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Work-related Illness

Mr. Clapham: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many claims for work-related illness were settled by his Department in the last year for which records are available; and what the cost was in compensation. [56084]

Mr. Leslie: The Cabinet Office, including Government Car Despatch Agency, did not settle any claims for work-related illness in year 2001.

This information requested for the Central Office of Information and the Regional Co-ordination Unit is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Cabinet Office is aware of its legal obligations to provide a safe and healthy working environment. It is committed to reducing the number of working days lost through work-related injuries and illness. The Government's Revitalising Health and Safety initiative is being used as a supporting framework to achieve this goal.

Mr. Clapham: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many employees of his Department retired through work-related ill-health in the last year for which records are available; and what the cost was to the Department. [56085]

Mr. Leslie: Records are not maintained by Cabinet Office that enable ill health retirements to be separately identified as work related. The number of staff retired with a medical retirement certificate issued by the civil service pension scheme medical adviser for year 2001 is as follows:

Number of medical retirements 2001
Cabinet Office6

Benefits provided on medical retirement are as set out in the rules of the principal civil service pension scheme and laid before Parliament. They provide for an immediate payment of an enhanced pension and lump sum. Ill health retirement expenditure is met centrally from the Civil Superannuation Vote. For the year ending March 2002, provisional expenditure met from the Vote was £310 million in respect of all civil service cases for which an ill health pension has been awarded. These cases

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number approximately 67,000 and include those who have formerly been ill health retired but who have now reached and exceeded the normal retirement age.

Mr. Clapham: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many days of sick leave were taken by employees in his Department in the last year for which records are available; what proportion of those were due to work- related illness or injury; and what the cost was to the Department. [56086]

Mr. Leslie: Cabinet Office publishes an analysis of sickness absence in the civil service each year. The most recently published figures (available on the Cabinet Office website) are for calendar year 2000. Cabinet Office Departments (which included in that year GCDA and COI but not RCU) had an average of 4.6 working days absence per staff year.

The report estimates the overall cost of sickness absence within the civil service but does not provide a breakdown by Department.

Information relating specifically to absence caused by work-related illness or injury is not held and could be obtained only at disproportionate costs.

The Cabinet Office is committed to improving levels of attendance to meet agreed targets and to minimising the number of days absence caused by work-related injury or illness.

Electronic Voting

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what research projects have been commissioned by his Department into electronic voting since June 2000, stating in each case (a) the organisation or consortium members carrying out the research, (b) the cost, (c) the purpose and title, (d) the date on which the research was or is due to be delivered to his Department and (e) the date or expected date of publication of the results. [54137]

Mr. Leslie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to her by the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test (Dr. Whitehead), on 14 May 2002, Official Report, column 515W.

Public Bodies

Tony Wright: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the public bodies which are required to report to Parliament. [54244]

Mr. Leslie: Where a public body is under a statutory obligation to report to Parliament, this is set out in the relevant statute.

As set out in "Quangos: Opening the Doors", the Government believe that all advisory and executive non-departmental public bodies should produce and make publicly available annual reports. However, in the case of the small advisory bodies, these need only be short reports with costs of producing them kept to a minimum. The intention is that the next edition of the annual public bodies publication should include, for the first time, summary information on the arrangements that each body has in place for ensuring greater transparency in their work.

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Aga Khan Development Network

Kate Hoey: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent discussions the Government Office for London has had with the Aga Khan Development Network about sites in London suitable for purchase by it. [55412]

Mr. Leslie: The Government Office for London regularly has meetings with potential site developers in London but it is not the practice to provide details of such meetings in line with exemption 7 and 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Data Protection Act

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will place in the Library copies of each version of the internal guidance which have been drawn up by his Department since 1 January 1999 to assist staff in his Department to answer subject access requests under the Data Protection Act 1998. [53389]

Mr. Leslie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, my hon. Friend the Member for North Swindon (Mr. Wills), to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. McCabe) on 25 April 2002, Official Report, column 446W.


External Contracts

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the 30 largest contracts awarded by his Department from (a) May 1997 to April 1998, (b) May 1998 to April 1999, (c) May 1999 to April 2000, (d) May 2000 to April 2001 and (e) May 2001 to the latest date, indicating in each case the values of the contracts and the companies with which the contracts were placed. [38746]

Mr. Hutton: I apologise to the hon. Member for the time taken to answer his question. Despite considerable research through our records, the information is unfortunately not held centrally in the format requested.

