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Lord West of Spithead: Further to the Written Answer of 2 December, we can confirm that the public service agreement indicator set for OSCT is classified. Both the PSA indicator set and the data of performance against the PSA contain information about the UK counterterrorism effort that could be potentially useful to those who threaten the UK and its interests. Non-classified material about PSA 26 can be found in the UK's updated counterterrorism strategy, CONTEST.
Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer
To ask Her Majesty's Government what definition is used of "within reasonable travelling distance" with regard to the rural impact assessment of the closure of the 21 magistrates' courts on which they are consulting. [HL866]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): HMCS is currently consulting on the proposed closure of 20 magistrates' courts. For each one of these courts a draft impact assessment has been carried out and respondents to the consultation are invited to comment on the potential impacts of closure. The decisions on whether to propose closure were taken on a case-by-case basis. Consideration was given to the proximity of other courts, the size and type of workload generated from the local area, and local transport links. Therefore, HMCS has avoided a generic approach but in all 20 cases, the alternative court is within 30 miles of the court proposed for closure. However, this is not to say that 30 miles would always be the appropriate level for "reasonable travelling distance". In all cases it is possible to travel from the location of the old court to the new court on public transport or, in one case, on a combination of public transport and a local authority-run link service. It should be noted that all these courts were significantly underutilised and, at many of these courts, a representative group, which includes members of the local judiciary, had already decided to stop listing cases.
Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they concluded in the rural impact assessment on magistrates' courts closures that extra costs for the public will not always be incurred, as suggested by the statement that "there may be travelling expenses for those attending courts"; and in what circumstances travelling expenses would not be incurred. [HL867]
Lord Bach: The impact assessment is concerned with any additional travelling expenses which a court user may incur if his case were transferred to a new court. However, such additional expenses may not always be incurred. For instance, many citizens are entitled to free travel on public transport, or court users who already had to travel to the old court may have a journey of similar length and expense to the new court. For each court, HMCS has conducted a draft impact assessment and comments on these assessments have been invited from respondents to the consultations. Only once all responses have been analysed will the impact assessment be finalised.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what number and proportion of criminal cases were heard in (a) the Crown Court, and (b) magistrates' courts, in Northern Ireland in the past three years. [HL698]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Northern Ireland Court Service collects information about criminal cases in Northern Ireland. In the Crown Court, information is collected by case and defendant, In the magistrates' courts and youth court information is collected by defendant. There may be more than one defendant in a case.
The following table details figures for the last three years for which validated judicial statistics are available. The table shows the number of defendants dealt with in the Crown Court, adult defendants in the magistrates' courts and youth defendants dealt with in the youth court as well as the proportion of criminal defendants dealt with by each court tier.
|Year||Crown Court Defendants||% of Defendants||Magistrates' Courts Defendants||% of Defendants||Youth Court Defendants||% of defendants|
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will seek to recover the £12,500 offered to Simon Granhof by the UK Border Agency for his two weeks' detention prior to removal from Northern Ireland to Denmark after his prison term ended, in order to meet the costs of any criminal injuries compensation paid to his victim and prison and court costs. [HL697]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): In July 2009 the Government announced plans to bring in new powers to enable the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) to pursue offenders to recover funds in certain circumstances. Regulations to implement the compensation recovery powers under the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 will be prepared. The powers under the 2004 Act extend to all convicted offenders (not only prisoners) and would enable recovery of compensation from convicted offenders where their victim has received compensation from the criminal injuries compensation scheme.
The UK Border Agency has reached an out of court settlement with Mr Granhof. It would be inappropriate to comment further.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many convictions there have been in each of the past three years of persons making false accusations; how many were false accusations of rape or sexual assault; and how many of those convicted were sentenced to imprisonment. [HL650]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Persons making a false accusation that a criminal offence has been committed may be proceeded against and found guilty of offences including perverting the course of justice, wasting police time and perjury.
Statistical information held centrally by the Ministry of Justice on the court proceedings database for England and Wales does not identify the circumstances of the offence. Therefore it is not possible separately to identify those cases resulting in court proceedings that have arisen solely from persons making false accusations.
Information for Scotland and Northern Ireland are matters for the Scottish Executive and Northern Ireland Office respectively.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many individuals have entries on the Elmer database of suspects under the suspicious activity reports regime administered by the Serious Organised Crime Agency; and, of those, how many are the result of reports made anonymously or by unknown sources. [HL772]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Serious Organised Crime Agency's database, known as Elmer, on which suspicious activity reports (SAR) are recorded, does not have the capability to provide information on the number of names held. Each SAR may contain multiple names, and any one name may appear on multiple SARs.
Out of 228,834 SARs received in the period from October 2008 to September 2009, 68 were recorded as coming from an anonymous reporter and 115 from an unknown reporter.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the announcement by the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families on 14 December concerning
5 Jan 2010 : Column WA17
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): There is absolutely no question of local authorities CRB-checking home educating parents, nor of ISA registration being required in future.
