Lord Strasburger Portrait

Lord Strasburger

Liberal Democrat - Life peer

Became Member: 10th January 2011


Lord Strasburger is not a member of any APPGs
3 Former APPG memberships
Coronavirus and Future Pandemics, Music Education, Ticket Abuse
National Security Strategy (Joint Committee)
28th Jan 2021 - 31st Jan 2024
Information Committee (Lords)
12th Jun 2014 - 31st Aug 2016
Draft Investigatory Powers Bill (Joint Committee)
25th Nov 2015 - 11th Feb 2016
Draft Communications Data Bill (Joint Committee)
28th Jun 2012 - 28th Nov 2012


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 5th March 2024
10:00
Division Votes
Tuesday 6th February 2024
Automated Vehicles Bill [HL]
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 63 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 200 Noes - 204
Speeches
Tuesday 13th February 2024
Combating Disinformation: Freedom of Expression
I thank the Minister for his reply. Last year, Big Brother Watch exposed worrying overreach by the Counter Disinformation Unit …
Written Answers
Tuesday 5th December 2023
Police: Biometrics
To ask His Majesty's Government what threshold applies before police can conduct facial recognition searches against (1) the passport database, …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Lord Strasburger has voted in 480 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

16 Mar 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Strasburger voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 18 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 33 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 145 Noes - 179
View All Lord Strasburger Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Baroness Barran (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
(5 debate interactions)
Lord True (Conservative)
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
(4 debate interactions)
Lord Bethell (Conservative)
(4 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(7 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(5 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-21
(2,041 words contributed)
Procurement Act 2023
(1,985 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Lord Strasburger's debates

Lords initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord Strasburger, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.


Lord Strasburger has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Lord Strasburger has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


66 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which contracts they have awarded this year under the 'extreme urgency' provision of Regulation 32(2)(c) of the Public Contract Regulations 2015 that do not relate directly to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This information is not held centrally.


Details of central government contracts above £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord True on 11 August (HL7558), how the reference to the answers by Lord True on 3 August to the Questions for Written Answer by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (HL7209 and HL7179) relates to the question put; and whether they will now answer the question put, namely what assessment they have made of the role of other states in national referendums in the UK in the last 10 years; if they have not made any such assessment, whether they plan to do so; if not, why not; whether they have (1) investigated, and (2) sought evidence on, the incidence of interference in the EU referendum by any hostile state; if not, why not; and what priority they give to any such investigations.

We have seen no evidence of successful interference in the EU Referendum or 2014 Scottish Referendum by any state. The Intelligence and Security Agencies produce and contribute to regular assessments of the threat posed by Hostile State Activity, including potential interference in UK democratic processes. We keep such assessments under review and, where necessary, update them in response to new intelligence. Where new information emerges, the Government will always consider the most appropriate use of any intelligence it develops or receives, including whether it is appropriate to make this public. Given this long standing approach, there are no plans to publish a retrospective assessment on the EU Referendum.

To continue to safeguard against future threats we are bringing forward new legislation to provide the security services and law enforcement agencies with additional tools and powers to disrupt hostile state activity.

The Government's 2019 manifesto states: "we will protect the integrity of our democracy”. As part of this, we will introduce a digital imprints regime and in August 2020 we launched a technical consultation on our proposed regime. These proposals represent a significant step forward and will make UK politics even more transparent.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord True on 11 August (HL7557), how the reference to the answers by Lord True on 3 August to the Questions for Written Answer by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (HL7209 and HL7179) relates to the question put; and whether they will now answer the question put, namely what assessment they have made of the report by Robert Mueller Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election, published in March 2019, in particular the conclusions on Russian interference; whether they plan to conduct a similar inquiry in relation to the conduct of the EU referendum in 2016; if not, why not; and why they have not yet conducted such an inquiry.

We have seen no evidence of successful interference in the EU Referendum or 2014 Scottish Referendum by any state. The Intelligence and Security Agencies produce and contribute to regular assessments of the threat posed by Hostile State Activity, including potential interference in UK democratic processes. We keep such assessments under review and, where necessary, update them in response to new intelligence. Where new information emerges, the Government will always consider the most appropriate use of any intelligence it develops or receives, including whether it is appropriate to make this public. Given this long standing approach, there are no plans to publish a retrospective assessment on the EU Referendum.

To continue to safeguard against future threats we are bringing forward new legislation to provide the security services and law enforcement agencies with additional tools and powers to disrupt hostile state activity.

The Government's 2019 manifesto states: "we will protect the integrity of our democracy”. As part of this, we will introduce a digital imprints regime and in August 2020 we launched a technical consultation on our proposed regime. These proposals represent a significant step forward and will make UK politics even more transparent.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Robert Mueller Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election, published in March 2019, in particular the conclusions on Russian interference; whether they plan to conduct a similar inquiry in relation to the conduct of the EU referendum in 2016; if not, why not; and why they have not yet conducted such an inquiry.

I refer the noble Lord to the answer given to PQs HL7209 and HL7179 on 3 August 2020.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the role of other states in national referendums in the UK in the last 10 years; if they have not made any such assessment, whether they plan to do so; if not, why not; whether they have (1) investigated, and (2) sought evidence on, the incidence of interference in the EU referendum by any hostile state; if not, why not; and what priority they give to any such investigations.

I refer the noble Lord to the answer given to PQs HL7209 and HL7179 on 3 August 2020.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
29th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Prime Minister and Richard Desmond have ever talked on the telephone or sent messages in any form to each other; and if so, what was the subject of those messages.

