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Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many contracts have been awarded by his Department to external consultancies in each year since 1997; and what the total value of such contracts was in each year. 
|Financial year||Number of contracts awarded||Value of contracts awarded|
|Number of consultants used|
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which contracts let to external consultants in each of the last five years included strategies for (a) local knowledge transfer and (b) capacity building. 
Hilary Benn: DFID consultants' terms of reference commonly require them to promote knowledge transfer and help with capacity building in order to achieve programme objectives. DFID does not maintain a separate record of contracts with these specific purposes and the information required could not be produced without incurring a disproportionate cost.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many and what proportion of the contracts let by his Department to external consultants for work under the value of £100,000 (a) have and (b) have not been let competitively in each of the last five years. 
Hilary Benn: The figures for the proportion of the contracts let by DFID to external consultants for work under the value of 100,000 which (a) have and (b) have not been let competitively in each of the last five years are set out in the table:
|Contracts under £100,000||Let competitively||Proportion (percentage)|
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the contracts awarded in each of the last five years to (a) Maxwell Stamp plc, (b) HTS Consultants, (c) the British Council, (d) Adam Smith International Ltd. and (e) the Crown Agents for Overseas Governments and Administrations Ltd.; and what (i) the purpose for which the contract was awarded, (ii) the total value of the contract and (iii) the total expenditure on hosting consultants in the recipient country for the project was in each case. 
Mr. Thomas: I shall arrange for copies of the document entitled Contracts awarded to Maxwell Stamp plc, HTS Consultants, British Council, Adam Smith International Ltd. and Crown Agents for Overseas Governments and Administration Ltd. between 20002005" to be placed in the Libraries of the House. The table detailed in this document does not include lower-value contracts issued by DFID's overseas offices, of which there is no consolidated central record. It would require disproportionate cost to produce a list of those contracts.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many external consultants used by his Department since 2001 have been based in (a) the recipient country for the project and (b) other countries. 
Hilary Benn: The purpose of untying aid in 2001 was to enable DFID to engage consultants in any country to obtain best value for money. The required data have been recorded since April 2003. Information before that date and details of the contracts issued by DFID overseas offices is not held centrally, and could not be obtained without incurring a disproportionate cost.
|Consultant based in recipient country||Consultant based elsewhere|
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many contracts for direct mail were signed by the Department in (a) 200506 to date and (b) 200405; and what the value was in each case. 
Mr. Maples: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development who is responsible for running his Department's estate (a) in the UK and (b) overseas; what relevant specialist qualifications he or she holds; and what the details are of his or her career to date. 
Mr. Thomas: Responsibility for the running of DFID's estate in the UK falls to our Office Services and Security Department, headed by Gary James. He has over 20 years experience working in four Government Departments and has been in the current post for five years. He has received training in Health and Safety issues and holds an Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) certificate, but professional advice on general estates issues is provided to DFID by external consultants under framework agreements established by the Office of Government Commerce.
The majority of our overseas offices are part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office estate. Office Services and Security Department also provide guidance
28 Nov 2005 : Column 58W
and information to our remaining overseas offices but direct responsibility for managing these falls to our geographical Departments.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the real terms percentage increase in allocated resources for his Department (a) was for the period 199798 to 200405 and (b) is estimated to be between 200506 and 200708 (i) for each period and (ii) for each year. 
Hilary Benn: The real terms increase in DFID's resource spending within the departmental expenditure limit (DEL) between 199899 and 200405 was 50.8 per cent. on a full resource budgeting basis. Direct comparisons cannot be made with 199798 as resource budgeting figures are not available for that year.
|Resource DEL in nominal terms (£ million)||2,445||2,729||2,985||3,043||3,433||3,710|
|Percentage change in real terms(46)||||+ 11.2||+9.2||+1.9||+12.5||+7.8|
|200506 Plans||200607 Plans||200708 Plans|
|Resource DEL in nominal terms (£ million)||3,868||4,452||4,987||5,281|
|Percentage change in real terms(46)||4.2||+14.8||+11.7||+5.7|
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will take steps to ensurethe Department's websites attain the W3C AAA standard of accessibility for people with visual and other disabilities; and if he will set a target date for this standard to be achieved by. 
It is DFID's policy to ensure compliance with the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, and Cabinet Office's e-government unit guidelines. Every HTML page that is published on the DFID website is checked using Bobby web accessibility checking software. Pages are only published when there are no errors at Priorities 1, 2 or 3. In 2005, our e-communications team was trained by the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) in order to ensure that we continue to meet best practice.
DFID's two standalone country sites DFID India (www.dfidindia.org) and DFID Bangladesh (www.dfidbangladesh.org) will meet accessibility requirements when they are integrated into the main DFID site in 2006.
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