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The Minister for Policing, Crime and Counter-Terrorism (Mr. David Hanson): My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department, has today laid before the House the Police Grant Report (England and Wales) 2010-11 (HC 278), copies of which are available in the Vote Office. The report sets out my right hon. Friend's determination for 2010-11 of the aggregate amount of grant that he proposes to pay under section 46(2) of the Police Act 1996, and the amount to be paid to the Greater London Authority for the Metropolitan Police Authority.
General police grant allocations, which include Home Office Police Grant and Department of Communities and Local Government/Welsh Assembly Government General Grant for each police authority for 2009-10 and 2010-11 are set out in the table.
(1) Rounded to the nearest £100,000. Grant as calculated under the Local Government Finance Report (England) and Local Government Finance (No.2 - Provisional Settlement Police Authorities) Report (Wales). Table includes the effects of floors and scaling.(2) Figures for the City of London relate to Home Office Grant only as calculated in the Police Grant Report (England and Wales). Revenue Support Grant is allocated to the Common Council of the City of London as a whole in respect of all its functions. The City is grouped with education authorities for the purposes of grant floors.
(3) Welsh figures include Home Office floor funding.
The Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Mr. Jack Straw): My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and I wish to make the following statement to the House about the launch of a review of the family justice system in England and Wales.
The family justice system involves life changing decisions for many thousands of children and their families each year at a cost to the taxpayer of over £800 million. There have been some important elements of reform in recent years. But we need to be certain that the system, as it is currently set up, supports parents as fully as possible in establishing and maintaining a co-operative approach to agreeing future arrangements when relationships break down, and does not unwittingly cause additional stress at what will already be a difficult time. It is also important to ensure that valuable court time is focused on protecting the vulnerable from abuse, victimisation and exploitation and that the system is being managed as effectively as possible.
We have therefore decided to initiate a review of the family justice system and have secured the agreement of the Welsh Assembly Government that, where appropriate, the review shall encompass the devolved functions of Welsh Ministers. Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Social Services, has made a similar statement to the National Assembly for Wales.
The review will be conducted by a panel, comprising four representatives independent of Government and senior representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Department for Children, Schools and Families, and the Welsh Assembly Government as relevant for devolved matters.
The review will be asked to make recommendations in two core areas: (1) what steps can be taken to promote informed settlement and agreement; and (2) whether improvements need to be made to the way in which the family justice system is managed.
The interests of the child should be paramount in any decision affecting them (and, linked to this, delays in determining the outcome of court applications should be kept to a minimum).
The court's role should be focused on protecting the vulnerable from abuse, victimisation and exploitation and should avoid intervening in family life except where there is clear benefit to children and vulnerable adults in doing so.
Individuals should have the right information and support to enable them to take responsibility for the consequences of their relationship breakdown.
Mediation and similar support should be used as far as possible to support individuals themselves to reach agreement about arrangements, rather than having an arrangement imposed by the courts.
The processes for resolving family disputes and agreeing future arrangements should be easy to understand, simple and efficient.
Conflict between individuals should be minimised as far as possible.