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Written Answers

Thursday, 20th April 2000.

Act of Union: Bicentenary

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answers by the Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 16 March (WA 230-1) and 5 April, (WA 134) whether it is now their policy to take note of the views of the Republic of Ireland's government in issues that reflect the history and culture of the whole of the United Kingdom; and whether they consider that their views in such matters have been sufficiently taken into account by the Government of the Republic of Ireland.[HL1938]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): It is the long established practice of the Government to exchange views with all its international partners on a wide range of issues on the basis of mutual understanding.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will be represented at the events in the Republic of Ireland designed to mark the bicentenary in 2001 of the creation of the United Kingdom; and, if so, by whom.[HL1874]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Ambassador in Dublin plans to attend a British-Irish Association seminar on "The Act of Union: 200 years on" which will take place in Dublin in May 2000. We are not aware of any other relevant events taking place in Ireland.

Zimbabwe

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are monitoring the sale and distribution of publicly-owned assets in Zimbabwe before the currently postponed elections take place.[HL1943]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We monitor regularly all significant economic developments in Zimbabwe.

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have offered any assistance to the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe; and at which meetings, on which dates and with whom present any possible assistance was discussed. [HL1944]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe has not asked us for

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any assistance. The Foreign Secretary met the MDC President, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, and the Minister of State had a telephone conversation with him on 14 April.

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to ensure that the elections in Zimbabwe, under the ministerial direction of Mr Dubengwa, are held by mid-June. [HL1948]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We have urged the Government of Zimbabwe to create the conditions for the holding of free and fair elections, within the constitutional timescale. We have also agreed with our EU partners that we would be willing to support and monitor the elections. The Commonwealth Secretary-General has made clear that he is prepared to send Commonwealth observers if invited by the Government of Zimbabwe and supported by the parties contesting the election.

Danube Bridges: Clearance

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in view of the international interest in navigation along the whole length of the Danube, they will seek to mobilise funds for the removal of the debris of the three bridges that were destroyed at Novi Sad; and what they estimate the cost of such work to be. [HL1923]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The UK supports the proposed financing by the European Commission of the Danube Commission's project to clear the Danube at Novi Sad. The European Commission is planning to fund 85 per cent of the estimated total of 24.1 million euro needed to carry out the clearance work.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Municipal Elections

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are involved in monitoring the municipal elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina; and if so whether they satisfy standard tests of freedom and fairness.[HL1920]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The United Kingdom has sent 74 polling supervisors, nine field election advisers, two counting supervisors and two international long-term supervisors to participate in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)--administered municipal elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 8 April.

Ambassador Barry, the Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, stated on 9 April that the Mission was satisfied that overall the elections were "free and fair".

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Criminal Justice: Royal Commission's Recommendations

Lord Windlesham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action has been taken to implement Recommendations 222 and 223 of the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice (Cm. 2263, 1993).[HL1629]

Lord Bach: In its Final Response in 1996 to the Report of the Royal Commission, the previous government said that these recommendations "remain under consideration, although the Government is concerned that they would depart fundamentally from the principle that a jury should as far as possible be chosen at random from a cross-section of the population as a whole". In the light of the noble Lord's interest, we have looked at this issue again and have decided that the Government will give active consideration to these recommendations. A further statement will be made in due course.

Freedom of Information Bill: Public Bodies

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which public bodies (a) they intend to designate by order under Clause 4 of the Freedom of Information Bill; (b) are a publicly-owned company as defined in Clause 5 of that Bill; and (c) are public bodies neither in (a) nor (b) above nor in Schedule 1 to the Bill. [HL2059]

Lord Bach: Clause 4 of the Freedom of Information Bill requires my right honourable friend the Home Secretary to consult every person to whom an order relates or persons appearing to him to represent such persons. We have still to consult formally as required under Clause 4 and, therefore, it is not possible to provide a list of bodies which will be designated under this part of the Bill. Our enquiries to date have, however, identified a number of bodies which we believe are likely to meet the criteria set out in respect of bodies designated under Clause 4. These are set out in the following list. Some of the bodies are listed in their own right and others by means of a generic description. The list does not represent a final list of bodies which may be designated as public authorities for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Bill.

