Prepared: 15:48 on 1st September 2014

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House of Lords

Summer Recess 2014

Written Answers and Statements

Claims Management Services 

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the application of the Conduct of Authorised Persons Rules 2013.[HL1733]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The application of the Conduct of Authorised Persons Rules ("Rules") is under continuous review. The Rules were first introduced in 2007 and revised between April and July 2013 to strengthen existing action to drive out poor practices and better protect consumers. Most crucially verbal contracts were brought to an end and a ban was imposed on claims management companies ("CMCs") offering cash incentives or similar benefits to consumers to bring claims.

This year, in response to concerns raised by the financial services industry, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Financial Ombudsman Service regarding the poor practices of some CMCs presenting financial claims, the Department's Claims Management Regulator consulted on changes to the Conduct of Authorised Persons Rules 2013 and published the response in June 2014. The new Rules will come into effect in October 2014.

False Imprisonment 

Question

Asked by Lord Vinson  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Faulks on 24 June (WA 144), what was the overall cost for the last three years of legal aid claims in respect of false imprisonment; and into which categories they record such costs as falling.[HL1440]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The table below shows the total amounts claimed against closed false imprisonment matters from the 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 financial years. These matters cover domestic false imprisonment, and both legal and illegal immigration false imprisonment matters.

The claim values represent the total amounts paid against cases closing in the respective period, and as such, some of the expenditure against these cases may have been incurred in earlier periods. The costs are recorded as falling in the category Actions Against the Police.

Financial Year

Claim Value

2011-12

£191,556.33

2012-13

£134,999.82

2013-14

£517,980.45

The increase in claim value in 2013/14 compared to previous years is largely due to one case which started in 2002, for which a final bill was submitted in January 2014. This case, known as Austin and Saxby, was a test case on behalf of a much larger group of individuals relating to protests on May Day 2002. They claimed that they had been unlawfully subjected to the procedure known as kettling by the Metropolitan Police. The case went to the House of Lords (Supreme Court) where they lost and the law was eventually clarified.

Parking 

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that any changes in parking regulations do not affect bus routes.[HL1634]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): As noted in the answer to the noble Lord of 29 July 2014, Official Report, Column WA279, the Government will be banning the use of CCTV for municipal parking enforcement, subject to a very small number of exceptions that emerged following the public consultation; this includes parking in bus lanes.

Postal Service: Competition 

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether Ofcom has conducted any analysis of regulatory options to protect the universal postal service in the case of a material increase in end-to-end competition.[HL1277]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): The regulatory options for protecting the universal service are set out in the Postal Services Act 2011. Parliament has given Ofcom the primary statutory duty to secure the provision of the universal service and the powers and tools it needs to do so.

Ofcom has carried out a consultation on end-to-end competition in the postal services sector and published a Guidance paper on the use of its regulatory options and the circumstances under which it would intervene to protect the universal service from any serious threat from competition.

More information about this consultation on end-to-end competition and the Guidance ("Final Guidance on Ofcom’s approach to assessing the impact on the universal service") can be found on Ofcom’s website (www.ofcom.org.uk).

Postal Services: Competition 

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect Ofcom to undertake a review of the impact of end-to-end competitors on the universal postal service.[HL1276]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): Ofcom is committed to carrying out a full review on end-to-end competition next year. It has also made clear that it would carry out an earlier review if market developments dictated the need to do so.

Ofcom has set out its approach towards carrying out a full assessment of end-to-end competition in its Guidance published in March 2013 ("Final Guidance on Ofcom’s approach to assessing the impact on the universal service").

Ofcom has in place a continuous monitoring regime and access to key confidential data from Royal Mail and other postal operators which would enable it to anticipate any potential threat to the universal service. They are keeping market developments under close monthly review and if this monitoring identified cause for concern Ofcom has said that they would be able to carry out a review very quickly.

Prison Sentences 

Question

Asked by Lord Lloyd of Berwick  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many offenders were given tariffs of less than two years under section 225 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 before the Act was amended in 2007; how many of those offenders are still in prison; how many of those still in prison were given tariffs of (1) less than 3 months, (2) between 3 and 6 months, (3) between 6 and 9 months, (4) between 9 and 12 months, (5) between 12 and 15 months, (6) between 15 and 18 months, and (7) between 18 months and 24 months; of what offences they were convicted, by offence group in each category; and how they are currently assessed in respect of (a) likelihood of reoffending, (b) risk of serious harm to themselves, and (c) serious harm to the public.[HL1236]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The data requested for offenders who received IPP sentences with tariffs of less than 2 years prior to the reforms introduced by the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Interrogation of individual electronic records would be required to provide the requested detailed information for the offenders concerned.


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