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Whether, in the light of two recent gun attacks, 25 other gun and bomb attacks on police in 2007 and the continuing need for a number of Police Service of Northern Ireland officers to move home because of terrorist threats, they will reconsider the 12.5 per cent reduction in the Northern Ireland allowance. [HL264]
Following a comprehensive independent review of the allowance in March 2006 the Police Negotiating Board agreed that the allowance should be reduced by 12.5 per cent from September 2007, with a further 12.5 per cent reduction from September 2008. The allowance continues to be uprated in line with annual pay increases.
The number of recruits that will be directly affected as a result of the 50:50 provisions is 755. This figure is a projection based on the likely number of appointments to be made from all these recruitment exercises.
50:50 recruitment is part of a package of measures that has led to more than 1400 non-Catholics being appointed to the new Police Service of Northern Ireland as trainee constables since November 2001. This is a higher level of non-Catholic recruitment than was witnessed in RUC recruitment at the time Patten undertook his investigations.
Lord Rooker: The PSNI is aiming to increase the percentage of emergency calls responded to within 15 minutes by 2 percentage points, bringing the target to 79.8 per cent. Non-emergency incidents are prioritised individually, and no target response times are set.
The target is monitored through the PSNI's command and control system, which records response times. The response time is measured from the time the incident is entered on the system to the arrival time of the police officers.
Whether they have made an assessment of the evidence on reoffending from the personal progression system for prisoners and offenders in Northern Ireland; and whether the system will be trialled in other jurisdictions. [HL326]
Lord Rooker: The personal progression system (PPS) was supported by Equal European Union funding to develop initiatives to raise levels of employability amongst disadvantaged groups of the long-term unemployed. The Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NIACRO) led a partnership with the Northern Ireland Prison Service and Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI) focusing on prisoners with a history of long-term unemployment. The PPS ran from 2002 for three years and was externally evaluated. Approximately 400 prisoners were involved in this programme. The lessons learnt were integrated into the follow-up project called ReachOut (2005-2007), which addressed the attainment of stable, permanent employment for ex-offenders. The Prison
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Youth Justice Board and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) currently fund 25 social worker posts in the young offender institutions to perform local authority children's services functions and support child protection.
Prisoner health and learning and skills services are commissioned by the National Health Service and the Learning and Skills Council. The Department of Health and DCSF do not collate records on the number of mental health and educational needs experts working in prison service establishments.
|Number of Staff
What assessment they have made of the relationship between the ratio of staff to prisoners in the prisons and young offender institutions of England and Wales, and the number of hours spent by prisoners on association or useful activity, over the past 10 years. [HL528]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The staff to prisoner ratio in prisons and young offender institutions (YOIs) is designed to provide an appropriate regime in each prison or YOI, and will vary according to a range of factors, such as type and layout of establishments, type and mix of prisoners and the required level of security and control. The time spent in purposeful activity by prisoners is largely a function of the same characteristics as they apply to individual prisons or types of establishment.
What additional powers will be given to the Information Commissioner in the light of the loss by HM Revenue and Customs of personal confidential information; and how they will give legislative effect to any such powers. [HL613]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Following the loss by HMRC of personal confidential information, the Prime Minister asked the Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, to carry out spot checks on the compliance by government departments with the Data Protection Act 1998.
This does not entail any legislative change. In practice it will mean that the Commissioner may carry out assessments of government departments on the basis that he will not be refused consent. The proposed spot checks will initially be focused on Whitehall departments.
The Thomas/Walport Review on information sharing will be asked to consider the case for providing the Information Commissioner with unfettered access to assess the processing of personal data within the private and wider public sectors.
The Government are also considering the Information Commissioner's request to create a new offence under the Data Protection Act of knowingly or recklessly failing to comply with the data protection principles contained in the Act.
What progress they have made with the programme of assistance following the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement in southern Sudan; and how many staff have been working on this (a) in the United Kingdom; (b) in Khartoum; and (c) in the south of Sudan. [HL671]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (Baroness Vadera): Following the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA), the UK pledged £317 million for Sudan for the period from 2005 to 2007. The UK now stands to exceed its pledge for this period, having disbursed over £290 million so far, and our financial commitment to Sudan has increased to £110 million in 2007. The UK's assistance has been focused on supporting the implementation of the CPA and in building the capacity of the southern Government to provide basic services for their population.
A large number of UK officials work on Sudan, including on development and political CPA issues. Amongst those there are 14 staff in the London-based joint DfID/FCO Sudan unit, the 27 staff in the DfID Khartoum office, as well as officials in the British Embassy. In Juba, south Sudan, the UK works through the joint donor office, which has 12 staff working exclusively on assistance to south Sudan.
Whether they have undertaken a cost-benefit analysis in relation to acceptance by the United Kingdom of the First Optional Protocol to the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. [HL469]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Our review of the United Kingdom's experience under the optional protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, which is under way, will include an analysis of the costs and benefits to the United Kingdom of individual petition to the United Nations under that convention. We hope that that will provide a basis for comparison with other mechanisms.
What is their justification for allowing women to complain to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women of violations by the United Kingdom of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women while not permitting members
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Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Government remain to be convinced of the practical value to the UK citizen of rights of individual petition to the United Nations. The UN committees that consider petitions are not courts, and they cannot award damages, or produce a legal ruling on the meaning of the law. One of our reasons for acceding to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 2004 was to enable us to consider on a more empirical basis the merits of the right of individual petition under the other UN treaties. A review of the United Kingdom's experience under the optional protocol is now under way.
Whether they will be in a position to announce on Human Rights Day 2007 whether they intend to accept the First Optional Protocol to the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. [HL471]
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The situation remains under review but the Government remain to be convinced of the practical value to the UK citizen of rights of individual petition to the United Nations. The UN committees that consider petitions are not courts, and they cannot award damages, or produce a legal ruling on the meaning of the law. In 2004, we acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. One of our reasons for doing so was to enable us to consider on a more empirical basis the merits of the right of individual petition under the other UN treaties. A review of the United Kingdom's experience under the optional protocol is now under way.
How many cases have been taken against the United Kingdom to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women; what was the outcome of each; and what was the cost to the public purse. [HL472]
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: To date, two applications involving the United Kingdom have been made to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. Both have been rejected as inadmissible. An analysis of the cost to the United Kingdom of dealing with the two applications will form part of the review of our experience under the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which is currently under way.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The under-18 secure estate comprises the following types of establishment: young offender institutions, secure training centres and secure children's homes. The table below sets out the average estimated monthly cost of keeping a young person under 18 in custody, using figures provided by the Youth Justice Board, based on data from 2005-06.
|Estimated average monthly cost (£)
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