Vetting and barring arrangements that are appropriate for people working with children do not apply to family members.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made, bilaterally or through the European Union, to the Government of the Czech Republic about any discrimination against their Roma citizens. [HL877]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): There have been no recent specific representations. However, the Government are committed to protecting human rights of persons belonging to minority groups. This includes Roma people. We condemn all instances of persecution and discrimination against individuals and groups wherever they occur. The British Embassy in Prague, in line with all Foreign and Commonwealth Office's overseas missions, has a responsibility to monitor and raise human rights in the host country.
Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Tanzania about arms trafficking into the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [HL558]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): These allegations were discussed in a recent bilateral between the Foreign Secretary and the Tanzanian Foreign Minister at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. The Government of Tanzania have released a public statement denying any allegations of Tanzanian Government involvement. The Tanzanian police have announced that they will be conducting an investigation into the allegations in the report.
Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to strengthen the due diligence process for United Kingdom companies operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [HL600]
Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: The Government encourage UK-registered companies to follow the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The Government also promote the OECD Risk Awareness Tool for Multinational Enterprises in Weak Governance Zones which assists companies in applying a due diligence process in countries where Governments are unwilling or unable to assume their responsibilities.
Government officials overseas also play a significant role in encouraging UK companies towards a due diligence approach (particularly in weak governance/conflict zones). Government's Business and Human Rights Toolkit, which explains how business operations may affect human rights, actions staff can take overseas to promote human rights, and guidance on complaints against UK companies using the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's National Contact Point can be accessed on the Foreign and Commonwealth website at http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/global-issues/human-rights/
The Government are an active member of the EU Task Force on the issue of Natural Resource Exploitation and Conflict, in which we have helped bring the private sector and non-governmental organisations together to address questions of due diligence in the mining sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The UK has worked with UN Security Council partners on the renewal and expansion of the sanctions regime in the DRC (Resolution 1896 (2009) was adopted by the Security Council on 30 November 2009). This new resolution mandates the Group of Experts to come up with recommendations to the Committee for guidelines on the exercise of due diligence to prevent indirect support to armed groups through the exploitation and trafficking of natural resources in the DRC.
Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made about United Kingdom companies and individuals named in the report of the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [HL601]
Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: The Group of Experts has made recommendations for sanctioning individuals and entities. As I am sure you understand, we do not advise on whom the UK has recommended, or will be recommending, for sanctions. This is purely for practical purposes as to do so would give the individuals/companies concerned the opportunity to avoid the effects of any future asset freezes.
I can however assure you that the UK takes its obligations under the Democratic Republic of Congo sanctions regime very seriously and will not hesitate to support sanctions against any person or company against whom there is sufficient evidence. That could of course include UK-based companies or individuals.
Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the East Midlands Development Agency has a minimum project size of £25,000 for funding assistance to livestock farmers; and whether all regional development agencies have the same limit. [HL754]
The Minister for Trade and Investment (Lord Davies of Abersoch): The East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) does not have a minimum project size for funding assistance to livestock farmers.
The minimum project size for funding assistance to livestock farmers across eight regional development agencies (RDAs) varies from no minimum project size (four RDAs) to a minimum project size of £6,250.
This is not applicable to the London Development Agency given that London is an urban region.
Note: If a project is a water recycling project on a livestock farm and the applicant is in a catchment sensitive farming area, there is a minimum project size of £10,000 due to demarcation requirements against the Catchment Sensitive Farming Scheme.
Asked by Baroness Neville-Jones
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many teachers have been (a) investigated, (b) disciplined, and (c) removed from post, because of links to (1) extremist, and (2) proscribed, groups in each year since 1997. [HL638]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): Membership of a proscribed organisation is a criminal offence. The department does not hold information relating to criminal investigations which are a matter for the police.
Membership of an organisation which is not proscribed would not, in and of itself, be grounds for disciplinary action against a teacher or for barring an individual from teaching or working with children.
The General Teaching Council for England can take disciplinary measures against a registered teacher found to be in breach of the GTCE Statement of Principles and Code of Conduct and Practice. The sanctions available to the GTC include removing unsuitable teachers from the register, with the effect that the person cannot teach in a maintained school.
In the past year there has been one referral of a teacher to the GTC where the individual was accused of accessing material of a racist nature on a school laptop. The GTC reached a decision on three further cases in 2008 where the referrals were associated with racism.
Asked by Baroness Neville-Jones
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps are taken to prevent (a) extremists, and (b) members of proscribed groups, from (1) becoming teachers, and (2) working with young people. [HL639]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what vetting procedures are in place to prevent (a) extremists, and (b) members of proscribed groups, from (1) becoming teachers and (2) working with young people. [HL640]
Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: For maintained schools, the responsibility for considering the professional suitability of registered teachers, whether potential new recruits or existing members of the teaching profession, lies with the individual school governing bodies and with local authorities. The department has provided detailed guidance on the necessary checks which should be carried out before engaging a teacher. These checks involve checking the individual's identity, their academic qualifications and previous employment history, taking up professional and character references, and applying to the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) for mandatory checks on the individual's criminal background and whether they are included on the lists that are maintained by the Independent Safeguarding Authority.
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