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David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of staff in her Department were making additional voluntary contributions to their pensions in each of the last two years. 
Mr. Byrne: In February 2007, 965 staff were contributing to recognised AVC schemes, partnership pension schemes and stakeholder pension schemes. This total represented 1.28 per cent. of employees. These figures are for staff in core Home Office, Prison Service, Borders and Immigration Agency, Identity and Passport Service and Criminal Records Bureau.
In February 2008, 398 staff were making contributions to recognised AVC schemes, partnership pension schemes and stakeholder pension schemes, which represents 1.40 per cent. of employees. The figures are for staff in core Home Office, Borders and Immigration Agency, Identity and Passport Service and Criminal Records Bureau. They do not include Prison Service, which became part of Ministry of Justice in May 2007.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cash equivalent transfer value is of the public sector pensions of the 10 highest paid members of staff in her Department and its executive agencies; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: It is not appropriate to disclose values for staff, other than those whose details are reported on in Remuneration Reports in the Department's Resource Accounts. A copy of the Resource Accounts for the financial year 2007-08 can be found in the Library. The document can be accessed electronically by the following link.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the mandatory retirement age in her Department is; and how many people were allowed to work beyond the mandatory retirement age in each of the last five years. 
In 2005-06 and 2006-07, the Home Office HQ included the following Departments; Communities Group, National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and Office for Criminal Justice Reform (OCJR). NOMS and OCJR left in May 2007 to join the new Ministry of Justice, and Communities Group transferred to the Department for Communities and Local Government in May 2006.
From 1 October 2006in line with the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006the retirement age for all staff became 65 (before that, it was 60). Staff still have the option to take their pension and retire from the age of 60 and can, exceptionally, work until the age of 70 subject to certain conditions.
|(1) Data for HO HQ and UKBA is not available for 2003-05 without incurring a disproportionate cost.|
(2) CRB is unable to provide 2003-04 data without incurring a disproportionate cost
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff in her Department have had five or more periods of sickness absence of less than five days in two or more of the last five years. 
Mr. Byrne: The Home Office headquarters and United Kingdom Border Agency are unable to provide the requested sickness data without incurring a disproportionate cost. The period concerned will require manual checks for each record. This is due to the move from the old personnel information manpower management system (PIMMS) database to the current Oracle (Adelphi) database in 2004-05.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff in (a) her Department, (b) its agencies and (c) the non-departmental bodies for which it has responsibility have received sick pay for sick leave due to (i) stress and (ii) mental health and behavioural disorders in each of the last 10 years; what the average length of time was for which sick pay was paid in these cases; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: Prior to 1 April 2007 annual sick absence reporting across Government Departments was published by the Cabinet Office. Data for Government Departments was not analysed and reported at the time against the criteria outlined in the question and it is not possible for the Home Office to do so now, retrospectively, without incurring disproportionate cost.
From 1 April 2007 sick absence reporting across Government Departments was standardised and reported via quarterly surveys to Cabinet Office. Figures are reported as paid days lost to sickness by length of sick absence (short and medium term) and by absence reason.
One category of absence reason is "Mental Disorders" which includes all mental health and behavioural disorders as well as stress, anxiety and depression. The Home Office currently does not analyse and report figures against the full criteria outlined in the question and is not possible now without incurring disproportionate cost.
The Home Office is currently piloting a new standardised data source for its HR reporting; the intention is to move to this new data source by the end of this financial year so that it will be in a position to answer future questions about its staff more fully than has been the case in the past.
|Summary||Days lost (short term)||Days lost (long term)||Total days lost (12 month period)|
|(1) Grand totals vary due to rounding on Cabinet Office spreadsheets used by Departments for Quarterly Returns.|
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of staff recruited to (a) her Department and (b) its agencies were
required to have a Criminal Records Bureau check before an offer of employment was made in each year since 2002. 
Mr. Byrne: A Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check is primarily a requirement for posts that involve working with children and/or vulnerable adults. Home Office headquarters and the Criminal Records Bureau do not require staff to undergo CRB checks prior to being offered employment. The UK Border Agency has carried out 1,449 CRB checks in total for staff since 2002. A breakdown by year could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost. The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) only require staff within the Interview Office Network to undergo CRB checks. The network has been in place for three years. Table 1 shows the percentage of IPS staff employed who had CRB checks before being made an offer of employment in each year was as follows:
|Percentage of staff|
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what appointment procedures individuals, organisations or companies providing interpretation services in detention or immigration centres are subject to; what account is taken of the specific needs of those in detention and immigration centres in such appointment procedures; whether specific training is provided for those working as interpreters; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne [holding answer 15 September 2008]: Immigration Removal and Detained Fast Track Centres will either call on the services of an interpreter from the United Kingdom Border Agency panel of freelance interpreters for face to face interpretation or a commercial supplier for telephone interpretation. Detainee needs vary but are taken into account when arranging an interpreter as far as practicably possible.
Asylum seekers are offered the option of an interviewer and interpreter of a specific gender. Applicants are made aware of this during screening procedures and this is acted on as far as operationally possible.
Interpreters registered with the United Kingdom Border Agency panel of interpreters do receive training which is either one or two day in duration depending on the level of public service interpreting experience they hold.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what proportion of staff in (a) her Department and (b) the executive agencies for which she is responsible are disabled; and what the average salary in her (i) Department and (ii) executive agencies is of (A) full-time disabled staff, (B) full-time non-disabled staff, (C) part-time disabled staff and (D) part-time non-disabled staff. 
Home Office Headquarters and its agencies are unable to provide all of the information requested without incurring a disproportionate cost(1); that which is available is presented in the following table.
(1) Information on the proportion of staff recorded as having a disability has been obtained from the personnel information systems as at 31 May 2008. Information is only available for the proportion of staff that have chosen to declare themselves as disabled.
|Staff in the Home Office and its agencies who have declared themselves as disabled|
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost of testing people committing trigger offences as defined in Schedule 6 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 for the presence of a specified class A drug was in the most recent year for which figures are available; and what estimate she has made of the annual cost of extending testing for class A drugs to those committing other public order offences. 
Mr. Coaker [holding answer 10 September 2008]: Drug testing of people who have committed trigger offences as defined in Schedule 6 of the Criminal and Court Services Act 2000 for specified Class A drugs is conducted in authorised police stations across England and Wales as part of the Drug Interventions Programme (DIP).
In 2007-08 the Government invested some £26.5 million in DIP drug testing. Over 80 per cent. of this investment funded the police to run DIP drug testing operations and the remaining 20 per cent. is spent on the provision of drug screening kits and confirmatory test analysis.
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many emergency calls were received by the police regarding incidents in (a) the London borough of Newham, (b) the London borough of Hackney, (c) the London borough of Tower Hamlets and (d) London in each of the last five years. 
|Emergency calls received( 1) by the Metropolitan Police service for 2003-04 to 2007-08|
|2003-04||2004-05||2005-06( 2)||2006-07( 2)||2007-08( 2)|
|(1) Data on the number of emergency calls are collected on behalf of HMIC, who previously published this Information in their Annual Report, HMIC have advised that it will no longer release this data and that the data for 2004-05 Is the last series to be published.|
(2) Provisional data that have not been validated by police forces.
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