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Mr. Bradshaw: The most recent objective report by the Central Science Laboratory, Rodent infestations in domestic properties in England 2001, was published in July 2005. The report was compiled from data collected during the 2001 English House Condition Survey (EHCS) and included comparisons with data from 1996. The report concluded that the rates for both mice and rats inside dwellings were similar for 1996 and 2001, while the rate for rats outside dwellings was higher in 2001.
Factors found in the report to be related to infestation levels included dwellings where pets or livestock were kept in the garden, the degree of unfitness of the dwelling, the size of the plot and the level of problems in the area (such as dereliction), vacant properties and unkempt gardens.
In January, the National Pest Technicians Association published its National Rodent Survey Report 2006 based on figures provided, voluntarily, by local authorities. The report suggested that the increase in reports and treatments of rat infestations by local authorities may be linked to a range of factors. These include charges by local authorities for pest control, treatment of local sewerage systems, overfeeding birds and an increase in fast-food related litter and fly-tipping.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which countries have been sent the Protecting WhalesA Global Responsibility document; which countries he consulted before publishing the document; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The DEFRA leaflet, Protecting WhalesA Global Responsibility, is a UK initiative designed to help recruit new anti-whaling countries to the International Whaling Commission (IWC). It has, therefore, been sent primarily to those member states of the European Union and other European countries which are not currently members of the IWC.
It was distributed to Government representatives attending the caucus of like-minded anti-whaling countries in Washington DC in January and will be distributed to all Foreign and Commonwealth Office posts in countries which are currently members of the IWC.
UK representatives of some (principally) Commonwealth pro-whaling countries were invited to the launch of the leaflet and those who attended were given copies and asked to draw its contents to the attention of relevant Ministers and officials in their home countries.
Hilary Armstrong: The Prime Ministers office forms part of the Cabinet Office. The Capability Review of the Cabinet Office was published in December of last year and is available on the Cabinet Office website. Copies have also been placed in the Library for the reference of Members.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what changes have been made to record keeping and minuting of meetings since the publication of the Butler Report; and if she will make a statement. 
The Government published their response to the conclusions of the Butler Report on 23 March 2006 Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction: Implementation of its Conclusions (Cm 6492). This made clear that the Cabinet Committee system provides the procedures by which issues that are of interest to more than one Department are properly discussed and that the views of all relevant Ministers are considered and that discussions are properly recorded and distributed to those who need to act on them.
Departments have access to advice on meetings and discussions that need to be minuted in the revised Guidance on Managing Private Office Records issued by the National Archives in June 2004. The Records Management Code was issued by the Lord Chancellor in 2002 under section 46 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, also provides a framework for managing records. Both the code and the guidance are available on the National Archives website at:
Mr. Heald: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the estimated total expenditure is by the Central Office of Information on public relations, marketing and advertising in 2006-07. 
Mr. Purchase: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the cost was to the public purse of the Committee on Standards in Public Life in the latest year for which figures are available. 
Hilary Armstrong: The cost of the Committee on Standards in Public Life for 2005-06 was £477,745. The next annual report will be published on 15 March 2007 and that will contain information for 2006-07.
Hilary Armstrong: It is not possible to readily identify from the Departments accounting system how much the Cabinet Office has spent on licensing fonts since 1997. This information is therefore available only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what use the Cabinet Office has made of (a) people retention companies and (b) the company Talent Drain in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which fixed assets her Department sold for £10,000 or less in (a) 2004-05 and (b) 2005-06; and what the (i) sale value, (ii) purchaser and (iii) date of sale was of each asset. 
Mr. Harper: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many civil servants in her Department are suspended on full pay and have been so for more than (a) one year and (b) five years. 
Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many items of furniture have been (a) lost and (b) stolen from her Department in each year since 1997; and what the value was of those items in each year. 
Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many vehicles belonging to her Department were (a) lost and (b) stolen in each year since 1997; and what the (i) make and model and (ii) value was of each vehicle. 
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps her Department (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to ensure that it and related bodies are in compliance with the gender equality duty in the Equality Act 2006 by the April 2007 deadline. 
Hilary Armstrong: The Cabinet Office has been taking action for a number of years to (a) end unlawful discrimination and harassment and (b) promote equality between women and men, among both its own employees and across the civil service. The Cabinet Office is currently consulting across the Department and we will publish a gender equality scheme by 30 April 2007. We are looking to produce it as part of a joint equality scheme, and we will ensure that it reflects all of the individual elements required of the gender, race and disability duties.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the answer of 31 January 2007, Official Report, column 383W, what the (a) set-up and (b) annual running cost is of making Directgov available via (i) Sky, (ii) Ntl, (iii) Telewest and (iv) mobile phone. 
Mr. McFadden: Directgov provides the main interface between the Government and the citizen. Its role was fully endorsed and emphasised by the Varney Review published in November 2006 and accepted by the Government.
As the main interface, Directgov services need to be provided to as wide a range of people as possible and it has, therefore, been made available through both mobile telephone and digital interactive television services.
This allows those citizens who do not have internet access, or the necessary ability to use the internet, to have access to this important gateway. The (a) set-up and (b) annual running costs are in the following table:
|Set-up costs||Annual running costs|
All Departments are encouraged to populate the Governments Information Asset Register, which lists
details of primarily unpublished information assets in a searchable form. The Information Asset Register can be searched at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/cgi-bin/scarchIAR.pl?DB=iar. On 7 February 2007 there were 292 records relating to databases and datasets.
Mr. McFadden: A list of the Cabinet Offices entries on the Information Asset Register can be accessed via the Office of Public Sector Informations inforoute website (http://www.opsi.gov.uk/iar/index.htm). Copies have also been placed in the Library for the reference of Members.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on how many occasions since May 1997 civil servants in (a) the Cabinet Office and (b) 10 Downing Street have been given permission to attend the Labour Party conference to carry out departmental business. 
Hilary Armstrong: Special advisers, who are temporary civil servants, can attend the annual party conference in accordance with their terms and conditions of employment. Permanent civil servants cannot attend the annual party conference in an official capacity except when their presence is required for carrying through essential departmental business unconnected with the conference. The number of occasions on which civil servants may have attended the annual party conference for the purposes of carrying out essential departmental business is not held and would involve disproportionate cost as it would involve reviewing the personnel files of all civil servants who have worked in the Cabinet Office and No. 10 Downing street since May 1997. As has been the case under successive Administrations, the Prime Minister is accompanied to party conference by the usual security and telecoms staff.
Hilary Armstrong: My special advisers are appointed under terms and conditions set out in the Model Contract for Special Advisers, a copy of which is in the Library. Individual letters of appointment are confidential between the employer and employee and therefore not for publication.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the answer of 26 January 2007, Official Report, column 2129W, on policy review working groups, when the Policy Review working groups on (a) Britain and the World, (b) Environment and Energy, (c) Public Services, (d) the Role of the State and (e) Crime and Security last met; and who attended each meeting. 
Mr. McFadden: Information relating to the policy review and the working groups within it is available on the Cabinet Office website and in the Library (http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/policy_review/index.asp). The policy review process will conclude in spring 2007. However, information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet Committees and policy review working groups, particularly when and how often they meet, is generally not disclosed as to do so could harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the answer of 26 January 2007, Official Report, column 2129W, on policy review working groups, how many full-time equivalent civil servants have been allocated to the policy review working groups. 
Mr. McFadden: A number of civil servants across Government Departments have been involved in work related to the policy review reflecting the high priority the Government attach to it. This work would include, for example, drafting papers and providing advice and secretariat support. The precise numbers involved at any one time vary according to the issues under consideration.
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