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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): There is no significance in the difference between the definitions in the two regulations. The wording is slightly different but this had no effect in practice.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The variations in increases occur because Section 34(3) of the Employment Relations Act 1999 provides that, in making the calculation to apply the relevant percentage increase (or decrease) the Secretary of State shall round up the new sums variously to the nearest 10 pence, £10 or £100.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Subsections (6) and (13) of Section 124A, which is inserted in the Patents Act 1977 by paragraph 2 of Order S.I. 2003 No. 512, deal with electronic communications respectively incoming to and outgoing from the Patent Office. There are several considerations which require these two classes of communication to be treated differently in this order.
For communications coming into the Patent Office, it is frequently the case that their time and date of receipt is critical to the establishment and maintenance of patent rights or to the compliance with time-critical requirements of the patents legislation. This justifies a level of technical precision whereby senders can be
For outgoing electronic communications from the Patent Office the same criteria do not apply. In striving for legal certainty as to whether such outgoing delivery can be deemed to be effected, the view was taken that the obligations on the office must be limited to properly addressing and transmitting the electronic communication. Satisfactory receipt of these outgoing communications depends, among other things, on the functionality of the various electronic systems installed in different users' offices. It may be that users' systems will provide an acknowledgement of receipt to the Patent Office, but the Patent Office should make no assumptions and should not be entitled to rely on it. Section 124A(13) presents this approach as the default situation, but also allows the comptroller to override that default situation by specifying "contrary intention", should that be appropriate. This wording is based upon the established drafting used in Section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978 in connection with service by post. This "intention" would be applicable only in the context of outgoing communications from the Patent Office and has no application to the provisions for communications coming into it.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Decisions regarding the imposition of safety limits, or restrictions to be placed on their use in cosmetics, are taken by member states following opinions given by the European independent Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products intended for Consumers (SCCNFP).
The Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 2003 revoke and re-enact a number of national regulations which were made to implement amendments to Council Directive 76/768/EEC on the safety of cosmetic products. Thiomersal has not been newly regulated under the 2003 regulations; it has been regulated since 1982. However, I understand that the use of thiomersal in decorative cosmetic products is very limited.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Statutory Instrument S.I. 2002/3129 makes provision for the amendment to the Meters (Certification) Regulations 1998 and the Meters (Approval of Pattern or Construction and Manner of Installation) Regulations 1998. These regulations were amended, in part, to facilitate the outsourcing of Ofgem's operational meter testing and examination services to a private contractor.
For the examination, testing and certification of meters, the £45 hourly rate does not necessarily represent the entirety of the fee that may be incurred. The Meters (Certification) Regulation 1998 provides that the fee payable to the authority for examination testing and certification of meters by a meter examiner (who is a member of the authority's staff) or by a meter examiner instructed by the authority (but not a member of the authority's staff) can include £45 per hour for time spent examining or testing or procuring the testing of a meter; any reasonable expenses (including incidental expenses) in accordance with the provisions of the SI; a sum equal to the costs incurred
The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): My honourable friend the Member for Paisley South in a Written Ministerial Statement on 15 May (Official Report, col. 18WS) published a report on departments' and agencies' performance in handling Members' and Peers' correspondence during the 2002 calendar year. Details are set out in the attached table. Departmental figures, where possible, are based on substantive replies.
