Written statements

Government Ministers and a small number of other Members of the two Houses can make a written statement to one or both Houses.

Written statements are published below shortly after receipt in Parliament. They also reproduced in the next edition of the Daily Report and of Hansard in the relevant House.

Written statements made before 17 November 2014 were published only in Hansard:

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WS
Leader of the House of Lords
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (The Lord Privy Seal)
Lords

Questions for Written Answer - 2015/16 session

In line with the practice established by my predecessor in the last session I am today publishing data on departmental performance in answering Questions for Written Answer for the 2015/16 session.

Written questions are an important way in which Members hold the Government to account, and the House has agreed that they should be answered within 10 working days (Procedure Committee, 3rd Report, Session 2009-10). I take very seriously my responsibility as Leader of the House to ensure that responses are timely and accurate. I am pleased, therefore, that overall 93% of Questions for Written Answer were answered within 10 working days in the last session. Although there was a 40% increase in the number of questions tabled compared to the 2014/15 session, the proportion of timely responses has also increased by 2%.

I will continue to publish data on an annual basis to allow for proper scrutiny of departmental performance and to allow analysis over time.

Due to size constraints, full details are set out in the attached table.

Questions for Written Answer - 2015/16 session (Excel SpreadSheet, 9.78 KB)
WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Minister of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

Post-Council Written Ministerial Statement-Informal Competitiveness Council 18-19 July

The Informal Competitiveness Council, chaired by the Slovak Presidency, took place in Bratislava on 18–19 July 2016. Baroness Neville-Rolfe represented the UK on day one (internal market and industry) with David Wilson, Deputy Director, International Knowledge and Innovation Directorate, on day two (research)There were major contributions from Günther Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society on the digital economy, and by Peter Ziga, the Slovak Economy Minister on the priorities of the Slovak Presidency, including the Digital Single Market and principles of better regulation. In a break out session on digital skills, the UK highlighted the importance of working on digital skills in schools, in the workplace and in society, and of bridging the gap on expert skills. The UK confirmed that it would continue to play a full and constructive role in the Council while it remained a member of the EU.

On the second day, Member States supported the general principles of the declaration to support young researchers. The UK underlined the value of increased cooperation, but also the need to respect the autonomy of national education systems. Collaboration and regulatory simplification were among the issues that were strongly supported in creating an ecosystem to support innovative SMEs. The UK joined a number of member states in emphasising the importance of further simplification of support programmes and following up on existing commitment to create a more innovation friendly environment.





This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS103
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Lord Nash (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools)
Lords

Higher Education Student Finance

My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Universities and Science (Joseph Johnson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today announcing student finance arrangements for higher education students undertaking a course of study in the 2017/18 academic year beginning in August 2017.

Teaching Excellence Framework.

As stated in the Government’s White Paper “Success as a Knowledge Economy: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice”, published on 16 May 2016, from 2016/17 the Government is introducing a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) to provide clear information to students about where the best provision can be found and to drive up the standard of teaching in all higher education providers.

In Year One of TEF (2016/17), all higher education providers who have met the eligibility criteria set out in the Government’s White Paper will receive a rating of Meets Expectations. This TEF award will carry financial incentives, as detailed below, for 2017/18 which will last for one year only. A provisional list of providers achieving this rating in Year One was published on 07 July 2016 on Gov.uk[1].

The following sections provide details on the maximum tuition fee and fee loan caps in 2017/18 for higher education courses at providers that have been awarded a rating of Meets Expectations in TEF Year One (2016/17).

Tuition fees and fee loans for full-time higher education courses.

For all new students and eligible continuing students who started their full-time courses on or after 1 September 2012 and are undertaking courses at publicly funded higher education providers that have achieved a TEF rating of Meets Expectations, maximum tuition fee caps will be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) in 2017/18. For publicly funded providers that have achieved a TEF rating of Meets Expectations and have an access agreement with the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), the maximum tuition fee cap for full-time courses will be £9,250 in 2017/18. For publicly funded providers that have achieved a TEF rating of Meets Expectations but do not have an access agreement with OFFA, the maximum tuition fee cap for full-time courses will be £6,165 in 2017/18. For publicly funded providers that have not achieved a TEF rating of Meets Expectations, maximum tuition fee caps for full-time courses in 2017/18 will be £9,000 and £6,000, the same as in 2016/17.

Maximum fee loans for all new students and eligible continuing students who started their full-time courses at publicly funded providers on or after 1 September 2012 will be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) to £9,250.

Maximum tuition fee and fee loan caps for students undertaking a work placement year of a Sandwich course either in the UK or abroad will remain at 20% of the maximum applicable full-time fee and fee loan caps in 2017/18. Maximum tuition fee and fee loan caps for students undertaking an Erasmus study or work placement year or a period of study at an overseas provider that is not an Erasmus year will remain at 15% of the maximum applicable full-time fee and fee loans in 2017/18.

For continuing students who started their full-time courses before September 2012, maximum tuition fee and fee loan caps at publicly funded providers in 2017/18 will be £3,465, the same as in 2016/17.

Tuition fees and fee loans for part-time higher education courses.

For all new students and eligible continuing students who started their part-time courses on or after 1 September 2012 and are undertaking courses at publicly funded higher education providers that have achieved a TEF rating of Meets Expectations, maximum tuition fee caps will be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) in 2017/18. For publicly funded providers that have achieved a TEF rating of Meets Expectations and have an access agreement with OFFA, the maximum part-time tuition fee cap will be £6,935 in 2017/18. For publicly funded providers that have achieved a TEF rating of Meets Expectations, but do not have an access agreement with OFFA, the maximum part-time tuition fee cap will be £4,625 in 2017/18. For publicly funded providers that have not achieved a TEF rating of Meets Expectations, the maximum tuition fee caps for part-time courses in 2017/18 will be £6,750 and £4,500, the same as in 2016/17.

Maximum fee loans for all new students and eligible continuing students who started their part-time courses at publicly funded providers on or after 1 September 2012 will be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) to £6,935.

Tuition fee loans for higher education courses at private providers.

For all new students and eligible continuing students who started their full-time courses on or after 1 September 2012 and are undertaking courses at private higher education providers that have achieved a TEF rating of Meets Expectations, the maximum fee loan will be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) to £6,165 in 2017/18. For private providers that have not achieved a TEF rating of Meets Expectations, the maximum fee loan for full-time courses will be £6,000, the same as in 2016/17.

