Thursday 11 December 2014
Cyber Security Strategy
In November 2011 we published the UK Cyber Security strategy and each year since then I have presented an annual report to Parliament on progress against the strategy’s objectives. I am pleased to present the third of these reports to both Houses today alongside this statement.
The Cyber Security strategy set out the Government’s vision of “a vibrant, resilient and secure cyberspace” and set out four objectives:
making the UK one of the most secure places in the world to do business in cyberspace
making the UK more resilient to cyber attack and better able to protect our interests in cyberspace
helping shape an open, vibrant and stable cyberspace that supports open societies
building the UK’s cyber security knowledge, skills and capability.
To support the strategy we put in place a national cyber security programme backed by £860 million of investment to 2016. Through the programme the Government are working to:
further deepen our national sovereign capability to detect and defeat high-end threats;
ensure law enforcement has the skills and capabilities needed to tackle cyber crime and maintain the confidence needed to do business on the Internet;
ensure critical UK systems and networks are robust and resilient;
improve cyber awareness and risk management among UK business;
ensure members of the public know what they can do to protect themselves, and are demanding good cyber security in the products and services they consume;
bolster cyber security research and education, so we have the knowledge and expertise to keep pace with this fast-moving issue into the medium term; and
work with international partners to bear down on havens for cybercrime and build capacity, and to help shape international dialogue to promote an open, secure and vibrant cyberspace.
We have made significant strides towards all these goals this year and throughout the course of the programme’s existence. The long-term economic plan of this Government continues to make the UK one of the most secure places globally for cyber innovation and commerce. Notable highlights from this year include the inauguration of the new CERT-UK—computer emergency response team—which co-ordinates our national response to significant cyber incidents. CERT-UK has played a significant role already in protecting the Commonwealth games and the NATO summit in Wales from cyber threats. The National Cyber Crime Unit has led global law enforcement operations in conjunction with the FBI and other counterparts to target cyber criminals. We have also introduced a new scheme, Cyber Essentials, which sets a basic standard for cyber security for all organisations in the UK. Much of this work is done in partnership with business and the academic community and we are grateful to our partners for their co-operation and efforts, as it is clear that Government cannot deliver these goals on their own.
I refer hon. Members to the accompanying “Report on Progress and Forward Plans-December 2014” for details of achievements across all the objectives in the UK Cyber Security strategy and commend this to both Houses.
The report can be viewed online at: http://www. parliament.uk/writtenstatements.
Asset Resolution (Consumer Credit Act)
In February 2008, under the previous Government, Northern Rock was nationalised due to the financial crisis. In January 2010 the previous Government restructured the activities of Northern Rock between Northern Rock plc, a newly created company which was subsequently sold to Virgin Money in 2011, and the existing company, which was renamed Northern Rock (Asset Management) (NRAM). The balance sheet of NRAM is managed by UK Asset Resolution (UKAR).
In 2012, UKAR identified certain Consumer Credit Act (CCA) regulated loans in the NRAM portfolio where the annual statements and other notices were not compliant with CCA requirements. The CCA regulations only applied to loans of £25,000 or less. The period of non-compliance originates from changes to the CCA implemented in 2008, before the separation of NRAM and Northern Rock plc in January 2010. The Economic Secretary to the Treasury at the time this non-compliance was identified (Sajid Javid) informed Parliament, and UKAR has remediated the interest paid and other charges fully to affected customers for the period of non-compliance. This is another example of the significant cost to taxpayers of the failure of the previous regulatory regime.
After these mistakes were discovered, UKAR’s board commissioned Deloitte to conduct an independent enquiry into the specific circumstances of the issue, and any implications for UKAR’s broader internal procedures and controls. The report can be found here:
In 2012, UKAR also discovered that incorrect documentation had been sent to certain customers with loans of more than £25,000. These errors also originate from when changes were implemented to the CCA in 2008, before the separation of NRAM and Northern Rock plc in January 2010. While these loans fell outside of the scope of the CCA, UKAR commenced declaratory proceedings in the High Court to determine whether customers who took out such loans are entitled to the same or similar rights and remedies as those customers who took out loans of £25,000 or less that were regulated under the CCA. This action was taken in order to provide clarity to UKAR and to its customers, and details of the proceedings, including an estimate of the cost of remediation, were published in the Treasury’s annual report and accounts for 2013-2014.
