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Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: The Education (Information About Individual Pupils) (England) Regulations 2006 define the individual pupil data items to be collected from schools in the School Census. The Regulations can be viewed at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2006/20062601.htm. The provision by all maintained nursery, primary, secondary, middle deemed primary, middle deemed secondary, special and non-maintained special schools, academies and city technology colleges schools is a statutory requirement by virtue of these regulations, which are made under Section 537A of the Education Act 1996.

The department provides very high levels of security for these data and is compliant with BS7799. The data are stored securely and only accessed by staff who have a business need to access the data, hold a current (less than three years' old) enhanced Criminal Records Bureau disclosure and who have been trained in the safe and secure use of identifiable information and have agreed to, and been trained in, the required security levels.



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Elections: Electronic Voting

Question

Asked by Baroness Quin

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): In the Governance of Britain Green Paper the Government set out a long-term aim to investigate the potential benefits of remote electronic voting and to take advantage of emerging communication technologies to provide increased flexibility and choice in the way people vote.

The Government currently have no plans to extend the use of e-voting to mainstream elections. The Government believe that piloting innovations in e-voting and e-counting is important in order to test the potential benefits and establish the evidential basis for future decisions to be taken on whether or not electronic voting could be used more widely in elections.

Electoral Register: Internet

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The CORE project is currently moving forward with two parallel strands of work: implementation of electoral registration data standards and the development of the detailed specification of the system.

The data standards were introduced following a direction from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Bridget Prentice MP, issued under Section 52(1) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (c.2)(as amended), which electoral registration officers in Great Britain are required to comply with by 1 December 2009. The direction requires that any electoral registration data held on electronic systems is formatted in compliance with the standards.

As part of the development work, officials held meetings and workshops throughout 2008 with major stakeholders and potential users of the system to gather user requirements, identify issues and test assumptions around how the CORE service and its IT and business systems will operate. This informed development of a high level statement of requirements, which was completed in June 2009.

The Electoral Commission (EC) was the original choice to fulfil the role of the CORE keeper, but following recommendations from the Committee on Standards in Public Life, which said that the EC

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needed to continue to refocus its role as regulator of party finance and electoral administration, the EC declined the invitation.

The Government reviewed the options available and decided to make amendments to the Political Parties and Elections (PPE) Bill to amend the provisions of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 to enable the Secretary of State to designate a new public body to be CORE keeper.

In the light of the provisions for individual registration in the PPE Bill, we will need to reconsider the timetable for the commencement of CORE, when we have had an opportunity to develop the policy on individual registration further.

Embryology

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that since the earlier Answer on 6 July (WA 100-1), it has been informed that St Mary's Hospital, Manchester was deriving stem cell lines from the embryonic masses that form when an embryo outgrows its structure at the time of the authority's inspection on 26 September 2007.

The method the centre used for stem cell derivation was checked during the inspection but was not outlined in the inspection report. The inspection notebook required the inspector to check that there is a procedure in place to ensure that embryos are not cultured for longer than 14 days or after the appearance of the primitive streak by checking the centre's protocol, speaking to staff and checking laboratory records. Inspection reports are for licence committees to determine a centre's compliance with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, licence conditions and the HFEA code of practice. The reports focus on areas of compliance and non-compliance and, therefore, are not intended to be detailed scientific documents with a description of every protocol used. For this reason, not all inspection reports contain details about the stem cell derivation method used.

The latest HFEA inspection reports are published on the authority's website at www.hfea.gov.uk. Previous inspection reports are available upon request to the HFEA. The HFEA has informed me that it holds research inspection reports for St Mary's Hospital, Manchester for inspections that took place on 19 October 2005, 19 September 2006, 26 September 2007 and 17 October 2008.



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Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Lord Darzi of Denham: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has advised that this is not considered to be an optimal method for derivation of stem cells.

Employers: Subsidies

Question

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The recruitment subsidy and the six-month offer were introduced on 6 April 2009. The department is working to guidelines set by the UK Statistics Authority to ensure we are able to publish statistics that meet high-quality standards at the earliest opportunity. We intend to publish official statistics from autumn 2009.

Employment Tribunals Act 1996

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): The introduction of representative actions in employment tribunals would be a significant departure for Great Britain. Before taking a decision to introduce any such procedure into employment tribunals, we would want to consider very carefully the case for doing so.

