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Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department has taken to reduce the time taken by the Information Commissioner to process complaints; and if he will make a statement. 
The Information Commissioner is an independent post created by statute. His responsibilities include handling complaints made under the Data
Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000, Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
In response to business cases presented by the Commissioner to deal with his Freedom of Information workload my Department has increased the grant in aid available to his office for this financial year and the previous three.
Its responsibilities include handling complaints made under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI), Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR) and Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).
|April to March each year||DPA and PECR||FOI and EIR|
Mr. Wills: The Information Commissioner's data protection work is funded through notification fees paid to his office by data controllers under section 26 of the Data Protection Act 1998, which his office retains with the agreement of HM Treasury.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent discussions he has had with the Information Commissioner on the backlog of Freedom of Information cases being processed by the Information Commissioner's Office. 
In response to business cases presented by the Commissioner to deal with his freedom of information workload, the Ministry of Justice has increased the grant in aid available to his office for this financial year and the previous three.
|April to March each year||Total staff (including part-time)||Full-time equivalents|
Mr. Wills: On 17 July 2008, the Government published a consultation paper on the Information Commissioners inspection powers and funding arrangements under the Data Protection Act 1998, in response to the Data Sharing review published by the Information Commissioner Richard Thomas and Dr. Mark Walport on 11 July 2008.
The consultation paper proposes strengthening the inspection powers of the Information Commissioners Office. The consultation ended on 27 August 2008. The Government will consider how best to take forward the recommendations of the Data Sharing review and the result of the consultation exercise and respond in detail in autumn 2008.
Bridget Prentice: We understand from the Legal Services Board that applicants were asked to declare any political activity within the past five years. Michael Napier QC, CBE made a recordable donation to the Labour party. No other members declared any political activity. Applicants were not asked about any trade union experience, as it was not considered relevant to the selection process.
Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what guidance the Legal Services Commission has issued to (a) its staff and (b) the public on its complaints procedures since April 2004; 
(2) what guarantee the Legal Services Commission provides to complainants on the treatment of their complaint; and what arrangements are in place to monitor the application of that guarantee. 
Mr. Wills: I refer my hon. Friend to the answers of my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice the Member for Lewisham East (Bridget Prentice) to him on 4 June 2008, Official Report, column 1040W, and 22 May 2008, Official Report, columns 411-12W.
Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what arrangements are in place in his Department to delegate authority for settling litigation claims by mediation; to what grade of official the authority is delegated; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Eagle: All Government Departments are covered by the pledge made in 2001 committing Government to the use of alternative dispute resolution in appropriate cases. Treasury Solicitor's Department and MOJ consider on a case by case basis whether mediation is appropriate. The decision to mediate will be taken by whoever within MOJ has responsibility for the litigation in question.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people in England and Wales were (a) prosecuted for and (b) convicted on charges relating to having sexual intercourse with an underage person in each of the last two years; what percentage of these cases resulted in a custodial sentence; and what the average length of prison sentence was (i) in total and (ii) broken down by region. 
These data are on the principal offence basis. The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offence for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences, the offence selected is the one for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.
|Number of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts; found guilty, and sentenced at all courts for offences relating to having sexual intercourse with an underage person in England and Wales, by region, 2005 to 2006( 1,2,3)|
|Year/Region||Proceeded against||Found guilty||Immediate custody||Immediate custody as a percentage of those proceeded against||Immediate custody as a percentage of those found guilty||Average sentence (months)( 4)|
|(1) These data are on the principal offence basis.|
(2) Includes the following statutes and corresponding offence description:
Sexual Offences Act 2003 S.1
Rape of a female aged under 16.
Rape of a male aged under 16.
Sexual Offences Act 2003 S.5
Rape of a female or male child under 13 by a male
Sexual Offences Act 2003 S.9(1a,b,cii)(2)
Sexual activity with a female or male child under 13offender aged 18 or overpenetration
Sexual activity with a female or male child under 16 (offender aged 18 or over)penetration
Sexual Offences Act 2003 S.9 (1,a,b,ci)(2) and S.13
Sexual activity with a female or male child under 16offender under 18
Sexual activity with a female or male child under 16offender under 18
Sexual Offences Act 2003 S25(1eii,2-4a,6)
Sexual activity with a female or male child family memberoffender aged 18 or over at time of offence and victim under 13penetration
Sexual activity with a female or male child family memberoffender aged 18 or over at time of offence and victim 13-17penetration
Sexual Offences Act 2003 S47(1a,b,cii) (2)(3)(6)
Paying for sex with a female or male child under 13penetration
Sexual Offences Act 2003 S.47(1a,b,ci,2,4a,6)
Paying for sex with a male or female child under 16penetration
Sexual Offences Act 2003 25(1)(e) (ii), (2), (5) and (6)
Sexual activity with a female or male child family member under 13offender U.18penetration of anus, vagina, mouth by penis/part of body
Sexual activity with a female or male child family member 13 to 17offender U.18penetration of anus, vagina, mouth by penis/part of body
(3) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts, and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
(4) Excludes life sentences and indeterminate sentences for public protection (IPPs).
CJEAUOffice for Criminal Justice ReformMinistry of Justice
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