Speech Therapy

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the average annual salaries for NHS (a) speech therapists, (b) pharmacists and (c) clinical psychologists were for each of the past 10 years for (i) males and (ii) females; and if he will make a statement; [46584]

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Mr. Hutton: Some 1,800 speech and language therapists in the United Kingdom lodged equal pay claims from around 1985 onwards. Following decisions of the employment tribunal and subsequent out of court negotiations between the Department and Manufacturing and Services Federation, the settlement provided for 370 speech and language therapists to receive retrospective payments totalling £5.8 million 1 broken down as follows:

Amount awarded from NHS £(31)Number of women receiving payment(31)
(a) 2,500–5,00049
(b) 5,000–10,000112
(c) 10,000–20,00068
(d) 20,000–30,00048
(e) 30,000–40,00022
(f) 40,000–50,0007
(g) 50,000–70,00026
(h) 70,000 or more0

(31) All figures are net (less tax, national insurance and pension contributions) and include interest. There may be a personal tax liability on the interest. All figures exclude 24 claims lodged in Scotland in 1980s and receiving payments.

The retrospective payments were based on (i) the decisions of the employment tribunal and findings of independent experts (this applies to the 1980s cases only), (ii) an assessment of the job weight carried out by work assessment experts, (iii) a formula agreed by negotiators to provide a reasonable and fair payment and (iv) the length of relevant claim.

Employers and the Secretary of State were both named as Respondents and the claims were defended centrally on behalf of employers and Secretary of State to minimise costs. The following table shows the estimated total costs to the national health service involved in defending the cases, including legal and research costs (which it is not possible to identify separately). These are the best available estimates but should be treated with caution. A very few employers sought and paid for separate legal and other advice locally.

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Two barristers and their juniors were retained by the Treasury Solicitor to represent employers and the Secretary of State to provide legal services as necessary over the lifetime of the cases. It is not possible to pinpoint their input for each year from 1986 to 2000. Three researchers were engaged for several days in 1995 at a total cost of approximately £4,000. A firm of consultants was engaged to assess the work in the 20 lead cases and several analysts shared the assessments.

20 May 2002 : Column 136W

Estimated total average earnings for speech and language therapists, clinical psychologists and healthcare pharmacists taken from the Department's August 1998, 1999 and 2000 survey are shown in the following table. Similar information for earlier years is not available centrally but advance letters issued to the NHS containing information about the national pay rates for these staff from 1991 to 1997 have been placed in the Library together with the gender breakdown information available for the three professions for the same years. As part of the negotiated settlement of their equal pay claims, a new improved pay and grade structure for speech and language therapists was introduced in May 2000 to take effect from 1 April 2000. The regradings are not likely to have been in place by August 2000 and will not be reflected in the figures in the table.

Average salary and total earnings by sex in 1998, 1999 and 2000 for clinical psychologists, pharmacists, and speech and language therapists

1998 1999 2000
Staff groupAverage salaryAverage earningsAverage salaryAverage earningsAverage salaryAverage earnings
Speech and language therapists
Clinical psychologists


All figures are rounded to the nearest £100.


Department of Health's August 1998, 1999 and 2000 Earnings Surveys.

The Earnings Survey

The earnings survey is based on payroll data for August of the appropriate year. It covers about half of the NHS trusts in England. It is taken for NHS organisations which use the standard payroll system (SPS), and as such the sample may change from year to year. There is some unevenness in the geographical spread of the organisations included in the survey, but the overall results are broadly representative of all regions and different types of staff. Health authority staff were included for the first time in 2000. Independent contractors (including GPs and their staff) were not included in any of the surveys.

Gross earnings data, i.e. before any deductions, were collected from payroll records. Annual basic salary was read directly from payroll records, and annual equivalent total earnings were calculated using all payments made during August, including e.g. overtime, London weighting, special duty enhancements and other leads/ allowances, and multiplying by 12. Average pay figures were calculated by dividing total salaries/earnings by total whole time equivalents.

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