Details of Ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on GOV.UK.

Mr Desmond attended an official business reception in Downing Street in September 2019 alongside a wide range of business representatives.

Otherwise, such requested information would not be centrally collated or held. Notwithstanding, as has been previously noted in Parliament, neither the Prime Minister nor No 10 Downing Street has had any contact with Mr Desmond or his representatives in relation to the Westferry planning application or appeal.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
29th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many times the Prime Minister has met Richard Desmond in the last 12 months; where each meeting took place; and what was discussed on each such occasion.

Details of Ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on GOV.UK.

Mr Desmond attended an official business reception in Downing Street in September 2019 alongside a wide range of business representatives.

Otherwise, such requested information would not be centrally collated or held. Notwithstanding, as has been previously noted in Parliament, neither the Prime Minister nor No 10 Downing Street has had any contact with Mr Desmond or his representatives in relation to the Westferry planning application or appeal.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
29th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any aide of the Prime Minister has communicated with Richard Desmond or his staff; if so, when; and what was the subject of those communications.

Details of Ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on GOV.UK.

Mr Desmond attended an official business reception in Downing Street in September 2019 alongside a wide range of business representatives.

Otherwise, such requested information would not be centrally collated or held. Notwithstanding, as has been previously noted in Parliament, neither the Prime Minister nor No 10 Downing Street has had any contact with Mr Desmond or his representatives in relation to the Westferry planning application or appeal.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
23rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the members of the Intelligence and Security Committee will be nominated.

The Intelligence and Security Committee was reconstituted on 14 July 2020.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have considered if any data collected from COVID-19 testing could be used to create (1) a UK DNA biobank, or (2) be used by Genomics England for any purpose.

We are not planning to create a new UK DNA biobank specifically for Covid-19 purposes. However, Covid-19 testing data is made available to researchers to support the Covid-19 response.

Regarding whether data collected from Covid-19 testing could be used by Genomics England for any purpose, participants in Genomics England research studies can consent to give access to their nationally held health data, including Covid-19 testing data, for research. Only in cases where participants have given their consent, Public Health England will provide Genomics England with Covid-19 test data to support this research. NHS Test and Trace data forms part of Public Health England’s central dataset.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when driving tests will be permitted to restart; and whether the maximum period between passing the theory test and taking the driving test will be extended for those whose test was due when tests were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been to protect the public and save lives. That remains its priority as it restarts its services.

Driver and rider instruction can restart in England from Saturday 4 July 2020.

Car driving tests will restart in England on Wednesday 22 July 2020, which will give learner drivers time to have refresher lessons and practice before taking their test.

The DVSA is aware that some individuals may be in a situation whereby their theory test certificate will expire before they are able to take their practical driving test. The two-year validity period of the theory test certificate is set in legislation. This is so the candidate’s theoretical knowledge remains current. To extend the validity period would require legislative change.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the NHS Digital project to collect General Practice data for planning and research in England, whether they plan to place documents relating to the (1) transparency, (2) accountability, and (3) risks of the project in the Library of the House; and if so, when.

We have no plans to do so. NHS Digital has published a transparency notice and privacy notice for the programme, which is available in an online only format.

The Data Provision Notice for the data collection outlines that NHS Digital have responsibility and accountability for the dissemination of data as the Data Controller under the United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulations. Following the deferral of the implementation of the programme for further engagement with stakeholders, the Data Provision Notice has been withdrawn to reflect these discussions.

The Data Protection Impact Assessment for the data collection which details the privacy related risks and mitigations will also be published online following its final assurance processes.

8th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to NHS Digital’s General Practice Data for Planning and Research data collection, who was consulted about the deferral of this project; and which civil liberties organisations have been consulted about the project as a whole.

NHS Digital has engaged with a range of organisations over recent years when devising the General Practice Data for Planning and Research programme and when taking the decision to pause its implementation. This has included the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the National Data Guardian, Healthwatch England, Use My Data, the civil liberties organisation MedConfidential and research organisations.

8th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to NHS Digital’s General Practice Data for Planning and Research data collection, what plans they have (1) to write individually to every affected patient fully explaining the proposed data acquisition and its benefits and risks, (2) to include an easily understandable summary of the Data Processing Impact Assessment in any such letter, and (3) to provide both paper and digital methods for patients to easily opt out if they so choose.

Privacy information can be communicated to patients through a range of different techniques. We have written a letter to all general practitioner (GP) practices in England who are best placed to inform patients about the data they routinely share. A copy of the letter is attached.

We are not ruling out writing to patients but there are concerns that this may not be the most effective way to communicate on this topic. Discussions are ongoing concerning writing to patients, but initially NHS Digital have been asked to work closely with the GP profession to ensure practices are supported in informing patients, whilst acknowledging the need to protect GP practices from additional burden


Patients can register a National Data Opt Out via post, phone or email, or register a Type 1 Opt Out by contacting their GP and we are looking at ways to make this process easier for patients and GPs.

7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer given by Lord Bethell on 1 December (HL10548), what “associated commercial implications” are engaged by disclosure of the requested non-commercial information; and which of the categories of non-commercial information that were requested give rise to those “associated commercial implications”.

The Department has considered the position of suppliers which were referred to the high priority channel. The disclosure of their names may damage the supplier’s reputation, affecting their competitive position and could have a potentially detrimental impact on their revenue and/or their ability to obtain future contracts.

