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Immigration: Harmondsworth

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The success of the welfare team at Harmondsworth can be attributed to an expansion in staff, who have been carefully selected for their personal qualities. They are supported and empowered by the senior management team at the centre to develop their role according to the needs of the detainees, and have established a good working relationship with staff of the local UK Border Agency and other organisations.

The work of the team continues to evolve in line with the changing needs of the detainee population. It seeks to improve the range of assistance that it can provide to detainees. The UK Border Agency is currently reviewing its welfare provision in its centres to identify and replicate best practice across the estate.

Immigration: Removal of Children

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The United Kingdom Border Agency fully considers known information regarding the health of each family member when planning a family removal. Should medical advice suggest that a child is unfit to travel, the removal would be deferred.

The policy surrounding family removals can be found in chapter 45 of the enforcement guidance and is publicly available on the UKBA website at: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/policyandlaw/enforcement/detentionandremovals

Cases involving the detention of children are reviewed regularly to ensure that the decision to detain is based on the current circumstances of the case and that detention remains appropriate. Detention of children beyond 28 days is subject to ministerial authorisation.

Immigration: Women

Baroness Howarth of Breckland asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Individuals have access to legal advice at any time during the asylum process.

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Details of legal advice available can be found on the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) website at: www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/asylum/helpandadvice/legaladvice/. Individuals who are detained prior to removal are provided with information on contacting the Immigration Advisory Service and the Refugee Legal Centre at the point of detention and subsequently at the immigration removal centre.

Industrial Tribunals

Lord Monson asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): Injury to feelings must be caused by an act of discrimination. Where there is no evidence of discrimination, an employment tribunal cannot make an award for injury to feelings. Where there is evidence of discrimination, and an award is made for injury to feelings, there is no limit to the amount that can be awarded.

Interception of Communications

Baroness Neville-Jones asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): In his Statement on 6 February 2008, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister accepted the recommendation of the Chilcot review that,

The Government have made a commitment to take the necessary work forward swiftly, carefully and thoroughly. In terms of progress to date, an implementation team has been formed within the Home Office, drawing on the expertise of the intercepting agencies but separate from them and specifically tasked with addressing the Chilcot “tests”. This is overseen by a steering group of the interception community.

An advisory group of privy counsellors (AGPC) has also been established to advise the Government’s implementation team. It comprises the right honourable Sir John Chilcot, my noble and learned friend Lord Archer of Sandwell, the right honourable gentleman the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Sir Alan Beith) from the original Privy Council review, together with the right honourable gentleman the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Michael Howard), who has

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replaced the noble Lord, Lord Hurd of Westwell. This builds on the successful example of the original Chilcot committee.

A work programme has been drawn up and endorsed by the steering group, AGPC and Ministers. This is now being taken forward. Subject to the Chilcot tests being met, we would hope to bring forward legislation in due course.

Internet: Communications

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): It is possible that the content of a communication between an electronic commerce business and its customers could contain information of value to competitors of that business. The Government have made clear to business the importance of protecting commercial information and have announced measures they are taking to improve the protection of the information that they retain.

Internet: Deep Packet Inspection

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): The Government have not issued advice to the internet service providers (ISPs) on this issue. It is the responsibility of the ISPs to reach a view on whether any new service they provide is within the law.

The Government strongly support the use of technology that supports and enhances, rather than hinders and intrudes upon, the privacy of users’ data. Both the Information Commissioner and the Home Office have offered comments to internet users and ISPs on aspects of new services aimed at targeted advertising.

Internet: Searches

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) produces advice for individuals about their rights and guidance for organisations on how to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 when using personal information and web sites. It is in contact with Google and other similar companies providing advice on the fair and lawful use of personal information. In January 2007 it published a personal information toolkit for the general public; in June 2007 it produced guidance to data controllers about collecting personal information on the internet and in November 2007 it launched a new website to provide tips and advice on safe social networking and to help young people protect their personal information. The ICO was also involved in producing an opinion of all the European data protection authorities which set out the data protection rules for search engine operators. The Government are not planning to instigate a further information campaign.

