Skip to main content

Written Statements

Volume 489: debated on Thursday 19 March 2009

Written Ministerial Statements

Thursday 19 March 2009

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Employment Agency Standards

I am today launching a consultation on proposed amendments to the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003. These regulations govern the conduct of the private recruitment industry and set minimum standards for employment agencies and employment businesses operating from premises in Great Britain.

This exercise is not directly related to the implementation of the EU agency workers directive, on which a separate consultation will be launched in due course.

The consultation I am launching today focuses on a range of issues. First, we want to take practical steps to tackle the bad practice of some rogue agencies in the entertainment and modelling sector where, despite cooling off measures introduced last year in respect of upfront fees, we know that abuse continues.

Secondly, we want to introduce greater clarity and lines of responsibility between employment agencies and businesses that use them, particularly in respect of suitability checks for workers introduced for permanent recruitment. We think this offers potential to reduce regulatory and administrative burdens on the recruitment industry sector without compromising appropriate protections for workers, employers and vulnerable groups.

Thirdly, this consultation also offers the opportunity for us to restore postgraduate medical deaneries, who are responsible for the recruitment and training programme of junior doctors and junior dentists to NHS employers, to their previous position as a body exempt from employment agency legislation.

We also invite views on a number of additional areas that we have identified in the conduct regulations that we think offer scope for reducing administrative burdens on employment agencies and businesses, or where we consider measures may be necessary to offer greater protection for vulnerable agency workers.

These proposals would, overall, be burden-reducing for the private recruitment industry, but also address areas of continuing concern regarding rogue operators. They demonstrate the Government’s commitment both to help business through difficult times and to ensure effective protection for the vulnerable.

The consultation will close on 11 June and will be followed by a Government response.

Treasury

Anti-avoidance Measure (Interest Relief)

Avoidance schemes have been notified to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that exploit provisions under which individuals may claim relief for interest payments on loans used to invest in partnerships or small companies. Legislation will be introduced in the forthcoming Finance Bill to stop individuals exploiting these provisions for the purposes of tax avoidance. In future, interest will not be eligible for tax relief if it is paid as part of arrangements where the deductibility of the interest means that the investor is guaranteed to make a profit.

The legislation, which will be effective in relation to interest paid on or after today, will not catch genuine commercial investments in business where there is uncertainty as to the return that will be produced from the investment.

A copy of the draft legislation together with draft explanatory notes will be published shortly on HMRC’s website.

Communities and Local Government

Migration

Today, I am publishing “Managing the Impacts of Migration: Improvements and Innovations”. It sets out the progress made across Government against the commitments made in June 2008 to support local areas managing the impacts of migration on their communities. The document also outlines new Government support on migration issues and considers how the impact of migration on local communities and the Government’s response to it has changed in the context of the economic downturn.

The document sets out our continued commitment to controlling migration at a national level, and to ensuring that UK workers have the skills needed to fill vacancies and the opportunity to apply for these vacancies where they arise. Our aim is to ensure that local communities are as resilient as possible to changes brought about by migration. This update outlines the support we are giving to local areas, including:

Announcing a migration impacts fund paid for by increases to migrant fees, providing £35 million for 2009-10 and—subject to a review in the autumn of the economic position and the migrant fees being received—a similar amount in 2010-11. This fulfils the commitment made in the Home Office’s February 2008 consultation on the path to citizenship to set up a fund to manage the transitional impacts of migration. The fund will be available to local services and will be allocated through Government offices and local strategic partnerships.

Announcing our intention to consult on setting up a new Migration Impacts Committee of independent advisers to build on the work of the migration impacts forum.

The cross Government programme led by the Office for National Statistics to improve the population and migration statistics to deliver a package of improvements to be implemented in time to feed into key statistics published in 2010 and available to inform the next three year local government finance settlement. The package announced includes technical improvements to the migration statistics, including the use of administrative sources, to produce a more robust local distribution of international migration, and better internal migration estimates.

Setting out a programme of research into what drives migration to the UK, and the geographical pattern and timescales of this migration, together with the preliminary findings of research which supports evidence from other sources that migration to the UK is falling.

Highlighting that we will shortly be issuing a consultation on reviewing the criteria for selective licensing of all privately rented property in designated areas to ensure local authorities have the tools they need to deal with problem properties.

