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19 Dec 2006 : Column 1820W—continued


Gender Equality

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps she is taking to ensure that private organisations contracted to work (a) in her Department and (b) for non-departmental public bodies and executive agenciesfor which her Department is responsible are aware of their duties under gender equality legislation when exercising public functions on behalf of public bodies. [101517]

Angela E. Smith: The discrimination provisions in the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 apply to both the public and private sectors. My Department has built gender equality considerations into their contracts with private sector contractors, where they are relevant to the function or service being carried out.

From 6 April 2007, private sector organisations, when carrying out functions of a public nature on behalf of public authorities, will be required to comply with the general gender equality duty which is to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and harassment and promote equality of opportunity between women and men.

The Department's non-departmental public bodies and executive agencies also ensure that their private sector contractors providing goods, works or services on our behalf, are aware of their obligations under the general gender equality duty and will refer to the Equal Opportunities Commission's (EOC) Code of Practice of the Gender Equality Duty and any further EOC guidance when available.

Home Information Packs

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what expenditure her Department has made on pump-priming funding for home information packs. [103846]

Yvette Cooper: £4 million has been pledged to support area trials.


19 Dec 2006 : Column 1821W

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the purpose was of the consultancy contracts held by her Department with (a) PA Consulting Group and (b) Xansa UK Ltd. in relation to home information packs. [103881]

Yvette Cooper: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Hammersmith and Fulham (Mr. Hands) on 16 October 2006, Official Report, column 1025W.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many home inspectors are undertaking training at each assessment centre; and what the contact details of each assessment centre are. [104025]

Yvette Cooper: The number of candidates registered with each assessment centre ranges from nil for those who have not yet begun to offer training, to in excess of 1,000 for centres who are major providers. However this information is commercially sensitive and is supplied voluntarily on that basis to my Department in order to enable us to track total numbers in training. Because of this, it would not be appropriate to provide the information split by individual centre.

The contact details of assessment centres who are approved to offer the Diploma in Home Inspection, as drawn up by the Awarding Body for the Built Environment (ABBE) is shown on the ABBE website at http://www.abbeqa.co.uk/centres.asp, this list, together with their contact details is updated as new centres are approved.

Housing Stock Transfers

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local authorities have carried out housing stock transfers since 1997; and what surveys have been conducted on the satisfaction of tenants involved in such housing stock transfers. [110118]


19 Dec 2006 : Column 1822W

Yvette Cooper: 121 authorities have transferred some or all of their housing stock to Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) since 1997. The Housing Corporation (HC) requires RSLs to carry out a tenants satisfaction survey every three years and the results are included in the information supplied within RSLs’ annual Regulatory and Statistical Returns made to the HC. The following table shows the number of surveys of general needs tenants carried out by Large Scale Voluntary Transfer RSLs in the last three years.

RSL tenant surveys between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2006, following LSVTs
Number Percentage

Did conduct a survey

125

89.9

Did not conduct a survey

14

10.1

Total

139

100.0


A number of organisations including Housemark and the National Housing Federation also carry out tenant satisfaction surveys from time to time.

Local Government

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what criteria will be used to judge applications for unitary council status. [108424]

Mr. Woolas: Proposals for future unitary structures will be judged against the criteria set out in our document, “Invitations to Councils in England: to make proposals for future unitary structures; to pioneer, as pathfinders, new two-tier models” which we published alongside the White Paper.

Local Government Finance

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what balances are held by (a) Norfolk county council and (b) Norfolk district councils; and what balances were held in each of the last five years. [110107]

Mr. Woolas: The information requested is shown in the following tables.

Schools financial reserves at 1 April
£000
Norfolk county council Breckland Broadland Great Yarmouth Kings Lynn and West Norfolk North Norfolk Norwich South Norfolk

2001

12,667

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2002

15,094

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2003

17,117

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2004

17,347

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2005

29,042

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2006(1)

25,519

0

0

0

0

0

0

0



19 Dec 2006 : Column 1823W

19 Dec 2006 : Column 1824W
Other earmarked financial reserves at 1 April
£000
Norfolk county council Breckland Broadland Great Yarmouth Kings Lynn and West Norfolk North Norfolk Norwich South Norfolk

2001

14,944

3,933

2,022

567

10,255

2,738

4,303

3,280

2002

15,617

4,074

2,165

602

10,313

2,979

4,785

4,122

2003

16,428

4,719

2,041

652

12,323

2,975

6,168

2,916

2004

21,552

6,221

2,045

695

13,744

3,229

3,924

2,400

2005

46,904

7,527

1,676

726

11,383

2,244

4,679

2,095

2006(1)

54,575

7,871

1,708

753

9,275

1,520

3,949

2,138


Unallocated financial reserves at 1 April
£000
Norfolk county council Breckland Broadland Great Yarmouth Kings Lynn and West Norfolk North Norfolk Norwich South Norfolk

2001

7,703

2,370

2,083

0

881

1,052

5,413

1,280

2002

7,006

2,918

1,965

0

975

1,068

5,997

868

2003

5,743

2,969

1,487

2,943

1,169

1,183

5,541

1,460

2004

12,136

3,619

1,081

2,212

1,037

1,179

4,181

1,131

2005

14,946

3,810

2,659

1,189

1,177

965

3,087

2,046

2006(1)

10,495

3,789

4,105

1,085

1,537

1,000

1,947

1,999


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