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Whether they will place in the Library of the House the response of the deputy chief caseworker of the Home Office Nationality Group to Tameem Abdulhusein Ebrahim's request for information about the technical difficulties surrounding the processing of applications for British citizenship from Hong Kong (ref: FOI 5108/5202, 6 December 2006); whether since the new system went live on 9 December 2006 the backlog of applications outstanding since February 2006 has been cleared; and, if not, when they expect the backlog will be cleared. [HL1699]
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Since January 2004, all acute National Health Service trusts in England have been obliged to report all cases of Clostridium difficile associated disease in patients aged 65 and over under the mandatory surveillance scheme.
National, regional and individual trust data were published for the years 2004 and 2005 (the latest available data) in Mandatory surveillance of healthcare associated infections report 2006 on the Health Protection Agency's (HPA) website: www.hpa.org.uk/infections/topics_az/hai/MandSurvHCAI2006.pdf
Data for 2006 were published by the HPA on 30 January 2007 and can be found at: www.hpa. org.uk/hpa/news/articles/press_releases/2007/070130_mrsa.htm.
How many (a) executive, and (b) administrative posts are held by non-British European Union nationals in the Home Office; how they were selected; and when the first non-British European Union national was recruited by the department. [HL1825]
Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: The Home Office, which includes the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, Prison Service, Identity and Passport Service but not its agencies recruits staff through fair
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Nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) are permitted to apply for 82 per cent of all Civil Service posts from senior to the most junior posts. The EEA comprises the member states of the European Union and the EFTA member states (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland under a separate agreement. EU nationals are not the only European nationals eligible for Civil Service employment.
The Home Office does not centrally record information on the number of non-British European Union nationals holding executive and administrative posts or when the first non-British European national was recruited by the department, so a comprehensive response to this Question could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) calls for energy performance certificates to be made available when buildings are constructed, sold or rented out. Energy performance certificates (EPCs) will include not only ratings of energy efficiency and environmental impact but a set of recommendations as to how the owner can improve energy efficiency. They will also include more general advice on saving energy. Owners will not be obliged to act on this information. However the EPC also displays prominently the telephone number of the Energy Savings Trust so that consumers are signposted to a source of impartial and expert advice, including the availability of grant schemes.
Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) are not subject to detained fast track processes. For detention purposes, a person claiming to be under 18 will only be treated as an adult if:
Management information shows that between January and June 2006 six asylum applicants were taken into the detained fast-track (DFT) process despite their claim to be under 18. In each case, they met one or more of the above criteria when their suitability for DFT was assessed but subsequent information, in the form of a full social services age assessment, later emerged which led us to accept their claim to be a child.
In addition, five asylum applicants claimed to be minors after they had entered the DFT process and one claimed to be a child on transit to the detention centre. Three of these applicants were released following a full social services age assessment and three were released without an age assessment taking place as the case owners responsible for their claims were satisfied on the basis of other evidence available to them that they were children.
Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: The number of cases allocated to individual caseholders across the Immigration and Nationality Directorate varies for a number of reasons, including type and complexity of case or caseholder experience. It is not therefore possible to give the number of cases for which a caseholder will be responsible.
In cases where the Medical Foundation confirms that an asylum applicant has suffered torture, what action is taken by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate to ensure that the person or their dependants are not detained in custody. [HL1969]
Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: Under Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001, the medical practitioner at a removal centre is required to report to the manager on the case of any detained person who he is concerned may have been the victim of torture. Systems are in place to ensure that any such reports are passed to the on-site immigration manager for onward transmission to the relevant IND caseworker.
Should the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture confirm that a detainee has suffered torture, this, along with any independent medical advice, would be fully considered by the IND caseowner, who would consider whether detention remains appropriate in those specific circumstances.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): We have seen no evidence that Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) representatives have recently publicly renounced violence. Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the leader of the JI party, did issue a condemnation regarding the kidnappings of westerners in Iraq.
Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: This information is not collected centrally. The best available data come from the Office for National Statistics psychiatric morbidity survey (1998). This study found that a quarter of adult-sentenced male and female prisoners had been taken into local authority care as children. The figures were slightly higher for prisoners on remand (33 per cent for males, 29 per cent for females).
