Mr. Straw: Administrative financial penalties arise where a department has the authority to charge a financial penalty without the need to resort to court proceedings. They exclude interest charged on late payment of invoices.
The Ministry of Justice only employs applicants who have the right to work in the UK, and an individual's nationality is verified before an offer of employment is made. Civil service rules enable EEA nationals and certain non-EEA family members to be employed as civil servants. The Ministry of Justice does not hold central data in respect of the number of EU foreign national employed and they could only be collected at disproportionate costs.
There is also a provision that, in exceptional circumstances, foreign nationals, other than EEA nationals and certain non-EEA family members, may be employed by means of an aliens certificate under the Aliens Employment Act 1955. This Act empowers the employing Department's Minister, with the approval of the Minister for the civil service, to issue a certificate of employment in certain circumstances. Information on the number of staff employed under the Aliens Employment Act 1955 is collected. The Prison Service currently employs one person under the Act. This was approved by the then Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice, my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Sutcliffe), with the consent of the Minister responsible for the civil service.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which ICT projects initiated by his Department were abandoned before completion in each year since 1997; what costs were incurred on each project; who the contractors were; what the date of (a) commencement and (b) abandonment was in each case; and if he will make a statement. 
The National Enforcement Tracker System (NETS) project was cancelled in August 2007 following a detailed review which highlighted that the cost and scope of the project no longer provided value for money or met current business requirements. Expenditure to closure of the project was £4.328 million, this sum was reported in accordance with HMT accounting rules. The contractors were Steria, followed by IBM.
In November 2008, following a review by Her Majesty's Courts Service (HMCS) Board, the Electronic Filing and Document Management programme, which included plans for future investment in ICT, was cancelled. The review concluded that the Electronic Filing and Document Management programme was not affordable. The costs incurred by the programme from commencement of the programme in August 2005 to its closure in November 2008 were £5.922 million. The main contractors were PA Consulting (August 2005-December 2007); Logica and Atos Origin (February 2008-November 2008). The programme was formally closed and documented for future reference.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the initial estimated (a) cost and (b) delivery date was of each ICT project initiated by his Department and its predecessors in each year since 1997; what the (i) outturn cost and (ii) completion date was of each such project subsequently completed; what estimate he has made of the (A) outturn cost and (B) completion date of each such project which is ongoing; which contractors were hired for each project; and how much has been paid to each contractor in respect of each project to date. 
Maria Eagle: The Department was established in May 2007, and prior to that, responsibility for ICT was spread across the former Department for Constitutional Affairs, parts of the Home Office and the technology unit of the Office for Criminal Justice Reform. The information required to answer this question is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
The objective is to ensure that the Ministry of Justice website continues to achieve the standard required for compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0 level AA, using working practice recommended by the Guide to good practice in commissioning accessible websites (PAS 78), published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and Guidance for Government web teams issued by the Central Office of Information.
Mr. Straw: Reported equipment losses for the last full year 2007-08, from creation of the Ministry of Justice in May 2007, included 11 laptop computers, one memory stick and 15 mobile telephones. In addition to lost equipment 12 laptops, two desktop computers and 14 mobile phones were reported as stolen. Four of the 11 laptops reported lost were subsequently recovered. Another one of those lost went missing in delivery and was never used. Records of mobile telephone losses are not held centrally and the numbers reported here have been taken from available records.
The Ministry recorded nine significant personal data related incidents for 2007-08, of which three involved loss of laptops (one from within secure Government premises and two outside) and two involved electronic storage devices (discs). Details are published in the resource accounts, laid before the House on 21 July 2008.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many bonus payments were made in 2007-08 to (a) senior civil servants and (b) other staff working in (i) the Judicial Appointments Commission and (b) the Office of the Public Guardian; and how much was paid in such bonuses to people in each category. 
Three Senior Civil Servants (SCS) working in the Judicial Appointments Commission were awarded non-consolidated performance pay during the financial year 2007-08. The total paid was £22,000.
There were 43 in year payments of non consolidated performance pay to staff below the SCS working in the Judicial Appointments Commission during the financial year 2007-08 and the total amount paid was £19,650.