The High Court has declared that the defendants to the proceedings are contractually entitled to the rights and remedies applicable to a regulated agreements under the CCA (2008).
Accordingly, NRAM was in breach of its obligations by issuing documentation that did not comply with the CCA (2008), and by not re-crediting the interest payments and default sums paid during the period of non-compliance. UKAR, and UK Financial Investments, on behalf of the Treasury, will now carefully consider legal advice to establish whether an appeal should be pursued. UKAR have estimated the cost of remediating affected customers to be £261 million plus any future interest accruing on these accounts before remediation is made. The cost of any future interest amounts to approximately £3 million per month.
UKAR has performed well, repaying more than £12 billion of Government loans and actively managing the assets with the goal of ensuring value for money for the taxpayer. The OBR has forecast that UKAR will have a positive impact reducing both public sector net borrowing and public sector net debt in the current fiscal year. This would be true even if remediation costs were paid this fiscal year.
UKAR will confirm whether an appeal will be pursued in due course. There is no need for customers to take any action at this time. Further details for customers can be found on the NRAM website: www.nram.co.uk
Business, Innovation and Skills
Land Registration Rule Committee (Triennial Review)
The coalition Government made a commitment to review public bodies, with the aim of increasing accountability for actions carried out on behalf of the state. The triennial review of the Land Registration Rule Committee (LRRC) is one of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) reviews of non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) scheduled to commence during the first year of the second programme (2014-15). This is not a review of the policy relating to land registration to which the Government remain committed.
The review will be conducted as set out in Cabinet Office guidance, in two stages.
The first stage will:
Identify and examine the key functions of the Land Registration Rule Committee and assess the requirement for these to continue;
If continuing, then assess delivery options and where the conclusion is that a particular function is still needed examine how this function might best be delivered, including a cost and benefits analysis where appropriate;
If one of these options is continuing delivery through the Land Registration Rule Committee then make an assessment against the Government’s “three tests”: technical function; political impartiality; need for independence from Ministers.
If the outcome of stage one is that delivery should continue through the Land Registration Rule Committee as an NDPB, then the second stage of the project will be to ensure that they are operating in line with the recognised principles of good corporate governance, using the Cabinet Office “comply or explain” standard approach.
When completed the report of the review will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Communities and Local Government
Private Rented Sector
The Government can announce that they have awarded the licence for the private rented sector housing guarantee scheme to PRS Operations Ltd, a subsidiary of Venn Partners LLP. Venn Partners’ bid was selected through an open and competitive procurement process, following a period of thorough market engagement.
The Government are committed to expanding the rented sector, including supporting the creation of a bigger and better private rented sector, in order to expand the provision of rented housing, boost economic growth, increase choice and improve quality for tenants. The private rented sector plays an increasingly important role in the housing market. It is now the second largest tenure in England, with demand predicted to grow.
The Government’s £10 billion housing guarantees schemes—comprising the affordable housing guarantee scheme and the private rented sector housing guarantee scheme—are working to reduce the cost of investing in new, additional affordable and private rented sector housing. Furthermore, the private rented sector housing guarantee scheme will help create a new market for institutional investment in the private rented sector.
The affordable housing guarantee scheme, as operated by Affordable Housing Finance plc, has already demonstrated considerable success—facilitating the investment of over £1 billion in new affordable housing, through the cheapest debt in the sector’s history.
