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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if work has begun on the research project into the reasons why teachers are leaving the profession. [8997]

Mr. Timms: The Department is in the process of commissioning this research project. Work is planned to commence in early December 2001.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what work has been done to investigate if teacher shortages are being tackled by teachers taking classes in subjects for which they are not qualified. [8998]

Mr. Timms: Many teachers are qualified in more than one subject. What subjects they should be asked to teach is a matter for the professional judgment of the headteachers concerned. The latest figures available show that in 1996–97, 82 per cent. of secondary school teachers held an appropriate subject qualification.

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teachers who received their golden hello completed their contract. [9380]

Mr. Timms: This information is not collected centrally. In order to apply for a golden hello, an eligible teacher must have completed induction successfully and be employed in a relevant post in a maintained school or a maintained or non-maintained special school in England on a permanent contract or a fixed-term contract of one term or more.


Social Exclusion Unit

Angus Robertson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how many staff are employed in the Social Exclusion Unit in (a) Scotland and (b) the UK; [8596]

Mrs. Roche: The Social Exclusion Unit is part of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and reports to the Prime Minister through the Deputy Prime Minister. Its remit is to help improve Government action to reduce social exclusion by producing "joined-up solutions to joined-up problems". It works mainly on specific projects, chosen following consultation with other Ministers and suggestions from interested groups. The unit's remit covers only matters which are the responsibility of the Government, but it keeps in close touch with the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland devolved Administrations, which have their own strategies for tackling social exclusion.

On 1 October 2001 there were 52 members of staff in the SEU. The administration and pay costs for the unit for the past five years are as follows:

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Admin costsPay costsTotal
1 December 1997–31 March 199842,84145,91488,756
1 April 1998–31 March 1999262,600418,518681,119
1 April 1999–31 March 2000760,046810,6181,570,665
1 April 2000–31 March 20011,100,2891,145,9572,246,247
1 April 2001–31 March 2002(8)712,0001,659,0002,371,000

(8) Budget allocation

There are no staff employed in the Social Exclusion Unit in Scotland and there were no administration and staff costs over the past five years.


Mr. Allen: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he plans to publish a Green Paper on e-democracy. [7357]

Mr. Leslie: The Office of the e-Envoy, in conjunction with DTLR, is developing early proposals to enhance opportunities for all forms of participation in the democratic process through the use of information and communication technologies.

Before any proposals are taken forward, we anticipate undertaking a wide-ranging consultation, which will include elected representatives, civil society, business and individuals, as well as government at all levels—including the devolved Administrations and local government. However, no decision has yet been taken on the publication date of any consultation paper.

Civil Contingencies Secretariat

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister to which minister the Civil Contingencies Secretariat reports; and if he will list the staff working in it. [8223]

Mr. Leslie: The Civil Contingencies Secretariat is accountable to the Prime Minister through the Secretary of the Cabinet and to the Ministers who chair the Committees and Sub-Committees that the secretariat services. The Home Secretary chairs the Civil Contingencies Committee.

Nearly 100 staff currently work in the secretariat, which is headed by Mike Granatt. This number includes teaching and support staff at the Emergency Planning College.

Government Office for London

Harry Cohen: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the activities and performance of the Government Office for London over the past six months. [9194]

Mrs. Roche: The mission of the Government Office for London (GOL) is to make London a better place by working with partner organisations to promote the Government's policies and achievement of their planned outcomes. GOL delivers policies and programmes for six Departments with a programme budget of over £2 billion in 2001–02. Its main activities are neighbourhood renewal, planning, skills and education, enterprise, sustainable development, housing, crime and community safety and culture. It is also a main liaison point with the Greater London Authority.

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Some examples of what GOL has done in the past six months include the establishing of a Youth Crime team working in partnership of a Youth Crime team working in partnership with the police and boroughs to tackle youth crime and victimisation in 10 London boroughs; administration of nearly £600 million of European funds to 2006; and the launch of two Connexions Partnerships, to deliver services to young people in north and south London.

