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Defence Procurement Agency: Website and Project Updates

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: Of 51 project pages on the DPA website, 41 pages have not been updated within the past six months. This does not reflect lack of progress on the projects concerned. Updates are normally made when there are material changes to the status of a project, for example, the achievement of a major milestone. Further updates are due to be made shortly.

Reserve Forces

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: When reservists are mobilised their employers are informed of their membership of the reserve forces. In addition, surveys undertaken by the Ministry of Defence have shown that a large majority of reservists have told their employers that they are

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members of the Volunteer Reserve. Therefore, we do not expect routine employer notifications to have a significant impact on recruitment or retention. jenny

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether commissioned members of the volunteer reserve forces will enjoy an unfair advantage over those who are not commissioned, since they do not have to re-engage regularly and thus inform their employers of their membership.[HL1175]

Lord Bach: Reservists who do not routinely re-engage, such as commissioned officers, will be obliged to notify their employer of their membership of the volunteer reserve forces at the earliest opportunity before 31 March 2005. After that date notification will be compulsory unless an exemption or waiver is granted. Failure to comply will be regarded as being incompatible with continued membership of the Volunteer Reserve Forces.

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there is any legal restriction on employers' rights to counsel an employee to leave the volunteer reserve forces.[HL1176]

Lord Bach: While there are no legal restrictions on employers counselling employees to leave the volunteer reserve forces, we would urge them not to do so. Reservists bring a great deal of skill and experience to their civilian employers—skills which would cost thousands of pounds for the employer to secure through other forms of training.

If employers have concerns, they should contact the Ministry of Defence before making any decisions. This can be done through the Supporting Britain's Reservists and Employers (SaBRE) website at www.sabre.mod.uk.

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a member of the volunteer reserve forces will have the right to prevent an employer being notified of his membership.[HL1177]

Lord Bach: An automatic exemption from employer notification will be granted to reservists whose unit, residence or employer is located in Northern Ireland. Reservists on the strength of special forces units will also be granted such an exemption.

Reservists, other than those granted exemption, may apply for a waiver if they believe they have good reasons for not informing their employer of their membership of the volunteer reserve forces. In addition, a unit commanding officer may also seek a waiver on a reservists' behalf if he believes there are other good grounds for doing so. Waivers are temporary and may be granted for up to one year after which a further waiver may be sought if still needed.

Reservists have the right to appeal if an application for a waiver is turned down.

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Electoral Pilots: All-postal Ballots

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What representation they have had in the past two months in favour of holding all-postal ballots in the combined European and local elections in (a) the north-west, (b) Yorkshire and Humberside and (c) all other regions, other than the East Midlands and the north-east.[HL989]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin): In the past two months, since the Electoral Commission published its recommendations regarding which regions should hold pilots in December, the Government have received (a) 21 letters supporting the north-west as a pilot area, (b) one supporting Yorkshire and the Humber, and (c) one supporting Scotland. These have been received by both the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Department for Constitutional Affairs.

Freedom of Information Act 2000:Ministers and Civil Servants

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What changes have been made in the administrative procedures and practices of Ministers and civil servants with a view to the coming into force of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.[HL1002]

Lord Filkin: The annual report on bringing into force those provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 which are not yet fully in force included details of the changes that have been made in the administrative procedures and practices of Ministers and civil servants in the last year. The report was laid before both Houses on 27 November 2003 and copies are available in the Library.

Professor Sir Roy Meadow

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    On how many occasions during the past 10 years Professor Sir Roy Meadow has lectured to judges under the auspices of the Judicial Studies Board; what were the subjects of his lectures; and which judges were present to hear them.[HL1014]

Lord Filkin: The information requested is set out in the following table:

Lectures by Professor Sir Roy Meadow at JSB Training Seminars during the past 10 Years

Course/SeminarLectureDate
Seminar for Potential Nominated Care JudgesThe Paediatric Witness7–9 May 1997
Seminar for Potential Nominated Care JudgesThe Paediatric Witness 6–8 May 1998
Seminar for Potential Nominated Care JudgesThe Paediatric Witness5–7 May 1999
Seminar for Potential Nominated Care JudgesThe Paediatric Witness9–12 May 2000
Continuation Seminar for Nominated Care District JudgesPaediatric Reports 22–24 May 2000
Seminar for Potential Nominated Care JudgesThe Paediatric Witness1–4 May 2001

The Judicial Studies Board maintains lists of participants on all its seminars. As a matter of policy, however, it does not disclose the training of judges on the principle that the training a judge has received constitutes part of a judge's personal record, which are confidential to the judge, him or herself and the Lord Chancellor.


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Information Commissioner: Legislative Compliance Enforcement

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they intend to respond to calls from the Information Commissioner for improvements to be made to their slow and cumbersome enforcement powers.[HL1158]

Lord Filkin: I have regular meetings with the Information Commissioner who is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003. The Government are currently looking at the powers available to the commissioner to enforce the 2003 regulations. I will consider very carefully any suggestions he may make for amending the other legislation to improve its effectiveness. clean jenny

Olympic Games 2012: London Bid

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the statement by the Lord Rooker on 20 January (HL Deb, col. 902) that "the Dome may play a role if London is successful in the Olympic bid", whether any change has been made to the London 2012 bid team's application to the International Olympic Committee which states that the Dome will be used for gymnastics, basketball and handball if London wins the bid to host the Summer Olympics in 2012.[HL1160]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): There has been no change to the proposed venues announced by the bidding company, London 2012 on 16 January, the day after

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the applicant questionnaire was submitted to the International Olympic Committee. This included the use of the Dome to stage the basketball and handball finals and gymnastics events, should the bid be successful.

Gender Recognition Bill

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 27 January (WA 37–38), whether they will provide a summary, which protects the confidentiality of respondents, of the responses from sports bodies to the consultation on the Gender Recognition Bill, with particular reference to whether sports should be exempted from the Bill; and[HL1161]

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 27 January (WA 37–38), whether all respondents to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's consultation on the Gender Recognition Bill requested that their responses be treated in confidence; and, if so, whether it is appropriate to publish the names of organisations which have requested that their responses be treated in confidence.[HL1162]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Governing bodies and other sporting organisations responded to the consultation on the understanding that responses would not be published. Soundings were taken informally. The Government will not, therefore, be publishing the results. This is in accordance with exemption 14 of part 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.


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