For all new students and eligible continuing students who started their part-time courses on or after 1 September 2012 and are undertaking courses at private providers that have achieved a rating of Meets Expectations, the maximum fee loan will be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) to £4,625 in 2017/18. For private providers that have not achieved a TEF rating of Meets Expectations, the maximum fee loan for part-time courses in 2017/18 will be £4,500, the same as in 2016/17.

Loans for living costs for new full-time students and continuing full-time students starting their courses on or after 1 August 2016.

Maximum loans for living costs for new full-time students and eligible continuing full-time students starting their courses on or after 1 August 2016 will be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) in 2017/18.

For students living away from home and studying outside London, the maximum loan for living costs for 2017/18 will be £8,430. I can confirm that the equivalent loan rates for students living away from home and studying in London will be £11,002; for those living in the parental home during their studies, £7,097; and for those studying overseas as part of their UK course, £9,654.

Loans for living costs for new full-time students and continuing full-time students starting their courses on or after 1 August 2016 who are entitled to certain benefits.

Maximum loans for living costs for new full-time students and eligible continuing full-time students starting their courses on or after 1 August 2016 and who are entitled to benefits will be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) in 2017/18.

For students who are entitled to benefits who are living away from home and studying outside London, the maximum loan for living costs for 2017/18 will be £9,609. I can confirm that the equivalent loan rates for students who qualify for benefits who are living away from home and studying in London will be £11,998; for those living in the parental home during their studies, £8,372; and for those studying overseas as part of their UK course, £10,746.

Loans for living costs for new full-time students and continuing full-time students starting their courses on or after 1 August 2016 who are age 60 or over at the start of their course.

The maximum loan for living costs in 2017/18 for new full-time students and eligible continuing full-time students starting their courses on or after 1 August 2016 who are age 60 or over on the first day of the first academic year of their course, will be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) to £3,566.

Maintenance grants and special support grants for full-time students who started their courses before 1 August 2016.

The maximum maintenance grant and special support grant for eligible continuing full-time students who started their courses on or after 1 September 2012 but before 1 August 2016, will be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) in 2017/18 to £3,482.

The maximum maintenance grant and special support grant for eligible continuing full-time students who started their courses before 1 September 2012, will be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) in 2017/18 to £3,197.

Loans for living costs for full-time students who started their courses before 1 August 2016.

Maximum loans for living costs for eligible students who started their courses on or after 1 September 2012 but before 1 August 2016, will be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) in 2017/18.

For students who are living away from home and studying outside London, the maximum loan for living costs will be £6,043. I can confirm that the equivalent loan rates for students living away from home and studying in London will be £8,432; for those living in the parental home during their studies, £4,806; and for those studying overseas as part of their UK course, £7,180.

Maximum loans for living costs for eligible students who started their courses before 1 September 2012 will be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) in 2017/18.

For students who started their courses before 1 September 2012 and are living away from home while studying outside London, the maximum loan for living costs will be £5,440. I can confirm that the equivalent loan rates for students living away from home and studying in London will be £7,611; for those living in the parental home during their studies, £4,217; and for those studying overseas as part of their UK course, £6,475.

Long Courses Loans.

The maximum long courses (living costs) loans for new and continuing students who are attending full-time courses that are longer than 30 weeks and 3 days during the academic year will be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) in 2017/18.

Dependants’ grants.

Maximum amounts for dependants’ grants (adult dependants’ grant, childcare grant and parents’ learning allowance) will be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) in 2017/18 for all new and continuing full-time students.

The maximum adult dependants’ grant payable in 2017/18 will be increased to £2,834. The maximum childcare grant payable in 2017/18, which covers 85% of actual childcare costs up to a specified limit, will be increased to £159.59 per week for one child only and £273.60 per week for two or more children. The maximum parents’ learning allowance payable in 2017/18 will be increased to £1,617.

Part-time grants and loans.

For those students who started part-time and full-time distance learning courses before 1 September 2012 and who are continuing their courses in 2017/18, maximum fee and course grants will be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) in 2017/18. Maximum fee grants will be increased to £879, £1,054 or £1,321, depending on the intensity of study of the course. Maximum course grants will be increased to £288.

Disabled Students’ Allowance.

Maximum grants for full-time and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate students with disabilities will be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) in 2017/18.

Student support for part-time students starting a second degree course in STEM subjects.

Most students who hold a higher education qualification are currently not entitled to apply for additional fee loan for a second course if that course leads to a qualification that is equivalent or lower in level (ELQ) than their previous Higher Education qualification.

The Government has previously relaxed ELQ rules in order to help people who already hold an honours degree qualification but who wish to retrain in some science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. Students studying second degree courses on a part-time basis can already apply for fee loans for part-time second degree courses in engineering, technology or computer science.

I can confirm today that ELQ rules are being further relaxed to allow students wishing to start a second honours degree course on a part-time basis from 1 August 2017 onwards to apply for fee loans towards degree courses in the following additional STEM subjects: subjects allied to medicine; biological sciences; veterinary sciences, agriculture and related subjects; physical sciences and mathematical sciences.

Student support for new students starting courses in nursing, midwifery and the allied health professions on or after 1 August 2017.

I can confirm today that from 1 August 2017, all new undergraduate nursing, midwifery and allied health professional students on pre-registration courses will receive support for fee loans and living costs through the standard student support system, rather than through course fees and NHS bursaries for living costs paid by Health Education England (HEE). These students will therefore be subject to the same general student finance arrangements that apply to other undergraduate students in 2017/18.

I can also confirm today that students already holding an honours degree who want to start a second honours degree course in nursing, midwifery and the allied health professions from 1 August 2017 onwards will be able to apply for fee loans and living costs support for their course.

Further details on the undergraduate student package and support arrangements for postgraduate pre-registration nursing, midwifery and allied health professional students from 1 August 2017 onwards will be set out in the Government’s consultation response which is being published in due course.

These changes will enable universities to provide up to 10,000 additional nursing, midwifery and allied health training places by 2020, giving more applicants the opportunity to become a health professional.

Student support for armed forces personnel serving overseas and their families.

