Robert Neill: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many branded plastic bags have been purchased by the House of Commons, and at what cost, in the last 24 months. 
Age requirements for appointment to the civil service are that appointees should have reached the age of 16 on or before the 1 July prior to the date of appointment and be less than 65 years of age at the date of appointment.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much was spent monitoring sex offenders in the community in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years for which figures are available. 
Paul Goggins: The information is not available in the form requested. The delivery of offender specific risk management plans, through the current multi-agency sex offender risk assessment and management (MASRAM) arrangements, makes varying demands on a number of agencies, such as police, prisons, probation, social services and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, which would be difficult to quantify for each individual agency. All agencies involved in the MASRAM arrangements are committed to providing whatever resources are considered necessary to deliver the appropriate risk management plan for each individual offender.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many plasma television screens have been purchased by his Department and its agencies, and at what cost, in the last 24 months. 
The majority of the costs have been in relation to specialist video conferencing televisions providing enhancements to the video conferencing facilities in the Northern Ireland Office. These costs are offset by the significant savings to the Northern Ireland Office generated through the use of video conferencing facilities, resulting in reduced travel and subsistence costs between Belfast and London and staff time savings. Plasma screens are also used to promote the latest departmental news and provide other information to staff and visitors at major departmental establishments within the Stormont estate and London.
The Solicitor-General: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the annex pertaining (in part) to the Law Officers Departments (D7) in Meeting the aspirations of the British people: the 2007 Pre-Budget Report and Comprehensive Spending Review (Cm 7227).
Value for Money Delivery Agreements in respect of all the Law Officers Departments (the Attorney-Generals Office, Her Majestys Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and Treasury Solicitor (one agreement); Crown Prosecution Service; Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office and Serious Fraud Office) can all be found at:
The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) spent £105,530 on bottled water for water coolers in 2006-07. This cost includes all aspects of the bottled water service such as sanitisation and the purchase of cups.
Her Majestys Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate does not routinely purchase bottled water. Staff in both its offices (in London and York) are provided with drinking water which draws on the main supply. There are occasions (e.g. training at outside events) where the supply of bottled water is integral to the provision of meals or hospitality. Such amounts are minimal (in the order of £50-£100 per annum) and cannot be quantified further.
Bottled water is not purchased by the Serious Fraud Office for office staff. Filtered and chilled water is in place for office staff to drink. £3,640 (+VAT) is spent annually on the maintenance contract for filtered water.
It is not possible to separate the cost of buying bottled water from the overall refreshment costs on those occasions when bottled water is bought for meetings without incurring disproportionate cost.
In financial year ending 31 March 2007 the Treasury Solicitors Department and the Attorney General's Office spent a total of £5,479.61 on the provision of water for water dispensers. Expenditure information on the occasional provision of bottled water is not separately available.
In theory all staff are eligible to work from home. However there will be some jobs and some people who are not suited to this arrangement. The manager will need to consider each case on its merits, taking account of
The business needs of the organisation
The security of the information.
No centralised record of home working is held in either organisation, with individual managers managing the working arrangement in their own area. There is thus no simple way of identifying accurately how many people have taken advantage of working from home in the last 12 months.
Remote access (where people can log on through the Government Secure Internet to personal files/directories, departmental intranet and departmental e-mail) is currently available to 118 people, via laptop, and this is fully subscribed.
The CPSs flexible working policy means that the opportunity to work from home on an occasional basis is available to permanent employees, when deemed appropriate by their line manager. To obtain precise figures for the number of people who have worked from home would incur disproportionate costs.
HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate does not employ any staff specifically on a home working basis. However, there is flexibility for staff by agreement with line managers to undertake appropriate duties from home where this is compatible with its business need.
Five employees of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) work at home on a on a permanent basis, owing to the geographical requirements of their roles. A survey of all SFO staff was carried out in 2007. Of those who returned the survey, 28 (11 per cent.) indicated they worked from home either under formal or informal arrangements. These have worked at home for varying lengths of time mainly through the use of a laptop computer. All members of the SFO can request to work from home.
David Simpson: To ask the Solicitor-General how many people over the age of 55 have been recruited by the (a) Attorney-Generals Office and (b) the Treasury Solicitors Department in each of the last three years. 
The Solicitor-General: Examination of the records held for the Attorney-Generals Office and Treasury Solicitors Department confirms that no person over the age of 55 was recruited by either organisation in 2004, 2005 or 2006. This accords with the table (placed in the Library) sourced from the 2004-06 Civil Service Statistics Mandate collection.
The Solicitor-General: Devolution issues in cases in Scotland are notified under the Scotland Act 1998 to the Advocate-General, rather than the Attorney-General. The Attorney-General has not been notified of any devolution issues in cases in England and Wales or Northern Ireland under the Scotland Act 1998 or of any devolution issues under the Government of Wales Act 2006. The last devolution issue notified to the Attorney-General under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 was in June 2007.
CPS central records only hold items that cost over the capitalisation threshold of £500 and it is possible that plasma television screen(s) have been purchased by CPS Area(s) at a lower cost. To obtain this information would incur disproportionate cost.
The Treasury Solicitors Department purchased two plasma television screens in each of the years 2005, 2006 and 2007, at a respective cost of £3,198 plus VAT (2005); £1,798 plus VAT (2006); and £3,302 plus VAT (2007).
Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Foreign Secretary and (b) the Welsh Assembly Government on educational, cultural and business links between Wales and (i) the People's Republic of China, (ii) India and (iii) the Republic of South Africa; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Paul Murphy: I have regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues and the Assembly Government on all issues affecting Wales. I will continue to work in partnership with the Welsh Assembly Government to promote Wales on the international stage.
The First Minister recently signed a Co-operation Agreement with Chongqing municipality while visiting China, further strengthening economic and cultural links between the two countries. The Deputy First Minister recently led a Trade Mission delegation to India in November last year, further enhancing the activities of International Business Wales in respect of inward investment, trade and the creative industries. I am also aware that South Africa continues to remain a strong trade partner for Wales, particularly in Welsh export destinations.
The Prime Minister recently visited both China and India in January this year, one of the main purposes of the visit being to build on the strong trade and investment links between Britain and the two countries.
Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, (b) Mencap Cymru and (c) the Shaw Trust on employment opportunities for young people with learning difficulties in Wales; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Paul Murphy: I have regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues and the voluntary sector on a range of issues including employment opportunities for young people with learning difficulties in Wales.
The vision of both the UK and Welsh Assembly Governments, and that of the voluntary sector, is one of full social inclusion, where social barriers are dismantled and everyone has access to the services they require to be able to lead fulfilled lives. The Government are fully aware that this can be achieved through closer partnership working and collaboration, not just within government, but also across the voluntary, private and public sector organisations including Mencap and the Shaw Trust.
Organisations like these and Learning Disability Wales, which the Assembly Government sponsor, play a key role in enabling children and young people with learning difficulties to realise their aspirations and skills including gaining opportunities towards employment.
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