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Mr. Dismore: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many applications were received in the last year for judicial appointments by (a) solicitors and (b) barristers for posts as (i) deputy district judge, (ii) assistant recorder and (iii) circuit judge; and in respect of how many of the applicants there were (1) no comments, (2) one comment and (3) two or more comments in relation to the informal consultation element in the selection process for each of (i) to (iii). 
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No "informal" consultation takes place for any of these competitions. However, in relation to the formal consultation process which takes place for each of the competitions, the relevant members of the judiciary and the profession are invited to submit their views on each candidate. In addition, for the Assistant Recorder and Deputy District Judge competitions each candidate is invited to nominate consultees. Candidates for Circuit Bench competitions have not hitherto been invited to nominate consultees, although they have been invited to do so for this year's competition. The only available statistics are for the Assistant Recorder competition, which show that up to 30 comments were received on each applicant.
Mr. Allan: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many and what percentage of the (a) paid and (b) unpaid appointments which he has made to non-departmental public bodies since 1 May 1997 were women. 
Jane Kennedy: Of the non-judicial appointments made to our non-departmental public bodies since 1st May 1997, nine (or 32 per cent.) of the paid appointments have been women and 305 (or 41 per cent.) of the unpaid ones have been women.
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This Government are committed to increasing the representation of women in public life. In support of this, the Department has drawn up an action plan for increasing the numbers of women and people from ethnic minorities holding public appointments. The latest plans, together with the Government's overall plan, were published on 24 May 2000 in "Quangos: Opening Up Public Appointments 2000--2003", copies of which are in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Ian McCartney: Good progress is being made across the public sector: NHS Direct, the ONE project, internet access in libraries, and improved Government websites, as well as improved policies to tackle deep-seated problems like social exclusion.
Mr. Ian McCartney: The modernising government programme is ongoing and integral to the work of every part of the public service. We are using specific funds, such as the Invest to Save Budget (totalling £230 million) and the Capital Modernisation Fund (totalling £1.1 billion) to assist in the process of modernisation. An example of the type of project that this money is going towards funding is the integration of services for pensioners at the Benefits Agency.
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11. Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will make a statement on her Department's work in co-ordinating Government policy on the modernising government programme. 
Mr. Ian McCartney: In July 1999 we published the Modernising Government Action Plan showing action in hand by the centre of government to promote and drive forward the commitments of the White Paper published earlier in March 1999. Progress against the Action Plan is reported regularly on the internet. The last update showed that over 90 per cent. of the activities were on course or had been delivered.
10. Mr. Blunt: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate she has made of the cost of salaries of special advisers in Government for the financial year 2001-02, on the basis that each adviser who is so entitled receives the maximum performance-related increment for that year. 
Mr. Stringer: "Opening up Public Appointments 2000--03" was published on 24 May. It contains the Government's updated plan for increasing the participation of women, members of the ethnic minorities and disabled people in public life.
The Government are keen to ensure that those serving on the boards of public bodies are as representative of society as possible. We are committed to the equal representation of women and men in public appointments and a pro-rata representation of members of the ethnic minorities. It also wants to encourage more disabled people to participate in public life.
Mr. Ian McCartney: We have appointed consumer champions in all the key central government services, to find out and meet their users' needs. We have been working hard to ensure we consult the public better and more widely about policy and services.
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disadvantage those drug users who have not been arrested but who wish to receive treatment to break their drug dependency. 
The Government have recently proposed a National Treatment Agency to provide a cohesive central approach to treatment for problem drug misusers. This means the Department of Health and the Home Office working together to ensure that those requiring treatment are able to access services which have a positive impact on health and crime, regardless of their route of referral.
Marjorie Mowlam: I can confirm that good progress is being made towards achieving the Government's targets on the four reports from the Social Exclusion Unit that have been published. These are on School Truancy and Exclusion, Rough Sleeping, Teenage Pregnancy and Bridging the Gap, which is about 16-18 year olds not in education, training and employment.
The SEU launched a consultation framework version of the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal in April. Over 18,000 copies of the consultation framework were disseminated. The consultation ended on 30 June. The SEU are currently reviewing responses and will set out an action plan for the National Strategy later this year.
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