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17 Jan 2006 : Column 1210W—continued

Valuation Office Agency

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the national targets are for the Valuation Office Agency; and what the performance of relevant offices in the South West Region has been against those targets. [41993]

Dawn Primarolo: Within the South West Region are the Valuation Office Agency's South Western and Western Groups, covering local taxation work, and the South West District Valuer Services Unit covering other work. The national targets for 2004–05 and audited results (which are also available on the Agency's website at are shown as follows, with a division between those offices within South West Region where applicable. National targets are also shown for the current year—2005–06—for which results will be published in the Agency's Annual Report in due course.
Valuation office agency national targets and results—2004/05

Agency wide key targetsAgency targetAgency result
National result—apportionment to South West not applicable
Value for money
Improve productivity by 2.5% in 2004–052.5%2.4%
And achieve improvements of at least 15%, on 2004–05 figures, by 2007–0815% by 2007–08'On course'
People satisfaction
Improve staff satisfaction in working for the VOA in comparison with other places of work, based on annual survey results, by 1%53%58%
Financial break even"
Recover full resource costs within Parliamentary Approved Estimates, including a return on capital of £3. 5 million from fees and chargesAchieved
Local taxation key targets
Valuation accuracy
Contain reductions in the 2000 local rating lists to less than 7.5% in respect of compiled list appeals settled in 2004–057.5%9.7%
And to a maximum of 4.7% of the total compiled list rateable value over the entire life 2000 rating lists4.7%4.6%
Council tax revaluation
Prepare for the forthcoming revaluation of domestic properties in England by digitising data for 97.5% of properties by 31 March 200597.5%Achieved
And, by 31 July 2004, evaluate whether the automated valuation model (AVM) can be utilised effectively for the banding of a minimum of 60% of dwellings60%Achieved
District valuer services key target
Achieve an increased fee income of £19.2 million£19.2 million£19.4 million
And ensure that its share of VOA costs is coveredAchieved

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Local taxation key targetsTargetSouth West
Group Result
Group Result
Rating revaluation
Prepare for the forthcoming revaluation of non-domestic properties in England and Wales by producing draft rating lists by 30 September 2004AchievedAchieved
And compiled rating lists by 31 March 2005AchievedAchieved
Customer satisfaction
Maintain customer satisfaction, based on annual surveys, at 86%86%72.16%76.19%
Local taxation—other targets
Draft programmes for clearance of appeals available by 31 July 200431 July 2004AchievedAchieved
Publish final programmes by 1 October 20041 October 2004AchievedAchieved
And adhere to start date in 95% of cases95%98.85%96.65%
Appeals settled—England280,00013,55511,296
95% of reports cleared within three months of receipt95%92.91%95.3%
And clear all those received within 2004–05 by the end of the year100%100%100%
Council tax
Clear council tax appeals within a maximum of 27,800 in England27,8003,0151,554
Provide a considered view to taxpayers on whether an adjustment to their banding is justified within two months of receipt of their appeal100%46.67%64.1%
Ensure that all appeals are ready for hearing within six months100%96.67%96.61%
Clear 95% of all reports within three months of receipt95%96.3%97.36%
And 95% of all reports, in respect of new properties, within two months of receipt95%91.55%95.92%
Ensure that 95% of new bandings are right first time"95%94.17%94.58%
Customer service
Answer all telephone calls within an overall average of 10 seconds100%100%100%
Acknowledge all correspondence within five working days100%98%99%
Reply to 90% of correspondence, based on information held, within 15 working days90%82.74%94.8%
See all callers to our offices within five minutes100%100%100%
Achieve specified standards for valuation accuracy90%93.33%93.3%
Meet timeliness targets90%92.9%92.5%

District valuer services—other targetsTargetDistrict valuer SW result
Inheritance tax
Clear all initial appraisal cases within 20 working days100%93%
Report agreed values for 75% of cases within three months75%83%
Report agreed values for 90% of cases within six months90%95%
Report agreed values for 95% of cases within nine months95%98%
Capital gains tax
Clear 90% of initial appraisal/information valuation cases within 30 working days90%79%
And the remainder within three months100%95%
Clear 90% of negotiation cases within six months90%66%
And the remainder within 12 months100%90%


Clinical Negligence

Mr. Baron: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many legally aided clinical negligence cases were closed in the last 12 months; and how many (a) proceeded beyond investigation and (b) resulted in (i) an award of damages and (ii) a settlement involving an agreement to pay damages. [43104]

Bridget Prentice: In the last year 6,217 cases were closed where an outcome was reported of which 2,574 went beyond the investigation stage. In these cases the solicitors reported a substantive benefit to the client in 56 per cent. of cases.
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Departmental Expenditure

Pete Wishart: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what has been the annual expenditure on training and development for (a) her Department and (b) each (i) non-departmental public body, (ii) executive agency and (iii) other public body for which she is responsible in (A) Scotland, (B) Wales, (C) each of the English regions and (D) Northern Ireland in each of the last three financial years; and what the planned expenditure is for 2005–06. [40004]

Bridget Prentice: Since April 2002 the Department for Constitutional Affairs (formerly the Lord Chancellor's Department) has provided a corporate HR service, including learning and development for the Department and it's executive agencies—Court Service (until 1 April 2005), Her Majesty's Courts Service (from 1 April 2005)
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and Public Guardianship Office. The Legal Service Commission has its own HR department including learning and development.

Annual expenditure for central learning and development provision for the last three years in (a) The Department and (b) (ii) executive agencies is as follows.
Annual expenditure (£)

It is not possible to provide a breakdown across Department and agencies nor across countries/regions as expenditure is not recorded in this way and the information could be provided only at disproportionate expense.

These figures do not include local expenditure on learning and development activity. This information could be provided only at disproportionate expense.

In 2005–06 planned expenditure is as follows:
Planned expenditure (£)
Central learning and development including SCS3,577,000
HMCS Regions
North West195,000
North East270,000
South West195,000
South East240,000
Wales and Cheshire150,000
Regional Total1,500,000

The budget for learning and development has increased significantly in 2005–06 as the creation of HMCS increased the size of the organisation by approximately 10,000 staff, including approx 2,500 lawyers who need to meet their continuing professional development requirements.

Annual expenditure for central learning and development provision for the last three years in (b) (i) Legal Services Commission is as follows:
Central training912,4181,203,801454,207987,614
Regional Offices
South East8,7076,99125,94145,294
Regional total102,377191,520349,542245,222

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It is not possible to provide a breakdown for the central training budget across regions as expenditure is not recorded in this way and the information could be provided only at disproportionate expense

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