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A copy of the consultation response and accompanying impact assessment has been placed in the House Library. The documents are also available on the consultation section of the LSC website at

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Bach: The number of civil cases granted legal aid has decreased in the last 10 years while the number of criminal cases granted legal aid has increased. The causes for the increase in the number of criminal cases granted legal aid can be difficult to determine as legal aid is granted by the courts in accordance with the statutory criteria-namely, whether the accused person satisfies the means and merits tests. We are currently reviewing the way in which legal aid is determined as part of a package of measures to reform legal aid.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Bach: The Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission normally only receives a report on a judicial review for which legal aid has been granted when the representative of the assisted person is in a position to submit his claim to the legal aid fund.

The cost of judicial review cases, for which legal aid was granted in 2007-08 and 2008-09, will not be available until the reports in relation to those cases have been received.

Asked by Lord Laird

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Lord Bach: Information relating to claimants seeking legal aid, in cases where damages were being sought, for the years 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 is set out below.


Number of Legal Aid claimants registered




Number who were granted Legal Aid




Percentage of claimants who were successful




Cost of providing Legal Aid




The percentage figures relate to the number of cases in which the judgment was in favour of the assisted person or the case was settled.

As claims for legal aid can span more than one year, it should be noted that the year in which claims were received will not necessarily correlate to the year in which the claim was granted, the percentage of successful claims nor the year in which costs applied.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Bach: In determining if a case is reasonable in the circumstances, experienced, legally qualified staff draw on a number of sources of guidance including the relevant legislation and case law. Staff also have recourse to operating manuals.

The Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission recently published a Northern Ireland funding code for public consultation which aims to change in the way legal aid is granted in the future. The funding code will be supported by guidance.



Asked by Lord Dykes

Lord Young of Norwood Green: The Government do not forecast quarterly changes in UK manufacturing output. However, in Her Majesty's Treasury's (HMT) 2009 Budget published in April, the Government forecast that manufacturing output would decline on the year

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by between 12.25 per cent and 12.75 per cent in 2009, but would increase by between 0.25 per cent and 0.75 per cent in 2010.

HMT also publishes a summary of forecasts for the UK economy from selected independent forecasting organisations including from the financial sector and the CBI, NIESR, OECD and IMF. The latest publication for July 2009 reported that the average independent forecast was for manufacturing output to contract by 10.4 per cent on the year in 2009, followed by a rise of 1.2 per cent in 2010.

Migrant Workers: Bulgarians and Romanians


Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Information on the number of accession worker cards is published in the quarterly Bulgarian and Romanian Accession Statistics and are available in the Libraries of the House.

Registration certificates are not issued to Bulgarian and Romanian nationals.

Information on the number of family members who have entered in the UK is not available centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate costs.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord West of Spithead: The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) is administered by nine SAWS operators who work under contract with the UK Border Agency.

Currently, only two of the SAWS operators have client employers in Northern Ireland. SAWS operators are routinely monitored by the UK Border Agency through visiting premises, accommodation, client employers, speaking with workers and monitoring performance against contracts. Additionally, those operators that supply workers to client employers are also monitored by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA). The sector-based scheme (SBS) is not administered by SAWS operators. A Bulgarian or Romanian national who wishes to work under this scheme must apply to the UK Border Agency for permission to work. Usually the employer would do this on their behalf. Employment conditions for SBS workers are not routinely monitored.

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National Archives


Asked by Baroness Henig

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The proposals announced by the National Archives are supported by my right honourable friends the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Jack Straw) and the Minister of State for Justice (Michael Wills). The National Archives, like many organisations, faces significant cost pressures, driven in part by the need to meet the increasing expectations of researchers in the digital age and by the growth in numbers of people using its services. The Government are committed to keeping the National Archives' services world class, as well as guaranteeing access to its unique collection for generations to come. These proposals will allow the National Archives to offer its core services effectively and still adapt to the changing needs of its customers.

The National Archives' five-year strategy, which has been also supported by honourable friends in the other place, is to develop its online services to support the widest possible researcher base. Last year, it supported the research needs of around 20 million people and delivered 100 million records online. Going forward, it will continue to invest in improving access to its records and expertise online by, for example, developing its online catalogue, continuing digitisation projects and launching innovative online tutorials. 174 documents are now accessed online for every original document accessed in the reading rooms at Kew, demonstrating the importance of using the resources at its disposal to support online service development.

