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19 Sept 2002 : Column 217W—continued


Arms Exports

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the oral statement of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Nigel Griffiths) of 24 June 2002, Official Report, column 635, of criterion 8 of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing criteria; whether the review is devising a series of tests to determine whether an arms export may compromise the sustainable development of a developing country; when he expects the review to be completed; and how the Government intends to inform Parliament of the outcome of the review. [64963]

Nigel Griffiths: I have been asked to reply.

I refer my hon. Friend to the detailed reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on 31 July.

Women (Consultation)

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office which women's organisations have been consulted over proposed legislation by his Department during 2000–01 and 2001–02 sessions; and if their responses have been published. [61081]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Cabinet Office consulted on the proposed Regulatory Reform Bill in March and September 1999. The Women's National Commission was consulted, but did not respond. The Regulatory Reform Act received Royal Assent on 10 April 2001.

Communications Bill

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office which Government Department will have lead responsibility for the Communications Bill when it is introduced for Second Reading. [68044]

Stephen Timms: I have been asked to reply The Communications Bill has been prepared jointly by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Should the Bill be given a place in the legislative programme for the next session, both Departments will continue to take it forward jointly.

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Departmental Report

Mr. Beith: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the cost was of publishing his Department's annual report for each of the past five years. [70489]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The costs which can be identified are shown in the table. Some costs are met by the publisher and do not fall to Government.


* Included Main Estimates for 2001–02, an increased number of tables and an improved presentational format.

The Cabinet Office's departmental report also incorporated the departmental report requirement and submissions for the Central Office of Information; the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and Health Service Commissioner for England; the Privy Council Office; House of Lords; House of Commons; National Audit Office and the Electoral Commission.

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) whether it is his policy to ensure that documents referred to in parliamentary answers are available via his Department's website; [72291]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Cabinet Office does not have a set time limit for documents to be retained on its website.

Minimum requirements for the type of documents which should be published on Government websites are set out in guidance issued by the Office of the e-Envoy, "Guidelines for UK Government Websites" (Illustrated Handbook for web management teams—section 2.2 "What content should be on your website?" and section 2.3 "Cross-government requirements").

In addition to setting out guidelines on documents for inclusion, the Guidance also explicitly requires Departments to ensure that the content of the site as a whole is up to date and current and, where it is necessary, to update the content of individual documents to show the latest date of amendment clearly on the document concerned.

Section 1.2.7 deals with the issue of Records management and the Office of the e-Envoy currently has a consultation paper out on archiving websites. The purpose of this draft annex to the Illustrated handbook is to provide government website managers with a framework towards developing within their website management policy suitable procedures and systems to assist in the management, appraisal and preservation of electronic records. A copy of this draft is available online at

The Cabinet Office is in the process of updating its website to conform to these Guidelines.

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Education Reform

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what progress his office has made in helping delivering reform of education services since the Comprehensive Spending Review. [72090]

Estelle Morris: I have been asked to reply. Since the Comprehensive Spending Review 1998 the Government has put in place a number of reforms to raise standards of attainment, improve the quality of education and skills provision and invest in the workforce and physical infrastructure to deliver these reforms. The Department has met several of its targets and is making good progress towards almost all of the others. Further information can be found in the department's annual report on

Anglo-Irish Ministerial Meetings

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office on what dates ministers in his Department have held meetings with Ministers and officials of the Irish Government since 1 June 2000; where each meeting took place; which Ministers were involved in each meeting; which Irish Government departments were involved in each meeting; and which Ministers and officials from the Irish Government attended each meeting. [72689]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: There have been no bilateral meetings between Cabinet Office Ministers and Irish Government Ministers and officials since 1 June 2000.


Special Advisers

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on how many occasions between 31 March 2001 and 31 March 2002 (a) departmental and (b) non-departmental special advisers have travelled abroad in an official capacity; what places were visited; and how much each visit cost. [58731]

Jane Kennedy: The information you have requested is not held centrally and could therefore only be provided at disproportionate cost.

North Belfast

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the community background is in percentage terms of those juveniles prosecuted since 1 July 2001 arising out of disturbances in North Belfast. [62636]

Jane Kennedy: Although the existing database is currently being upgraded and the information on prosecutions since July 2001 will not be available until late summer 2002, it will not enable identification of the offender's community background.

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Royal Prerogative

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what decisions have been made by his Department in the last year under authority from the Royal Prerogative. [63134]

Jane Kennedy: Records are not kept of individual occassions on which powers under the Royal Prerogative are exercised, nor would it practicable to do so.

EU Directives

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the EU directives and regulations that have been implemented through his Department in 2002; and what was the cost of each to public funds. [64996]

Jane Kennedy: There have been no EU directives and regulations implemented through the Northern Ireland Office in 2002.

Buildings Insurance

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost of buildings insurance to his Department was (a) before and (b) after 11 September 2001. [66929]

Jane Kennedy: 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 government does not need to purchase insurance to protect the viability of its business, and should consider insurance only were the value of claims met would exceed the cost of insurance premiums. Commercial insurance of a building is acceptable in cases where (a) insurance is a condition of a lease (b) the lessor will not except 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].

The NIO occupies approximately 40 different properties, which are a mixture of commercially and publicly owned. In terms of building insurance, only a handful of premises pay for their own insurance costs directly (at a total value of less than £10,000). The rest either pay for insurance as part of a quarterly service charge (or it is inclusive with their rental) or claim indemnity as described above.

Of these buildings which pay their own insurance, premiums have increased over the last year, however it is not possible to say how much of this years increase is directly related to September 11.

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