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Written Statements

Tuesday 3 March 2015

Business, Innovation and Skills

Regulatory Policy Committee

The Minister for Business and Enterprise (Matthew Hancock): I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Jonathan Cave, Alexander Ehmann, Nicole Kar and Jeremy Mayhew to the Regulatory Policy Committee, commencing on 16 March 2015. Term end dates of between three and four years have been set in order to ensure that knowledge is maintained by the committee in future.

Dr Jonathan Cave has been senior teaching fellow in economics at the university of Warwick since 1994. For more than 30 years, he also worked for the Rand Corporation most recently as senior research fellow at Rand Europe. He has previously been a visiting professor, research fellow and lecturer at several universities in the US, including UC Los Angeles. Before entering academia, he was an economist at the Bank of England and later the US Federal Trade Commission. Jonathan is a member of DEFRA’s science advisory council exotic disease subgroup. Jonathan holds no other public appointments and has not undertaken any party political activity.

Nicole Kar is a partner at Linklaters LLP, where she is a specialist in EC and UK competition law. Before joining Linklaters in 2001, Nicole was a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland and a solicitor and barrister of the Supreme Court of Victoria. Nicole is also vice-chair of the competition committee of the City of London Solicitors’ Company, a trustee of the Mary Ward Settlement and a committee member of the Peace Brigades International’s alliance for lawyers at risk. Nicole holds no other public appointments and has not undertaken any party political activity.

Jeremy Mayhew is a senior adviser at PwC Consulting. His professional career has mainly been in the media and broadcasting industry, both at the BBC and as a consultant. Jeremy has served on the Regulatory Policy Committee since 2012 and holds a number of other appointments; since 1996, he has been an independent common councilman on the City of London corporation, where he is now chairman of the City Bridge Trust committee and a deputy chairman of the City’s policy and resources and Finance Committees. He is a former chairman of the Barbican Centre Board and has, previously, served on the boards of BBC Worldwide, the Strategic Rail Authority, and the London Development Agency and as a non-executive adviser to the Mayor of London’s Office for Policing and Crime. He is a member of the Conservative party.

Alexander Ehmann is head of UK public affairs at Tata Ltd, and represents the Tata business presence in the UK. This includes large businesses, such as Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Consultancy Services and Tata Steel as well as a number of UK-based small and medium-sized businesses. Previously, Alexander was deputy director

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of policy and public affairs at the Institute of Directors (2006-14), and external affairs adviser at PhonePayPlus, a telecommunications regulator (2004-06).

Alexander has been a member of the Regulatory Policy Committee since 2012 and holds no other public appointments. He is a member of the Liberal Democrat party and since May 2014 has been a councillor for St Margaret’s and North Twickenham ward in the Borough of Richmond upon Thames, London.

These appointments have been made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments code of practice (April 2012).


Insolvency (Practitioner Fees and Court Cases)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Jo Swinson): I am today laying regulations requiring insolvency practitioners to provide additional information to creditors about their fees and expenses. Insolvency practitioners are given strong powers by legislation to administer insolvencies. They take decisions and actions that can have a significant financial impact on those affected. Their fees are paid out of the assets in cases. It is important that there is confidence in the way that they charge fees.

After commissioning an independent review by Professor Elaine Kempson, we consulted interested parties on what measures should be put in place to address shortcomings in the current fee regime. Where insolvency practitioners’ fees are based upon time costs, they will be required to provide an up-front estimate of their fees for creditor approval, before they can take their fees. Insolvency practitioners will not be permitted to draw fees in excess of the approved estimate unless creditors give further approval. This will therefore act as a cap on fees.

These measures will increase transparency for creditors as they will have a much clearer indication of what the likely fees and costs of dealing with an insolvency will be. The provision of clear information, setting out what work will de done and what it will cost to undertake that work, will also give creditors more knowledge when agreeing fees and better equip them to challenge fees where they appear unreasonable.

The measures will give insolvency practitioners the opportunity to demonstrate to creditors what they do and the value they deliver in return for their fees.

Together with the measures contained in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill currently before Parliament strengthening the oversight regulation of insolvency practitioners, these steps should provide creditors with greater confidence in the insolvency regime through increased transparency and accountability.

The statutory instrument that will be laid today also amends how courts deal with insolvency cases. The new provisions will allow the High Court to transfer simple cases to the county court at central London so that the High Court can focus on more difficult complex cases. This will improve efficiency in the system.


