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National Asylum Support Service

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what is the remit of the NASS Performance Monitoring Inspection Team; how many inspectors it employs; and what are the performance targets against which its performance is measured; [159775]

Mrs. Roche [holding answer 1 May 2001]: The National Asylum Support Service (NASS) has established a contract manager for each of its contracts with accommodation providers who is responsible for investigating complaints about the standard of accommodation. These investigations will either be carried out by the contract manager or by one of the chartered surveying firms employed by NASS as and when required.

The main remit of the NASS Performance Monitoring Inspection Team is the assessment of housing management put in place by all NASS contractors.

The current staffing level of the NASS Performance Monitoring Inspection Team is one Head of Inspections Senior Executive Officer (SEO), four Team Leaders Higher Executive Officer (HEO), 15 Inspectors Executive Officers (EO) and six support staff. All non-support staff are engaged in personally inspecting the accommodation and the support services that contractors are required to provide to NASS service users.

The NASS Performance Monitoring Inspections team has no formal targets for the proportion of asylum seeker accommodation to be inspected. However, regular reviews of the management practices in place by accommodation providers are undertaken together with consultation with service users and independent property inspections to ensure that accommodation services are provided to the required standard.

Terrorist Organisations

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 28 February 2001, to the hon. Member for Gravesham (Mr. Pond) Official Report, columns 708-09W, on terrorist organisations, what assessment he has made of the impact of proscribing the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam on the Norwegian peace initiative between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government; what representations he has received from Tamil organisations in the United Kingdom since the proscription of the LTTE; what representations he has received from the Norwegian Government since the proscription of the LTTE; and what criteria he will use to consider the de-proscription of the LTTE. [160712]

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Mr. Straw: In considering whether to proscribe the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), I took full account of the information available to me, including that about the Sri Lankan peace process. I am satisfied that as an organisation the LTTE is 'concerned in terrorism' as defined by the Act and that it was appropriate for me to exercise my discretion to proscribe.

Since the proscription of the LTTE was agreed by Parliament and came into force on 29 March, I have received a small number of representations from Tamil organisations. I have received none from the Norwegian Government. I would be unlikely to revisit any decision to proscribe unless the organisation concerned had demonstrated a convincing renunciation of terrorism. This approach is consistent in respect of all the 35 proscribed organisations listed in Schedule 2 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

The United Kingdom will continue to support the Norwegian Government in their efforts to facilitate peace talks.

Blakenhurst Prison

Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will meet the Prison Service Union to discuss the regime for prisoners and staffing at HMP Blakenhurst. [160705]

Mr. Boateng: The Director General of the Prison Service has met with the Prison Service Union (PSU) representatives at Blakenhurst and assured them that the service will meet its obligations set out in the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981. The Governor-designate will consult the PSU regarding arrangements for implementation of the new regime. Management of the Prison Service will then meet with the PSU representatives this month.

While we recognise that the PSU represents a number of prison officers throughout the Prison Service, the overwhelming majority choose to be represented by the Prison Officers Association (POA).

As this is an operational matter, negotiations with the PSU should be conducted by Prison Service officials and it would be inappropriate for the Secretary of State to meet them.

Drugs

Mr. Leigh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people, broken down by type of drug, were (a) cautioned, (b) proceeded against in a magistrates court and (c) tried at the Crown court for possession of a prescribed drug in (i) 1996, (ii) 1997, (iii) 1998, (iv) 1999 and (v) 2000, in each police authority in England and Wales. [160740]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Although information is collected on cautions and convictions for drug offences, published breakdowns are not available in the specific form detailed in the question. It would be possible to provide such information only at disproportionate cost.

However, the Area Tables of the Home Office bulletin "Drug Seizure and Offender Statistics, United Kingdom" give breakdowns by main type of controlled drug or by

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main offence type for individual police force areas. In addition, the Supplementary Tables provide information at a United Kingdom level for the main drug types broken down by type of drug offence and main police and court disposals. Copies of these publications, for the period up to and including 1999, are available in the Library.

