisers, which former special advisers have (a) received approval from and (b) been refused permission by her Department to take up an outside appointment on leaving their post since May 2005. [210921]

Mr. Byrne: Personal information about the applications submitted by special advisers, and other Crown servants, is made public only in accordance with the principles and practices followed in the operation of the Business Appointment Rules. This information, which includes details of the appointments of the most senior staff and statistical data about cases at the more junior levels, is published on the website of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (www.acoba.gov.uk) and in its reports.

Departmental Older Workers

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people over the age of 55 years have been recruited by her Department in each of the last three years. [191499]

Mr. Byrne: Data for staff joining above the age of 55 are unavailable and will incur disproportionate cost to collect.

Departmental Pay

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what proportion of staff in her Department received bonus payments in 2006-07; what the total amount of bonuses paid was; what the largest single payment was; and if she will make a statement. [213303]


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Mr. Byrne: Within the Home Office Headquarters and the UK Border Agency, bonuses may be awarded in the form of annual, appraisal-related awards based on exceptional contribution throughout the year; or special bonuses for exceptional outstanding achievements by staff in particularly demanding tasks or situations. Senior civil servants can be awarded bonuses as set out in the senior salaries review body report number 62.

Table 1 provides information about the amount paid in end of year bonuses (annual appraisal related) and special bonuses in 2006-07 to staff working within Home Office and its Agencies (UK Border Agency, Identity and Passport Service and Criminal Records Bureau) and includes information for senior civil servants.

The largest single payment paid was £20,000 as end of year bonus, which was awarded to a member of the senior civil service in line with Cabinet Office guidance on SCS bonus payments.

Bonus type Amoun t paid Number of payments made Total number of eligible staff Proportion of staff receiving a bonus

End of year(1)

5,735,416

9,261

27,681

33

Special

3,028,464

7,099

(2)28,163

25

(1) IPS staff do not receive appraisal related bonuses, but are eligible for end of year “corporate bonuses”.
(2) CRB do not have end of year bonuses, but the 482 staff are eligible to receive in-year “special” bonuses.

Departmental Sick Pay

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much sick pay to staff in her Department cost in the last five years for which figures are available. [211863]

Mr. Byrne: We are unable to provide the information requested from available sources and commissioning a special report would incur disproportionate cost.

Departmental Trade Unions

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which trade unions represent members of staff in (a) her Department and (b) its agencies. [212481]

Mr. Byrne: Staff in Home Office headquarters are represented by the unions FDA, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) and Prospect.

Staff in the Criminal Records Bureau are represented by PCS; in the Identity and Passport Service by FDA and PCS; and in the UK Border Agency by FDA, PCS, Prospect and the Immigration Service Union.

Departmental Vetting

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what procedures her Department follows for checking the criminal records of employees; and if she will make a statement; [213130]

(2) what percentage of successful applicants for jobs in her Department are subjected to a criminal records check; how many (a) successful applicants and (b) criminal records checks there were in each of the last 10 years; how many successful applicants were found to
30 Jun 2008 : Column 718W
have a criminal record after a criminal records check took place in each of the last 10 years; whether the selection of successful candidates to be subjected to a criminal records check is random or targeted; and if she will make a statement. [213150]

Mr. Byrne: The current position is that all staff recruited to posts within the Home Office and its agencies (the UK Border Agency, Identity and Passport Service and Criminal Records Bureau) are subject to criminal records checks as part of the National Security Vetting (NSV). Checks are not random. Vetting is reviewed at various times during service.

Table 1 shows the number of individuals subject to NSV.

Machinery of Government changes will have affected those to whom NSV applied over the last 10 years.

The figures also include renewal of security clearance; not all refusals of NSV will have been for reasons of criminality.

All figures include those HM Prison Service posts where the Home Office Departmental Security Unit was required to complete the security clearance. HM Prison Service became an agency of the Ministry of Justice in May 2007.

Granted NSV( 1) Refused NSV( 2) Total

1 April 1999 to 31 March 1999

10,708

240

10,948

1 April to 31 March 2000

12,829

303

13,132

1 April 2000 to 31 January 2001

20,928

694

21,622

1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002

26,079

767

26,846

1 April 2002 to 31 March 2003

30,391

1,188

31,579

1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004

27,237

2,251

29,488

1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005

24,155

1,239

25,393

1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006

26,592

1,305

27,897

1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007

27,535

1,827

29,363

1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008

21,151

1,018

22,169

Total

227,605

10,832

238,437

(1) Numbers include cases where a criminal record did not preclude granting of NSV.
(2) Numbers include applicants who withdrew or where a criminal record may have resulted in refusal.

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