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Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to answer theletter dated 8 December 2004 from the right hon.Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mrs. Ayesha Siddiqi. 
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to reply to correspondence dated 21 December concerning a previous letter dated 21 November regarding a constituent MsChristine Murgwisi, Reference M18542/4. 
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of possible merits of changing the role played by the custody sergeant in the criminal justice system. 
Ms Blears: There are currently no changes proposed in respect of the role played by the custody sergeant as set out under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE). We are, however, proposing under Clause 111 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill that chief officers of police should be able to develop a more flexible approach to the staffing of their custody suites by making use of police staff.
The Thematic Inspection by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary published in July 2004 on Workforce Modernisation concluded that the role of police staff could be extended to perform that of the custody officer. The Report recognised the importance of suitable training and transitional arrangements; and identified that the ability to use staff custody officers would enable the release of experienced supervisors to front-line duties and could strengthen the independence of the custody officer role as set out in PACE.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his latest estimate is of
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unallocated departmental spending in (a) 200506, (b) 200607, and (c) 200708; and if he will make a statement. 
Fiona Mactaggart: Plan figures for the Home Office's departmental unallocated provision in 200506 were published in Central Government Supply Estimates 200405, Supplementary Budget Information (Cm 6133). Plan figures for 200607 and 200708 will be published in Central Government Supply Estimates 200506, Supplementary Budget Information.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his policy towards the amendments to the proposal to a Council Decision establishing the European Refugee Fund for the period 2005 to 2010, OJ C 318 volume 47 of 22 December 2004, regarding the inclusion of textual reference to (a) those in need of special medical treatment and (b) repatriation in conditions of dignity; and what his policy is towards the inclusion in the Commission text of measures taking account of gender-related issues. 
Mr. Browne: The final text of the Council Decision of 2 December 2004 establishing the European Refugee Fund for the period 2005 to 2010 (2004/904/EC) published in the Official Journal on 28 December 2004 (OJ L 381 28.12.04 p.52) does not contain the words referred to in question, and the Government have expressed no view on their appropriateness.
Mr. Browne: The Government have not commissioned any research into the safety of equipment used to record iris images. The supplier of the equipment which was used in the UK Passport Service biometric trial was required to certify that it complied with relevant Health and Safety legislation.
Fiona Mactaggart: The information requested is not available centrally in the format requested and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. The table provides a breakdown of reported cash losses within the department by financial year since 2000.
These figures which are disclosed to Parliament under the losses note in the resource accounts, include cash losses due to physical loss of cash and/or equipment as well as losses through fraud and theft and bookkeeping losses. The 200203 figure of £4,052 included the write off of a sum of £3.6 million of accrued income relating to Immigration and Nationality Directorate Detention Cost Recovery.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice has been given to Chief Officers of Probation on the future structure of the probation service after the introduction of the National Offender Management Service. 
Paul Goggins: The Home Office has been engaged in ongoing discussions with Chief Probation Officers on the proposals for the National Offender Management Service since the publication of the Carter Report in January 2004. Following consultation, it was announced on 20 July 2004 that the 42 Probation Boards were to be retained as an interim step and this was the subject of a special National Probation Service Leadership Forum on 20 July 2004, to which all Chief Officers and Chairs of Probation Boards were invited. Martin Narey, Chief Executive Officer of National Offender Management Service, spoke at the most recent Leadership Forum, (1819 November) on the appointment of the 10 Regional Offender Managers and the implications of separating offender management from community interventions. This was also the subject of a recent letter from the Director General of the National Probation Service and the National Offender Manager to Chief Officers. There are a series of events planned over the coming months on the emerging structure of National Offender Management Service.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what the total expenditure by his Department on external consultants was in (a) 199697 and (b) 200304; and what the estimated cost of employing external consultants will be in (i) 200405, (ii) 200506, (iii)200607 and (iv) 200708; 
(2) what the total expenditure by his Department on (a) advertising and (b) advertising and publicity was in (i) 199697, (ii) 199798 and (iii) 200304; and what the estimate of cost of each will be in (A) 200405, (B)200506, (C) 200607 and (D) 200708. 
The Prime Minister:
For these purposes my office forms part of the Cabinet Office. I have therefore asked my hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office to reply. A copy of the reply will be placed in the Library of the House.
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Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to the answer of 8 December 2004, Official Report, column 578W, on special advisers, if he will list the complaints made to the Secretary of the Cabinet between 31 March 2003 and 31 March 2004 regarding the conduct of special advisers. 
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