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The role specification for the chair and members of the Casino Advisory Panel was agreed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and myself. The appointments were advertised in The Sunday Times on 5 June 2005, and on public appointments and DCMS websites. The closing date for applications was 24 June 2005.
The selection panel was chaired by the head of Gambling, Lotteries and Licensing Division. The panel also comprised two independent assessors, who are trained by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA) to conduct such processes in accordance with the Commissioners Code.
These three people met to sift applications in order to recommend a shortlist to the Minister. They met again to hold interviews, at which the potential for conflict of interest was discussed in every case, following which their views were submitted to the Minister for him to make his decision. Officials obtained statements from the successful candidates of their private interests, and assessed these for the potential for actual or perceived conflict of interest.
The selection criteria for the roles were contained in the role specification, which was sent out to all interested candidates. This document informed the sift of applications and the general framing of questions at interview.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) USB (i) flash drives and (ii) memory sticks, (b) compact discs, (c) DVD-ROM discs, (d) laptop computers, (e) external computers hard drives, (f) internal computer hard drives and (g) desktop computers were purchased for use in her Department in each month since March 2005. 
Angela E. Smith: This table indicates the amount of IT equipment bought from the four major suppliers of IT equipment to DCLG since March 2005. Identification of external HD purchases from DCLG financial records. USB memory, memory sticks and flash drives are different names for the same, or similar, products, could be undertaken only at disproportionate cost.
|Month||CDs (x50)||DVDs (x25)||Internal HD||Laptops||Desktop PC||USB Memory|
Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what action her Department is taking to increase the (a) availability and (b) affordability of shared accommodation in the private rented sector. 
Yvette Cooper: The private rented sector has expanded by 33 per cent. in the last 12 years from 9 per cent. of households (1993) to 12 per cent. of households (2005). Rents are affected by house prices and the wider market and therefore by overall housing supply. The Government believe we need to increase housing supply to improve long term affordability. In addition families on low income can get housing benefit to help with private sector rents.
Mr. Truswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the (a) need and (b) demand for affordable housing provided by local authorities in (i) Leeds and (ii) England; and what action she is taking to encourage and enable the provision of such housing. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 13 September 2006]: Government do not produce national or local assessments of the need and demand for affordable housing. Regional assemblies and local planning authorities are responsible for producing regional and local assessments of housing need.
We encourage and enable provision of affordable housing primarily through the payment of Social Housing Grant by the Housing Corporation to registered social landlords and unregistered bodies. The Government also assist local authorities to maximise the contribution made by the planning system consistent with creating sustainable communities, set out in draft Planning Policy Statement 3 Housing (December 2005), and provide guidance on requiring developer contributions through planning obligations for the provision of affordable housing. The Government are also consulting on new ways of increasing the role of authorities in meeting local housing needs.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many families were on waiting lists for social housing in each English local authority at the latest date for which figures are available. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 13 September 2006]: Waiting list data at a local authority level for England and Wales are available from the Annual Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (HSSA) and published on an annual basis on the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) website. The list data include people who have applied for social housing but do not assess need. The latest available data are for 2005. The accuracy of the list will vary as it depends on how frequently and effectively local authorities update their lists.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many faith-based housing associations there are; and what the capital allocation for each was in each of the last five years. 
Yvette Cooper: The Housing Corporation maintains records on housing associations that are registered under section 2 of the Housing Act 1996 but does not collect information about whether they are faith-based and therefore the requested information is not available.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will bring forward proposals to assist local authorities in providing additional support for parents with learning difficulties to care for their children; and if she will make a statement. 
The Department has commissioned the Social Care Institute for Excellence to undertake a knowledge review into support for parents with disabilities including parents with learning disabilities. This will be published on their website shortly. The second phase of the work will be to develop a resource guide for organisations supporting disabled parents. This includes a national protocol for joint working.
In addition, the Valuing People Support Team, the Department and the Department for Education and Skills have commissioned good practice guidance on how adult and children's services can work together in the interest of parents with learning disabilities and their children. This suggestion came out of a national gathering of parents with learning disabilities in January 2005.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the rationale is for restricting the Local Government Ombudsman's scope to considering matters from the previous 12 months only; and what consideration she has given to introducing measures to extend that scope. 
Mr. Woolas: Section 26(4) of the Local Government Act 1974 provides that the Local Government Ombudsman may conduct an investigation into a complaint which has not been made within the 12 month period specified if he considers that it is reasonable to do so.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local government targets the Government has (a) introduced and (b) abolished in each of the last nine years. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 13 September 2006]: Performance indicators and targets are currently set for local government by a number of different Government Departments under separate performance management regimes. The number of centrally-set performance indicators and targets applicable to any individual local authority varies and will depend on the type of local authority (for example county council, district council, unitary authority or London borough) and the individual grant or funding regimes it accesses. Not all indicators have targets set against them.
Best Value Performance Indicators (BVPIs) were introduced in 2000-01 in order to enable central Government to monitor progress over a period of time, allow authorities to compare their performance against that of their peers and provide residents with information about the performance of their local authority. BVPIs are also a key component of the framework developed by the Audit Commission to inform Comprehensive Performance Assessment judgments.
There are also a number of floor targets, setting minimum standards that every area should meet, which have been set by central Government as part of each Spending Review since 2000. These floor targets now cover six thematic areas: crime, education, housing, employment, health and liveability, and are designed to help reduce the gap between the most deprived neighbourhoods and the rest.
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