7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government who are the members of the clearance board put in place by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Cabinet Office to approve contracts for personal protective equipment worth more than £5 million; and how many contracts have they approved so far this year.

The clearance board was chaired by the Government’s Deputy Chief Commercial Officer or the Department’s Commercial Director. Standing members were the Commercial Officer, the Commercial Director and the Department’s Deputy Director of Procurement and the Deputy Director of Finance. It was also attended by a number of cross Government and cross functional teams including Government Legal Department, the Department’s anti-fraud unit, and Department for Health and Social Care and Cabinet Office’s commercial colleagues. All these personnel were Government officials.

The role of the board was to decide whether any deal of £5 million or more should be passed to the Department’s procurement and finance teams for accounting officer consideration and final formal approval.

25th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 24 November (HL10126), whether the use of the “extreme urgency” provision in Regulation 32(2)(c) instead of competitive tendering has become the default method for the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies; whether the demand for PPE has returned to more predictable levels such that contracts for PPE supplies can return to being competitively tendered; and what assessment they have made of the continued use of the “extreme urgency” provision in the current circumstances.

We have made use of existing procurement rules which allow the Government to procure at speed in times of emergency, as confirmed in Cabinet Office Guidance circulated to procuring authorities in March. Regulation 32(2)(c) for the direct award of a contract is not a new procedure but its use was necessary due to a highly volatile global market and the extreme urgency at which we had to proceed.

The guidance issued by the Cabinet Office set out a range of options under the Procurement Regulations which can be used depending on urgency and other factors. In addition to direct awards, authorities can reduce the minimum timescales for the open procedure, the restricted procedure and the competitive procedure with negotiation if a state of urgency renders the standard timescales impracticable. All future procurement routes will be considered against the specific requirement and the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 to determine how best to proceed.

19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish a list of all companies who were contracted to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) as a result of the high-priority lane used to assess and process potential PPE procurement leads; if so, (1) when, and (2) to include (a) the name of the person who recommended the company for the process, (b) each contract awarded to each company, and (c) the value of each such contract; and if not, why not.

We do not intend to publish the list of suppliers who were awarded personal protective equipment contracts after having had their offers reviewed with more urgency as there may be associated commercial implications.

17th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their guidance Testing for coronavirus: privacy information - quick read, last updated on 11 November, which states that users’ data collected during testing for COVID-19 may be shared “for research purposes”, (1) what are the research purposes, (2) who will the data be shared with, (3) how long will the data be kept, and (4) what verification will be carried out to ensure that the shared data is only used for the stated purpose and is destroyed on time.

Ensuring the privacy of users and security of their personal data is a priority for the National Health Service and the Government. We follow cyber security best practice to help protect this data and comply with the law around the use of data, including the Data Protection Act 2018. All data is handled according to the highest ethical and security standards and is used only for NHS care, management, evaluation and research into COVID-19, to which individuals may be invited to take part in a research project.

Personal information can only be seen by Public Health England staff working on NHS Test and Trace, the contact tracers working for NHS Professionals and contact tracers, who can only see the information of the named contacts they have been instructed to call.

9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what contracts they have placed in 2020, and with whom, for the purchase of facemasks for use by health workers; and what was the cost per unit for each type of facemask under each such contract.

Three hundred and seventy contracts have been awarded by the Department for the supply of all types of personal protective equipment (PPE). The published Contract Award Notices contain details on the different types of PPE ordered against each contract, information which is not collated centrally prior to publication, as well as the name of the supplier. Purchase orders have been raised against these contracts for over six billion facemasks which are in the process of being delivered to the United Kingdom or have already arrived and are then quality checked at our UK warehouses before being distributed to the frontline.

Information on the unit price of PPE ordered under each contract is considered commercially confidential.

9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have a list of so-called ‘VIP’ companies, for whom the awarding of contracts to supply personal protective equipment may be accelerated; and if so, what plans they have to publish that list.

The Government issued a public call to action to support the increased requirements of personal protective equipment (PPE). This resulted in over 15,000 suppliers offering their help and support.

The cross-Government PPE team considered that leads referred by Government officials, ministers’ offices, Parliamentarians, senior NHS staff and other health professionals were likely to be the more credible and needed to be initially reviewed with more urgency. This was commonly referred to as a ‘priority’ or ‘VIP’ channel.

At the point of being prioritised these offers went into exactly the same due diligence, technical assurance, closing or contract negotiation and contract award process as all the other offers. About one in ten suppliers processed through this channel - 47 out of 493 - obtained contracts. We do not intend to publish the list of these suppliers as there may be associated commercial implications.

9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish details of any contracts for the purchase of personal protective equipment in 2020 (1) that have failed to deliver to specification, and (2) for which delivery is overdue.

Three hundred and seventy contracts have been awarded by the Department for the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). All contracts are managed individually and information on the amounts of PPE found not to have been delivered to specification or for which delivery is overdue is not currently collated and held centrally. All contracts have clauses in them that allow the Department to seek redress if the company supplies faulty products or misses delivery dates.

All PPE procured from abroad that arrives at the central PPE distribution warehouse in Daventry is checked. If it is not CE marked then documents are sent to the UK regulators, the Health and Safety Executive and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, who agree to its release as the Market Surveillance Authorities for PPE and medical devices. Products are only released into the supply chain if the documents show the product is fit for its intended use.

9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish details of any contracts for the purchase of personal protective equipment in 2020, for which they have financially assisted the contractor in any way, including (1) partial or complete up-front payment, or (2) payment in any other manner.