Energy: Light Bulbs

Question

Asked by Lord Hoyle



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): In negotiations with the European Commission with regard to implementation of regulation 244/2009 concerning the domestic lighting part of the eco-design of energy-saving products directive 2005/32/EC, the Government successfully pressed for health impacts to be considered and for limits to be set on ultraviolet radiation emissions from compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Since early on in the negotiation process, the Government have been in discussion with clinicians and support groups for partially sighted people and people with certain light-sensitive and neurological conditions about low-energy lighting.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) tested a sample of CFLs and found that some emitted UVR which could, under certain conditions, expose people above international guidelines. As a result of its findings the HPA issued precautionary advice on 9 October 2008 to the general public concerning the use of open CFLs in close-working situations. The HPA's advice can be found at www.hpa.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&; HPAwebStandard/HPAwebC/1223445516605?p =1153822623869

The HPA's research was considered alongside other available evidence to inform a report by the European Commission's Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR). SCENIHR's opinion on light sensitivity can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/health/opinions/en/energy-saving-lamps/index.htm.

In December 2008, the Government prepared an impact assessment, including health aspects, relating to regulation 244/2009. The impact assessment was published on the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform website and is being transferred to the Business Innovation and Skills Department website.

Equality

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The draft EC proposal for an equal treatment directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation was published in July 2008.

Negotiations on the directive are still under way and the UK will continue to contribute positively. A 12-week public consultation will close on 28 July.

There are some areas where the draft proposal differs from current or planned legislation in the UK but it is not yet possible to say what effect any final directive will have as negotiations are still under way.



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The UK is supportive of the aims of the draft directive to complete the existing legal framework by addressing the remaining four grounds of discrimination.

The UK will be seeking to agree a directive that is clear, robust and complementary to the Equality Bill and existing domestic legislation.

EU: Financial Regulation

Question

Asked by Lord Willoughby de Broke

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The European Commission has said it will not propose a single supervisory authority in the EU. Instead, the Commission has indicated that it intends to propose Article 95 of the EC treaty as the legal basis for its proposals to establish a European Systemic Risk Board and a European System of Financial Supervisors. The Government will look very carefully at the Commission's legislative proposals, due in the autumn, to ensure that they are compatible with the treaty and the principles of subsidiarity. The Government will submit their response to the Select Committee's report as usual, within two months of its publication.

EU: Lorry Charging Scheme

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): No changes to European Community law which would prevent a similar scheme being introduced in the UK have been made since the introduction of the German lorry-charging scheme.

Fluoridation

Question

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Section 89 of the Water Industry Act 1991 as substituted by the Water Industry Act 2003 requires strategic health authorities to consult and ascertain opinion before proceeding to make a request to a water undertaker to increase the fluoride content of its water supply. The Water Fluoridation (Consultation) (England) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/921) make detailed provision about how consultation and the ascertainment of opinion is to be carried out. Regulation 5 sets out the pre-condition to a strategic health authority proceeding to request a water undertaker to increase the fluoride content of its water supply.

Regulation 5 is in the following terms:

"A Strategic Health Authority shall not proceed with any step regarding fluoridation arrangements that falls within section 89(2) of the Act unless, having regard to the extent of support for the proposal and the cogency of the arguments advanced, the Authority are satisfied that the health arguments in favour of proceeding with the proposal outweigh all arguments against proceeding".

The decision under Regulation 5 is to be made by the strategic health authority, not the Secretary of State. Regulation 5 therefore makes clear that it is for the strategic health authority to decide if the health arguments outweigh all other arguments taking into account not merely the cogency of the arguments, but also,

It is clear that, under Regulation 5, support is a relevant factor, but it is not the only factor or the conclusive issue. It can be outweighed by the health arguments. A majority of local support is not therefore a necessary precondition to the strategic health authority requesting a water undertaker to increase the fluoride content of a water supply.

Government policy is not, and could not be, inconsistent with the regulations. In particular, it could not convert the reference in Regulation 5 to support as a relevant factor into a necessary precondition for a request for fluoridation.

We accept that there may have been a degree of understandable confusion over these issues in the past. However, by way of clarification, the view given by the Chief Dental Officer in February 2008 that,

correctly represents government policy. Regulation 5 sets out the law and government policy cannot and does not seek to add to it. It is the for the strategic health authority to take the decision to ask a water undertaker to increase the fluoride content of a water supply and to make the judgment required under Regulation 5 as to whether the health arguments outweigh all other arguments. Local support is a relevant factor but is not a precondition for a request.



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Food: Supermarkets

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Government have made no formal assessment of changes supermarkets have made. However, the department continues to work in partnership with retailers to support consumers to make healthier food choices, as set out in Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: A Cross-Government Strategy for England. A copyhas already been placed in the Library.


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