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15 Dec 2004 : Column 1167W—continued

Community Safety Accreditation

Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police forces have established Community Safety Accreditation schemes; what assessment he has made of these schemes; how many private sector employees have been accredited; and if he will make a statement. [201394]

Ms Blears: 10 police forces: Gwent, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Lancashire, Northamptonshire, North Wales, Nottinghamshire, Surrey, South Wales and West Yorkshire, have established Community Safety Accreditation Schemes so far. Chief Constables can accredit non-police employees working in a community safety role with limited powers. Two private sector employees have been accredited, by the chief Constable of Lancashire. No formal assessment has yet been made of the effectiveness of these schemes.


David Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter of 9 November from the hon. Member for Walsall, North regarding a constituent; ref. M17507/4. [203036]

Mr. Browne [holding answer 7 December 2004]: I wrote to my hon. Friend on 14 December.

Custody Sergeants

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has to include the civilianisation of custody sergeants within the civilianisation programme for custody. [202112]

Ms Blears: Clauses 111 and 112 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill currently before Parliament propose creating the post of staff custody officer. Postholders would be subject to designation under section 38 of the Police Reform Act 2002, requiring that the chief officer is satisfied that staff are suitable, capable and adequately trained before appointment. The staff custody officer would then be able to carry out all the function of a custody officer under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE).

The ability to appoint staff custody officers is part of the Work force modernisation programme. Their appointment would enable experienced, supervisory ranks to take up front-line duties.


Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will launch a campaign in the immediate future to alert cyclists to the dangers of riding bicycles during the hours of darkness without front or rear lights being displayed; and if he will make a statement. [203633]

Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.

The Department recognises the importance of conspicuity for cyclists, especially during the hours of darkness. Casualty statistics demonstrate that children are the most at risk and therefore the Department's publicity concentrates on this group. Current campaign
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materials promote a range of visibility solutions including using fluorescent and reflective items and cycle lights.

Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cyclists were prosecuted for crossing red lights in the latest year for which figures are available. [202702]

Caroline Flint: There were 38 pedal cyclists proceeded against in England and Wales 2003 for the offence of neglect of traffic directions (which will include failing to stop at traffic signals).

Departmental Advertising

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria are used by his Department to determine (a) on which satellite television stations advertisements on behalf of his Department or its agencies are screened and (b) the frequency of screenings of advertisements. [201306]

Fiona Mactaggart: All Home Office advertising campaigns are produced in partnership with leading advertising agencies, media strategy agencies and media buying agencies. All these services are procured using the expertise of the Central Office of Information (COI).

Decisions on which media to use for campaigns are based on recommendations made by the media strategy agency who will take into account the campaign objectives, the target audience, and any specific regional factors.

The media strategy agency will prepare a brief for the media buyers who will then try to secure the most effective advertising slots to match the brief at the most competitive prices. Frequency of screening will depend on a consideration of how many times an audience needs to see the message before it will achieve the desired effect. This will be a key consideration in setting the campaign budget.

Hence the Home Office drug prevention campaign FRANK which aims to remind young people of an advice line that is available to them features at mid-level of frequency on satellite channels preferred by a youth audience, whereas our acquisitive crime campaign which targets a cross-section of the general public is likely to be seen on prime time terrestrial television and popular satellite channels in a number of high frequency bursts of advertising.

Media strategies and media buying are regularly audited by the COI to assess both quality of and cost effectiveness of performance

Departmental Costs

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on energy costs incurred by his Department in each of the last two years. [200759]

Fiona Mactaggart: Figures for costs alone can be misleading if not placed within the wider context of unit price changes, areas occupied and changes in actual consumption. Table 1 shows energy costs for the years 2002–03 and 2003–04, along with the corresponding
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consumption data and average fuel prices. Figures are given separately for electricity and heating fuels, as well as for total energy.
Table 1: Energy costs, consumption and average prices
Costs (£k/y)

2002–032003–04Percentage change
Total HO
Heating Fuels17,13919,52214
Total Energy32,19336,12012
Consumption (T kWh/y)
Heating Fuels1,289,1011,087,182-16
Total Energy1,634,1691,457,503-11
Average price (p/kWh)
Heating Fuels1.331.8035
Total Energy1.972.4826

The table relates to key sites on the estate of the Home Office and its agencies. Key sites are defined as a site which is over 1,000 sq. metres, has over 50 staff and where the Department has control over the heating and electric.

Electricity costs have risen by 10 per cent. This is in part due to a 7 per cent. increase in consumption, but also a 3 per cent. increase in average price. Heating fuel costs have risen by 14 per cent., because of a large increase in average price (35 per cent.), which more than offset a 16 per cent. drop in consumption.

Total energy costs have gone up by 12 per cent. due to a 26 per cent. increase in average price. This price increase has more than offset an 11 per cent. drop in consumption of total energy.
Table 2: Floor area and .consumption per sq. m.

