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1 Nov 2005 : Column 888W—continued


Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions her Department has had regarding the code of practice for supermarkets; and if she will make a statement. [20411]

Jim Knight: Responsibility for the code of practice rests with the Office of Fair Trading. However, as DEFRA is the sponsor Department for the farming and food industries the subject of the code will have arisen in the course of discussions and correspondence between DEFRA and representatives of various bodies, including farming and retail organisations. We have also discussed the code with the Department for Trade and Industry and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) as and when the need has arisen, most recently in the context of the OFT's August 2005 report Supermarkets: the Code of Practice and Other Competition Issues".


Alcohol Education

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations she has made to (a) the Department for Health and (b) the Treasury to secure greater funding for alcohol education; and if she will make a statement. [21132]

James Purnell [holding answer 24 October 2005]: I have made no representations, as my Department plays an active role with others in carrying forward the Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy, led by the
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Department of Health and the Home Office, which includes initiatives aimed at raising awareness of the harm caused by alcohol misuse.

You may also be aware that I am reviewing the Alcohol Education Research Council (AERC). The review will consider how best to support and develop the role currently played by the AERC and the fund which it manages.

British Museum Act

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Hendon (Mr. Dismore) of 7 June 2005, Official Report, columns 235–36W, on the British Museum Act, what progress has been made in the consideration of the recommendation; and if she will make a statement. [21480]

Mr. Lammy: My Department is planning to issue a public consultation document on these matters shortly, with a view to submitting proposals for legislation in due course. We are now holding preliminary discussions with interested parties on the scope of possible legislation.

Child Obesity

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps her Department is taking towards its targets for reducing obesity among children under the age of 11 by 2010; and if she will make a statement. [21483]

Mr. Caborn: The Public Service Agreement (PSA) Target, to halt the rise in obesity in under-11s by 2010, is also shared by the Department of Health (DH) and the Department for Education and Skills (DFES) and there are a number of major cross-Government programmes which will contribute to the target.

The Department is working with the DH and DFES on the development of a cross-Government social marketing programme to address healthy lifestyles and will focus on children aged 2–10. The campaign is due to be launched in June 2006.

DCMS also has a joint target with DFES to ensure that by 2010 all children aged 5–16 will be offered at least four hours of sport every week, which will comprise two hours of high quality PE and sport at school and in addition the opportunity for a further 2–3 hours beyond the school day.

We are also looking at how we can increase the participation of dance by young people in and outside of school so that it can contribute to the PSA target and the Government's healthy living agenda.

We have also set up a cross-departmental group to devise a more strategic approach to play policy. Added to that the Big Lottery Fund announced on 31 March that one of its new funding programmes would include £155 million to develop, create, improve and design innovative children's play facilities with the aim of providing free local play provision for youngsters.
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As well as the play programme, £350 million in England will be dedicated to helping communities to improve their local environment with £90 million of that amount for parks. This area of funding will be run in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans her Department has to work with the Department for Education and Skills to promote cricket within schools. [23957]

Mr. Caborn: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Education and Skills share a joint public service agreement target to increase participation in physical education and sport in schools as part of the national PE and school sport strategy. This includes competitive team games such as cricket.

Cricket may be taught to pupils in schools as part of the programme of study for games activities within national curriculum PE. Games activities must be taught to all pupils in key stages 1–3 (age 5–14) and are optional at key stage 4 (age 14–16).

Cricket is one of the 22 key sports within the Club Links work strand of the school sport strategy. This work strand seeks to enhance existing links, and create new links, between schools and sports clubs. It is intended to help increase the number of school children being guided into National Governing Body affiliated sports clubs.

The 2004–05 PE and School Sport Survey of schools in School Sport Partnerships found that cricket was the second most popular sport (after football) for which schools had formal links with sports clubs. 46 per cent. of schools have links with a local cricket club. The survey also found that 85 per cent. of schools provided cricket for their pupils, either in lesson time or after school. This was the sixth most popular sport provided in schools. Copies of the results of the survey have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Departmental Appointments (Diversity)

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many (a) disabled and (b) ethnic minority staff were appointed to the Department in the last financial year; and if she will make a statement. [21466]

Mr. Lammy: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is fully committed to equality of opportunity, and recruitment and selection takes place on the basis of fair and open competition.

Data on ethnicity and disability are collected on a voluntary self-declaration basis. In the year 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005, of 110 appointments, two people declared a disability and 15 people declared themselves to be from an ethnic minority background; some people chose not to declare their ethnicity or disability status.

Departmental Call Centres

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many call centres were run by her Department and its agencies in (a) 2003–04,
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(b) 2004–05 and (c) 2005–06 to date; and how many and what proportion of calls (i) were handled by an adviser, (ii) were received but abandoned and (iii) received an engaged tone. [23307]

Mr. Lammy: My Department and its one executive agency, the Royal Parks, do not run any call centres.

Departmental Correspondence

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what steps she is taking to improve her Department's performance with regard to replying to correspondence from the public; and if she will make a statement; [21467]

(2) what steps she is taking to improve the Department's performance in replying to hon. Members' correspondence. [21916]

Mr. Lammy: Every effort is made to handle all correspondence effectively and efficiently.

All correspondence from hon. Members and Peers is handled in accordance with the principles set out in 'Handling Correspondence from Members of Parliament, Members of the House of Lords, MEPs and Members of Devolved Assemblies: Guidance for Departments'. The same principles apply when handling correspondence from members of the public.

Information relating to the performance of departments in replying to Members/Peers correspondence is published on an annual basis. The Report for 2004 was published on 6 April 2005, Official Report, columns 137–140WS.

DCMS is also setting up a new Central Information and Briefing Unit, which will help ensure that replies to correspondence from the public are dealt with in a prompt, accurate and helpful manner.

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