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Millennium Exhibition (Sponsorship)

Mr. Maude: To ask the Minister without Portfolio how many firms have pledged to provide sponsorship for the Millennium Exhibition. [31197]

Mr. Mandelson: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) on 24 February 1998, Official Report, column 204.



Mr. Forth: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list each information, promotional, marketing and opinion survey contract, with its value, concluded by his Department and its agencies for the years (a) 1997-98, (b) 1998-99, (c) 1999-2000, (d) 2000-2001 and (e) 2001-2002. [32017]

Mr. Kilfoyle: For this answer my Department includes the Prime Minister's Office and the Central Office of Information.

The survey contracts or contracts that have included surveys that my Department has that extend across or expire in the years in the question are as follows:

    A framework arrangement to consult members of the public on public services; the value depends on how often the arrangement is used (expenditure to date--£52,845); October 1996 to October 1998.

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    Advice on options for the provision of accommodation for the use of the Civil Service College including an assessment of private sector interest; value--£25,000; October 1997 to January 1998.

    A survey to assess the extent to which citizens and small business in the UK would use electronically delivered public services; value--£440,000; October 1997 to July 1998.

    A marketing survey to assist the Government Care and Despatch Agency formulating a new marketing strategy; value--£22,600; January to March 1998.

    A framework arrangement to facilitate consultation with members of the public about the delivery of public services; value depends on how often the framework arrangement is used over its life; February 1998 to January 2001.

    A survey of civil servants' views and experiences on lifelong learning; value--£54,788; March to July 1998.

Civil Service

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what percentage of the administration trainees who joined the Civil Service in the last available year (a) were arts graduates, (b) were graduates of Oxford or Cambridge and (c) attended public schools. [33042]

Dr. David Clark [holding answer 6 March 1998]: In the 1997 General Fast Stream competition, 170 candidates were recommended by the Final Selection Board for appointment to the Fast Stream Development Programme of the Civil Service. Of these: (a) 66.5% were graduates in arts-related subjects; (b) 43.5% were graduates of Oxford or Cambridge; and (c) of the 82% of candidates where the information is available, 50% attended independent schools.

Mr. Alan W. Williams: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement about the future of the Next Steps policy of management reform in the civil service and about the 1997 Next Steps report. [34414]

Dr. David Clark: The Government have today published the 1997 Next Steps Report, CM-3889, which has been laid in both Houses. This report brings together performance and trend data on 138 executive agencies and four departments operating on Next Steps lines. It is now 10 years since the Next Steps policy was launched. As the report makes clear, the percentage of civil servants working in Next Steps agencies or in departments organised on Next Steps lines last year passed the target of 75 per cent. set during the early days of the project. This is a considerable milestone in a project which, with cross-party support, has brought improvements in efficiency and customer focus across a wide range of services provided by government.

The Government believe that the benefits from this change to civil service organisation can be developed further. Analysis of agency performance data shows that the need for continuous improvement has not always been given sufficient attention, in part because it has been overshadowed by the emphasis on agency creation. The Government are therefore marking a change in priorities by moving on from the agency creation phase of the Next Steps policy, and launching a new phase with the focus on performance. While agencies will continue to be created, the primary focus will be on further improving the quality, efficiency and convenience to users of agency services.

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Ministers will be concerned to ensure that agency targets set out sufficiently clearly the level and direction of achievement required. Agencies will be encouraged to share best practice, including harnessing the full potential of IT and cooperating with other bodies beyond the agency boundaries. These themes will be further developed in the Better Government White Paper to be published later in the Spring. Building on the sound principles of Next Steps, it is our intention to see that the agencies of government are among the world leaders in delivering high quality, efficient and effective public services for the new Millennium.

Freedom of Information

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many (a) individuals, (b) companies, (c) campaign groups, (d) hon. Members of either House, (e) Members of the European Parliament and (f) government departments or agencies had responded to his consultation paper on freedom of information by the end of the consultation period; what proportions of each category responded by e-mail or participated in his on-line discussion forum; and if he will place in the Library (i) a list of respondents and (ii) copies of submissions not requesting confidentiality. [33118]

Dr. David Clark: By 10 March nearly 550 responses had been received to the consultation on the White Paper Your Right to Know, the Government's proposals for a Freedom of Information Act. The exact breakdown requested is not available but responses can be broken down as follows:

Total number of responsesResponses by e-mailOn-line discussion
(a) individuals15910238
(b) businesses65112
(c) media610
(d) academics59140
(e) charities, lobby groups and campaign groups79204
(f) hon. Members of either House400
(g) public authorities145151
(h) Members of the European Parliament000
(i) others2673

This table broadly covers categories (a) to (e) in the question. As far as category (f) is concerned the White Paper "Your Right to Know" contains the Government's collectively agreed proposals for a Freedom of Information Act. The consultation on the White Paper was therefore designed for members of the public and other outside interests, not Government departments or agencies, to submit their views on the proposals.

I will be placing a list of all respondees and copies of all submissions not requesting confidentiality in the Library shortly.

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Public Bodies (Reports)

Ms Roseanna Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list the bodies within the responsibility of his Department currently required by legislation to lay a report before Parliament. [33550]

Mr. Kilfoyle [holding answer 9 March 1998]: The bodies that fall within the responsibility of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster's Department (the Office of Public Service) and which are required to lay a report before Parliament are:

The Central Office of Information is an executive agency and a separate Department within the responsibility of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. It is also required to lay a report before Parliament.

All are covered by Treasury Accounts Directions and are therefore required by legislation to have their annual reports and accounts laid before Parliament.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Butterfill: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list those parliamentary questions he has taken eight weeks or more to answer since 1 May 1997. [32702]

Dr. David Clark: No parliamentary question tabled to my Department since 1 May 1997 has taken more than eight weeks to answer.

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