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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received following the Court of Appeal judgment on 19 October 2009 on the retention of individual records on police computers; and if he will make a statement. 
It is vital that we do everything we can to protect the public from crime and this judgment provides valuable clarification of how we can continue to do so through retaining conviction data on the police national computer (PNC).
My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has asked the newly appointed Independent advisor for criminality information management, Sunita Mason, to review how criminal records on the PNC are retained and disclosed. She will work closely with the police to develop proposals for a fair and proportionate approach.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his latest assessment is of the effectiveness and efficiency of his Department's procurement of technology and equipment. 
Meg Hillier: My overall assessment of the Department's procurement of technology and equipment is of a strong performing, effective and efficient commercial capability. The assessment is based on a number of factors, put in place over the past two years, which are bearing positive results. These include:
The development and implementation of a three year procurement strategy, approved by the board in April 2007, which focuses on delivering holistic procurement, with as much focus on supplier/contract management and buying operations as on sourcing contracts;
The implementation and operation of category segmentation into strategic and non-strategic areas, with a professional organisation designed and in place to manage spend and suppliers accordingly;
Investments made to upgrade the procurement capability, specifically through the creation of a procurement centre of excellence and upgrading technology in support of eProcurement applications;
The Office of Government Commerce procurement capability review which ranked the Department the second best performing Government Department;
Independent research from Ipsos/Mori reported that 93 per cent. of suppliers rate their relationship with the Department to be good or excellent;
The National Audit Office review of managing major contracts commended the Department for implementing and managing successful benchmarking of major IT contracts;
The Department was the first central Government Department to have Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) accredited policies and procedures in place;
The work by the Identity and Passport Service in sourcing the strategic framework for the national identity scheme has been recognised across Government as an exemplar to manage the procurement and suppliers of large scale complex IT programmes;
The Department has recently concluded successful negotiations with its two major suppliers of IT services (Fujitsu and Atos Origin), which will result in contractually agreed savings of £112 million over the next six years.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many miles (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department travelled by (i) car, (ii) rail and (iii) air on Government business in each year since 1997. 
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much his Department spent on overnight accommodation for (a) Ministers and (b) officials while overseas in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 27 October 2009]: Information relating to the number of residents in the West Midlands deported in the same year can be obtained only through the detailed examination of individual case files which would incur a disproportionate cost.
Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in the last six months on the number of bogus colleges in operation. 
Mr. Woolas: The Secretary of State for the Home Department has not met with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills specifically to discuss bogus colleges. I have met with my right hon. Friend the Member for Tottenham (Mr. Lammy) and there has been regular discussion between officials in the two Departments about the points-based system generally and bogus colleges in particular. We estimate that around 1,500 colleges have ceased to operate.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many academic staff from each overseas country have applied for visas to (a) work and (b) lecture in the UK in each of the last 12 months; how many such applications were refused; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: There is provision in the immigration rules (paragraph 46G) for non-EEA nationals to enter as business visitors, including academic visitors. Prior entry clearance is only mandatory for visa nationals. Academics coming to participate in a conference or seminar where it is a single or occasional event, and the event is not a commercial venture, may enter as academic visitors. Those who intend to come to the UK solely to undertake a series of lectures for which they will receive a fee will normally be required to seek entry for employment purposes under tier 2 of the points-based system. Tier 2 applications from Academics cannot be separately identified.
The number of (1) applications received; (2) visas issued; and (3) visas refused in the academic visitor category in each of the last 12 months (October 2008 to September 2009) is shown in the following table. A separate table has been placed in the House of Commons Library which gives this information for each nationality.
|Reporting period||Endorsement DESC||Applications||Issued||Refused||Withdrawn||Lapsed||Resolved|
CRS 2 November 2009.
The data are unpublished and should be treated as provisional.
Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent estimate he has made of the value of heavy plant and equipment stolen in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Alan Campbell [holding answer 5 November 2009]: The Home Office has not recently estimated the cost of the theft of heavy plant and equipment. The plant and agricultural national intelligence unit of the Metropolitan police estimates that approximately £1.5 million of construction and agricultural plant machinery is stolen in the UK every week.
The Home Office takes the theft of plant and equipment very seriously. That is why the Home Office scientific development branch (HOSDB) published the "Security Guidance Document for Agricultural and Construction Plant", which was launched by me, in my capacity as the Minister for crime reduction at the construction industry theft solutions conference on 3 November this year.
The new guidance provides up to date advice and information for the agricultural and construction industries, helping them to protect themselves from theft. The guidance was first published in January 2008, and has been revised and updated in the light of technological developments and our most recent understanding of the methods used by criminals to steal agricultural and plant machinery.
I am grateful to the plant theft action group (PTAG), established by the Home Office but now operated by and for the plant industry, and to the plant and agricultural national intelligence unit of the Metropolitan police (PANIU) for their support in producing the updated guidance.
PTAG and PANIU are also continuing to make a significant contribution to the reduction of plant theft through developments such as the CESAR plant marking and registration scheme, and the publication of guidance on construction site security.
The availability of the HOSDB plant security guidance, the PANIU site security guidance and the CESAR scheme are together proving successful at reducing plant theft and increasing rates of recovery of stolen plant.
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