On 11 June 2014 a minute was laid before the House setting out details of the contingent liability created by the private rented sector housing guarantee scheme. Under the private rented sector housing guarantee scheme, the Department for Communities and Local Government will guarantee up to £3.5 billion of debt on terms of up to 30 years for developers who commit to building new private rented sector housing, held long-term for private rent.
Venn Partners are now able to receive applications and we expect the first applications to be approved in 2015, subject to due diligence procedures. I am looking forward to working with them to deliver the scheme.
Energy and Climate Change
ABWR Nuclear Reactor
I have today laid before the House a draft statutory instrument containing my decision, as Justifying Authority under the Justification of Practices Involving Ionising Radiation Regulations 2004, that the generation of electricity from the nuclear reactor design known as the UK ABWR is justified.
Justification is the first step in the regulatory process for practices involving ionising radiation and is required by EU law. Before any new practice involving ionising radiation—such as a new design of nuclear reactor—can be introduced in the UK, it must first undergo a high-level, generic assessment to determine whether its economic, social or other benefits outweigh the health detriment it may cause.
As Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change I am the Justifying Authority and it is my responsibility to take these decisions.
Positive Justification decisions are made by way of statutory instruments. The draft statutory instrument which I have today laid in draft before the House is supported by a decision document, copies of which have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.
The decision document sets out how I have considered responses to the public consultations carried out by my Department, how I have assessed the benefit of the class or type of practice against the radiological health detriment it may cause, and how I have come to the decision that it is justified.
In summary, the basis for my decision is that there is a clear need for the generation of electricity by the nuclear reactor design to which the decision relates, because of the contribution its deployment can make to the new nuclear programme through increased security of energy supplies and reduced carbon emissions. Against this, the radiological detriment to health from this nuclear reactor design throughout its lifetime and the management of associated waste will be low compared to overall levels of radiation, and will be effectively controlled by the UK’s robust and effective regulatory regime. I have therefore concluded that the reactor design should be justified.
The draft statutory instrument containing the decision is subject to the affirmative resolution procedure and will therefore be the subject of debates in both Houses of Parliament.
Copies of a statement to this effect, and of the decision document, have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and are available on my Department’s website at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance-for-operators-of-new-nuclear-power-stations
Today, I am pleased to announce the publication of the third DECC annual report on the roll-out of smart meters, which fulfils DECC’s commitment to provide an update to Parliament on the past year’s progress.
Smart meters give consumers greater control over their electricity and gas use, changing the way we think about energy and helping to transform the retail energy market. By providing real-time information and bringing an end to estimated billing, the roll-out will enable consumers to save money on bills, make switching energy suppliers easier and faster, and help to restore trust in the energy market. Smart metering will also help reduce energy waste, with suppliers and networks having access to better information to support a sustainable energy supply.
This annual report reflects on significant developments in 2014. It covers the work that Government and industry are undertaking to ensure that the smart metering system delivers the expected benefits to consumers. Much of the framework underpinning the roll-out is now in place and responsibility for taking key elements of the smart metering programme forward is moving to industry and other delivery partners. For consumers the programme is driving real progress. Around 900,000 smart and advanced meters are already operating in homes and businesses, and the number of smart meters installed grows each month.
The annual report is being placed in the Library of the House and can be found at:
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Development Foreign Affairs, Foreign Affairs and General Affairs Councils
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development will attend the Development Foreign Affairs Council on 12 December, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs will attend the Foreign Affairs Council on 15 December, and I will attend the General Affairs Council on 16 December. The Development Foreign Affairs Council and the Foreign Affairs Council will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and the General Affairs Council will be chaired by the Italian presidency. The meetings will be held in Brussels.
Development Foreign Affairs Council
The UK remains at the forefront of the post-2015 discussions, building on the Prime Minister’s co-chairing of the UN high-level panel. Ministers will discuss the EU’s approach to intergovernmental negotiations on post-2015, including agreeing Council conclusions, and reflect on the UN Secretary-General’s synthesis report. The UK will use this discussion to make the case for a more simple, inspiring and relevant set of goals and targets.
