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Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reason Best Value Performance Indicator 9, on council tax collection rates, is not included in the National Indicator set. 
John Healey: The national indicators have been derived from public service agreements (PSAs) and the Departments' strategic objectives (DSOs) and agreed across Government through the 2007 comprehensive spending review. The set provides clarity about the balance between national and local priorities. There are many services and activities undertaken by local government, alone or in partnership, which are not directly reflected in the set but which will continue to be important to local areas and the people they serve as well as to business. Data on CT collection rates is also collected, and will continue to be collected, through final quarterly return of council taxes and non-domestic rates (QRC4) returns submitted by all billing authorities in England.
Mr. Dhanda: I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban) on 3 September 2007, Official Report, columns 1648-49W and to the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mrs. Lait) on 15 October 2007, Official Report, columns 843-44W.
Mr. Dhanda: Since 1999 the Government have published a list of all overseas travel by Cabinet Ministers costing over £500. Information for the last financial year was published on 25 July 2007. Details for the current financial year will be published as soon as possible after the end of the financial year. From next year, the list will include details of overseas visits undertaken by all Ministers. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many square metres of (a) total and (b) vacant space is recorded on the Electronic Property Information Mapping Service database for (i) her Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Dhanda: The total amount of space recorded on the Electronic Property Information Mapping Service (EPIMS) database for Communities and Local Government is 79,659 m(2). This figure includes approximately 10,000 m(2) of non-office space. The vacant space recorded is 289 m(2).
|Total m( 2)||Vacant space|
|(1 )This includes non-office space.|
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many air miles were travelled by Ministers in her Department in each year since 2000; and what estimate she has made of the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced as a result; 
(2) how many miles she and other Ministers in her Department travelled on short haul flights in the last 12 months; and what estimate she has made of the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced as a result of these flights. 
Mr. Dhanda: Since 1999 the Government have published, a list of all overseas travel by Cabinet Ministers costing over £500. Information for the last financial year was published on 25 July 2007. Details for the current financial year will be published as soon as possible after the end of the financial year. From next year, the list will include details of overseas visits undertaken by all Ministers. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code.
All central Government ministerial and official air travel has been offset from 1 April 2006. Departmental aviation emissions are calculated on an annual basis and subsequently offset through payments to a central fund. The fund purchases certified emissions reductions credits from energy efficiency and renewable energy projects with sustainable development benefits, located in developing countries.
In addition, offsetting the flights of Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, and the Prime Minister has been backdated to 1 April 2005.
Mr. Dhanda: Communities publish invitations to tender on the procurement portal of its own website. The Department also uses the websites of the Office of Government Commerce Buying Solutions, the Official Journal of the Europe Union and Supply2.gov.uk. Where appropriate Communities also publish invitations to tender in relevant trade journals.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many confirmed security breaches of databases controlled by her Department occurred in each of the last five years; whether the breach resulted from internal or external sources in each case; how many records were compromised on each occasion; and what estimate was made of the total number of records accessible to the individuals concerned. 
Mr. Dhanda: No confirmed breaches of personal data security in Communities and Local Government or its predecessor Department the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister have been brought to our attention over the past five years. There has been correspondence with members of the public who claim that we have disclosed their personal data without their knowledge or consent, but in all cases we have been able to confirm that such disclosure was in order to pursue their complaints/inquiries, and so not in contravention of the data protection legislation.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was spent by her Department (a) in total and (b) on staff costs on promoting equality and diversity in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and how many people are employed by her Department for this purpose.  [Official Report, 18 February 2008, Vol. 472, c. 1MC.]
In July 2007, the EDU transferred to the Race Equality Unit taking seven posts, a pay budget of £319,000 and a non-pay budget of £16,000. The newly formed Race Equality and Diversity Division has a forecast outturn in 2007-2008 of £1,951,549 pay costs (average 34.8 FTE posts) and £989,202 non-pay costs. Due to machinery of Government changes it is difficult for the Department to provide more detail.
One HEO maintained the workforce equalities taskforce at a cost of £21,286, from July 2006 until the creation of the workforce equalities team in October 2006. These units were established to mainstream equality and diversity within Communities. The workforce equalities team now comprises two HEOs, one full-time and one working 32 hours per week. The Grade 7 team leader post is currently vacant, but assuming the post is filled on a full-time basis the costs for the team would total £74,559 annually.
The workforce equalities team has an annual allocation of £20,000, of which £8,000 is allocated to the Department's various staff networks. This leaves £12,000 to be spent directly on mainstreaming equality and diversity within Communities.
Like other Government Departments and as part of its commitment to ensuring good practice, Communities also pays for membership of various organisations for benchmarking purposes (e.g. Stonewall, Employers Forum on Disability) costing approximately £13,100 annually.
Hazel Blears: The latest statistics on the number of men and women by grade in The Department for Communities and local Government are published by The Office for National Statistics in their publication 2006 Civil Service Statistics. Table H of the publication presents permanent employees by Department, responsibility level, ethnic origin and gender.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff work in her Departments parliamentary branch; and what proportion of their time is spent on dealing with (a) Parliamentary Questions and (b) correspondence from hon. Members and Peers. 
Mr. Dhanda: Five staff work in the Departments parliamentary branch and approximately 50 per cent. of their time is spent on dealing with parliamentary questions. The branch is not responsible for dealing with correspondence from hon. Members and peers.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of her Department's staff are employed within each salary band; what the title and role of each position within each salary band is; and for each salary band what the (a) bonus structure, (b) retirement provision, (c) expenses provision, (d) total expenses incurred in each of the last 10 years, (e) average age of employee, (f) number of (i) women and (ii) men and (g) ethnic composition is. 
|Salary band||Number of staff (full-time equivalent)||Proportion of staff (Percentage)|
SCS pay arrangements are not delegated to Departments but set within a framework prescribed by the Cabinet Office. In line with Cabinet Office guidance, annual bonuses primarily reward delivery of agreed personal business objectives or targets. The bonuses are not pensionable or consolidated into basic salary.
Staff below the SCS receiving an overall exceeded marking in their performance reports receive a one-off lump sum that is not pensionable or consolidated into basic salary. For the 2005-06 pay award the amounts varied from £350 to £1,200.
Staff below the SCS are also eligible to receive a special bonus to reward exceptional performance over a limited period in particularly demanding tasks or situations. Although awards are paid on an individual basis, line managers are able to make a number of awards to reward exceptional team efforta team award. Awards can be made at any time of the year and, ideally, should be paid as soon as possible after completion of the tasks to which they relate. These bonuses are not consolidated into basic salary or pensionable. Awards may be of any value up to a normal maximum of £600. The award of any sum greater than £600 is considered only very exceptionally.
There are five different civil service pension schemes in operation at all levels in Communities and Local Government at this time: classic, classic plus, nuvos, partnership and premium schemes. The pension scheme rules are determined by the Cabinet Office. Full information on the aforementioned schemes can be obtained from the civil service pensions website:
In addition to the aforementioned schemes, civil servants including those who are not able to join one of the above schemes, may also contribute to a Stakeholder pension with Standard Life, subject to eligibility. The civil service does not make any contributions to this scheme but contributions by individuals may be made through payroll.
(a) expenses when they travel on official business within the UK away from their normal workplace;
(b) expenses when they travel on official business overseas;
(c) certain expenses that might be payable, if the employee is offered and agrees to a permanent transfer at public expense;
(d) certain expenses that might be payable if the employee agrees to work away from the normal workplace on detached duty; and
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