Students who are undertaking a full-time or part-time distance learning course with a UK provider qualify for loans, and where applicable, disabled students’ allowance if they were undertaking their courses in England on the first day of the first academic year of their course and are living in the UK. Students do not qualify for support for a distance learning course if they are undertaking their course outside the UK. This rule currently places armed forces personnel serving overseas and their families who wish to undertake a higher education course by distance learning at a disadvantage as a result of their service.

I can confirm today, that from 1 August 2017, UK armed forces personnel serving overseas, and family members living with them will, for the first time, qualify for fee loans for full-time and part-time undergraduate distance learning courses with UK providers. They will also qualify for postgraduate master’s loans for full-time and part-time master’s degree distance learning courses with UK providers. Those students with disabilities will qualify for disabled students’ allowance. This change will apply to students starting or continuing distance learning courses in 2017/18.

I expect to lay regulations implementing changes to student finance for undergraduates and postgraduates for 2017/18 later this year which will be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny. More details of the 2017/18 fees and student support package will be published by my Department in due course.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teaching-excellence-framework-year-1-list-of-eligible-providers

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS117
WS
Department of Health
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Lord Prior of Brampton (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)
Lords

Healthcare Education

My hon. Friend the Minister of State for Health has made the following written statement:

I am publishing today, following a twelve week public consultation, a government response on how we will implement the healthcare education funding reforms. A copy is attached.

The reforms, which are for England only, will mean that from 1 August 2017, all new undergraduate nursing, midwifery and allied health professional students on pre-registration courses will receive their student support through the standard student support system for fee loans and living costs support, rather than course fees and NHS bursaries for living costs paid by Health Education England. These students will therefore be subject to the same general student finance arrangements that apply to other undergraduate students in 2017/18.

Overall, the government response will set out that the majority of these students, including those with children, will have access to more funds under the student loans system while at university; they will have access to at least 25% more living cost support and we are making additional offers on childcare, travel, dual accommodation and provision, in appropriate circumstances, for exceptional hardship funding.

The government response also sets out transitional arrangements for pre-registration part time students, pre-registration postgraduate courses and dental hygiene and therapy courses applicable for new students commencing their studies in the academic year 2017/18.

The changes will mean we are able to accept more applicants for pre-registration nursing, midwifery and allied health degree courses who get the right grades than we have in the past. Currently two thirds of people who apply to university to become a nurse are not offered a place for training.

We have responded to feedback from key stakeholders, who took part in a constructive consultation, by providing extra funding to help cover additional expenses like travel and more support for students with children. We will work with nursing bodies, universities, hospitals and other partners in taking this forward.

These changes are only part of our plan to expand the NHS workforce – we are also opening up new routes into nursing support roles through apprenticeships for example, the new Nursing Associate role to widen access further to these professions. The Government is determined to ensure the NHS can adapt to the changing needs of our population, train more nurses in England and reduce the reliance on agency and overseas staff

Government Response (PDF Document, 415.52 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS126
WS
Leader of the House of Lords
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (The Lord Privy Seal)
Lords

Machinery of Government Change

My Rt Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made the following statement to the House of Commons:

This written ministerial statement confirms the following Machinery of Government change.

The functions of the Office for Civil Society (OCS) have been transferred from the Cabinet Office to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The transfer will include responsibility for youth policy and the National Citizen Service. It will integrate OCS’s work to grow a stronger civil society with DCMS’s existing work to enrich lives. It will also simplify sponsorship responsibilities for the lottery providers.

OCS will continue its cross-government work in support of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector and their important contribution to public services and the social economy; and its work to promote social and community action, social investment, mission-led business and mutuals.

OCS’s functions relating to policy innovation (the Policy Lab) will remain in the Cabinet Office.

A Cabinet Office note setting out further detail on this change has been placed in the Library of both Houses.

WS
Department of Health
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Mr Philip Dunne (Minister of State)
Commons

Healthcare Education

I am publishing today, following a twelve week public consultation, a government response on how we will implement the healthcare education funding reforms. A copy is attached.

The reforms, which are for England only, will mean that from 1 August 2017, all new undergraduate nursing, midwifery and allied health professional students on pre-registration courses will receive their student support through the standard student support system for fee loans and living costs support, rather than course fees and NHS bursaries for living costs paid by Health Education England. These students will therefore be subject to the same general student finance arrangements that apply to other undergraduate students in 2017/18.

Overall, the government response will set out that the majority of these students, including those with children, will have access to more funds under the student loans system while at university; they will have access to at least 25% more living cost support and we are making additional offers on childcare, travel, dual accommodation and provision, in appropriate circumstances, for exceptional hardship funding.

The government response also sets out transitional arrangements for pre-registration part time students, pre-registration postgraduate courses and dental hygiene and therapy courses applicable for new students commencing their studies in the academic year 2017/18.

The changes will mean we are able to accept more applicants for pre-registration nursing, midwifery and allied health degree courses who get the right grades than we have in the past. Currently two thirds of people who apply to university to become a nurse are not offered a place for training.

We have responded to feedback from key stakeholders, who took part in a constructive consultation, by providing extra funding to help cover additional expenses like travel and more support for students with children. We will work with nursing bodies, universities, hospitals and other partners in taking this forward.

These changes are only part of our plan to expand the NHS workforce – we are also opening up new routes into nursing support roles through apprenticeships for example, the new Nursing Associate role to widen access further to these professions. The Government is determined to ensure the NHS can adapt to the changing needs of our population, train more nurses in England and reduce the reliance on agency and overseas staff

Government Response (PDF Document, 415.52 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS125
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Mr Tobias Ellwood (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Corrections to Parliamentary Questions and Westminster Hall Debates

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has recently reviewed all correspondence and parliamentary proceedings on the subject of allegations of breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL) in Yemen by the Saudi-led Coalition. During this exercise it became clear that the drafting of answers to four written questions and two responses given in debates relating to allegations of breaches of IHL did not fully reflect HMG’s policy as set out in numerous other written questions and debates on this topic. I would like to clarify these.

The responses given on 12 February to Question 24770 (http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-01-28/24770/) and on 15 February to Questions 24769 (http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-01-28/24769/) and 24771 (http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-01-28/24771/) stated “we have assessed that there has not been a breach of IHL by the coalition”. However, these should have stated, as in previous PQs such as 27085 answered on 24 February, “we have not assessed that there has been a breach of IHL by the coalition”.

