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The Solicitor-General [holding answer 26 March 2002]: The Treasury Solicitor's Department carries out legal work for other Departments, such as the Ministry of Defence, on a full cost recovery basis. While substantial work has been done by the Treasury Solicitor's Department in relation to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, in so far as that work is directly connected with the Inquiry, the cost will be recovered, or has been recovered, from the client Department or Departments represented.
The Attorney General and staff at the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers have been involved in one matter relating to the Bloody sunday Inquiry since 23 January 2002 which concerned the scope of the undertaking given to witnesses appearing before the Inquiry. Such advice forms part of the usual work of the Department and the cost cannot be separately assessed.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Solicitor-General what recent assessment she has made of whether the PSA target for the Treasury Solicitor's Department to achieve a reduction in average unit costs per chargeable hour in Litigation Division in real terms will be met by March. 
The Solicitor-General [holding answer 10 April 2002]: My own Department, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, and the Treasury Solicitor's Department, share a single press officer who also acts as Private Secretary to the Attorney General. In relation to those two Departments the answer is (a) one; and (b) one.
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On 1 May 1997 there were 5.5 press officers in the Crown Prosecution Service press office. A Head of Communications post was created later that year. In April 2002 there were four press officers and a Head of Communications.
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(b) members of the public about the service from her Department for each of the last 36 months; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The records kept centrally by the Lord Chancellor's Department of correspondence received from hon. Members in each of the last 36 months do not distinguish those which are complaints. This information which is available is set out in Table A. More detailed information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
The statistics available for complaints by members of the public for each of the last three calendar years, and from 1 April 2001 to 31 December 2001, are set out in Table B. Statistics for the courts as a whole are not held centrally and again could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
|199899||19992000||200001||1 April 2001 to 31 December 2001|
|Public Trust Office(12)||(13)||(13)||144|||
|Public Guardianship Office(14)||||||||93|
|Public Record Office||0||1||1||0|
(12) The Public Trust Office ceased to exist on 31 March 2001.
(13) Not available.
(14) The Public Guardianship Office was created on 1 April 2001.
|199899||19992000||200001||1 April 2001 to 31 December 2001|
|Lord Chancellor's Department HQ||(15)||9||6||2|
|Public Trust Office(16)||(15)||(15)||344|||
|Public Guardianship Office(17)||||||||492|
|Public Record Office||128||80||76||35|
(15) Not available.
(16) The Public Trust Office ceased to exist on 31 March 2001.
(17) The Public Guardianship Office was created on 1 April 2001.
The Prime Minister: We have already placed some evidence concerning Iraq's programmes in the Library of the House. When the time is right, we shall release further material, including the threat posed by the development of weapons of mass destruction.
The Government believe it important that we should divulge as much information to the public as we can without prejudicing sensitive sources, including intelligence reporting. It has been the practice of successive Governments not to comment on intelligence matters.
Mr. Collins: To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he discussed (a) human rights in Egypt, (b) progress towards democracy in Egypt and (c) the state of social inequality in Egypt with President Mubarak in December 2001; 
(2) when his meeting with the President of Egypt in December 2001 was arranged; 
(3) if he discussed (a) UK and (b) EU overseas aid programmes to Egypt during his meeting with President Mubarak in December 2001. 
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Mr. Keith Bradley: The commission's projections are based on performance over a rolling 12-month period, projected forward over the coming 12 months. The table shows the annual case completions since 31 March 1997, when the commission started case working. The commission began by working almost exclusively on the Home Office and Northern Ireland Office transfers. Stage 1 eligibility review was developed during 199798, and the Stage 2 Screen process was introduced in May 1999, following development as a pilot process between August 1998 and April 1999. The Stage 2 Screen has allowed the commission to complete about 1,000 cases in 19992000, 1,100, in 200001 and 1,200 in 200102. The number of cases waiting in trays has been reduced from a maximum of 1,208 cases in May 1999 to about 330 by 31 March 2002.
|Completions||Completions(18)||Under review||In trays|
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Criminal Cases Review Commission has taken to enhance public confidence in the criminal justice system; and how it measures its progress. 
Mr. Keith Bradley: The commission publishes an annual report that provides an account of its activities. Since 31 March 2002 will mark completion of the commission's first five years of casework, the 200102 report will summarise the progress made over this period, and highlight some of the most significant case referrals.
In July 1997, the commission organised a meeting at which a number of stakeholders expressed their views on miscarriages and how to conduct effective case reviews. Another such meeting is being planned for 2003. In addition the chairman and chief executive will be appearing before the Home Affairs Committee on 30 April 2003.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Criminal Cases Review Commission has taken to promote the public's understanding of its role; and how it measures its progress. 
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Mr. Keith Bradley: The commission has taken a number of measures to promote the public's understanding of its role. These include: the revision of its Information Pack in the light of its growing experience; the expansion and monitoring of its website; and the publication of its annual report, which summarises progress and highlights the most significant referrals. It also held a meeting at which a number of stakeholders expressed their views on miscarriages of justice and how to conduct effective case reviews. Another such meeting is planned for next year. The commission has no reliable index of progress to improve public understanding of its role.
courts of appeal (as recipients of referrals);
The Court of Appeal (as a referring body);
my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary (Mr. Blunkett) (in relation to Her Majesty's Prerogative of Mercy);
the Criminal Justice System and its agencies; and
the Government represented by my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Home Department (Mr. Blunkett) and Northern Ireland (Dr. Reid).
Mr. Keith Bradley: About 30 per cent. of the applications to the Commission are found to be ineligible at Stage 1. During 200102, the Process Improvement Project (PIP) 1 recommended several actions to reduce this proportion, particularly improved communications, and further encouragement to prospective applicants to seek legal advice.
The time to review cases at Stage 1, Stage 2 Screen and Stages 23 depends on such factors as the availability of files and other materials, timeliness of responses from applicants and their advisers, and delays in obtaining expert reports. PIP 2 has been concerned with minimising these delays. In that regard, the Government announced
16 Apr 2002 : Column 863W
on 5 March 2001 that a £350,000 joint proposal from the commission and the Court of Appeal (to the Invest to Save scheme) for the electronic transfer of files had been successful. Work is still in progress on this project.
A goal for 200102 was to minimise the case accumulation at Stage 2 Screen. This will be achieved by 31 March 2002, or soon afterwards, and will be followed by reorganisation of Stage 2 Screen for steady-state operation. In future, some Stage 2 Screen cases will be distributed to case review managers outside the Stage 2 Screen group, to optimise their case portfolios.
During 200001, the commission implemented a computerised case management information (Vectus) and completed the necessary data migration. Since 1 April 2001, the benefits (of improved case management, with greatly reduced labour in tracking the progress of individual cases and in presenting casework statistics) have begun to flow.
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