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12 Dec 2006 : Column 946Wcontinued
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much her Department spent on statistics relating to the work of her Department in each of the last five years. 
Vera Baird: There is no definition of the term statistics relating to the work of the Department and no centrally held information on either the volume or costs of statistics published each year on this basis.
Estimates for the annual costs of National Statistics are contained in the relevant National Statistics annual report and accounts, which are available on the National Statistics website at:
Copies are also available in the Library for the reference of Members.
The last year these were produced was 2004-05.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether local authorities will be compensated for the new burdens introduced under the Electoral Administration Act 2006. 
Bridget Prentice: Local authorities in England and Wales have already been provided with funding for the new burdens introduced under the Electoral Administration Act, and more is planned.
A total of £19.9 million has been transferred to English local authorities in 2006-07, and £1.2 million will be transferred to the National Assembly for Wales. The same sum will be transferred in 2007-08. Additionally, the following funding will be made available:
Up to £12.2 million for the new postal vote identifier arrangements, spread over 2006-07 and 2007-08. The exact sum will depend on the number of people on absent voter lists on 1 January 2007 and on postal voting volumes on 3 May 2007;
£650,000 for barcode scanning equipment in 2007; and
Up to £2.5 million per year, starting in 2007-08, for the electoral participation fund, which was established by the Act.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the timetable is for representatives from her Department to meet the delegation from the Council of Europe to discuss election fraud. 
Bridget Prentice: No meeting has been requested.
We will, of course, be happy to meet the delegation, to explain the changes we have made to the system of postal voting.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs who the members of the Freedom of Information Users Group are; and what the declared political affiliation is of each member. 
Vera Baird: Members of the Information Rights User Group are as follows:
Ian Readhead, Deputy Chief Constable of Hampshire
Peter Bottomley MP
Lord Lester of Herne Hill
Professor Robert Hazell
Austin Mitchell MP
Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner (observer)
Lord Lester is a Liberal Democrat Peer. Paul Bettison is Leader of Bracknell Forest borough council (Conservative), Peter Bottomley is a Conservative MP and Austin Mitchell is a Labour MP.
Information about the political affiliations of the other members is not held. The membership has been drawn solely on the ability of the group to assist Government in ensuring that public authorities are responsive to the needs of the users of both the Freedom of Information and Data Protection Acts and the Environmental Information Regulations. Political affiliation was not used as a criterion for the selection of the user group members.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will make a statement on the proposed EU development of legislation amending Regulation (EC) 1348/2000 on the service of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters; and what its legal base is. 
Bridget Prentice: Regulation 1348/2000 provides procedures for serving legal documents issued in one European Union member state to someone in another member state. After reporting on the application of the regulation the European Commission issued a proposal to amend the regulation in July 2005. The Government have welcomed this proposal, which will improve procedures including encouraging increased speed of service and introducing transparency of costs. The legal base is Article 65 of the Treaty establishing the European Community.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what factors will be considered when evaluating value for money in assessing applications for (a) election pilots and (b) e-voting pilots for the May 2007 local elections. 
Bridget Prentice: Predicted expenditure or savings by the authorities will be taken into account in the selection of pilots for 2007.
Although pilots are likely to cost more per vote to implement compared to traditional voting methods, value for money derives from what any pilot provides in terms of lessons learnt which inform how elections can be modernised and administrated more efficiently in the future. The maximisation of that learning against the actual moneys spent is what underpins value-for-money considerations for any pilot or series of pilots.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many cars run by her Department were manufactured (a) in the UK and (b) abroad. 
Ms Harman: My Department does not hold a central record of how many of the cars run by the Department were manufactured in the UK or abroad. Such information could be provided only at disproportionate cost. My Department also uses cars operated by the Government Car and Despatch Agency. Information on cars operated by the Government Car and Despatch Agency is available on page 14 of its annual report and accounts 2005-06, copies of which are available in the Library for the reference of Members.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to the answer of 27 November 2006, Official Report, column 344W, on postal votes, whether her Department plans to invite local authorities to apply to pilot all-postal voting methods in future elections. 
Bridget Prentice: The Department has no current plans to invite local authorities to apply to pilot all-postal voting methods in elections.
Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs which staff in her Department (a) are seconded from organisations with charitable status and (b) have (i) costs and (ii) salaries met (A) in part and (B) in whole (1) from public funds and (2) by the charity from which they are seconded. 
Vera Baird: There is currently no business or other requirement for the DCA to collate this information. Basic information on secondments is recorded on the HR system, but it does not identify whether organisations are charitable or the associated funding arrangements. At present one individual is on secondment to the Department, and inquiries have shown that the organisation he is seconded from does not have charitable status.
This excludes magistrates staff, as HR systems holding these data were unavailable owing to systems development activity.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department spent on consultant fees in each year since 2001; how much he estimates will be spent on such fees in each year to 2010; how many contracts have been extended beyond the time period specified in the original contract; and what the length of the extension was in each case. 
Mr. Hanson: The NI Departments and the Northern Ireland Office have spent the following on consultancy fees for the period 2002-03 to 2005-06:
Information in respect of 2001-02 is not available on a consistent basis and is unlikely to be ascertained even at disproportionate cost.
The estimated committed expenditure for the period 2006-07 to 2009-10 is as follows:
|Estimated expenditure (£ million)|
These estimates reflect current planned expenditure including commitments of ongoing projects, Central Initiatives and Reforms, Review of Public Administration and Water Reform. The estimates for the later years are limited and additional expenditure is likely to be required as new policy issues arise. It is anticipated that ongoing expenditure will be broadly in
line with that of previous years with an easing off on the 2006-07 position when the major reform initiatives are completed.
Fifty-nine contracts have been identified as having been extended beyond the time frame specified in the original contract, and the length of the extension in each case is detailed as follows:
|Duration of extension||Number of contracts|
|(1) One still ongoing.|
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