The response given on 4 January to Question 15523 (http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2015-11-09/15523/) stated “I regularly review the situation with my own advisers and have discussed it on numerous occasions with my Saudi counterpart. Our judgement is that there is no evidence that IHL has been breached, but we shall continue to review the situation regularly”. However, this should have stated “I regularly review the situation with my own advisers and have discussed it on numerous occasions with my Saudi counterpart. Looking at all the information available to us, we have been unable to assess that there has been a breach of IHL by the Saudi-led Coalition. The situation is kept under careful and continual review”.

During the Westminster Hall debate on Human Rights and Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia on 8 June (HC Deb, col WH138), the former Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr Lidington) said, “In respect of the allegations about breaches of international humanitarian law, the Ministry of Defence makes assessments of how the Saudis are acting and whether the coalition is observing international human rights obligations. The MOD assessment is that the Saudi-led coalition is not targeting civilians that Saudi processes and procedures have been put in place to ensure respect for the principles of international humanitarian law; and that the Saudis both have been and continue to be genuinely committed to compliance with international humanitarian law.” This should have said, “In respect of the allegations about breaches of international humanitarian law, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) analyses how the Saudis are acting and whether the coalition is observing international humanitarian law. The MOD has not assessed that the Saudi-led coalition is targeting civilians. We have assessed that Saudi processes and procedures have been put in place to ensure respect for the principles of international humanitarian law; and that the Saudis both have been and continue to be genuinely committed to compliance with international humanitarian law.”

During the Westminster Hall debate on War in Yemen: First Anniversary from 22 March (HC Deb, col WH518), I stated that, “we make it clear that we are doing our own assessments to understand whether the equipment we sell has any participation in that and indeed whether the breaches are by the Houthis or the Saudi Arabians.” This should have stated “we make it clear that we are doing our own analysis. We encourage the Saudis to conduct their own investigations to understand whether the equipment we sell has any participation in that and indeed whether the breaches are by the Houthis or the Saudi Arabians.”

These corrections ensure the answers given in all written questions and debates now accurately reflect HMG policy in this area and consistent with other statements and questions answered.

The MOD monitors incidents of alleged IHL violations using available information. This is used to form an overall view on the approach and attitude of Saudi Arabia to IHL. This, in turn, informs the risk assessment made under the Consolidated Criteria (i.e. whether there is a clear risk that it might be used in the commission of a serious violation of IHL). We are not acting to determine whether a sovereign state has or has not acted in breach of IHL, but instead - as Criterion 2(c) requires – we are acting to make an overall judgement.

It is important to make clear that neither the MOD nor the FCO reaches a conclusion as to whether or not an IHL violation has taken place in relation to each and every incident of potential concern that comes to its attention. This would simply not be possible in conflicts to which the UK is not a party, as is the case in Yemen.

We regularly encourage Saudi Arabia to investigate any allegations of breaches of IHL which are attributed to them; and for their investigations to be thorough and conclusive. Saudi Arabia has publicly stated that it is investigating reports of alleged violations, and that any lessons learned will be acted upon. We continue to believe that they have the best insight into their own military procedures, allowing them to understand what went wrong and apply the lessons learnt in the best possible way, if required. This is the standard we set ourselves and our allies. For example, when allegations have been made against us in Afghanistan and Iraq we have investigated these claims ourselves. We did not expect other states to do this and form judgements on our behalf.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS120
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Baroness Anelay of St Johns (The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Foreign Affairs Council – 18 July 2016

My Right Honourable Friend, the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Sir Alan Duncan), has made the following written Ministerial statement:

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 18 July. The Foreign Affairs Council was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The meeting was held in Brussels.

Foreign Affairs Council

A provisional report of the meeting and Conclusions adopted can be found at:

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/fac/2016/07/18/

The Foreign Secretary made clear to his counterparts that while the UK is leaving the EU, we have no intention of turning our back on Europe and will not any way be abandoning our leading role in European cooperation.

In the aftermath of the attack in Nice, Ministers discussed the fight against terrorism. They observed a minute of silence at 12:00 to pay tribute. The agenda for the Council was adjusted to allow time for Ministers to discuss counter-terrorism in the aftermath of the Nice attack and recent events in Turkey.

Fight against Terrorism

Ministers expressed their condolences following the Nice attack and underlined their determination to tackle terrorist threats and their readiness to continue supporting France. The Foreign Secretary emphasised his solidarity with France and made the argument for terrorism to be tackled at source across the globe. He confirmed that the UK would consider what further support could be offered in response to French requests.

Turkey

Ministers discussed the recent events in Turkey. The Council adopted Conclusions.

EU Global Strategy

Ministers discussed the EU Global Strategy which was presented by HRVP at the European Council on 29 June. The Foreign Secretary set out the Government’s view that the strategy correctly identifies a number of important priorities, including the central role of NATO in providing European security. Ms Mogherini confirmed that the EU External Action Service would produce a written proposal on the implementation of the strategy. Options would be presented to Member States in the autumn.

China

Ministers discussed the EU’s strategy towards China following the recent EU-China Summit; and adopted Council Conclusions. The Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Mr Johannes Hahn, reported that the EU had conveyed clear messages to China on over-capacity and the need to improve access to the Chinese market for EU companies. The Chinese side had raised Market Economy Status. Member States welcomed the strategy.

Latin America

Ministers discussed EU relations with Latin America, focusing on Venezuela, Colombia and Cuba. Ms Mogherini underlined the importance of the forthcoming EU-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Foreign Ministers meeting that will take place in the Dominican Republic on 25 – 26 October. She also welcomed the finalisation of the EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA).The Council also took note of recent positive developments in the Colombian peace process. Council Conclusions were adopted on Venezuela.

Migration

Due to time constraints, Ms. Mogherini informed Ministers that she would provide an update in writing on the implementation of the migration partnerships envisaged in the Conclusions of the June European Council.

