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Church Issues

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many Church issues have been referred to him since taking office. [32591]

Mr. Wills: The Lord Chancellor has made appointments to 77 livings and six canonries which are in his Patronage. Additionally he has been involved in 167 other Church appointments by virtue of the fact the Royal Warrants are addressed to him as Keeper of the Great Seal. The other main Church issue concerns the Report on Royal Peculiars chaired by Professor Averil Cameron which was submitted to the Lord Chancellor last year.

Council on Tribunals

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what functions the Council on Tribunals performs; and what its budget was in each year since 1992–93. [32056]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Council on Tribunals keeps under review, and reports on, the constitution and working of tribunals under its supervision, and where necessary considers and reports on the administrative procedures of statutory inquiries. The Council seeks to ensure, through the advice it gives, that tribunals and inquiries meet the needs of users through the provision of an open, fair, impartial, efficient, timely and accessible service.

The budget of the Council in each year since 1992–93 has been as follows: 1992–93: £485,055; 1993–94: £568,970; 1994–95: £537,866; 1995–96: £547,682; 1996–97: £566,700; 1997–98: £575,401; 1998–99: £601,270; 1999–2000: £651,600; 2000–01: £681,719.

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, who (a) sits on and (b) appoints members of the Council on Tribunals; and what criteria are used to select those who sit on it. [32564]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information is as follows:

(a) The current membership of the Council is as follows: Lord Newton of Braintree PC OBE (Chairman); Mr. John Elliot DKS (Chairman of the Scottish Committee of the Council); Mrs. Carolyn Berkeley JP; Mr. Michael Brown JP; Mr. John Eames; Mrs. Anne Galbraith; Mrs. Susan Howdle; Mr. Ian Irvine CA; Mr. Samuel Jones CBE DL; Mr. Stephen Mannion; Mr. Douglas Readings; Professor Genevra Richardson; Mr. Emrys Roberts; Mr. Sandy Russell CB; Mr. Patrick Waring and Mr. Michael Buckley (Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration).

(b) Appointments to the Council are made jointly by the Lord Chancellor and the Scottish Ministers. The criteria for appointment to the Council depend upon the vacancy but all candidates will need to have proven communication skills, a record of effective committee work and some knowledge of tribunals and inquiries. Supplementary criteria will be needed for certain posts.

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Public Guardianship Office

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what training she has arranged for staff at the Public Guardianship Office in dealing with the public in an efficient and courteous manner. [33297]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Public Guardianship Office recognises the need to train its staff to ensure efficient, effective and proactive customer service. All PGO staff have attended a one day training event in Customer Service and training in letter writing and telephone skills has been arranged for staff in Client Services. In addition, leadership and team building programme is under way, focusing on new ways of working and all staff have attended, or are due to attend, a one day diversity awareness session, helping them to recognise and appreciate the needs of the diverse society the PGO serves. Following the recent relocation to Archway Tower and changes to the way staff in the Client Service area work, a specialised call centre training session has been devised.

Performance Indicators

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what performance indicators she uses to monitor the performance of the (a) Legal Services Commission, (b) Law Commission, (c) Judge Advocate-General, (d) Public Guardianship Office and (e) CAFCASS. [32044]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information is as follows:

(a) The Legal Services Commission's objectives are framed in the context of the Public Service Agreements (PSAs), the Lord Chancellor's Department's Service Delivery Agreements and the Lord Chancellor's Strategic Objectives. The Commission's Annual Concordat, signed by the Commission's Chair and the Lord Chancellor, establishes the key outputs and performance targets the Commission will deliver in order to meet its objectives, and sets milestones against which the Commission's progress is reviewed. The Commission publishes an annual report each year reporting on progress against targets in its corporate plan, which can be found in the Libraries of both Houses.

(b) The Lord Chancellor has a statutory duty to approve the Law Commission's programme of work which sets out the terms of reference and the timetable for each individual project and the Law Commission's targets for its consolidation and statutory revision work. The Law Commission's programme of work, currently the 8th Programme, is laid before Parliament and published by the Stationary Office.

(c) Performance indicators for the Office of the Judge Advocate-General are:

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(d) The Public Guardianship Office's Key Performance Measures and Targets 2001–02 were announced to Parliament on 29 March 2001. Two additional key performance indicators were announced on 18 December 2001, Official Report, column 257W. A full list has today been placed in the House Libraries.

(e) The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000, the Lord Chancellor's Strategic Objectives and the Lord Chancellor's Department's Public Service Agreements provide the framework within which CAFCASS's Key Objectives are set out in its Framework Document, which is available in the House Libraries. Key Performance Indicators relating to these will be set out in CAFCASS's Corporate Plan for 2002–06. CAFCASS will also publish its first annual report in the summer.

Official Visits

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what official foreign visits his officials from the International Legal Service have undertaken since 1997; at what cost; and for what purpose. [32399]

Mr. Wills: In the course of their everyday duties and consistent with the Government's active membership of the EU, those officials concerned with international trade in legal services, international legal policy and international legal relations attend meetings outside the United Kingdom, including regular and frequent meetings of European Union and Council of Europe working groups in Brussels and Strasbourg. Travel costs for the majority of these meetings are met from European Union and Council of Europe funds. Information is not held centrally in the form demanded, and it would be disproportionately expensive to provide it in that form.

International Legal Services

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what the caseload is of the international legal services section of his Department; and how many staff are employed (a) whole-time and (b) part-time on international legal services work. [32569]

Mr. Wills: In the Lord Chancellor's Department there is one official working specifically on international trade in legal services and 15 officials employed across the wider field of international legal policy and international legal relations. Their work includes matters of policy advice and discussions and negotiation. The officials are involved in opening up the market in international legal services, which earn the UK significant sums of foreign earnings, in promoting the rule of law and human rights in emerging economies and democracies, and in the detailed

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formulation and negotiation of policy in respect of European Community initiatives. This very important work is not measurable in terms of a caseload.

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