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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): Precise data on the number of guardians appointed by the courts to represent children in care proceedings are not available. However, one guardian is usually appointed in each care proceeding and, for the years in which the Children and Family
12 Nov 2009 : Column WA197
|Total number of care proceedings
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many complaints have been made by children in each of the past 10 years in respect of named guardians appointed by the courts to represent their interests in care and related proceedings. [HL6199]
Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: The DCSF does not maintain records of the number of complaints made by children in respect of named guardians. CAFCASS does not collect this information in a centralised system but has provided the following statistics for the number of complaints made by children to CAFCASS. Without further investigation, CAFCASS cannot clarify how many of these complaints relate specifically to guardians.
|Total Number of Children's Complaints Recorded*
Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) has a statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people who are the subject of court proceedings. It offers advice to the courts about applications made to them, makes provision for children to be represented in court proceedings, and provides information, advice and support for the children and their families.
We continue to work closely with CAFCASS to ensure that its organisation, staffing and delivery systems are robust and sufficient for it to fulfil its statutory responsibilities. Our aim is to ensure that every child involved in court proceedings receives the high quality support he or she needs while managing within finite resources to meet the needs of all the children in the system.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will commission research to examine whether the recent reduction in applications to the Child Support Agency (CSA) is caused by poorer parents with care who are in difficult relationships with their former partners not applying for CSA help. [HL6165]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Research is underway to provide, amongst other things, more detail on the economic situation of parents and their views on relationships with former partners. This will provide a much broader view of the different types of maintenance arrangements made by different socio-economic groups within the population and their effectiveness. Research findings are planned for the spring/summer of 2010.
Lord McKenzie of Luton: Information relating to outstanding child maintenance arrears is routinely published on page 20 of the Child Support Agency's Quarterly Summary Statistics; the latest version of which is available in the House of Commons Library or online at: http://www.childmaintenance.org/en/pdf/qss/QSS 0909.pdf.
Latest figures show that in September 2009 the amount of outstanding child maintenance arrears was £3,796 million, a decrease from £3,811 million in June 2009. These figures are unaudited, pending the publication of the Client Funds Accounts.
Arrears are owed by non-resident parents as a result of their failure to meet their responsibilities to their children. £152 million child maintenance arrears have been collected in the 12 months to September 2009. The new enforcement powers set out in the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 will give the commission the tools it needs to further increase compliance.
Lord McKenzie of Luton: Quarterly figures as at the end of September 2009 show 73 per cent of cases handled by the CSA where maintenance was due were receiving maintenance. Cases are counted as having a positive maintenance outcome if they have received a payment via the collection service in the quarter or have a maintenance direct agreement in place.
The commission, with the Department for Work and Pensions, is in the process of commissioning work to build an annual survey which will provide an estimate of the number of separated families and the proportion with effective arrangements. This will include arrangements made privately.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there has been any recent consultation on amending section 41 of the Children Act 1989; if so, which organisations were consulted; according to what timetable; and what were the outcomes of the consultation. [HL6197]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many organisations representing children have requested abandonment of named guardians for children to represent their interests in care and related proceedings. [HL6200]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The work of CAFCASS guardians is crucial in securing the well-being of vulnerable children in the family justice system.
There has been a good deal of discussion about the most effective use of guardian resource in recent months. In particular, my officials have taken the views of the Family Justice Council on this issue. I have also received a number of representations, including from the Interdisciplinary Alliance for Children.
The Secretary of State has recently written to Sir Mark Potter in his role as the chair of the Family Justice Council to propose a way forward on this issue and a copy of this letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Between April 2007 and the end of October 2009, the Home Office spent £611,470.93 on accommodation, council tax, utility bills, telephone line rental, pre-paid telephone cards, phone bills and other subsistence paid to individuals subject to control orders.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they ensure that the "pursue" and "prevent" strands of their counterterrorist strategy stay separate in order not to collect unnecessarily data and personal information on Muslim citizens. [HL6177]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Government's counterterrorism strategy, CONTEST, highlighted the importance of managing the connection between "pursue" and "prevent".
Ensuring that the mutually supportive elements of the two strands are complementary and do not undermine one another requires effective information sharing. We expect the police and their partners to act on the risk they assess from the information available to them. This will determine whether a "prevent" or "pursue" response is more appropriate and which partner or agency should act to protect the public from harm. It is for the police to decide, on a case-by-case basis, if an identified risk should be considered for "pursue" action.
This does not entail the collection of unnecessary data and personal information on Muslim citizens. Information is gathered and shared by the police and local partners only when it is necessary, proportionate and lawful to do so.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to recent comments by the Quilliam Foundation, which receives funding from the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, on collecting data on members of the Muslim community. [HL6179]
Lord West of Spithead: We completely disagree with the remarks made by the Quilliam Foundation and have written to it to make this clear. Neither on this nor on any other issue does Quilliam speak for the Government.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what funding has been made available for Counter-Terrorism and Extremism Liaison Officers for the Gulf states in each year since 2001; and which department provided that funding. [HL6193]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what funding will be made available for Counter-Terrorism and Extremism Liaison Officers for the Gulf states in (a) 2009-10, and (b) 2010-11; and which department will provide that funding. [HL6194]
Lord West of Spithead: There are two counter-terrorism and extremism liaison officers (CTELO) in the Gulf states: Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. HMG do not hold historical funding data for individual CTELO posts.
12 Nov 2009 : Column WA201
To ask Her Majesty's Government which local authorities received or are scheduled to receive money under the Prevent strand of the Government's counter-terrorism strategy in (a) 2007, (b) 2008, (c) 2009, (d) 2010, and (e) 2011. [HL6270]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): A list of local authorities who have received/will receive funding for Prevent from Government between 2007-08 and 2010-11 is set out below. This includes funding from Communities and Local Government to local authorities through the Preventing Violent Extremism Pathfinder Fund (2007-08), Area Based Grant (from 2008-09 to 2010-11), the Community Leadership Fund (CLF) and funding from the Office of Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT).
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