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13 Jun 2000 : Column WA191

Written Answers

Tuesday, 13th June 2000.

Central Laboratory of the Research Councils: Quinquennial Review

Baroness Uddin asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the Quinquennial Review of the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils will take place and what the terms of reference for the review will be.[HL2833]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): I am today launching the Quinquennial Review of the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils.

Reviews of Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs) are an important part of our modernisation programme to modernise government. The Government are committed to achieving better public services that are of higher quality and are more responsive to the needs of the people who use them. Regular NDPB reviews are an important element in ensuring that we have in place the right structures to deliver the Government's agenda effectively and to provide a strong focus on improving future performance.

The terms of reference for the review of the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils are:


    CCLRC was established in February 1995 and so it is due for review in the course of 2000.


    The review of CCLRC will have two stages.

The first stage will examine the role, organisation and composition and funding mechanisms for CCLRC, by reference to its charter and mission, its past performance, recent CCLRC-instigated studies on future vision and funding, current best practice for NDPBs and contribution to the work of other Research Councils. All relevant options for the future of the Council will be considered, including abolition, continued NDPB status, rationalisation, privatisation or strategic contracting out.

The conduct of the second stage will be dependent on and informed by the outcome of the first. If the first stage confirms the continued operation of CCLRC in its present or another form, this stage will examine the opportunities for improving performance by reference to such issues as management structures, aims and objectives, performance targets and service standards, use of new technology, levels of delegated authority and effective accountability. In that event, the review will take account of evidence of work already undertaken to review and improve performance. Opportunties for expanding the present range of users of facilities and services and

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optimising the contribution of facilities and services to exploitable research will also be considered.

The review will be conducted in accordance with the latest Cabinet Office guidance (published on 31 January 2000) and will include consultation, either in person or in writing, with members of council, staff of the Executive and CCLRC's customers and key stakeholders.

The review team will report at intervals to a review board. It will be the task of the review board to respond flexibly to the reviewer's proposals during the progress of the review, each member contributing guidance and knowledge, including, where appropriate, the good offices of his or her department or organisation. The review board will ensure that Ministers, the Treasury, the Cabinet Office and the staff and customers of the CCLRC are kept informed of the progress of the review and will facilitate the gathering of information for the reviewer and his or her communication with staff and customers.

The review will be supported by officials in the Office of Science and Technology, with specialist advice as appropriate. The review board will be chaired by Sir Peter Williams and will include key stakeholder representatives. The aim will be to complete each stage of the review within a period of approximately three months, as recommended in the Cabinet Office guidance.

As indicated in the terms of reference, the Review Team is seeking the views of interested parties. A questionnaire is available from the CCLRC website (http.//www.clrc.ac.uk/qreview) or from:


    CCLRC Quinquennial Review Team

Office of Science and Technology

Room G/5

Albany House

94-98 Petty France

London SW1H 9ST

tel: 020 7271 2050

email: [email protected]

Initial comments should be sent to the above address by 4 July 2000.

Company Insolvency, Razzaq v. Pala Decision

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What assessment has been made of the impact of the decision in the case of Razzaq v. Pala on plans to establish a rescue culture for companies.[HL2794]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The decision in that case is a matter for some concern and I therefore propose to undertake an urgent consultation on the issues raised by that decision against the possibility of their being addressed in the context of the current proposed legislation on insolvency.

A consultation paper has been issued asking whether or not landlords should continue to be able to effect peaceable re-entry (without the leave of the court) while a company or an individual is the subject

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of a statutory moratorium in the context of an insolvency procedure. Copies of that document have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Salaried Defence Service and Choice of Representative in Criminal Proceedings: Consultation Papers

Viscount Chandos asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to publish consultation papers on (i) establishing a salaried defence service and draft code of conduct for salaried defenders employed by the Legal Services Commission; and (ii) choice of representative in criminal proceedings.[HL2799]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): I have today placed copies of both consultation papers in the Libraries of both Houses. Copies are also available on my department's website at http://www.open.gov.uk/lcd.

Lord Chancellor's Department: Expenditure Limit

Baroness Massey of Darwen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have any proposals to amend the Lord Chancellor's Department's Departmental Expenditure Limit for 2000-01.[HL2798]

The Lord Chancellor: Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate for Class V, Vote 1, the Lord Chancellor's Department's Departmental Expenditure Limit for 2000-01 will be increased by £10,000,000 from £2,515,609,000 to £2,525,609,000. The increase is in respect of an award from the Capital Modernisation Fund for the "Crown Court Programme".

The increase will be offset by a transfer from the Capital Modernisation Fund and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.

London Elections: Spoiled Ballot Papers

Lord Jenkin of Roding asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Whitty on 22 May (WA 43), whether the figures for turnout in the elections for the Mayor and the Greater London Assembly include or exclude spoiled ballot papers; and whether they will give the figures for spoiled ballot papers at each of the seven London elections referred to in the Written Answer.[HL2609]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): The turnout figures for the Mayor and London Assembly elections include all those who spoiled their ballot papers.

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In the Mayor and Assembly election on 4 May, each elector had four opportunities to vote--first choice for Mayor, second choice for Mayor, constituency assembly member and London member. If an elector chose not to vote in any one of the four ballots by leaving the ballot paper "blank"--as they have every right to do--this was recorded as a "rejected" vote. Other "rejected" votes were "multiple votes", where the voter had voted more than once, papers where marks identify the voter and "uncertain votes", where the voter's intention was not clear.

Thirty eight thousand, one hundred and forty-one ballot papers for the Mayor election were rejected; 293,168 voters did not give a valid second preference for Mayor. For the London Assembly, 161,972 ballot papers in the Constituency Member election were classified as rejected and 88,142 ballot papers in the London Member election were classified as rejected. The vast majority of rejected papers were left blank, so it is clear that whilst most electors gave a first choice for Mayor, a large number decided not to give a second choice for Mayor, or vote for the Assembly.

The number of rejected ballot papers at GLC elections were:


    1964* 8,213


    1967* 6,456

(excludes Hounslow--for which figures are not available)


    1970* 4,842


    1973 7,704


    1977 8,258


    1981 9,725

*multi-seat constituencies used

Eighteen thousand, eight hundred and eighty-eight ballot papers were classified as rejected in the 1986 ILEA election.

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Baroness Lockwood asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will announce new measures to conserve and enhance areas of outstanding natural beauty.[HL2827]

Lord Whitty: We have announced today that the Government will shortly bring forward amendments to the Countryside and Rights of Way Bill as part of a series of measures to safeguard the status of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and provide for their proper protection and management. The amendments will make provision for the creation of Conservation Boards for individual, larger AONBs where this would benefit their cohesive management and where there is local support for such a move. They will also require the adoption of a Management Plan for each AONB.

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The Government have already indicated their support for AONBs through increasing the budget available to them via the Countryside Agency almost threefold over three years (from £2.1 million in 1998-99 to £5.9 million this year). We will continue to ensure that Government funding is available to work alongside local authorities in managing AONBs in partnership.


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