The document has been placed in the Library of the House and can be accessed via the Communities and Local Government website at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/communities/racecohesionfaith/asylumandimmigration

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Consular Fees Order 2009

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recently undertaken a review of the fees charged for visa and consular services, both in the UK and Overseas. On 18 March 2009 Her Majesty in Council approved the Consular Fees Order 2009. This revokes and replaces the Consular Fees Order 2008. The Government are today announcing changes to the consular fees to be charged under this order with effect from 9 April 2009.

Fees for passport applications made in the United Kingdom remain at current levels whereas the fees for passport applications made abroad including applications for temporary and emergency passports have increased. A new emergency travel document is also being introduced during 2009-10 and is priced at £89. This is a more secure and internationally acceptable document than the emergency and temporary passports currently used and is correspondingly more expensive. Most travel insurance policies permit recovery of expenditure incurred in relation to the loss of a passport and all British nationals should ensure their policy includes this form of cover.

The fees for both standard and premium legalisation services have increased in line with inflation, and a new fee of £37 is to be introduced for legalisation services requested overseas, where the processing is carried out in whole or in part in the United Kingdom. A new fee for translating passport details into Arabic as part of the entry requirements for Libya is being introduced.

Fees for receiving applications for entry clearance to Commonwealth countries, British overseas territories and Crown dependencies continue to be charged in the order and have increased since last year. The fees for entry clearance for visitors to the Crown dependencies have been amended to reflect the longer periods for which such entry clearances can now be obtained.

Other consular fees, representing a range of services performed at posts abroad, are also set to increase.

It is right that those who benefit from consular services should meet the cost of them, rather than the UK taxpayer. The new fees represent the full economic cost of what we do, and will ensure that British missions continue to provide a high standard of service to consular customers.

The new fees are included in the attached table.

Part 1

Legalisation

Fee

£

1.

Attesting or legalising a signature or seal except where—

(a)

the signature or seal is on a certificate or survey of foreign passenger ships running to or from the United Kingdom, or

(b)

the signature or seal is on a document required for the deposit or withdrawal of money in or from any British Post Office or other Government Savings Bank, or

(c)

the signature or seal is in connection with stocks or bonds on the registers of the Post Office, with Savings Bank annuities or with annuities granted direct by the National Debt Commissioners—

(i)

Standard service, unless fee 1 (ii) applies (in addition to direct costs if any)

28.00

(ii)

Standard service where the request for the service is made outside of the United Kingdom but processing is carried out in whole or in part within the United Kingdom (in addition to direct costs if any)

37.00

(iii)

Premium service (in addition to direct costs if any)

69.00

2.

Obtaining a legalisation or other certification from another authority upon any document (in addition to direct costs if any)

45.00

Part II

Notarial and Related Matters

Fee

£

3.

Preparing any certificate, declaration, legitimation or document not listed elsewhere in this Schedule—

(a)

in standard form, for every copy

36.00

(b)

not in standard form, for every 100 words—

(i)

in English

45.00

(ii)

in any other language

71.00

4.

Preparing or signing, or both, a declaration of existence—

17.00

Except in connection with pay or pensions payable by a Department of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, or the Government of any other Commonwealth country

5.

Administering an oath or attesting the signature on a declaration or affirmation except where—

53.00

(a)

the oath, declaration or affirmation is made under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 or in connection with the loss of a passport

(b)

fee 16, 17, 18, 29, 30, 31, 34, 40, 46, or 47 is to be taken

6.

Supplying witnesses, for each witness

21.00

7.

Initialling alterations in any document not prepared by the consular officer or marking exhibits, for each initialling or marking

11.00

8.

Making or verifying (including certifying when necessary) a copy of a document—

(a)

in typescript, for each page

36.00

(b)

reproduced by electronic means outside the consular premises, for each page

36.00

(c)

reproduced by electronic means within the consular premises, for each page (with a minimum charge of £25)

5.00

9.

Uniting documents and sealing the fastening (except where fee 47 is applicable)

21.00

10.

Affixing a photograph to a document not prepared by the consular officer, and if necessary, certifying it (except where fee 16,17, or 18 is applicable)

21.00

11.

Supplying certified copies of documents which form part of the records of a court which is, or was formerly, established under the Foreign Jurisdiction Acts 1890 and 1913, for each page

63.00

12.