The UK is an international leader on this agenda, as demonstrated by hosting the highly successful Girl summit last summer. In response to the UK’s call for the EU to show greater ambition on women and girls, the Commission will update Ministers on progress on the current EU action plan on gender equality and women’s empowerment, and set out a vision for its successor. The UK will urge the new Development Commissioner to take political leadership and deliver an ambitious gender action plan 2016-20.
Ebola from the development perspective
The Commission and European External Action Service will update Ministers on the latest developments. The UK will reiterate the urgent need to maintain momentum in tackling the immediate crisis, and focus on the social and economic impact of Ebola and on regional preparedness. Ministers will also reflect on what could be done in the medium to long term to support health systems and prevent future outbreaks.
Migration, refugees and development
Ministers will discuss the inter-linkages between migration and development, and will agree Council conclusions. The debate will inform a Commission communication due next year. The UK will be underlining the need for a communication based on sound evidence and analysis.
Foreign Affairs Council
UN Special Envoy for Syria, Steffan De Mistura, will brief Ministers on the Syria conflict and his plans to de-escalate violence. The EU continues to support Mr De Mistura. Ministers will agree conclusions that condemn the awful human rights abuses being perpetrated by Assad, the instability that violence is creating in the region and the dire humanitarian situation. The UK will argue for the EU to continue to support the moderate opposition in their fight against both ISIL and Assad, calling for Assad to allow the free flowing of aid to all who need it, and reiterating that Assad cannot morally or practically be a partner in the fight against ISIL.
The priority of this discussion will be the EU strategy on ISIL which is being developed following the August conclusions of the European Council meeting. Ministers will discuss the strategy and their support for it. The UK hopes the EU strategy will help the EU focus on areas where it can bring additional value to the coalition efforts and that it will ensure EU activity is fully co-ordinated and aligned with other coalition efforts. There is also likely to be an assessment of the situation in Erbil and the EU response to the foreign fighter threat.
Ministers will take stock of the EU’s response to the Ebola crisis. The EU’s Ebola Coordinator and Humanitarian Commissioner, Christos Stylianides, will present a progress report. The UK will reiterate the importance of member states delivering the funds and staff that they have pledged. Ministers will also discuss how the EU might respond to Ebola over the medium and longer term, drawing on an EEAS-Commission paper. The UK will welcome the proposals for the EU to help rebuild countries affected by Ebola, but will stress that this must not detract from the current crisis response and that the EU’s long-term efforts must be co-ordinated with wider initiatives to improve the global response to health crises.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The High Representative is likely to brief Ministers on her joint visit with Commissioner Hahn to Bosnia and Herzegovina on 5 December, and on progress of a new EU approach to inject momentum into Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU accession process. We want conclusions to endorse the EU initiative, mandate Mogherini to negotiate the written commitment and that once the written commitment is signed, the stabilisation and association agreement will come into force. We also want to see GAC conclusions that refer to the annual enlargement package and endorse the FAC’s decision on the EU’s approach to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
General Affairs Council
Enlargement and stabilisation and association process
The General Affairs Council will discuss the Commission’s annual enlargement package (AEP), published on 8 October, and agree conclusions on the enlargement strategy and the western Balkans countries, Turkey and Iceland. The December GAC is the annual opportunity for the Council to take stock and give direction to the EU’s enlargement strategy and pre-accession reform priorities for individual countries. The Government’s views on the package were set out in my explanatory memorandum of 20 October 2014. We will broadly welcome the Commission’s approach in this year’s package, reiterating our continued firm support for future EU enlargement on the basis of strict but fair conditionality, with countries moving forward on merit as they meet the conditions. We will also take the opportunity to reiterate the importance of maintaining the credibility of the enlargement process, including addressing the concerns of many EU citizens around the impact of migration. We welcome recognition of this issue in the package.
