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25 Jun 2007 : Column 301W—continued


Entry Clearances: Domestic Service

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he plans to end the domestic worker visa programme; and if he will make a statement. [125200]

Mr. Byrne: Under the points-based system, there will not be a separate route for overseas domestic workers in private households.


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We intend, however, to make provision for "domestic assistants" under revised arrangements for business visitors, in the latter part of next year. Before doing so, we are undertaking some research to better understand the ways in which victims of trafficking and exploitation entered the UK, especially to understand the risks associated with those entering as domestic workers. On the back of this research we will consult publicly on the business visitor arrangements and the safeguards around them.

Fixated Threat Assessment Centre

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what criteria the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre use to decide whom to investigate; [143132]

(2) how many people have been (a) detained, (b) sectioned and (c) investigated by the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre; [143141]

(3) what the (a) names and (b) job descriptions are of the employees of the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre; [143142]

(4) who authorised the establishment of the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre. [143033]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer s 15 June 2007]: The Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (FTAC) was established in order to better protect the public and vulnerable individuals in response to evidence that a significant proportion of people who engage in bizarre communications or contact with prominent people in public life are severely and acutely mentally ill and urgently need professional help. A small but significant number of such individuals can pose a risk to the public, the prominent person, and themselves, particularly in environments where there are armed police officers. The Home Office, the Department of Health and the Metropolitan Police Service agreed to establish a joint police/mental health unit, on a pilot basis, to assess and manage the risk posed by such individuals. Where appropriate, FTAC will introduce (or reintroduce) the individuals into existing community mental health care through established pathways. If offences are disclosed, and the circumstances warrant such intervention, consideration will also be given to a criminal investigation.

Since its creation in October 2006, FTAC has dealt with 168 cases. FTAC does not detain people in psychiatric hospitals. When it encounters an individual in need of mental health care it alerts their general practitioners and psychiatrists, who then provide appropriate help under existing legislation. FTAC may make use of police powers under section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 to take a person who appears to be suffering from mental disorder, and in immediate need of care or control, to a place of safety. When people are removed to hospital under section 136, they are examined by a registered medical practitioner and interviewed by an approved social worker, not associated with FTAC, in order to make any necessary arrangements for their treatment or care. To date, FTAC personnel have used this power on nine occasions.

The remainder of the information sought by the hon. Gentleman relates to operational matters which are the responsibility of the Metropolitan Police Service. I have
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asked the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service to write to the hon. Gentleman to provide him with this information.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many individuals have been detained by the Fixed Threat Assessment Centre since its inception, broken down by (a) gender and (b) ethnic origin; what the (i) average and (ii) maximum length of detention has been; and how many are currently detained; [141343]

(2) what safeguards are in place to ensure that individuals detained as a result of actions by the Fixed Threat Assessment Centre are only detained under the appropriate legislation; [141344]

(3) what reasons underlay the decision to establish the Fixed Threat Assessment Centre; who decided it should be established; how many (a) police officers, broken down by rank, (b) psychiatrists and (c) psychologists are assigned to the centre; and if he will make a statement. [141345]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer s 11 June 2007]: The Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (FTAC) was established in order to better protect the public and vulnerable individuals in response to evidence that a significant proportion of people who engage in bizarre communications or contact with prominent people in public life are severely and acutely mentally ill and urgently need professional help. A small but significant number of such individuals can pose a risk to the public, the prominent person and themselves, particularly in environments where there are armed police officers. The Home Office, the Department of Health and the Metropolitan Police Service agreed to establish a joint police/mental health unit, on a pilot basis, to assess and manage the risk posed by such individuals. Where appropriate, FTAC will introduce (or re-introduce) the individuals into existing community mental health care through established pathways. If offences are disclosed, and the circumstances warrant such intervention, consideration will also be given to a criminal investigation.

FTAC is comprised of nine police officers (one chief inspector, one inspector, one sergeant and six police constables) and five mental health professionals (three full-time community psychiatric nurses, a half-time forensic psychiatrist and a half-time forensic psychologist).

FTAC does not detain people in psychiatric hospitals. When it encounters an individual in need of mental health care it alerts their general practitioners and psychiatrists, who then provide appropriate help under existing legislation. FTAC may make use of police powers under section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 to take a person who appears to be suffering from mental disorder, and in immediate need of care or control, to a place of safety. When people are removed to hospital under section 136, they are examined by a registered medical practitioner and interviewed by an approved social worker, not associated with FTAC, in order to make any necessary arrangements for their treatment or care. To date, FTAC personnel have used this power on nine occasions (comprising six white, north European males, one white, south European male, two white, north European females).


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Foreigners: Health Services

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures are in place to ensure that visitors to the UK from (a) inside and (b) outside the EU have health insurance for the duration of their stay. [144523]

Mr. Byrne: Visitors from the EU, other EEA countries and Switzerland are covered by EU regulations whereby member states reimburse each other for medical treatment for which the need arises during a visit to another member state. In addition, the UK has similar bilateral healthcare arrangements with a number of non-EEA countries.

