|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions she has had with (a) US and (b) Russian authorities on preventing access to child abuse images on the internet. 
However, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), which is funded by the Home Office, has regular contact with law enforcement overseas through the Virtual Global Taskforce, on the prevention of child exploitation.
Furthermore, the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the US recently contributed to the development of the Social Networking Guidance, produced by the Home Secretarys Taskforce on Online Child Protection. The Home Secretary met delegates from the centre at this launch event.
In addition, at the June 2008 G8 Justice and Interior Ministers meeting, delegates (including representatives from the US and Russia) showed their continued commitment to combating online child abuse images.
Jacqui Smith: There are no plans to establish an EU wide database for criminal record checks. However under Council Decision 2005/876/JHA of 21 November 2005 the United Kingdom can, in the context of criminal proceedings in the UK, send a request for criminal record information to another member state in relation to offences committed by nationals of the member state. An EU member state can, in the context of criminal proceedings in that member state, request criminal record information about a UK national from the UK.
Under the same Council Decision, the UK already receives conviction information on UK nationals who have been convicted of offences in EU member states and sends, to the member state of nationality, criminal record information on EU nationals convicted in the UK. Information received in the UK is entered on to the Police National Computer by the UK Central Authority for the Exchange of Criminal Records.
The European Union has agreed a general approach on a proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the organisation and content of the exchange of information extracted from criminal records between member states. We expect the Framework Decision to be adopted by the end of 2008 with an implementation deadline of three years from the date of agreement.
Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent representations he has received from representatives of the British art market on the Artists Resale Right, with particular reference to representations on the application of the right to living artists only. 
Ian Pearson: My colleague, Baroness Morgan, the Minister responsible for Intellectual Property, has met with representatives of the art trade to discuss resale right. We have also received written representations from the British Art Market Federation on this issue.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what (a) representations he has received from and (b) discussions he has had with university admissions tutors on the account taken of A-level qualifications in their admission assessments; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what research his Department (a) has commissioned, (b) plans to commission and (c) has evaluated on the role of A-levels in university admission assessments; when his Department last undertook a review of the role of A-levels in admission assessments that took into account (i) UK and (ii) international research; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: I meet many leaders in higher education to discuss issues of importance to them, including the reforms to our national qualifications system and admissions. Higher education institutions are solely responsible for their own admissions and it is for them to decide the entry requirements to individual courses, including prior qualifications.
The Department does not assess the value of the wide range of entry qualifications that institutions may use to select from applicants. But the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority maintains and develops the national curriculum and associated assessments, tests and examinations, and the Universities and Colleges Admissions Services tariff is a points system used to
report achievement for entry to higher education in a numerical format. It establishes agreed comparability between different types of qualifications and provides comparisons between applicants with different types and volumes of achievement.
A-levels already provide a high quality, well recognised route into HE courses for large numbers of students and the changes that are being made from September will reinforce this. New A-levels which are being taught from September this year have incorporated further stretch and challenge and the new Extended Project has been widely welcomed by admissions tutors as likely to allow applicants to demonstrate the independent study skills that they will need for HE. These will be complemented by the new diplomas and over 100 higher education institutions have already confirmed that they will include these new qualifications as part of their admissions processes. A recent report by the 1994 Group of universities shows widespread welcome for changes being made to A-levels to ensure they provide the right level of stretch and challenge for those going on to higher education. The same report was also positive about the use universities would make of the new diplomas in admissions.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what consideration he has given to giving the 2009 Fee Commission a mandate to consider the needs of part-time students; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: There will be an independent review of the first three years of the new fee and student support arrangements which will make recommendations for Parliament to consider. The draft terms of reference we published for the review in January 2004 included reference to Choice of institution and course, mode of study (full time/part time).
But ahead of that there are a number of pressing questions about what Government and universities should do over the next 10 to 15 years to ensure we have a world class system of higher education. It is on these issues that Government, universities and others should now focus.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate he has made of (a) the number and proportion of higher education students studying part-time who are supported by their employers and (b) the average contribution made by employers to those students they support. 