Making or verifying (including certifying when necessary) a written translation, for every 100 words or characters written in the foreign language (except where fee 33, 34 or 49 is to be taken)—

(a)

from or into Amharic, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean (three Japanese Kana count as one character when used independently)

71.00

(b)

from or into any other language

45.00

13.

Translating and interpreting viva voce except when performing official duties, for every 15 minutes

32.00

Part III

Passport Applications Made to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Fee

£

14.

Administering an application made abroad, including applications for replacing an expired passport, replacing a passport of restricted validity with a new passport of full validity, issuing a new passport with amended personal details and replacing a lost or stolen passport and, if the application is successful, providing a 32 page passport—

(a)

where the applicant is aged 16 years or over (in addition to direct costs if any)

124.00

(b)

where the applicant is under 16 years old (for a passport valid for 5 years) (in addition to direct costs if any)

79.00

15.

Administering an application made abroad, including applications for replacing an expired passport, replacing a passport of restricted validity with a new passport of full validity, issuing a new passport with amended personal details and replacing a lost or stolen passport and, if the application is successful, providing a 48 page passport (in addition to direct costs if any)

150.00

16.

Administering an application made abroad and, if the application is successful, providing an Emergency Passport

69.00

17.

Administering an application made abroad and, if the application is successful, providing a Temporary Passport valid for not more than one year

89.00

18.

Administering an application made abroad and, if the application is successful providing an Emergency Travel Document

89.00

Part IV

Passport Applications Made in the United Kingdom

Fee

£

19.

Administering an application made in the United Kingdom, including applications for replacing an expired passport, replacing a passport of restricted validity with a new passport of full validity, issuing a new passport with amended personal details and replacing a lost or stolen passport and, if the application is successful, issuing a 32 page passport—

(a)

for applications made by post—

(i)

where the applicant is aged 16 years and over

72.00

(ii)

where the applicant is under 16 years old (for a passport valid for 5 years)

46.00

(b)

for applications made in person—

(i)

where the applicant is aged 16 years or over using the fast-track service

97.00

(ii)

where the applicant is under 16 years old (for a passport valid for 5 years) using the fast-track service

81.00

(iii)

where the applicant is aged 16 years or over using the fast-track collect service

109.00

(iv)

where the applicant is under 16 years old (for a passport valid for 5 years) using the fast-track collect service

91.00

(v)

where the applicant is aged 16 years or over using the premium service

114.00

(vi)

where the applicant is under 16 years old (for a passport valid for 5 years) using the premium service

94.00

20.

Administering an application made in the United Kingdom, including applications for replacing an expired passport, replacing a passport of restricted validity with a new passport of full validity, issuing a new passport with amended personal details and replacing a lost and stolen passport and, if the application is successful, issuing a 48 page passport—

(a)

for applications made by post

85.00

(b)

for applications made in person—

(i)

using the fast-track service

105.00

(ii)

using the fast-track collect service

109.00

(iii)

using the premium service

123.00

21.

Administering an application made in the United Kingdom and, if the application is successful, issuing a collective passport—

(a)

for applications made by post

39.00

(b)

for applications made in person

54.00

Part V

Other Documents Relating to Travel or Entry into the UK, Commonwealth, Overseas Territories, Crown Dependencies and Libya

Fee

£

22.

Preparing or forwarding, or both, any letter, certificate, declaration or other document which may be required by an authority in any country or territory in connection with an application for or the issue or renewal of an entry clearance (for a country or territory for which the consular officer does not himself have authority to issue entry clearance), a residence permit or identity card or forwarding any other certificate or document (except a Home Office travel document and applications for registration and naturalisation)

63.00

23.

Renewing a Travel Certificate, a certificate of identity or other travel document on behalf of a Commonwealth country or of a dependency of a Commonwealth country (except where fee 25 is to be taken)

63.00

24.

Renewing a Travel Certificate, a certificate of identity or other travel document on behalf of a Crown Dependency or a British overseas territory (except where fee 25 is to be taken)

63.00

25.

Revalidating or renewing a Seaman's Certificate of Nationality and Identity or a Seaman's Identity Book (in addition to fee 22 where applicable)

63.00

26.

