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Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the policy is of (a) his Department, (b) non-departmental public bodies reporting to his Department and (c) executive agencies reporting to his Department on the time after which emails sent to and from the Department and those bodies are deleted; whether such emails are still recoverable after that date from the system; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: DEFRAs policy is that significant emails (i.e. those containing information about DEFRA decisions or actions which should form part of the official record) are printed for file or saved and stored corporately in accordance with departmental record management procedures that also apply to paper information. DEFRAs guidance on email management emphasises the importance of capturing all significant email messages but staff are encouraged to delete other emails, such as those relating to meeting arrangements and routine messages, as soon as possible. Deleted emails are recoverable for nine weeks after deletion.
DEFRAs main Agencies/NDPBs follow broadly similar policies though the Environment Agency has implemented a system to delete any email which has not been saved after 180 days and the period during which backups are retained varies between organisations.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many complaints to an employment tribunal were lodged against (a) his Department and (b) its associated (i) agencies and (ii) non-departmental public bodies in each of the last five years; and how much it cost his Department to defend and settle those complaints on aggregate in each year. 
Barry Gardiner: The number of complaints to an employment tribunal that were lodged against (a) the core Department and (b) its agencies and the cost of settling these complaints in the last five years is shown in the following table. The Department has no information on the number of complaints submitted to non-departmental public bodies or on the cost of defending complaints.
|Number of complaints|
|(1 )Includes settlement of one claim submitted on behalf of 44 temporary veterinary inspectors which was settled for £300,000|
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which non-departmental public bodies under his Department have changed their (a) name and (b) branding since 1997; what changes were made in each case; at what cost to the Exchequer in each case; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: I am only able to report on changes which have been made since the formation of my Department in 2001. The non-departmental public bodies which have incurred expenditure through name change and re-branding over this period were Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Natural England was established in October 2006 when it took over the functions, staff and assets of English Nature; the landscape access and recreation division of the Countryside Agency; and part of the Rural Delivery Service. Natural England does not have information available about changes of name or branding within their legacy bodies prior to that time. The re-branding by Natural England has cost the Exchequer £385,000 for brand materials, website changes, new signs, stationery, publications and launch events.
In 2004, the Environment Agency reviewed its approach to communications and its brand. The work involving research, development, testing and launch was carried out by a mix of in-house teams, brand consultants and a design firm. Costs up to the launch of the re-brand were £120,000. However, it was agreed that communications materials were only replaced when existing stocks became exhausted or when a contract was due for renewal. No additional moneyother than for a short guide to the brand for Environment Agency staffhas been spent launching the brand.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of his letter sent to employees at age 65 informing them of the opportunity to continue working if they wish. 
Barry Gardiner: The hon. Member will wish to be aware that a letter is sent to employees before their 60th birthday rather than at age 65. The letter sets out the options for employees working beyond 60. The Secretary of State has placed this letter in the Defra library.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department has taken to raise awareness of the dangers of identity fraud among employees at his Department. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 28 March 2007]: As part of a recent review of fraud policy the department acknowledged identity fraud as a potential risk. The review led to a number of steps during 2006 to raise general awareness of fraud, including publishing revised guidance on fraud on the DEFRA internal anti fraud website and publishing a number of articles in the in-house magazine.
Specific parts of the department will also take action as appropriate. For instance, the Rural Payments Agency has an anti fraud unitThe Counter Fraud and Compliance Unitwhich actively counters identity fraud for claimants and is responsible for considering all referrals relating to suspected fraud involving external customers and agents.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the reasons are for the proposed changes in the budget for the (a) Veterinary Laboratories Agency, (b) State Veterinary Service, (c) Meat and Livestock Commission and (d) Pesticides Safety Directorate; and what assessment he has made of the likely effect of those changes on the (i) safety, (ii) research and (iii) investigative work of each. 
Barry Gardiner: The Veterinary Laboratories Agency's (VLA) budget for 2007-08 has remained static. The only area this is likely to impact on is research and it is more likely that it will result in delays in commencing work rather than work actually being cut.
The State Veterinary Service (SVS) 2007-08 budget has been reviewed to reflect Defra's wider business needs and also to reflect changes in the SVS's business needs. The budget changes have been reviewed for their impact on the SVS's capacity and capability to deliver, ensuring that disease risks are not increased. In particular, the changes to the SVS budget will not affect safety or the efficacy of investigative work. The SVS does not undertake research.
The Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) expenditure is not a matter for my Department. We pay the MLC to carry out certain functions and cuts are planned in some of these work areas. These are not related to the MLC's safety, research or investigative work.
With regards to the Pesticides Safety Directorate, the savings were focused on lower priority activities and
were achieved by improving efficiency and also reducing support service costs. The primary aim throughout has been to protect key services and ensure they continue to be delivered to appropriate standards. The savings put in place will, therefore, have no impact on pesticides safety which is the Directorate's top priority. Some research projects, particularly on the behaviour of pesticides in the environment, will have to be postponed. There should be no significant impact on investigative and surveillance work, particularly since efficiency gains from new technology have allowed the number of samples tested within the key pesticide residues surveillance programme to be maintained at lower costs.
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent on (a) involuntary and (b) voluntary staff exit schemes in (i) his Department and (ii) each agency of the Department in each year since 1997-98; how much is planned to be spent for 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: Expenditure on involuntary and voluntary staff exits in Defra and its agencies since the creation of Defra in 2001 is set out in the following tables. The figures are based on the full estimated cost, including estimated monthly compensation payments up to normal retirement age, of each exit taking place in the stated financial year.
|(a) Expenditure 2001-02 to 2005-06 (all exits voluntary)|
|(b) Estimated expenditure 2006-07 and 2007-08|
|Voluntary exits( 1)||Involuntary exits( 1)|
|(1) Estimate. (2) To be confirmed.|
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