Previous Section Index Home Page


Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) teachers and (b) teaching professionals were awarded work permits for UK recruitment during (a) 2001, (b) 2000 and (c) 1999. [52972]

Angela Eagle: Work Permits (UK) do not differentiate between teachers and teaching professionals.

The numbers of work permits issued for teachers and teaching professionals are:


Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how the Work Permit Initiative will ensure that agencies observe the requirement to secure contracts of employment for work permit applicants; what checks Work Permits UK will have in place to ensure that a contract of employment exists; and for what reason (a) overseas teachers will require a contract of employment and (b) other agency staff are supplied on a contract-for-services basis. [53522]

Angela Eagle: Work Permits (UK) require any employer or agency acting as the employer to sign the "Employer's Declaration" on the work permit application form, which binds them to the criteria of the work permit arrangements. In this way, teacher agencies are treated in the same way as any other United Kingdom employer in ensuring that a contract of employment for the individual is in place.

Details of employment contracts between an individual and their employer can be requested and checked upon if abuse of the work permit arrangements are suspected.

A contract of employment is required as an overseas teacher should be afforded the same terms and conditions of employment as those of a resident teacher. Anyone working on a contract-for-services basis is not regarded as being "employed" under the work permit arrangements, rather they are regarded as being "self-employed". For this reason, an agency recruiting an individual who is working solely on a contract-for-services basis would not be granted a work permit.

9 May 2002 : Column 321W


Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the longest time taken has been in the last five years to process an application of a person to remain in the UK indefinitely; and how many cases were outstanding at 22 April 2001. [53213]

Angela Eagle: I regret this information is not currently available. We are introducing a Casework Information database which, when fully operational, will enable us to monitor our performance on general immigration casework more effectively.

Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those countries where there are difficulties in obtaining information on internal checks for people applying for indefinite leave to remain in the UK; and if he will make a statement. [53211]

Angela Eagle: Checks made on people applying for indefinite leave to remain will depend on the circumstances of the particular case. While the Immigration and Nationality Directorate aims to deal with 70 per cent. of non-asylum applications within three weeks, the need to make further inquiries, including security checks, may affect this. Within that overall target, there are no specific targets for applications which may require security checks, and on security and international relations grounds it would be inappropriate for me to list countries where there are particular difficulties.

Digital Equipment

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many digital radios are owned by his Department for use in departmental buildings from which Ministers work; and what the (a) cost and (b) date of purchase of each radio was. [52858]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 26 April 2002]: The Home Office has not purchased any digital radios in departmental buildings from which Ministers work.

National Criminal Intelligence Service

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of reports made by accountants, solicitors and financial advisers to NCIS were (a) investigated and (b) led to confiscation, for the most recent convenient period. [53610]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) does not hold statistical information in the format requested. However, it does monitor whether financial disclosures it receives and forwards to law enforcement agencies are of value to those agencies. For the calendar year 2000, NCIS received 18,048 disclosures (in total). Which were all forwarded to law enforcement for action as necessary. (Only 0.42 per cent. and 1.35 per cent. were received in that year from accountants and solicitors respectively). To date NCIS has received feedback in 11,047 cases and in 9,082 (82 per cent.) of these replies the police force or law enforcement agency recorded that the reports had assisted law enforcement efforts.

Suspicious transaction reports may only form part of a wider investigation that ultimately leads to the arrest and conviction of individuals and the confiscation of assets. Such reports can provide new information and intelligence

9 May 2002 : Column 322W

that may substantially move an investigation forward as well as providing an invaluable insight into the presence or whereabouts of assets for later confiscation. On occasions they may also simply provide confirmation of information already known to the investigators.


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the (a) private finance initiative and (b) public-private partnership projects which have been delayed. [44872]

Angela Eagle: From the best information available of the private finance initiative (PFI) and public-private partnership (PPP) projects entered into by the Home Office, the following projects have experienced delays:

ProjectPFI/PPPSigned or expected
Prisons Energy Tranche 2PFISigned
Her Majesty's Prison DovegatePFISigned
Quantum (Prison Service)PFISigned
Medway Secure Training Centre (STC)PFISigned
Rainsbrook STCPFISigned
Hassockfield STCPFISigned
Passport Data CapturePFISigned
Passport SupplyPFISigned
Airwave (PSRCP)PFISigned
IT2000 (Sirius programme)PFISigned
Criminal Records BureauPPPSigned
Home Office Central London Accommodation Strategy (HOCLAS)PFISigned

The length of delays for each project varies between six weeks and 24 months. The reasons for the delays are varied. For example, Her Majesty's Prison Dovegate was delayed due to the possibility of a judicial review by a local action group: Hassockfield STC due to planning appeals; changes of strategy from refurbishment of existing buildings to new build in the case of HOCLAS; and problems concluding preferred bidder stage necessitating further negotiation and an invitation to tender for best and final offers on the IT2000 project.

Human Rights Act

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases have been brought against his Department under the Human Rights Act 1998; and what has been the cost in (a) legal fees to defend cases and (b) compensation payments. [45063]

Angela Eagle: We do not collect central records of all cases in which the Human Rights Act 1998 is relied on. Human rights are now integrated in the general law and are rarely the sole basis for a challenge. We will not always know whether a case has been brought against the Home Office, because the Courts are under no obligation to inform us. It would take a disproportionate amount of time and expense to try to compile such a record, even if cases could always be categorised as "being brought . . . under the Human Rights Act 1998".

We do not collect separate information centrally about the costs to public funds, legal fees or compensation payments which include a human rights issue. In most cases it will be difficult to single out associated costs relating to the human rights element.

9 May 2002 : Column 323W

Airwave System

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the roll-out of the Airwave system to be completed; what dates were originally given to police forces; what compensation he is seeking from O2 for the delays in roll-out; and what proportion of masts necessary for complete roll-out are (a) completed, (b) being built and (c) awaiting planning consent. [47606]

Mr. Denham: The contract for the provision of the Airwave service specifies completion of the roll-out in England and Wales by June 2004, and in Scotland by 2005.

The delivery dates agreed with individual police forces, known as 'Ready For Service' (RFS) dates, commenced in 2001, and are being rolled-out in England, Wales and Scotland as indicated above.

As with any large project using leading-edge technology there has been a number of complex technical issues that have had to be resolved as the project has rolled-out. Delays have also been caused by such factors as the foot and mouth epidemic, and obtaining planning permissions for mast sites. MM02 has responded to this by instigating a fundamental review of RFS dates which began in November 2001. This review is still on-going and a full assessment of the position will not be possible until the main results of the review become available.

The Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) is currently developing the approach that should be taken to seek appropriate remedies from MM02, and will begin consultations with police forces shortly.

The current situation is that 15 per cent. of radio masts have been built, 24 per cent. of sites are awaiting planning permission, 20 per cent. have been identified but not yet submitted for planning permission, and 41 per cent. had yet

9 May 2002 : Column 324W

to be acquired. The number of sites needed to complete the roll-out will depend upon exact police service requirements, topology and local planning considerations.

Next Section Index Home Page