Advanced payments have been used on a number of contracts awarded to suppliers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each contract is different; some are payment on delivery and others are a percentage of payment upfront. Our approach has been to take some managed risk in order to secure supplies in an exceptional and globally highly competitive market. Contracts have break clauses in them, meaning if the company supplies faulty products or misses delivery dates, we can cancel the contracts and reclaim our money.

Over 900 contracts have been awarded by the Department and its executive agencies to suppliers for the delivery of goods and services related to the COVID-19 pandemic. To provide a validated assessment of whether an advanced payment has been agreed or not for each of these orders would involve disproportionate cost.

9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to continue to invoke the “extreme urgency” provision of regulation 32(2)(c) of the Public Contract Regulations 2015 for personal protective equipment supplies throughout the winter; and when they intend to revert to normal procurement arrangements, including competitive tender.

The Department assesses the market conditions for procuring supplies related to any procurement, including those relating to COVID-19, in accordance with procurement guidance and regulations. Where any procurement meets the tests for the use of Regulation 32(2)(c) for the direct award of a contract then that approached will be used. Where it does not, other approaches will be considered.

We have already ordered around 32 billion items of personal protective equipment (PPE), of which over 20 billion is already in the United Kingdom. To ensure we can respond rapidly to demand surges in the future, the Department is building a strategic stockpile of PPE. This month, we will have a four-month stockpile of all COVID-19-critical PPE in place. The demand for PPE and the different factors affecting its supply are though kept constantly under review.

20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to Question for Written Answer HL5806, tabled on 16 June and due for answer on 30 June, how many contracts they have entered into with Pestfix Ltd; on what dates those contracts were entered into; and when they will publish the contract award notices.

The Department has raised 11 purchase orders to PestFix Ltd which relate to seven contracts. One Contract Award Notice has been published which shows that the contract was awarded on 13 April 2020. The other Contract Award Notices will be published shortly. These will contain the dates of the contract award which, as with all the information to be published, is subject to a validation process.

13th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to establish an ethics board to oversee the National COVID-19 Chest Imaging Database.

The Research and Ethics Committee (REC) at the Health Research Authority granted ethical approval for the National COVID-19 Chest Imaging Database (NCCID) on 16 April 2020.. The REC made no recommendation to establish an ethics board to oversee the NCCID. Access to data contained in the NCCID is governed by a committee of independent experts, which includes patient representatives, and is tasked with ensuring that applications comply with high ethical standards.

13th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether at any time in 2020 they had a preferred list of suppliers of COVID-19 related products and services; and, if so, what checks were carried out to ensure that no conflicts of interest existed between those companies and ministers or special advisers.

Online guidance on how contracting authorities should respond to coronavirus was published on March 18. Public authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015. Available options include a direct award due to extreme urgency and direct award due to absence of competition or protection of exclusive rights.

Over 1,000 purchase orders have been awarded to suppliers for COVID-19 related work, the majority through a direct award. There is no single consideration such as previous experience as to whether a supplier is added to the supply chain. The supplier will be evaluated by Departmental officials on their financial standing, compliance with minimum product specifications and ability to perform the contract. To provide a validated assessment of solely the previous experience for each of the suppliers on each of these contracts would involve disproportionate cost. Contracts are awarded by the appropriate Departmental accounting officer, an official, in line with Department’s terms and conditions which include clauses for contract management to assess performance and value for money throughout the lifetime of the contract.

13th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will list the contracts awarded in 2020 for the supply of (1) personal protective equipment, and (2) other COVID-19 related products or services, with companies that had no previous experience of supplying those products or services; and in each case identify (a) how the supplier was selected, (b) what due diligence was performed to determine the supplier’s ability to perform the contract, (c) who carried out that due diligence, (d) how value for money was assessed, and (e) who was the senior official or minister to authorise the order.

Online guidance on how contracting authorities should respond to coronavirus was published on March 18. Public authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015. Available options include a direct award due to extreme urgency and direct award due to absence of competition or protection of exclusive rights.

Over 1,000 purchase orders have been awarded to suppliers for COVID-19 related work, the majority through a direct award. There is no single consideration such as previous experience as to whether a supplier is added to the supply chain. The supplier will be evaluated by Departmental officials on their financial standing, compliance with minimum product specifications and ability to perform the contract. To provide a validated assessment of solely the previous experience for each of the suppliers on each of these contracts would involve disproportionate cost. Contracts are awarded by the appropriate Departmental accounting officer, an official, in line with Department’s terms and conditions which include clauses for contract management to assess performance and value for money throughout the lifetime of the contract.

13th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether patients’ consent will be required before their data can be collected for the National COVID-19 Chest Imaging Database.

The data collected for the National COVID-19 Chest Imaging Database is done so under the Control of Patient Information notices issued by the Secretary of State for Health. Consequently, no patient consent is required to collect the data from National Health Service trusts. No patient identifiable data is shared with developers. Images and clinical data points are anonymised before they are sent from each NHS trust to the Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust for collation. The Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust further verifies that any identifiable data burnt onto the images is removed. Once this step is completed, the anonymised data is uploaded on a cloud-based repository owned by NHSX, and having NHS England as the data controller.

10th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will publish the most recent contracts between NHS England and (1) Palantir, (2) Faculty, (3) Google, and (4) Amazon, which relate to the NHS COVID-19 Data Store.

The contract with Palantir will be published in the usual way in due course. The Faculty contract is being negotiated for extension and the contract will be published in the usual way in due course. NHS England does not own a contract with Google or Amazon regarding the NHS COVID-19 Data Store.

