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Departmental Staff

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many disciplinary actions against civil servants employed in his Department (a) were commenced and (b) resulted in a sanction being applied in each of the last five years. [43491]

Mr. Thomas: DIFD's Disciplinary Procedures are fully compliant with UK legislation and apply to civil servants working in the UK and overseas. We also apply them to our locally appointed staff overseas who work under local contracts, unless local law dictates otherwise.
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The procedure covers dismissal and other disciplinary proceedings in respect of:

The sanctions which may be applied are (this is a non exhaustive list): a written warning; a final written warning; dismissal with notice; dismissal without notice (summary dismissal). In serious cases, the penalties may also include downgrading or redeployment, stoppage of future performance pay, and a ban on promotion or consideration for a specified period.

We did not hold a central record of disciplinary action for all staff until October 2004 so the statistics include our best estimate of cases prior to this date.
CommencedDisciplinary action taken


Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on his Department's proposed review of UK aid to Ethiopia. [43136]

Hilary Benn: I visited Ethiopia on 18 January and met Prime Minister Meles. I expressed my deep concern over recent political events in Ethiopia and told the Prime Minister that the UK, together with all other budget support donors, will not at present provide general budget support which the Ethiopian Government can use for any purpose.

However, we remain committed to supporting poor people in Ethiopia. We are working with other donors and Government to design a new mechanism for providing funds in a more transparent and accountable way, so that basic services such as education and health and water can continue to be provided throughout the country.

Gaza/West Bank

Mr. Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans he has to visit Gaza and the occupied West Bank in the next four months. [41935]

Hilary Benn: I have no current plans to do so.

Gleneagles Commitments

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what mechanisms he has in place for his Department to follow up the donor commitments made by the G8 member countries at Gleneagles in 2005. [43813]

Hilary Benn: The Government are committed to ensuring that G8 pledges made at Gleneagles are implemented. DFID is involved in the implementation
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of specific initiatives: for example, the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa and the Investment Climate Facility. DFID is also working with others to ensure effective monitoring mechanisms to hold governments to account for delivery of their commitments and to assess results.

At a national level, the Gleneagles Implementation Plan" sets out the milestones the UK believes need to be achieved in 2006 to set us on the right track for delivery of the Gleneagles' commitments. This Plan has been placed in the Libraries of the House and will be updated monthly to show further progress. At the international level, the Africa Partnership Forum (APF) will monitor, review and report progress against the respective commitments by Africa and its development partners (not just the G8), on the basis of a Joint Action Plan now being developed. As one of the 2005 APF Co-Chairs, DFID, on behalf of the UK, has been closely involved in the development of this Plan and we remain fully committed to this process. We are also supporting the Archbishop of Cape Town's proposal for an 'African Monitor', which will track the implementation of commitments, and their impact, through a network of civil society groups.

HIV/AIDS (Paediatric Care)

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the written answer on 11 January 2006, Official Report, column 210W, on HIV/AIDS, what discussions (a) have taken place and (b) are planned with the Global Steering Committee to ensure that children will receive paediatric drugs by 2010. [43410]

Hilary Benn: The UK is co-chair of the Global Steering Committee on Scaling up Towards Universal Access, (GSC) which is due to report to the UN General Assembly High Level meeting in June 2006. The GSC is considering the obstacles to scaling up comprehensive AIDS programmes, including access to treatment.

Early discussions have already highlighted the need to unblock obstacles to treatment for children, including the lack of adequate diagnostics and treatments for children, and the poor disaggregation by age and gender of reporting on treatment.

The GSC, which met for the first time on 9 and 10 January, is expected to meet twice more, in February and March, before finalising in April its report to the UN General Assembly High Level meeting in early June.

The UK is hosting with UNICEF, the Global Partners Forum on Children Affected by HIV and AIDS (GPF) in early February. One of the six streams of the GPF is access to treatment and care for children with HIV and AIDS. Discussions at the Global Partners Forum will feed into the work of the Global Steering Committee.

Identity Fraud

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what training the Department has provided for (a) front desk and (b) administrative staff in relation to identity fraud. [41283]

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Mr. Thomas: Fraud awareness, including identity fraud is included in the induction training for all staff appointed by DFID.

In relation to front desk staff, all visitors to the Department have to be identified and then accompanied by a member of staff throughout their visit.

Guidelines are in place for administrative staff carrying out identity checks as part of the appointment and security clearance procedures for all new staff. These include sight of passports, birth certificates and other data that are checked as part of our security vetting process.

Inter-ministerial Meetings

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many inter-ministerial meetings his Department has held with the Scottish Executive since May 1999; and what the (a) Scottish Executive department concerned, (b) subject and (c) date was in each case. [39872]

Mr. Thomas: Ministers have regular dialogues with ministerial colleagues in the Scottish Executive, discussing a wide range of issues of mutual interest. It is not our practice to disclose details of such meetings.

Millennium Development Goals

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what public service agreements his Department is now relating to the millennium development goals. [43810]

Hilary Benn: The Department for International Development's public service agreement (PSA) 2005–08, has the overall aim of 'eliminating poverty in poorer countries, in particular through achievement by 2015 of the millennium development goals' (MDGs).

The PSA contains six targets and 13 sub-targets. Targets one and two are directly linked to the MDGs, seeking progress towards the MDGs in 16 key countries in Africa and nine key countries in Asia. The sub-targets seek a reduction in the proportion of people living in poverty, an increase in primary school enrolment and in the ratio of girls to boys enrolled in primary school, a reduction in under-five mortality rates, an increase in the proportion of births assisted by skilled birth attendants, and the achievement of targets on HIV and tuberculosis, all of which tie in with the first six MDGs.

Target three on improving the effectiveness of the multilateral system, target four on improving trading opportunities, target six on ensuring that at least 90 per cent. of DFID's bilateral programme goes to low-income countries and the Africa sub-target on enhancing partnership to increase the effectiveness of aid and ensure that international policies support African development, all feed into MDG eight on developing a global partnership for development.

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what mechanisms he is setting in place for an annual evaluation of progress towards the millennium development goals. [43811]

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Hilary Benn: Progress against the Department for International Development's public service agreement (PSA) targets, which tie in to the millennium development goals, is assessed twice-yearly in DFID's autumn performance reports and departmental reports. The most recent analysis of progress against the Department for International Development's public service agreement (PSA) targets for the period 2003 to 2006 was published, in the Autumn Performance Report 2005, which was laid before Parliament on 9 December 2005. It is available both in hard copy in the Libraries of the House and electronically on DFID's website:

The Technical Note to DFID's 2005–08 public service agreement provides full details of the indicators and methodologies which are used to monitor performance against the targets. The Technical Note is available on DFID's website:

Updated assessments of performance against all PSA targets and sub-targets will be provided in DFID's Departmental Report 2006, which is expected to be published in May.

The UK Government are supporting the proposed International Development (Transparency and Reporting) Bill. When enacted, this will require DFID to place an annual report before Parliament setting out the UK Government's policies and use of resources in support of international development, including achievement of the millennium development goals. DFID welcomes the Bill and is actively supporting its development.

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