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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): It is the long established practice of the Government to exchange views with all its international partners on a wide range of issues on the basis of mutual understanding.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Ambassador in Dublin plans to attend a British-Irish Association seminar on "The Act of Union: 200 years on" which will take place in Dublin in May 2000. We are not aware of any other relevant events taking place in Ireland.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We have urged the Government of Zimbabwe to create the conditions for the holding of free and fair elections, within the constitutional timescale. We have also agreed with our EU partners that we would be willing to support and monitor the elections. The Commonwealth Secretary-General has made clear that he is prepared to send Commonwealth observers if invited by the Government of Zimbabwe and supported by the parties contesting the election.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The UK supports the proposed financing by the European Commission of the Danube Commission's project to clear the Danube at Novi Sad. The European Commission is planning to fund 85 per cent of the estimated total of 24.1 million euro needed to carry out the clearance work.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The United Kingdom has sent 74 polling supervisors, nine field election advisers, two counting supervisors and two international long-term supervisors to participate in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)--administered municipal elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 8 April.
Lord Bach: In its Final Response in 1996 to the Report of the Royal Commission, the previous government said that these recommendations "remain under consideration, although the Government is concerned that they would depart fundamentally from the principle that a jury should as far as possible be chosen at random from a cross-section of the population as a whole". In the light of the noble Lord's interest, we have looked at this issue again and have decided that the Government will give active consideration to these recommendations. A further statement will be made in due course.
Lord Bach: Clause 4 of the Freedom of Information Bill requires my right honourable friend the Home Secretary to consult every person to whom an order relates or persons appearing to him to represent such persons. We have still to consult formally as required under Clause 4 and, therefore, it is not possible to provide a list of bodies which will be designated under this part of the Bill. Our enquiries to date have, however, identified a number of bodies which we believe are likely to meet the criteria set out in respect of bodies designated under Clause 4. These are set out in the following list. Some of the bodies are listed in their own right and others by means of a generic description. The list does not represent a final list of bodies which may be designated as public authorities for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Bill.
Clause 5 of the Bill provides that a company is publicly-owned for the purposes of the Bill if it is wholly owned by the Crown, or it is wholly owned by any public authority listed in Schedule 1 to the Bill other than (i) a government department, or (ii) any authority which is listed only in relation to particular information. Subsections (2) and (3) clarify the meaning to be given to "wholly owned by the Crown" and "wholly owned by a public authority" for these purposes and set out other definitions. The effect of Clause 5 is that a company which meets the criteria is caught by the freedom of information regime. Because we are using a generic definition we have not compiled
Clauses 2 to 6 of the Freedom of Information Bill provide for coverage of all public bodies, either by means of a generic description of by specific inclusion in a list or an order. Bodies which might qualify for inclusion in the list at Schedule 1 have, however, not been so listed where we are satisfied that the body will have ceased to exist when the Bill comes into force, have no separate identity from a parent organisation, or are not yet established. In the latter case, the body will be brought within scope of the legislation by order.
There are two exceptions to the principle that all public bodies are to be covered by the Bill. Clause 21(3) provides that any information provided by, or relating to, specified bodies is exempt. The specified bodies are the Security Services, the Secret Intelligence Service, the Government Communications Headquarters, the Special Forces (Special Air Service and Special Boat Service) and the National Criminal Intelligence Service. This has the effect of excluding those bodies from the scope of the Bill. In addition, certain Scottish bodies are exempt from the order-making powers in the Bill. These bodies are the Scottish Parliament, any part of the Scottish Administration, the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body or any Scottish public authority with mixed functions or no reserved functions within the meaning of the Scotland Act 1998. Legislation in respect of those bodies is a matter for the Scottish Parliament.
Persons or bodies authorised by the Legal Services Commission under section 4(8) or 12(4) of the Access to Justice Act 1999 to accredit persons or bodies providing services of the descriptions set out in section 4(2) of the Access to Justice Act 1999, or providing services which may be funded by the commission as part of the Criminal Defence Service.
Bodies receiving grant-in-aid or grant from the Lord Chancellor for marriage and relationship support services. Bodies receiving grant-in-aid or grant from the Lord Chancellor providing advice and support to parents of abducted children.
Bodies appointed under section 4(1) of the Public Records Act 1958 as places of deposit for public records insofar as their internal administrative records relating to those public records are concerned.
Public functions carried out by contractors appointed by the Driving Standards Agency on behalf of the Secretary of State to deliver the statutory theory tests for learner drivers. Public functions of any body authorised by the Driving Standards Agency on behalf of the Secretary of State to conduct all or part of the statutory driving tests for learner drivers.
Public functions of any body appointed by the Driving Standards Agency on behalf of the Secretary of State to conduct the statutory theory tests for persons seeking to join the register of approved driving instructors. Public functions of any body authorised by the Driving Standards Agency on behalf of the Secretary of State to provide approved training courses for riders of mopeds and motor bicycles.
Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain in respect of its statutory functions, and those of any of its committees or officers (these are currently to be found in the Pharmacy Act 1954 and the Medicines Act 1968), and any non-statutory public functions relating to the regulation of the pharmacy profession.
Voluntary organisations and charities operating under the terms of service or other forms of financial agreements with the local authorities in respect of the discharge of their social services functions.
Bodies who are contracted by the Secretary of State, or who are sub-contracted by the contractor, to provide or run a prison or part of a prison in accordance with section 84 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 (as substituted by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994), or to provide prisoner escort and custody services under section 80 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 (as amended by section 93 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994).
Bodies participating in the running of prison industries under contract or in partnership with the prison service and bodies participating in the provision of work for prisoners in a joint venture scheme with the Prison Service British Board of Film Classification.
Assay Offices of United Kingdom 5
1 In respect of functions performed under s. 30 and Sch. 11 to the Companies Act 1989 for the supervision of auditors in Great Britain.
2 In respect of functions performed as a body declared under s. 32 and Sch. 12 to the Companies Act 1989 as offering a recognised qualification.
3 In respect of its functions as a recognised professional body for the purposes of s. 391 to the Insolvency Act 1986.
4 In respect of functions performed under s. 1 to the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949.
5 In respect of functions performed under the Hallmarking Act 1973.
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