10th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government to provide a list of the data collected for the NHS COVID-19 Data Store which is to measure compliance with social distancing, including the “intelligence” referred to by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in his evidence to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee on 29 April.

The COVID-19 Data Store Reference Library describes the datasets being used in the NHS COVID-19 Data Store, and the sources of those datasets.

As more data is added to support the COVID-19 response the list will be updated.

10th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why Palantir’s contract with NHS England for the NHS COVID-19 Data Store allows that company to process sensitive personal data such as “political affiliations, religious or similar beliefs”.

Data in the NHS COVID-19 Data Store is de-identified by National Health Service staff before the data is analysed on Palantir's platform.

As such, no identifiable data is being accessed by anyone other than the NHS.

Data is only processed under instruction by NHS England and the companies involved cannot use the data for their own purposes.

10th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to establish an ethics board to oversee the NHS COVID-19 Data Store.

NHS England is the sole controller of data held within the NHS COVID-19 Data Store and for any data legally shared with them under the notice issued by the Secretary of State under the NHS Control of Patient Information (COPI) Regulations 2002. The notices allow permitted organisations, under Regulation 3(3) of the COPI regulations, to process data only for COVID-19 related purposes. The Department has no plans to establish an ethics board for the NHS COVID-19 Data Store.

16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to use powers conferred by the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (1) to operate the COVID-19 track and trace system, (2) to monitor or enforce lockdown restrictions, and (3) to monitor or enforce quarantine requirements on individuals.

The Government are considering a range of options for managing the effect of the outbreak of COVID-19. A careful assessment of any implications for civil liberties (including the impact on human rights, equality and privacy) will be an important part of those considerations.

The national lockdown measures were eased on 4 July and whilst police have powers of enforcement, the policy relies on the four Es approach; engage, explain, encourage, enforce. Where necessary fixed penalty charge notices can be issued in certain circumstances.

The Investigatory Powers Act makes clear that the powers it provides for can only be used for specific statutory purposes, where it is necessary and proportionate to do so.

16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the reported award of a £108 million contract for personal protective equipment to PestFix, where and when the contract was advertised for tender; whether the contract was awarded under Regulation 32(2)c of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/102) which covers Direct Award due to reasons of extreme urgency; if so, how the Direct Award met the requirement under Regulation 32(2)(c) that the events were unforeseeable, given the contract was awarded on 10 April and the UK had reportedly been warned about a shortage of PPE supplies at a meeting with the World Health Organisation on 4 February; why a 12-month contract was awarded; whether they have supported PestFix’s cashflow, and if so, by how much; and why the contract has not yet been published.

The award of this contract is the subject of a Judicial Review which has been brought against the Department. The Department is taking legal advice and considering its response. In these circumstances it would inappropriate to respond to the issues and points raised in this question as this might prejudice the Department’s legal position.

4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether NHS England or NHSX is liaising with the Intellectual Property Office and, if so, whether those discussions will result in publication of patent applications which flow from access to the COVID-19 datastore under the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015.

NHS England and NHSX are not currently liaising with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) on the publication of patent applications resulting from access to the NHS COVID-19 Data Store under the Re-use of Public Sector Information (RUPSI) Regulations 2015. The IPO is responsible under United Kingdom law for granting UK patents. Patent applications are published by the IPO in the course of the application process as set out in the Patents Act 1977. NHS England and NHSX are keen to encourage healthcare innovations and would certainly discuss with the IPO on how that could be appropriately encouraged.

The NHS COVID-19 Data Store has its own controlled procedure for access where specific criteria related to COVID-19 purposes must be met. There is no uncontrolled access to data in the NHS COVID-19 Data Store. NHS England and NHSX would consider and respond to any request they may receive under the RUPSI Regulations, as those Regulations require.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether insights from the use of the NHSX contact tracing app will be stored in NHS England’s datastore; and, if so, how they will ensure that fair benefits are secured for data subjects where third-party access to the data results in commercial products and services being developed.

There are currently no plans for data from the NHSX COVID-19 app to be held in the NHS Data Store. The data a user chooses to submit will be held on a separate database, held to the highest security standards and will remain under the control of the Department and the National Health Service throughout.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government to what extent they retain ownership of any intellectual property related to the development of the NHSX contact tracing app.

The intellectual property associated with the National Health Service COVID-19 app is retained by the Department. In order to promote transparency, the source code for the app is published under version 3.0 of the Open Government Licence. This licence allows NHSX to make the code Open Source whilst retaining its intellectual property rights related to the development of the app.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether NHS England will require confirmation of any agreements that their academic partners might have entered into with corporate sponsors such that any resultant intellectual property rights generated from the NHSX contact tracing app would rest with the corporate sponsor rather than the applicant or their host institution.

NHSX requires all academic partners working on the National Health Service COVID-19 app to complete a conflict of interest declaration as part of the onboarding process. The Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford has worked with NHSX in an advisory capacity during the crisis and has confirmed that no IP rests with corporate sponsors from the app programme.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what data they use to calculate R, the reproduction index for the COVID-19 virus; and what algorithm is used to perform the calculation.

The process for formulating the R number is a complex one. The Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M), which convenes once a week, builds a consensus on the value of R based on expert scientific advice from multiple academic groups. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies then reviews this and provides advice to the Government on the latest R figure.

21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 13 May (HL4448), whether they will publish the data sharing agreements held with all entities (1) working on, or (2) which will have access to data generated by, (a) the NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app, and (b) human contact tracers; and if so, when.