Ministers agreed without discussion a number of measures:

  • The Council adopted Conclusions on Somalia.
  • The Council adopted Conclusions on Afghanistan.
  • The Council adopted Conclusions on Pakistan.
  • The Council adopted Conclusions on the recent outbreak of violence in South Sudan.
  • The Council adopted the agenda for the EU-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Joint Council and Ministerial Meeting, held after the Foreign Affairs Council.
  • The Council approved two decisions on the conclusion of a protocol to the EU-Lebanon Euro-Mediterranean agreement to take account of the accession of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania.
  • The Council adopted a decision on the conclusion of a protocol to the EU-Lebanon Euro-Mediterranean agreement which enables Lebanon to participate in EU programmes.
  • The Council adopted a common position in view of the eighth meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council with Albania, to take place in Brussels on 8 September 2016.
  • The Council adopted a decision on the conclusion of a protocol which enables Azerbaijan to participate in EU programmes such as Creative Europe and Horizon 2020.
  • The Council adopted EU priorities for the 71st United Nations General Assembly (September 2016 – September 2017).
  • The Council adopted amending legal acts which transpose into EU law the recent UN Security Council Resolution renewing UN sanctions on the Democratic Republic of Congo until 1 July 2017.
  • The Council extended the mandate of European Conference on Antennas and Propagation (EUCAP) Sahel Niger until 15 July 2018 and agreed a budget of €26.3 million for the period 16 July 2016 to 15 July 2017.
  • The Council adopted a decision on the EU position on the EU-Central America Association Council.
  • The Council adopted a code of conduct and discipline for EU civilian CSDP missions.
  • The Council adopted a decision concerning the staff regulations of the European Union Institute for Security Studies.
  • The Council approved a decision for a temporary relaxation of the rules of origin under the EU-Jordan-Euro-Mediterranean agreement so as to enhance Jordan’s exports to the Union and create additional employment opportunities, especially for Syrian refugees.
  • The Council approved a decision on the signing and provisional application of a protocol to the EU-Egypt Euro-Mediterranean agreement to take account of the accession of Croatia to the EU.
  • The Council adopted the EU and its Member States’ position for the Ministerial Conference of the Union for the Mediterranean on Employment and Labour, which will take place in Jordan on 27 September.
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS115
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Baroness Anelay of St Johns (The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Lords

Correction to Written Statement HLWS49

This statement has been made to correct a previous statement HLWS49 made on 29 June 2016

On 29 June I repeated a written ministerial statement on the gifting of equipment to Syria Civil Defence and the Free Syrian Police (HLWS49). There was an error in that statement. The statement said “The departmental Minute laid today sets out our proposal to gift £4 million in equipment to Syria Civil Defence and £4m in equipment to those operating within the Free Syrian Police”. It ought to have said “The departmental Minute laid today sets out our proposal to gift £3.74 million in equipment to Syria Civil Defence and £4m in equipment to those operating within the Free Syrian Police”.

WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen (Baroness in Waiting (Government Whip))
Lords

English Language Requirement

My honorable friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General (Ben Gummer) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Government believes that the public should expect that all those with whom they interact, within the sphere of public services, have the language abilities required to respond to their needs.

A clear commitment in our Manifesto was to ensure that all public sector workers in customer-facing roles can speak fluent English. I am delighted to announce that this manifesto commitment has now been fulfilled, with the Immigration Act 2016 receiving Royal Assent on 12th May 2016.

Part 7 of the Immigration Act 2016 places a duty on all public authorities in scope to ensure that their customer-facing staff can speak fluent English, or in Wales fluent English or Welsh. This will assure citizens that there is not a language barrier that might prevent them from contacting or using public services or inadvertently put them at risk.

It is a clear priority for the Government to ensure public services are delivered to a high standard in spoken English, or in Wales in English or Welsh.

In support of this aim, the Government is today publishing:

  • A draft Statutory Code of Practice which is intended to support public sector employers in complying with this new duty, whilst ensuring minimal burden. It provides principles and examples for public authorities to consider when fulfilling their legal duties and obligations. It will also be available in Welsh.

  • A final Impact Assessment is available, which evaluates the impact of this duty. It details the problem under consideration, the rationale for intervention and the policy objective. It also evaluates the monetised and non-monetised costs and benefits of the preferred option, as well as considering risks and possible wider impacts of the policy.

The Government has worked with relevant employers throughout the development of the draft Code of Practice and will continue to do so to ensure that the duty is implemented in a way which ensures a positive impact for employees and service users in front line organisations.

The Code will be laid before Parliament and issued in October but the early publication of the document is intended to support organisations to be ready to adhere to the statutory duty once it comes into force.

All publications will be available on GOV.UK.

WMS - English Language Requirement (Word Document, 17.25 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS112
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Baroness Anelay of St Johns (The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Corrections to Parliamentary Questions and Westminster Hall Debates

My Honourable Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Tobias Ellwood), has made the following written Ministerial statement:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has recently reviewed all correspondence and parliamentary proceedings on the subject of allegations of breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL) in Yemen by the Saudi-led Coalition. During this exercise it became clear that the drafting of answers to four written questions and two responses given in debates relating to allegations of breaches of IHL did not fully reflect HMG’s policy as set out in numerous other written questions and debates on this topic. I would like to clarify these.

The responses given on 12 February to Question 24770 (http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-01-28/24770/) and on 15 February to Questions 24769 (http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-01-28/24769/) and 24771 (http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-01-28/24771/) stated “we have assessed that there has not been a breach of IHL by the coalition”. However, these should have stated, as in previous PQs such as 27085 answered on 24 February, “we have not assessed that there has been a breach of IHL by the coalition”.

The response given on 4 January to Question 15523 (http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2015-11-09/15523/) stated “I regularly review the situation with my own advisers and have discussed it on numerous occasions with my Saudi counterpart. Our judgement is that there is no evidence that IHL has been breached, but we shall continue to review the situation regularly”. However, this should have stated “I regularly review the situation with my own advisers and have discussed it on numerous occasions with my Saudi counterpart. Looking at all the information available to us, we have been unable to assess that there has been a breach of IHL by the Saudi-led Coalition. The situation is kept under careful and continual review”.

During the Westminster Hall debate on Human Rights and Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia on 8 June (HC Deb, col WH138), the former Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr Lidington) said, “In respect of the allegations about breaches of international humanitarian law, the Ministry of Defence makes assessments of how the Saudis are acting and whether the coalition is observing international human rights obligations. The MOD assessment is that the Saudi-led coalition is not targeting civilians that Saudi processes and procedures have been put in place to ensure respect for the principles of international humanitarian law; and that the Saudis both have been and continue to be genuinely committed to compliance with international humanitarian law.” This should have said, “In respect of the allegations about breaches of international humanitarian law, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) analyses how the Saudis are acting and whether the coalition is observing international humanitarian law. The MOD has not assessed that the Saudi-led coalition is targeting civilians. We have assessed that Saudi processes and procedures have been put in place to ensure respect for the principles of international humanitarian law; and that the Saudis both have been and continue to be genuinely committed to compliance with international humanitarian law.”

