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15 Dec 2008 : Column 463Wcontinued
Increased provision of disability assessments and adjustments for staff employed by the Department, including adjustments for conditions such as dyslexia, and some assessments for staff working at home.
TSol has gathered evidence from all parts of its business, with each division reviewing its initial assessment under the disability equality scheme. The provision of legal services does not fall under the equality duty. All parts of the Department which carry out other functions which are relevant to the duty are taking actions to promote equality in their area, including those detailed above.
TSol is compiling the information gathered from its Disability Equality Review into a progress report which it will publish on its website in early 2009. The Diversity and Equality Group will continue to monitor progress against these assessments, consider what more we need to do to eliminate discrimination and promote equality and produce a further update report annually.
HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) workforce profile including the disability status of its staff is reported on annually in the chief inspector's annual report which can be found on our website.
HMCPSI has an equality scheme covering all strands of HMCPSI's equality duties.
As part of its action plan to meet its duties HMCPSI has made clear in all its recruitment literature its commitment to identify any reasonable adjustments at the earliest opportunity and to put them in place promptly. Reasonable adjustments have been made for staff where necessary.
HMCPSI has recently reviewed its HR policies, and their application will be monitored over the coming year to ensure it is meeting all its statutory duties.
HMCPSI is in the process of commissioning a disability audit of its London premises.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) will shortly be publishing its annual report in respect of its disability equality duty. Actions taken by the SFO to eliminate discrimination and promote equality include:
appointment of a diversity champion, whose role is to oversee the implementation of all diversity policies;
compulsory attendance by all staff of a respect and diversity course, which seeks to raise staff awareness of the SFO's dignity at work policy;
formation of an equality and diversity committee, which meets quarterly to discuss issues of equality and diversity across the organisation;
identification and development of a stakeholder relationship with Tower Hamlets council, which achieved beacon status within the equality standard for local government framework, the SFO uses this resource for advice and guidance on all areas of diversity and equality;
conducting meaningful and thorough equality impact assessments;
providing on-going staff engagement and support for all disability issues, as well as the day-to-day support offered to its staff (e.g. workstation risk assessments), the SFO specifically consults with disabled people within the office to ensure that provisions for staff with disabilities are continually under review;
hosting of bi-annual diversity networking events to increase awareness of minority groups within the organisation;
the SFO's website meets the Government's standard for web accessibility in relation to visually impaired users, we are currently developing a standard paragraph in our outgoing correspondence which makes reference to any special requirements that the recipient may have (e.g. Braille or need for larger font types).
The SFO is currently undergoing a major transformation programme, and the director has pledged to make equality and diversity central to all policy and strategy decisions.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Solicitor-General what factors the Attorney-General is taking into account in considering whether to consent to the Serious Fraud Office bringing charges against Energy Financing Team for alleged overseas corruption offences in Serbia. 
The Solicitor-General: This case concluded in June 2008. The Director of the Serious Fraud Office concluded that a prosecution was not justified in this case. In considering whether to grant her consent to any prosecution, the Attorney-General applies well known prosecutorial principles in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. In cases of overseas corruption, the Attorney-General abides by Article 5 of the OECD Convention.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Solicitor-General what discussions the Attorney-General has had with Government departments; and what representations she has received from others on whether to consent to the bringing of charges against Energy Financing Team for alleged overseas corruption offences in Serbia. 
The Solicitor-General: The Attorney-General did not reach a decision on whether or not to consent to a prosecution of EFT because, in the event, the director of the SFO concluded on 2 June 2008 that a prosecution was not justified. The only discussions that the Attorney-General had in relation to the case were with the SFO, and the only representations that she received were from the SFO.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Solicitor-General when the investigation into the activities of Energy Financing Team in Serbia will be concluded; on what date the case was referred to the Serious Fraud Office; and on what date the Serious Fraud Office passed its report to the Attorney-General. 
The Solicitor-General: The case was accepted for domestic investigation by the SFO on 7 July 2004. The former director of the SFO, Robert Wardle, submitted a request to the Attorney-General for consent to proceed with the prosecution on 12 September 2007. The current director of the SFO, Richard Alderman, made the decision to discontinue the investigation into EFT on 2 June 2008.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Solicitor-General what salary was paid to the (a) director and (b) chief operating officer of HM Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office in 2006-07. 
The Solicitor-General: The Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO) was established as an independent prosecuting authority in April 2005, and is superintended by the Attorney-General. It is a separate Government Department from HM Revenue and Customs.
