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Mr. Plaskitt: We are committed to improving the quality of initial social fund decision making. For example, we are introducing a Standard Operating Model for the social fund to further improve quality and consistency of decision making and provide better management controls. We are developing standardised training products to improve accuracy.
We are currently revising the Community Care Grant application form (SF300) to make it more effective in eliciting, at the earliest stage, information necessary to enable good quality decision making and are considering reforms to the social fund that will simplify the scheme for staff and customers.
In April 2004 we expanded the social fund Key Management Indicator (KMI) from the original KMI of a single area of performance (Community Care Grant clearance) to include seven separate measures, including accuracy (quality) of decision makingwe are also reviewing our checking arrangements with a view to achieving greater consistency between the approach taken by local and national checkers.
We also established the national Social Fund Focus Group to drive up social fund performance and all regions now have network groups to support the national group and provide a more direct means of tackling issues such as improving decision making and sharing good practice.
Mr. Touhig: There is no way of knowing how many service personnel were registered to vote. As well as registering as service voters, military personnel may also choose to register as ordinary or overseas voters. If they choose one of these alternatives they cannot be distinguished from other voters on the electoral register.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures he is taking to ensure that (a) members of the armed forces are registered on the electoral roll and (b) arrangements are made for armed forces personnel to apply for postal or proxy votes. 
Mr. Touhig: We are working with the Electoral Commission to consider what changes can be made to existing procedures to help service personnel register to vote and in particular whether arrangements can be made to issue an electoral registration form to all members of the services. Service personnel already have the option to choose to vote by post or proxy when they register to vote.
Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons the Home Service part-time officers and soldiers of the Royal Irish Regiment are not eligible for the Armed Forces Pension Scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the different types of boots supplied to the Army; what the source of manufacture of each type of boot was; what the cost is of each type of boot; and what the life-expectancy of each type is. 
Mr. Ingram: Boots supplied to the Army are split into the following types of use: Combat, Parade/Ceremonial and Safety Footwear. Most boots are sourced through a prime contract placed for footwear, although some boots are procured on other contracts. Manufacture of boots is carried out world-wide, including the UK. Costs for each type of boot vary from item to item and fall within the following price ranges: Combat £15£120, Parade/Ceremonial £45-£85 (although for Riding boots this varies from £150-£1,300) and Safety Footwear £8£45. Life expectancy varies from boot to boot depending on their use and conditions, although in broad terms life expectancy is: Combat one year up to a shelf-life of five years (although Jungle Boots and Desert Boots may only have a life of six weeks or six months respectively); Parade/Ceremonial these boots are repairable and can last from one year up to five years plus; Safety Footwear six months to two years.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether the British Deputy Senior Judge Advocate in Iraq referred to in a letter from the former Minister of State to the hon. Member for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr submitted regular reports to his British superiors; 
(3) for what reasons and in what capacity Colonel Chris Terrington saw a version of the CJTF-7 Interrogation and Counter-Resistance policy document in December 2003; 
(5) whether the UK officer acting as Deputy Senior Judge Advocate in Iraq advised (a) the US authorities and (b) his supervisors in the chain of command that some of the interrogation techniques in the CJIF-7 Interrogation and Counter-Resistance Policy Document (i) were inhumane under UK case law and (ii) constituted a potential breach of the Geneva Conventions in the view of the Government; 
Mr. Ingram: The first squadron of Joint Combat Aircraft is currently expected to be operational in 2014, but like other equipment projects the In Service Date will not be fixed until the main investment decision is taken.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the monetary value of (a) beef and (b) lamb supply contracts for his Department was in each year since 1997, broken down by contracts with (i) Welsh suppliers, (ii) suppliers in the rest of the UK and (iii) suppliers outside the UK. 
Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence's food supply contractor (3663) is mandated to purchase British products whenever they are competitive within the constraints of Article 30 of the EC Treaty of Rome, and where they meet the armed forces food specifications.
For beef supplied to the armed forces in the UK from 1997 to 2004 the average annual value was £6 million. Annually, between 1997 and 2001£3.1 million was of
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UK origin, with approximately £1.9 million from Welsh and English sources, and £1.2 million from Scottish sources. The remaining £2.9 million was non-UK. Annually, between 2002 and 2004, £2.2 million was of UK origin, with approximately £0.7 million from Welsh and English sources, and £1.5 million from Scottish sources. The remaining £3.8 million was non-UK.
For lamb supplied to the armed forces in the UK, from 1997 to 2004 the average annual value was £1.61 million. Annually, between 1997 and 2004£0.07 million was of UK origins. The remaining £1.54 million was non-UK.
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