|Department or Agency||2001||Target set for reply (working days)||Number of letters received||% of replies within target||2002||Target set for reply (working days)||Number of letters received||% of replies within target|
|Leader of the House of Lords||15||53||80||15||155||96|
|Crown Prosecution Service(3)||15||97||94||15||366||85|
|Department for Culture, Media and Sport||18||4,416||90||18||4,767||83|
|HM Customs and Excise (4)||18||2,452||62||18||1,616||59|
|Ministry of Defence(4)||15||5,350||85||15||5,381||83|
|Armed Forces Personnel||||||||15||18||100|
|Administration Agency Defence Aviation Repair Agency||||||||10||14||100|
|Department for Education and Skills(4)||15||18,237||76||15||15,595||84|
|Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs(5)||15||9,905||34||15||11,241||47|
|Foreign and Commonwealth Office||20||10,275||79||20||15,535||83|
|Department of Health(6)||20||19,665||60||20||17,942||29|
|NHS Pensions Agency||15||65||98||15||65||95|
|Medicines Control Agency||10||17||82||15||36||89|
|*Non Prison Service correspondence||15||*16,251||35||15||*26,053||35|
|**Prison Service correspondence||20||**1,210||78||20||**1,267||86|
|Criminal Records Bureau(8)||||||||5||632||N/A|
|HM Prison Service||20||1,272||75||20||942||77|
|UK Passport Service||10||279||87||10||132||97|
|Inland Revenue (4)|
|*Local Tax Office delegated figures||18||3,356||77||18||3,157||71|
|(where local tax offices have replied to direct to MPs)||18||382||75||18||*439||80|
|Department for International Development(4)||15||1,740||87||15||2,612||96|
|Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers(2)||15||284||96||15||378||63|
|Lord Chancellor's Department||20||1,737||74||20||2,577||54|
|HM Land Registry||20||24||79||20||32||100|
|Public Records Office||10||11||100||15||166||98|
|Public Guardianship Office(9)||15||120||62||15||261||31|
|*Target for correspondence sent direct to Agency Chief Executive **Target for correspondence sent direct to Agency Chief Executive|
|Northern Ireland Office||10||358||49||10||501||59|
|Compensation Agency for NI||7||27||93|||||||
|Northern Ireland Prison Service||10||27||78||10||33||91|
|National Savings and Investments(4)||15||63||62||15||44||66|
|*Letters where Chief Executive||15||192||77||20||212||82|
|replied on Minister's behalf.||10||*154||63|
|Office of the Deputy Prime Minister(3)||||||||15||5,523||76|
|Privy Council Office||15||237||74||15||488||95|
|Department of Trade and Industry (10)||10||9,260||49||10||11,565||41|
|Employment Tribunals Service**||15||12||100||6||46||93|
|Small Business Service***||10||47||96|||||||
|*Letters sent direct to Agency Chief Executive. **Target date for letters sent direct to Agency=15 working days. ***Figures included in main DTI return.|
|Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions(3)||15||14,375||84||15||7,671||83|
|Department for Transport(3)||||||||15||6,505||84|
|Driving Standards Agency(3)||15||82||100||15||56||98|
|Maritime and Coastguard Agency||15||21||95||15||27||100|
|Treasury Solicitor's Department||10||39||100||10||26||100|
|Department for Work and Pensions||20||12,698||66||20||14,297||65|
|Child Support Agency||20||3,293||58||20||3,194||51|
|The Pension Service||||||||15||511||71|
|Disability and Carers Service||||||||15||749||100|
|Child Benefit Centre||||||||20||20||95|
(1) Departments and Agencies who received a total of 10 MPs/Peers letters or less during 2002 are not shown in this table. Holding or interim replies are not included unless otherwise indicated.
(2) 2002 statistics no longer include interim or holding replies details of which had been included in previous annual reports.
(3) Includes interim or holding replies.
(4) Includes all Ministerial correspondence eg letters from MEPs, Members of devolved legislatures etc.
(5) The performance reflects problems in early part of 2002. DEFRA has taken steps to improve performance. Currently answering 74 per cent. correspondence within targets.
(6) Poor performance was partly due to problems with a new internal tracking system and problems interfacing with the Agencies. Robust action is now taking place to address these problems including the setting up of a new Customer Service Centre to ensure that problems that occurred in 2002 do not happen again. Also includes figures for the Food Standards Agency as such correspondence is replied to by Department of Health Ministers.
(7) The large increase in letters received relating to immigration matters has affected the overall performance. Home Office has made the improvement of performance a high priority with more robust systems being put in place to monitor the progress of correspondence and provide early indications of any outstanding or newly emerging problems, this includes the introduction of a new IT tracking system.
(8) Figures for 2002 are not currently available.
(9) A major restructuring programme has led to a large backlog of correspondence. There has also been a substantial increase in complaints to Ministers. A major recovery programme was launched to deal with this. 89 per cent. of Ministerial correspondence was answered within target by the end of 2002.
(10) Due to problems in meeting the 10 working days target, DTI have raised their target for reply from 10 to 15 working days (in line with majority of other government departments) for correspondence received in 2003. Raising the level to 15 working days will help improve performance to a more acceptable level.