Bob Spink: To ask the Leader of the House what guidance her Office follows on the maximum time taken to respond to hon. Members' correspondence; and what performance against that target was in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Helen Goodman: The Leader of the House of Commons' Office aims to respond to hon. Members' correspondence within 15 working days. During August 2007 this was achieved for 91 per cent. of MPs' and Peers' correspondence received. For the year 2006, the target was achieved for 95 per cent. of MPs' correspondence and 97 peers of Peers' correspondence.
Norman Baker: To ask the Leader of the House how many websites her Department operates; how many it operated at 1 January 2005; and what the estimated annual cost has been of running her Department's websites in the last five years. 
Helen Goodman: The Leader of the House of Commons Office operate one website and has done so since June 2003. From April 2006 until March 2007 the annual cost of running the website was £7,050. From April 2007 until October 2007 the cost has been £4,112,50. Following a Machinery of Government change, information prior to 2006-07 financial year is available only at disproportionate cost.
Norman Baker: To ask the Leader of the House how many fixed penalty tickets were incurred by vehicles within the purview of her Department in the last year for which figures are available; and what the total cost was. 
Norman Baker: To ask the Leader of the House how many staff are seconded to her Department from outside Government; from which outside body each has been seconded; and what the length is of each secondment. 
Helen Goodman: There are currently 20 members of staff who are seconded to the Cabinet Office from outside of Government. This figure includes five members of staff from the Houses of Parliament. The Houses of Parliament do not form part of the civil service. The following table lists (a) the outside body from which each has been seconded from and (b) length of each secondment:
|Outside body||Number of staff||Length of s econdment (Years)|
|(1) From start date to current date|
Mr. Harper: To ask the Leader of the House how many and what percentage of questions tabled for answer on a named day received a substantive answer on the day due in the last year for which figures are available, broken down by answering Department. 
Helen Goodman: Individual Departments are responsible for keeping their own records on the timeliness of answers and providing this information to the House when requested by the Public Administration Committee or through Members' questions. To provide this information centrally could be done only at disproportionate cost.
The last available figures of the Leader of the House of Commons Office relate to the 2005-06 session. These show that 100 per cent. of the 71 named day questions tabled were answered on the date specified.
5 July 2001 (implementation of the elements of the 2001 SSRB report relating to MPs' pensions):
Motion on Parliamentary Pensions (divisions on amendments moved by hon. Members for Bournemouth, West (Sir John Butterfill) and for Oxford, West and Abingdon (Dr. Harris)).
3 November 2004 (implementation of the elements of the 2004 SSRB report relating to MPs' pensions):
(1) Motion on Parliamentary Pensions (Contribution Rate);
(2) Motion on Parliamentary Pensions (Survivor Benefits and Early Retirement).
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Secretary of State is not aware of any recent representations for upgrading the A12 to motorway standard. Following the recommendations of the M25 to Ipswich multi-modal study in 2002, the Secretary of State asked the Highways Agency to carry out further appraisal for upgrading the A12 between the M25 and Colchester.
In July 2006 the Secretary of State accepted the advice of the East of Englands Regional Assembly on regional transport investment priorities, not to prioritise the A12 for funding in the period up to 2015-16. It will be for the Region to reconsider in the review of the Regional Funding Allocations due in 2008.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The A12 all purpose trunk road in Essex is a mixture of dual two and three lane carriageways of varying standard. There are no proposals to upgrade the A12 to motorway standard and consequently no assessment work has been undertaken. Hence no costs for upgrading the A12 to motorway standard are available.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what Government research has been undertaken into the independent mobility needs of (a) people with mental health problems, (b) partially sighted people, (c) people with severe learning and/or behavioural difficulties and (d) people with severe autism to determine their eligibility for a Blue Badge; 
(6) whether, where entitlement to a Blue Badge is linked to receipt of the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance, the period of issue is linked to that of receipt of the allowance; 
(8) whether Blue Badge applicants automatically entitled by their receipt of the higher rate mobility component of the disability living allowance are required to give explicit consent to the sharing of personal data under the Data Protection Act 1998. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Research into the mobility needs of certain disability groups who may not be eligible for the Blue Badge under the current eligibility criteria, was completed earlier this year. This included people with severe autism, mental health difficulties, learning and/or behavioural difficulties and people who are partially sighted. The findings were considered as part of the strategic review of the scheme, which reported to me in September and will contribute to the publication of a comprehensive Blue Badge reform strategy by April 2008.
All English authorities will be issued with revised guidance later this year. As responsibility for the scheme is devolved in the UK, the Administrations for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are producing their own guidance separately.
The Department for Transport recognises the need to promote greater consistency of assessment. This is a key theme which is being addressed through our
strategic review and forthcoming Blue Badge reform strategy. The revised local authority guidance, due for publication later this year, will also help to clarify the assessed eligibility process.
The medical assessment practice varies between different local authorities. We are committed to actively promoting good practice guidance in this area and are engaging with the Department of Health on this issue.
From 15 October 2007, certain badges are now linked to the receipt and issue period of both the higher rate mobility component of the disability living allowance and war pensioners mobility supplement.
Research into the feasibility of a national database was completed earlier this year. The findings were considered as part of the strategic review of the scheme, which will contribute to the publication of a comprehensive Blue Badge reform strategy by April 2008.
All local authorities have a duty to comply with the Data Protection Act 1988. The revised local authority guidance, due for publication later this year, will provide additional advice on this area and a model data protection statement for Blue Badge applicants to complete.
However, the Disability Discrimination (Transport Vehicles) Regulations 2005 [SI 2005/3190], which came into force on 4 December 2006, do cover hire vehicles (the definition of which is relevant to vehicles hired out by car hire companies).
The 2005 regulations effectively disapplied certain exemptions contained in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in respect of particular types of vehicle, including hire vehicles. As a result, car hire companies (like other vehicle-hire firms covered by the 2005 regulations) can no longer discriminate against disabled persons when providing vehicles.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many fixed penalty tickets were incurred by vehicles within the purview of her Department in the last year for which figures are available; and what the total cost was. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department for Transport and its agencies maintain the policy that road traffic violations such as parking tickets and speeding fines remain the responsibility of the individual, and are not reimbursed from public resources. Three of the Departments agencies record penalties incurred by their drivers on official business, and these amounted to a total of 17 in financial year 2006-07. No financial cost was incurred by the Department.
The exception to this is the Government Car and Despatch Agency which pays parking fines incurred
operationally in circumstances where the overriding security requirements of high profile passengers or secure or sensitive documents necessarily dictate the choice of parking location. 73 such fines were paid in financial year 2006-07, at a total cost of £5,898.02.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|