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Written Answers

Wednesday 8 January 2014

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill

Question

Asked by Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have received in respect of (1) the possibility of restrictions on leisure activities such as skateboarding, and (2) the possibility of bans on peaceful demonstrations, that local authorities might impose under a public spaces protection order provided for by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill.[HL4282]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): We have received a number of representations on the proposed new Public Spaces Protection Order during the passage of the Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Bill. Skateboarders, young people playing in their local park, and anyone else enjoying leisure activities perfectly reasonably should not be affected by this power, which is designed to protect the public and communities from the minority who behave anti-socially. Similarly the Public Spaces Protection Order cannot be used to ban peaceful protest. However, we have listened to the concerns raised and the Government has accordingly tabled an amendment ahead of Report Stage to make this even clearer in the legislation.

Burma

Question

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what involvement, if any, the United Kingdom has in training police and security forces in Burma.[HL4149]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): As part of an 18-month European Union funded police training mission four officers from England and Wales police forces have provided expertise on public order training to the Burmese police force. Former police officers with experience of policing in Northern Ireland are also contributing to the community policing component of the EU police mission.

Gambling: Lotteries

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what protections exist for consumers who take part in lotteries that market themselves in the United Kingdom but are based elsewhere.[HL4260]

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Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): There are a range of protections for British consumers taking part in lotteries based overseas. These lotteries will be regulated by the local regulator and existing protections will be further enhanced by the proposed changes in the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill. Those who fall victim to or witness fraud through lotteries based overseas can make a crime report to Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting centre run by the National Fraud Authority. These reports are passed on to the City of London Police, who will consider criminal investigation. In addition, the Citizen’s Advice Service runs preventative public awareness campaigns to guard against scams where criminals make unsolicited contact with consumers in an attempt to defraud.

Government Departments: Management Information Reports

Questions

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 17 December relating to the Cabinet Office (WA 179), whether any performance data are collated on a daily or weekly basis for Ministers or the Permanent Secretary; and, if so, what.[HL4253]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 17 December relating to the Cabinet Office (WA 179), what key performance indicators are used to review progress against the overall performance targets and objectives of the Department.[HL4254]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): Department-wide performance reports are produced on a monthly basis. Individual areas of the Department submit additional information as and when required.

Alongside the list of actions set out in its Business Plan, the Department has adopted a number of indicators to help the public assess the effects of policies and reforms on the cost and impact of public services. These are set out in the table below:

Drive efficiency and effectiveness in government

Efficiency Reform Group savings figures verified by the National Audit Office

Total savings made by improved management of relationships with key government suppliers.

For every pound spent by government departments, the cost of running a central procurement function to buy common, standard government supplies and equipment.

Increase transparency in the public sector

The number of data sets published on data.gov.uk.

The number of external applications using government data published on data.gov.uk.

The number of unique visitors to data.gov.uk increases yearly

Build the Big Society

Overall level of volunteering

Number of participants in the National Citizen Service

Number of senior community organisers trained

Growth of social investment market is higher than UK economic growth

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Departmental performance against indicators is reported on the Number 10 transparency web site at http://transparency.number10.gov.uk.

Higher Education: Student Demonstrations

Question

Asked by Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether an investigation has been carried out into allegations that students have been recruited as informers on fellow students involved in demonstrations.[HL4283]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): No such investigation has been carried out.

Migrant Workers: Romanians and Bulgarians

Question

Asked by Lord Moonie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many workers from each of Bulgaria and Romania have been legally admitted to the United Kingdom in each of the last three years.[HL4111]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): Bulgarian and Romanian nationals enjoy rights of free movement and do not require permission to enter the United Kingdom in order to seek or take work. Under the Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2006, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals requiring authorisation to work in the UK must either obtain an accession worker card in respect of a specific offer of employment or be in possession of a work card, valid for up to six months, issued under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme before they commence employment in the United Kingdom. The number of such documents issued to nationals of Bulgaria and Romania in each of the last three calendar years is as follows:

Accession worker card applications approvedWork cards issued under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme

Bulgaria

2010

805

11,861

2011

876

11,627

2012

526

11,955

Romania

2010

1,815

7,937

2011

1,764

8,408

2012

1,276

8,866

There are, however, circumstances in which Bulgarian and Romanian workers will be exempt from the requirement to obtain prior work authorisation before commencing employment in the United Kingdom.

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Police and Crime Commissioners

Questions

Asked by Lord Ramsbotham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what responsibility Police and Crime Commissioners have for re-offending rates in their areas.[HL4205]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): PCCs have brought democratic accountability to the way communities are policed and have responsibility for the totality of policing, including cutting crime, in their area.

The Government's strategy for reform sets out how we will transform the way offenders are rehabilitated. We will drive down reoffending rates by opening up the market to a diverse range of new rehabilitation providers, who will work closely with PCCs to cut crime. In addition, in order to create the most holistic and integrated rehabilitation services, PCCs will be able to commission providers to deliver additional services in line with their own priorities.

Asked by Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what evaluation they have made of the way in which Police and Crime Commissioners have overseen the implementation of sustainability plans by police forces; and what steps have been taken to reduce the carbon footprint of policing.[HL4281]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are responsible for the totality of policing within their respective force areas including setting and managing budgets. It is the responsibility of the PCC to pay due regard to sustainability, and the evaluation thereof, according to local priorities.

Police: Protestors

Question

Asked by Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether plans have been developed by police forces in the south of England to recruit special investigations managers to prepare court cases against protestors at sites planned for shale gas fracking investigations.[HL4284]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): It is matter for individual police forces to determine how best to manage their case preparation processes and this information is not held by the Home Office.

Violence Against Women and Girls Overseas

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will propose any action by the United Nations Security Council or otherwise in response to the “organised sexual and gender-based violence” on

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women and girls in Darfur reported to the United Nations Security Council by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on 11 December. [HL4194]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): Reports of crimes of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Darfur, as highlighted by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to the UN Security Council in December 2013, are deeply disturbing.

The UN Security Council is seized of the need to tackle this violence. The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is mandated by the Security Council with the primary task of protecting civilians. Through Resolution 2113 (2013), UNAMID was called upon to provide regular reports on the instances of SGBV and to measure progress against the elimination of such crimes, including through the appointment of Women Protection Advisors. UNAMID has acted, including by providing protection to women and girls collecting firewood away from population centres.

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We urge all states to cooperate with the International Criminal Court to ensure that the alleged perpetrators of these and other serious crimes of concern against the people of Darfur are held accountable for their actions.

World Anti-Doping Agency

Question

Asked by Lord Moynihan

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to increase their contribution to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) target over the years 2014 to 2017; and whether it is their intention to contribute to the additional supplementary $10 million call for funds by WADA to enable new research into anti-doping in sport.[HL4247]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): The UK’s annual contribution to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) budget is paid by UK Anti-Doping and we expect the UK to continue to fully support WADA through our agreed contribution. The UK does not intend to contribute to the additional supplementary $10m call for funds.