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Jim Fitzpatrick: There is no standard Government definition of what constitutes a city region. The concept of a city region is most commonly defined in terms of the travel to work hinterland of cities and towns, but it can also be described by patterns of travel to shopping centres or entertainment venues, or the geographical linkages between businesses and their suppliers.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will place a copy of the instructions and advice document prepared by the Valuation Office Agency for the English council tax revaluation in the Library. 
Mr. Woolas: The Valuation Office Agency has issued a number of instructions and advice documents to those of its staff who were involved in preparation for the council tax revaluation. These will be placed in the Library of the House. The existing Council Tax Manual which is used currently by the Valuation Office Agency can be found on their website www.voa.gov.uk.
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was created on 29 May 2002. I refer the hon. Member to the figures contained in the annual report Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service" published by the Cabinet Office. Table A of the report gives details of both the average working days absence per staff year and the number of staff years on which that calculation is based. The most recent report for calendar year 2003 was published on 1 November and copies placed in the Libraries of the House. Reports for 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 are also available in the Library and on the Cabinet Office website at:
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is committed to managing sickness absence effectively and is putting in place the recommendations of recently published report Managing Sickness Absence in the Public Sector".
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 14 October 2005, Official Report, columns 60809W, on departmental working groups, how minutes from departmental working groups are (a) stored and (b) catalogued. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Official records, which include minutes of departmental working groups, are kept in registered files if they are in paper form or in electronic folders if they are created electronically. The files and folders are catalogued on a central database under themes and titles which describe the subject matter but will not necessarily contain the name of the working group itself. Registered files are kept internally or in an off-site store. Electronic records are all held internally.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 14 October 2005, Official Report, columns 6089W, on departmental working groups, (1) if he will list the standing departmental working groups; 
(2) if he will list the departmental working groups that have been attended in the last 12 months by (a) the Deputy Prime Minister, (b) the Minister of Communities and Local Government, (c) departmental special advisers, (d) the Permanent Secretary and (e) junior departmental Ministers; 
(3) if he will list the minutes from departmental working groups that have been sent to the offices of (a) the Deputy Prime Minister and (b) the Minister of Communities and Local Government since 1 January. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 14 October 2005, Official Report, columns 60809W. The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
The Government have no plans to regionalise the fire and rescue service. It has announced the locations of nine regional FiReControl centres designed to improve emergency response and strengthen resilience; and is encouraging and assisting Fire and Rescue Authorities to work together through Regional Management Boards to improve economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
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Mr. Woolas: Local Area Agreements (LAA) are three year agreements. They give all areas the freedom to pool funding and spend it more flexibly to meet priorities for the individual local area. Further freedoms to help meet outcomes and targets in the LAA can be requested by each local area and those which have been granted and are under discussion are contained in each LAA. The level and type of funding varies across agreement, as each is based on different local priorities. The LAA guidance includes a summary of the funding streams which can be included in the agreements.
LAAs are entered into voluntarily by local authorities and their partners in the locality. Each local area develops appropriate performance management systems for the LAA and there are measures which can be applied should certain agreed targets not be met. Each LAA is based on local priorities and so each has a particular list of targets.
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