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Banking Reform

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Andrea Leadsom): This Government have taken significant steps to reform the UK’s system of financial regulation.

In the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013 (“the Act”), we legislated to strengthen the accountability of bank senior management and to raise standards of individual conduct in the banking sector. I am now announcing the timetable for bringing the senior managers and certification regime (SM and CR) created by these reforms into operation. I am also announcing the Government’s plans for applying the SM and CR to foreign banks operating through branches in the UK.

The introduction of the SM and CR will be a major reform with significant implications for the firms concerned—banks, building societies, credit unions and investment firms regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and for the individuals, particularly senior managers, who work in those firms. The Government have therefore decided, following discussions with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the PRA, that the SM and CR will come into operation on 7 March 2016. In order to facilitate an orderly transition from the existing approved persons regime, firms will be required to notify the regulators by 8 February 2016 of the approved persons who are to be senior managers under the SM and CR.

The Treasury will make the necessary commencement order (under section 148 of the Act) and a transitional provisions order (under section 146 of the Act) shortly.

The Government issued a consultation on whether to extend the SM and CR to UK branches of foreign institutions on 17 November 2014. The consultation closed on 30 January 2015 and the Government have been considering the responses received.

The Government have now decided to proceed with this measure. It will come into operation on the same date—7 March 2016—as the SM and CR applying to UK firms and foreign institutions will also have until 8 February 2016 to notify the regulators of the approved persons who are to be senior managers in their UK branches.

The Treasury must now make an order—subject to the affirmative procedure—under section 71A of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 to implement the measure. The Government intend to arrange the debates as early as possible in the next Parliament.

The PRA and FCA will shortly be consulting on additional SM and CR rules. These rules will help ensure that the SM and CR is applied in an appropriate and proportionate way to foreign institutions operating through branches in the UK.

The commencement order will also bring sections 36 to 38 of the Act into force from 7 March 2016. This means that the new criminal offence relating to decisions causing a financial institution to fail could apply to decisions taken by senior managers in UK banks, building societies and PRA-regulated investment firms—but not credit unions or any foreign institution—on or after that date.


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UK-Senegal Double Taxation Convention

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr David Gauke): A double taxation convention with the Republic of Senegal was signed on 26 February 2015. The text of the convention has been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and made available on the gov.uk website. The text will be scheduled to a draft Order in Council and laid before the House of Commons in due course.

Attachments can be viewed online at: http://www.parliament. uk/writtenstatements



The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr George Osborne): A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council was held in Brussels on 17 February 2015. Ministers discussed the following items:

Investment plan for Europe

The presidency gave a state of play update on the Commission’s proposal for a regulation on the European fund for strategic investments.

Current legislative proposals

The presidency gave an update on current legislative proposals.

Annual growth survey 2015 and alert mechanism report

The Council adopted conclusions on the annual growth survey and the alert mechanism report.

Follow-up to the G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on 9 to 10 February 2015 in Istanbul

The presidency and the Commission debriefed the Council on the G20 meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Istanbul.

Discharge procedure in respect of the implementation of the budget for 2013

The Council, on the basis of a report from the Court of Auditors, approved draft recommendations on the discharge to be given to the Commission in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2013. The UK, along with Sweden and the Netherlands, voted against the Council recommendations and submitted a joint statement expressing there had not been an improvement to the Court of Auditor’s error rate assessment.

Budget guidelines for 2016

The Council endorsed guidelines concerning the 2016 budget of the EU, which will be its overall reference for the budget year.

High-level group on own resources—first assessment report

The chairman of the high-level group on own resources presented the group’s first assessment report on the system of financing the EU budget, followed by an exchange of views.


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Communities and Local Government

Royal Borough of Greenwich

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Kris Hopkins): On 29 January 2015 I explained to the House, Official Report, Column 28WS, the coalition Government’s commitment to protecting an independent free local press, and how the Government were seeking to take action on the practice by a small number of local authorities of publishing local authority newspapers, which given their frequency of publication, can push out and undermine that independent press. I also explained that each case would be considered on its merits, and that on this basis the Secretary of State had given the Royal Borough of Greenwich notice of a direction that he proposed to give requiring that council to comply with the provisions in the March 2011 code of recommended practice on local authority publicity which restrict the frequency of publication of the council’s newspaper.

Within the period of 14 days following the notice, as statute provides, Greenwich council has made a number of representations. These included that in the council’s view there is no evidence that its weekly newspaper has an impact on the local independent press in the area, that the proposed direction would be ultra vires, irrational, and procedurally unfair, and that in any event the council would not be able to comply with such a direction by the proposed date of 31 March 2015.