Where data are processed by commercial organisations and those data include personally identifiable information, the data processing agreements are included within the contract and published online at ‘Contract Finder’ on GOV.UK. We have published nine of these contracts so far and will continue to publish contracts when they become available. Data processing agreements are not included in contracts where personally identifiable information is not included.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they decided to create a new centralised team of human contact tracers for COVID-19 rather than local teams under the management of local public health directors, as were used during previous epidemics.

The Government launched its new NHS Test and Trace service on 28 May 2020. This includes enhanced contact tracing.

Public Health England’s local health protection teams and local authority public health teams remain an integral part of the contact tracing system. These teams will be supported by around 25,000 additional contact tracers, a mix of call handlers and health professionals to provide an enhanced, larger scale service to reduce the rate of transmission as lockdown measures start to be eased.

To support the rollout of Test and Trace, all councils have been asked to produce dedicated Local Outbreak Plans by the end of June. £300 million new dedicated funding has been provided to councils to support this.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the (1) mean, (2) median, (3) 25th percentile, (4) 75th percentile, and (5) variance, of the time taken between testing for COVID-19 and receiving the result.

To provide a more comprehensive response to a number of outstanding Written Questions, this has been answered by an information factsheet Testing – note for House of Lords which is attached, due to the size of the data. A copy has also been placed in the Library

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Data Processing Impact Assessment will be published for the computer systems that will store the data collected by COVID-19 human contact tracers.

Public Health England, supported by the NHS Business Services Authority, is preparing a data protection impact assessment for the NHS Track and Trace information system, and expects to publish this at the time the system is publicly launched.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any person will be compelled to download or use the NHSX COVID-19 contact tracing application; and whether they will propose that it be a criminal offence (1) to require a person to download or use the app by refusing to sell goods or services, (2) to discriminate in employment or (3) to block entry to public premises because a person has not downloaded or is not using the app.

The app will be one of a number of tools we use in the fight against COVID-19 but it will be voluntary. People will always have a choice of whether or not to download the app and will be able to delete it whenever they like. We see the app as having most value where its use is voluntary and we will look at how we can work with employers and services on this.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which companies and other bodies will be holding data generated by (1) the NHSX COVID-19 contact tracing application, and (2) the contact tracing carried about by human contact tracers; and when the data sharing agreements with each of those entities will be published.

App users’ information will be stored securely on their phone. If they choose to share their information with the National Health Service, it will remain under the control of the NHS throughout. Companies working for the NHS to process that data will be bound by data processing agreements that specify how and when the data must be used. Private commercial companies do not have access to personally identifiable data.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the written evidence by the Paymaster General to the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, published on 3 March, which states that “since 2016 £100m of funding has focussed on building collective resilience to Russian disinformation across Europe and the Eastern Neighbourhood Region”, on what that money was spent; and what is the equivalent figure for funding resilience against Russian disinformation targeted at the UK.

The CDMD programme contributes to HMG's Russia Strategy and UK national security by supporting projects which expose and build resilience to disinformation operations associated with Russia across Europe and the Eastern Neighbourhood. The types of support given varies from mentoring with UK media organisations; consultancy on programming; funded co-productions and support for regional Russian language media initiatives. Addressing the challenge of disinformation is a whole of Government effort and draws on resources from a number of Departments with costs met through their respective budgets.

14th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what has delayed the publication of the inquiry into the leaking of confidential messages from Lord Darroch of Kew when he was UK Ambassador to the United States.

The Metropolitan Police Service investigation is still ongoing. This is a complex, active criminal investigation and we have no information as to when it may conclude.

15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 14 September (HL7716), whether they will now answer the question put, namely (1) what was the cost to the Exchequer of misuse of Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) over the entire period that misuse took place, and (2) what was the number of retailers who did pay VAT and went out of business as a result of the misuse of LVCR by others.

The Government does not have an estimate of the cost to the Exchequer of the misuse of Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR). There is also no estimate of the number of compliant retailers that went out of business because of the misuse of LVCR by others.

The figure of £90 million additional yield for 2012/13 resulting from the removal of LVCR given in the previous answer is an indication of the extent of the misuse in the Channel Islands. The total yield for this measure over the period 2012/13–2016/17 was £500 million.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Richard Allen was rewarded for his whistle blowing role in alerting them and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to the misuse of Low Value Consignment Relief, as provided for by section 26 of the Commissioners for Customs and Excise Act 2005; and if not, why not.

HMRC do have the discretion to pay rewards, and these are based on what is achieved as a direct result of information provided. HMRC conduct an internal review process for determining whether or not a reward is payable and, if so, how much that reward should be. Rewards are offered at HMRC’s discretion and are not calculated as a means of compensation for the cost of gathering information that is subsequently supplied to HMRC, nor are they subject to negotiation.

HMRC’s policy is to neither confirm nor deny the existence of information provided by individuals or to confirm the fact that any individual has, or has not, provided information, directly or by inference, including comment on specific reward payments. In common with other law enforcement agencies in the UK, HMRC maintain this stance as a means of effective protection of the public interest; to protect the safety of any informants and to ensure that future potential informants are not discouraged from coming forward.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they took and when to address concerns raised by Richard Allen and others that Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) was being used for a purpose for which it was not intended; what estimate they have made of (1) the cost to the Exchequer of misuse of LVCR not being addressed sooner, and (2) the number of retailers who did pay VAT and went out of business as a result of the misuse of LVCR by others.

