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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): Latest reports from the UN estimate that at least 250,000 people have fled Cote d'Ivoire to neighbouring countries such as Ghana, Mali and Burkina Faso, and another 600,000 are internally displaced. The renewed conflict in Liberia has caused many Liberians and Sierra Leonean refugees to cross into Sierra Leone and Guinea. In response to the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire, the Department for International Development has provided around £1 million to humanitarian operations through ICRC and the NGO Merlin as well as 2,000 tents, 30,000 blankets and 200 rolls of plastic sheeting to boost UNHCR's regional stockpile in Accra. There is a risk that there could be a rapid deterioration in the situation affecting large numbers of people, and we are therefore continuing to monitor developments closely in consultation with international agencies, including the UN. We are also working closely with others in the international community to support regional efforts to implement the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement. In this context, the UK Government have provided £2 million to support deployment of the Ghanaian contingent of the ECOWAS peace-keeping force.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Falconer of Thoroton on 4 February (WA1920), what are the names of all companies to which work on the processing of data held by or on half of the Criminal Records Bureau has been contracted or sub-contracted; and[HL1689]
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Falconer of Thoroton on 4 February (WA1920), why information is being processed on behalf of the Criminal Records Bureau on the Indian sub-continent; and [HL1690]
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Falconer of Thoroton on 4 February (WA1920), whether the pay and conditions of work of persons on the Indian sub-continent handling information held by or on behalf of the Criminal Records Bureau are in accordance with the United Kingdom and European Union legislation on minimum pay and standards on employment.[HL1691]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): It has at all times been the intention that, in terms of data protection, security and other aspects, the arrangements for processing data should entail no material increase to the risk of misuse of data. Consequently, before agreement was given for any data to be processed in India, the site was visited by senior officials from the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), who were fully satisfied that this was the case. The main CRB contract (signed in August 2000) requires that the CRB's private sector partner, Capita, and any sub-contractor of Capita, must comply with the Data Protection Act 1998; and that Capita may not enter into a sub-contracting arrangement without the permission of the CRB. The agreement between Capita and Hays Commercial Services Ltd, the sub-contractor undertaking this work on the Indian sub-continent, makes it clear that the provisions of English law apply. This was clarified in January this year by a variation of the original terms in order to make explicit Hays's obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998.
This arrangement has proved highly effective in enabling large numbers of paper application forms to be processed with timely, efficient and accurate data capture and eliminating backlogs from this critical stage of the CRB process.
Non-EU countries are free to determine their own employment laws, having regard as necessary to obligations which would flow from membership of organisations such as the International Labour Organisation. I understand that the conditions and benefits offered by Hays are considered among the most attractive in the region, and that the salaries are well above the local average and in the upper quartile for the industry.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The noble Lord's initial Question caused us to seek clarification of the contractual provisions between Capita and Hays Commercial Service Ltd by including a specific reference that data processing is to be performed in accordance with the terms of the Data Protection Act
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Filkin): The Home Office is working with other government departments to develop a cross-government strategy for delivering improvements in race equality over the next three years. The strategy is being further developed for wider consultation and publication later in the year.
The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): LASHG was an unfair funding mechanism that did not allocate funds to areas of greatest need, consistently underspent nationally and gave unfair advantage to debt-free local authorities.
As part of the measures outlined in Sustainable Communities: building for the future, we have decided to abolish LASHG to allow a more strategic use of resources. The change is to take effect from 1 April 2003.
We understand the concerns that have been raised over the timing of this change and recognise the difficulties this is causing for the planning of schemes coming forward over the next few months. However, it would be indefensible to retain the current arrangements at a time when there are pressing housing priorities that are not getting sufficient funding.
We are also clear that there should be no hiatus in housing investment. We are therefore putting in place transitional arrangements to cover schemes that could have gone ahead in 200304 if we had continued with a £500 million provision for LASHG.
Transitional funding will therefore support investment in housing of up to £550 million. This is an increase of £50 million on the provision for LASHG in 200203 and is higher than in any previous year. It is fully in line with the measures we have set out in the Sustainable Communities Plan to increase substantially the resources made available for delivering sustainable communities for everyone.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): All service personnel are routinely offered a range of vaccinations to protect against disease. These include public health vaccinations and vaccinations for those in special occupational risk groups. Vaccinations are also offered to service personnel deploying to areas with specific health hazards and to protect personnel against the effects of biological weapons.
In accordance with NHS guidelines, a number of public health vaccinations may be administered at the same time, some in combination. This is not unusual. However, by offering public health vaccinations to service personnel on recruitment, with boosters at appropriate intervals thereafter, the need to administer several vaccinations or boosters immediately before a deployment can be avoided. Nevertheless, boosters or additional vaccinations may be unavoidable at the time of a deployment or in an emergency. This is the case for anyone travelling overseas at short notice. In such circumstances, full account is taken of any other
There is no requirement for service personnel who are offered a vaccination to sign any waivers or disclaimers. All vaccinations are administered on a voluntary basis. As part of individuals giving their informed consent to receive a vaccination, they are advised of the consequences of their refusal and of any possible side-effects of the vaccine. Units may, if required, maintain administrative records of which personnel have received the necessary briefings or need to be re-offered boosters. None of these records constitutes a legal waiver or disclaimer.
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