Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: 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

12 Feb 2004 : Column WA174

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 CRB undertakes a wide range of checks and audits on all systems and processes to satisfy the security expectations of the Data Protection Act 1998. In addition to daily routine auditing of CRB systems, the CRB undertakes yearly security accreditation and BS7799 compliance and has undergone a full data protection adequacy audit. Where processing is conducted by a data processor overseas, the same security standards are applied. Additionally, all staff members both within the CRB agency and within organisations processing data on behalf of the CRB agency receive regular data protection and security training.

Burial Grounds

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why, in their consultation paper on the reform of burial law and policy in the 21st century, the Home Office suggests that an assessment of community needs should be made every 10 years, when the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's consultation paper of draft planning policy statement 11 (PPS11) says that the regional spatial strategy should provide a broad development strategy for the region of at least a 15-year period; and whether Clause 1(2) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill will include a provision for burial grounds.[HL1092]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: For planning purposes, the provision of land for burial is currently considered to be a local, rather than regional, land use issue. The government consultation paper on burial law and policy therefore seeks views on whether the provision of burial grounds should be linked to the local core strategy development plan, outlined in planning policy statement 12: local development frameworks. Such plans should cover a period of at least 10 years.

I understand that, due to the comprehensive nature of Clause 1(2) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill, it will not require a separate provision for burial grounds.

Privacy and Public Protection

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Given the conclusion of their "Respecting Privacy and Protecting the Public from Crime" consultation and the views of respondents on the desirability of a wider public debate about the issues raised, how they propose that such a debate be arranged.[HL1156]

12 Feb 2004 : Column WA175

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The summary of responses to the privacy chapter of the consultation paper, Access to Communications Data, has been published on the Home Office website. 1 The summary makes clear that the Home Office wants the public to continue to have the opportunity to be involved in debating confidence and trust in the use of surveillance powers by public authorities, and invites their views.

In addition, officials are engaged in research projects, being undertaken by Liberty and by the Office of the Information Commissioner, that are reviewing issues around the balance between respect for individual privacy and protection of the public. The Home Office welcomes these initiatives and is committed to engaging constructively in them. Together with the Home Office's own initiatives described in the summary of responses, they provide a foundation for broader public dialogue using a range of approaches from public meetings to online discussion groups.

    1 RIPA–consult–responses.html.

Administrative Court: Home Office Reference M1206235

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to comply with the order of Mr Justice Bell in the Administrative Court on 3 February, in the case whose Home Office reference number is M1206235, that the Secretary of State should facilitate the return of the applicant to the United Kingdom.[HL1178]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The subject of Home Office reference M1206235 was returned to the United Kingdom on 6 February 2004.

Work Permits: Professional Sportsmen

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the transitional arrangements for work permits for professional sportsmen from the proposed 10 new member states of the European Union.[HL1164]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: There are no transitional arrangements. Until 1 May 2004, nationals of the 10 accession countries seeking to come to the United Kingdom for the purpose of employment will continue to be subject to work permit requirements. After that date, they will be subject to the same rights and obligations that apply to any other national of a new member state.

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the decision to permit people on working holiday visas the right to take up employment in professional sport was taken; and what assessment has been made of the impact on employment opportunities in professional sport for United Kingdom sportsmen and women arising from this decision.[HL1190]

12 Feb 2004 : Column WA176

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Changes to the Commonwealth Working Holidaymaker Scheme were announced on 20 June 2003 and became effective for new applicants on 25 August 2003. Nationals of Commonwealth countries who enter as working holidaymakers may now work in any sector during their two-year stay, but must intend to take a holiday break from work during their stay.

The Government are reviewing the impact of the changes to the scheme. As part of the review, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is currently assessing the impact on the sports sector with a number of sporting bodies.

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the outcome and length of the consultation process which took place with professional sports organisations prior to the decision to permit people on working holiday visas to be employed in professional sport; which organisations responded to the proposals for professional sport; and how many responses were in favour of the proposals.[HL1191]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: A public consultation document on the Working Holidaymaker Scheme (WHS) was published in May 2002 with the consultation period ending on 23 August 2002. Eighty responses to the consultation document were received. Two professional sports players' associations responded, the Ice Hockey Players' Association and the Professional Footballers' Association. They made representations in October 2002, after the consultation period had ended, but their responses were none the less considered fully during the review process. Both responses opposed the proposed changes concerning the removal of work restrictions. The only other sporting body to respond was the Sports Council of Northern Ireland, which supported the removal of work restrictions.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) received representations directly from a number of sporting bodies, including the Ice Hockey Players' Association, against the proposed changes. However, the arguments raised were considered not to outweigh the potential advantages to the WHS of the removal of employment restrictions. The Government are reviewing the impact of the changes to the scheme. Within this review the DCMS, as part of the review process, is currently investigating the impact of the WHS with a number of sporting bodies.

Roma Population in EU Accession Countries: Possible Migration to UK

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they can estimate the number of Roma people who are citizens of the 10 countries which are to accede this year to the European Union; and what proportion of them (a) are eligible; and (b) are expected to move to the United Kingdom.[HL1210]

12 Feb 2004 : Column WA177

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Europe's Roma population is estimated at between 7 million and 9 million. Nearly 80 per cent of these Roma live in European Union accession countries.

Current member states, including the UK, cannot discriminate against any new member state or citizens of a specific accession state. Under the Accession Treaty nationals from all of the 10 new member states joining the EU on 1 May will have the right to travel freely across the European Union allowing them to visit, live and study in any other member state.

While predictions are extremely difficult to make, Home Office commissioned research looked at a number of independent studies into migration flows into the UK after enlargement and concluded that there will not be a massive increase from current levels.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page