During the Westminster Hall debate on War in Yemen: First Anniversary from 22 March (HC Deb, col WH518), I stated that, “we make it clear that we are doing our own assessments to understand whether the equipment we sell has any participation in that and indeed whether the breaches are by the Houthis or the Saudi Arabians.” This should have stated “we make it clear that we are doing our own analysis. We encourage the Saudis to conduct their own investigations to understand whether the equipment we sell has any participation in that and indeed whether the breaches are by the Houthis or the Saudi Arabians.”

These corrections ensure the answers given in all written questions and debates now accurately reflect HMG policy in this area and consistent with other statements and questions answered.

The MOD monitors incidents of alleged IHL violations using available information. This is used to form an overall view on the approach and attitude of Saudi Arabia to IHL. This, in turn, informs the risk assessment made under the Consolidated Criteria (i.e. whether there is a clear risk that it might be used in the commission of a serious violation of IHL). We are not acting to determine whether a sovereign state has or has not acted in breach of IHL, but instead - as Criterion 2(c) requires – we are acting to make an overall judgement.

It is important to make clear that neither the MOD nor the FCO reaches a conclusion as to whether or not an IHL violation has taken place in relation to each and every incident of potential concern that comes to its attention. This would simply not be possible in conflicts to which the UK is not a party, as is the case in Yemen.

We regularly encourage Saudi Arabia to investigate any allegations of breaches of IHL which are attributed to them; and for their investigations to be thorough and conclusive. Saudi Arabia has publicly stated that it is investigating reports of alleged violations, and that any lessons learned will be acted upon. We continue to believe that they have the best insight into their own military procedures, allowing them to understand what went wrong and apply the lessons learnt in the best possible way, if required. This is the standard we set ourselves and our allies. For example, when allegations have been made against us in Afghanistan and Iraq we have investigated these claims ourselves. We did not expect other states to do this and form judgements on our behalf.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS125
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen (Baroness in Waiting (Government Whip))
Lords

Conflict Stability and Security Fund 2015 /16 and settlement for 2016 /17

  1. I wish to update the House on how the Government has been supporting our national security interests through conflict prevention, peace building, stabilisation, peacekeeping and conflict resolution using the Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF).
  2. The CSSF replaced the Conflict Pool in April 2015, as part of a new, more strategic approach to enhancing the delivery of our national security interests. The CSSF is one of two funding instruments overseen by the National Security Adviser. My Rt. Hon friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury will be providing a parallel update to Parliament today on the Prosperity Fund, which operates on a similar cross-Government basis.
  3. Last year the Government laid a statement before the House announcing the creation of the CSSF. As announced last November in the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), for the current financial year CSSF funding has increased to £1.127 billion and it will increase by a further 19% over this spending review period, reaching £1.322 billion a year by 2019. The CSSF is now one of the world’s largest mechanisms for addressing conflict and instability. Its programmes deliver against over 40 cross Government strategies set by the National Security Council. Together, these activities help to secure the UK, promote peace and stability overseas and contribute directly to the SDSR’s objectives. The CSSF is designed as a flexible resource. It is supporting the peace processes including that in Colombia, tackling organised crime in the Caribbean, helping Ukraine to build its resilience to withstand external threats, funding a doubling of British UN peacekeepers, and has supported reforming the police and militaries in some of the world’s most challenging environments. Without the CSSF the UK and our international partners would be less secure.
  4. Parliamentary accountability for taxpayers’ money spent via the CSSF is provided primarily through the Joint Committee for the National Security Strategy. Each autumn, the NSC agrees overall annual allocations for the CSSF, though these may change during the year in response to crises. The NSC reviews strategies in the spring. Regional Boards on which all NSC departments are represented are responsible for overseeing delivery of programmes against these strategies. A joint unit – the NSS Joint Programme Hub – provides the secretariat, advises the NSC on funding and delivery against the strategies, and advises the Regional Boards and programme teams on financial management and monitoring and evaluation.
  5. The Government has used the CSSF to mitigate the spill-over of the Syrian conflict into Jordan and Lebanon. We have supported Jordan’s security agencies to maintain its stability in the context of an influx of refugees equivalent to 10% of its population. We have also established community police stations in Syrian refugee camps and trained Jordanian community police. This programme (funded initially by the Conflict Pool and now the CSSF) has had a tangible impact: security incidents in the camps dropped by two-thirds between 2013 and 2014. We continue to assist the Lebanese military in securing their border with Syria to prevent Daesh’s attempts to infiltrate Lebanon. We have trained 5,782 troops and enabled Lebanon to secure 75% of the border. In Africa we are helping to tackle terrorist groups, including training the Africa Union peacekeepers in Somalia and capacity-building for the Somali military. We have also ensured women’s participation in building Somalia’s future through its state-building processes. In Nigeria we have used CSSF funds to work with the Nigerian armed forces in tackling Boko Haram.
  6. The Government is using CSSF funds to promote a political process and save lives in Syria. This includes training and equipping over 2700 volunteers across northern Syria to carry out search & rescue, fire-fighting and first aid. These ‘White Helmets’ have saved over 50,000 lives since March 2013.
  7. Gender equality is embedded throughout the delivery of the CSSF. Last year the CSSF spent £26m explicitly on activities addressing gender equality and a further £159m on programmes with elements which addressed gender equality.
  8. CSSF funding is strengthening the multilateral system, supporting the UN and other international organisations, to develop more effective multilateral responses to instability. The CSSF funds our contributions to the UN peacekeeping budget. We are the sixth biggest contributor, spending over £300 million in 2015. We are also using CSSF funds to help reform the UN and UN peacekeeping, coordinating outreach to Member States to secure pledges of personnel for peace operations and to assist with the transition from pledges to deployments.
  9. The SDSR announced that the CSSF will incorporate additional programmes from 2016/17. These include the Good Governance Fund for the Eastern Neighbourhood and Western Balkans, the North Africa Good Governance Fund, a Migration Fund and a programme for the Overseas Territories.