I can now tell the House that the Secretary of State has carefully considered these representations, together with other information available about the council’s publicity, the responses received to the Government’s 2013 consultation “Protecting the Independent Press from Unfair Competition”, and the Government’s response to that consultation. He has also had careful regard to the Department’s equality statement on enforcing the code of recommended practice on local authority publicity, and has considered afresh earlier representations that the council had made about proposals to direct its compliance with the code to restrict the frequency of publication of its newspaper. The Secretary of State has concluded that it would be lawful and appropriate in all the circumstances of Greenwich for him now to issue the direction as he had proposed.

Accordingly, the Secretary of State, in accordance with his powers under section 4A(1), (2) and (3) of the Local Government Act 1986, has today directed the Royal Borough of Greenwich council, in order to secure the council’s compliance with the requirements of the code, as follows:

to commission or publish no more than four issues of Greenwich Time, or any equivalent newsletter, newssheet or similar communication, in the period of one year commencing 31 March 2015, and in subsequent years; and

to ensure that the executive of the council within 14 days of the date of the direction will take the necessary decisions in order that the council will be in a position to comply with the requirement on publication from 31 March 2015 onwards.

With this direction not only must the council cease to publish its weekly newspaper, Greenwich Time, but it is also barred from outsourcing or contracting for the

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publication of any weekly newsletter, newssheet or similar communication by a third party to whom the council may make payment.

I will be placing in the Library of the House copies of the direction, a letter to the council setting out the Secretary of State’s reasons, the equality statement, and the representations of the council.



Marchwood Sea Mounting Centre (Preferred Bidder)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Philip Dunne): The House will be aware that in May 2014 I launched the process to grant a concession to manage, and exploit the commercial potential of, the Marchwood Sea Mounting Centre. Following a strong competition, I am pleased to announce that Solent Gateway Ltd has been selected as the preferred bidder. This will be a joint venture between David MacBrayne Ltd and GBA (Holdings) Ltd.

The concession is expected to generate significant value for Defence, in terms of both a share in the profits from commercial exploitation of the spare capacity at the port and a reduction in the cost of sea mounting. The commercial arrangement secures the delivery of Ministry of Defence’s routine and, importantly, surge requirements. The new port operator will also be providing a deployable reserve capability as part of the Army’s total support force.

We expect to conclude the transaction and sign a contract with the new operator over the coming month. The concession will commence in the autumn. At that time, around 40 civil service employees, subject to TUPE consultation, will transfer to employment under the winning bidder. As is normal, their existing employment rights will be preserved.


Energy and Climate Change

Fuel Poverty Strategy

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Mr Edward Davey): Today I will be publishing the fuel poverty strategy for England as required under the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000 following extensive consultation held from July to October 20141.

This new fuel poverty strategy, the first in nearly 14 years, aims to set a durable framework for future fuel poverty policies with an ambitious new legal target, accompanying milestones and a strong accountability system.

Tackling fuel poverty has been a major priority during this Government. While the numbers of fuel poor households rose rapidly from 2004 to 2010, they are now falling. In terms of energy efficiency, we have delivered over 1.8 million heating and energy efficiency

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measures in low income areas and households. In terms of incomes, we have permanently increased cold weather payments and continued support worth around £2 billion per year through winter fuel payments. And in terms of energy prices, we have ensured a downward pressure through retail market and tariff reforms.

The new fuel poverty strategy builds on this success.

The independent review of fuel poverty conducted by Professor Sir John Hills of the London School of Economics, held in 2011-12, demonstrated that the traditional way of measuring fuel poverty had been flawed. It underestimated the scale of the problem when energy prices were low and overestimated the scale of the problem when energy prices were high. The Hills review recommended a new approach—the low income high costs approach. That has been adopted and helps to ensure we prioritise people living in the deepest fuel poverty, above all by making their homes warmer through energy efficiency investments.

Over 320,000 fuel poor households in England live in properties rated below band an “E” level EPC rating needing to spend on average £1,000 a year more on energy to heat their home compared to a typical home. Through the Energy Act 2013, we established a new duty to adopt a fuel poverty target. The new fuel poverty target for England sets an ambition that as many fuel poor homes as reasonably practicable achieve a band C energy efficiency standard by 2030 and became law in December 20142.

