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Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will place in the Library the independent consultant's review of 200102 which recommended the creation of further posts in the Wales Office; and if he will make a statement. 
To ask the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs when the Legal Services Commission in Manchester will refund to Bury Law Centre the costs associated with (a) the hire of locum solicitors during
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the maternity leave of the former Practice Manager and Supervising Solicitor and (b) the recruitment and locum arrangements relating to the current vacancy in respect of the Immigration Caseworker post. 
Mr. Lammy: The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has a discretionary power to make an additional payment to cover the costs of maternity leave. However the LSC has informed the Bury Law Centre Manager it will not use their discretion because Bury Law Centre is not meeting their contractual obligations.
Under the terms of the LSC's contract additional funding is not available for an existing contractor to meet staff recruitment costs. The costs of temporary staffing arrangements to cover a vacancy should normally be met from salary costs that have been paid by the LSC under the contract.
Tom Cox: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what percentage of fines imposed by courts covering the Greater London area were not paid in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Leslie: Information on fines imposed and collected by courts covering the Greater London area is provided by the Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority (GLMCA). A following table shows current performance and payment rates since the establishment of the GLMCA in 2001. A second table shows 200001 payment rates for the 22 Magistrates' Courts Committees (MCCs) that were subsequently amalgamated into the GLMCA.
|MCC||Financial year 200001 (percentage)|
|Barking and Dagenham||59|
|City of London||41|
|Kingston Upon Thames||63|
|Richmond Upon Thames||86|
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the cost of refurbishments in his Department was in each year since 1997; and what the planned expenditure is for 200506. 
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether it is the policy of the Department to retain for the benefit of future (a) historians and (b) applicants under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 the same (i) complete categories of files, (ii) numbers of files and (iii) representative examples of files from categories of files destroyed as had been preserved prior to the passage of that Act. 
Mr. Lammy: In accordance with the Public Records Act 1958 S.3, the selection of records of enduring historical value for permanent preservation at The National Archives (TNA) will continue to take place in the Department for Constitutional Affairs under the guidance and supervision of TNA staff. The Department will also comply with the Code of Practice on Records Management, issued by the Lord Chancellor under S.46 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which underlines the importance of having clear selection policies and disposal schedules in place.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what changes have been promulgated in each of the past five years to the guidelines or other criteria for the retention or destruction of departmental files. 
Since 1999, my Department registry, which excludes the Court Service, has produced 18 schedules for the disposal of records which are specific to its administrative activities. It also disposes of its records in accordance with over 20 guidance notes produced by The National Archives (TNA) over the last
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five year, covering disposal schedules, managing records in the electronic environment, as well as overarching records management guidance. Further details of this guidance can be found on TNA's website at: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/recordsmanagement/advice
The latest available information as at April 2004 is available in the Library and on the civil service website at the following address-http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/management_information/statistical_information/statistics/publications/xls/disabilitv apr04 4nov04.xls
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many staff in the Department were employed to deal with Freedom of Information Act 2000 issues in (a) 2001, (b) 2002, (c) 2003 and (d) 2004; and how many staff are budgeted to deal with Freedom of Information Act 2000 issues in (i) 2005 and (ii) 2006. 
Mr. Lammy: Since the Department for Constitutional Affairs is the lead Government Department on the Freedom of Information Act, the Department employs both staff responsible for wider Freedom of Information policy and also staff responsible for implementing the Freedom of Information Act within the Department.
|Number of officials|
|(a) April 2001 to March 2002||8|
|(b) April 2002 to March 2003||11|
|(c) April 2003 to March 2004||20|
|(d) April 2004 to March 2005||25|
|Number of officials|
|(i) April 2005 to March 2006||25|
|(ii) April 2006 to March 2007||23|
The number of staff in the Department for Constitutional Affairs' Access Rights Unit that have been employed to deal with implementing the Freedom
21 Dec 2004 : Column 1630W
of Information Act within the Department itself from 200105 is as follows:
|Number of officials|
|(e) April 2001 to March 2002||1|
|(f) April 2002 to March 2003||3|
|(g) April 2003 to March 2004||3|
|(h) April 2004 to March 2005||6|
|Number of officials|
|(iii) April 2005 to March 2006||6|
|(iv) April 2006 to March 2007||6|
It should be noted that staff employed to deal with implementing Freedom of Information within the Department itself also have responsibility for departmental compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Environmental Information Regulations.
Beyond those staff directly involved in the ongoing implementation and application of Freedom of Information Act, it is difficult to identify precisely the number of officials who will be dealing with Freedom of Information issues from 1 January 2005, since it is potentially part of every civil servant's role to respond to Freedom of Information requests.
Llew Smith: To ask the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what plans the Department has to publicise the opportunities available to obtain information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 after it enters into force on 1 January 2005. 
Mr. Lammy: Statutory responsibility for raising awareness of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act rests with the Information Commissioner's Office. The Commissioner's Office, which is independent of Government, has a programme of awareness raising events planned.
The Government is committed to ensuring that the public can realise the benefits of the Act. Accordingly, in addition to the Information Commissioner's publicity activity my Department has been leading a variety of awareness raising activities. In the run-up to implementation of FOI, DCA Ministers are undertaking a programme of speeches, media interviews and articles which commenced in the autumn and is due to continue in 2005 to raise FOI awareness.
The Government's FOI website, www.foi.gov.uk, is continually updated with FOI information and carries instructions on how to make an FOI request. My Department has also begun a programme of distributing 220,000 posters and 1.4 million leaflets to outlets visited by the public, for example public libraries, jobcentres and citizens advice bureaux. The posters will be in English and Welsh and the leaflets will be in English and 11 other languages including Welsh, in Braille and on audio cassette.
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All Government Departments and public authorities proactively release information to the public as part of their Publication Schemes (which are a requirement under the Freedom of Information Act) to support greater ongoing openness and raise awareness of rights under the Freedom of Information Act.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what guidance the Government have issued to local government on the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act. 
Mr. Lammy: Throughout 2004, the Department for Constitutional Affairs has produced a number of publications to assist all public authorities in their preparations for full implementation of the Freedom of Information Act. This included a Model Action Plan, outlining the steps public authorities should take to prepare for the Act; a Training Guide, containing recommendations for Freedom of Information training; a generic user specification for IT Freedom of Information monitoring systems; and a Countdown to Implementation guide, produced jointly with the Information Commissioner and the National Audit Office, outlining final steps public authorities should take to prepare for the Freedom of Information Act.
In preparing this package of guidance, The Department for Constitutional Affairs worked closely with the Office of the Information Commissioner which has also issued its own guidance specifically aimed at all public authorities.
These publications represent one part of the Department for Constitutional Affairs' guidance and advice on implementation that is available on the Department's Freedom of Information website (www.foi.gov.uk) that serves as a useful reference tool for all public authorities.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what guidance the Department issues on whether the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 will cover internal correspondence, in writing or email, (a) within political groups on local authorities and (b) between political assistants and their political group on local authorities. 
Mr. Lammy: The Freedom of Information Act provides a right of access to information held by public authorities. Under section 3 of the Act, information is not held by a public authority if it is held on behalf of another person.
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