Details of the salaries of the director and chief operating officer of RCPO in 2006-07 are in the public domain, having been published in the Department's Resource Accounts for 2006-07. Their salaries were £195,000 to £200,000 and £90,000 to £95,000 respectively.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform which Islamic tribunals have authority to act under the Arbitration Act 1996. 
Mr. McFadden: There is no specific provision in the Arbitration Act 1996 for "Islamic Tribunals".
The Act provides a framework for the fair, speedy and cost effective resolution of disputes by an impartial tribunal. The principle behind the Act is that parties should be free to agree how their dispute is resolved. To be governed by the Act the disputing parties have to agree in writing to authorise a third party to finally resolve their dispute. The Act allows all parties to agree to have their dispute decided by a set of principles of their choice rather than by national law. If there is no agreement by all parties then national law will apply.
The Act sets out a number of safeguards including a duty to act fairly and reasonably between the parties, and giving each a reasonable opportunity of putting their case and dealing with that of their opponent. If there is a direct conflict with national law in the decision of a tribunal, national law prevails.
The Muslim Arbitration Tribunals (MAT) was established in 2007 in order to provide an alternative route to resolve civil issues in accordance with Shari'ah principles. The MAT operates according to the principles of the Arbitration Act 1996.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many businesses have gone bankrupt in each of the last three years. 
Mr. McFadden: The following table records numbers of trading-related bankruptcies and company liquidations in England and Wales in each year full since 2005:
|Bankruptcy orders for self-employed individuals( 1)||Company liquidations( 2)|
|(1) It should be noted that figures from the 4th quarter of 2006 onwards are based on a revised classification. (2) Companies do not go bankrupt; they are the subject of a liquidation or other insolvency procedure. However, company liquidations are provided to supplement the individual bankruptcy information.|
Justine Greening: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many people were declared bankrupt in each year since 2004-05, broken down by those aged (a) under 20, (b) 21 to 26, (c) 25 to 30, (d) 31 to 35, (e) 36 to 40 and (f) over 41 years old; and what estimate he has made of the number in each category which will be declared bankrupt in 2008-09. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 10 December 2008]: In the time available, the only information available is that extracted from already published reports. The statistics on the following page are taken from the report Profiles of Bankrupts and Companies in Liquidation: 2004-05 to 2006-07(1) and relate to England and Wales only. Equivalent information is in the process of being compiled for 2007-08, to be published in spring 2009. Official forecasts of bankruptcy numbers broken down by age groups are not undertaken; therefore no estimates are available for 2008-09.
Date of birth is recorded in the majority of bankruptcy cases and may be used to calculate the age at which an individual is declared bankrupt. Bespoke analyses by specified age groups can be scheduled and carried out, but it should be noted that the age groupings requested here are not standard age bands that would be routinely published for any official statistics relating to individuals.
|Number of bankruptcy orders by age group England and Wales|
|No age recorded||Total all ages (where recorded)||18 to 29||30 to 39||40 to 49||50 to 59||60 to 69||70 and over|
Norman Baker: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what work has been commissioned from Business for New Europe by his Department since its inception; and at what cost. 
Mr. Thomas: BERR and its predecessor DTI has cooperated with Business for New Europe (BNE) on EU events, as we have with other organisations interested in the EU, but has not commissioned any work from, or given any funding to, BNE.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what requirements there are on businesses to indicate the reduction in the price of their products made in consequence of the reduction of the rate of value added tax. 
Mr. Thomas: The Price Marking Order 2004 requires traders, selling to consumers, to display a VAT inclusive selling price and, where appropriate, the unit price of goods in an unambiguous, easily identifiable and clearly legible way. Where there is a change in VAT, a trader may for a period of 14 days, give a general notice that a VAT adjustment has been made. Thereafter, in order to comply with the order, he must display the fully inclusive selling price taking account of the revised VAT level.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to which charities his Department has provided funding of £100,000 or more in each of the last three years; and how much was given to each charity. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 10 December 2008]: The Department does not generally make charitable donations but may have given grants to charitable bodies through a number of our programmes, but the status of the organisations are not recorded. The Department, however, does provide grant-in-aid for operating purposes to the following organisations that are registered as charities. The organisations and amounts (where they are over £100,000) are as follows:
|Citizens Advice||Citizens Advice Scotland|
Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what analysis his Department has conducted of the use of super-complaints. 
Mr. Thomas [holding answer 11 December 2008]: None have been conducted by the Department. Six super-complainants are currently designated and to date OFT has accepted nine super-complaints covering a range of markets, including care homes, doorstep selling, credit card interest calculation methods and private dentistry.
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