Rule of law
Following an initial exchange of views at the November General Affairs Council and further discussions in COREPER, Ministers will consider the presidency’s latest proposals to strengthen adherence to the rule of law within the EU. The Italian presidency intends to focus discussion on the role of the member states, and in particular how to establish further dialogue within the Council to address emerging threats.
Strengthening inter-institutional annual and multi-annual programming
The Commission’s 2015 Work Programme is tabled for discussion at the General Affairs Council. The Italian presidency has also indicated its intention to agree a high-level political declaration on the Council’s intention to work with the Commission and European Parliament on legislative programming in future years. They are yet to confirm whether a draft text will be issued in advance of discussions at the General Affairs Council.
Friends of the presidency on improving the functioning of the EU
Following the final meeting of the friends of the presidency group on improving the functioning of the EU, the presidency will present its report and the GAC will hold a discussion on the recommendations.
Composition of the Committee of the Regions
The GAC will consider the current impasse on the Commission’s proposal of June 2014 to bring the composition of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) back in line with the Lisbon treaty which capped membership at 350. This was temporarily increased to 353 when Croatia acceded to the EU in July 2013. The UK strongly supports efforts to improve proportionality within the Committee of the Regions with a view to reflecting the demographic reality of member states. We will encourage the presidency to urgently facilitate agreement on a proposal that will allow the Committee’s mandate to be renewed in time and includes a commitment for a full review of the composition of the CoR during its next mandate period.
Preparation of the December European Council
The GAC will prepare the 18 and 19 December European Council, which the Prime Minister will attend. The December European Council agenda is expected to include strengthening growth, jobs and competitiveness and investment, and external relations issues—likely to include Ukraine and Ebola.
European semester and Europe 2020 mid-term review
The GAC will discuss the annual growth survey (AGS), which marks the beginning of the European semester process of social and economic co-ordination. The AGS is published alongside the alert mechanism report (AMR), the joint employment report (JER) and the Commission draft budgetary opinions on Eurozone member states. It sets out broad EU level economic and social objectives for the year ahead.
Europe 2020 is the European Union’s 10-year strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. A mid-term review of the strategy was launched with a public consultation in 2014 which ended on 31 October. The mid-term review is due to be discussed in each Council formation before being summarised and presented at the December GAC, ahead of the final presentation to the December European Council.
Follow-up to the June European Council
Ministers will have a thematic debate on the EU’s strategic agenda, focused on the subject: “The EU as a strong global actor”. I will set out the UK’s support for the strategic agenda as set out in the June European Council, and highlight the role of member states in setting EU foreign policy and the need for the EU to play an influential role in world.
Women, Peace and Security Implementation Plan
I wish to inform the House that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, together with the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence, are today publishing an implementation plan for the “UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security for 2014-17”, which was published on 12 June 2014 (HC Deb, column 72-4WS, 16 June 2014).
The national action plan sets out our priorities on women, peace and security for the next three years. It is the guiding national policy document that provides the direction and vision to the Government and their partners as we work to ensure that women and girls are at the centre of our efforts to prevent, respond to, and resolve conflict.
The implementation plan published today establishes baseline data and target indicators for the national action plan. These will help us measure progress against outcomes at country level in the six focus countries set out in the national action plan: Afghanistan, Burma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Somalia and Syria. This is the first time that the UK has published a detailed implementation plan for our work on women, peace and security. The implementation plan helps capture the diverse set of initiatives to promote the protection and full participation of women that are taking place within the UK Government across our development, defence and diplomacy work. It is complemented by work undertaken through the preventing sexual violence in conflict initiative and DFID’s strategic vision for women and girls. The implementation plan also helps set the global standard by demonstrating the UK’s determination to monitor our progress in delivering on our commitments.
We will report to Parliament annually on progress on all aspects of the national action plan, including in the six focus countries, beginning in autumn 2015.
I have deposited a copy of the implementation plan in the Libraries of both Houses.
