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26 Nov 2008 : Column WA324

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The National Probation Service has never been a body listed as subject to the specific duty to publish a race equality scheme. This duty instead lies with the 42 individual probation boards and trusts.

At a national level the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is responsible for ensuring that the individual boards and trusts comply with the duty. The MoJ has published a race equality scheme. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has critically assessed this scheme and offered guidance.

The National Offender Management Service—the agency of the MoJ that includes the Probation Service—and the EHRC have agreed that from April 2009 there will be a National Offender Management Service (MOMS) single equality scheme. This will include NOMS national functions regarding probation.

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The Equality and Human Rights Commission has continued to pursue concerns about the National Probation Service which were originally raised by one of its predecessor bodies, the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE). These concerned assurances in spring 2007, following a central review originally agreed with the CRE, that all 42 probation boards were compliant with the statutory duty to promote race equality schemes. The CRE's small dip sample in summer 2007 threw doubt on this, as did a larger dip sample conducted by the EHRC after it had assumed responsibility.

Therefore, the EHRC earlier this year engaged with the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) stressing its advice that statutory equality duties placed upon the Ministry of Justice included action to secure compliant practice by probation boards and trusts. In response the NOMS has this month set out its programme of guidance and training designed to secure equality schemes which comply with all the equality duties by the end of March 2009. The aim is that that practice based on sound equality schemes will prevent and combat institutional and other discrimination.

In the past year, the EHRC has received five individual complaints against probation services concerning alleged discrimination on grounds of age, race and disability. The appropriate advice and guidance was provided in each case. Furthermore, the EHRC has said it will

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discuss with the NOMS its role in relation to probation boards and trusts after it received allegations of non-delivery of the race equality duty.

The commission currently has no plans to undertake any formal investigations into the National Probation Services.

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The National Probation Service collects a range of ethnic monitoring data for both employment and service delivery. There is published guidance about how these should be used in conducting equality impact assessments.

National Probation Service: Equality Data

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Information on staff probation is not collected centrally. Information on the ethnicity and gender of staff recruitment and leavers for the period 1 January 2005 to 31 October 2008 is as follows. To ensure that monitoring data remains confidential, it is customary not to give precise figures below five. In the light of this and the very low figures in many of the separate census categories, ethnicity is given in six groups rather than the 16 categories used to collect it.

StartersAsian—<5;Black—7;Mixed—<5;Other—<5;White British—129;Other White Groups—14;Not disclosed—2;Female—121;Male—40.LeaversAsian—<5;Black—17;Mixed—<5;Other—<5;White British—116;Other White Groups—15;Not disclosed—0;Female—111; andMale—45.

New Forest National Park

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): As part of its consultation on its draft management plan, the New Forest National Park Authority issued guidance to clarify the circumstances in which it might conclude that there had been a change of use to recreational horse keeping, which would require planning permission.

The guidance is about the planning system, not about the way in which horses should be looked after.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: There is nothing further I can add to the answer given to the noble Lord on 14 November, Official Report, cols WA 155-56.

Northern Ireland Office: Taxis

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Members of the Bill of Rights Forum completed their work on 31 March 2008. Records from the Forum Secretariat, held by the Northern Ireland Office, indicate the breakdown of monthly payments in respect of the forum's taxi account.

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Month and yearAmount invoiced (£)

June 2007


July 2007


August 2007


September 2007


October 2007


November 2007


December 2007


January 2008


February 2008


March 2008


April 2008


May 2008


June 2008


Olympic Games 2012: Employment

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) defines a black, Asian and minority-ethnic (BAME) business as being 51 per cent BAME-owned. Information about ethnic ownership of businesses is provided to the ODA by its contractors through self-evaluation. Contractors are not obliged to provide this information to the ODA. The ODA has worked with over 700 suppliers to date; 44 per cent of these have provided information about their ethnic ownership. Of these, 17 (5 per cent) are BAME-owned. These businesses have been awarded contracts in media, marketing, retail, and communication.

I am awaiting advice from the ODA about the value of such contracts. I will write to the noble Lord to update him on this further and will place a copy of the letter in the Libraries of both Houses.

The ODA promotes equality and inclusion within the organisation and within its supply chains. It has an active programme of targeted business outreach which aims to increase the number of BAME-owned businesses engaged in its supply chains. For example, the ODA, partnered with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, held an event for diverse-owned businesses in September. It has also held engagement events for businesses within the Olympic host boroughs, as well as other London boroughs and other parts of the UK with a significant minority presence, including Bristol.

The ODA is also working with the regional development agencies and devolved Administrations to direct businesses to appropriate support services to ensure that, especially, small and medium-sized businesses, and those with diverse ownership, are equipped to compete for and win contracts in the London 2012 supply chains.

Palace of Westminster: Cold Monday Mornings

Baroness Thomas of Winchester asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The cold temperatures experienced in the Palace on Monday 25 November were caused by a failure to turn the heating back on after weekend maintenance

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work. This error is being investigated with a view to preventing any repeat. However, even without such errors the temperature in the Palace can be too low on Monday mornings during the winter months. Accordingly, Black Rod and I have asked the relevant personnel to ensure that the temperature in the House of Lords is raised and that it is maintained from 0830 on Mondays until 1700 on Fridays.

Palace of Westminster: Cyclists

Lord Colwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): It has not proved possible to respond to the noble Lord in the time available before Prorogation.

Parkland: Brockwell Park

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Secretary of State's consent was granted under Article 17 of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government Provisional Order Confirmation (Greater London Parks and Open Spaces) Act 1967 to the London Borough of Lambeth on 8 August in response to its request of 3 July 2008. On the basis of all the material received, it was decided that the benefit of the land remaining as open space was outweighed by the benefit to be derived from the proposal. The decision is final and can only be challenged by judicial review.

Lambeth's request for consent under the Ministry of Housing and Local Government Provisional Order Confirmation (Greater London Parks and Open Spaces) Act 1967 (the Act) was considered by officials at the Government Office for the West Midlands, and the letter of consent issued under the delegated authority arrangements under which officials consider cases and issue decisions on behalf of the Secretary of State.

While there is no requirement under Article 17 for a consultation exercise to be undertaken as part of the procedure for determining whether or not the Secretary of State's consent should be granted, nor is there any requirement for independent expert advice to be sought. The London Borough of Lambeth did however put in place a site notice on 7 July 2008 as required by Article 17 of the Act providing a period of 28 days for representations to be made to the Secretary of State at the Government Office for the West Midlands. The letter of consent issued to Lambeth on 8 August refers to the number of representations made. It was decided that consent should be issued after consideration of all the material received.


Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): There are no plans to reimburse carriers for checking or providing information to the police about passengers and crew on journeys between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Under the terms of Section 14 of the Police and Justice Act 2006, once the police have submitted a request to a carrier, passengers and crew will be required to provide that carrier with evidence of their identity before travelling.

We plan to hold a formal consultation exercise about the secondary legislation of these to implement arrangements next year. We will also continue to work closely with transport industry representatives to help reduce the impact upon their business.

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