Wednesday, 10th February 1999.
Civil Service Fast Stream Recruitment
asked Her Majesty's Government:What plans they have for recruitment to the Civil Service Fast Stream Development Programme. [HL1003]
Management of the Fast Stream recruitment process was contracted out to the Capita Group plc as part of the decision to privatise the former Recruitment and Assessment Services Agency in October 1996.A review of the operation of the recruitment process took place during 1998. As a result of this review, my right honourable friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office has decided in principle that, on the expiry of the current contracts, the selection stages of the process will return to direct Civil Service management. I expect specialist services, including advertising, publicity, response handling and psychology support, to continue to be supplied by the private sector following competitive tender.
Prison Service Quantum Project: Review
asked Her Majesty's Government:When they will publish the conclusion of the Prison Service's review of the Quantum project. [HL1001]
The Prison Service's six-month review of the Quantum project announced on 10 August 1998 has been concluded. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has seen the review report. The Director General and the Executive Committee of the Prison Service endorse the recommendation made in the report to take the project forward by means of a framework agreement in partnership with one of the two short-listed suppliers. The contract will cover an information technology (IT) infrastructure service, joint development of a strategy for IT-based business change and an agreed mechanism for implementing business change on a partnership basis.
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether letters addressed to General Pinochet being carried by members of his staff were opened by Special Branch on Tuesday 29 December 1998; if so, why; and who gave the authorisation. [HL595]
I refer the noble Lord to the reply given to a Question from him on 2 February (Official Report, Vol. 596, col. WA 201). My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has received an assurance from the Metropolitan Police that no searches were undertaken by their officers in this case nor were any letters opened.
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the Home Secretary will instigate regular medical reports on the effects of detention on General Pinochet. [HL896]
It is not for the Home Secretary to instigate regular medical reports. He took a decision, on 9 December, to issue an Authority to Proceed. The case has been passed to the Bow St. Magistrate, pending a decision by the House of Lords on immunity. The Home Secretary will consider reports on Senator Pinochet's health if and when he comes to exercise his final discretion under Section 12 of the Extradition Act 1989 at the end of the extradition process.
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will list Royal Commissions set up since the war, with the date on which each was set up and on which each reported. [HL858]
The following Royal Commissions have been set up since the end of the Second World War:
|Awards to Inventors||15 May 1946||13 December 1948|
|Justices of the Peace||24 June 1946||5 May 1948|
|Press||14 April 1947||3 June 1949|
|Lotteries, Betting and Gaming||28 April 1949||16 March 1951|
|Capital Punishment||4 May 1949||5 September 1953|
|Taxation of Profits and Income||2 January 1951||13 February 1953 9 April 1954 20 May 1955|
|Dundee (University College) and Relationship with St. Andrews University||3 May 1951||24 April 1952|
|Marriage and Divorce||8 September 1951||20 December 1955|
|Scottish Affairs||25 July 1952||21 July 1954|
|Land and Population in East Africa||January 1953||16 May 1955|
|Pay and Conditions of Service in the Civil Service||16 November 1953||10 November 1955|
|Law Relating to Mental Illness and Mental Deficiency||20 February 1954||7 May 1957|
|Common Land||1 December 1955||11 July 1958|
|Remuneration of Doctors and Dentists||27 March 1957||10 February 1960|
|Local Government in Greater London||10 December 1957||3 October 1960|
|Police||25 January 1960||15 November 1960 24 May 1962|
|Press||1 March 1961||5 September 1962|
|National Incomes||5 November 1962||5 February 1965|
|Penal System in England and Wales||15 August 1964||Wound up May 1966|
|Prices and Incomes||8 April 1965||Wound up 1967|
|Trades Unions and Employers' Associations||8 April 1965||June 1968|
|Medical Education||6 August 1965||March 1968|
|Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921||28 February 1966||1 November 1966|
|Local Government in England||31 May 1966||June 1969|
|Local Government in Scotland||31 May 1966||September 1969|
|Assizes and Quarter Sessions||7 November 1966||September 1969|
|Industrial Relations||1 March 1969||Wound up 1971 (Reconstituted as a statutory body)|
|The Constitution||15 April 1969||10 October 1973|
|Environmental Pollution*||20 February 1970||First 1971|
|Civil Liability and Compensation for Personal Injury||19 March 1973||March 1978|
|Press||16 July 1974||July 1977|
|Distribution of Income and Wealth||23 August 1974||First 1975 Final 8 October 1979|
|Standards of Conduct in Public Life||6 December 1974||July 1976|
|Gambling||24 February 1976||July 1978|
|National Health Service||19 May 1976||July 1979|
|Legal Services||20 July 1976||October 1979|
|Criminal Procedure||3 February 1978||January 1981|
|Criminal Justice||14 March 1991||July 1993|
|Long Term Care for the Elderly||17 December 1997||Will report shortly|
* As a standing body the Commission reports from time to time.
