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PPP Contracts

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to ensure that the terms of PPP contracts are in the public domain; and if he will make a statement. [23647]

Mr. Andrew Smith [holding answer 9 January 2002]: I have been asked to reply.

It is for Departments to decide what contractual information to publish. But we took steps in 1998 to encourage greater openness of PFI contractual information, with Treasury Taskforce Policy Statement No 4 on "Disclosure of Information and Consultation with Staff and Other Interested Parties". This publication, which is available on the Office of Government Commerce website, built on the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information produced by the Cabinet Office (Second Edition 1997) which said that:

Departmental Payments (Euros)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many Government Departments will, during the next 12 months, be paying costs for European services in euros. [33558]

Ruth Kelly: I have been asked to reply.

If a supplier wishes to invoice a Government Department in euro it can do. The Government Department does not take the exchange risk. The euro is treated just like any other major international currency.

Civil Servants

Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of senior civil servants have held civil service posts based outside London. [32907]

Mr. Leslie: The information is not available in the form requested.

At 1 April 2001, 39.9 per cent. of senior civil service posts were based outside London. Data are not collected centrally on the numbers of senior civil servants who have worked outside London in the past.

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Ministerial Guidance (Energy Industry)

Tom Brake: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what guidance has been given by his Department to Government Departments and agencies since May 1997 with respect to (a) contacts between civil servants and representatives from, (b) sponsorship of Government Departments or events by, (c) secondees working within Government Departments from and (d) secondees from Government Departments to (i) BP, (ii) Shell, (iii) Exxon- Mobil, (iv) Enron, (v) Conoco, (vi) Texaco and (vii) TotalFinaElf; on what dates the guidance was issued; and if he will place related documentation in the Library; [33222]

Mr. Leslie: Civil servants on secondment to the private and public sectors continue to be civil servants and are, therefore, governed by the requirements of the Civil Service Code. Individuals from the private and public sectors on secondment to the civil service are also subject to the requirements of the Civil Service Code for the duration of their appointment. Individuals are advised of the terms of their secondment in their letter of appointment.

Civil servants wishing to take up employment outside the civil service are subject to the requirements of the Business Appointment Rules which are set out in full in the Civil Service Management Code.

The Directory of Civil Service Guidance sets out guidance for civil servants on sponsorship of outside events and contacts with outside interest groups, including lobbyists. Copies of the Codes and Directory referred to in this answer are in the Library of the House.


Hammond Inquiry

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister (1) under what circumstances official inquiries can be reopened; [34119]

The Prime Minister: I have asked Sir Anthony Hammond to review his earlier conclusions as a result of further papers that have now come to light.

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister what is the estimated cost to the public funds arising from the reopening of the Hammond Inquiry into the application for the naturalisation by Mr. S. P. Hinduja in 1998. [34121]

The Prime Minister: It is not possible to provide a cost until the further work has been completed. However, the cost will be minimal.

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Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister what role was played by (a) Ministers, (b) civil servants and (c) special advisers in contributing to the story in the Sunday Times, edition 3 February, concerning the reopening of the Hammond Inquiry into the application for naturalisation by Mr. S. P. Hinduja. [34122]

The Prime Minister: My press office responded to journalists' questions and confirmed the facts.

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister what the terms of reference are for the reopened Hammond Inquiry; who will be able to give evidence to this inquiry; and if he will make a statement. [34123]

The Prime Minister: Sir Anthony Hammond QC has the following terms of reference:

The decision on who to invite for interview is a matter for Sir Anthony Hammond.


Joan Ruddock: To ask the Prime Minister what key issues he raised with the group of Afghan women on his recent visit to the region; and if he will make a statement. [30430]

The Prime Minister: I met a group of Afghan women refugees in Pakistan on 7 January. They told me about the brutal repression they had faced in Afghanistan under the Taliban and their hopes for a better life in the new Afghanistan. I also met a group of Afghan women in the UK on 31 January at Downing Street.

I also discussed the issues facing women in Afghanistan with Hamid Karzai, Chair of the Afghan Interim Administration, and Dr. Sima Samar, Vice-Chair and Minister for Women, during my visit to Afghanistan on 7 January, and their visit to London on 31 January. We agreed that education and training are key in restoring rights to women in Afghanistan. Mr. Karzai confirmed that getting girls back to school is an urgent priority for the Interim Administration.


Police Assessment

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he takes to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of chief constables and police authorities. [30214]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 25 January 2002]: The Police Act 1996 requires Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary to inspect and report on the efficiency and effectiveness of every police force in England and Wales.

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Where an inspection finds that a force is not efficient or effective, or is at risk of becoming so, the Home Secretary is empowered to require specific measures to be taken by the police authority.

Under the Local Government Act 1999 police authorities are required to secure continuous improvement in the way in which their functions are exercised. Where the Secretary of State is satisfied that an authority is failing in its duties under the Act, he may direct the authority to take such action as he considers necessary.

The White Paper "Policing a New Century" (CM 5326) set out the Government's intention to introduce a National Policing Plan, three year plans for police authorities, and a framework of Regulations, codes of practice and guidance. These and other measures are currently before Parliament in the Police Reform Bill. The new Standards Unit will also have a key role in performance and spreading best practice in the light of the proposed changes.

Police Service (Devon and Cornwall)

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many special constables there were in Devon and Cornwall constabulary in (a) 1992 and (b) 1997; and what the latest available figure is; [17274]

Mr. Denham: Since 1997, 752 special constables have been recruited to Devon and Cornwall constabulary and 859 have left.

Annual strength figures for the specified years are set out in the table:

December 1992946
March 19971,148
March 2001804


Figures for December 1992 provided by HMIC. Figures for March 1997 and 2001 provided by RDS.

Home Office-funded research into the premature wastage of special constables, completed last year, found that the primary reasons for leaving were often external to the service. However, the research identified some underlying management factors contributing to the decision to resign.

Recommendations aimed at reducing the wastage included making improvements to: the management structure within which specials operate; the quality of training provided locally; the flexibility of duties and hours offered and to local efforts to monitor and prevent wastage.

The Government are committed to increasing the special constabulary and as part of the police reform process we are looking at radical improvements in the management, welfare and deployment of special constables.

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