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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Solicitor-General what her Department's policy is towards age discrimination. 
The Solicitor-General [holding answer 14 March 2002]: My own Department, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, is a small department of fewer than 35 staff. Staff are seconded to LSLO from other Government Departments and so the age range from which LSLO draws its staff depends upon the age policy of other Departments. Within that limitation, LSLO does not discriminate on grounds of age and there is no age bar in relation to recruitment. Currently the ages of staff at LSLO ranges from under 25 to over 60.
In the Departments for which the Attorney-General is responsible, details are as follows:
Crown Prosecution Service The Crown Prosecution Service is currently in the process of a complete review of Departmental policy on age, with a view to issuing revised policy later this year. The revised policy will take into account the current need for all employers to adopt a flexible approach to the recruitment and retention of older workers.
Historically the CPS has welcomed all job applications regardless of age, but has maintained a less flexible policy on age retirement. Guidance issued by the Cabinet Office (based on the non-statutory Code of Practice published by the former DfEE) encouraged the review of current policies on recruitment, conditions of service based on age or length of service, and retirement. The CPS review aims to bring all age-related policies in line with the code of practice.
Treasury Solicitor's Department The Treasury Solicitor's Department does not discriminate on grounds of age and there is no age bar in relation to recruitment.
The minimum age at which staff can retire and receive an immediate pension payout is 60. The Treasury Solicitor's Department includes age equality in its diversity programme and allows staff to stay on at work to the age of 65, subject to satisfactory performance and the business needs of the agency.
Serious Fraud Office There are no age restrictions placed upon applicants for Serious Fraud Office positions. However, applicants are asked to note that the Department's normal retirement age for staff at all grades is currently 60.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what was, for each year since 1995, the total number of (a) letters from hon. Members, (b) letters from members of the public and (c) parliamentary questions from (i) hon. Members and (ii) Lords dealt with by his
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Department; what percentage took (A) more than one month and (B) more than three months to provide a substantive answer; and if he will make a statement; 
Dr. Moonie: The information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
General information on the volumes of correspondence received across Whitehall and on overall performance is published by the Cabinet Office. Figures for 2000 were published on 6 April 2001, Official Report, columns 32428W and on 19 July 2001, Official Report, columns 45456W.
The Ministry of Defence aims to answer all ordinary written parliamentary questions within five working days, and named day written parliamentary questions on the day named.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff left the service of his Department and its agencies in the year ended 31 March 2001; how many left before attaining the formal retirement age of 60 years; and in respect of how many his Department and its agencies assumed responsibilities for making payments until retirement age. 
Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office on 13 March 2002, Official Report, column 1071W.
During the period 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001, 798 employees left the Ministry of Defence on grounds of either early retirement or early severance for which benefits were paid under the civil service compensation scheme.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will list the official visits within the UK outside London made by each Minister in his Department in 2001, giving for each (a) the origin and destination and (b) the mode of travel used; and what guidance is provided to Ministers in his Department on choice of mode of travel for official visits; 
Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office (Mr. Leslie) on 6 March 2002, Official Report, column 421W.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what programme he has made for identifying the
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successor lead nation for the international security assistance force for Kabul and its surrounding area under the terms of Annex 1 to the Bonn agreement; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: We continue to negotiate with Turkey for the handover of the International Security Assistance Force lead nation.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the (a) financial costs and (b) benefits to his Department of the Parental Leave Directive. 
Dr. Moonie: It is the Ministry of Defence's policy to encourage civilian staff, at all levels, to take full advantage of family-friendly and work-life provisions such as the Parental Leave Directive. Records on the grant of special leave under the Parental Leave Directive are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, since this category of special leave is unpaid, then, administrative costs aside, there are no direct financial consequences to the MOD.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much he has spent on external advisers in connection with the transfer of parts of DERA to the private sector. 
Dr. Moonie [holding answer 11 March 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 8 March 2002, Official Report, column 577W, to the hon. Member for North Thanet (Mr. Gale).
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements his Department has made to celebrate (a) St. Patrick's Day, (b) St. George's Day, (c) St. Andrew's Day and (d) Her Majesty the Queen's Golden Jubilee; and how his Department celebrated St. David's Day. 
Dr. Moonie [holding answer 11 March 2002]: The Ministry of Defence does not make any formal arrangements for National Saints' Days except for the flying of flags from certain Government buildings where the facility to do so exists. On such occasions the Union flag is hoisted, and where there are two suitable masts the National flag may be flown together with the Union flag on buildings located in England, Scotland and Wales on the appropriate "named day". St. Patrick's Day is not a "named day". The armed forces have similar arrangements, though in addition certain units may unofficially acknowledge a particular Saint's Day for historical or traditional reasons.
With regard to the arrangements for the Queen's Golden Jubilee I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport gave on 11 February 2002, Official Report, columns 5859W, to the hon. Member for South Suffolk (Mr. Yeo).
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Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members his Department employs in its regulatory impact unit; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: As a non-regulatory Department, the Ministry of Defence does not have a dedicated regulatory impact unit. However, issues relating to regulatory impact are addressed by two civilian members of staff as part of their wider remit to assess the potential impacts of EU legislation on the MOD.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many people work for the Central Data Management Authority; how many are employed in Scotland; and what the personnel costs of the agency are; 
Dr. Moonie: The Central Data Management Authority is not an agency, but a branch within the Director General Information organisation, which is itself part of the Ministry of Defence headquarters.
The CDMA branch has a complement of 14 staff.
The annual personnel budget is £0.528 million (financial year 200203), calculated using current MOD capitation rates.
None of the CDMA branch staff are employed in Scotland.
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