Providing a passport stamp setting out the format of an Arabic transcript of the passport's details page, as required by the Libyan authorities for entry into Libya

11.00

27.

Receiving an application for entry clearance to a Commonwealth country or British overseas territory

47.00

28.

Receiving, outside the United Kingdom, an application for—

(a)

entry clearance to the Crown Dependencies—

(i)

as a visitor, in each case for single, double and multiple entries valid—

(aa)

for up to six months from the date of issue

67.00

(bb)

for between six months and up to two years from the date of issue

215.00

(cc)

for between two years and up to five years from the date of issue

400.00

(dd)

for between five years and up to ten years from the date of issue

500.00

(ii)

for settlement

585.00

(iii)

as a student

145.00

(iv)

outside the Immigration Rules on an application by entertainers in accordance with Chapter 17 Section 3 of the Home Office Immigration Directorate's Instructions

67.00

(v)

outside the Immigration Rules on an application by sportsmen and women in accordance with Chapter 17 Section 8 of the Home Office Immigration Directorate's Instructions

67.00

(vi)

outside the Immigration Rules on an application by voluntary workers in accordance with Chapter 17 Section 9 of the Home Office Immigration Directorate’s Instructions

125.00

(vii)

For any purpose other than those listed sub-paragraphs (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) and (vi) listed above

215.00

(b)

a certificate of entitlement to the right of abode in the Crown Dependencies

215.00

Part VI

Births, Deaths, Marriages and Civil Partnerships

Fee

£

29.

Receiving notice of an intended marriage, civil partnership or overseas relationship, including an application for a Nulla Osta

63.00

30.

Solemnising or attending a marriage under the Foreign Marriage Acts 1892 and 1947: administering oaths to the parties and registering the marriage

134.00

31.

Registering a civil partnership under the Civil Partnership (Registration Abroad and Certificates) Order 2005

134.00

32.

Issuing in English or in the local language a certificate that no impediment to an intended marriage or civil partnership has been shown to exist or issuing a “certificate de coutume” or a Nulla Osta for an intended marriage or intended overseas relationship in accordance with local law

63.00

33.

Forwarding a record of a marriage under the local law to the appropriate Registrar General in accordance with the Foreign Marriage Order 1970, including the provision of any necessary certification

36.00

34.

Forwarding a record of an overseas relationship to the appropriate Registrar General in accordance with the Civil Partnership (Registration Abroad and Certificates) Order 2005, including the provision of any necessary certification

36.00

35.

Administering an application for the registry of a birth or a death (in addition to fee 37 where applicable)

98.00

36.

Making an addition to or correction in the consular register of births, deaths, marriages or civil partnerships at the request of the parties concerned

36.00

37.

Issuing a certified copy of an entry in the consular register of births, deaths, marriages or civil partnerships (in addition to fee 38 or 35 where applicable)

63.00

Part VII

Searches

Fee

£

38.

Making a search in (in addition to fee 3(a) and 37 where applicable)—

(a)

the consular registers of births, deaths, marriages or civil partnerships where the number or date of entry is not provided

63.00

(b)

the records of the Identity and Passport Service where the request originates in the United Kingdom

15.00

(c)

any other records or archives of Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom

109.00

(d)

naturalisation, registration or renunciation records kept by a consular officer

76.00

39.

Having a search made for, or attempting to obtain copies of, or both, entries in the local registers or records of local authorities responsible for births, marriages or overseas relationships or any other document, irrespective of whether an entry or record or any other document is found or obtained after a period of 18 months (in addition to direct costs exceeding £5.00 if any)

128.00

Part VIII

Nationality and Registration

Fee

£

40.

Administering an oath of British Citizenship under the British Nationality Act 1981 at a citizenship ceremony

80.00

41.

Preparing or forwarding, or both, an application for registration, naturalisation or renunciation to the Home Office

63.00

42.

Preparing or forwarding, or both, any other application requested by any Department of Her Majesty’s Government

63.00

43.

Supervising a knowledge of life test for naturalisation under the British Nationality Act 1981 in consular premises

128.00

Part IX

Estates

Fee

£

44.

Administering fully or partly, safeguarding, or arranging the transmission of all or part of the personal effects and other estate of a deceased person or if sold, the proceeds, except for the wages and personal effects of a seaman. Except where the gross current market value is less than £1,000; charge based on the amount of the gross current market value

2%

rounded to the nearest £10.00

However where a local lawyer is employed and consular officer’s actions are nominal

81.00

Part X

Attendances

Fee

£

45.

