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To ask Her Majesty's Government what procedures the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has for receiving, acknowledging, dealing with and responding to petitions that it receives from members of the public. [HL1899]
Baroness Andrews: Petitions are received, acknowledged, dealt with and responded to in the same way as other correspondence received by the department. A letter is also normally sent to the originator of the petition confirming receipt.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many petitions the Scotland Office received in (a) 2007 and (b) 2008; what steps the office has taken to publicise them; and whether they will place the text of the petitions received and the number of signatures in the Library of the House. [HL2008]
The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Davidson of Glen Clova): In 2007 the Scotland Office received one petition under the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act 1936. In accordance with the Act's General Orders, the petition was referred to the Examiner of Private Bills. There were no petitions under the Private Legislation Procedure Act (Scotland) 1936 in 2008. The Scotland Office does not record separately the number of other petitions received, and the numbers received in 2007 and in 2008 could only be ascertained at disproportionate cost.
Lord Davidson of Glen Clova: Procedures for dealing with petitions to the Secretary of State under the Private Legislation Procedure Act (Scotland) 1936 are set out in the General Orders under the Act. Other petitions received by the Scotland Office are processed in the same way as other items of correspondence. Subsequent correspondence would be with the person or organisation which organised the petition.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Andrews on 27 February (WA 114), whether any actions have been taken in relation to civil servants in the Department for Communities and Local Government in response to a petition submitted to the department by members of the public which mentions those civil servants and which relates to the discharge of functions for which they are responsible. [HL2034]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what procedure is followed by the Department for Communities and Local Government in response to petitions that mention a civil servant of the department; and whether a document setting out the procedure is available. [HL2035]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Our central correspondence IT system and website are not currently set up to record separately the number, text and responses to petitions. We will consider doing so as part of the design of a proposed replacement correspondence system.
With regard to responding to the originator of petitions, it is the department's practice to respond to all letters unless a reply is specifically not requested. We would expect the reply to inform the petition organiser what steps the department has taken or proposes to take in response to the petition and its reasons for doing so. We do not record instances where letters are not sent.
We do not record centrally petitions which mention civil servants and have no plans to do so. Petitions mentioning civil servants will be dealt with like any other, with the exception that the department has a complaints procedure, concerning the department administrative practices or service delivery, to which members of the public are referred if they make a complaint or allegation. I have placed a copy of the procedure and guidance in the Library of the House.
To ask Her Majesty's Government in relation to the arrangement by which Bank of Ireland operates savings and deposits accounts in the name of the Post Office: (a) how long is the term of the arrangement; (b) what are the dates of any break clauses; (c) what penalties would be payable if the arrangement were ended now by the Post Office; (d) what safeguards the arrangement contains in the event that Bank of Ireland becomes insolvent or is no longer of sufficient financial standing to ensure deposits in the name of the Post Office are secure; and (e) whether there is a force majeure clause. [HL1768]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform & Cabinet Office (Baroness Vadera): These are commercially confidential contractual matters for Post Office Ltd and Bank of Ireland.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will place in the Library of the House copies of the full contract between Bank of Ireland and the Post Office for Bank of Ireland to operate savings and deposits accounts in the name of the Post Office. [HL1769]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to implement the recommendations to counter religious extremism outlined by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons in her report on HMP Belmarsh of 15 April 2008. [HL1882]
To ask Her Majesty's Government which Members of the House of Lords are appointees to the non-departmental public bodies listed under Export Guarantees Advisory Council in annex A to the report of the Cabinet Office entitled Public Bodies 2008; and what was their appointment and individual remuneration. [HL1809]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform & Cabinet Office (Baroness Vadera): There are no Members of the House of Lords currently appointed to the Export Guarantees Advisory Council.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Carter of Barnes on 15 December 2008 (WA 1819), what mechanisms they have in place to record the number of public house closures. [HL2067]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting (Lord Carter of Barnes): The Government have no mechanisms in place for recording the number of public house closures, as premises licences are not confined to one type of premises or licensable activity, and may be granted for any premises (e.g. pubs, nightclubs, hotels and theatres) which choose to sell alcohol, provide regulated entertainment or supply late night refreshment, singularly or in any combination. However, since the implementation of the Licensing Act 2003, DCMS has collected statistics on an annual basis by financial year from licensing authorities on premises licences which lapsed, were surrendered or suspended.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Carter of Barnes on 15 December 2008 (WA 1819), how many premises with a premises licence or a club premises certificate have closed in each of the past three years. [HL2068]
Lord Carter of Barnes: The department does not hold the information in the format requested, but can provide information on the number of premises licences which were surrendered, lapsed or suspended since April 2006. Some of these may relate to premises which are not authorised to sell or supply alcohol, because under the Licensing Act 2003 premises licences and club premises certificates are not confined to authorising the sale or supply of alcohol; they can also provide regulated entertainment and/or late night refreshment.
Since the implementation of the Act, DCMS has been collecting alcohol, entertainment and late-night refreshment statistics on an annual basis by financial year from licensing authorities. During the period April 2006 to March 2007, 2,630 premises licences were surrendered, 232 lapsed and 70 were suspended, based on returns from around 76 per cent of licensing authorities. For the same period, 210 club premises certificates were surrendered, two lapsed and 13 were withdrawn.
The April 2007 to March 2008 bulletin reported 3,786 premises licences were surrendered, 423 lapsed, 18 were suspended by a court, and 44 were subject to a closure notice (based on returns from around 93 per cent of licensing authorities). For the same period, 255 club premises licences were surrendered, seven lapsed and 13 were withdrawn.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what fines have been levied on the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) in respect of faulty administration; to whom these fines are payable; when they were paid or are due to be paid; and from what sources the RPA finances the payment of these fines. [HL1878]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The RPA has had the following financial corrections applied by the European Commission over the past five financial years:
To ask Her Majesty's Government in each of the years since the formation of the Safeguarding Children and Development Unit (Project Violet), what financial and human resources they have allocated to the unit; how many cases the unit has investigated; and what support the unit has provided to the Metropolitan Police and other United Kingdom police forces. [HL1572]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Home Office has not provided any financial or human resources to the Safeguarding Children and Development Unit. This unit is part of the Metropolitan Police Service and was initiated in 2005 as a response to public and community concern about the abuse linked to belief in spiritual possession.
The team was instigated to identify prevention opportunities for certain types of child abuse and actively engaged with the Congolese community delivering training, implementing safeguards and establishing networking infrastructures to help eradicate the practice. With the knowledge gained via Project Violet, the partnership team also advises on investigations and, where able, offers practical support such as attending strategy meetings and identifying expert witnesses on cultural practises for court purposes.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Data collected centrally on recorded crime do not identify whether offences are drug- or alcohol-related. The recorded crime statistics do include data for specific drug offences recorded by the police in Wales, and these are given in the table for the past three financial years. Data for 2008-09 are not yet available.
|Drug offences recorded by the police in Wales, 2005-06 to 2007-08|
|Number of offences|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The available information comes from the police recorded crime statistics. Mugging
17 Mar 2009 : Column WA34
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