Overseas visitors not covered by these arrangements are not entitled to free NHS hospital treatment unless they or the treatment received are exempt from charges under the provisions of the NHS regulations. Overseas visitors managers in hospitals check a patient’s eligibility for free treatment and apply charges if appropriate.

People who are not entitled to free treatment are therefore advised to take out appropriate health insurance before visiting the UK but this is not compulsory. However, if an immigration officer has reason to believe that a passenger is seeking entry with the intention of seeking NHS treatment to which he or she is not entitled, entry may be refused.

The cross-Government strategy Enforcing the Rules: a strategy to ensure and enforce compliance with our immigration laws published on 7 March commits to reviewing the rules on access to the NHS by foreign nationals, and to running a pilot in three NHS trusts with a view to improving the collection of revenue from those who are not entitled to free treatment.

Gurkhas

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on Government policy on UK residency for former Gurkhas. [140708]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 7 June 2007]: The rules applying to applications for indefinite leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom by former Gurkhas who completed their service on or after 1 July 1997 are set out in paragraphs 276E to 276K of the Immigration Rules. I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the relevant policy contained on the Border and Immigration Agency website at:

Discretion may be exercised for Gurkhas discharged from service before 1 July 1997, and who are not covered by the Immigration Rules, where there are strong reasons why settlement in the UK is appropriate. This guidance is contained in Chapter 15, Section 2A of the Immigration Directorate Instructions at:

Highly Skilled Migrant Programme

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases of abuse of the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme he identified prior to the changes to the Programme. [117781]


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John Reid: The reason for recent changes to the new verification policy in the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme is to strengthen the grounds on which we can refuse applications where there is a strong case to indicate that they are not genuine. The new Immigration Rules provide the Border and Immigration Agency with the legal basis to refuse applications under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme to tackle particular instances of abuse. Namely, they allow us to:

We have still been able to refuse most applications in the past where forged documents were submitted.

HSMP has been a robust scheme, but we are tightening it up even further in line with our aim of cutting down on abuse within the migration system.

Identity Cards

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his answer of 27 November 2006, Official Report, columns 390-2W, on identity cards, what the value was of each contract; what other contracts his Department has signed with external organisations on the (a) identity cards project and (b) National Identity Register; and what the value was of each additional contract. [104624]

John Reid: The following table details the external organisations to which the Home Office Identity Cards Programme let contracts or made payments between the financial years 2004-05 and 2005-06.


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£
Company 2004-05 2005-06

Sirius consortium (Fujitsu Services Ltd and Global Crossing Ltd and PWC)

184,000

SchlumbergerSema (Atos Origin)

56,000

Atos Origin IT Services UK Ltd

1,079,000

Shreeveport Management Consultancy

43,000

Axon Group Plc

29,000

Cornwell Management Consultants plc

48,000

PA Consulting (and within this contract, Electronic Commerce Associates Ltd.)

7,710,000

20,690,000

CESG Communications Electronic Security Group

7,000

133,000

Partnerships UK

24,000

69,000

Field Fisher Waterhouse

309,000

862,000

Office of Government Commerce

12,000

Interleader Ltd

2,000

Veredus London

135,000

The Metropolitan Police

35,000

KPMG

90,000

Ernst and Young

111,000

Sigma

37,000

Abbey Consulting

4,000

Whitehead Mann Ltd

17,000

Alan Hughes

16,000

Excel Recruitment

20,000


Since the merger of the Home Office Identity Cards Programme and the UK Passport Service to create the Identity and Passport Service on 1 April 2006, projects to deliver biometric passports, identity cards and other improvements have been necessarily combined. As much of the functionality needed to implement identity cards is also required for the implementation of biometric passports, this is the most cost-effective way to deliver these initiatives (e.g. both the implementation of biometric passports and identity cards will require a very similar application procedure as well the procurement of biometric recording equipment, data storage capability for biographical and biometric information and offices to facilitate enrolment).

As a result, much of the work conducted by Identity and Passport Service cannot be categorised, both financially and operationally, as contributing towards either the introduction of biometric passports or identity cards alone. The work is accounted for as future development projects.

Equally, contracts with external organisations are signed on the basis of providing services to project or activities which can apply to both existing passport operational business as well as the future development of biometric passports, identity cards and future improvements. As a result, a breakdown of payments made to such organisations for the purposes of the development of identity cards or the National Identity Register in the financial year 2006-07 cannot be provided.

However, the following provides a list of external organisations from which the Identity and Passport Service has obtained either consulting services and/or contracted staff in the financial year 2006-07 and the level of payment which has been attributed to the future development of both biometric passports, identity cards and associated improvements in that financial year. The list excludes payments attributed to organisations providing legal and professional services.

Even without the introduction of identity cards, a significant proportion of this expenditure would have been required in order to prepare for the introduction of second biometric passports. Overall, it is estimated that around 70 per cent. of the total cost of the scheme would need to be incurred in order to introduce the second biometric passport incorporating fingerprint biometrics.

Between £5 million and £10 million:

Between £1 million and £5 million:

Between £500,000 and £1 million:

Between £50,000 and £500,000:


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