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Written Statements

Monday 21 July 2008

Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate: Annual Report

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Identity (Meg Hillier) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am pleased to inform the House that I have today placed in the Library the annual report of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate for the year 2007. This is the fourth annual report published by the inspectorate.

Publication of the report honours a commitment given by the Government in response to a recommendation of the House of Lords Select Committee on Animals in Scientific Procedures in July 2002 that more information should be made available about the work of the inspectorate.

The report, published today, explains the inspectorate’s role in assessing and in advising Home Office Ministers and officials on applications for personal and project licences and for certificates of designation under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. It also provides details of the inspection system through which compliance with licence authorities granted under the 1986 Act is monitored, and about visiting patterns and practice and the number of visits carried out during the year.

The report explains the important role of inspectors in gathering and transmitting information on good practice and provides examples of the many events and initiatives to which the inspectorate made significant contributions during the year. In addition, this year’s report contains special features on the generation, breeding and maintenance of genetically altered mice and on the planning and construction of buildings in which scientific work involving animals is to be conducted.

I commend the report to the attention of Members.

Animals: Scientific Procedures

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Identity (Meg Hillier) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I wish to respond to the publication Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals—Great Britain—2007, which was presented as a House of Commons Paper (933) today. Copies have been placed in the House Library.

This annual statistical report meets the requirement in the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 to inform Parliament about the licensed use of animals for experimental or other scientific purposes. It also forms the basis for meeting periodic reporting requirements at EU level. A hard copy is available and supplementary information with additional tables is also available on the Home Office website.



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The statistical report shows an overall increase over the previous year of 6 per cent in the number of procedures undertaken. The total number of procedures was 3.2 million, an increase of 189,500 over the previous year. There has now been a relatively small increase for the sixth year running and this is the highest total since 1992. A number of factors, such as investment in research and development and strategic funding priorities, determine the overall level of scientific procedures.

Non-toxicological procedures accounted for about 87 per cent of the procedures carried out. These included fundamental research in human and veterinary medicine to improve understanding of disease mechanisms and possible therapeutic options, and development of vaccines.

Most toxicological studies (78 per cent) were for the safety and efficacy testing of new drugs and medicines and the majority of all procedures (87 per cent) were performed in order to carry out legal or statutory requirements.

In keeping with previous years, those procedures that used mice or rats (or other rodents) were the great majority, at 83 per cent. Those using fish amounted to 10 per cent and those using birds amounted to 4 per cent. The total of all procedures using dogs, cats, horses and non-human primates—that is, those species offered special protection by the Act—was less than 1 per cent of the total.

Genetically normal animals were used in about 1.73 million regulated procedures, up 86,200 (5 per cent) on 2006 figures. This increase is associated with mice used in fundamental studies. However, this is an overall decrease of 2.27 million (23 per cent) since 1995. Genetically modified animals (nearly all rodents) were used in 1.15 million regulated procedures, representing 36 per cent of all procedures for 2007 (compared with 34 per cent in 2006 and 8 per cent in 1995).

Advances in the opportunities to use genetically altered animals for new areas of biomedical research mean that the trend of increased production and use of genetically altered animals has continued. They allow a more precise and often less invasive study of physiological studies and disease mechanisms than was previously possible. Most of the animals concerned are mice, which appear and live as normal. Many are used only in breeding programmes. In fact, just over a third of all procedures in 2007 were accounted for by breeding procedures (37 per cent) conducted in 2007 for the production of harmful mutant and genetically modified animals. Mainly mice (93 per cent) and fish (6 per cent) were used in these procedures.

I should point out in relation to the statistics that the Home Office, as regulatory authority under the 1986 Act, caps the overall amount of animal research and testing that takes place, the imperative being to authorise work that is justified while minimising the numbers of animals used and any animal suffering that may be caused.

Therefore, we ensure in carrying out our licensing function that the provisions of the Act are rigorously applied in each programme of work. All animal use

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must be justified and, for each particular programme of work, the number of animals used and the suffering caused must be minimised.

The statistical report and supplementary information can be found at: http://scienceandresearch.homeoffice. gov.uk/animal-research/publications-and-reference/statistics/?version=1.

I am also pleased to inform the House that I have today placed in the Library the annual report of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate for the year 2007. This is the fourth annual report published by the inspectorate.

Publication of the inspectorate report honours a commitment given by the Government in response to a recommendation of the House of Lords Select Committee on Animals in Scientific Procedures in July 2002 that more information should be made available about the work of the inspectorate.

The report explains the inspectorate’s role in assessing, and in advising the Secretary of State on, applications for personal and project licences and for certificates of designation under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. It also provides details of the inspection system through which compliance with licence authorities granted under the 1986 Act is monitored, and about visiting patterns and practice and the number of visits carried out during the year.

This report explains the important role of inspectors in gathering and transmitting information on good practice and provides examples of the many events and initiatives to which the inspectorate made significant contributions during the year. In addition, this year’s report contains special features on the generation, breeding and maintenance of genetically altered mice and on the planning and construction of buildings in which scientific work involving animals is to be conducted.

I commend the inspectorate’s report to the attention of Members.

Appeal Tribunals: Work and Pensions

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Bridget Prentice) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

My right honourable friend the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice has today published the eighth report by the President of Appeal Tribunals on the standards of decisions made on behalf of the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in cases which came before appeal tribunals. The major reasons given for Appeal Tribunals overturning or amending decisions were because new evidence was produced at the hearing, or the tribunal took a different view of the same evidence.

In his report, the President acknowledges improvements by some of the Department for Work and Pensions agencies, particularly the Disability and Carers Service. He questions whether the current method of producing

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feedback via an annual report is sufficiently focused and of practical use, and suggests a lower level of more direct feedback to agency decision-makers.