Clause 5 of the Bill provides that a company is publicly-owned for the purposes of the Bill if it is wholly owned by the Crown, or it is wholly owned by any public authority listed in Schedule 1 to the Bill other than (i) a government department, or (ii) any authority which is listed only in relation to particular information. Subsections (2) and (3) clarify the meaning to be given to "wholly owned by the Crown" and "wholly owned by a public authority" for these purposes and set out other definitions. The effect of Clause 5 is that a company which meets the criteria is caught by the freedom of information regime. Because we are using a generic definition we have not compiled

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a separate list of bodies which may be covered by Clause 5.

Clauses 2 to 6 of the Freedom of Information Bill provide for coverage of all public bodies, either by means of a generic description of by specific inclusion in a list or an order. Bodies which might qualify for inclusion in the list at Schedule 1 have, however, not been so listed where we are satisfied that the body will have ceased to exist when the Bill comes into force, have no separate identity from a parent organisation, or are not yet established. In the latter case, the body will be brought within scope of the legislation by order.

There are two exceptions to the principle that all public bodies are to be covered by the Bill. Clause 21(3) provides that any information provided by, or relating to, specified bodies is exempt. The specified bodies are the Security Services, the Secret Intelligence Service, the Government Communications Headquarters, the Special Forces (Special Air Service and Special Boat Service) and the National Criminal Intelligence Service. This has the effect of excluding those bodies from the scope of the Bill. In addition, certain Scottish bodies are exempt from the order-making powers in the Bill. These bodies are the Scottish Parliament, any part of the Scottish Administration, the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body or any Scottish public authority with mixed functions or no reserved functions within the meaning of the Scotland Act 1998. Legislation in respect of those bodies is a matter for the Scottish Parliament.

Preliminary List of Bodies Considered for Designation Under Clause 4 of the Freedom of Information Bill

The National Institute for Agricultural Botany

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

Rail Users' Consultative Committees

Persons or bodies authorised by the Legal Services Commission under section 4(8) or 12(4) of the Access to Justice Act 1999 to accredit persons or bodies providing services of the descriptions set out in section 4(2) of the Access to Justice Act 1999, or providing services which may be funded by the commission as part of the Criminal Defence Service.

Bodies responsible for regulating the provision of legal services (including the Law Society, the Bar Council, the Institute of Legal Executives).

Bodies receiving grant-in-aid or grant from the Lord Chancellor for marriage and relationship support services. Bodies receiving grant-in-aid or grant from the Lord Chancellor providing advice and support to parents of abducted children.

Persons or bodies accredited by the Lord Chancellor to carry out paternity testing.

Bodies appointed under section 4(1) of the Public Records Act 1958 as places of deposit for public records insofar as their internal administrative records relating to those public records are concerned.

Ofwat Customer Service Committees

Ofwat National Consumer Council

Motability

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General Lighthouse Authorities

Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee

Housing Organisations Mobility and Exchange Services.

National Society for Clean Air

Public functions carried out by contractors appointed by the Driving Standards Agency on behalf of the Secretary of State to deliver the statutory theory tests for learner drivers. Public functions of any body authorised by the Driving Standards Agency on behalf of the Secretary of State to conduct all or part of the statutory driving tests for learner drivers.

Public functions of any body appointed by the Driving Standards Agency on behalf of the Secretary of State to conduct the statutory theory tests for persons seeking to join the register of approved driving instructors. Public functions of any body authorised by the Driving Standards Agency on behalf of the Secretary of State to provide approved training courses for riders of mopeds and motor bicycles.

Private bodies and individuals to which the Maritime and Coastguard Agency delegates public functions in relation to surveys of UK ships and training and certification of seafarers.

Public functions carried out by contractors under the Local Authorities (Contracting out of Tax Billing, Collection and Enforcement Functions) Order 1996 (SI 1996 1880).

Public functions carried out by auditors appointed by the Audit Commission under the Audit Commission Act 1998.

The Energy Saving Trust Ltd. in respect of the public functions it carries out on behalf of DETR.

Public functions of the Institution of Civil Engineers

Public functions of the Civic Trust

Public functions of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment.

Geffrye Museum

Horniman Museum

Museum of Science And Industry In Manchester

Cultural Strategy Group for London

Gaelic Broadcasting Committee

Financial Services Authority

Electricity Consumers' Committees

National Consumers' Consultative Committee

Council for Registered Gas Installers (Corgi)

National Proficiency Test Council

Silsoe Research Institute

United Kingdom Accreditation Service

British Standards Institute

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Fleet Air Arm Museum

Royal British Legion

Royal Marines Museum

Royal Naval Museum

Royal Naval Submarine Museum

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Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association--Forces Help.