Attending (except in connection with trade and investment enquiries) for each hour or part hour. The time taken will include reasonable travelling time from the consular premises and return or out of office hours to the consular or other premises and return—

(a)

at the consular premises or elsewhere during office hours except when attending to supervise an examination for two or more persons sitting examinations at the same time when the fee may be apportioned between them

128.00

(b)

at the consular premises or elsewhere outside office hours

128.00

up to a maximum in any 24 hour period for each consular officer of

922.00

Part XI

Matters Relating to Legal Proceedings

Fee

£

46.

Presiding at the taking of evidence under a commission or order from a Court, including any action by the consular officer as examiner—

(a)

for up to two hours on the first day

255.00

(b)

for each additional hour or part hour

128.00

47.

Providing evidence of service or attempted service (in addition to fee 45 or 48)

128.00

48.

Providing the services of a consular officer or consular employee—

(a)

to assist the consular officer in the taking of evidence under a commission or order from a Court, for each such person—

for each hour or part hour

128.00

(b)

to affect or endeavour to affect service of a document, for each hour or part hour outside the consular premises—

during office hours

128.00

outside office hours

160.00

49.

Forwarding a request to a local authority for the taking of evidence or the service of a document, where necessary, certifying the accuracy of a translation accompanying the document

128.00

Part XII

Repatriation and Financial Assistance

Fee

£

50.

Arranging the repatriation of a person or members of the same family travelling together

128.00

51.

Arranging, in exceptional circumstances, for currency to be made available against the deposit of funds with Her Majesty’s Government by any means (in addition to fee 45 where payable). The applicable fee will depend on the value of the sums being deposited as follows:

(a)

£0-£50

8.00

(b)

£51-£100

16.00

(c)

£101-£500

32.00

(d)

£501-£1500

74.00

(e)

>£1500

90.00

Part XIII

Shipping, Seamen and Related Matters

Fee

£

52.

Granting or considering whether to grant a provisional certificate of registry, whether the owner is a private individual or body corporate

373.00

53.

Receiving a return of the birth or death of any person on board a ship and endorsing the agreement with the crew accordingly

54.00

54.

Examining or arranging for the examination of provisions or water, payable by the party who proves to be in default (in addition to any cost of a survey)

54.00

55.

Noting a marine protest and furnishing one certified copy if required and for each further copy

45.00

56.

Extending a marine protest, filing the original and furnishing one certified copy if required (in addition to fee 1 and 3 where applicable)—

(a)

for up to 200 words, excluding the declaratory clause

107.00

(b)

for every subsequent 100 words or less

45.00

57.

Making a request, or issuing or arranging for the issue of a document, in connection with a survey of a ship (in addition to fee 8 where applicable)—

(a)

for the purposes of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1974 (SOLAS) or of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973 as modified by its Protocol of 1978 (MARPOL)

71.00

(b)

for any other purpose

128.00

58.

Issuing a bill of health

45.00

59.

Preparing or signing, or both, any document, whether required by the Merchant Shipping Acts or by the local authorities, relating to the master or the members of the crew of a ship, to their numbers, names or other details, or to their engagement, discharge, desertion or death (except where fee 53 is taken in addition to fee 45, or a death inquiry is held under section 271 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995)

71.00

60.

Signing and, if required, sealing any documents at the request of the master of the ship (except where this is required under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, or fee 59 is taken)

71.00

61.

Inspecting—

(a)

a ship’s papers when required to enable a consular officer to do any matter or thing in respect of a ship (except where fee 59 is taken in addition to fee 45)

53.00

(b)

the marking of a ship, irrespective of the number of visits (in addition to fee 45)

53.00

Part XIV

Payments Using Credit Cards

Fee

£

62.

Receiving payments by credit card on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government where no other fee is chargeable under this Order.

The applicable fee will be equal to the credit card charges incurred

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Hong Kong (Six-Monthly Report)

The latest report on the implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong was published today. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House. A copy of the report is also available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at: www.fco.gov.uk. The report covers the period from 1 July to 31 December 2008. I commend the report to the House.

