|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether the statements of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary on Sir Christopher Meyer's diaries and his Chairmanship of the Press Complaints Commission represent her policy. 
Tessa Jowell: As set out in the Cabinet Secretary's letter to Sir Christopher Meyer's publishers on 4 November, the Government's view is that it is disappointing that a former diplomat should disclose confidences gained as a result of his employment.
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many people have been
24 Nov 2005 : Column 2228W
prosecuted for non-payment of the television licence fee in each constituency of Northern Ireland in each of the last five years. 
David Cairns: When engaging consultancies, the Office would include, as part of its contract, terms and conditions which would provide for reasonable expenses to be reimbursed against receipts. That, in conjunction with appropriately robust contract management arrangements, ensures that consultancies do not claim excessive expenses.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the 10 largest amounts of damages paid out by his Department in the last year for which figures are available, indicating in each case the nature of the claim. 
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many contracts for direct mail were signed by his Department in (a) 200506 to date and (b) 200405; and what the value was in each case. 
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many Freedom of Information applications his Department has received; how many have taken more than 20 days to process; and how many of these gave rise to complaints about the time taken. 
Departmental performance on Freedom of Information applications, including statistics on both the volume and outcomes of requests, is published quarterly on the Department for Constitutional Affairs website at www.foi.gov.uk. The bulletins for January to March and April to June are available in the Libraries of both Houses and at http://www.foi.gov.uk/statsapr-jun05.htm and http://www.foi.gov.uk/statsjan-mar05.htm. The next bulletin will appear before Christmas, and an annual report will be published in early 2006. We are not aware of any complaints about the time taken to respond to requests.
24 Nov 2005 : Column 2229W
Mr. Woolas: Following a review and consultation, the Home Office decided to delete the sub-measures related to this Best Value Performance Indicator (BVPI) for the police with effect from 1 April 2004 because the data was judged to be unreliable. This is because it required both the person reporting the offence and the police officer recording it to make a series of subjective judgments. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister carried out a fundamental review of all the BVPIs last year and it was decided to delete the sub-measures for local authorities with effect from 1 April 2005 for the same reason. The headline indicator (number of violent crimes per 1,000 population) continues to be collected.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the (a) outturn and (b) targets set for each local authority were for Best Value Performance Indicators (i) 126, (ii) 127a-d, (iii) 128, (iv) 174, (v) 175 and (vi)176 in 200405. 
Mr. Woolas: The data for these Best Value Performance Indicators is currently being audited. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister intends to publish it on 15 December on a dedicated website: www.bvpi.gov.uk. Local authorities set their own targets for each of these indicators in 200405. Information on local targets is not collated centrally.
Bob Spink: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the title and value of consultancy contracts commissioned (a) by and (b) in respect of Castle Point Borough Council in each of the last five years, broken down by consultancy. 
|Title||Consultancy Firm||Value £||Financial Year|
|Castle Point Recovery Planlocal government engagement.||Price Waterhouse Coopers||101,000||200405|
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) published on 4 November a Guidance Note titled Guidance on Contracting for Services in the light of the Human Rights Act 1998. This is accessible from the ODPM's website at http://odpm.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1161370.
Recent conflicting legal decisions have left public authorities and contractors unsure whether or not the users of services contracted-out to non-public sector organisations are covered by the Human Rights Act 1998. The Guidance suggests that protection equivalent to that which would be offered by the Human Rights Act can be obtained by the procuring public authority specifying in the service contract the levels of performance required.
The intended audience is local authorities, housing associations, organisations for older people and those with disabilities, and other government departments, but the guidance will be of relevance to all public contracting authorities. However, when acting on the Note, public authorities should take their own professional legal and procurement advice to ensure compliance with the Human Rights Act and public procurement law.
Colin Challen: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will introduce guidelines for town parish councils on spending; and if he will assess the merits of capping the expenditure of such councils if they exceed the limits he imposes on major authorities. 
Mr. Woolas: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister expects town and parish councils to budget prudently and consult their residents about spending plans before setting their precept. Under current legislation there is no provision for capping parishes or issuing statutory guidance to them on their budgets. There are no plans to amend the legislation, but we will keep the situation under review.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's (ODPM) target is for 100 per cent. of local government services to be e-enabled by 31 December 2005. Local authorities are currently on course to deliver this target. The average local authority deals with over 750 individual services which may be accessed over a number of channels by citizens, including face-to-face, telephone and web. No data is kept on levels of take-up for individual services. As part of the ODPM's strategy
24 Nov 2005 : Column 2231W
to support councils increase citizens' use of e-government, on 11 November, the Minister for Local e-Government announced details of a National Take-Up Campaign for local e-services which is due to be launched in January 2006.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|