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Question

Asked by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock

Baroness Crawley: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, Director General for ONS, to Lord Foulkes, dated March 2010.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what consultation has taken place with the Scottish Executive on the 2011 Census; and whether they were asked for their views on including a question on Scottish Standard English. (HL2594)

The census in Scotland is a devolved matter. There have been frequent discussions between the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the General Register Office Scotland on preparations for the 2011 censuses across the UK, but there has not been any discussion or consultation about Scottish Standard English.



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Courts: Northern Ireland

Questions

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): : The Court Service does not hold the number of people who access the website each week. However, the Court Service website receives 210,000 page impressions in an average week. This is the number of times a page on the Court Service website is accessed.

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

Lord Bach: The consultation paper issued on 1 March for a period of eight weeks has been published on the Northern Ireland Court Service website www.courtsni.gov.uk. All individuals, organisations and representative bodies held on the Court Service general consultee list have been contacted individually

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by mail and have been invited to download the consultation documents from the Court Service website. Hard copies, or alternative formats of the consultation, will be made available on request.

In addition, the Court Service announced the launch of the consultation by way of a press release to the media.

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

Lord Bach: During the past five years the Northern Ireland Court Service has published 19 consultations. All consultations were published on the Court Service website and were accompanied by a press release and letters to consultees. A public notice was published in Northern Ireland's daily newspapers for full public consultations and, where relevant, in a number of regional weekly papers. The remainder were targeted consultations.

The table below details the numbers of consultations published and the responses received:

PublicationResponses
YearNo of consultationsWebsitePressIndividualOrganisationTotal

2010

5*

5

0

n/a

n/a

n/a

2009

4

4

1

5

16

21

2008

4

4

10

90

100

2007

0

0

0

0

0

0

2006

3

3

1

2

17

19

2005

3

3

0

0

35

35

Total

19

19

3

17

158

175

Crown Prosecution Service

Questions

Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Attorney-General (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): All grievances which disclose issues relating to discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation are investigated by independent investigating officers who are outside of the CPS area and line management chain.

Two of the investigations are being carried out by appropriately qualified internal investigators and one is being carried out by an appropriately trained external investigator. None of the investigations involve senior managers investigating staff members of their teams.

Asked by Lord Ouseley

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: In 2007 there were eight employment tribunal claims lodged against the

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Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) alleging race discrimination; five alleging sex discrimination; and five alleging victimisation. Of the eight race discrimination claims, three were withdrawn, three were dismissed by the employment tribunal and two are currently ongoing. Of the five sex discrimination claims, two were withdrawn and three were settled. Of the five victimisation claims, two were withdrawn, two were dismissed by the employment tribunal and one is currently ongoing.

In 2008 there were five employment tribunal claims lodged against the CPS alleging race discrimination; five alleging sex discrimination and none for victimisation. Of the five race discrimination claims, one was dismissed by the employment tribunal, three were settled and one is currently ongoing. Of the five sex discrimination claims, four were settled and one is currently ongoing.

The CPS is unable to provide information on employment tribunal claims relating to bullying as bullying is not included as a head of claim in employment tribunal proceedings.

The CPS currently employs around 9000 staff and the number of employment tribunal claims lodged in any one year is relatively small. Nevertheless, the CPS carefully reflects on the issues raised in each claim, regardless of the outcome, to ensure that lessons are learned and changes made to policy and practice where appropriate. It also conducts an annual analysis to identify trends at an organisational level.

Asked by Lord Ouseley

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: In 2008 there were two members of staff in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) who were disciplined for breaches of the staff code of conduct with regard to race or sex discrimination, bullying, harassment or victimisation. In 2009 three members of CPS staff were disciplined for these reasons.

Asked by Lord Ouseley

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: In November 2006 Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI), following an inspection on equalities in employment practice in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), commended the CPS in relation to employment and equality (Equalities Driving Justice). The inspection covered all aspects of equality in employment. In July 2007 a Cabinet Office capability review, conducted by an external team of reviewers, commended the CPS's overall work on equality and diversity.



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Following the inspection by HMCPSI, the recommendations it suggested were accepted and a programme of actions developed. HMCPSI will be undertaking a follow-up review in 2010-11, again covering all aspects of equality in employment.

To enable a more holistic and measurable approach, the actions arising from both reviews have been incorporated over time into the CPS Diversity Delivery Plan and Single Equality Scheme governance arrangements.

Cuba: Prisons

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The Government are concerned about the continued imprisonment of political prisoners and prison conditions in Cuba. We frequently raise these issues with the Government of Cuba, both bilaterally and through the EU. On 23 February the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs made a statement through her spokesperson expressing regret at the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo. We strongly support this. In addition we continue to urge the Cuban Government to follow up on their invitation to Manfred Nowak, the UN special rapporteur on torture and cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment, by quickly setting dates for his visit and allowing him access to all detention facilities.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): There is no embargo against the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) purchasing arms. The UN Group of Experts report on the DRC sanctions regime stated that the embargo against supplying arms to non-state armed groups was being breached. The UN Organization Mission to the DRC (MONUC) is empowered by UN Security Council Resolution 1533 to seize any arms which may end up in the hands of militia groups. We work with the international community to support MONUC and build the capacity of the DRC state and military to police the embargo. The UK will not, and has not, issued any strategic export

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licences that would be in breach of the UN arms embargo and the Government's international commitments.

Asked by Lord Chidgey

Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: The UK has raised the case of Lt. Col. Innocent Zimurinda with the Congolese authorities and we have pressed the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to take appropriate action on this case. A DRC government spokesperson has said that they will do so. We will support any such action and will continue to monitor the case.

I visited the country at the end of February, where I pressed the essential need for action to be taken on human rights abuse and for an end to impunity with President Kabila. President Kabila agreed and reaffirmed his stance on zero tolerance. I also discussed the application of conditionality in Amani Leo with the military of the DRC (FARDC) and UN mission in the DRC (MONUC) troops. I delivered our message in no uncertain terms that human rights abuses by FARDC will not be tolerated and that we will press hard for conditionality to be applied wherever necessary. I was assured by MONUC and FARDC commanders that this message is being delivered and that Amani Leo will be conducted differently to Kimia II. I heard how operations have been delayed in Bunyakari to allow MONUC to complete vetting of FARDC commanders to prevent similar cases occurring. However we will remain vigilant and will keep a close eye on the situation.

Education: Overseas Students

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The provision of passport numbers on confirmations of acceptance for studies (CAS) is a security feature to combat fraud. By entering passport numbers on the CAS the education provider confirms that they are making an offer to the specific holder of the passport. The CAS cannot be forged, tampered with or reused so the UK Border Agency is able to confirm that the person applying for leave is the person who will study with the education provider.



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