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Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what provision is made when setting council tax banding for dwellings located within estates where services are funded directly by residents rather than the local authority; and if she will make a statement. 
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she has given to local authorities on the eligibility of part-time students to pay council tax; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: Council Tax Practice Note No. 2Liability, Discounts and Exemptions published in 1993 by then Department of the Environment, provided guidance to local authorities on who qualified as a student for the purposes of a council tax discount disregard or exemption. Further guidance on council tax and students has been provided to local authorities by the Department of the Environment and its successors through council tax implementation and information letters dated 15 October 1992, 4 December 1992, 13 March 1995. 13 November 1996, 27 November 2003 and 5 October 2004.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the level of the fine is that may be deployed against local residents who do not fill in a questionnaire sent by the Valuation Office Agency asking for information on the property attributes of their residence. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has issued to local authorities on the probity of payments from councillors allowances to political parties or political groups being paid via local authority payroll arrangements. 
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff in her Department are based in or allocated to regional activities; and what the salary costs of those staff were in the last financial year. 
Angela E. Smith: Communities and Local Government had 950 (Full-Time Equivalent 910) out of a total 2,799 (Full-Time Equivalent 2,681) staff based in the nine Government Offices for the Regions at the end of the last financial year 2005-06. Communities and Local Government's share of these 2,799 staffs costs was broadly pro-rata to its 34 per cent. staff numbers, but that element could be separated from its overall Government Office Administration resource contribution of £138,741,000(1) only at disproportionate cost.
In addition, a number of staff in the Department's HQ contribute to work aimed at delivering the Government's regional objectives. These include those working on regional resilience, on the regional economic performance public service agreement target, on broader cities and regions policy, in planning and housing strategy and on the development of Communities England. They also include the staff of the Regional Co-ordination Unit, which provides central services to all ten Departments operating through the Government Office network.
Again, it is not possible to disaggregate the specifically regional elements of these staffs activities, but the Department's Annual Report 2006 sets out in detail the resources allocated to different work streams.
The Departments publications, where printed, use paper material of no less than 75 per cent. post-consumer waste. Any printed publications to be destroyed by the Departments storage contractors are sent for pulping and recycling into new products.
Angela E. Smith: The salary for the Director of Communications falls in line with other major Departments of State, within pay band 2 of the senior civil service pay range, details of which are published on www.civilservice.gov.uk
The names of all directors in the Department are published on the Departments website at www.communities.gov.uk
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will list the former hon. Members who left Parliament in 2005 who have since been appointed to public bodies by her Department, broken down by party; and who was responsible for making each appointment. 
Angela E. Smith: Information about the political activity of appointees is recorded and publicised in accordance with the independent Commissioner for Public Appointments' Code of Practice. This shows that no former hon. Members who left Parliament in 2005 have since been appointed to public bodies sponsored by the Department for Communities and Local Government, which was established in May 2006. Those appointed by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister are as follows:
Minister for Housing and Planning.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what public funding her Department has provided to the Media Planet Group for (a) advertorials and (b) supplements in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) press, (b) information, (c) communications and (d) marketing staff are employed by her Department. 
Mr. Woolas: As the Secretary of State announced to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Equalities on 20 March, the proposals emerging from the Discrimination Law Review will be published for public consultation in May.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consultation her Department has undertaken on the regionalisation of fire control centres with (a) the police and (b) the ambulance service. 
Angela E. Smith: The Department consulted widely on proposals to establish a network of Regional Control Centres in 2003, before the project was initiated. The FiReControl project remains in touch with developments within the other emergency services and is a member of the 999/112 Liaison Committee, which includes representatives of the police, ambulance services and the coastguard.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what advice her Department has issued to fire authorities on co-responding following the decision by the Court of Appeal in March 2007. 
Angela E. Smith: No advice about co-responding has been given to Fire and Rescue Authorities since the Court of Appeal decision. The court case was about whether co-responding formed part of firefighters contracted duties. Firefighters terms and conditions are a matter for the employers.
We fully support co-responding schemes in principle, given their potential to save lives, and would wish to see all Fire and Rescue Authorities working in partnership with their local Ambulance Service NHS Trusts to introduce such schemes locally if that is appropriate. But decisions on whether to introduce or maintain co-responding schemes are for each Fire and Rescue Authority to make, subject to local needs and resources.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance has been issued to fire (a) authorities and (b) services relating to the installation of CCTV in fire engines. 
A section on the provision of CCTV on fire appliances has been included in the recently published Fire and Rescue Service Circular, 14/2007 (issued 15 March 2007) Tackling Violence at Work: Good Practice Guidance Document for Fire and Rescue Services The extract from this document that relates to CCTV provides evidence that CCTV reduces attacks on crews and appliances. The guidance points out that the use of CCTV cameras comes under the scope of
the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) and the Data Protection Act 1988 (DPA).
The circular outlines the importance of CCTV in providing continuity of evidence needed to meet the requirements of The Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE), to support the principles of prevent and deter and can provide evidence to catch and convict perpetrators. The circular recommended that authorities should consider the use of CCTV in support of staff that may be exposed to violence at work in identified areas of high risk (Ref 7.1.3).
Reference to the provision of CCTV on fire appliances has also been made in the Pumping Appliance Output Based Specification and Compliance Statement that forms part of the Firebuy Tender framework agreements for pumping appliances, which stated that a CCTV system with 360 vision and a record facility should be offered as part of any tender.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects (a) each regional fire control centre to open and (b) staff to migrate to each centre; and what the rental costs are expected to be for each centre in the final year of operation. 
Angela E. Smith: The dates when each FRA control room functions are expected to cut over to the new regional control centre are set out in the following table. The table also gives the annual rent for each RCC building. Prior to cut-over, each RCC building will be equipped with IT infrastructure that will provide the call handling and mobilisation functionality. The RCCs will also be used for staff training and by the regional project management team.
|FRA||Control room function cut-over to RCC||Annual lease per annum for RCC (£)|
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