Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which external consultants were used by (a) her Department and (b) each of its agencies in relation to private finance initiatives in 2005-06; and what the (i) nature and (ii) cost of the work was in each case. 
Hilary Armstrong: For information on the cost of consultancies I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for North-East Hertfordshire (Mr. Heald) on 16 January 2007, Official Report, column 1063W. The more detailed information requested in respect of the numbers, names and nature of the consultancies is not separately identifiable on the Department's accounting system.
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster who her Department's national strategic partners are; how much funding has been allocated to each; and what the purpose is of each partnership. 
Edward Miliband: The Cabinet Office has 37 National Strategic Partners, all of which are currently funded by the Office of the Third Sector. These are all organisations or partnerships who have been selected in open competition to provide an effective voice for the third sector and to enable the sector to make a much more effective contribution to the development and delivery of policy in a wide range of areas. Full details are shown in the table.
|Organisation/group name||Total funding (aggregated) (£ million)||Financial years funding begins and ends|
Mrs. May: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what rules govern requests by hon. Members of the Cabinet Secretary to investigate the conduct of ministers in the light of the Ministerial Code; and what changes have been made to those rules since 1997. 
Hilary Armstrong: Section 1 of the Ministerial Code makes clear the role of the Cabinet Secretary in relation to the investigation of Ministers. The Ministerial Code was first issued in 1997. Updated versions were issued in 2001 and 2005.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much money from the public purse (a) her Department, (b) its agencies and (c) No. 10 Downing street gave to (i) the Smith Institute and (ii) its subsidiary, SI Events Limited, in each year since 1997; and for what purpose each payment was made. 
Hilary Armstrong: The total payments by the Cabinet Office to the Smith Institute and its subsidiary, SI Events Limited amount to less than £1,000. All payments made were in relation to the purchase of publications for official use.
The UK is spending £270 million over three years to support the Afghan Government's National Drug Control Strategy. DFID's main role in
an effective counter narcotics strategy is to promote alternative, legal livelihoods. We also provide policy advice to key ministries on how best to do this. Our Livelihoods Programme, worth nearly £150 million from 2006-09, helps support Afghan national priority programmes aimed at developing legal livelihood opportunities as alternatives to poppy farming. We seek to mainstream counter narcotics elements throughout our programme as appropriate.
DFID's support for the National Rural Access Programme (NRAP) is helping to build essential infrastructure such as irrigation schemes, roads and bridges. These provide much-needed infrastructure for economic development and jobs for Afghans at the same time. DFID gave £18 million to NRAP in 2005-06. The programme has already generated over 15 million days of labour, and nearly 9,500 km of roads have been built or repaired. Schools, health clinics and water schemes have also been constructed or repaired.
DFID is providing £17 million between 2006-09 to the National Solidarity Programme (NSP). This enables local communities to identify their own development needs through the setting up of elected Community Development Councils (CDCs). NSP has now established over 16,000 CDCs across Afghanistan, and funded over 22,000 projects in the areas of agriculture, education, health, irrigation, power supply, transport, and water supply.
Our support to the Micro-Finance Investment Support Facility of Afghanistan (MISFA) is helping Afghans to invest in income-generating activities and increase their savings. DFID is providing £20 million over three years (2006-09) to help provide small loans to the poor, who cannot otherwise get credit. So far, over £90 million of small loans has been given to over 230,000 Afghan families, tailors, shopkeepers, farmers and others to invest and increase their savings.
The UK is also contributing £30 million over three years to the UN-administered Counter Narcotics Trust Fund (CNTF) to help the Afghan Government implement various rural livelihood projects through their National Drug Control Strategy. DFID has recently agreed to provide £7 million over three years towards a World Bank programme to help farmers improve high value horticulture and livestock products in Afghanistan, with a focus on poppy growing areas.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 19 February 2007, Official Report, column 284W, on Afghanistan: overseas aid, whether (a) the original wells drilling programme commenced before a full water table assessment had been produced and (b) future well drilling programmes will be commenced before a further water table assessment is undertaken. 
DFID included a water table assessment in its programme design and originally sourced an Italian NGO to undertake this. However, it was not completed as the NGO in question decided to stop working in Afghanistan. As Helmand is a priority for both the Government of Afghanistan and the UK Government, it was decided to continue with the
drilling of wells, despite the absence of a water table assessment, because of the important benefits they can bring to the local population. We are in the advance stages of contracting DACCAR to perform an assessment and hope this will be done as soon as possible.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made in developing the Afghan civil service; and what assistance the UK has provided for this work. 
Hilary Benn: Afghanistan has made impressive progress in developing its civil service over the past five years. Successful reforms have been carried out in key ministries, including the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Reconstruction and Rural Development. Reforms have included the development of a sustainable public pay policy, recruitment of competent staff, and restructuring of ministries to make them more effective. Reform is also on track in other important ministries, including the Ministry of Education, which makes up half of the civil service.
DFID has made an important contribution to this, in particular through its £1.7 million contribution to the World Bank's Public Administration Programme. This supports the Afghan Civil Service Commission in implementing reform. A recent DFID evaluation found that good progress had been made towards the civil service reform benchmarks set out in the Afghanistan Compact: a sustainable and restructured public administration; a strengthened Civil Service Commission; and a transparent merit-based recruitment system. But challenges remain. The Civil Service Commission needs additional capacity, especially in the provinces. Merit-based recruitment systems need strengthening. And political will is needed to drive further reform through the ministries. DFID is working closely with the World Bank and Government of Afghanistan on longer-term support to address this.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|