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Sexual Abuse of Minors: Standard of Proof

Baroness Thornton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin): Although the judgment stated that a higher standard of evidence was required if allegations were serious, the civil standard of proof, based on the balance of probabilities, remains unaffected. This judgment was raised during the passage of the Adoption and Children Bill (Official Report, 15/7/02; col. CWH 332). My noble friend Lady Scotland of Asthal subsequently wrote to the noble Earl, Lord Russell, setting out the Government's position, which remains unchanged. A copy of the letter was placed in the House of Lords Library.

House of Lords: Communications Monitoring

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): I refer the noble Lord to the answer in another place by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister to my honourable friend the Member for Thurrock on 30 April 2000, (Official Report, Commons, col. 292).

Entitlement Cards: Stand Website Submissions

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: 5,031 emails have been received via the Stand website in response to the Government's consultation exercise on entitlement cards. They will be counted in the same way as other inspired samples or surveys of opinion which by their nature cannot be representative of the population as a whole. Another example is the response to an ITV Teletext survey which showed 2:1 support for a card scheme.

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Armed Forces: Campaign Medal for Service in Afghanistan

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether campaign medals have been issued to British service personnel who served in Afghanistan.[HL3238]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): The matter of a medal for campaign service in Afghanistan is under discussion, but at this stage it is too early to say what form a medal might take or when it would be instituted.

Defence Storage and Distribution Agency

Lord Burlison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What key targets have been set for the chief executive of the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency for financial year 2003–04.[HL3367]

Lord Bach: The chief executive of the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency has been set the following key targets for 2003–04:

Key Target 1: To meet the customer's requirements as negotiated and agreed in customer supplier agreements. (CSAs)

Key Target 1a: For explosive materiel: to supply 95 per cent available maintained munitions within demand time-scales.

Key Target 1b: 95 per cent of all issues of non-explosive materiel to consumers to meet that element of the supply chain pipeline time (SCPT) for which DSDA has a responsibility.

Within the 95 per cent target, for non-explosive materiel, the following subsidiary targets have been set in CSAs:

99 per cent of issues to meet specified SCPT at standard priority codes 01, 02 and 05

98 per cent of issues to meet specified SCPT at standard priority code 06

97 per cent of issues to meet specified SCPT at standard priority codes 03 and 07

95 per cent of issues to meet specified SCPT at standard priority codes 04 and 08

Key Target 1c: 98 per cent of all receipts that conform to the specifications laid down in the contract and/or material regulations to be processed within time limits agreed with each individual customer.

Key Target 2: To achieve an average 5 per cent reduction in the unit cost of output.

Key Target 3: The value of inventory written off as a result of DSDA's actions to be less than the levels agreed within each customer supplier agreement.

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Key Target 3a: The value of explosive materiel written off as a result of DSDA's action to be less than the value of materiel written off during financial year 2002–03.

Key Target 3b: The value of non-explosive materiel written off as a result of DSDA's action to be less than levels agreed within each specific customer supplier agreement.

Pilot Training

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether consideration has been given to increasing pilot training in areas where the climate might allow training to be completed within a shorter time.[HL3239]

Lord Bach: The RAF has undertaken both basic flying training and on-going flying training overseas with varying results. The RAF's experience has been that initial training is not completed any more quickly than the equivalent training in the United Kingdom, partly because the lack of experience of flying in different weather conditions means that additional training is required when pilots return to the UK. Ongoing non-operational flying is regularly conducted overseas with more success, although additional time is taken travelling to and from the training location.

British Forces Post Office

Lord Burlison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What key targets have been set for the chief executive of the British Forces Post Office for financial year 2003–04.[HL3368]

Lord Bach: The chief executive of the British Forces Post Office Agency has been set the following key targets for 2003–04:

Key Target 1: To meet 95 per cent of the customers' requirements as negotiated and agreed in customer supplier agreements for the transit of defence postal service (DPS) traffic BFPO to the theatre of operations (TOO), front line commands (FLCs) or on board ship.

Key Target 2: To meet 95 per cent of the customers' requirements as negotiated and agreed in customer supplier agreements for the transit of defence mail service traffic from BFPO to customers of defence mail centres.

Key Target 3: To meet 97.5 per cent of the customers' requirements as negotiated and agreed in customer supplier agreements for the transit of defence courier service traffic from BFPO to the customers/TOO.

Key Target 4: To achieve an overall 3 per cent increase in efficiency.

Bill

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Defence Transport and Movements Agency

Lord Burlison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What key targets have been set for the chief executive of the Defence Transport and Movements Agency for financial year 2003–04.[HL3369]

Lord Bach: The chief executive of the Defence Transport and Movements Agency has been set the following key targets for 2003–04:

Key Target 1: To meet the customers' requirements as negotiated and agreed in CSAs to deliver:


    a. 97 per cent or more of Agency transactions and services provided under call-off contracts to be within agreed time, quantity, quality and cost (TQQC) criteria.


    b. At least 92 per cent of transactions against each contract to be within agreed TQQC criteria.

Key Target 2: To reduce the average unit cost of output by 2 per cent in real terms.

y Target 3: To achieve at least a "satisfactory" rating in the provision of operational transport and movements support.

Free and Open Source Software Foundation in Africa

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will consider supporting the Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa, and whether they will draw this initiative to the attention of other member states of the European Union.[HL3263]

The Secretary of State for International Development (Baroness Amos): DfID works in consultation with the Free and Open Source Software Foundation in Africa (FOSSFA) through our partnership for IT in Education (Imfundo) and our Catalysing Access to Internet in Africa (CATIA) programmes. We are currently considering an action plan recently put forward by FOSSFA in the context of our wider involvement in information and communications in developing countries.

We are in discussions with our European partners and others, through the e-envoy about open source development, particularly in the context of the preparations for the World Summit on the Information Society to be held in Geneva between 10 and 12 December 2003.

Middle East and North Africa: UK Contributions to EU Assistance Programmes

Lord Howell of Guildford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will make a continuation of the United Kingdom contribution of 19 per cent of the European Union's assistance programmes for the

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    Middle East and North Africa region conditional on reform and improvement of these programmes.[HL3281]

Baroness Amos: The UK's contribution to the EC budget is governed by treaty and determined by rules set out in the "Own Resources Decision". Such contributions are to the EC budget as a whole, and it is not possible to impose unilateral variations to individual community spending programmes.

Improving the effectiveness of EC aid remains a key objective for DfID. In August 2001, we published a revised strategy for improving the poor performance of the EC's development programme, building on the Commission's own programme of reform launched in 2000. In May of this year, the UK Action Plan for the reform of EC external spending was presented to ECOFIN by the Chancellor. This suggests an acceleration of the reform process.

We recently circulated our draft regional assistance plan for the Middle East and North Africa region for public consultation. This envisages DfID working much more closely with the EC than hitherto, with a view to helping the Commission improve the effectiveness of their development programmes in the region.


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