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Written Answers

Thursday, 2 February 2006.

Child Protection: Trailblazer Scheme

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): Nine local authority "trailblazers" have piloted information sharing index approaches with financial support from my department. In these areas, indexes have worked effectively to help improve well-being and welfare, including child protection, by providing a tool to enable practitioners to identify quickly a child and see who else is working with that child so that they can contact them to discuss whether it is appropriate to share information. This in turn supports earlier, more effective intervention.

On 8 December 2005, I laid in the House of Lords Library the report Learning from Information Sharing and Assessment Trailblazers detailing the main lessons learnt from the trailblazer authorities' work. In some trailblazer authorities, authorised users of the indexes include members of youth offending teams and police officers whose roles bring them into frequent contact with children and young people, through domestic violence cases, youth offending programmes, "Safer Schools" partnerships and other specialist roles relating to children and young people. No trailblazers' indexes have users from the probation service, which provides services primarily in respect of adults.

Commission for Equality and Human Rights

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): My Answer on 18 January should have stated that expected expenditure is in the region of £7.1 million for the year 2006–07, not for the year 2007–08. I apologise for this inadvertent mistake and have produced a table setting our expenditure for preparations for the establishment of the proposed Commission for Equality and Human Rights over the three-year period.
 
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Year 2005–06Year 2006–07Year 2007–08
Expected expenditure£0.8 million£7.1 million£16.1 million

Common Agricultural Policy

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Bach): We announced on 31 January that full payments for the single payment scheme will begin in February and the contingency system to make partial payments will not, therefore, be invoked.

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: We cannot be precise at this stage about how many payments will be outstanding at the end of March. It will be a minority and we will have a better idea on numbers once the definitive establishment process is complete.

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The payment window runs until 30 June and it is expected that all payments that it is possible to make (save those subject to queries such as probate) will be made by that date, although I expect the bulk of payments will have been made by the end of March.

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: I announced on 31 January that full payments under the single payment scheme would start in February. The latest date that payments can be made within the regulatory payment window is the 30 June, although I expect the bulk of payments will have been made by the end of March.
 
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Department for Transport: BAA

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The matters discussed in ministerial and official meetings with BAA about the expansion of Stansted are confidential for commercial and other reasons. Therefore, it would not be appropriate to summarise the precise nature and purpose of the meetings that have taken place during the past 12 months.

Department for Transport: Official Air Travel

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The department's policy on air travel is contained in the travel and subsistence chapter of its staff handbook. Official travellers are encouraged to use the most cost-effective methods of travel which will help them to reach their destinations safely, in good time and in reasonable comfort. Air travel may be used for journeys overseas and for long-distance travel within the UK. Flights with a duration of less than 2.5 hours must be booked economy class, and flights in excess of 2.5 hours may be business/club class. Upgrades to higher classes of ticket may only be made in exceptional circumstances, such as when there are no tickets available in the approved class, where the facilities in economy class do not meet the needs of pregnant or disabled travellers, or when necessarily accompanying someone travelling in a higher class. Any benefits such as air miles accrued as a result of official travel may not be used for personal travel, but may used to offset the cost of future official journeys where possible.

Policy on air travel in the department's agencies is broadly similar to that in the central department, and identical in the cases of MCA, VCA and DVLA. DSA does not have a specific air travel policy, but requires that all journeys must be arranged as economically as possible, taking into account the cost of the travel and the cost of official time. VOSA allows air travel when this is more economical because of savings in travel and subsistence expenses and VOSA time; or the urgency of the journey justifies the cost. With a few exceptions all travel must be made at standard or economy fares. HA allows air travel for overseas journeys, but expects such journeys to be undertaken in the most economical and efficient manner. For UK travel HA's preferred mode of transport is rail, but it permits travelling by air where this offers overall savings in terms of fares, subsistence and official time. Where these criteria are not met, air travel may nevertheless be allowed if the urgency of the journey
 
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justifies the extra cost. The presumption is that staff will travel economy class. GCDA has no specific policy on air travel.

Electoral Register

Lord Norton of Louth asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The Representation of the People Regulations 2002 provide that electors may opt out of the edited version of the register of electors if they do not want their details to be sold to anyone for any purpose. The figures in respect of the electoral register published on 1 December 2005 covering the year 2005–06 are not yet available. According to statistics provided by the credit reference agencies, 29.29 per cent. of eligible electors (representing 13,099,264 people) opted out of inclusion in the edited version of the register compiled in 2004.


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