While the National Archives is proposing to reorganise its specialist staff teams, they will continue to deliver the same level and quality of services their researchers currently receive. The outcome of the proposed changes is that they will make it easier for these teams to work together to support the changing needs of their researchers.

The National Archives currently opens its on-site facilities six days a week, and it is proposing to close on Mondays in order to allow some shift of its resources to support customers who use the service online. The

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Lord Chancellor and the Minister of State fully support this proposed reduction. Closing an extra day will allow the organisation to expand its online services whilst continuing to offer world-class on-site services. The decision was not taken lightly. Monday was specifically chosen as it is one of the quietest days of the week in terms of customer usage and allows the National Archives to continue to provide services to those who can only visit on evenings and weekends.

The National Archives will continue to work with its partners in support of its strategic priorities. This will include educational visits offered to universities, including the services offered in Kew. It will be continuing to invest also in improving the services offered online, such as podcasts and videoconferencing. Equally, there are no current plans to relocate from Kew.

The National Archives offers services to researchers both at its site in Kew and also online. At the Kew site, although the organisation proposes to close on Mondays, the quality of the service on other days will remain excellent. However, most researchers, whether academic or not, now wish to conduct research online, at a time and place which suits them. There is increasing demand for digitisation of material and excellent online services. The rationale behind the closure on Mondays is to allow the organisation to shift a higher proportion of its resources behind supporting online use of its material. The National Archives has already digitised, and provided electronic access to, significant amounts of important historical content, and is committed to doing more.

The proposals will also ensure that the National Archives is best equipped to meet the challenge of ensuring that government records, which are all now created digitally, will survive until they are available for use by researchers in the future.

National Star College


Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): National Star College is an independent specialist college providing courses and support for a wide range of disabled learners. Its funding sources are principally from the Learning and Skills Council, which approves funding for learners based on learning difficulty assessments and the college's own assessment processes. The funding received is based on learner numbers, and in the last year for which figures are available there were 144 learners and the college received £11,733,557.

There are no plans to review revenue funding arrangements, which are the same as those applied to all other independent specialist colleges.

The college was not one of the 13 projects announced by the LSC in its recent prioritisation exercise for capital funding. However, the LSC will work with the college to explore potential options.

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Northern Ireland Office: Board Level Diversity Champions


Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The Permanent Secretary and other members of the Northern Ireland Office's departmental board volunteered to be diversity champions for underrepresented groups in the NIO. This supports the NIO's strategic approach to improving diversity and equality in the department. There are board-level champions for lesbian, gay and transgender staff; black and ethnic-minority staff; disabled staff and staff with caring responsibilities. Two members of the board also co-chair the NIO's Diversity Steering Group.

I was delighted that the NIO was shortlisted for the Business in the Community Responsible Employer award 2009, partly in recognition of the department's diversity agenda.

Northern Ireland Office: Criminal Justice Directorate


Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The departmental board monitors and assesses the Criminal Justice Directorate each quarter against its objectives as set out in the departmental plan. It assesses whether the current year's objectives have been or are on track to be met either in full or partially. The directorate monitors itself quarterly through its own directorate business plan.

Northern Ireland Office: Legal Adviser


Asked by Lord Laird

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The Northern Ireland Office Legal Adviser's Branch (NIOLAB) reports to the Crown Solicitor. The work of NIOLAB is monitored regularly by the head of NIOLAB and the Crown Solicitor. NIOLAB's service to Northern Ireland Office (NIO)

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clients is kept under regular discussion with clients and the Crown Solicitor. In addition, NIOLAB has conducted surveys of NIO clients to assess the level of client satisfaction with the service provided.

Northern Ireland: Bill of Rights


Asked by Lord Laird

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): I have nothing further to add to my Answer of 6 July 2009, Official Report, col. WA 112.

Northern Ireland: Human Rights Commission


Asked by Lord Laird

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission's proposal to produce a draft Bill of Rights was considered to be nugatory work, since if a decision were taken to legislate on a Bill of Rights then any legislation would need to be drafted by parliamentary counsel. This was set out in a letter from the Northern Ireland Office to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission which, as I made clear in my Answer of 2 July, Official Report, col. WA 91, has been placed in the Library of the House.

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