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Government Publications and the Labour Party Manifesto

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Labour Party Manifesto should have been included separately in the bibliography rather than under "Related Government Publications". The reference has been amended for the

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reprint of Supporting Families, which will be available from 16 December. The error is regretted.

Lt. Col. Tharcisse Muvany Muvinyi

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in the light of an article by Jon Swain in The Sunday Times of 6 December, they will detain former Lieutenant-Colonel Tharcisse Muvany Muvinyi, and notify the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda that he is in custody here, so that investigators from the tribunal may question Mr. Muvinyi about the alleged offences and, if the investigators decide that charges should be made, they may request his transfer to the Court's jurisdiction.[HL230]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We fully support the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and we provide considerable assistance to it. Under the United Nationals (International Tribunal) (Rwanda) Order 1996, powers exist to arrest persons upon receipt of a warrant or request from the tribunal, but the order does not provide for arrest in advance of such receipt.

Recidivism

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What assessment they have made of the reconviction rates, or other measures of the effectiveness, of Offending Behaviour Programmes and Sex Offender Treatment Programmes in the Prison Service; how this compares with the assessments made of similar programmes in the United States; how much is being spent in the current year on these programmes; and whether any other means of reducing recidivist behaviour are being considered.[HL232]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The standards for Prison Service accredited offending behaviour programmes are based on a large body of research on what works in reducing reoffending in a wide variety of countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Sweden, the Netherlands and elsewhere. The effectiveness of the service's accredited programmes is therefore likely to be comparable with them.

The Prison Service is undertaking a long-term evaluation exercise into programme effectiveness, but it will be some years before firm conclusions can be drawn across the full range of programmes because of the need to wait to see whether participants are reconvicted. Interim outcomes relating to attitudinal and other change which is predictive of changes in recidivism are available for the sex offender treatment programme, and were reported in Home Office Research Findings No. 79 (ISSN 1364-6540).

About 3,000 prisoners are expected to complete accredited programmes this financial year. The cost in prisons of delivering these programmes is approximately £7.2 million.

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The service's currently accredited programmes do not address all types of offending: for example, they are not suitable for prisoners serving short sentences. However, offending behaviour is also addressed through education training for work, resettlement advice, and a wide variety of locally sponsored and developed programmes. In addition, the Prison Service is making a major investment in meeting the needs of those whose offending may be related specifically to drug misuse, and in examining the particular needs of juveniles, young offenders and women.

"Family": Definition

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have yet agreed upon a definition of the word "family" as used in the consultation document Supporting Families.[HL287]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The aim of our policies is to support families, whatever their structure. Supporting Families is intended to be inclusive: we see no need to enter into a debate over definitions.

Royal Commission on Long-term Care of the Elderly

The Marquess of Ailesbury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there is any precedent for a Royal Commission agreeing to report within a time limit.[HL235]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Royal Commission on Long-Term Care of the Elderly was established in December 1997 to examine a range of options for a fair and sustainable system of funding long-term care and to recommend, within 12 months, how the cost of such care should be apportioned between public funds and individuals. The Commission's first substantive meeting took place on 15 January 1998 and it is expected to publish its report at the beginning of 1999.

Phoenix Database

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Williams of Mostyn on 16 November (WA 136), whether they will list those modules which are currently available on the Police and Home Office Extended Name Index (Phoenix); those which are currently under preparation or under consideration; and which would fulfil a specific statutory obligation.[HL262]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Phoenix includes the national criminal record database and applications containing details of disqualified drivers, sex offenders, and persons who are wanted or missing.

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Developments to Phoenix which are currently under preparation or consideration include:


    links to local police systems as part of the National Strategy for Police Information Systems (NSPIS). These will initially be in the area of Case Preparation, Custody, Crime & Incident Reporting and Command & Control;


    links to new strategic systems to be developed by other areas of the criminal justice service, in particular courts, probation service and prisons;


    links to the National Automated Fingerprint Identification Service (NASFIS);


    enhancements to the sex offenders application;


    registration to firearms certificate holders;


    changes to the interface with the Scottish Criminal Record Office (SCRO);


    change requests from police forces to improve the efficiency or effectiveness of Phoenix;


    links to the new Criminal Records Bureau.

The firearms application will meet the requirements of Section 39 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997.

Sudan: Diversion of Food Aid

Lord McNair asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What measures are being taken to prevent the theft or diversion of emergency food aid delivered to southern Sudan.[HL219]

Baroness Amos: The World Food Programme (WPF) has increased the number of food aid monitors in 17 locations of Southern Sudan. WPF is taking a more direct role in targeting food aid, but food continues to be diverted. The UN and the donor community are pressing the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement (SPLA) to take action to put an end to this practice.

Violence against Women: Prevention Initiatives

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House details of any projects aimed at countering violence against women which are assisted through Department for International Development programmes.[HL233]

Baroness Amos: The Department for International Development (DFID) is supporting a number of projects aimed at countering violence against women. A list of projects addressing this issue will be compiled by DFID and placed in the Library of the House by early in the new year.

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Medical School Recruitment Policies

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they are taking in the light of the report by Professor McManus of University College London on discrimination in recruitment against ethnic minorities in respect of entry to medical schools.[HL294]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): The Government welcome the steps taken by the Council of Heads of Medical Schools (CHMS) to ensure that their members have selection and admissions procedures which are fair and open. We welcome also the involvement of the Commission for Racial Equality in advising schools on standards for racial equality in recruitment and selection. We look to CHMS to monitor closely progress made in implementing their action plan.

Boys: Under-achievement

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to deal with under-achievement by boys in primary and secondary schools; and what progress is being made.[HL249]

Baroness Blackstone: Raising standards of achievement for all pupils is at the heart of this Government's education policies. The successful implementation of those policies--particularly the literacy and numeracy strategies--will have a major effect on boys' and girls' levels of achievement.

Boys' levels of achievement are a continuing cause of concern, particularly in early literacy. We have therefore put in place a number of policies which are specifically directed at boys. LEAs are now required to demonstrate, where relevant, in their Education Development Plans the action they will take to address this issue. We are ensuring that trainee teachers are aware of the need to set high standards, regardless of gender. We have encouraged and enabled schools to analyse the performance of groups of pupils by gender. The National Year of Reading is promoting positive images of fathers and other males reading to children, especially to boys. We are also funding several independent projects aimed at changing boys' perceptions of reading.

Education Action Zones are required to look at issues affecting particular groups of pupils, such as boys' under-achievement. Some of the zones are looking at this issue as a priority within their action plans.

In addition, we are providing financial and other support to about 140 work-related learning projects involving over 700 secondary schools. These projects are aimed at disaffected and under-achieving pupils at key stage 4. By delivering vocational and practical education in college and work contexts, they should help to raise attainments and improve attitudes. Given their relative underperformance at this stage, more boys than

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girls are gaining from these projects. We have also introduced, from this September, regulations allowing schools to disapply aspects of the National Curriculum at key stage 4 for selected pupils to offer them work-related learning programmes.

The Government are monitoring closely the effects of these policies on boys' levels of achievement. It is too early to evaluate their impact on levels of achievement.


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