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The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): All service accommodation is formally exempt from the council tax regime; instead, my department pays contributions in lieu of council tax to local authorities, which are broadly equivalent to the amount of tax that would otherwise have been due. The average contribution, determined by the type of property occupied, is then recovered from service occupants with their accommodation charge. Where service families accommodation is occupied by civilian personnel, they are responsible for payment of council tax direct to the local authority concerned. In Northern Ireland, domestic rates are payable on residential property owned by the British Army.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The department produces a personal social services pay and prices index, which is a weighted average of estimated changes in pay, prices and capital costs for the sector. The index covers services for children and adults and includes services directly provided by local authorities and services purchased from independent sector providers. The latest year for which the data required to calculate the index are available is the financial year 2004-05. This index was provided to the Health Select Committee in summer 2006. The estimated inflation in the sector in 2004-05 was 4.3 per cent. The department also calculates a separate index for services provided to adults only. In 2004-05, estimated inflation in the adult social care sector was also 4.3 per cent.
What action they are taking in response to the lessons for practice in the National Childrens Bureau report Tell Them Not to Forget About Us: A Guide to Practice with Looked After Children in Custody. [HL2455]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): The department funded the National Children's Bureau to research and produce the publication Tell Them Not to Forget About Us, to develop a model of practice to guide local authority social workers and youth offending teams (YOTs) in working together to meet the needs of children from care who go to prison, to make sure that the two agencies can work together better to improve the support provided to this group of vulnerable young people.
The guide was launched at an invited workshop, organised by the department, involving senior managers from local authorities, the Youth Justice Board and representatives from the voluntary sector. We have ensured that key groups of professionals, such as the independent reviewing officers, have been made aware of the information that it includes about best practice in working to support young people from care who are in custody. A copy of the publication was sent to every director of children's services and every YOT manager.
What steps they are taking to ensure that information on a childs care status is consistently recorded and shared between social care and youth justice agencies when a looked-after child is in custody or on remand. [HL2456]
Lord Adonis: Children who are in the care of the local authority must be provided with a care plan that sets out how the authority proposes to meet the child's assessed needs, while Asset is the standard assessment framework used by all youth offending teams (YOTs) in England and Wales with young people aged 10 to 17 who offend. Asset will include identifying information specific to each child, including information about their care status. It aims to identify key risk factors contributing to a young persons offending behaviour along with protective factors that might help to reduce the risk of reoffending.
Social workers and YOT workers have shared responsibilities where a looked-after child is also a young person who offends, and information in Asset will include information drawn from the childs care plan. Where a child enters custody, the YOT worker should ensure that the custodial establishment is aware of the childs care status, including any entitlement to leaving care services, and their social workers contact details. It is important that the custodial establishment receives the childs care plan alongside the Asset assessment.
Lord Adonis: Where local authorities share parental responsibility for a child in their care who has been admitted to custody, they have statutory responsibilities to continue to plan for their welfare.
The department funded the National Childrens Bureau to research and produce the publication Tell Them Not to Forget About Us, to develop a model of practice to guide local authority social workers and youth offending teams (YOTs) in working together to meet the needs of children from care who go to prison, to make sure that the two agencies can work together better to improve the support provided to this group of vulnerable young people. A copy was sent to every director of childrens services and every YOT manager.
For 2007-08, with the Home Office, my department is funding the placement of social workers in young offender institutions (YOIs). These posts will have an important role in maintaining contact between looked-after young people in custody and the local authorities responsible for their care.
What steps they are taking to ensure that in the case of a looked-after child in custody or on remand there is an effective integration of the child's sentence plan and his care or pathway plan. [HL2459]
Lord Adonis: The department funded the National Childrens Bureau to develop and publish good practice guidance to assist local authority social workers and youth offending teams (YOTs) in working together to meet the needs of children from care who go to prison. This guidance includes information on good practice so that local authorities and YOTs are able to co-ordinate their respective responsibilities for care planning and for sentence planning. A copy was sent to every director of childrens services and to every YOT manager.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): Information on the country of origin of children in the care of local authorities in England and Wales is not collected centrally.
