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Written Answers

Monday 12 January 2015

Access to Work Programme


Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect to publish (1) their current guidance on the Access to Work scheme, and (2) the forthcoming revision of that guidance.[HL3913]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): The staff guidance on the Access to Work scheme is published on gov.uk.

It can be found at the following link:


The Minister for Disabled People set out in a written statement on the 18th December 2014 that we will work with stakeholders to develop further, user-friendly guidance, with the aim of beginning to publish this by the end of March 2015.

Administration of Justice


Asked by Lord Christopher

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many resignations have occurred from 2012 to 2014 among all grades in (1) the Police Service, (2) the Prison Officer Service, and (3) the Probation Service. [HL3846]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): The available information collected centrally appears in the tables below.

Table 1: Number of voluntary resignations in the Police service1, by officer rank and police worker type, England and Wales, 2011/12 to 2013/142

Total Police Officers


Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO)


Chief Superintendent




Chief Inspector








Police Staff


Police Community Support Officer (PCSO)


Designated officer


Traffic Warden


Special Constable


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1. Total police officer leavers by rank and gender are published in the Police Workforce, England and Wales, statistical publications.

Breakdown by leaving type (i.e voluntary resignations) are not regularly published, therefore these figures have not been verified by police forces and are provisional.

2. This table contains full-time equivalent figures that have been rounded to the nearest whole number, with the exception of special constables where they are provided on a headcount basis.

Source: Home Office

Table 2: Number of resignations in the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), National Probation Service (NPS) and Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) resignations, England and Wales, 2012 to 2014
201220132014 (Jan -Sep)3


NOMS (Excluding NPS)1









All figures are rounded to the nearest 10, with numbers ending in 5 rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias. As with all HR databases, extracts are taken at a fixed point in time, to ensure consistency of reporting. However the database itself is dynamic, and where updates to the database are made late, subsequent to the taking of the extract, these updates will not be reflected in figures produced by the extract. For this reason, HR data are unlikely to be precisely accurate, and to present unrounded figures would be to overstate the accuracy of the figures. Rounding to 10 accurately depicts the level of certainty that is held with these figures.

Totals are formed from unrounded parts prior to rounding. For this reason, rounded totals may not equal the sum of their rounded parts.

1. The National Probation Service (NPS) was formed on 1 June 2014 and its staff became civil servants on that date. The NPS is part of NOMS, however figures have been presented separately for NPS

2. Prior to 1 June 2014, Probation Services were provided by probation trusts that managed staffing locally, and no data on resignations from probation trusts are held centrally.

3. Figures are only available up to 30 September 2014, the date of the latest publication.

4. Information provided by CRCs are only available as FTE; otherwise, figures are provided as head count.

5. The number of CRC resignations provided is complete for all CRCs with the exception of Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire CRC. They were only able to provide leaver data for the Gloucestershire and Wiltshire elements of their CRC in certain months (September 2014 for Gloucestershire and August and September 2014 for Wiltshire).

Source: NOMS



Asked by The Marquess of Lothian

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what changes in their defence strategy led to their decision to open a naval base in Bahrain.[HL3629]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): The Ministry of Defence has had a Naval Base in Bahrain since the 1950s; UK mine-hunters are based there and British

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destroyers and frigates in the Gulf are supported from there. Under the new arrangement, signed at the Manama Dialogue, the UK and Bahrain committed to working together to enhance the existing facilities at the port. The agreement reaffirms the UK's and Bahrain's joint determination to maintain regional security and stability in the face of long-standing and emerging regional challenges.

Combined Cadet Force


Asked by Lord Temple-Morris

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the expenditure on the combined cadet force for each of the last 25 years for which figures are available. [HL3869]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): For the vast majority of requested years, the information required to verify expenditure on the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, extensive work was carried out for the Defence Youth Engagement Review (published in 2011) which confirmed that spending on the CCF in Financial Year (FY) 2009-10 was £26 million. Further analysis, undertaken as part of our recent work on CCF funding, confirmed that spending in FY 2012-13 was £27.7 million.

Electoral Register


Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the cost per application for each of the Cabinet Office voter registration Innovation Fund projects. [HL3943]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): The cost of application to the Cabinet Office innovation fund projects is a matter for the individual organisations.

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to (1) celebrate, and (2) support, National Voter Registration Day on 5 February.[HL3944]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Government is supportive of organisations and initiatives that promote democratic engagement and voter registration including National Voter Registration Day.

Floods: Somerset


Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many households that had to evacuate their homes on the Somerset levels because of flooding in the winter of 2013–14 have not been able to return.[HL3120]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): My Department does not collect data on evacuation numbers.

However, I would point my noble Friend to the flood recovery progress report placed in the Library further to my Written Ministerial Statement of 27 November 2014, Official Report, Column WS51. It explains the broader challenges faced by a small number of properties with repairing major structural damage, asbestos and sewage contamination, over and above flooding.