Attachments can be viewed online at: http://www. parliament.uk/writtenstatements
Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme
I am announcing today the level of payment due from members of the pharmaceutical price regulation scheme (PPRS) in 2015 to keep health service spend on branded medicines within the levels agreed under the scheme. The PPRS payment percentage for 2015 will be 10.36%.
The PPRS is a voluntary scheme agreed between the Department of Health, acting on behalf of the UK Government and Northern Ireland, and the branded pharmaceutical industry, represented by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), under sections 261 to 262 of the National Health Service Act 2006. The current PPRS commenced on 1 January 2014 and lasts for five years, ending on 31 December 2018.
The PPRS allows patients access to the medicines they need while maintaining affordability for the NHS and providing stability for industry in support of the Government’s innovation and growth agenda. There is an agreed, fixed limit on the vast majority of NHS spend on branded medicines with additional expenditure above this level paid for by the pharmaceutical companies. Spend will stay flat in 2014 and 2015. Annual growth will be limited to 1.8% in 2016, 1.8% in 2017 and 1.9% in 2018. Small companies with less than £5 million of sales a year to the health service are exempted.
In the interests of transparency we are publishing our estimates of aggregate PPRS payments in 2014-15 and 2015-16. It must be stressed that these are only estimates at this stage. The Department is committed to publishing outturn quarterly aggregate sales and payments data for the PPRS on an ongoing basis.
In England, PPRS payments are taken into account in the allocations to NHS England through the mandate. All the payments will go back into spending on improving patients’ health and care.
The Department has published a document setting out further details entitled “2014 Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme: revised forecasts and profile of payment percentages”. Copies have been placed in the Library and are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.
Attachments can be viewed online at: http://www. parliament.uk/writtenstatements
Police and National Crime Agency Remuneration Review Bodies
I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Anita Bharucha and Paul Leighton as members of the Police and National Crime Agency Remuneration Review Bodies. These appointments will be to 31 August 2017, commencing on 11 December.
Anita Bharucha is currently an independent management consultant and brings a wealth of experience to the role. Anita was a civil servant from 1993 to 2012 and served in a number of Departments including the Home Office, Cabinet Office, Northern Ireland Office, and latterly as a Director in the Ministry of Justice.
Paul Leighton is currently, a non-executive director on the Prison Service management board for Northern Ireland and Chair of its Audit Committee. Among the extensive experience he brings to the role is an understanding of the specific context of policing in Northern Ireland. Paul retired as Deputy Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland in May 2009 and he has previously worked in policing in both Northern Ireland and the north-east of England.
These appointments have been made in accordance with the code of practice issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.
On 22 July, Official Report, column 1265, I gave a statement to the House on this Government’s ongoing work to ensure the highest standards of integrity in the police. I informed the House that I would undertake a number of reviews, including an end-to-end review of the police complaints system and an independent review of the police disciplinary system, led by Major General (Retd) Chip Chapman. I am pleased to tell the House that these reviews have now concluded and the Government are today launching a public consultation on reforms to improve police complaints and discipline to better hold police officers to account and deal with misconduct appropriately.
I have always been clear that I believe the vast majority of police officers in this country do their job honestly and with integrity. They put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public. They are cutting crime even as we reduce police spending. And the vast majority of officers do their work with a strong sense of fairness and duty. But as I have said before, the good work of the majority threatens to be damaged by a continuing series of events and revelations relating to police conduct.
This Government have carried out a radical programme of reform of the policing landscape. We have given chief constables greater operational independence, by scrapping national targets, while at the same time strengthening local accountability to the public through the creation of directly elected police and crime commissioners (PCCs). We have reformed police pay and conditions, established the College of Policing to improve police standards and beefed up the Independent Police Complaints Commission to take on all serious and sensitive cases. Crime has fallen by a fifth under this Government, according to the crime survey for England and Wales.
