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Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 21 July 2008, Official Report, columns 902-3W, on the electoral register, which local authorities (a) do and (b) do not (i) send the annual canvas form more than once to non-respondents, (ii) make house-to-house enquiries of non-respondents and (iii) inspect all records which an electoral registration officer is permitted to inspect; and if he will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: Section 9 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 (the 2006 Act) placed a new duty on Electoral Registration Officers (ERO) to take all necessary steps to maintain the electoral register, including sending the annual canvass form more than once and making house to house enquiries and inspecting records the ERO is permitted to inspect. It is for the ERO to decide on the most appropriate steps to ensure that the electoral register is as complete and accurate as possible.
Government do not collect data on the extent to which individual local authorities carry out each of these activities. However, the 2006 Act makes provision for the Electoral Commission to introduce new performance standards for EROs. The Electoral Commission has recently developed these standards and, following public consultation, the final standards were published on 21 July 2008. A copy has been laid before the House. The performance standards framework is intended to allow a picture to be built up of the delivery of electoral services across Great Britain, including electoral registration.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what consideration he has given to extending the arrangements for completion of the electoral register in force in Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK. 
Bridget Prentice: The Government are committed to the principle of individual registration. However, this would be a far-reaching reform, and it would need to be undertaken with great care, both to make sure a new system is robust, and to ensure that it properly tackles the problem of under-registration. As part of any change the Government would clearly wish to consider carefully the experience of individual registration in Northern Ireland.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst of 26 June 2008, Official Report, column 473W, on the electoral register: databases, why the CORE service will not apply to Northern Ireland. 
Bridget Prentice: Part 1 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006, which makes provision for CORE, applies to the whole of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland has a different system of electoral registration from the rest of the UK, and the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland provides a voter registration service there. In light of these differences, we are currently considering the inclusion of Northern Ireland in the CORE Scheme.
Mr. Wills: We currently estimate that the additional cost of holding a general election on one day of the weekend could be at least an additional £38 million, rising to approximately £58 million if an election were held across both Saturday and Sunday. These figures are based on the cost of a general election, and involve a number of assumptions about how the elections would be run. We expect that the consultation will provide additional information to allow a more accurate assessment of cost to be made.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst of 2 July 2008, Official Report, column 957W, on home information packs, (1) how many of the 20 properties that were marketed with home information packs included a voluntary home condition report; 
A copy of one of the 20 home information packs (HIPs) will be placed in the Library electronically. (The HIP for each residential property disposed of is available to the general public when it goes on sale.)
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate the Land Registry made of the average house price in London in (a) April 2006, (b) April 2007 and (c) the most recent period for which figures are available. 
|Period||Average house price (£)|
These figures are taken from Land Registrys house price index, which is available free of charge and published monthly. Land Registry also provides quarterly property price reports calculated in a different way for which a fee is charged.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 29 April 2008, Official Report, column 389W, on limitation of actions, whether the issues to be resolved include a further examination of the limitation period between the dates of the offence and of the application for a legal remedy; when he expects the examination of the outstanding issues to be resolved; when he expects to make the announcement on the way forward; and if he will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: Preparations are still ongoing for a consultation on a draft Bill to implement the Law Commission's recommendations to reform the law of limitation. The consultation will take full account of the ruling by the House of Lords in A v. Hoare and others including the exercise of the court's discretion to extend the limitation period and the way in which the claimant's date of knowledge is defined in abuse cases. I am unable to say when these preparations will be complete or when I will make a further announcement on the way forward. However, the Draft Legislative Programme, which was published on 14 May, announced that the limitation proposals could be included in a Civil Law Reform Bill which may be published in draft by Easter 2009. An announcement about the final legislative programme is expected to be made in the Queen's Speech to Parliament in December.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many magistrates courts 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. 
Maria Eagle: The information requested detailing the magistrates courts in each local authority district and unitary authority in England and Wales in (a) April 1996 and (b) July 2008 has been placed in the Libraries of the House.
The Courts Act 2003 gave responsibility of managing magistrates courts to the Lord Chancellor. Up until 1 April 2005, magistrates courts were the responsibility of locally managed magistrates courts committees who were statutorily independent.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many magistrates there are on the Warley magistrates bench; and how many live in postcode areas (a) B65, (b) B66, (c) B67, (d) B68 and (e) B69. 
(a) eight live in postcode area B65
(b) two live in postcode area B66
(c) 14 live in postcode area B67
(d) 15 live in postcode area B68
(e) 12 live in postcode area B69
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when the Parliamentary Under-Secretary will respond to the letter from the hon. Member for St. Albans of 3 June 2008 on the provision of information on court proceedings to local newspapers. 
Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent discussions his Department has had with the Civil Justice Council on their proposed pre-action protocol on mortgage arrears; and if he will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: The Ministry of Justice and the Civil Justice Council has held regular meetings, where the pre-action protocol for mortgage arrears was discussed. Officials attended the Housing and Land Committee of the Civil Justice Council on the following occasions:
2 November 2006
10 January 2007
26 April 2007
8 October 2007
22 January 2008
7 May 2008
28 July 2008
10 September 2008
Mr. Hanson: A comprehensive review of the NPS structure has been undertaken. As part of this process informal briefings between representatives of the Probation Association and the Change Programme Director have taken place.
Mr. Hanson: The cost of rolling out the OMNI (Offender Management National Infrastructure) IT system to all probation areas in England and Wales from 2006 through to completion in 2010 is estimated a £65.7 million.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will bring forward proposals to provide incentives to employers to train or employ former offenders as part of resettlement programmes. 
My Department attaches great importance to improving the skills and employment outcomes of
offenders and is working in partnership with the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to implement the Reducing Re-Offending through Skills and Employment: Next Steps action plan.
Engaging with employers to work with offenders is a key part of this plan. Many employers are delivering training workshops for offenders in custody with support from the National Offender Management Service, the Learning and Skills Council and Jobcentre Plus.
Many employers are also delivering training and offering employment opportunities to offenders on release and in the community. DIUS is funding Train2Gain which is an incentive to employers to improve the skills of their workforce and DWP has introduced many programmes, such as the New Deal, Progress2Work and Progress2Work-LinkUP, which are designed to incentivise employers to work with disadvantaged groups, including offenders.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what support his Department provides to local authorities in resettling former offenders, with particular reference to the provision of housing and employment advice. 
Mr. Hanson: The Ministry of Justice supports local authorities via partnership arrangements. The National Offender Management Service works with them to resettle offenders. Over 130 prisons operate housing advice and support services. Resettlement begins on reception into custody; local prisons in England and Wales assess the housing needs of prisoners to help prevent future homelessness. A strong partnership with Jobcentre Plus, with advisers working in many prisons, provides employment advice. Offender managers work with local authority staff to protect the public and reduce the risk of re-offending. Managing an offender's risk of harm is paramount; probation has a key partnership role in ensuring that the needs of victims and offenders are addressed, including through multi-agency public protection arrangements and the supporting people programme. Resettlement support is also a priority for offenders managed under local prolific and other priority offender schemes.
In community payback work projects across the country, probation works with local authorities to source work for offenders, with training arranged by probation and their learning providers. For example Teesside probation's project with the local authority guarantees interviews and opportunities for successful offenders to work in council grounds maintenance.
We aim to improve local performance through a range of public sector agreements including safer communities, drugs and socially excluded adults which bring together relevant agencies at national, regional and local levels. Our proposals in the recent Policing Green Paper From The Neighbourhood To The National: Policing Our Communities Together to strengthen arrangements for Crime and Disorder Reduction
Partnerships will make probation a responsible authority and include reducing re-offending as a partnership duty.
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