Peers' Age Profile
asked the Chairman of Committees:What was the average age on 1 February 1999 of:
what would have been the average age of Members of the House had the House of Lords Reform Bill, as now drafted, been in force on 1 February 1999. [HL977]
If active hereditary Peers are defined as Hereditary Peers who attended at least one-third of the Sittings this Session, then the answers are as follows:
Correction To Official Report
asked the Chairman of Committees:Who asked for the correction of the
Official Report of Tuesday 12 January (col. 85) which appeared in the Official Report of Monday 1 February (col. 1410); and what reason was given for this request. [HL989]
I asked for the correction to be made, in order to bring the text into line with my recollection of what I had said.
Nhs Boards: Peers Serving As Members
asked Her Majesty's Government:How many members of the House are currently serving as non-executive members of National Health Service trusts or health authorities. [HL892]
Further to the reply to the noble Lord, Lord Dean of Beswick, on 27 January 1999 (Official Report, col. 1015) the information given was incomplete. On that date, eight, not seven, Peers were serving as non-executive members of the National Health Service boards—five are Conservative, two Labour, and one a Cross-Bencher.
asked Her Majesty's Government:Why they do not believe the reports of infant ill-health and mortality in Iraq made by Mr. Halliday, the former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations; whether they agree with Mr. Scott Ritter that a "Marshall Plan" for Iraq holds the best chance for a change of government in that country; and, if not, how long they propose supporting the present sanctions regime. [HL786]
Mr. Halliday has never provided full details of the source of the data, the statistical methods used in their collation, and how the data have been interpreted.However, we note from the latest report by the UN Secretary General on the implementation of the UN "oil for food" programme that it is now bringing real benefit to the Iraqi people. Since the programme began in December 1996, $2.5 billion-worth of foodstuffs has arrived in Iraq; $440 million-worth of medicines have been delivered to Iraq, leading to marked improvement in availability of medicines; there has been a 33 per cent. increase in the number of surgical operations; and there is greater availability of drugs, which has led to an increase in patient attendance at health facilities.We also note from the same report that infant malnutrition has stabilised in Baghdad-controlled Iraq and has decreased in the northern governorates.
Us Contacts With Iraqi Opposition In Uk
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the United States are exempt from the operation of the Criminal Justice (Terrorism and Conspiracy) Act 1998 which forbids any activity in this country aimed at the toppling by violent means of governments abroad; and, if not, whether United States officials have been conducting such activities here with some Iraqi opposition groups. [HL785]
Sections 5–7 of the Criminal Justice (Terrorism and Conspiracy) Act 1998 make it a criminal offence to conspire in this country to commit crimes abroad, providing that the crime in question is a criminal offence in both jurisdictions. Section 5(12) provides that it is immaterial to guilt whether or not the accused is a British citizen.
We are aware that US officials regularly meet members of the Iraqi opposition in this country. Her Majesty's Government have no evidence that any criminal offence has been committed.
Worshipful Company Of Scriveners: Monopoly
asked Her Majesty's Government:What plans there are to end the monopoly in London of the Worshipful Company of Scriveners. [HL1004]
The Govenment has concluded that the monopoly of the Worshipful Company of Scriveners over notarial work in the central London area should be ended. An appropriate amendment will be moved to the Access to Justice Bill.
General Pinochet: Arrest Warrant
WA 138–139), whether the concerns about the validity of the first warrant, referred to in the Lord Chancellor's reply, made the first warrant invalid. [HL776]
Concerns as to whether a warrant may or may not be invalid are of no legal effect and have no bearing on its validity. However, the first warrant was quashed by the Divisional Court on 28 October 1998.
WA 138–139), whether an indefinite number of provisional warrants could be issued, following concerns about the validity of a previous one. [HL774]
As a matter of law there is no statutory limit on the number of provisional warrants which may be issued under the Extradition Act 1989.
WA 138–139), why General Pinochet was not informed about the concern as to the validity of the warrant referred to in the Lord Chancellor's reply. [HL775]
WA 138–139), what precisely were the concerns referred to in the Lord Chancellor's reply about the validity of the first warrant. [HL777]
WA 138–139), on what date did the concerns referred to in the Lord Chancellor's reply about the validity of the first warrant emerge. [HL778]
WA 138–139), about the Crown Prosecution Service's involvement in the preparation of the warrant for the arrest of General Pinochet, who expressed the concerns, referred to in the Lord Chancellor's reply, about the validity of the first warrant. [HL779]
Public Sector Research: Exploitation
asked Her Majesty's Government:How they are taking forward the commitment in the Competitiveness White Paper to making more of the commercial potential of the output of public sector research establishments. [HL1002]
I am very pleased to announce that John Baker, who is Chairman of Medeva plc, has agreed to investigate the commercialisation of public sector research establishment (PSRE) outputs, with a view to making recommendations for increasing the rate of their exploitation. The study takes forward a commitment made in the Competitiveness White Paper, published last December. Mr. Baker will be working closely with HM Treasury, OST and DTI, which are collaborating on the initiative.
