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Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill: Consultation Papers

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): We are today publishing for consultation draft regulations and policy statements on regional and local planning arrangements, and on development control processes. The regulations and guidance underpin the provisions of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill, currently being debated in another place. They are issued for consultation, subject of course to changes during its passage.

The draft regulations set out detailed procedural matters in relation to regional and local planning matters and development control. We are also publishing draft revised rules for procedures for major infrastructure projects.

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Planning Policy Statement 11 (PPS11), which will supersede PPG11 when the Planning Bill comes into effect, sets out how the regional spatial strategies (RSS) should be prepared and revised under the new statutory framework. In particular it places a new emphasis on community involvement and partnership working, integration with other strategies, making the RSS more regionally specific and on the delivery of policies.

Planning Policy Statement 12 (PPS12) sets out the Government's policy on the preparation of the local development documents that will comprise the local development framework for a local planning authority or for a minerals and waste planning authority. It explains the actions that need to be taken in preparing the local development documents which will deliver the spatial strategy for the area and the new, streamlined arrangements for dealing with the formal stages of the process. It emphasises the need for community involvement and explains how local planning authorities should prepare sound development plan documents which will be independently tested before adoption by the authority.

The Government also published today for consultation draft guidance on development control matters.

The Government will be publishing consultation drafts of other planning policy statements in due course, in particular Planning Policy Statement 1, setting out the principles underlying the planning system in England.

The public consultation on the draft guidance and regulations will run until 16 January. The secondary legislation will be laid before Parliament as soon as possible after the Planning Bill receives Royal Assent. We are planning for both the guidance and secondary legislation to come into effect at commencement of the Act.

Copies of the documents are being placed in the House Library. They will also be available on the website of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Public Guardianship Office: Performance Indicators

Viscount Chandos asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What key performance indicators and targets they have set for the Public Guardianship Office executive agency for 2003–04.[HL4794]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin): I have today set the following key performance indicators and targets for the Public Guardianship Office for 2003–04:

    Key Performance Indicator 1: To increase the satisfaction of its customers in the delivery of its services.

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    To achieve a customer satisfaction rating of at least 50 per cent for both professional and lay receivers, as measured by its annual customer survey.

    Key Performance Indicator 2: To increase the proportion of effective visits by the Lord Chancellor's visitors.


    To maintain a minimum of 6,000 visits per year to include all Receivership Division clients.

    To visit all new receivership clients where the chief executive of the PGO has been appointed receiver of last resort.

    To achieve 75 per cent effective visits over the year.

    Key Performance Indicator 3: To increase the percentage of accounts collected on time and reviewed on time, and to use this process to review the case management regime to ensure that it is meeting the needs of each customer and client.


    To collect 60 per cent of accounts within two calendar months of the accounting end date, 80 per cent within four calendar months of the accounting end date, and 100 per cent within six calendar months of the accounting end date, referring cases to the Court of Protection where necessary or taking other steps to ensure proper accounts are produced on behalf of clients (applies to protection clients only: i.e. those clients who have an external receiver).

    To complete the review of 100 per cent of accounts received or to have requested further information within four weeks (20 working days) of receipt (to apply to both receivership and protection clients).

    Key Performance Indicator 4: To deliver an improved service to clients:


    To respond to 95 per cent of letters, faxes and e-mails within 15 working days of receipt.

    For 95 per cent of requests for release of funds, the PGO will give directions to the Court Funds Office (CFO) or dispatch direction to an external receiver within 10 working days of receipt.

    To dispatch court orders and directions to applicants, receivers or their representatives in 95 per cent of cases within 25 working days of their being made.

    For 95 per cent of complete applications for final directions, the PGO will give directions within 25 working days, to transfer all of clients' assets to personal representatives.

    To register and return 95 per cent of correctly lodged EPAs, where there are no objections within five working days of the end of the statutory waiting period.

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    Key Performance Indicator 5: To demonstrate improvements in efficiency by meeting three financial performance targets:


    To remain within budget.

    To achieve a fee income of £13.1 million.

    To achieve a unit cost per case of not more than £535.

Land Registration Act 2002: Chancel Repair Liability

Viscount Chandos asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they have taken concerning the treatment of chancel repair liability under the Land Registration Act 2002, following the decision of the House of Lords in the case of the Parochial Church Council of Aston Cantlow and Wilmcote with Billesley, Warwickshire v Wallbank.[HL4795]

Lord Filkin: The Government have considered the reversal by the House of Lords of the Court of Appeal's 2001 judgment in Wallbank. My honourable friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, David Lammy, has made a Statement today in another place that a transitional provisions order relating to the status of chancel repair liability was made under the Land Registration Act 2002 on 14 September 2003. The order provides that, for a period of 10 years from the coming into force of the Act on 13 October 2003, chancel repair liability will remain an interest that binds successive owners of land even though it is not protected by an entry in a register kept by the Land Registry. As no land registration fee is payable for applications to protect similar ancient property rights, such as payments in lieu of tithe, Crown rents and manorial rights, the Land Registry intends to waive the fee for applications to protect chancel repair liability for the 10-year period.

Sustainable Food Procurement Initiative

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What representations they have made to the United Kingdom delegation advising the European Commission on any changes necessary to fulfil the aims of Defra's sustainable food procurement initiative.[HL4683]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has worked closely with the Office of Government Commerce to ensure that the UK Government's position on integrating sustainable development objectives with procurement practice has been made known to the European Commission by the UK delegation. The UK Government's position is to

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maintain the current legal and policy framework, which allows public sector bodies to pursue sustainable development through their procurement activities, while also providing that value for money is obtained through purchasing goods and services in a manner that is fair, transparent and non-discriminatory.

Citizens' Information Register

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to create a citizens' information register to bring together the existing information held by the Government and their agents on the citizens of the United Kingdom.[HL4616]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Registrar General, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from the Registrar General, Len Cook, dated 14 October 2003.

As Registrar General for England and Wales, I have been asked to reply to your recent question about a citizens information register. (HL4616).

There is a joint project between HM Treasury and the Office of the Registrar General for England & Wales to examine the feasibility of holding up-to-date contact details (name, address, date of birth and a unique personal number) of everyone in a population register. The intention would be to simplify citizens' life, for example when they move address, and also improve delivery of some public services. This project is called the "citizen information project" (the CIP). An information note about the CIP has been available on the Treasury website and the General Register Office website ( since February 2003 and was updated in August. The project is also mentioned in the latest ONS Annual Report to Parliament (the Registrar General's activities are reported alongside those of the National Statistician) and in a recent review of population estimates. The Annual Report will be examined by the Treasury Select Committee on 15 October.

The feasibility study was presented to Ministers in June 2003 and I will publish it after Ministers have considered it. The report recommends further investigative work, which it is anticipated will last between 15 and 18 months before any final decision is taken. During this period, there would be full public consultation and the preparation of legislation, which would be necessary to create such a register.

Moreover, any proposals that emerge will be fully consistent with data protection and privacy law. Any personal information collected by me, as Registrar General, is subject to confidentiality obligations defined by law. I will publish a study on whether or not

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this project can be done once the appropriate further investigations and consultation have been completed.

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