The reforms I am consulting on today will build on this programme of reform. The reviews show that the police complaints and disciplinary systems do not meet the standards that both the public and the police rightly expect. Those wishing to lodge a complaint find an opaque and bureaucratic system with insufficient independence. The police see a system designed to punish them, rather than one that provides feedback to help them improve performance.
The Government’s proposed reforms put the public at the heart of the system, replacing bureaucracy and complexity with accountability and transparency. We propose giving Police and Crime Commissioners the powers to handle complaints in a way that makes sense for their local electorates. This includes PCCs taking on responsibility for how complaints appropriate for local resolution are dealt with, making sure that issues are resolved quickly and effectively. We propose giving the IPCC new powers, strengthening its role as an independent oversight body and building on this Government’s commitment to transfer resources to enable the IPCC to investigate all serious and sensitive cases. We suggest the introduction of police super-complaints, a feature of the financial markets regulatory landscape, to allow designated organisations to present evidence of systemic problems to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), and give a voice to those who choose not to complain directly.
It is impossible to separate the police complaints and disciplinary systems and the Government’s reforms also address the way in which police performance and misconduct matters are dealt with. I am grateful in this regard for Major General (Retd) Chip Chapman’s thorough investigation and analysis of the police disciplinary system, which is published today alongside the Government’s proposals. On 18 November, Official Report, column 6WS, I announced proposals to hold police disciplinary hearings in public with independent, legally-qualified chairs and the intention to legislate in this Parliament. In addition, the Government are now seeking views on the majority of the remaining Chapman recommendations, which include benchmarking to ensure consistency of sanctions; streamlining and integrating the performance management and misconduct processes; and consulting on merging the disciplinary systems for police officers and police staff.
Finally, the Government have already announced a consultation on protections for police whistleblowers to ensure that concerns can be raised without fear of disciplinary action. Today’s consultation document contains further proposals, including strengthening the independent route for whistleblowing to the IPCC and allowing the IPCC to conduct investigations in a way that protects the identity of the whistleblower.
In addition, I am today announcing the commencement of the first triennial review of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, part of the Government’s commitment to ensuring that public bodies continue to have regular independent challenge. The review will focus on examining whether the IPCC is operating efficiently and whether its control and governance arrangements continue to meet the recognised principles of good corporate governance. I will inform the House of the outcome of the review when it is completed.
These proposals are a key step of the Government’s reform of the policing landscape, ensuring that, where the public have concerns about their contact with the police, these will be dealt with in a transparent, fair and effective way. These reforms are vital for securing confidence in this system and in the work of the police.
We will be consulting on these proposals for eight weeks and will respond to the consultation before the end of the Parliament. The consultation document has been published as a Command Paper (Cm 8976) and copies will be available from the Vote Office. A copy of Major General Chapman’s report will be placed in the Library of the House. Both of these publications can be found at:
I hope that those with an interest in these very important matters will take the time to respond to the consultation.
Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures
Section 19(1) of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 (the Act) requires the Secretary of State to report to Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of every relevant three-month period on the exercise of her TPIM powers under the Act during that period.
The level of information provided will always be subject to slight variations based on operational advice.
TPIM notices in force (as of 30 November 2014)
TPIM notices in respect of British citizens (as of 30 November 2014)
TPIM notices extended (during the reporting period)
TPIM notices revoked (during the reporting period)
TPIM notices revived (during the reporting period)
Variations made to measures specified in TPIM notices (during the reporting period)
Applications to vary measures specified in TPIM notices refused (during the reporting period)
During the reporting period one TPIM notice has been extended.
The TPIM review group (TRG) keeps every TPIM notice under regular and formal review. The next TRG will take place in December.
Section 16 of the 2011 Act provides rights of appeal in relation to decisions taken by the Secretary of State under the Act. One appeal was lodged under section 16 during the reporting period.