Conflict Stability and Security Fund resources, FY16/17

CSSF

2016/17 (millions)

Peacekeeping & Multilateral

385.7

Regional/Country Strategies

577.8

Security & Defence

150

Delivery Support, including the Stabilisation Unit & National School of Government International

13.5

TOTAL

1127

CSSF (Word Document, 28.52 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS123
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Lord Nash (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools )
Lords

Update on the UK Commission for Employment and Skills

My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Education (Robert Halfon) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

As announced in the 2015 Spending Review, in order to prioritise funding to allow the core adult skills participation budgets to be protected in cash terms, Whitehall Departments will be withdrawing their funding for the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) during 2016-17.

UKCES’ work over the last parliament has helped in setting the skills agenda for the future and their activities have created the conditions to move to the next phase of more devolution, greater employer ownership and the apprenticeship levy. It is important that we now have new structures to move onto that next phase and we have announced the establishment in England of a new Institute for Apprenticeships.

As a result of these decisions, Whitehall departments have been working with the UK Commission to agree a way forward.

National Occupational Standards (NOS) will be managed by the Devolved Administrations and transferred to another public sector organisation. Decisions on the detail of how NOS will be managed are the responsibility of the Devolved Administrations who are currently considering next steps. The contents of the NOS database will remain publicly available and employers throughout the UK can continue to use NOS if they so choose although they are not a mandatory requirement in England for either qualifications or apprenticeships.

The management of the Employer Skills Survey, the Employer Perspectives Survey and the LMI (Labour Market Information) for All Portal will be moved into the Department for Education. The Investors in People function will continue and the Government is looking at arrangements to secure its future and growth.

All operational activities of UKCES will be concluded by the end of 2016 and it is expected the organisation will be wound up in line with the end of its financial year, 2016-17.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS121
WS
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Lord Ashton of Hyde (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Culture, Media and Sport )
Lords

First World War Centenary Repairs Fund: outcome of successful bids

I am today publishing the list of successful bidders to the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund.

Cathedrals are powerful symbols of Britain’s shared history and are important not only for their architecture, history and religious learning but also as a place for local communities to come together. This fund is helping to ensure that they are in a good state of repair and preserved for future generations.

Decisions on funding allocations are taken by an expert panel, which considers the grant applications against the published criteria for the scheme and decides which cathedrals should receive funding. The panel is chaired by Sir Paul Ruddock and includes senior figures from English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Church of England and the Catholic Church, as well as church architects, architectural historians and grant giving experts.

I am pleased to confirm that the panel has today decided to allocate funding of almost £14.5million to 39 cathedrals. These are as follows


Results of the meeting of the Expert Panel, 23 June 2016

Cathedral

Denomination

Project

AWARD

Bradford

CofE

Heating system & asbestos removal

£127,000

Canterbury

CofE

Library corridor roof

£250,000

Carlisle

CofE

Nave and nave aisle roof

£400,000

Chester

CofE

Repairs to flooring and emergency lighting

£120,000

Chichester

CofE

Cloister repairs

£160,000

Clifton

RC

Internal repairs and infrastructure

£700,000

Coventry

CofE

Chapel of Unity exterior slate

£870,000

Derby

CofE

Nave roof repair

£750,000

Durham

CofE

Belfry repairs

£599,000

Ely

CofE

Emergency rewiring

£150,000

Exeter

CofE

N side drainage and W front apron

£170,000

Gloucester

CofE

High level repairs

£486,000

Guildford

CofE

Quire/presbytery roof, repointing, asbestos removal

£499,000

Hereford

CofE

North aisle roofs

£420,000

Leicester

CofE

South face stonework

£300,000

Lichfield

CofE

Chapter House stonework and roof

£690,000

Lincoln

CofE

Triforium roof and NW Transept

£480,000

Liverpool

CofE

Nave roof phase 2

£460,000

Liverpool Met

RC

Repairs to approaches and main entrance

£369,000

Newcastle

CofE

Crypt and east end damp investigation

£25,000

Norwich

CofE

Electrical infrastructure

£190,000

Nottingham

RC

Phase 2 drainage

£115,000

Peterborough

CofE

Repairs to four windows

£15,000

Plymouth

RC

Stonework and window repairs

£644,000

Portsmouth

CofE

North side windows and other works

£240,000

Ripon

CofE

Presbytery stonework repairs

£398,000

Rochester

CofE

Eastern roof repairs

£460,000

Salford

RC

High level repairs and access

£373,000

Salisbury

CofE

Trinity Chapel stonework

£500,000

Sheffield

CofE

Nave, South and North aisle roofs

£480,000

Sheffield

RC

Spire repairs - phase 2

£189,000

Southwell

CofE

South quire aisle roof

£291,000

St Albans

CofE

External stonework

£230,000

St Pauls

CofE

Stone Gallery repairs

£200,000

Wakefield

CofE

Nave windows

£456,000

Westminster

RC

Organ chamber roofs

£300,000

Winchester

CofE

Repair and conservation of major windows

£500,000

Worcester

CofE

Great West Window repairs

£390,000

York Minster

CofE

Quire south side and Lady Chapel stone repairs

£500,000

Total £14,496,000

The panel will meet again on 17 October 2016 to take decisions on applications to the final round of the First World War Centenary Cathedral repairs fund.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS122
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Lord Bridges of Headley (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

UK Presidency of the Council of the European Union

The UK had been scheduled to host the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2017. On Tuesday 19 July the Prime Minister confirmed to President of the European Council Donald Tusk that the UK would be relinquishing the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, noting that we would be prioritising the negotiations to leave the EU.

President Tusk welcomed the Prime Minister’s swift decision which would allow the Council to put alternative arrangements in place. The Council Secretariat will now put in motion the arrangements to allocate the Presidency to an alternative Member State.

The Prime Minister and President Tusk concluded by looking forward to a strong working relationship.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS119
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen (Baroness in Waiting (Government Whip))
Lords

Handling Members’ Correspondence in 2015

I am today publishing a report on the performance of Departments and Agencies on handling correspondence from Members and Peers during the calendar year 2015. Details are set out in the table below. Correspondence statistics for 2014 can be found on 3 June 2015, Official Report, column 15WS.

