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Balkans

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received from the US Administration concerning the International Criminal Court and the continued deployment of US forces in the Balkans. [64814]

Mr. Straw: I have been asked to reply.

I have been and continue to be in close touch with my US counterpart on this issue, and in particular in respect of draft UN Security Council resolutions renewing the UNMIBH/SFOR mandate for UN peacekeeping forces in Bosnia. My hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham (Mr. MacShane) also discussed the issue with representatives of the State Department and the National Security Council in Washington last week.

The Government are committed to an effective International Criminal Court. We understand US concerns for their peacekeepers but do not share them. We believe that the Rome statute contains effective safeguards which make it inconceivable that peacekeepers will be investigated or prosecuted by the Court when national investigations or procedures are being carried out. We are working hard with the US and other members of the Security Council to achieve a mutually acceptable solution.

SOLICITOR-GENERAL

Crown Prosecution Service

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Solicitor-General how many (a) lawyers, (b) caseworkers and (c) administrative staff were recruited in (i) 1999–2000, (ii) 2000–01 and (iii) 2001–02; and how many (A) lawyers, (B) caseworkers and (C) administrative staff were employed in the same period in each CPS region. [59656]

The Solicitor-General: The information requested is in tables, copies of which have been placed in the Library.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Solicitor-General if she will make a statement on the inappropriate attribution of agents' costs to the CPS non-cash limited vote. [60214]

The Solicitor-General: The CPS is responsible for the payment of fees to counsel agents engaged to prosecute in magistrates courts. Counsel agents attend magistrates courts to undertake routine prosecution work to supplement advocacy by CPS prosecutors. This work is paid for from the cash limited administrative costs budget. In some cases, where specialist advocacy is required, or exceptional preparation time is needed or a case is likely to be lengthy, a special fee is negotiated with counsel and paid from the non-cash limited prosecution costs provision.

In their quarterly report to the Law Officers for July to September 2001, HM CPS Inspectorate commented on the inappropriate attribution of costs to the non-cash limited prosecution costs provision by some areas. Following receipt of that report, further guidance was issued to area business managers in December 2001.

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Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Solicitor-General what action is being taken in each CPS region to develop qualitative and quantitative performance indicators. [60215]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service maintains qualitative performance indicators, both locally and nationally, consisting of records of case outcomes and a measure of attrition within the CPS case load. Procedures are under development to provide local area managers with a standard to measure the quality of case work against which will mirror, to an extent, those used by HM CPS Inspectorate. The CPS also maintains a range of quantitative performance indicators showing the timeliness of key functions such as the delivery of briefs to counsel, the service of committal papers, witness expense payments, the payment of invoices, replies to complaints, and replies to MPs' correspondence.

The implementation of the Compass Case Management system from December 2003 will enable an important expansion of the Department's range of information.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Solicitor-General what externally approved quality standards have been gained by each CPS region, with specific reference to BS5750 ISO 9000. [60206]

The Solicitor-General: ISO 9000 is not one of the 'Quality Schemes' used by the Crown Prosecution Service to measure the quality of its processes in meeting the needs and expectations of its customers. The Crown Prosecution Service is using the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) Excellence Model. This is a comprehensive framework used by a large number of organisations from across Europe both in the public and private sector to assess the strengths and areas of improvement across all its business activities.

PRIME MINISTER

Belfast, South

Q14. Rev. Martin Smyth: To ask the Prime Minister when he next plans to visit Belfast, South. [64197]

The Prime Minister: I have no plans to visit the hon. Gentleman's particular constituency in the near future.

No. 10 Downing Street

Mr. Collins: To ask the Prime Minister what expenditure was incurred by (a) the No 10 Press Office, (b) the Strategic Communications Unit and (c) the Research and Information Unit (i) in the latest available year and (ii) in 1997. [63583]

The Prime Minister: For the No. 10 Press Office, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for West Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) on 10 April 2002, Official Report, column 11W.

For the Strategic Communications Unit (SCU), I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) on 23 October 2001, Official Report, column 142W. SCU did not exist in 1996–97.

The total cost of running the Research and Information Unit (R&I) for the financial year 2000–01 was £432,556. Research and Information provides a single information

3 Jul 2002 : Column 330W

resource at No. 10, providing policy briefing, library resources and reference material for the Prime Minister and No. 10 staff. R&I did not exist in 1996–97.

Mr. Collins: To ask the Prime Minister how many staff (full-time equivalents) were employed by (a) the No. 10 Press Office, (b) the Strategic Communications Unit, (c) the Research and Information Unit, (d) the GICS Development Centre, (e) the Media Monitoring Unit and (f) the News Co-ordination Centre (i) in the latest available year and (ii) in 1996–97. [63581]

The Prime Minister: For information on the No. 10 Press Office, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for West Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) on 10 April 2002, Official Report, column 11W.

As at 1 April 2002, there were eight members of staff in the Strategic Communications Unit. The unit did not exist in 1996–97.

As at 1 April 2002, there were eight members of staff in the Research and Information Unit. The unit did not exist in 1996–97.

Staff numbers in the GICS Development Centre have fluctuated. As at 1 April 2002, there were 16 members of staff. On 1 April 1996 there were 16 members of staff; by 1 April 1997, following cutbacks in its marketing activities and the training and development support it provided to GICS members, the unit had been reduced to eight members of staff.

Following the Mountfield review of the GICS in 1997, which stressed the importance of high quality staffing, training and development and the exchange of best practice across the service, the unit has gradually returned to its previous staffing level as it has expanded its services to meet this wider remit.

As at 1 April 2002, there were 12 members of staff in the Media Monitoring Unit. The unit did not exist in 1996–97.

The News Co-ordination Centre has members of staff drawn from the Civil Contingencies Secretariat in the Cabinet Office. It is activated in an emergency or crisis, to provide a support and co-ordination role for the lead Government Department, when it is augmented by staff from other Departments. The NCC did not exist in 1996–97.

Annual Leave

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Prime Minister what the average annual leave entitlement is for staff in his Office in 2002. [64647]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office today, Official Report, column 388W.

Summits (UK Delegations)

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Prime Minister how many people attended the G8 meeting in Calgary in June from UK Government Departments; and what the total cost of the visit was. [66225]

The Prime Minister: I was accompanied by my noble Friend Baroness Amos and 25 officials. It was one of the smallest delegations.

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Since 1999 the Government have published an annual list of all overseas visits undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during each financial year. The list for the period 1 April 2002 to 31 March 2003 will be published as soon as possible after the end of the current financial year.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Prime Minister how many people attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in March from UK Government Departments; and what the total cost of the visit was. [66226]

The Prime Minister: Since 1999 the Government have published an annual list of all overseas visits undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during each financial year. The list for the period 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002, including the information requested, will be published as soon as possible.


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