One judgment was handed down by the High Court in relation to an appeal under section 16 of the Act. In DD v. Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 3820 (Admin), handed down on 20 November 2014, the High Court dismissed a preliminary issue in DD’s appeal against the revival of his TPIM notice. This preliminary issue related to DD’s submission that the revival of the TPIM notice breached article 3 ECHR. The remainder of the appeal will be heard in March 2015. This judgment is available at http://www. bailii.org/
Courts and Tribunal Service Trust
Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has prepared a trust statement providing an account of the collection of revenues which are due to be paid to HM Treasury. The statement includes the value of fines and confiscation orders imposed by the judiciary; fixed penalties imposed by the police; the value of collections; the balances paid over to third parties including victims of crime, the Home Office and HM Treasury; and the balance of outstanding impositions.
I am delighted that, for the first time, the Comptroller and Auditor General has been able to provide an unqualified audit opinion on the trust statement which recognises the quality and thoroughness of the work we have completed to address financial reporting issues previously identified by the National Audit Office (NAO).
The trust statement demonstrates that we have continued to maintain strong collection performance levels with more than £518 million in financial impositions collected from offenders during 2013-14. Victim surcharge receipts have increased by £28 million from 2012-13 to 2013-14—to around £38.5 million in 2013-14—providing additional funds to help support the victims of rape, domestic violence and families bereaved by murder and fatal road traffic crimes. To aid in the provision of these vital services a proportion of the additional victim surcharge receipts has been allocated to police and crime commissioners for innovative local projects to support victims.
HMCTS recognises the importance of the recommendations made by the NAO value for money study on confiscation orders and we are working with our partner enforcement agencies to address those recommendations and ensure that criminals continue to be deprived of the proceeds of crime. The agencies involved in the enforcement of confiscation orders, which includes the Home Office, the Serious Fraud Office and the Crown Prosecution Service, take every action available to them to tackle outstanding debt including the addition of interest and imprisonment for those who do not pay.
The robust application of sanctions in relation to outstanding fine debt has resulted in a 13% reduction in gross debt relating to fine impositions since April 2012. The amount collected has increased in both 2013-14 and 2012-13 compared to 2011-12. Legislation introduced in December 2013 allows HMCTS to obtain data from HM Revenue and Customs and Department for Work and Pensions for the purposes of enforcing outstanding fines in a more efficient and effective way.
To build on improvements made in recent years in the collection of criminal financial penalties, HMCTS is in the final stages of a procurement exercise to determine whether an external partner can bring the innovation and investment in technology that HMCTS needs to further improve performance and efficiency. The continuing improvement the agencies are making, combined with our future plans, will ensure that more criminals pay and that taxpayers get better value for money.
Operator Licensing and Roadworthiness Testing
I am today announcing the publication of two related public consultations that will close on 5 March 2015.
HGV Periodic Testing and Inspections Exemptions
Goods Vehicle Operator Licensing Exemptions Consultation
Historically certain heavier vehicles have been exempt from operator licensing and/or road worthiness testing. Some of the current exemptions are proposed for removal or modification either because of possible non-compliance with EU legislation or to correct anomalies between certain vehicles types that are currently exempt and those that are not.
The HGV testing scheme provides exemption for 37 classes of vehicle. We are proposing to remove or modify exemptions covering 10 categories of vehicle.
We are considering a modification to exemption number 15 in the current list of exemptions under operator licensing. Vehicles using this exemption operate in direct competition with other non-exempt vehicles and perform the same core function. Due to the commonalities between operator licensing exemptions and annual test exemptions the consultations will run in tandem.
The measures proposed are expected to improve road safety, update the legislation to reflect modern practices and ensure a fairer and more uniform approach for operators.
I have placed copies of the documents in the Libraries of both Houses and they will also be available on: http://www.gov.uk and http://www.parliament.uk/ writtenstatements
Dartford-Thurrock Crossing Charging Scheme
The Dartford-Thurrock crossing charging scheme account for 2013-14 is published today under section 3(1)(d) of the Trunk Road Charging Schemes (Bridges and Tunnels) (Keeping of Accounts) (England) Regulations 2003. A copy of the accounts will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.