Health

Prostate Cancer Screening

We are committed to having a prostate cancer screening programme if and when screening and treatment techniques are sufficiently well developed. Major findings on screening for prostate cancer were published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on 18 March 2009.

The NEJM reports on two studies. The European trial (the European randomized study on screening for prostate cancer) started in 1993 and reports on 162,000 men from eight countries. It shows that the risk of dying from prostate cancer is reduced amongst those screened by around 20 per cent.. However, around 48 men have to be treated for prostate cancer to avoid one death.

The other research trial (the prostate, lung, colorectal, and ovarian cancer screening trial - PLCO) comes from the United Sates of America. This involves around 75,000 men and shows no benefit from screening.

The United Kingdom National Screening Committee (UKNSC) regularly reviews its policy decisions in the light of new evidence. As a result of the new reports, we will formally ask the UKNSC to review the evidence on prostate cancer screening and make recommendations. We look forward to examining this new evidence.

The prostate cancer risk management programme (PCRMP) is in place to ensure that men without symptoms of prostate cancer can have a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test free on the National Health Service provided they have made an informed choice about the advantages and disadvantages of the test. Any man contemplating having a PSA test or with symptoms of prostate cancer should speak to his general practitioner who will be able to counsel him and provide him with evidence-based support materials.

The chief medical officer has sent an alert to all general practitioners in England to inform them of the new research findings, providing them with a link to the PCRMP materials to assist them in discussing the issues with their patients.

Home Department

Asylum Support

The UK Border Agency expects those with no right to remain in the United Kingdom to return home voluntarily; if they choose not to, we will enforce their removal. Where an individual, through not fault of their own, cannot be removed we will provide support to prevent destitution. This form of support is called section 4 support and is intended as a limited and temporary form of support. Section 4 support is currently administered through a voucher system.

I have approved plans to introduce a plastic payment card system for the administration of section 4 support, personalised for each applicant. This will enable the UK Border Agency to cut down on the abuse of asylum support and provide a more efficient system.

The UK Border Agency will pilot this scheme in June, with a view to rolling out the cards to all section 4 applicants later this year.

Vetting and Barring Scheme

Since January this year, the new Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) has been taking all barring decisions on new cases referred to it under the current barring provisions of POVA, POCA and List 99. This has replaced barring decisions by Ministers with independent decision making in relation to those persons considered unsuitable to work with children or vulnerable adults.

From 12 October this year, we will bring into force the barring provisions under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, significantly extending the range of activities and workplaces from which individuals may be barred to include all regulated activities, as defined by the Act. In particular, a wider range of posts and workplaces which provide for vulnerable adults will now be covered by the barring arrangements. The ISA will make independent barring decisions on cases referred to it, and bars will apply to paid employment and voluntary work in regulated activities. From this date, those barred under current arrangements who have been transferred to the new barred lists by the ISA will also be barred from the wider scope of regulated activities. It will be an offence for any barred person to work in regulated activities, and for any employer to employ someone he knows to be barred, in either a paid or voluntary capacity. Requirements will also come into force for employers to refer relevant cases to the ISA in instances of harm to the vulnerable groups.

With effect from July 2010, the final element of the new scheme will be phased in. Those wishing to work with children or vulnerable adults will be able to apply for registration with the new scheme; the ISA will consider all cases referred to it and will be able to bar those considered unsuitable for such work; and continuous monitoring of those registered with the scheme will commence. New entrants to the workforce and those changing posts will apply to the scheme first under plans to phase in the workforce gradually. In order not to disrupt normal recruitment processes over the summer period, relevant criminal offences will not be brought into force until November 2010. At this point registration with the new scheme and the requirement for employers to check registered status will become mandatory for the phased-in groups.

Cabinet Office

Local and European Elections Guidance

Guidance has today been issued to civil servants in UK Departments on the principles which they should observe in relation to the conduct of Government business in the run-up to the forthcoming elections to the European Parliament and to local authorities in England. These are taking place on 4 June 2009.

The guidance sets out the need to maintain the political impartiality of the civil service and the need to ensure that public resources are not used for party political purposes. The period of sensitivity preceding the European and local elections starts on 14 May.

Copies of the guidance have been placed in the Libraries of Houses and on the Cabinet Office website at:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/propriety_and_ethics/civil_service/election_guidance.aspx