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Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will bring forward proposals to prevent the re-entry into the United Kingdom of those leaving the country to fight against British and American forces in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [12461]

Angela Eagle: Under existing immigration and nationality law we may refuse entry to the United Kingdom where a person subject to immigration control does not meet the requirements set out in the Immigration Rules governing leave to enter but not the re-entry of a British citizen, who by definition has right of abode in the United Kingdom. Criminal sanctions may be applied to a British citizen returning to the United Kingdom who is suspected of having committed a criminal offence. It would be for the Crown Prosecution Service to decide whether prosecution was justified in an individual case after a full police investigation.

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Passport Agency

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the new information technology systems at the Passport Agency are fully rolled out; what has been the estimated total cost of the new systems; what was the original planned cost; and if he will make a statement. [13028]

Angela Eagle: Yes; with the successful implementation in the Glasgow Passport Office on 5 November, the United Kingdom Passport Service's new passport issuing arrangements have been fully rolled out. As indicated in the service's 2000–01 annual accounts the estimated cost of the contracts awarded to Siemens Business Services, and Security Printing and Systems Ltd. for the new system remains at £230 million. With completion of the roll out the service will now be conducting a post implementation review which, among other things, will fully evaluate actual and planned costs. The review should be completed in early 2002.

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the Passport Agency has conducted a feasibility study into a national identity card system; what it cost; and if he will make a statement. [12874]

Angela Eagle: The United Kingdom Passport Service is carrying out studies to explore a range of policy, cost and implementation options for a Passport Card Scheme. Results will be employed to support policy decisions in due course.

Passport Application Fees

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to change (a) the fees charged for processing passport applications and (b) the charging structure for passport applications; and if he will make a statement. [13027]

Angela Eagle: There is a requirement to review passport fees annually as the costs of the United Kingdom Passport Service must be recovered through fees. The review has now been completed and I will be making an announcement shortly.

Drugs Education Programmes

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effects of (a) Operation Charlie and (b) other anti-legal and illegal drugs education programmes in reducing drugs use. [12059]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Project Charlie (Chemical Abuse Resolution Lies in Education), as it became known, was implemented in primary schools in Hackney between 1991 and 1993. This drugs education programme was delivered to 44 children and its effects compared with standard education for 233 children. The Project Charlie pupils received a lesson of at least 30 minutes each week for 39 weeks.

The Project was assessed in terms of self-esteem, decision making, peer pressure resistance, drug knowledge and self-reported drug-taking and was found to have a positive impact on all areas, except self esteem. Four years

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after the programme both tobacco and illegal drug use were significantly less common among the Project Charlie pupils.

Under the Government's 10-year strategy 'Tackling Drugs to Build a Better Britain' we support a holistic approach to the delivery of drug education in schools through Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and the National Healthy Schools Standard. However, decisions on the detailed organisation and content of health and drug education are best taken at a local level, in order to take account of the specific needs and circumstances of the pupils in that area.

In terms of measuring the effectiveness of different forms of drug education the Department for Education and Skills, in partnership with the Department of Health and the Home Office, will be starting a long term study which will inform future policy. The study will run for three to five years.


Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to answer the letter to him dated 14 September from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, with regard to Mrs. M McDonagh. [12229]

Mr. Blunkett: I wrote to my right hon. Friend on 30 October.

Ministerial Meetings (EU)

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the dates of the European Union meetings attended by Ministers in his Department from 1 January onwards, indicating what issues were discussed at each meeting. [11753]

Mr. Blunkett: There have been two formal Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Councils and one informal JHA Council under the Swedish Presidency, and four formal JHA Councils and one joint JHA/Ecofin Council under the Belgian Presidency since 1 January.

With regard to the Councils under the Swedish Presidency, I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow) on 25 June 2001, Official Report, column 46W.

Under the Belgian Presidency, Ministers from my Department have attended the following Justice and Home Affairs Council meetings: a special JHA Council on 13 July which my hon. Friend the Member for Conventry, North-East (Mr. Ainsworth) attended; a special Council on 20 September in response to the terrorist attacks on the United States, which I attended; a Council meeting on 27–28 September which I, together with my hon. Friend the Member for Wallasey (Angela Eagle) attended; and a joint JHA/Ecofin Council followed by a JHA Council on 16 October which my right hon. Friend the Minister for Police, Courts and Drugs attended. Copies of the agendas of these Council meetings will be placed in the Library. The Government reported the outcome of these meetings to the European Scrutiny Committee in accordance with the usual arrangements.

In addition, my hon. Friend the Member for Wallasey attended the Belgian Presidency's Ministerial Conference on Migration, held in the European Parliament on 16–17 October.

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National Experience Corps

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for members of the National Experience Corps to contribute to the delivery of sport in schools. [12227]

Angela Eagle: The Experience Corps initiative aims to encourage more people aged 50 and over to become or to remain active in their local communities. It is hoped that those who volunteer through the Experience Corps will be able to participate in a wide range of volunteering opportunities.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) with the assistance of funding from the Active Community Unit is undertaking a programme for the training of volunteers in sport. The aim is to train 50,000 volunteers, of which around 8,000 will be older people, during the two year programme, which starts in April 2002. The aim is to target schoolchildren from 14 years of age with older volunteers providing mentoring and support to them. The DCMS is discussing with the Experience Corps how its work might link in with its own programme.

Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has to review information technology systems, with specific reference to the Asylum and Immigration Directorate. [8559]

Angela Eagle: The Home Office Head Office has a Planned Office Information System Environment (POISE). This is being made available to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) and the work will be completed by the end of the 2001–02 financial year.

The National Asylum Support Service (NASS) system has been enhanced and the redevelopment of the Warnings Index continues. An enhanced standard build for all desktop PCs, the availability of the Asylum Casework Information Database (ACID) and similar databases for recording both general and nationality casework are enhancements to the Team-Based Caseworking (TBC) Information Technology system used by caseworkers. Within the Immigration Service (IS), the initial phase of a management system for Detention Centres has been completed.

We will further review our IT systems to accommodate the changes to Immigration policy as in the Home Secretary's statement of 29 October.

Yarls Wood Immigration Detention Centre

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 30 October 2001, Official Report, column 615W, on Yarls Wood immigration detention centre (1) how many detainees are expected at the centre in (a) the first month, (b) the second month and (c) subsequently for the next four months; and if he will make a statement; [12625]

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Angela Eagle [holding answer 5 November 2001]: The following identifies the numbers of contractors personnel broken down by occupation:

Construction Related Trades:
Project Managers24
Modular Specialists3
Mechanical, electrical and public health engineers73
General Construction Trades (Joiners, painters and decorators, flooring specialists, furniture installers)141
External Works—landscaping, road repairs22
General labourers19
Operational Activities
Senior/Middle Managers17
Detention Custody Officers263
Administrative Staff6
Facilities Staff16
Education/Activities Department17
Project Managers3
Medical Services24
Catering and cleaning services77

The centre has an agreed incremental build up rate for detainees in the first four months, leading to operational capacity, as follows:

Following this the centre will be capable of holding up to 900 detainees at any one time.

The following Home Office Staff are employed at the centre:

The dates of first employment for departmental personnel cannot be given as information regarding individual employees is confidential.

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