Today’s strategy is our road map for meeting that target. It confirms the following interim objectives in the new fuel poverty strategy:

as many fuel poor homes in England as is reasonably practicable to band E by 2020;

as many fuel poor homes in England as is reasonably practicable to band D by 2025.

The new fuel poverty strategy sets out a number of recent and new initiatives that are being taken forward. With almost a fifth of our housing stock in the private rented sector, and a third of the fuel poor living in rental accommodation, a new minimum energy efficiency standard for the private rented sector is in the process of being introduced. DECC are partnering with the NHS to focus on the links between health and fuel poverty. A major focus is on fuel poverty in non-gas homes, with new data, new working groups and our new central heating fund. DECC is also looking at data sources to better identify of people in fuel poverty and new types of housing that appear to be badly affected such as park homes.

Today is an important milestone. With this new strategy now in place, DECC will continue to work with partners in central and local government, industry and the third sector to maintain a sustainable path towards cutting the cost of keeping warm for fuel poor homes.

I will today lay before Parliament and place a copy of the strategy in the Library of both Houses. It is also available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cutting-the-cost-of-keeping-warm

1. We published a consultation at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/cutting-the-cost-of-keeping-warm-a-new-fuel-poverty-strategy-for-england. We also held a number of consultation events alongside our regular engagement and partnership activity.

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2. See http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/3220/made. Note there is also a specific methodology—the fuel poverty energy efficiency rating (FPEER) methodology—for measuring energy efficiency in relation the target. See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fuel-poverty-england-regulations-2014-and-methodology


Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Gifting of Equipment: Free Syrian Police

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr Philip Hammond): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has today laid a departmental minute proposing the gifting of equipment to the Free Syrian Police.

The conflict in Syria remains catastrophic, with an estimated 200,000 people killed and more than half the Syrian population in need of humanitarian assistance. The UK will continue to do all it can to end the conflict through a political settlement, while also alleviating humanitarian suffering and protecting UK national security.

The UK is committed to working with the moderate opposition to help develop their capacity to meet needs on the ground and to reduce suffering and to save lives, thereby also helping reduce the space for extremists to operate. In line with this approach, on 6 February 2014, my predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), laid before the House of Commons a departmental minute which set out our plans to expand a UK-funded pilot project to train and equip Free Syrian Police officers, enabling them to provide community policing. I am pleased to present a further UK contribution of practical support to the Free Syrian Police, aimed at furthering their work.

The UK is working with international donors to provide training, technical assistance, maintenance funds, and basic equipment to the Free Syrian Police operating in opposition-controlled areas of Syria. The UK is also supporting the development of greater community oversight and monitoring ‘of the police to help ensure that they are responsive to local needs. Through this support the UK is aiming to build community resilience and moderate governance to help counter the threat from extremist groups. Following the success of an initial pilot and subsequent phases, developing the capacity of community policing has become a core aspect of the UK’s ongoing support to the moderate opposition in Syria.

The departmental minute laid today sets out in more detail our plans to gift office and communications equipment, uniforms, non-armoured vehicles and other operational equipment to the Free Syrian Police. Subject to assessment under the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria, it is proposed that this will include a limited amount of controlled equipment, namely body armour and helmets (for conducting vehicle checks outside towns), CS spray (small canisters for individual personal protection), handcuffs (for making arrests), and night-vision goggles (early warning system for approaching regime helicopters).

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The goods will be procured, distributed and delivered by an implementing partner carefully selected through competitive tender. The total cost of the proposed gift is up to £750,000, which will be met by the Government’s conflict, stability and security fund (CSSF). The UK’s assistance forms part of an approach co-ordinated with other donors that will help deliver the best value for money. Other donors, including the US, Denmark and the Netherlands, are also contributing on a similar scale.

The gift forms part of a renewed comprehensive UK programme of training and technical assistance worth approximately £2.5 million in the current financial year, which will be delivered by implementing partners. The training aims to build the capacity of the Free Syrian Police including through developing their strategy, planning and management mechanisms and enhancing co-ordination between Free Syrian Police units, as well as strengthening the relationship between police actors and local communities.

The Free Syrian Police are responsible for providing basic civilian policing in large areas of opposition-controlled territory. Police actors, local administrative councils and the National Coalition’s interim Ministers have all underlined to us the need to improve policing and security, and we have worked closely with Syrian partners and other donors to design a comprehensive programme of support.