Total HO2002–032003–04Percentage change
Floor area (000 m(22))3,8153,776-1
Electricity/sq. m.97981
Heating Fuel/sq. m.338288-15
Energy/sq. m.428386-10

While Table 2 shows a small increase in electricity consumption (1 per cent.) per sq. m., there has been a significant decrease of 15 per cent. in consumption of heating fuels per sq. m. Overall, energy consumption per sq. m. has fallen by 10 per cent. resulting from continuing improvements in energy efficiency. The small rise in electricity use is judged to be due to greater efficiency in use of space resulting in higher staff occupation rates per sq. m. with consequent higher IT and air conditioning loads per sq. m.

The Department is drawing up an energy management strategy with the aim of increasing efficiency and reducing consumption. This will involve identifying those buildings which are high energy users through a benchmarking exercise and then undertaking energy surveys at those sites. Based on survey recommendations, site-specific action plans will be devised and implemented.
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The contract for the management of the new headquarters site at 2 Marsham Street requires our PFI partner to operate the building at not less than 10 per cent. below the best practice benchmark contained in the Government's Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme Energy Use in Offices Guide.

The Prison Service has an Energy Efficiency Action Plan. A benchmarking guide has been developed and the data used to help set carbon dioxide key performance indicators for each prison.

The Prison Service was the first Government Department/Agency to be accredited under the National Energy Foundation's scheme for energy efficiency and was re-accredited in 2003. It aims for reaccredidation every three years, which requires evidence of continuous progress.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the (a) conferences, (b) seminars, (c) workshops, (d) exhibitions and (e) press conferences which have been sponsored by his Department and which took place on non-departmental premises in each of the last two years, giving the (i) title, (ii) purpose, (iii) date and (iv) cost of each. [200765]

Fiona Mactaggart: This information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what crèche facilities are provided by his Department; and at what cost. [200767]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Department currently provides 130 nursery places for children under five). These places are available to Home Office staff (including agencies) and are provided under contracted Workplace nursery arrangements where staff pay part of the cost of the place and the remainder, the subsidy, is paid by the Department direct to the nursery. The cost of the subsidy varies depending on the age of the child and location of the nursery.

The Department also provides holiday playscheme places during 13 weeks of school holidays each year. The playschemes are run at various locations for children between age 4 to 12 years. Over 330 staff have benefited from use of nurseries and playscheme at an overall cost to the Department of approximately £282,000.

In addition to these facilities the United Kingdom Passport Service, the Forensic Science Service and the Police and Information Technology Organisation run childcare voucher and allowance schemes, which provide staff with the opportunity to receive a contribution towards professional childcare fees.

The Department is planning to implement a childcare voucher scheme which will enable staff to take advantage of the new tax and revised national insurance arrangements relating to employer supported childcare from April 2005. The scheme will allow staff to choose to take part of their salary in the form of childcare vouchers and will enhance and expand the Department's current childcare provision. It will be available to all eligible staff irrespective of their work location and will provide more equitable and flexible support as the vouchers can be used to help meet the cost of any registered and approved childcare.
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Provision of childcare is one of a number of policies the Home Office has in place to help staff balance their work and home life. By supporting access to childcare the Department benefits from increased recruitment and retention of staff, a more diverse work force and makes a positive contribution to the National Childcare Strategy. Information about childcare provision and flexible working policies that can help staff to better manage their childcare arrangements are available on the Home Office intranet.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total cost to his Department was for the use of external consultants in each of the last two years. [200773]

Fiona Mactaggart: The available information held by the Core Home Office (including IT and accommodation) in each of the last two years:

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The use of external consultants throughout the Home Office provides the Department with specialist knowledge, skills, capacity and technical expertise that is otherwise not available in house. This enables all units and organisations within the Department to achieve the levels of service required by the Home Office and the Government and assists in obtaining value for money.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much has been allocated under his Department's budget for central services for (a) private offices, (b) the central Secretariat providing support to Ministers and the Permanent Secretary, (c) Corporate Resources Directorate, (d) Planning and Finance Directorate, (e) Communications Directorate, (f) Legal Advisers Branch, (g) the Prisons Ombudsman's office and (h) HM Inspectorate of Prisons in (i) 2003–04, (ii) 2004–05 and (iii) 2005–06; and if he will make a statement. [201417]

Fiona Mactaggart: With reference to the question for the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the table sets out the allocated budget for central services.

The Corporate Resource Directorate is made of the three units, which have been identified in the table, also the Private Office and Central Secretariat has been combined in line with the Home Office departmental structure.
PQ RefUnit2003–042004–052005–06
(a) + (b)Private Office/Central Secretariat5,1105,415
(f)Legal Advise Branch3,1202,985
(c)Corporate Resource
(d)Planning and Finance8,1096,660
Central Services196,707171,507195,000
(g)Prisons Ombudsman's Office1,6583,2153,252
(h)HM Inspectorate of Prisons2,6052,8432,668

The 2005–06 Central Services budget has not been sub-delegated, as the process is not yet complete.

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