What guidance the Secretary of State for Education and Skills has issued to local authorities on Section 53 of the Children Act 2004, and the
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How the Secretary of State for Education and Skills is monitoring the implementation of Section 53 of the Children Act 2004, and the new duty on social workers to ascertain and give due consideration to the child's wishes and feelings in child protection inquiries and children needing assessments. [HL2120]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): The revised version of the core guidance document Working Together to Safeguard Children, which was published in April 2006, incorporates changes made as a result of Section 53 of the Children Act 2004, making clear the requirement to take the wishes and feelings of children into account and setting out when specifically this needs to be done in individual cases. In addition, the guidance makes it clear that local safeguarding children boards should put in place arrangements to ascertain the wishes and feelings of children about the priorities and effectiveness of local safeguarding work more broadly. The first part of Working Together is statutory guidance for local authorities, and the document also informs the work of other agencies involved in safeguarding children. The new duty is being monitored, as with the rest of local authorities' social care work, through the work of the relevant inspectorate, currently the Commission for Social Care Inspection. Multi-agency safeguarding children work is monitored by the inspectorates more generally, and the inspectorates produce a series of regular joint chief inspectors' reports on safeguarding children.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 7 March (WA 50-51), whether www.climatechallenge.gov.uk, www.defra.gov.uk or other material that they are sending to schools contains information opposing the theory that climate change is caused primarily by carbon dioxide emissions; and [HL2611]
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 7 March (WA 5051), whether they will consider sending the Channel 4 documentary film The Great Global Warming Swindle to schools to balance the views put forward by An Inconvenient Truth.[HL2612]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): The pack sent to schools will signpost web-based information, including guidance for teachers on how to incorporate climate change into the teaching of the national curriculum. This guidance will reference
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Further to the Written Answer by Lord Falconer of Thoroton on 5 March (WA 6) on statutes that discriminate against Roman Catholics, why they currently have no plans to bring forward legislation to remove statutory provisions mentioned in the Answer. [HL2532]
The Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The Government have always stood firmly against discrimination in all its forms, including against Roman Catholics, and they will continue to do so. To bring about change to the law on succession would be a complex undertaking involving amendment or repeal of a number of items of related legislation, as well as requiring the consent of legislatures of member nations of the Commonwealth. It would raise other major constitutional issues. The Government already have a heavy legislative programme and therefore have no plans to legislate in this area.
Lord Rooker: Genealogical research in Northern Ireland requires searching in a more diverse range of sources, both public and private, than is the case in the rest of the United Kingdom. The starting point is substantially different owing to the almost total absence of 19th-century census returns and of an official set of pre-1858 wills. These are available in England and Wales and in Scotland and have been the subject of extensive digitisation projects. Only the civil registration records for Scotland have been computerised, but the digitisation of those for England and Wales is now under way.
Indexes of civil registration records on births, deaths and marriages in Northern Ireland have already been computerised and are available for use by members of the public in the General Register Office (GRO) Belfast. The GRO (Belfast) is also taking forward plans to digitise all civil registration records and to widen public access to them. This will bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the United Kingdom.
The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has completed two significant digitisation projects of interest to genealogists. It is currently engaged in two further projects with plans to develop other digitised sources. Some of the primary sources
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At the same time, PRONI has been engaged in a project to put its extensive and detailed descriptive catalogues online. This will open up a vast resource to genealogists, who, for the first time, will be able to undertake comprehensive searches using personal names in the same way as genealogists can do at present in England and Wales and in Scotland.
What representations the chief executive of the Veterans Agency and the Minister for Veterans have received from Mr TE Walker, a Gulf War veteran, concerning the Pensions Appeal Tribunals decision that he has Gulf War syndrome; what replies they are sending; and what further steps they will take in this regard. [HL2114]
On how many occasions in the last three years the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence exercised its power to refer a disciplinary case to the courts on the basis that the outcome is too lenient in contrast to the number of references in respect of lenient sentencing made by the Attorney-General. [HL2554]
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): In the last three financial years, the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) has referred 22 cases to court under Section 29 of the National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002. During that period, 2,213 decisions have been notified to CHRE.
In respect of the Department for Education and Skills, (a) on how many occasions in the last year malicious programs have compromised departmental
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): (a) There were no successful malicious software attacks to the DfES network last year; (b) the DfES network is subjected to annual penetration tests; and (c) the management board regularly reviews information risks as part of its corporate governance responsibilities.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Sainsbury of Turville on 7 November 2006 (WA 125-26) on export credit guarantees for Iran, whether any of the technology listed has the potential for use within the nuclear industry; and, if so, how. [HL2142]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Truscott): In principle, a very wide range of goods and technologies have potential for use within the nuclear industry. Export licences are required for any which are specifically controlled under the military or dual-use lists (which, in turn, reflect the control lists in the international non-proliferation regimes), and any which the exporter knows, suspects or has been informed are for use in a WMD programme of concern. It is primarily the exporter's responsibility to determine this. In the case of the items listed in Lord Sainsbury's Answer, many of the companies listed did approach the Export Control Organisation (ECO) for advice on these issues or submitted applications, and the ECO, having fully examined those cases, was able either to issue licences or to confirm that licences were not required. If we had judged that there was a risk of use within a WMD programme of concern, then licences would have been refused.
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