The gift is being scrutinised to ensure that it is consistent with export controls and complies with our international obligations. Recipients have been carefully selected to prevent equipment being given to those involved in extremist activities or human rights violations. All our assistance is carefully calibrated and legal, is aimed at alleviating human suffering and supporting moderate groups and is regularly monitored and evaluated. We have assessed the project for human rights risks, using the overseas security and justice assistance guidelines established by the Foreign Secretary in 2011 as part of ensuring these risks are effectively mitigated.

The Treasury has approved the proposal in principle. If, during the period of 14 parliamentary sitting days beginning on the date on which the departmental minute was laid before the House of Commons, a Member signifies an objection by giving notice of a parliamentary question or a motion relating to the minute, or by otherwise raising the matter in the House, final approval of the gift will be withheld pending an examination of the objection.


Gifting of Search and Rescue Equipment: Syria

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr Philip Hammond): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has today laid a departmental minute proposing the gifting of search and rescue equipment to Syrian civil defence teams.

The situation in Syria continues to deteriorate. An estimated 200,000 people have been killed since the war began four years ago, many of them innocent civilians. The Assad regime continues to use the most barbaric military methods and tactics available, including the use of indiscriminate artillery fire, chemical weapons and

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barrel bombs. The UK remains committed to doing all it can to promote a political settlement to end the conflict, to alleviate the humanitarian suffering, and to protect UK national security through countering terrorist and extremist threats.

In January and May 2014, my predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), laid departmental minutes before the House of Commons and issued written ministerial statements setting out our plans to gift equipment to civil defence teams operating in opposition-controlled areas of Syria. No objections were received to either gift and the UK distributed the equipment to civil defence teams along with comprehensive training packages. These defence teams have now saved over 10,000 lives by rescuing civilians trapped in damaged buildings, fighting fires and by providing emergency first aid. Our assistance has helped increase the legitimacy and capacity of local councils and supported communities in dealing with the aftermath of attacks. Other donors, including the US, Denmark and Japan, have also contributed to the civil defence initiative.

The UK intends to continue its support to this programme by increasing the communications capability and mobility of the teams, providing more medium-weight rescue equipment and equipping further emergency medical teams. The departmental minute laid today set out our proposal to gift £3.5 million in equipment to Syrian beneficiaries operating within civil defence. The proposed list of equipment includes cutting and rescue tools, personal protective gear including helmets and goggles, stretchers, medicines and medical supplies, radios, fire-fighting equipment and 4x4 vehicles. The programme will also increase co-ordination between the Syrian interim government and civil defence teams, and provide civilian outreach for the civil defence teams, improving the resilience of local communities. The programme is expected to cost £10 million and will be funded through the Government’s conflict, security and stability fund (CSSF).

The use of CSSF funds to cover the costs of the gift has been approved by members of the Middle East and North Africa strategic programme board from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development and Ministry of Defence. The gift has been scrutinised to ensure that the provision of this equipment is consistent with export controls and complies with our international obligations. Recipients have been carefully selected to prevent equipment being given to those involved in extremist activities or human rights violations. All our assistance is carefully calibrated and legal, is aimed at alleviating human suffering and supporting moderate groups and is regularly monitored and evaluated.

The Treasury has approved the proposal in principle. If, during the period of 14 parliamentary sitting days beginning on the date on which the departmental minute was laid before the House of Commons, a Member signifies an objection by giving notice of a parliamentary question or a motion relating to the minute, or by otherwise raising the matter in the House, final approval of the gift will be withheld pending an examination of the objection.


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Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr Philip Hammond): The Government have today published a memorandum to the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Committees on Arms Export Controls on post-legislative scrutiny of the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has carried out the post-legislative scrutiny, which includes a preliminary assessment of how the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010 has worked in practice, and has set out its findings in a Command Paper (Cm 9021) to the Committees.

Copies of the Command Paper are available from the Vote Office and Printed Paper Office.


Home Department

Child Sexual Exploitation

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): Professor Alexis Jay’s report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham and Louise Casey’s follow up report on the performance of Rotherham council both provide a terrible account of the appalling failures by the council, the police and other agencies to protect vulnerable children. The culture of complete denial that was uncovered by Professor Jay persists today. That is why immediate action has been taken to protect the children of Rotherham through the appointment of five commissioners to take on the full range of the authority’s executive functions and begin a rapid improvement programme; and the launch of an independent two-stage investigation into child sexual exploitation and abuse in Rotherham—Operation Stovewood run by the National Crime Agency.

