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Mr. Challen: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what steps her Department is taking to encourage staff to work from home; and how many staff do so on a regular basis. 
Any individual may seek to work from home for personal reasons, and staff are encouraged to make out a business case by using comprehensive guidance, available electronically, to consider feasible options. The department will support staff with the necessary equipment within the home environment where appropriate.
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what progress has been made in the establishment of the Commission for Judicial Appointments since the first Commissioner was appointed in March. 
Mr. Wills: I am pleased to tell the House that Her Majesty yesterday made Orders in Council appointing seven new Deputy Commissioners to assist Sir Colin Campbell, the First Commissioner for Judicial Appointments, in conducting an ongoing audit of the appointments procedures for judges and Queen's Counsel. The remit of the Commission also extends to investigating individual complaints about the way these procedures are applied. The Deputy Commissioners are:
Sir Duncan Nichol
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Kali Mountford: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what progress has been made towards the implementation of the recommendations made in the Quinquennial Review of Her Majesty's Land Registry. 
HM Land Registry is committed to providing the world's best service for guaranteeing ownership of land, and for facilitating property-related transactions. As a fourth time Charter Mark winner, the Land Registry already delivers excellent service to its customers. Further improvement to its internal operations recommended by the review are being pursued vigorously. By bringing forward this wider work programme, the Land Registry can, with the help of other Government Departments and stakeholders, develop innovative and customer-focused services for an even better service.
expand the geographic coverage and content of the land register;
explore ways in which the land register can contribute to making the property markets more efficient and more transparent;
consider the business case for providing further advisory services relating to land registration by 2003; and
launch a new independent adjudication service for land registration disputes in 2003.
I and ministerial colleagues in other Departments with responsibility for land and property markets will monitor the delivery of the programme closely. We will also review the arrangements for consultation across and between Government and those involved in these markets.
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of the money her Department spends multilaterally in the Palestinian territories goes towards furthering peace and security in the region. 
Clare Short: Our multilateral contributions comprise: £25 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) for Palestinian refugees; 5 per cent. of the World bank's resources; and approximately 19 per cent. of the European Commission's aid budget. All of these
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efforts are designed to contribute to the peace process by helping to build capacity in the Palestinian Authority and to help meet the basic needs of the local population.
Clare Short: Our overall aim is to help promote peace, stability and economic and social development. The UK's bilateral inputs are designed in the broader context of the overall international effort. We work increasingly through World Bank and European Commission channels. The objectives for the UK programme are to support the middle east peace process through capacity building and institutional development for the Palestinian Authority; and to help meet basic human needs, through delivery of health and education services.
Poverty in the west bank and Gaza Strip has increased during the current crisis. Estimates suggest that the poverty rate has risen during this period from 21 per cent. to 35 per cent. The Palestinian economy shrank by 8.2 per cent. in 2000, while unemployment has risen sharply from a low of 10 per cent. in September 2000 to current levels of over 28 per cent. We have allocated additional resources to deal with the current emergency. We are targeting areas known to be major causes of poverty including unemployment, and lack of access to basic services and water and sanitation.
In 200102, we have increased our bilateral allocation from £8 million to £14 million. In addition, we have contributed £25 million this calendar year to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) for education, health, relief and social services to Palestinian refugees in the west bank and Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what financial assistance her Department is providing to revive the Inter-Congolese dialogue aimed at ending the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 
Clare Short: We have provided £525,000 this year in financial support for the Inter-Congolese Dialogue. This consists of a contribution to the costs of staging the Dialogue and support to the Facilitator's Office. The Dialogue is due to reconvene in South Africa early next year. We will actively consider the possibility of any further assistance as needs become clearer closer to the time.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action her Department is taking, in co-operation with other Departments to promote the peace effort in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 
Clare Short: HMG continue to press all parties to honour their commitments which they have made under the Lusaka Peace Accord. Progress on Lusaka is the key to making progress towards peace in DRC. We are providing support to the Facilitator's Office of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue and has been quick to offer support to take forward opportunities on Disarmament,
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Demobilisation, and Reintegration (DDR) activities in DRC. These are both key elements of the Lusaka Accord. We are also supporting gross roots peace-building initiatives in the east of the country and a nationwide radio infrastructure project to assist the Congolese people in keeping up-to-date with developments in the peace process.
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the measures taken by her Department to encourage free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. 
Clare Short: DFID has provided support for civic education programmes and for the training of independent national electoral monitors through local non-governmental organisations. However, recent Zimbabwe Government proposals to exclude civil society from supporting election processes may restrict this work and further undermine international confidence. The EU and Commonwealth are continuing to urge an early invitation to international election observers to create a climate conducive to free and fair elections.
Clare Short: We are currently preparing a guide for staff and their managers on the range of flexible working options available in DFID, including working from home. My Department has approved medium and long-term plans to introduce worldwide remote access for all staff that need it. Our records show that over 500 staff worldwide are currently able to dial into our information technology systems from home. We are currently gathering information on how many of these staff work from home regularly.
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