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29 Mar 2004 : Column 1153W—continued


Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will discuss with his Australian counterpart a mutual prisoner exchange scheme; and if he will make a statement. [163548]

Mr. Mullin: There is already a mutual prisoner exchange scheme in place. Australia acceded to the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons (CECTSP) in January 2003. The Council of Europe Convention is a multilateral agreement. As of March 2004, the convention has 54 signatories including the UK. HM Prison Service is currently aware of five British nationals in Australia who are seeking to transfer back to the UK.


Departmental Officials

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office which former officials of the Office have asked for permission to join (a) PricewaterhouseCoopers, (b) Deloitte & Touche, (c) Ernst and Young and (d) KPMG. [156912]

Mr. Alexander: All civil servants are subject to the business appointment rules, which set out the circumstances in which they must seek permission to accept outside appointments within two years of leaving the Service. A copy of the rules is available in the Libraries of the House. Information about appointments taken up by the most senior staff is published in the annual reports of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments. The next annual report will be published shortly.

In respect of permissions requested since 2001 there has been a single application under the Business Appointments rules from a former Cabinet Office employee wishing to join KPMG. This application was approved.


Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) how many people (a) have so far been employed and (b) it is planned will be employed on the DirectGov project; [161834]

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Mr. Alexander: DirectGov is the Government's new online service, currently accessible via the UK Online website. Directgov is designed around the needs of the user, making it much easier to find and access Government information and services electronically. The DirectGov site will be expanded over the coming months in both structure and content, taking stakeholder and user feedback into consideration.

Currently the existing UK Online team of 39 staff within the Office of the e-envoy manage the project and have a combined programme and infrastructure budget of £4.4 million. The future budget and staffing of DirectGov will—be decided in conjunction with the site expansion.

Official Data

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what plans there are to co-ordinate the Office for National Statistics citizen information project, the Home Office identification cards database plan and the NHS health records spine. [163155]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Registrar General for England and Wales, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Dr. Ian Gibson, dated 29 March 2004:


Mr. Cousins: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what secondments (a) PricewaterhouseCoopers, (b) Deloitte & Touche, (c) Ernst & Young and (d) KPMG have made to the Office since 2001; for what (i) periods and (ii) tasks the secondments were made; whether secondments of staff from the Office have been made to those firms; and for what (A) periods and (B) tasks. [156926]

Mr. Alexander: The Government are committed to developing a modern, flexible, outward-focused civil service that works in partnership with all sectors of society. Interchange is a key tool in meeting that

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commitment. Secondments are encouraged as part of the interchange programme, which promotes the exchange of people and good practice between the civil service and other organisations. Before an interchange can occur all parties must be satisfied that no conflict of interest arises. In all cases agreement is reached with the parent organisation on the salary reimbursed by the Cabinet Office to ensure it falls in the civil service pay range appropriate to the post.

The following table gives the number of secondees from 2001 from each of the organisations named in the question.

Seconded from(i) Period of secondment (months)Management Unit
(a) PricewaterhouseCoopers12Performance and Innovation Unit
(3 individuals)12Performance and Innovation Unit
11Prime Minister's Delivery Unit
(b) Deloitte & Touche6Office of Public Service Reform
(2 individuals)12Shareholder Executive
(c) Ernst & Young(nil)n/an/a
(d) KPMG17Performance and Innovation Unit
(4 individuals)16Office of the e-Envoy
14Office of the e-Envoy
24Prime Minister's Delivery Unit

Seconded to(A) Period of secondment (months)
(a) PricewaterhouseCoopers (nil)n/a
(b) Deloitte & Touche (1 individual)24
(c) Ernst & Young (nil)n/a
(d) KPMG (nil)n/a


Double Decker Buses (Tourism)

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what research has been carried out into the role of the red double decker as a tourist attraction in London. [164145]

Mr. Caborn: Tourism and transport policy in London is the responsibility of the Mayor and the Greater London Authority (GLA). The GLA have advised me that the phased replacement of the red double-decker "Routemaster" buses is being carried out to improve efficiency, safety, security and accessibility. I also understand that the Mayor is, however, well aware of the iconic significance of the red double-decker for London and is actively looking at ways that a limited number can be kept on central London streets in the long term.

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Employment Agencies

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the employment agencies which her Department has used to supply temporary staff in each financial year since 1996–97 to the most recent date for which figures are available. [163814]

Mr. Caborn: The following employment agencies have been used to supply temporary staff for each financial year:

Employment agency
1997–98Hays Accountancy
FSS Financial
Barclay Simpson
1998–99Hays Accountancy
FSS Financial
Barclay Simpson
1999–2000Hays Accountancy
Josephine Sammons
2000–01Hays Accountancy
Barclay Simpson
Oldfield Ellis Associates Ltd
Josephine Sammons
2001–02Hays Accountancy
Oldfield Ellis Associates Ltd
Josephine Sammons
Accountancy Additions
2002–03Lawson Bishop
Accountancy Additions
Josephine Sammons
2003–04Lawson Bishop
Accountancy Additions
Josephine Sammons


There are no records prior to 1997–98.

Green Spaces Funding

Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much funding has been allocated in (a) 2004–05, (b) 2005–06 and (c) in total to playing fields and community green spaces. [163653]

Mr. Caborn: The joint Sport England and New Opportunities Fund (NOF) programme 'Active England' will provide over £108 million to create new and improved community sports facilities in England. It is anticipated that a number of the applications made for Active England funding will be for playing fields.

During the past three years, the Sport England Playing Fields and Community Green Spaces programme, which formed part of the NOF £130 million Green Spaces and Sustainable Communities initiative, has invested £19,429,648 into 227 projects providing new or improved playing fields for community access. Of these 216 are now complete.

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