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28 Sept 2000 : Column WA195

Written Answers

Thursday, 28th September 2000.

Near Earth Objects Task Force Report

Lord Grenfell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress there has been on the report of the Near Earth Objects Task Force, which was appointed in January by the Minister for Science.[HL3903]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The report was published on 18 September. It is a valuable contribution to the debate on this important issue. I am considering its recommendations carefully before coming to a view on what action to take. I will inform the House when I have done so.

Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

House of Lords Management and Services Review

Baroness Thornton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Following the debate on the 6th Report of the Offices Committee on 27 July (HL Paper 97), whether a steering group of peers has now been established to oversee the review of the management structure and structure for decisions on services within the House.[HL3905]

The Chairman of Committees (The Lord Boston of Faversham): In response to the debate in the Chamber on 27 July, a steering group has now been established

28 Sept 2000 : Column WA196

to oversee the appointment of a consultant and the subsequent review.

The members of the steering group are:


    Lord Grenfell,


    Lord Levene of Portsoken,


    Lord Newton of Braintree,


    Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay.

The steering group will meet at the earliest opportunity in order to get the review underway.

Performance and Innovation Unit

Lord Morris of Castle Morris asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What additional projects are planned for the Performance and Innovation Unit.[HL3906]

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The Prime Minister has asked the Performance and Innovation Unit to undertake a further project looking at privacy and data-sharing issues in the delivery of government services.

Privacy and the protection of personal information has increased in importance with developments in IT. Data-sharing is a key to modernising government, to facilitating seamless electronic delivery of government services, to reducing fraud against government and to encouraging e-commerce. This project will analyse a broad range of issues involved in privacy and data-sharing, including current government, private sector and international practices; structural and technological issues; public concerns; and the current legal parameters. The Performance and Innovation Unit aims to complete a report by early next year.

My noble and learned friend Lord Falconer of Thoroton is the sponsor Minister.



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