Forced Marriage


Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they collect data on the number of British girls sent abroad to marry each year; and if they do not collect such data, what they are doing to assess the scale of such activity.[HL3493]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) was established in 2005 to lead on the government’s forced marriage policy, outreach and casework. The FMU operates both inside the UK, where support is provided to any individual, and overseas, where consular assistance is provided to British nationals, including dual nationals. In 2013, the FMU gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage in 1302 cases.

It should be noted that cases include people or groups of people thought to be at potential risk of future forced marriage, those currently going through a forced marriage and those who have already been forced to marry. This statistic includes all initial contacts with the FMU via the helpline or by email relating to a new case.

Government Departments: Work Experience


Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many internships are offered by each government department. [HL3963]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): Data is not held centrally on internships offered by individual Departments; however a number of internship programmes are run centrally by Civil Service Resourcing. Details of these programmes and the targeted groups are listed online.



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Asked by Baroness Gardner of Parkes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action long-term tenants and leaseholders can take in the case of (1) illegally short-let properties in their block, and (2) over-occupation of small flats. [HL3864]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): Where a property is believed to be being sub-let illegally, including where an occupation limit is specified for the property which is being exceeded, tenants or leaseholders in the block should familiarise themselves with their tenancy or lease to determine what rights, responsibilities and obligations exist, and consider referring the matter to their landlord to take any remedial action that may be necessary in the first instance.

Where a resident is concerned that a social housing tenancy has been illegally sub-let, they should report the matter to their local council to ask them to investigate the potential social housing fraud.

Councils have a range of powers over housing standards, including unsafe or over-crowded accommodation. These are laid out in our guide for local authorities on dealing with rogue landlords.


Residents should report such matters to the council if they are concerned about potential breaches.

Asked by Baroness Gardner of Parkes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action tenants living in flats which are part of a divided house can take where the relationship between tenants and leaseholders has broken down.[HL3865]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: Where relations between tenants and leaseholders break down, which cannot otherwise be resolved amicably or by alternative dispute resolution, leaseholders are protected by the terms of their lease and the rights, obligations and responsibilities therein. These may include requiring the landlord to enforce the terms of the lease or tenancy in accordance with any obligations that they may have to do so.

Military Aircraft


Asked by Lord Chidgey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what analysis has been conducted to investigate the potential interoperability between NATO Maritime Patrol Aircraft, available in 2019, and the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier and its F-35B Lightning II aircraft.[HL3801]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): A Key User Requirement for the Queen Elizabeth Class platforms is to be able to integrate with all elements of Joint/Combined Forces. The F35B's communication systems will facilitate cooperation with a number of different aircraft types, including NATO Maritime Patrol Aircraft, such as the P3C, P8 and Atlantique II.

Ministers: Correspondence


Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether Government Ministers routinely acknowledge written communications from members of Parliament, including emails; and if not, why not.[HL3961]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): Guidance on handling correspondence from Members of Parliament, Peers, MEPs and Members of devolved Administrations is available online.

The guidance states that:

“Individual departments' targets for routine correspondence from MPs should be a maximum of 20 working days. Departments should consider setting themselves more challenging targets”.'

The guidance adds that, when delays occur, Departments should:

Ensure all correspondence is responded to as quickly as possible, keeping the MP informed at all times”.'

Departments should apply the same standards when dealing with correspondence from Peers.


Social Security Benefits: Fraud


Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the quality of service and value-for-money provided by Capita in operating the National Benefit Fraud Hotline.[HL3894]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): The National Benefit Fraud Hotline is one of 10 service lines delivered by Capita on behalf of DWP as part of the Network Services Directorate Call Off. There are multiple performance requirements within the contract to assure DWP that Capita are delivering a quality value for money service, the key ones being that Capita answer 90% of customer calls offered to them, and that they maintain a quality score of 89% for these calls against key quality criteria. These requirements are consistent with those in in-house DWP contact centres.

Capita are consistently achieving both of the above metrics with calls answered scores as high as 98% and quality scores as high as 97% in recent weeks.

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DWP regularly audit the Capita quality team and undertake activities to ensure that scoring is in alignment with that of DWP.

Sports: Disability


Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they have introduced to make sports facilities more widely accessible to young people with disabilities. [HL3941]

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Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): Since 2012 Sport England has made disability sport a key part of its strategy. The organisation is currently investing over £171 million to get more disabled people playing sport, including over £47 million to make sports facilities more accessible. Through its Get Equipped fund, Sport England has invested £1.15 million into 141 local sports clubs to purchase disability equipment. All of Sport England’s major capital investments are required to make their facilities accessible. To support designers, building owners and operators create accessible facilities Sport England publishes online tools and guidance. This is available at: https://www.sportengland.org/facilities-planning/tools-guidance/design-and-cost-guidance/accessible-sports-facilities/