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Written Ministerial Statements

Wednesday 29 June 2005


Financial Services Authority

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Ivan Lewis): The annual report 2004–05 of the Financial Services Authority has today been laid before Parliament. Copies are available in the Libraries of both Houses.

The report forms a key part of the accountability mechanism for the Financial Services Authority under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA), and assesses the performance of the Financial Services Authority over the past 12 months against its statutory objectives.


The National Archives

The Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Ms Harriet Harman): The following key performance indicators have been set for the national archives.

KPI 1: Efficiency

KPI 1 A: To ensure that the unit cost of selecting and preserving the public records per metre does not rise above £97.

KPI 1 B: To ensure that the unit cost per information transaction with customers onsite and online does not exceed £4.04.

KPI 2: Quality of service

C: To achieve the public service standard targets for the national archives as follows:

D: To carry out three onsite satisfaction surveys and to achieve assessments of good or excellent from 90 per cent. of those expressing a view.
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KPI 3: Electronic service delivery

KPI 3: To develop direct digital access to popular records so that 165,000 digital record images are delivered to customers.

KPI 4: Social inclusion

KPI 4: To raise an awareness of TNA's holdings among under-represented groups in our user profile by means of a rigorous social inclusion programme, the chief targets of which are:

KPI 5: Raising the public profile of the national archives

KPI 5: To raise the profile of the national archives with the general public by achieving the following targets:

KPI 6: Records management

KPI 6: To continue to support the development of effective records management across Government by achieving the following targets:

More information on these and other key targets is published in the national archives' corporate and business plans.

Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman

The Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Ms Harriet Harman): My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, has made the following statement in the other place today.

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Local Government (Beacon Scheme)

The Minister for Local Government (Mr. Phil Woolas): Today we have placed on the ODPM website a copy of the application brochure for round seven of the beacon scheme. Paper copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and will be sent in early July to all authorities eligible. We are publishing an electronic copy in advance to give authorities as early as possible, information that will inform decisions to apply. A copy of the brochure can be found at: www.odpm.gov.uk/beaconcouncils.

The beacon scheme continues to be a popular, successful method of celebrating and promoting best practice in local government. In the first six rounds of the scheme, 275 beacon awards have been made in 59 service themes. These beacons have then disseminated their excellence to other authorities through learning events and open days co-ordinated by the Improvement and development agency. Round Six Beacons continue to disseminate their work now.

We are inviting all authorities (other than those rated "poor" under the CPA who are not eligible to apply) that believe they have achieved excellence in one or more of this year's beacon themes to apply for beacon status. We particulary encourage district and smaller best value authorities to apply so that their excellence can be recognised and shared with others. Round seven themes for which we are now inviting applications are:

Applications are invited by 5 September 2005. Beacon authorities will be announced in early 2006.



The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Jim Knight): I am pleased to advise that we have today have today published a policy statement for England's native and ancient woodland. This has been prepared jointly by DEFRA and the Forestry Commission England.

This policy represents a significant change in emphasis for forestry activities in England by placing native and ancient woodland at the heart of forestry policy. The policy sets out a vision where "ancient
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woodland, veteran trees and other native woodland is adequately protected, sustainably managed in a wider landscape context, and is providing a wide range of social, environmental and economic benefits to society".

Taken together, native and ancient woodland makes up around half of England's total woodland area. They contain numerous protected and priority species, provide excellent educational and recreational opportunities and are a source of quality renewable resources in the form of hardwood timber and other products.

The policy will make a significant contribution to several Government targets and policies, in particular the Government's biodiversity strategy for England, and will also help fulfil international commitments and statutory obligations. The Forestry Commission will work in close alignment with natural England partners to ensure effective and coherent delivery of the policy, including a simplified system of support for landowners.

Copies of the policy statement will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The policy statement can also be viewed on the Forestry Commission's website at: www.forestry.gov.uk.

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