Analysis of a sub-sample of young offenders (aged 16-20 years) found that 29 per cent of male sentenced prisoners, 42 per cent of male remand prisoners, and 35 per cent of female sentenced prisoners had been taken into local authority care as a child. Too few female young offenders on remand were sampled to enable reliable analysis for this group.
How many life-sentence prisoners are being held beyond the tariff number of years set by the trial judge; whether the current risk assessments are working fairly and effectively; and whether they anticipate a reduction in the numbers of prisoners held beyond tariff. [HL1967]
Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: The information requested about the number of life sentence prisoners being held beyond the tariff expiry date is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.
I am satisfied that the current risk assessments are working fairly and effectively. In recent years, a range of major improvements to risk assessments and risk-reduction measures have been introduced by prison and probation services. These include the use of actuarial risk-assessment models, the adoption of evidence-based and accredited offending behaviour programmes and improved training in risk assessment for staff.
Regular risk assessments are carried out in order to assess a life-sentence prisoner's progress and whether a life-sentence prisoner is ready to progress to a lower category prison, including open conditions, or release. The question of release is a matter for the independent Parole Board. The Parole Board makes a release decision based on whether or not it is necessary for the protection of the public for that prisoner to be confined. The main criterion governing the board's consideration is the risk of serious harm that the prisoner may pose to others.
What is their response to proposals for a Commission to promote restorative justice; and whether they have assessed the potential reduction in re-offending and in consequent prison sentences following wider application of restorative methods. [HL2061]
Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: The Government have invested £5 million in the Crime Reduction Programme restorative justice pilots and their evaluation. The pilots delivered restorative justice at all stages of the criminal justice system. Two (of four) research reports have been published on, respectively, the setting up of the pilots and the delivery of the process. The third and fourth reports on victim and offender satisfaction, and the impact of restorative justice on reconviction rates and cost-effectiveness, are expected to be published this year. This research will inform our future strategy on the use of adult restorative justice. In the mean time, our strategy is to encourage, but not require, the use of adult restorative justice, particularly as a service to victims where there is consistent evidence that it delivers high levels of satisfaction.
Whether they are assisting the recognised Government of Somalia to establish effective administration; whether other governments are co-operating to this end; and, if so, how the Government and other Governments are assisting the Government of Somalia in this regard. [HL2062]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): We support the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia in their attempts to establish an effective administration. Several other Governments are also supporting the TFG in this respect. The International Contact Group on Somalia (the UK, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Tanzania, the UN, the European Commission, the European Union presidency, the African Union, the Arab League, the chair of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development) issued a communiqué on 9 February urging the donor community to provide additional resources in a co-ordinated manner ... to enable the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) to establish administrative institutions.
We, along with other donors (mainly the European Commission, Norway and Sweden), are providing both technical and financial assistance to help the TFIs of Somalia to become established. Support to date has included direct financial support to the costs of the TFIs through a UN development programme project (e.g. refurbishment and equipping of TFI buildings, stipends for parliamentarians, police and judiciary); capacity building support to the TFIs; and support for developing a constitution.
A broader group of donors, including Denmark and Italy, as well as bilateral support from within the region from countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia, is providing support to establish the security institutions of the TFIs, including training of police, and where possible training of the security forces.
In what respect the standards of compulsory public disclosure on employee relations, pensions, executive remuneration, risk management, corporate governance and social responsibility change once a publicly listed company has been acquired through a private company takeover; which of those changes are in the public interest; and whether they will review ways of reducing or ending such information gaps. [HL2075]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Truscott): Effective disclosure is a fundamental principle of UK company law and listing rules. Financial and narrative reporting requirements were consulted on extensively in the formulation of the provisions in the Companies Act 2006. The differences in disclosure requirements between private and publicly listed companies exist to achieve an appropriate and proportionate degree of transparency between those companies which do not offer securities to the public, and those which do. All private companies, other than small companies, are required to produce a business review.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Truscott): Digital switchover may be covered from time to time in bilateral ministerial meetings. It was discussed by the Council of Ministers in December 2005 when, under the UK presidency, Council agreed conclusions in response to the Commission's communication on switchover. The Council's conclusions are detailed in the press release available at: www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/trans/87389.pdf.
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