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Baroness Thornton: No, we have not published any briefing yet. We are considering the outcome of the consultation conducted by South Central Strategic Health Authority and will then decide what information, including research evidence, can best inform the public of the effects of fluoridation.

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

Baroness Thornton: The telephone survey conducted on behalf of South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA) found 32 per cent of respondents in support, 38 per cent opposed and 19 per cent neither in support nor opposed. 23 per cent of respondents thought that fluoride was already added to their drinking water, while 69 per cent of respondents had little or no knowledge of fluoridation.

Under Regulation 5 of the Water Fluoridation (Consultation) (England) Regulations 2005, SHAs are required to take account of the cogency of the arguments made during a consultation. In this context, South Central SHA sought an independent review of claims made during the consultation that fluoridation reduced the intelligence quotient (IQ) of children. The review concluded that “the lack of a thorough consideration of confounding as a source of bias means that, from these studies alone, it is uncertain how far fluoride is responsible for any impairment in intellectual development seen. The amount of naturally occurring fluoride in drinking water and from other sources and the socioeconomic characteristics in the areas studied is different from the UK and so these studies do not have direct application to the local population of Southampton”.

The report of the review, entitled Independent Critical Appraisal of Selected Studies Reporting an Association between Fluoride in Drinking Water and IQ, is available at id=9996&id=6. A copy has also been placed in the Library.

20 Apr 2009 : Column WA338

Foreign Policy


Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Our foreign policy seeks to promote implementation by states of their human rights obligations, such as the right to freedom of movement as set out in Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which we are a party. Through business planning, our posts factor human rights into their efforts to deliver our strategic goals. Our approach in each specific country is determined by the human rights situation on the ground.

Freedom of Information


Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The Freedom of Information Act, 2000 (FoI) came into operation on 1 January 2005. The following table provides details of the number of requests received by the Northern Ireland Office, how many were withheld in full, partially withheld and the number that were not met as the department did not hold the information requested.

The department has only required and collected a fee in relation to two FoI requests, one in 2005 and one in 2007 and the amounts were £650 and £1,075 respectively.

2005200620072008 (Q1-3)

No. Requests Received





Information withheld in full





Information partially withheld





Information Not Held





The MoJ has committed to publishing quarterly updates in relation to departmental performance under FoI, including information on both the volume and outcome of requests. The bulletins up to the 2008 third quarter can be found on the MoJ website at and in the Libraries of both Houses. MoJ will be publishing information from the 2008 fourth quarter in April 2009.

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G20: London Summit


Asked by Lord Dykes

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): At the 2 April summit, leaders committed to “take action to build a stronger, more globally consistent, supervisory and regulatory framework for the future financial sector, which will support sustainable global growth and serve the needs of business and citizens”. The full communique can be found at

Government Departments: Bottled Water


Asked by Baroness Warsi

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): This information is not held centrally and to collect it would incur disproportionate costs.

Government Departments: Databases


Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost. Challenges under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Data Protection Act 1998 can arise under a wide range of causes of action including judicial reviews and applications to the Information Commissioner. It is, therefore, often not possible to distinguish cases based on the Data Protection Act or Human Rights Act without examining the case papers in detail. Each government department would be required to consider whether any challenge referred to one of the 46 databases and if either the Human Rights Act or Data Protection Act had allegedly been breached. Further, some of the databases listed in the report are not controlled by a government department so Her Majesty's Government may not be a respondent to proceedings about a particular database.

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Government: IT Contracts


Asked by Lord Patten

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting (Lord Carter of Barnes): The only information technology contract with a value of £50 million or over which has been entered into by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and its predecessors since 1997 has been its PFI agreement with Fujitsu Services, and this covers the provision of all desktop services, web infrastructure services, document management and other business applications, where many of these are charged for as part of overall, bundled, service charges.

The basis of this contract, which reflects a 15-year agreement since award, is that ICT spend per annum is between £30 million to £36 million for the above services. The variances reflect old services being terminated and new ones being implemented.

Asked by Lord Patten

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The full information requested is not readily available centrally within the Department for Children, Schools and Families. To respond fully would involve an extensive internal and external information collection exercise, which would exceed the recommended disproportionate cost threshold.

The following information is available about the two information technology contracts exceeding £50 million the department has entered into since 1997.

The ContactPoint information technology contract, which is due to run until 2014, has a total value in excess of £50 million and expenditure remains within budget at present.

The department's Business Services Framework Agreement for the period January 2002 to September 2008 amounted to £128 million. The agreement covered call-off services spanning outsourced applications' maintenance and development services, hosting, specialist IT services and consultancy. Limited records show that the majority of the several hundred individual pieces of work were delivered to specification and under, plus 10 per cent of time and cost estimates.

20 Apr 2009 : Column WA341

Asked by Lord Patten

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): This information is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Asked by Lord Patten

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Since the department was created there have been no such contracts.

Asked by Lord Patten

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): No information technology contract entered into by the department or its agencies exceeds £50 million.

Asked by Lord Patten

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Details of the Information technology contracts with a value of £50 million or over that have been entered into by the Home Department since 1997 are provided in the attached table.

All the contracts listed in the table are ongoing service contracts running over several years.

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Table 1
Information technology contractDate contract awardedContract Value £ millions

Home Office & UKBA—IT2000 provision of desktop, remote access, applications. Fujitsu


£700 million

UKBA—IND Procurement of Infrastructure, Development and Support (IPIDS): ATOS Origin


£250 million

UKBA. E-Borders—Trusted Borders Consortium


£880 million

Independent Safeguarding Authority—vetting and Barring Scheme: Logica


£50 million

Criminal Records Bureau—PPP Agreement : Capita


£400 million



£360 million

IPS—Admin IT: ATOS Origin


£55 million

Asked by Lord Patten

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: There have been no information technology contracts with a value of £50 million or over entered into by the Northern Ireland Office since 1997.

Guantanamo Bay: Binyam Mohamed

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