Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the sexual orientation regulations will require (a) Anglican Churches and (b) Churches of other denominations to perform civil partnership services in their churches; whether the regulations will apply to teaching in Sunday schools; and if she will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: [holding answer 24 July 2006] A consultation on proposals to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services through regulations to be made under part 3 of the Equality Act closed on 5 June. The consultation made clear that the Government considers that it is very important that the application of these regulations to religious activities should be clearly defined and understood and proposed that activities closely linked to religious observance or practices that arise from the basic doctrines of a faith should be exempted from the regulations. The proposed exemption for religious organisations will be available to both Anglican Churches and Churches of other denominations and we are currently considering what activities should be covered by the exemption in the light of the consultation findings.
A civil partnership cannot be registered on religious premises. Registering a civil partnership is an entirely secular process and the Civil Partnership Act prohibits any religious service from taking place during the registration.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2006, Official Report, column 1759W, on Sheree Dodd, what recruitment process was undertaken to fill the vacancy of interim head of news. 
The directorate of communication approached Sheree Dodd to work as an interim head of news for the Department for Communities and Local Government while a full Civil Service recruitment process was completed. This was a short-term role and required a person with expertise and recent knowledge of Whitehall. Sheree Dodd was approached as she had previously filled a similar role for another Government Department. Sheree Dodds employment as the
Department for Communities and Local Government head of news has now terminated and the permanent post has been filled following a Whitehall competition.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2006, Official Report, column 1759W, on Sheree Dodd, on what pay scale Sheree Dodd is paid. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2006, Official Report, column 1759W, on Sheree Dodd, whether Sheree Dodd (a) has provided and (b) continues to provide press support to the Deputy Prime Minister since the changes to the machinery of government. 
(a) The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) press office provided interim support to the Deputy Prime Ministers press office until the recent machinery of government changes were completed. As interim DCLG head of news during that period, Sheree Dodd occasionally provided support to the Deputy Prime Ministers press office.
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will publish the minutes of the meeting on 28 February 2006 between officials in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and organisations from the Thames Gateway partnership; what the (a) name and (b) job title was of each person attending; and what organisation each represented. 
Yvette Cooper: No meeting of the Thames Gateway strategic partnership took place on 28 February 2006. However, a meeting of the Thames Gateway Kent Partnership took place, at which the Department for Communities and Local Government (then the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) attended.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding her Department and its predecessors have provided to the urban and economic development group since 1997; and for what purposes. 
Mr. Woolas: Since 1997, the Department for Communities and Local Government and its predecessors have paid a total of £488,000 to the Urban and Economic Development Group (URBED) Ltd. for a number of research consultancy projects. These have included:
(i) Living Places: Urban Renaissance in the South Easta guide to best practice in urban renaissance in towns and cities in south east England;
(ii) Changing Places Projectto disseminate examples of good practice in urban renaissance by setting up and maintaining a website of case studies and holding symposia/ workshops on urban renaissance themes;
(iii) Towns and Cities: Partners in Urban Renaissanceto explore the different challenges and lessons learnt from delivering urban renaissance in 24 partner towns and cities;
(iv) Assessing Urban Housing Capacitya guide to better practice to accompany Planning Policy Guidance 3: Housing;
(v) Strategies for Smaller Centresto provide examples of town centre renaissance for inclusion in forthcoming better practice guidance to accompany Planning Policy Statement 6: Planning for Town Centres.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what (a) locality definitions and (b) neighbourhood adjustment factors are used in the Valuation Office Agencys automated valuation model. 
Mr. Woolas: A locality, within the Valuation Office Agencys (VOA) automated valuation model is a contiguous geographic space or area within which the dwellings are considered to be subject to the same or similar market forces. Localities have been defined (or delineated) by experienced chartered surveyors employed within the VOA using their market and valuation knowledge.
Locality adjustment factors are used in regression to establish relative differences among localities (the term neighbourhood was initially used to describe what the VOA now calls localities). The locality adjustment factor is a logarithmic variable applied to each of approximately 10,000 localities. Every locality has a locality adjustment factor derived from the average value, and average size, of dwellings in the locality at a required point in time.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the multiple regression formula used as part of the Valuation Office Agencys Automated valuation model is; and what each variable in the model is. 
Mr. Woolas: The Valuation Office Agencys (VOA) automated valuation model (AVM) is designed to use sales to determine the relationship between sale price and property attributes, so that it may subsequently be used to predict property values from recorded property attribute data. The agencys multiple regression models have a log linear structure and the calibrated multiple regression formula looks like this:
Y = Property price
Ln = Natural logarithm
Xl,2,3 = Property attribute 1,2,3 etc
b1,2,3 = Coefficient 1,2,3 etc
a = Constant
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many value significant codes are available for capture electronically by the Valuation Office Agency for council tax liability purposes. 
Mr. Woolas: Value significant codes are used by the Valuation Office agency to support decisions on banding. The agency does not have any responsibility for liability, which is a function of local government. For further detail I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 9 January 2006, Official Report, column 274W to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) and the reply given on 26 April 2006, Official Report, column 1171W to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles).
Mr. Woolas: The joint Valuation Office Agency and Local Government Association steering group has met on 11 occasions, between May 2001 and June 2005, largely to discuss the preparations for the 2005 non-domestic rating revaluation.