Mr. Leigh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much was (a) spent and (b) allocated by his Department on tackling problems relating to drugs in respect of (i) improving international co-operation to reduce supplies from abroad, (ii) increasing the effectiveness of police and Customs enforcement, (iii) maintaining effective deterrents and tight domestic controls, (iv) developing prevention publicity, education and community action and (v) improving treatment and rehabilitation in (1) 1997, (2) 1998, (3) 1999 and (4) 2000. [160739]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Home Office is one of a number of Government Departments which spend money to reduce the supply of drugs, to prevent them from being taken, to reduce their harmful effects and to break the link between drugs and crime. Their actions are brought together under the Government's 10-year National Anti-Drugs Strategy launched in May 1998, "Tackling Drugs to Build a Better Britain".

While we do not have information to answer all aspects of the question, it is hoped that the following may assist.

International Co-operation

In each of the financial years 1997-98 to 2000-01, the Home Office spent about £2 million providing specialist training and equipment to overseas law enforcement agencies in countries close to the source of production with the aim of improving their ability to reduce the supply of drugs to the United Kingdom. Additionally we assist in improving international co-operation through the United Kingdom's membership of Europol, the European Union and G8.

Effectiveness of Police Enforcement

The Home Office is not responsible for Customs and Excise. The total amount spent by police forces in countering the supply of drugs cannot be disaggregated from other expenditure.

Domestic Control

There are tight legislative controls on the possession and supply of controlled drugs and the maximum available penalties reflect the seriousness of the offences. Supplying Class A drugs carries a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment and an unlimited fine and a third conviction for the supply of a Class A drug carries a minimum period of seven years' imprisonment. For the Home Office, maintaining these controls will involve police (see earlier), probation and prison costs (see later). Its costs last year were some £400,000.

Prevention and support of local initiatives

Prior to the 1999 establishment of the Drugs Prevention Advisory Service (DPAS) to provide support for local Drug Action Teams, the Drugs Prevention Initiative (DPI) was the vehicle by which the Home Office provided an

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evidence base for disseminating good practice. The spend during the period 1997 to 2000, covering both organisations, was:

£

Drug Action Team development funding(24)Arrest referral(25)DPI/DPAS grantsResearch and evaluation
1997-98n/an/a1,855,340382,000
1998-99n/an/a1,725,647364,223
1999-20005,035,000332,540246,979152,098
2000-015,817,0008,707,000669,532164,304

(24) Funds were previously disbursed by the Department of Health (DH). Earlier information unavailable. Includes 2000-01 additional spend on DH behalf for recruitment of drug workers.

(25) £20 million has been allocated for the setting up of arrest referral schemes over the three years up to 2001-02.


Treatment and Rehabilitation

All spending by probation areas on drug treatment and rehabilitation came out of the general probation grant allocations. There was no hypothecated drug funding. The figures available for actual drug spending relate to expenditure on drug partnerships.

DrugsDrugs/alcohol(26)Drug treatment and testing orders (DTTO)
1997-981,852,378558,378--
1998-991,903,746851,899798,000
1999-2000n/an/a1,000,000
2000-01n/an/a20,000,000

(26) Where spending on drugs could not be disaggregated from spending on alcohol


The Prison Service allocation on tackling drug misuse was:

Supply reduction and testing(27)Treatment and prevention
1997-982,230,0006,780,000
1998-992,230,0006,780,000
1999-200012,195,00019,390,000
2000-0112,009,00023,292,000

(27) Includes Headquarters costs

Notes:

1. First pilots established in 1998-99

2. Further spend in 1999-2000 to support pilots

3. A further £20 million in 2000-01

4. £2 million was transferred to the Lord Chancellor's Department

5. The rest went to probation areas for national roll out of DTTOs from October 2000.



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