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22 Jul 2002 : Column 790W
Ms Hewitt: DTI does not second staff to British embassies and consulates overseas. DTI staff taking up postings overseas go on loan to the FCO at no cost to DTI. One position overseas is currently funded by DTI and in the last 12 months the total cost to the Department has been circa £100,000. DTI does, however, fund short-term training attachments to overseas posts for DTI staff under the "Overseas Attachment Training Scheme". This provides for up to 12 staff each year to work in a commercial section overseas for six months. The total cost to the Department in the last 12 months was approximately £400,000.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to her answer of 13 June 2002, Official Report, column 137677W, on stationery, when the next tender process is due to take place; and where it will be advertised. 
Ms Hewitt: The existing stationery contract expires on 31 May 2003. Currently we are exploring options that include using existing Government stationery contracts or conducting our own procurement exercise. In the event of undertaking our own procurement an advert will be placed via OJEC.
Ms Hewitt: Departments are required to comply with the Government's general policy on insurance, which is set out in Government Accounting, Chapter 30, para 30.2.5, which notes that the Government do not need to purchase insurance to protect the viability of its business, and should consider insurance only where the value of claims met would exceed the cost of insurance premiums. Commercial insurance of a building is acceptable in cases where
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(a) insurance is a condition of a lease (b) the lessor will not accept a Government indemnity (c) incurring the total cost of the accommodation in question, including the cost of the insurance, is more cost-effective than other accommodation options [Government Accounting, para 30.2.11a]. Therefore, my Department does not normally insure the buildings it occupies. However, in some instances our landlords do insure their buildings and we make annual payments of around £100,000 to cover this. These payments have not risen since 11 September 2001.
Ms Hewitt: The RDAs are not required to report their spend to this level of detail, which could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Each RDA reports a single figure for total spending on administration. Individual RDAs are free to decide the level of detail in their own internal accounting subject to the requirements of Government Accounting and other restrictions.
Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2002, Official Report, column 1092W, if she will make a statement on the nature of the business requirements referred to; and how many 0870 numbers are used. 
Ms Hewitt: My Department uses 0870 numbers for the United Kingdom Information Society technology helpline (UKISHELP) and the Publications Orderline. The Publications Orderline uses three 0870 numbers (general orderline, fax and Minicom).
The use of 0870 numbers conforms with the Office of e-Envoy's Guidelines for UK Government Call Centres and offers a number that is chargeable at the same rate from any fixed telephone regardless of the location of the caller within the UK.
The call centres for both UKISHELP and the Publications Orderline are provided by contractors and an 0870 number has the advantage of providing a geographically independent portable number owned by my Department, so that in the event of a new contractor being appointed the number can be seamlessly transferred without any inconvenience to enquirers.
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether her Department has a designated consultation co-ordinator in accordance with the Cabinet Office Code of Practice on Written Consultations. 
Ms Hewitt: The Department's designated consultation co-ordinator is Philip Martin of the Better Regulation Team. He can be contacted by telephone on 020 7215 6206, by fax on 020 7215 0480 and by e-mail at Philip.Martin@dti.gsi.gov.uk
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Ms Hewitt: The Department is committed to the Cabinet Office Code Of Practice on Written Consultation. The Code of Practice requires that decisions in the light of consultation should be made public promptly with a summary of views of expressed, and clear reasons for rejecting options that were not adopted. As far as practicable, this information should be made available to those who responded, including on the Departmental website.
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many consultation documents published in 2001 in (a) electronic and (b) printed form her Department has monitored and evaluated in accordance with the Cabinet Office Code of Practice on Written Consultations. 
Ms Hewitt: All departmental consultation exercises are subject to the Cabinet Office Code of Practice on Written Consultations which came into force on 1 January 2001. The Cabinet Office Code and internal guidance are available to all staff when preparing consultation documents.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list for each area-based initiative for which her Department is responsible the amount originally budgeted for in (a) 200001 and (b) 200102, stating in each year what funds budgeted for were not spent and if they were carried forward. 
Ms Hewitt: The Employment Act 2002 provides the power to introduce the equal pay questionnaire through regulations. We will be consulting interested parties on the design and content of the form later this year.
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