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Ben Chapman: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what is the average time taken to process cases at the Information Commissioner's Office; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Harman: The average time to close a Data Protection case between 1 April and 30 November 2005 was 50 days. The average time to close a Freedom of Information case in the same period was 96 days. The Information Commissioner has analysed his current workload and concluded that the high volume of FOI appeals that he is processing at present are a result of the initial influx of requests that public authorities experienced in the first few months of FOI implementation.
Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Minister of State Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) if she will make a statement on the operation and staffing of the joint ministerial sub-committees between the Scottish Executive and UK departments; 
Bridget Prentice: The Memorandum of Understanding and Supplementary Agreements (Cm 5240) allows for the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) to meet in various functional" formats to discuss specific policy areas. At present, the JMC exists in four such formats: Health, Poverty, Knowledge Economy and Europe. Of these four, the JMC on Europe meets most regularly. As described in the Memorandum of Understanding the Secretariat to these Committees is provided by the UK Cabinet Office and the devolved administrations, although in practice the Secretariat to the JMCs on Health, Poverty and Knowledge Economy is provided by my department. There is no specific group of civil servants assigned to the Secretariat; instead staff from appropriate areas service the Committees as necessary.
Ms Harman: The Lord Chancellor, as scheme administrator, will notify HM Revenue and Customs that the judicial pension schemes will not become registered schemes for the purposes of the Finance Act, with effect from 6 April 2006, under paragraph 2 of schedule 36 to the Act .
Ms Harman: The Boundary Commission for England is required to submit its report by April 2007. Under the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986, the report will then be brought before Parliament as soon as may be". If agreed by Parliament, the report's recommendations will come into force at the next General Election.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much was paid by her Department in rates to each local authority in the UK in 200405; and how much was paid in (a) each (i) nation and (ii) region of the UK and (b) London. 
|(a) (i) Nation|
|(ii) Region of the UK|
|All other regions except London||0|
|(b) London(46)||5.490 million|
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many staff are employed by her Department in each (a) region and (b) nation of the UK; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Harman: The figures requested are published in Civil Service Statistics. They are outlined in Table D which covers staff numbers (FTE basis) in each Department and agency. Civil Service Statistics are available in the Library and at the following address on the Cabinet Office Statistics website:
A full list of all Cabinet committees, including their membership and terms of reference, can be found in the Library. My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, placed an updated list in the Library on Thursday 15 December 2005.
Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much has been spent by her Department on taxi travel in the 200506 financial year; and what proportion of such travel was undertaken in each nation and region of the UK, including London. 
Bridget Prentice: It is not possible for the Department to provide full detailed information requested on how much was spent on taxis during the (current) 200506 financial year without incurring disproportionate cost.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what steps she is taking to meet the Government's obligations under council directive 2004/113/EC to enact goods and services protection for transgender people by the deadline of 21 December 2007. 
Mr. Weir: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which functions of his core Department are carried out in (a) Northern Ireland and (b) Wales; and what administrative costs were associated with these functions for each area in the last year. 
Mr. Woolas: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister carries out no functions in relation to Northern Ireland. In relation to Wales, while the vast majority of functions for which ODPM has responsibility have been devolved to the Welsh Assembly Government since devolution, ODPM does retain some residual functions in relation to Wales, specifically in relation to building regulations and local authority pension arrangements. Since these functions are already exercised in relation to England, the additional costs associated with administering these functions for Wales are minimal and therefore have not been measured. In addition, ODPM acts for the whole of the UK in international forums where it has the lead policy responsibility internationally (e.g. on the EC's environmental impact assessment directive), however, implementation is a matter for the devolved Administrations (where the implementation mechanism is devolved).
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