Navy, Army, Air Force Institute

Regular Forces Employment Association

Services Sound and Vision Corporation

Royal Hospital Chelsea

Atomic Weapons Establishment

Commonwealth Institute

Commissioner for Irish Lights

Chartered Institute of Environmental Health

The Boards established under the Professions Supplementary to Medicine Act 1960.

General Optical Council

Royal Medical Colleges

Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain in respect of its statutory functions, and those of any of its committees or officers (these are currently to be found in the Pharmacy Act 1954 and the Medicines Act 1968), and any non-statutory public functions relating to the regulation of the pharmacy profession.

Association of Child Psychotherapists

British Psychological Society

Institute of Food and Science Technology.

Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice.

Local Authority co-ordinating body on food and training standards.

Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene

Royal Society for Health

Royal Society of Medicine

Society for Food Hygiene Technology

Specialist Training Authority for the Royal Medical Colleges.

The Institute of Biology

The Psychological Society

Providers of care under the Registered Homes Act 1984 including hospices, secure mental health units and private hospitals receiving NHS patients for treatment.

Voluntary adoption agencies registered on behalf of the Secretary of State to make arangements for adoptions.

Voluntary organisations and charities operating under the terms of service or other forms of financial agreements with the local authorities in respect of the discharge of their social services functions.

Bodies who are contracted by the Secretary of State, or who are sub-contracted by the contractor, to provide or run a prison or part of a prison in accordance with section 84 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 (as substituted by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994), or to provide prisoner escort and custody services under section 80 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 (as amended by section 93 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994).

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Bodies delivering education services to prisons and prisoners under contract.

Bodies providing library services to prisons under contract.

Bodies participating in the running of prison industries under contract or in partnership with the prison service and bodies participating in the provision of work for prisoners in a joint venture scheme with the Prison Service British Board of Film Classification.

Cable and Wireless

Documents Evidence Limited

Forensic Alliance (including AEA Technology, Cellmark Diagnostics and Forensic Access) (provider of forensic science service for public authorities under contract).

Immigration Advisory Service

Index of Exempted Dogs

The Jockey Club

The National Greyhound Racing Club

Port of Tilbury London Ltd in respect of powers to appoint constables by virtue of paragraph 12 of Schedule 4 of the Port of Tilbury Transfer Scheme 1991.

Refugee Legal Centre

Scientifics (provider of forensic science service for public authorities under contract).

Support After Murder and Manslaughter

Victim Support

Video Appeals Committee

Basic Skills Agency

British Academy

Capita Business Services Ltd (in respect of contract services).

Careers Services

Centre for Information on Language, Teaching and Research.

Further Education Development Agency

GS Medical Advisers (in respect of contract services).

Higher Education Statistics Agency

National Institute for Adult Continuing Education

Prudential Assurance Company Ltd (in respect of contract services).

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education

Technology Colleges Trust

Tourism Quality Services Ltd

Training and Enterprise Councils

Training Standards Council (in respect of contract services).

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service

Advisory Body on Fair Trading in Telecommunications.

Advisory Committee on Telecommunications for Disabled and Elderly People.

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Communications for Business

Advertising Standards Authority

Hearing Aid Council

Severn River Crossings Ltd

UK Highways (A55) Ltd

Road Safety Council of Wales

Adas Consulting Ltd

Wales Youth Agency

Foods Standards Agency (Welsh Executive)

Advisory Committee for Wales

Wales Council for Voluntary Action

University for Industry

The Financial Reporting Council

The Accounting Standards Board

The Financial Reporting Review Panel Ltd

Association of Certified Chartered Accountants 1 2 3

Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales 1 , 2

Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland 1 , 2 3

Association of Authorised Public Accountants 1

Association of International Accountants 2

The Insolvency Practitioners Association 3

The Law Society of Scotland 3

Jfmg Ltd (Joint Frequency Management Group) 4

Assay Offices of United Kingdom 5 Notes 1 In respect of functions performed under s. 30 and Sch. 11 to the Companies Act 1989 for the supervision of auditors in Great Britain. 2 In respect of functions performed as a body declared under s. 32 and Sch. 12 to the Companies Act 1989 as offering a recognised qualification. 3 In respect of its functions as a recognised professional body for the purposes of s. 391 to the Insolvency Act 1986. 4 In respect of functions performed under s. 1 to the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949. 5 In respect of functions performed under the Hallmarking Act 1973.


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