Bill Rammell: A 2004 study of part-time students for the DFES found that 41 per cent. of part-time students received some help with their fees from an employer, with 36 per cent. having all their fees paid. The report is available at:
Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people received assistance from the Access to Work scheme in each of the last five years; and what proportion of those people had been diagnosed with a mental illness. 
|People who received assistance from Access to Work|
|Received assistance||Mental health condition (Percentage)|
1. All numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand; all percentages are rounded to the nearest percentage point.
2. A new, more relevant definition of participation has been established for reporting from 2007-08 onwards; data are not yet available to give a final figure for the year 2007-08. This figure is not directly comparable with figures for previous years.
3. The mental health category is based on the condition recorded on the Access to Work computer system. No records are kept on whether participants have been diagnosed with the condition. Only the primary condition of a participant is recorded, and as such, these figures are likely to underestimate the proportion of those with a mental health condition. These percentages exclude dyslexia.
4. Many people who receive assistance from Access to Work in a particular year continue to benefit from this support in further years.
The Access to Work Evaluation Database.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what organisational status Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC) will have; and whether CMEC staff transferred from the Child Support Agency will retain Civil Service status. 
Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 16 June 2008]: Schedule 1 paragraph 22 of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 provides that the functions of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission are to be exercised on behalf of the Crown. This means that all Agency employee terms and conditions are protected on transfer and that transferred Agency people will remain civil servants as stated during the passage of the Act. It is our intention that the Commission be classified as a Crown non-departmental public body once the relevant provisions of the Act have been commenced.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many children were living in child poverty in Mid Essex (a) in 1997 and (b) at the latest date for which information is available. 
Mr. Timms: Our child poverty statistics, published in the Households Below Average Income series, allow a breakdown of child poverty by Government office region. However, the information requested is not available below the level of Government office region.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the level of readiness of the employment and support allowance computer system prior to the introduction of the benefit; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: The introduction of employment and support allowance and associated computer system is matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what assessment he has made of the level of readiness of the Employment and Support Allowance computer system prior to the introduction of the Allowance. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The IT platform for the delivery of Employment and Support Allowance will be built onto existing systems. By using tried and tested systems we lessen the risk associated with major change in our business.
The Employment and Support Allowance component of both computer systems continues to undergo rigorous testing by experienced test teams made up of IT experts, DWP test analysts and Jobcentre Plus operational staff.
A Model Office is in place to test the full range of Employment and Support Allowance products and processes in a live office environment to provide further assurance that the system will be business ready for October 2008. Products are evaluated individually and are assured for compatibility with current business products to ensure the successful delivery of Employment and Support Allowance.
I hope this information is helpful.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the Health and Safety Executive works in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence on the maintenance of safety and security standards at the Redcliffe Bay oil storage depot site; and if he will make a statement. 
The Redcliffe Bay oil and storage depot is subject to the provisions of the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (COMAH) which apply to the site due to the quantity of fuel stored there and the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The site duty holder is the Oil and Pipelines Agency (OPA) which operates the depot on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. The COMAH Regulations are enforced in England and Wales by a Competent
Authority comprising of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency (EA). HSE inspects the site in respect of the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc. 1974 and relevant Statutory Instruments made under the Act.
The duty holder is required to secure the site in order to control the risks arising from trespass of an ordinary member of the public. HSE is reviewing the measures taken by OPA to achieve this level of security. Conclusions reached under this review will be formally communicated to OPA. Any additional security measures which may be required to deal with such matters as terrorist issues or other criminal activities are a matter for the security services, the Home Office and the police.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what recent representations he has received on the adequacy of Jobcentre Plus Out of Hours telephone service. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to Ms Strathie as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus. I am replying in her absence as Acting Chief Executive.
We made changes to our Out Of Hours Service on 12 May. Local stakeholders were informed of the changes as part of local planning and implementation. Some local issues were raised and in a few locations we have deferred the changes until 28 May to ensure a smooth delivery of the new arrangements.
Local representations have been made by:
West Midlands: one hostel in Staffordshire, three in Birmingham area, one in Walsall and one welfare rights organisation.
North West: one homeless mens hostel and one womens hostel in the Merseyside area.
Wales: Benefits Advice Shop Charity and Emergency Social Services Association Wales.
Scotland: Social Work Department (in West and East Scotland)
South East: Welfare Rights.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|