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Mr. Clapham: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when the fire and rescue services building control performance handbook will next be updated; and what key performance indicators he plans to include. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: We are carrying out a consultation of a revision of the Building Regulations and Fire Safety Procedural Guidance", a document which sets out protocols for the communication of fire safety information and views between building control bodies, fire and rescue services and applicants for building regulatory approval.
The revision is necessary to reflect the proposed changes to fire safety law that will be brought about by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. We will review the responses to that consultation when the consultation closes in mid-November and expect to finish the revised document in the spring of next year.
We have also developed, in parallel, in consultation with stakeholders including the chief fire officers' association (CFOA), key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the overall performance of building control bodies. We have liaised with CFOA about the inclusion of a specific KPI on building control bodies' consultation of fire and rescue services in order to
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measure the perceptions of the fire and rescue services of the value provided by consultation with building control bodies.
Mr. Clapham: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what measures are in place to ensure advice from consultants on fire risk assessments under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is (a) competent, (b) impartial and (c) professional. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 does not impose specific requirements about the competence, impartiality or professionalism of consultants employed to undertake a fire risk assessment on behalf of a responsible person.
However, where a person has obligations under a contract covering the safety of premises then that contractor is treated much in the same way as a responsible person to the extent that their safety obligations extend. The full enforcement powers together with the legal penalties associated with them can be brought to bear on such a contractor.
The responsible person remains responsible for ensuring that a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks has been undertaken and if he fails to do this then the enforcement powers and penalties can be brought to bear upon that person.
Mr. Clapham: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to use third party accreditation schemes for fire protection contracts under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has no such plans. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order requires the responsible person to appoint one or more competent persons to implement and maintain necessary preventative and protection measures. Third party accreditation schemes are one means that a contractor may use to show they have the appropriate training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable them properly to assist in undertaking these measures.
Susan Kramer: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many people have been employed in the fire services in England since 2000, broken down by (a) ethnicity and (b) gender; and if he will make a statement. 
The number of successful applicants for employment in fire and rescue services in England in each year since 2000, broken down by ethnicity and gender, is set out in the tables.
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|White and black Caribbean||4||8||18|
|White and black African||1||1||3|
|White and Asian||4||6||7|
|Asian or Asian British|
|Black or black British|
|Chinese or other not stated|
In the period 31 March 2000 to 31 March 2004, the number of women employed by Fire and Rescue Services in England increased by 1,338. In the same period, the number of personnel who classified themselves as belonging to one of the minority ethnic groups increased by 468.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Over a 15 year period (200405 to 201819) running the control service and implementing the FiReControl project is expected to cost £988 million. Over the first six years, the Government will spend an additional £74 million over and above Fire and Rescue Authority's forecasts for replacing existing controls, as part of its substantial investment in the modernisation of the fire and rescue service. After all nine controls are operating it is expected that there will be annual savings of over £20 million (30 per cent. reduction in annual running costs), recouping the initial investment and freeing up additional resources, which will be available for spending on other local initiatives such as community fire safety. Over the same 15 year period, leaving the control service in the existing 46 controls would cost £1,090 million and would not provide a fully resilient service.
Mike Penning: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his plans for reform of fire services in the (a) Hemel Hempstead constituency and (b) South West Hertfordshire constituency. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Fire and rescue authorities are required by the fire and rescue service national framework to have in place and maintain an integrated risk management plan (ERMP) which reflects local need and sets out plans to tackle effectively both existing and potential risks to communities. It is, therefore, for Hertfordshire county council fire authority to determine appropriate fire cover in its area including the constituencies of Hemel Hempstead and South West Herts.
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