No payments of non-consolidated performance pay were made to any members of the SCS at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) during the financial year 2007-08.
In grades below the SCS, fifty-four staff working at the OPG were paid end of year payments of non-consolidated performance pay and the amount paid was £21.600. Twenty six members of staff were paid in year payments with a total value of £6.825.
|9 May 2007 to 31 March 2008
|1 April 2008 to 31 January 2009
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) which local authorities have initiated proceedings to fine households who have not submitted an electoral registration form in response to the annual canvass since the sanction was brought into force; 
Mr. Wills: As my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, East (Bridget Prentice), Under-Secretary of State for Justice explained in her answer on 24 June 2008, Official Report, column 244W, to a similar question relating to which local authorities have initiated proceedings to levy fines on households failing to return the canvass form, this information is not collected centrally. Electoral registration officers (EROs) have a duty to compile and maintain an accurate register and they have a number of mechanisms available to them in achieving this. It is a decision for independent EROs whether they initiate proceedings for non-completion of the annual canvass form.
Sanctions have recently been brought into force to create a new offence of supplying false information of any kind to a registration officer in connection with electoral registration. This sanction came into force in time for the 2006 annual canvass and anyone found guilty of supplying false information at registration can now be fined up to £5,000 or sentenced to up to six months imprisonment.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the percentage of (a) white, (b) African, (c) Bangladeshi, (d) Pakistani and (e) African-Caribbean people eligible to vote who are registered to vote. 
Mr. Wills: As my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Bridget Prentice) explained in answer to a similar question from the hon. Gentleman on 21 July 2008, Official Report, column 900W, the Government have not made any estimate of the percentage of (a) White, (b) African, (c) Bangladeshi, (d) Pakistani and (e) African-Caribbean people registered to vote. In addition, it is not known what percentage of eligible people from these groups are registered to vote, as such information is not available.
The Electoral Commission found in their report, Understanding Electoral Registration, published in September 2005, that the groups least likely to be registered to vote included young people, those residing in private rented accommodation and those belonging to certain minority ethnic groups. Registration rates among White, Asian (those from Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities) and Black Caribbean groups were similar.
Section 9 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 placed a new duty on electoral registration officers (ERO) to take all necessary steps to register eligible electors. These steps include sending the annual canvass form more than once, making house to house enquiries and inspecting records that the ERO is permitted to inspect. The Government believe that these steps should help to tackle under-registration.
Mr. Wills: All freedom of information requests made to my Department are handled by the Data Access and Compliance Unit. Of the 27 staff employed in the Unit, 17 deal with the management of freedom of information requests. The remainder are responsible for handling requests under the Data Protection Act 1998, or have administrative or managerial duties.
Mr. Wills: My Department has published annual reports containing statistical information on freedom of information requests received by monitored bodies (including central Government Departments) in 2006 and 2007.
Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what account he took of the cost of remediation of asbestos contamination on the Dynamex Friction site, Caernarfon, when selecting it as the preferred location for a new prison in Wales. 
Mr. Hanson: The Ministry of Justice was aware that there would be remediation contamination costs in selecting the Dynamex site at Caernarfon and when such costs are fully quantified they will be taken into account in negotiations with the owner.
HM Inspectorate of Court Administration (HMICA) was created in 2005 by the Courts Act 2003. The Act gives HMICA the duty to inspect courts and HM Courts Service Board, and to report to the Lord Chancellor on the system that supports the carrying on of the business of the Crown, county and magistrates courts, and the services provided for those courts.
Independent Monitoring Boards have a right of access to monitor prisons under Section 6 of the Prison Act 1952. IMBs, legally known in this context as Visiting Committees, have a right of access to monitor immigration removal centres under Section 152 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
HM Inspectorate of Prisons staff have a right of access to Secure Training Centres for the purpose of inspection under Section 43 of the Secure Training Centre Rules 1998, when
accompanying a person who is authorised under the Children's Act 1989 and has been charged by the Secretary of State to conduct an inspection.