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Whitemoor SSU: Second Report

Baroness Mallalieu asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williamson of Mostyn: We have now received Sir Donald Acheson's second report on the Special Secure Unit (SSU) at Whitemoor. His report acknowledges that significant progress has been made in implementing his previous recommendations in particular, a series of regime improvements have been made, and a robust system of regular health reviews for all SSU prisoners has been introduced.

With regard to closed visits, the report accepts that the improved regime and atmosphere within the SSU is, at least in part, attributable to the confidence which closed visits give to staff. Accordingly, there is no call for a change to the visits policy.

The report contains just one further recommendation, which we accept, about the involvement of an external consultant psychiatrist in the health review process.

A copy of the report has been placed in the Library.

Nazi Victims: Restitution of Assets

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Haskel: I am pleased to confirm that copies of two of the documents have been deposited at the Libraries of both Houses. These are the Rules of accounting for German External Assets approved by the Allied Reparations Agency on 21 November 1947, and the circular letter of the Administration of Enemy Property Department of 18 May 1948 (not 1949 as stated in the question). We intend to deposit the resolution of the General Assembly of the Inter-Allied Reparations Agency shortly.

Museums and Galleries: Social Profile of Visitors

The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What studies have been undertaken on the social mix of visitors to national museums and galleries in the United Kingdom, and in particular on the class spread in 1998 and trends during the last 10 years; and whether they will publish such studies and place them in the Library of the House; and[HL626]

    Whether they carry out a detailed study to determine the present social mix of visitors to public museums and galleries in the United Kingdom.[HL627]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The social profile of visitors to public museums and galleries has most recently been examined by research carried out last autumn by the Central Office of Information for the Museums and Galleries Commission (MGC). Interim findings can be found in the publication Who Pays for Museums? which is available in the Library of the House, and the full report will be published in the spring. A previous omnibus report By Popular Demand, published in 1994 by Dr. Stuart Davies for the MGC, was based on over 200 visitor surveys across the UK.

In addition, national museums and galleries in the UK carry out periodic research to determine their visitor profile, including the socio-economic, ethnic and age mix. While the departments with responsibility for national museums across the UK have some access to this research, it is rarely published and is not therefore available in the Library of the House. Other research is conducted by local museums, area museum councils, the Association of Independent Museums and the tourist boards.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is considering the case for further research into the social mix of visitors across the museums and galleries sector.

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Government: Use of Works of Art

Lord Freyberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will review their policy on borrowing works of art from national and publicly owned collections for the adornment of government ministries and private offices.[HL771]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: No. The specific purpose of the government art collection is to promote

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Britain's profile at home and abroad through the display of British works of art. Works of art are therefore hung in embassies and other government buildings, including ministerial offices, which are regularly visited by a wide variety of people from outside government. The majority of the works of art on display are the property of the government art collection. A small number of works of art, if not required for inclusion in public display or exhibition, are also borrowed from other national collections from time to time, normally via the government art collection.

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