The Tribunals Service has in place a number of partnership agreements with Department for Work and Pensions agencies, which deal with benefits and make decisions on behalf of the Secretary of State, covering the interface as part of the end to end process of administering appeals. In addition to the agreements, regular meetings are held to review respective performance and discuss any issues to improve customer service.

This is the second report published by the Ministry of Justice, as responsibility for Appeal Tribunals transferred from the Department for Work and Pensions from 1 April 2006.

Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, the Vote Office and Printed Paper Office. Copies are also available on the internet at: www.tribunals.gov.uk.

Audit Commission: Code of Data Matching Practice

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (lain Wright) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Secretary of State has today laid the Audit Commission's Code of Data Matching Practice as required by Part 2A of the Audit Commission Act 1998, as amended by the Serious Crime Act 2007.

The code governs how all organisations which participate in the Audit Commission's data-matching exercises, including the commission itself, are required to have regard to it. The code also sets out best-practice standards for the Audit Commission and those participating organisations.

The Audit Commission's national fraud initiative is a data-matching exercise aimed at detecting fraud. The new powers, as conferred by the Serious Crime Act 2007, allow the commission to build on its previous exercises by making it available to a wider range of bodies.

Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland: Annual Report

Lord Rooker: The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Shaun Woodward) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

The Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland is responsible for the administration of elections in Northern Ireland. Section 14 of the Electoral Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1962, as amended by Section 9 of the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2006, provides that the Chief Electoral Officer must submit an annual report to the Secretary of State. The annual report of the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland for 2007-2008 has been laid before Parliament today. Copies are available in the Vote Office.



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Children’s Centres: Contingencies Fund Advance

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families (Beverley Hughes MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The then Secretary of State for Education and Skills entered into a two-year contract with Serco Ltd in October 2006 for support for the development of children’s centres and the modernisation of services for children and their families. Under this contract, the consortium Together for Children is responsible for supporting, challenging and helping local authorities to build their capacity, with their partners, to plan and commission to time and cost the development of sustainable, high-quality children’s centres.

Parliamentary approval is being sought for expenditure on a continuing service, through an extension of the contract from 1 October 2008 for a further two years. Expenditure on this contract currently rests solely on the authority of the Appropriation Act, in the absence of specific statutory authority. The Children and Young Persons Bill currently before Parliament will put the Secretary of State under a duty to promote the well-being of children. One effect of this duty will be to enable the Secretary of State to enter into this and other such contracts in pursuit of this duty.

The timetable for Royal Assent of the Bill, which is expected in this Session of Parliament, means that parliamentary approval for additional resources of £1,500,000 for this new service will be sought in a supplementary estimate for the Department for Children, Schools and Families to enable expenditure on this new service in advance of Royal Assent of the Children and Young Persons Bill. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £1,500,000 will be met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.

The expenditure cannot await parliamentary approval of the enabling legislation because any extension of the contract must take place before expiry of the existing contract on 30 September 2008. Disruption of support for local authorities at this stage would threaten the rollout of children’s centres at a crucial time when key decisions are being taken about where to locate the remaining centres and how to reconfigure existing services in order to achieve universal coverage for children under five and their families. It could lead to a delay in children and families accessing and benefiting from children’s centre services.

The Contingencies Fund advance can be repaid immediately the Children and Young Persons Bill receives Royal Assent.

Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Maria Eagle) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.



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The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 received Royal Assent on 26 July 2007.

The Act applies to companies incorporated under companies legislation, other corporations, including public bodies, incorporated by statute, such as local authorities or NHS bodies; organisations incorporated by royal charter; limited liability partnerships and all other partnerships that are employers; Crown bodies, such as government departments; and police forces.

An organisation is guilty of the new offence if the way in which its activities are managed or organised causes a death and this amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care to the deceased. A substantial part of the breach must have been in the way activities were managed by senior management.

The majority of the Act was implemented on 6 April 2008, with the exception of Section 2(1)(d) which makes the duty of care a custody provider owes to a person who is detained a relevant duty of care, and Section 10 on publicity orders where we await guidelines to be issued by the Sentencing Guidelines Council later this year.

Procedures for caring for some of society's most vulnerable or volatile people are highly complex. That is why it was made clear to Parliament when it passed this legislation that a period of three to five years would be needed for custody providers to prepare for implementation of Section 2(1)(d).

We are publishing a report today which discusses the progress made to date by the various custody providers and what remains to be done. While implementing the Act provides a useful catalyst and driver, reducing deaths in custody is a core part of long-term work by the Government together with custody providers, and this long-term agenda is reflected in the report.

The report includes developments in Northern Ireland for which my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has responsibility under the Act.

Copies of the report will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The report is also available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office and on the internet at: www.justice. gov.uk/publications/corporate-manslaughter-progress-custody.htm.

Criminal Justice: Law on Homicide

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Maria Eagle) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today announcing that, as part of the review of the law on homicide, on Monday 28 July we will be publishing a consultation paper setting out proposals for reforms on:

partial defences to murder of diminished responsibility and provocation;the law on complicity in relation to homicide; andinfanticide.

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In December 2006, the Law Commission published its report Murder, Manslaughter and Infanticide, with wide-ranging recommendations for changes to the law. On 12 December 2007, I announced the second stage of the review of the law on homicide and emphasised the importance of conducting an open and transparent consultation on this important aspect of law.

Following discussions with key stakeholders both within and outside the criminal justice system, we have now developed concrete proposals, including draft clauses, and we wish to put these forward for public consultation prior to introducing legislation.

Copies of the consultation document will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses on the date of publication. The consultation period will last 12 weeks, closing on 20 October.


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