In April 2012 the Government took action to remove Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) for goods imported from the Channel Islands. Estimates were published at the time showing yield from this measure to be £90 million in 2012-13.

From 1 January 2021 the Government will be introducing changes that will see the removal of LVCR from all imports and make online marketplaces liable for VAT on low value imported goods sold through their websites.

21st Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what threshold applies before police can conduct facial recognition searches against (1) the passport database, (2) the EU Settled Status database, or (3) the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency database, in the course of their investigations.

Police forces can currently request facial recognition searches against the passport database on a limited basis in support of the most serious law enforcement investigations.

No facial recognition searches are currently carried out against the EU Settled Status and Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency databases in the course of police investigations to identify people suspected of offences.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether police forces can use facial recognition technology to search against photographs from (1) the passport database, (2) the EU Settled Status database, and (3) the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency database, to identify people suspected of offences.

Police forces can currently request facial recognition searches against the passport database on a limited basis in support of the most serious law enforcement investigations.

No facial recognition searches are currently carried out against the EU Settled Status and Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency databases in the course of police investigations to identify people suspected of offences.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what are the legal routes to the UK for citizens of Somalia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Eritrea, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar or the Democratic Republic of the Congo who are applying for asylum.

The UK does not accept asylum claims from abroad. Whilst we sympathise with people in many difficult situations around the world, we are not bound to consider asylum claims from the very large numbers of people overseas who might like to come here. Those who need international protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach which is the fastest route to safety, in line with the 1951 UN Convention.

Our resettlement schemes have provided safe and legal routes for tens of thousands of people including global schemes to start new lives in the UK. The UK welcomes people from all over the world through the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS), Mandate Resettlement Scheme, Community Sponsorship as well as country specific routes such as Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme as well as Ukraine and BNO schemes. This commitment, alongside a fair and firm asylum system, will ensure we continue to offer safe and legal routes to the UK for those in need of protection.

There are additional global safe and legal routes for people to come to the UK should they wish to join family members here, work or study. They would need to meet the requirements of the relevant Immigration Rule under which they were applying to qualify for a visa. Details about the criteria and how to apply are available on GOV.UK at: http://www.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa.

9th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what are the legal methods for refugees who are citizens of Somalia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Eritrea, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar or the Democratic Republic of the Congo to apply for asylum in the UK when they are (1) living in the country of their citizenship, (2) living in a safe third country, or (3) living in an unsafe third country.

Whilst we sympathise with people in many difficult situations around the world, we are not bound to consider asylum claims from the very large numbers of people overseas who might like to come here. Asylum is for people in danger in their home country. Those who need international protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach – that is the fastest route to safety.

Between 2015 and December 2022, just under half a million people were offered safe and legal routes into the UK– including those from Hong Kong, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine as well as family members of refugees.

This includes over 28,200 refugees resettled through the government’s refugee resettlement schemes. Our family reunion policy has also reunited many refugees with their family members; we have issued over 44,659 visas under our refugee family reunion Rules since 2015. The UK is one of the largest recipients of UNHCR referred refugees globally, second only to Sweden in Europe since 2015.

The UK continues to welcome refugees and people in need through existing resettlement schemes which include the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS), Community Sponsorship, the Mandate Resettlement Scheme and the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS).

Further information on existing safe and legal routes is available below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nationality-and-borders-bill-safe-and-legal-routes-factsheet/nationality-and-borders-bill-factsheet-safe-and-legal-routes.

15th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support and funding, if any, they are providing to (1) the Internet Watch Foundation, and (2) other organisations, working to prevent online sexual abuse; and when they plan to make any decisions about the future funding of the Internet Watch Foundation.

Nothing is more important than the safety of our children. The UK Government is committed to stamping out all forms of child sexual exploitation and abuse and continuing to be a global leader in tackling this threat.

The IWF acts as the UK’s ‘hotline’ for online criminal content, including indecent images of children (IIOC), to which both members of the public and internet industry can report web pages containing such images. The IWF is funded by the UK internet industry, and also receives funding from the European Union. Officials regularly engage with the IWF, including on its funding position following the UK’s exit from the EU. The Home Office supports the IWF’s connection to the Child Abuse Image Database (CAID).

We support a range of organisations such as the Lucy Faithfull Foundation whose Stop It Now! campaign, signposting people concerned about their own behaviour, or the behaviour of others, towards effective and anonymous help provided by the Foundation, including through its confidential helpline and the recently launched webchat service.

We have also recently provided funding to South West Grid for Learning and Internet Matters to develop a new online hub, specifically designed to decrease the risk of online abuse, including child sexual abuse, perpetrated against children with vulnerabilities, including children with SEND, LGBTQ+ children, and looked after children.

Future decisions on Home Office spending are dependent on the outcome of the 2020 Comprehensive Spending Review.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, what assessment they have made of the finding by the Scottish Parliament that there was "no justification" for Police Scotland to use facial recognition technology; and why police in London and South Wales continue to use live facial recognition surveillance.

  1. The Written Answer (HL1336) is not inconsistent with the press release from the Metropolitan Police. It referred to the results from the trials, which finished last year, and not the recent deployments of live facial recognition technology.
  2. Those are matters for the Scottish Parliament, the Metropolitan Police Service and South Wales Police, which are all independent of the Government. The Government supports the police using new technologies like facial recognition to protect the public in accordance with the law.
Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
4th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the total cost of the Metropolitan Police’s recent trial of automated facial recognition technology, including preparatory work, and encompassing equipment and manpower costs; and how many staff were required for a typical deployment during the trial, broken down by role.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) are operationally independent of government.