I have been clear that the situation in Rotherham is only the tip of the iceberg. We need to confront these failures at a national level which is why in September last year I announced that I would chair a series of meetings with other responsible Secretaries of State to look at the failures highlighted in Professor Jay’s inquiry at the Prime Minister’s request.

I have chaired a number of these meetings with the Secretaries of State for Communities and Local Government, Education, Health, and Justice, and the Solicitor-General. Today the Government publish a report setting out the actions we are taking in response to Professor Jay’s and Louise Casey’s findings.

The actions will strengthen accountability and leadership in professions and local government; address the culture of inaction and denial that led to victims being dismissed and ignored; improve joint working and information sharing so that agencies intervene early; strengthen the protection of children who are at risk; reinforce law enforcement efforts to stop offenders; and provide greater support for victims and survivors. Among these actions are:

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The establishment of a new independent taskforce, bringing together specialists in social care, law enforcement and health, which will be deployed in local authorities where child abuse is a concern. Linked to the taskforce, will be a new centre of professional expertise, which will develop better approaches to tackling sexual abuse.

The launch of a £1 million communications campaign, to promote a wider understanding of what people should do when they suspect a child is being abused. This will be accompanied with revised guidance, “What to do if you are worried a child is being abused”, for professionals, the public, and children.

The creation of a new single point of contact for child abuse related whistleblowing, which will monitor patterns of failure across the country. We will make clear that all organisations with safeguarding responsibilities should have internal whistleblowing policies.

A new system of multi-agency inspections, to examine whether local agencies are working in a co-ordinated manner, sharing information and taking joint decisions to protect children.

Failure of agencies to share information about children at risk was a critical element of what happened in Rotherham. Today, my ministerial colleagues and I have written to the leaders of every local authority, directors of children’s services, police and crime commissioners, local safeguarding children’s boards, health and wellbeing boards and GPs, making clear that there can be no justification for failing to share personal information about a child when that information could be used to protect that child’s life.

The Government are clear that child sexual exploitation must be stopped. Work is already under way to put into practice these and other proposals.

A copy of the Government’s response will be placed in the House Library.

I would also like to give an update on Home Office work in response to allegations in Professor Jay’s report that the Department had been made aware of the problems in Rotherham in 2002, but had failed to take action on this information. I gave an assurance that the Home Office would conduct an internal investigation to ascertain what happened, which Peter Wanless and Richard Whittam QC would then review to ensure it had been undertaken absolutely properly. My Department has been undertaking detailed searches of Home Office files and records of the time—and potentially relevant files and records across Government—to establish what information was passed to the Department about child sexual abuse in Rotherham and what action was taken as a result. Searches of the Department’s digital holdings are still ongoing and we expect to be able to provide the completed investigation to Peter Wanless and Richard Whittam QC in the next three months, subject to their availability.


Strategic Policing Requirement Refresh

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): The strategic policing requirement (SPR) sets out my view, as Home Secretary, of the national threats that the police must address and the national policing capabilities required to counter those threats. The national threats currently in the SPR are terrorism, civil emergencies, public disorder, cyber-security

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incidents and serious and organised crime. The SPR supports police and crime commissioners (PCCs) and chief constables in balancing local and national priorities effectively, and in driving improvements to their force’s response to serious and cross-boundary threats.

I am today issuing a revised and updated SPR which confirms the validity of the existing threats and, for the first time, makes child sexual abuse an additional national threat.

This will ensure that PCCs and chief constables prioritise an issue of growing national importance. It will encourage a collaborative approach to building the capability needed to tackle child sexual abuse, including efficient sharing of resources, intelligence and best practice, and deliver a more effective and integrated policing response.

The other changes in the revised SPR include:

Adopting the definition of a “national”—rather than “large-scale”—cyber-security incident, as set out in the Cabinet Office national cyber-security incident management policy, to achieve greater clarity and consistency in the articulation of the cyber-threat;

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updating the definition of “cyber-crime” in line with the definition provided in the serious and organised crime strategy;

including references to regional and organised crime units (ROCUs) in recognition of the important role they play in tackling serious and organised crime; providing a national network of regional capabilities; and

widening the scope of the civil emergency threat to ensure that it is not limited to coastal flooding and includes all those contingencies that require an aggregated response across force boundaries.

My officials have had extensive engagement with police leaders and other partners to review and revise the SPR. PCCs and forces will be expected to have regard to the refreshed SPR when exercising their responsibilities to deliver the changes that have been introduced.

I have placed copies of the SPR in the House of Commons Library and an electronic copy can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/strategic- policing-requirement