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Further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Mr Jonathan Shaw, on 18 October (Official Report, Commons, col. 1190W), why the final report of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB has not been peer reviewed. [HL429]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): As stated in my honourable friends Answer (Official Report, Commons, col. 1190W), while the final report of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (ISG) in its entirety has not been peer reviewed, most of the substance of the report and its scientific findings underwent peer review prior to publication in scientific journals.
It is not usual to subject material to additional peer review. However, my Defra ministerial colleagues and I asked the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, Sir David King, for an assessment of the scientific evidence in the ISG report and elsewhere that needs to be taken into account in reaching future policy decisions on bovine TB. Sir Davids assessment was published as evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee on 22 October 2007. I have arranged for a copy of the report to be placed in the Library of the House; it is also available on the Defra website.
Further to the publication of the annual report and accounts for 2006-07 for the Environment Agency (EA), how many farmers in total attended the 250 workshops run for them by the EA; and how many attended two, three, four or more workshops. [HL430]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The England catchment sensitive farming delivery initiative (ECSFDI) was launched in December 2005, to run initially from April 2006 to March 2008. It is delivered in partnership by the Environment Agency and Natural England. Natural England leads on the advice delivery and the Environment Agency leads on catchment appraisals, monitoring and evaluation.
Current figures collated by the Environment Agency, which cover approximately 90 per cent of catchment sensitive farming officer (CSFO) delivery between 2006 and 2007, indicate that the initiative
28 Nov 2007 : Column WA118
Lord Rooker: The information is not available in the form requested. Data are held by the Police Service of Northern Ireland on the number of recorded offences of rape and attempted rape that have been cleared by means of charge or summons. This information, for the calendar years 2001-02 to 2006-07, is set out in Table 1. Tables 2 and 3 detail the number of prosecutions and convictions for rape and attempted rape recorded in the calendar years 2001 to 2005 (the latest years for which such data are currently available).
It is not possible routinely to reconcile both sets of data. The PSNI data relate to the number of offences, whereas data on prosecutions and convictions relate to the number of offenders brought before the courts. Additionally, an offence that is initially recorded as rape or attempted rape may differ from the offence for which a suspect is subsequently prosecuted and convicted. Thus, for example, in 2005 there were four convictions for rape out of 21 prosecutions (19 per cent), while the number of persons directed for prosecution for rape or a related offence and whose trial concluded with a conviction for at least one of those offences was 17 out of 27 prosecutions (63 per cent).
The Government are committed to improving the rates of successful prosecution in rape cases. Specialist police units, staffed by highly skilled and trained personnel, are dedicated to enhancing the service to victims of rape and sexual assault, and both PSNI and the Public Prosecution Service are seeking to develop models of best investigative practice so that more offences can achieve the threshold for prosecution.
The Northern Ireland Office and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety have also jointly developed and consulted on a draft regional strategy for addressing sexual violence in Northern Ireland, which will specifically examine the factors that contribute to the attrition rate in relation to sexual offences. The strategy is scheduled to be published in early 2008.
As part of that process, we have already made significant progress, in partnership with the medical profession and voluntary sector, in developing proposals for a sexual assault referral centre (SARC) in Northern Ireland. The SARC will deliver a more co-ordinated response to the needs of victims by
28 Nov 2007 : Column WA119
|Table 1: Rape offences (including attempts) recorded and cleared by the police by means of charge/summons 2001-02 to 2006-07|
|Cleared by means of charge/summons|
|Source: Central Statistics Unit, PSNI|
|Table 2: Numbers prosecuted and convicted of rape 2001 to 2005|
|Number prosecuted||Number convicted|
|Source: NIO Statistics and Research Branch|
|Table 3: Numbers prosecuted and convicted of attempted rape 2001 to 2005|
|Number prosecuted||Number convicted|
|Source: NIO Statistics and Research Branch|
|1. Data for prosecutions and convictions are collated on the principal offence rule; thus only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.|
|2. Prosecution and conviction figures for attempted rape include assault with intent to rape and aiding and abetting rape.|
Baroness Taylor of Bolton: Joint Service Publication 373, Military Aid to the Civilian Community in the UK, has been replaced by Joint Doctrine Publication 02. Doctrine publications articulate the principles that guide how our military forces conduct their activities. JDP 02 is available on the MoD website at www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/CorporatePublications/ DoctrineOperationsandDiplomacyPublications/JDP/Jdp02OperationsInTheUkTheDefenceContributionTo Resilience.htm.
Further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Mr Jonathan Shaw, on 22 October (Official Report, Commons, col. 78W), whether the increasing trend of expenditure in the core department on consultancy and professional services will continue through this financial year and next; and, in particular, what are the anticipated figures for information technology and telecommunication and for specialist consultancy. [HL434]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Defra has a responsibility to manage its budget with care and to provide best value to the taxpayer. The department takes this responsibility very seriously and strives to use the most cost-effective means to continue to deliver in its key business areas. Consultancy and professional services expenditure occurs where business units take an informed decision that the private sector represents better value for money than developing equivalent capacity in-house. Additionally, these decisions are taken in the context of meeting the Gershon target to reduce the number of Civil Service posts by 2,400 by the end of financial year 2007-08.
The core department has recently completed a root-and-branch review of its expenditure on consultancy and professional services, which has led to a new commissioning approvals process being implemented on 3 September 2007 and the competition of several new framework agreements for key segments of consultancy and professional services expenditure. The department is also an active supporter of and participant in the OGCs consultancy value programme.
Additionally, the National Audit Office has recently completed an assessment of the core departments expenditure on consultancy using the NAOs assessment toolkit for the use of consultants. Recommendations made in its draft report are being considered by the department.
Further, the CSR07 business planning process is placing a major emphasis on reducing expenditure on consultancy and professional services. Until this process is complete, it is neither possible nor sensible to estimate
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What consideration they have given to the report by the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability on disabled peoples views and experiences entitled Disability Review 2007; and whether they will take action in response to any of its findings.[HL292]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The findings and views expressed in Disability Review 2007 published by the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity span the interests of a number of government departments. As the report was published only very recently, departments are considering the report and its recommendations to see how it can inform their work.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): This information is not collected centrally. We understand the main reason for failure to pursue a speeding offence is the failure of the registered keeper to identify the driver at the time of the offence. We have recently increased the penalty for this to six penalty points as well as a level 3 fine (£1,000).
What consideration they are giving to the adaptation of the GB security and quality of supply standard to take account of the likelihood that some new electricity generating plants will be larger in future than those currently supplying power to the national grid. [HL260]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Jones of Birmingham): The GB security and quality of supply standard recognises two levels of electricity generation infeed to the power system, mainly for the purpose of determining the level of power system reserve that should be held. These are defined as the infrequent infeed loss risk and the normal infeed loss risk and they are set at 1,320 megawatts and 1,000 megawatts respectively. In the event that larger electricity generating plants become available in the future, the Government would expect that the implications for the standard would be considered through existing and well established governance arrangements.
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