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Death Statistics

Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 28 June 2006

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he plans to take to ensure that the data on deaths that would be released under clause 11 of the Police and Justice Bill cannot directly or indirectly be misused by commercial organisations; how the activities of commercial organisations will be monitored in relation to the use of such data; and what penalties would be available if the data were misused. (80536)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, 28 June 2006:

As Registrar General for England and Wales, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what steps are to be taken to ensure that data on deaths that would be released under clause 11 of the Police and Justice Bill cannot directly or indirectly be misused by commercial organisations; how the activities of commercial organisations will be monitored in relation to the use of such data; and what penalties would be available if the data were misused. (80536)

It is the case now that death registration data is in the public domain as soon as any death is registered. The data is, however, difficult to access in bulk in England and Wales and is not accessible using modern technology. The intention of the provision is to reduce the scope for criminal activity arising from the fraudulent use of a dead person’s identity, and to do so by making data available more quickly and in a more accessible format than is permitted at present.

It is recognised that provision of the data quickly and in bulk does create a need for additional controls. Any commercial organisation seeking to utilise data on deaths would need to demonstrate clearly that it would be used in such a way as to fulfil the intent of the clause by enabling the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of offences, and no data will be released unless that is the case. A regime is being designed, based on those criteria, to enable rigorous assessment of applications for receipt of the data.

The data will be released subject to strict conditions, and subsequent misuse of it will, lead as a minimum to withdrawal of the supply of data to the organisation concerned; further penalties would depend on the nature of the improper use.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the most recent death rate from heart disease was in (a) Stoke-on-Trent, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England. (80604)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 28 June 2006:

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question asking what the most recent death rate from heart disease was in (a) Stoke-on-Trent (b) the West Midlands and (c) England. I am replying in her absence. (80604)

The latest year for which figures are available is 2004 and these are given in the following table.

Death rates1 from coronary heart disease2 for Stoke-on-Trent local authority, West Midlands Government Office Region and England3, by sex, 20044

Stoke-on-Trent

West Midlands

England

Male

215

157

155

Female

85

73

73

1 Rates per 100,000 population standardised to the European Standard Population. 2 The cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). The codes used are listed below: Coronary heart disease—ICD-10120-125 Deaths were selected using the original underlying cause. 3 Usual residents of these areas. 4 Deaths registered in 2004.