Departmental figures are based on substantive replies unless otherwise indicated. The footnotes to the table provide general background information on how the figures have been compiled.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS118
WS
Home Office
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Cedars pre-departure accommodation

My rt hon Friend the Minister of State for Immigration (Robert Goodwill) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I am today announcing the Government’s decision to close Cedars pre-departure accommodation, and replace it with new pre-departure accommodation near Gatwick Airport, as a discrete unit at Tinsley House immigration removal centre. This will maintain the required legal safeguards and focus on welfare for families with children whose return is to be ensured under the family returns process. The new pre-departure accommodation will be operated in line with the statutory framework established by the Immigration Act 2014, specifically in relation to the statutory time limit on stays at the facility and the requirement for the Independent Family Returns Panel to be consulted in advance in each case where it is proposed that a family should be placed there.

The Government met its commitment to end the routine detention of children for immigration purposes by fundamentally changing the way in which it deals with families that have no lawful basis of stay in the UK, and limiting the detention of unaccompanied children for removal. The new family returns model introduced in 2011 placed the welfare of the child at the heart of the process. Key parts of the family returns process, including the separate statutory status of pre-departure accommodation, were enshrined in the Immigration Act 2014. The new pre-departure accommodation will operate in line with both the statutory requirements and the wider family returns process, which will remain unchanged.

The low level of use of Cedars pre-departure accommodation over the last few years is a testament to the overall success of the family returns process and, in particular, to the fact that more families are accepting voluntary assistance to leave the UK when they no longer have a lawful basis to stay here. Cedars has from the outset only been intended to be used as a last resort, after all voluntary or other return options have failed, and following the advice of a panel of independent child safeguarding experts.

Stephen Shaw’s Review into the welfare of vulnerable people in detention, while recognising that Cedars was an exceptional facility, recommended on value for money grounds that the Home Office should draw up plans either to close Cedars or to change its use as a matter of urgency. The Government accepted this recommendation, and has reviewed the most cost-effective way of providing the necessary component of pre-departure accommodation for the family returns process, while ensuring that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the children involved remain a key priority.

The Government is committed to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of those detained in its care, some of whom may be vulnerable. It is very grateful to Barnardo’s for all its valuable work with families at Cedars and for working with us to ensuring that the new facility continues to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, and builds on the learning and experience of Cedars.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS114
WS
Home Office
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Government consultation on reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect

My hon Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Home Office (Sarah Newton) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

My hon Friend Edward Timpson, Minister of State at the Department for Education, and I have today launched a public consultation which considers whether statutory measures focused on reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect should be introduced in addition to our wide-ranging reforms.

Social workers, teachers, police officers, doctors and countless others across the country work together every day to protect our children, making difficult judgements under challenging circumstances. The Government is undertaking a comprehensive programme of reform to deliver better outcomes for children in the children’s social care system. We are improving the quality of front line practice so that professionals such as police and social workers can respond effectively to the needs of individual children – and we are legislating through the Children and Social Work Bill to strengthen multi agency arrangements for the protection of children following a review by Alan Wood CBE. We continue to consider what more can be done to protect children from abuse and neglect and the launch of this consultation exercise fulfils the commitments made during the passage of the last year’s Serious Crime Act and in the Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation report published in March 2015.

The consultation will run for the statutory maximum of twelve weeks and ends on 13 October 2016. We are seeking responses from anyone with a view on these important issues, from children and families to practitioners, academics and voluntary sector partners.

Copies of the consultation document have been placed in the House Library and are available on the Government’s website, at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications?departments%5B%5D=home-office&publication_filter_option=consultations

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS110
WS
Prime Minister
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Mrs Theresa May (Prime Minister)
Commons

Machinery of Government Change

This written ministerial statement confirms the following Machinery of Government change.

The functions of the Office for Civil Society (OCS) have been transferred from the Cabinet Office to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The transfer will include responsibility for youth policy and the National Citizen Service. It will integrate OCS’s work to grow a stronger civil society with DCMS’s existing work to enrich lives. It will also simplify sponsorship responsibilities for the lottery providers.

OCS will continue its cross-government work in support of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector and their important contribution to public services and the social economy; and its work to promote social and community action, social investment, mission-led business and mutuals.

OCS’s functions relating to policy innovation (the Policy Lab) will remain in the Cabinet Office.

A Cabinet Office note setting out further detail on this change has been placed in the Library of both Houses.

OCS Explanatory Note (PDF Document, 95.69 KB)
WS
Home Office
Made on: 21 July 2016
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Publication of HMIC Reports: Re-inspection of the National Crime Agency and Inspection of the UK International Crime Bureau

My rt hon Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Amber Rudd) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

The NCA was established to lead the fight to cut serious and organised crime, and to focus on the relentless disruption of serious and organised criminals. It has the power to task other law enforcement and a capability that reaches from local to international serious and organised crime impacting on the UK.

HMIC have conducted two inspections; the first, a re-inspection of the NCA following its 2014 inspection whereby HMIC carried out a review into the efficiency and effectiveness of the National Crime Agency. The second report focuses on the work of UK’s International Crime Bureau (UKICB) and its activities relating to identifying fugitives and extradition.

I have placed a copy of both reports in the Library of the House. I have asked HMIC to publish both reports on my behalf. They are available online at www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk.

HMIC find in relation to its re-inspection of the NCA, that the NCA’s approach to prioritising, supervising and managing investigations is rigorous, but that they could support their officers better by investing in more sophisticated equipment. They found that the NCA had an effective leadership approach to build systems and processes, and that while strategic governance arrangements for threats are at an early stage of development, there is a clear commitment from the NCA and its partners to work together on shared priorities.

HMIC’s second report examines the work of UKICB and its activities relating to identifying fugitives and extradition. This inspection, conducted between September and November last year and, picks up on themes from the last NCA report, focusing on the management of risks and the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the UKICB. Overall the report is very positive. HMIC find that UKICB are well led, that risks are assessed in a timely and prioritised manner, there are appropriate measures to mitigate the identified risks, and there is good and improving efficiency and effectiveness in the unit.

HMIC note that the work of UKICB is dependent on interactions with a wide range of stakeholders and that some matters are out their direct control. However, the report identifies a series of recommendations, many of which are in regard to better information gathering/sharing and building on improving/changing relationships with stakeholders all of which should lead to better risk management and efficiencies in the extradition process.

Both reports note a number of areas for improvement (where the NCA already has action underway to improve its capabilities and effectiveness) and makes several recommendations. It is for the Director General to respond to these recommendations, in line with the requirements of the Crime and Courts Act 2013.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS113
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