The use of computerised personal information in the United Kingdom is regulated by the Data Protection Act 1998. The Information Commissioner administers and enforces the Act independently of the Government.

The Prime Minister asked Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, and Dr Mark Walport to conduct a consultation on the use and sharing of personal information in the public and private sectors as part of their independent Data Sharing Review. The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice published the report on the Data Sharing Review in July. The impact of technology was one of the issues covered by the review's consultation paper and is covered extensively in the final report. More generally, the Government and the Information Commissioner's Office keep legislation under review in light of ever-increasing technological changes in the field of data protection. To this end, the Information Commissioner recently commissioned an assessment of the current legislation.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Vadera: The Office for Communications (Ofcom) is the independent regulator for communication service provision in the UK. However, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has responsibility for enforcement of the Data Protection Act, and produces advice for individuals about their rights under, and guidance for organisations on how to comply with, the Data Protection Act 1998 when using personal information and websites.

Ofcom has a role in relation to media literacy, and it will be for Ofcom to decide whether it should commit additional resource to raising users' awareness of issues around personal data on the internet, including possible interception, storing and monitoring.



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Internet: Unencrypted Material

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): Consent is a vital element of the Data Protection Act and any organisation that offers a service which involves the use of personal information has to be clear on how consent should be obtained. Any judgment about the adequacy of such arrangements is a matter for the Office of the Information Commissioner as the enforcement body for data protection legislation in the UK.

Iraq and Afghanistan: Northern Ireland Regiments

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer that I gave on 17 July 2008, (Official Report, WA 187).

Iraq: Displaced People

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Tunnicliffe: The Department for International Development (DfID) is in close touch with the World Food Programme (WFP), the largest provider of food assistance in Iraq, about those internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Nineveh plains who are currently without ration cards.

Until recently, the WFP has been unable to operate in this area due to security concerns. However, during the next few weeks, it is due to commence an operation to distribute food to IDPs who have moved to the Nineveh plains from other governorates and who have registered with the Iraqi Ministry of Migration but are currently without ration cards.

Funding for this food distribution operation will come from the $83 million which has been earmarked by the WFP to assist 750,000 IDPs in Iraq. DfID has made a contribution in 2008 of £2 million to the WFP for this work. The Iraqi Government have recently announced the provision of $40 million to the WFP.



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Israel and Palestine: Gaza

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Tunnicliffe: The 15 November 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access (AMA) does not specify levels of supplies to Gaza. The UK continues to call on both parties to implement the AMA and has repeatedly raised its concerns about the continued restrictions on access to Gaza with the Israeli Government, in public and in private. Most recently, we and other EU member states expressed concerns about access restrictions faced by the UN in providing assistance to Palestinian refugees in a letter from the European Union presidency and the European Commission to the Israeli authorities on 27 June. More tangibly, the UK will also support a UN access team to help get humanitarian supplies and personnel through crossings and checkpoints.

Moves towards a ceasefire in Gaza are very welcome. The ceasefire is an important first step to improve the daily lives of ordinary people on both sides. We hope that the militant groups will fulfil their commitment to cease attacks on Israel, and that Israel will ease restrictions on Gaza in line with its own commitments, ensuring that humanitarian aid and supplies can get through. We need to build on the opportunity that the ceasefire represents by working towards the reopening of the crossings between Israel and Gaza, under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

Judicial Appointments

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Justice (NI) Act 2002 provides that the Lord Chancellor, when making appointments to the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission, is to make such arrangements as will, so far as is practicable, secure that the membership of the commission is reflective of the community in Northern Ireland. The recent scheme to appoint a lay member to the commission included an outreach programme to give effect to the Lord Chancellor’s statutory duty in this regard.



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