The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Cabinet Office (Mr. Jim Murphy): The Cabinet Secretary and the First Civil Service Commissioner will tomorrow launch consultation on a new Civil Service Code. The Civil Service Code, which was introduced in 1996, sets out the duties and responsibilities of civil servants. Copies are available in the Library of the House.
The new Code is the result of work between the Government and the Civil Service Commissioners to ensure that the Code is relevant and accessible to all civil servants. The Code sets out the core values of the Civil Service and the standards of behaviour expected of all civil servants in their dealings with Ministers, the public, other organisations the Civil Service works with and its many customers.
In publishing the new Code for consultation, the Government wish to place on record its appreciation to the former First Civil Service Commissioner, Baroness Usha Prashar, for her contribution in taking forward work on the new Code.
"I am pleased to announce that Her Majesty The Queen has appointed Sir John Brigstocke KCB as the inaugural Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman. The appointment is for a period of five years in the first instance, and will expire in January 2011.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mr. David Lammy):
The provision for the Government Indemnity Scheme is made by the National Heritage Act 1980. The scheme
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facilitates public access to loans of works of art and other objects for public display made to museums, galleries and other such institutions by private owners and non-national institutions. It does this by indemnifying lenders against loss or damage to objects they loan. Loans covered by the scheme must be for public benefit. The scheme also covers loans of such objects for study purposes within borrowing institutions where this would contribute materially to the public's understanding or appreciation of the object loaned. Examples of this are enhancing interpretation or explanation to the public of objects, or bringing into the public domain the conclusions of any study.
In the six month period ended 30 September 2005, a total of 854 undertakings were given to indemnify objects on loan to national and non-national institutions under section 16 by the relevant Departments. The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), which manages the scheme on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, issued a total of 666 undertakings to national museums and 73 undertakings to non-national museums in England, the Scottish Executive Education Department issued two undertakings and the National Assembly for Wales issued one.
The value of contingent liabilities in respect of undertakings given at any time under section 16 and which remained outstanding as at 30 September 2005 for national museums are £2,038,824,046 and are £1,286,220,079 for non-nationals in England. The value of section 16 contingent liabilities as at 30 September 2005 for the Scottish Executive Education Department are £22,035,000; £34,009,500 for the National Assembly for Wales, and £4,750,000 for the Government Art Collection.
The value of non-statutory undertakings given to Her Majesty in respect of loans from the Royal Collection and which remained outstanding as at 30 September 2005 are £198,160,725; £259,000 for non-national museums issued by the MLA, and £25,000 issued by the Government Art Collections.
The limit on the contingent liabilities which may be incurred in relation to the Government Indemnity Scheme for non-national museums and galleries in England approved by the Treasury in May 2004 was £1,200,000,000. As a result of an increase in the number of temporary exhibitions put on by the non-national museums and galleries, and in the value of the objects included in such exhibitions it has proved necessary for this limit to be temporarily increased to £1,287,000,000 effective until May 2006. The Government Indemnity Scheme will be reviewed in 2006 to see if a permanent increase of the limits on the contingent liabilities which may be incurred under the scheme is justified.
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The Minister for Local Government (Mr. Phil Woolas): On 5 December 2005, I informed the House that I had issued for consultation a provisional local government finance settlement for 200607 giving indicative grant increases for that year and for 200708. The consultation period closed on 11 January. I intend to lay before the House shortly the Local Government Finance Report (England) 200607 which will establish the amounts of revenue support grant and non-domestic rates to be paid to local authorities in 200607 and the basis of their distribution.
The Minister for Local Government (Mr. Phil Woolas): Today the Social Exclusion Unit in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is publishing a major report entitled "A Sure Start to Later Life: Ending Inequalities for Older People".
that significant progress has been made in tackling social exclusion among older people. Pensioner poverty is down from 28 per cent. in 1996 to 20 per cent. in 2004. The numbers experiencing multiple disadvantage has dropped from 23 per cent. to 17 per cent. since 1997. But, there is a need to make further improvements for the most excluded;
there is a need for a concerted effort to the tackle social exclusion, disadvantage and deprivation facing some older people. As the population is ageing it is important to tackle exclusion now to avoid greater problems in the future; and
that we need to change the way we view older people. Poverty, decline and exclusion are not an inevitable part of ageing. We need to get services right so that all older people have the opportunities to participate in their local communities.
The report sets out proposals for a more responsive model of services for older people that addresses these issues, and which builds on the approach of Sure Start in galvanising communities and reshaping children's services. The Sure Start to later life approach will use the same methods as the children's model to bring together services around older people, and to provide a single, accessible gateway to a wide range of services in the community. A pilot programme called "Link-Age Plus" will test out the Sure Start approach for older people.
The report contains 30 action points to be taken forward by Government Departments, which as a whole represent a comprehensive plan to tackle social exclusion among older people. The Implementation Team in the Social Exclusion Unit will monitor the progress made by the Departments on individual action points and will work to ensure that the overarching goals contained within the report are pursued across Government.
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