GOL is currently undertaking its mid-year review so I am unable to furnish my hon. Friend with details of performance for the past six months. However, a report on GOL's performance for the previous financial year is available in its annual review 2000–01 which is in the Library or accessible from GOL's website http//:


Maintenance Arrears

Mr. Heald: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what was the average amount of money outstanding in maintenance arrears in respect of maintenance defaulters who have appeared before Huntingdon family proceedings court in 2001. [9397]

Mr. Wills: Information at this level of detail is not held centrally by the Department, and it would involve disproportionate cost to obtain details from the local Magistrates' Courts Committee.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is the total amount of money owed in respect of arrears of maintenance under orders registered at Peterborough magistrates' court. [9396]

Mr. Wills: I have been informed by the Justices' Clerk for the area that the total arrears of maintenance orders at Peterborough Magistrates' Court appears to be £6,185,950. However, it is possible that this figure is overstated, as maintenance may have been paid direct between parties, parties may have reconciled, re-married or one of the parties may have died.

Arrest Warrants

Mr. Heald: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many arrest warrants not backed for bail were issued by family proceedings courts in Cambridgeshire in 2001; how many such warrants were executed and how many remain unexecuted; and if he will make a statement. [9395]

Mr. Wills: I have been informed by the Justices' Clerk for the area that nine warrants not backed for bail have been issued in Cambridgeshire in 2001; two of these warrants have been successfully executed and three warrants are still with the court's private enforcement contractors for execution. The remaining four have been returned to the court because the defaulters cannot be traced.

Freedom of Information Act

Norman Baker: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (1) on what date he expects the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to come into force; and if he will make a statement; [6022]

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Mr. Wills: The Freedom of Information Act received Royal Assent on 30 November 2000 and, by section 87(3), has to be fully implemented by the 30 November 2005. However, the Government are committed to the implementation of the Act before this deadline. The Lord Chancellor also has a statutory duty to report to Parliament by 29 November this year on his proposals for bringing fully into force those provisions that are not yet fully in force.

In his appearance before the Home Affairs Select Committee on 16 October, the Lord Chancellor outlined the two possible approaches to implementation. A 'Sector by Sector' approach would mean implementing the Act in stages, by type of public authority, with publications schemes provisions implemented first and the right of access following, say, six months later. The alternative is a 'Big Bang' approach, under which the publication scheme provisions are rolled out, by type of public authority, and the individual's right of access to all public authorities commences at the end of that complete process. The Government are considering which of these two to adopt.

Some parts of the Act are already in force. The provisions of the Act set out in section 87(1) came into force on 30 November 2000, when the Act was passed. These provisions relate mainly to the work of the Information Commissioner, the coverage of the Act and Order making powers. The provisions set out in section 87(2) of the Act came into force on 30 January 2001. These relate primarily to the creation of the post of the Information Commissioner. Provisions relating to the amendment of the Data Protection Act, as provided for by the Freedom of Information Act, were also brought into force by Commencement Order in Statutory Instrument 2001 Number 1637, on 30 April 2001.

The Government are determined that the time taken to implement the Act will be used well to ensure that the Act is a success. There is a parallel to be drawn here between the Freedom of Information Act and the Human Rights Act. Time was taken to ensure that the Human Rights Act was implemented properly. This meant that, despite criticism at the time, the implementation of the Act has been considered a success.

Norman Baker: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many officials and what reasons are deployed to secure implementation of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (a) in his Department and (b) elsewhere in Government. [6024]

Mr. Wills: Within the Lord Chancellor's Department there is a Division devoted to central policy on Freedom of Information and Data Protection. It has a delegated budget of approximately £310,000 for work on Freedom of Information. In addition, the Division has allocated a grant in aid, for this financial year, to the Information Commissioner of £2 million, for her responsibilities under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act).

Each Public Authority is responsible for the implementation of the Act within its own jurisdiction and therefore, there are a number of staff involved in the

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implementation of the Act in the Lord Chancellor's Department itself, as well as in its Agencies and Associated Offices, as there are in other Departments.

Key staff in each Department include the Management Board level 'Champion' for Freedom of Information and the Implementation Team Leader. Records and knowledge management staff, including website staff, are also involved, as are many others throughout the Department. The work is clearly an aspect of many people's jobs; for example, the Home Office has in the region of 50 staff involved in the implementation as some part of their job.

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