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6 Dec 2006 : Column 519W—continued

Consultants

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which 10 consultancy fees charged to her Department since May 1997 were the most expensive. [107167]

Edward Miliband: The information requested for the Cabinet Office is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Staff

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many temporary employees were contracted to work for her Department in 2005-06; and what the total cost of such employees was in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 1997-98. [106693]


6 Dec 2006 : Column 520W

Edward Miliband: Departmental records are not structured to identify the number of temporary employees who were contracted to work for the Department in 2005-06. It is also not possible to readily identify the cost of temporary employees in 2005-06 and 1997-98 from the Department’s accounting system. This information is therefore only available at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Studies

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which studies have been commissioned by her Department from (a) external agencies, (b) companies, (c) academics and (d) individuals in 2006. [107156]

Edward Miliband: The Cabinet Office does not hold the information in the requested format and it can be provided only at disproportionate costs.

Duchy Council

Ben Chapman: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the professional background was of each member of the Duchy Council appointed in each of the last three years. [104853]

Edward Miliband: In the last three years Her Majesty the Queen has made four new appointments for the Duchy of Lancaster Council. These are shown in the table.

January 2005

Ms Anne Richards

Chief Investment Officer—Aberdeen Asset Management—experience in financial asset management.

Mr Hugh Seaborn

Chief Executive—The Portman Estate—Chartered Surveyor with experience in commercial property investment.

1 June 2006

Mr Mark Hudson

Chairman of Game Conservatory Trust, Ex National President of CLA (2005) and private farmer in Wales—experience in farming and the rural economy.

1 September 2006

Mr Robert Hildyard Q.C.

Attorney General to the Duchy of Lancaster.


During the period Sir Michael Bunbury, Sir Christopher Howes, and The hon. Mr Justice Briggs retired as members of the Duchy Council.

Procurement Projects

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the 20 largest procurement projects initiated by her Department since May 1997 have been; what the (a) original budget, (b) cost to date and (c) consultancy fees have been; and what the final cost was of each project which has been completed. [106601]

Edward Miliband: I am unable to provide this information as the cost of procurement projects are not centrally identifiable and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

V Charity

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster who was responsible for appointing the Chairman of the charity, v; and what role Ministers had in approving this appointment. [106536]

Edward Miliband: The appointment of Rod Aldridge as Chairman of the charity v was made by Ian Russell, in his capacity as Chairman of the Russell Commission together with a team of young people who had been involved in the work of the Russell Commission's youth advisory board.

Ministers had no role in the appointment process.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what appointments to the v charity were the responsibility of the Government. [106537]

Edward Miliband: None. The charity is independent of Government and all initial appointments were made by Ian Russell after consultation with the young people involved in the Russell Commission Youth Advisory Board. Further appointments are made in partnership by the chair, chief executive and the v20 Youth Advisory Board.


6 Dec 2006 : Column 521W

Work and Pensions

Bonus Payments

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what criteria a civil servant in his Department must fulfil (a) to be considered for a bonus on top of their regular salary and (b) to be awarded a bonus. [101035]

Mrs. McGuire: All members of the senior civil service (SCS) are considered for a bonus on top of their regular salary. In line with Cabinet Office guidance bonuses are awarded to between 60 per cent. and 75 per cent. of SCS members. Awards are made by relatively assessing individuals in relation to others in the same SCS pay band. In determining performance-related bonus payments, the following criteria were used to award bonuses this year:

Below SCS, the Department for Work and Pensions currently operates two separate bonus schemes, which may be paid on top of regular salary: These are the individual performance bonus scheme and the special bonus scheme.

Individual Performance Bonus: All staff have the potential to earn an individual performance bonus, based on the performance level they receive through our performance management system. Individual performance is relatively assessed at the end of the performance year. There are 4 performance levels. In 2006 people who achieved one of the top 3 levels received a bonus, determined by their grade and performance level.

Special Bonus: The special bonus scheme enables line managers to award a one-off bonus to recognise and reward exceptional personal or team achievement. Detailed criteria are determined by local managers. Awards may be cash or vouchers but the amounts that can be awarded are modest because the total expenditure over the year is limited to 0.25 per cent. of the manager’s staffing budget.

All bonuses are non-consolidated and so they are not added into salary and are not pensionable.

Carbon Monoxide

Mr. Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will assess the merits of making carbon monoxide detectors compulsory for rented accommodation; [102072]

(2) what penalties may be imposed on landlords in cases where carbon monoxide poisoning has been caused by inadequately maintained heating equipment. [102029]


6 Dec 2006 : Column 522W

Mrs. McGuire: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) strongly recommends the use of approved, audible carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in all homes that use gas appliances. Such detectors should not be regarded as a substitute for competent maintenance and annual safety checks of gas equipment by a CORGI-registered installer. These primary safeguards are required by law in rented accommodation.

This recommendation, applying to all homes, was most recently publicised by the Chief Executive of HSE on 24 October 2006.

There is a range of penalties that the courts can impose if a landlord is guilty of an offence. Magistrates courts can impose a fine of up to £5,000 on summary conviction. The Crown Court can impose an unlimited fine. If death results from CO poisoning, the Crown Prosecution Service can decide to bring manslaughter charges for which life imprisonment is the maximum penalty.

City Strategy Partnerships

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the formula is for distributing the savings for his Department arising out of city strategy partnerships. [106955]

Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 4 December 2006]: Negotiations to develop ways to reward city strategy areas are ongoing.

Crisis Loans

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the processing time for crisis loan applications was in each region in each of the last 12 quarters for which figures are available. [102382]

Mr. Plaskitt: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Lesley Strathie:


6 Dec 2006 : Column 523W

6 Dec 2006 : Column 524W
Regional quarterly crisis loan average actual clearance times in days
2004 2005 2006
Quarter 2 Quarter 3 Quarter 4 Quarter 1 Quarter 2 Quarter 3 Quarter 4 Quarter 1 Quarter 2 Quarter 3

East Midlands

1.3

1.3

1.3

1.2

1.4

1.3

1.5

1.6

1.3

1.3

East of England

1.3

1.4

1.4

1.3

1.5

1.4

1.8

1.7

1.6

1.5

London

1.3

1.3

1.4

1.7

1.6

1.5

1.5

1.5

1.4

1.3

North East

1.1

1.2

1.2

1.1

1.2

1.1

1.5

1.3

1.3

1.3

North West

1.2

1.3

1.3

1.2

1.2

1.2

1.3

1.3

1.3

1.3

Scotland

1.2

1.3

1.4

1.4

1.3

1.3

1.3

1.3

1.4

1.3

South East

1.3

1.3

1.4

1.4

1.4

1.7

1.4

1.7

1.9

2.0

South West

1.3

1.2

1.3

1.2

1.2

1.4

1.3

1.3

1.3

1.4

Wales

1.3

1.4

1.5

1.5

1.4

1.3

1.4

1.7

2.0

1.4

West Midlands

1.2

1.2

1.1

1.2

1.2

1.1

1.2

1.3

1.2

1.7

Yorkshire and the Humber

1.3

1.2

1.3

1.3

1.2

1.4

1.3

1.4

1.3

1.4

National

1.3

1.3

1.3

1.4

1.3

1.4

1.4

1.4

1.4

1.4


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