It is time we took a close look at how we maximise the commercial potential of the high quality research that is carried out by the PSREs, where it is possible to do so. We need to identify the barriers to commercialising research and make sure that the PSREs share the best ways of overcoming them. The results should be of great benefit to the PSREs and the departments that sponsor them.
The intention is that the study will look in particular at the coverage of commercialisation in research contracts between PSREs and their sponsors, the organisation of the knowledge transfer process and incentives for PSRE staff.
John Baker will begin this work very soon; seeking the views of key people in the PSREs and sponsor departments. He is expected to report later this year.
The terms of reference of this study are as follows:
To investigate the commercialisation of research in the Government's public sector research establishments (PSREs) and make recommendations for increasing the rate at which PSRE research outputs are successfully commercialised, consistent with other government objectives for PSREs, with reference in particular to:
- the role of sponsor departments/Research Councils in promoting the exploitation of research in their PSREs;
- progress in improving the culture of entrepreneurship within PSREs—particularly through the adoption of new guidance on exploiting government assets;
- the organisational capacity and expertise for managing and exploiting government IP effectively;
- specific institutional barriers, and possible new incentives;
- spreading best practice;
- the scope for closer co-operation with the private sector.
Electricity Supply From Eu
asked Her Majesty's Government:Which member states of the European Union are able to supply electricity to the National Grid, and what steps are being taken to enable additional member states to do this. [HL903]
Anyone can offer to supply electricity to the Electricity Pool. They would need to be an External Pool Member, but this is no harrier. In order to transmit the electricity from the member state concerned to the UK, terms for access to the transmission systems and interconnectors en route would have to be agreed with their operators. When the EU Electricity Directive is implemented on 19 February 1999, all transmission system operators will be required to grant such access.
asked Her Majesty's Government:Which Department of State is responsible for the determination of public holidays in the United Kingdom; and [HL675]Whether the determination of public and bank holidays will become a responsibility of the new devolved institutions within the United Kingdom. [HL676]
The statutory bank holidays in the United Kingdom are set out in Schedule 1 to the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 or are proclaimed each year under that Act. Policy responsibility for bank and public holidays currently lies with the Department of Trade and Industry.Under Schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998, these matters will be within the responsibilities of the Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Parliament. There will be no change in the current responsibilities for determining bank holidays for Wales and Northern Ireland.
Fish Movement Regulations: Infringement
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether any fish farm has been reported to the procurator fiscal for infringing the regulations on fish movement in 1998; and, if any, what prosecutions have been undertaken. [HL854]
No report has been sent to the procurator fiscal for infringement of fish movement regulations in 1998.
Thomas Hamilton: Sergeant Hughes' Report
asked Her Majesty's Government:Why the report of Detective Sergeant Hughes delivered to the procurator fiscal in Scotland on 6 September 1991, which included 10 charges drafted against Thomas Hamilton of Dunblane and reflected upon his suitability to possess a firearms certificate, and which was made available to the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into the Dunblane killings, is subject to a secrecy order for 100 years. [HL851]
Sergeant Hughes' report was made available to the Cullen Inquiry as a production. The report contains sensitive information about children who attended a summer camp run by Thomas Hamilton in 1991 (not the children of Dunblane) and alleged offences against them. For these reasons it was considered appropriate that the production should remain closed for 100 years. This closure is in accordance with current Government guidelines published in the White Paper Open Government (Cm 2290 (1993)).
Scotland: Shotgun Use
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the right to shoot on the foreshore in Scotland is extended to people who are not domiciled in Scotland. [HL837]
Any person who is not domiciled in Scotland may shoot on the foreshore provided they hold a valid shotgun certificate or visitor's shotgun permit granted by the chief constable in accordance with the Firearms Act 1968 (as amended).
Adult And Community Learning Fund: Award
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will publish the outcome of the second round of bidding to the Adult and Community Learning Fund. [HL975]
Nearly 500 applications were received in the second round of bidding to the Adult and Community Learning Fund, which closed on 30 November 1998. Following consideration by the department's independent advisory panel, we are today announcing funding of £3.5 million for 96 projects covering a wide range of local activities to involve more people in learning relevant to their lives. A list of the successful projects has been placed in the Library.