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22 May 2003 : Column 997W—continued

WALES

Press Releases

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many press releases his Department has released in each month since 1999. [115223]

Peter Hain: Press releases issued:

19992000200120022003
Januaryn/a551110
Februaryn/a55911
Marchn/a1312118
Apriln/a98136
Mayn/a103116
Junen/a10610
July012615
August1534
September7697
October810810
November481524
December10766

Note:

The figures for press releases do not include operational notes


22 May 2003 : Column 998W

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Consultancies

Brian Cotter: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will list, by project, the consultancies his Department and its non-departmental public bodies have used on e-government projects since 1 January 2001. [112837]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 12 May 2003]: The information is in the following table. The projects listed are those that relate to the Government's 2005 e-Government target for getting services on line. The information requested for the period January to March 2001 is not held centrally and could be obtained now only at disproportionate cost.

Departmente-Government related projectConsultants
Lord Chancellor's departmentDepartmental website (technical advice)Yale Consulting
Land RegistryLand register onlineHewlett Packard
Land RegistryLand register onlineIBM (UK) Ltd.
Land RegistryLand register directOnstream UK Ltd.
Agencies
Court ServiceXhibit (Exchanging Hearing Information by Internet TechnologyASE Consulting
Court ServiceMoney claim onlineCMG
Court ServiceMoney claim onlineCompass Management
Court ServiceMoney claim onlineASE Consulting
NDPBs
Legal Services CommissionJust Ask! Website (technical advice)S. Dextre Clark
Legal Services CommissionJust Ask! Website (technical advice)Yale Consulting
Legal Services CommissionAdviceNow ProjectCathedral Consortium
Associated offices
Office of legal ombudsmanWebsite and electronic application form (technical advice)Analogue

Grays Courthouse

Bob Russell: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (1) when the appeal by Thurrock Council against the consequent closure of Grays Courthouse was lodged; when a decision will be made; what the cause was of the delay in processing the appeal; and if she will make a statement; [114657]

Yvette Cooper: The appeal of Thurrock Council against closure of Grays Courthouse was lodged on 8 May 2002. I hope to make a decision in the near future.

I can only make a decision on an appeal once all parties concerned have had sufficient opportunity to present their cases, and I have the opportunity to consider all the evidence. Grays has not been a simple case, and has, therefore, taken some time. One development which required attention was the potential impact of the Thames Gateway Project as described in the publication of the report "Sustainable Communities: building for the future," on the proposed closure. Financial resources will be allocated to the Essex Magistrates' Private Finance Initiative scheme once the Outline Business Case has been approved. the publication of the report "Sustainable Communities: building for the future," on the proposed closure.

Financial resources will be allocated to the Essex Magistrates' Private Finance Initiative scheme once the Outline Business Case has been approved.

22 May 2003 : Column 999W

PRIVY COUNCIL

Correspondence

Mr. Bercow: To ask the President of the Council how many staff have been employed in the Ministerial Correspondence Unit of the Department in each of the last two years. [115881]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Privy Council Office does not have a dedicated Ministerial Correspondence Unit. All correspondence from Ministers and Members of Parliament is dealt with by staff in my private office.

Efficiency Savings

Mr. Bercow: To ask the President of the Council what the target is for efficiency savings in 2003–04 expressed (a) in money terms and (b) as a percentage of the Department's expenditure limit. [114103]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Privy Council Office has no formal efficiency targets, but my Department constantly strives to make running cost savings and ensure value for money in delivery of its objectives.

The Privy Council Office has a small Departmental Expenditure Limit, of which 75 per cent. is devoted to salary and accommodation costs. This, combined with the lack of any spending programmes, reduces the flexibility to make savings.

Modernisation

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the President of the Council if he will put forward to the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons a proposal to establish a system of ad hoc committees. [114391]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Modernisation Committee has no plans to revisit the subject of select committees in the current Session.

Sickness Absence

Mr. Bercow: To ask the President of the Council how many staff in the Department have been on long-term sick leave in each of the last two years. [115861]

Mr. Bradshaw: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House on 30 April 2003, Official Report, column 371W.

EDUCATION AND SKILLS

Teachers (Temporary Contracts)

13. Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the use of temporary contracts for teachers. [115009]

Mr. Miliband: All schools make use of temporary contracts for teachers. These are mainly used as occasional cover for teachers who are absent on sick leave. Temporary contracts also give schools greater flexibility to respond to local circumstances in meeting their staffing needs. The number of occasional teachers has fallen for the second year in succession, by 2,600 to

22 May 2003 : Column 1000W

14,900. The wider picture shows substantial overall progress in terms of growing teacher numbers and falling vacancies.

Schools (Laboratory Technicians)

14. Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the role of laboratory technicians in schools. [115010]

Mr. Miliband: Science technicians make a key contribution, as do the many other staff who support teachers in the classroom. We recognise the unique role played by technicians and the Department is working with the Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision of Science Services, the Association for Science Education and the Royal Society to develop a better defined career structure and linked professional development for science technicians.

Skills Strategy

15. Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when he intends to publish his Skills Strategy. [115011]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: We intend to publish the Skills Strategy and delivery plan towards the end of June 2003.

University Admissions

16. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent representations he has received from universities concerning the effects on university admissions of his policies on higher education. [115012]

Margaret Hodge: We have received a wide range of responses to our White Paper, which we are currently looking at closely. University admissions decisions are a matter for universities.

Higher Education (Wales)

17. Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will meet Vice-Chancellors of universities in Wales to discuss the future of higher education. [115013]

Margaret Hodge: I will be meeting the Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University shortly. This follows meetings which my right hon. Friends, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills and the Secretary of State for Wales, had earlier this year with a number of Vice-Chancellors from Welsh higher education institutions. We look forward to further meetings in the future.

Careers Advice

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent representations he has received from the business community in relation to careers advice and guidance; and if he will make a statement. [110194]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The business community is well represented on Connexions Partnerships Boards and Local Management Committees that are involved in the development of careers advice, guidance and other support for young people. While the Secretary of State

22 May 2003 : Column 1001W

receives a number of representations from Connexions Partnerships these are not collated in any particular form.


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