They have disclosed the following information:

Costs

The MPS have records of Live Facial Recognition software and associated hardware at a current total cost of £240,000.

The MPS have no record of other costs relating to preparatory work or associated manpower.

Outcomes

During their trials ten individuals on the system’s watchlist were correctly identified, resulting in eight arrests (these figures discount alerts generated by test subjects).

The offences for which they were arrested were: false imprisonment; breach of non-molestation order; two counts of rape; discharge of firearm; breach of restraining order and harassment; domestic assault and theft; robbery and assault on police.

Two of these arrests have resulted in convictions so far (breach of non-molestation order and assault on police).

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
4th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, during the recent Metropolitan Police trial of automated facial recognition technology, how many individuals on the system’s watchlist were correctly identified; how many alerts resulted in (1) an arrest, and (2) a subsequent conviction; and for which offences.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) are operationally independent of government.

They have disclosed the following information:

Costs

The MPS have records of Live Facial Recognition software and associated hardware at a current total cost of £240,000.

The MPS have no record of other costs relating to preparatory work or associated manpower.

Outcomes

During their trials ten individuals on the system’s watchlist were correctly identified, resulting in eight arrests (these figures discount alerts generated by test subjects).

The offences for which they were arrested were: false imprisonment; breach of non-molestation order; two counts of rape; discharge of firearm; breach of restraining order and harassment; domestic assault and theft; robbery and assault on police.

Two of these arrests have resulted in convictions so far (breach of non-molestation order and assault on police).

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government sought advice from officials as to whether the Westferry Printworks scheme would proceed if the Community Infrastructure Levy was applied to it; and, if so, what advice he received on this matter.

All the advice requested and received from officials on this case, other than personal information and that subject to legal professional privilege, was placed on gov.uk and in the Libraries of the House. The Planning Inspector’s report noted that if the decision was taken after the adoption of the new Local Plan and CIL schedule, the viability of the scheme might be compromised.

13th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government will publish (1) the specific purposes of the contracted services, (2) a cost-benefit analysis of the contracted services, and (3) the Data Protection Impact Assessment, for its contract with Faculty for data science services.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) are planning to publish the amended version of the Faculty contract that will include the specific purposes of the contracted services that were carried out. This is anticipated to be published on the Contract Finder website the week commencing the 27 July.

No cost benefit analysis of the contracted services has been undertaken at this time. A robust selection process was carried out through the Crown Commercial Service's G-Cloud Digital Marketplace.

MHCLG does not routinely publish Data Protection Impact Assessments completed by the Department.

21st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk of introducing inconsistencies into the law around marriage if humanist marriages are legislated for before the Law Commission's review in this area has concluded.

In 2014, the Government published a consultation paper and response assessing the potential merits of provision for non-religious belief marriages. This concluded that the matter was complex, and that by allowing Humanists to solemnise marriages in unrestricted locations, the Government would create a provision for Humanists that would not be available to all groups.

To ensure we are considering the implications of changing the law on marriage on all groups, we invited the Law Commission to undertake a review which is currently underway and is expected to report in July of this year. By looking at the law comprehensively, the Law Commission will seek to put forward proposals that would ensure that, insofar as possible, groups and couples are all subject to the same rules and the same level of regulation. That reform is not possible by only authorising Humanist weddings, even on a temporary basis pending the Law Commission report.

The Government will carefully consider the Law Commission’s recommendations when the final report is published in July, and it is right for us to wait for the outcome of the report before amending marriage law any further.

21st Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the annual report by the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP/Young Offenders Institute Bronzefield, published in November 2021; in particular, the finding that 77 per cent of women prisoners faced homelessness on release; and what plans they have to establish a funded pathway that ensures women leaving prison have access to safe and secure accommodation.

We appreciate the work of the Independent Monitoring Boards (IMBs) and welcome the scrutiny they provide, including the findings of this report on HMP & YOI Bronzefield. Their findings regarding accommodation for female prison leavers reflect the specific challenges women face in securing suitable accommodation.

Our Prisons Strategy White Paper sets out our vision that no-one subject to probation supervision is released from prison homeless.

To achieve this, HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) launched a new transitional accommodation service providing up to 12 weeks' accommodation and support for those leaving prison at risk of homelessness. The service was initially launched last July in five probation areas in England, including in Kent Surrey and Sussex. From 2024-5, we will invest £200m per year to transform our approach to rehabilitation. This includes expanding the transitional accommodation service across England and Wales to support the thousands of people who leave prison each year without accommodation, as announced in the Prison Strategy White Paper published in December 2021.

The transitional accommodation takes account of the needs of women, including those with complex needs, with accommodation provision dedicated to single gender usage as required.

HMPPS has also introduced Housing Specialists in twenty prisons, including HMP Bronzefield, to support prisons to be more strategic in their response to reducing homelessness, including working in partnership with Probation teams and Local Authorities to develop accommodation pathways on release from prison. Our White Paper outlines our commitment to increase the number of Housing Specialists to 48 across England and Wales, including within the female estate.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) launched their Accommodation for Ex-Offenders (AFEO) scheme on 28 July 2021 to support offenders at risk of homelessness into private rental tenancies. Overall, this financial year, £13 million has been allocated to 87 schemes across 145 local authorities. Combined with our temporary accommodation service, this builds a pathway from prison to settled accommodation.