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20 Mar 2008 : Column 1301W—continued

Departmental Labour Turnover

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many civil servants have voluntarily ceased employment, excluding redundancies, with the Prime Minister’s Office in each month since May 1998. [189104]

Mr. Watson: The Prime Minister’s Office is an integral part of the Cabinet Office.

The following table shows the number of staff that have voluntarily ceased employment with the Cabinet Office in each financial year since 1998-99.

Total leavers( 1)

1998-99

206

1999-2000

275

2000-01

329

2001-02

410

2002-03

487

2003-04

403

2004-05

372

2005-06

414

2006-07

411

(1) Excluding transfers due to machinery of government changes

Figures on total leavers include staff who have retired or resigned from the civil service, staff who have completed a fixed term appointment or a period of loan to the Cabinet Office or staff who have transferred permanently to another Government Department.

Discrimination

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many claims for discrimination, based on (a) sex, (b) race and (c) sexual orientation, were brought by members of his Department and settled (i) in and (ii) out of court in each of the last five years. [194974]

Mr. Watson: The Cabinet Office has had fewer than five claims for discrimination based on sex, race and sexual orientation in the last five years. Exact numbers cannot be provided to protect the confidentiality of individual(s) involved.


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Government Departments: Data Protection

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on how many occasions since February 2004 Government senior information risk owners have identified areas where data held by Departments may become compromised. [186118]

Mr. Watson: Departments are responsible for their own data security measures in accordance with security policy as laid out in the Manual of Protective Security.

There is no obligation for Departments’ senior risk information owner’s to report the detail of potential compromises to the Cabinet Office.

Government Departments: ICT

Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the objectives are of the Government Gateway Strategic Support programme. [191046]

Mr. Watson: The Government Gateway provides secure logon to Government services for nearly 13 million citizens and businesses and the secure handling of over 4.5 million transactions in 2007. The purpose of the Strategic Support programme was to contract for the next generation of IT managed services to support the continued growth and success of the Gateway. The procurement completed in September 2006 with the award of a five-year contract to Atos Origin.

Media Monitoring Unit: Manpower and Costs

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) how much the Media Monitoring Unit cost in each of the last five years; [178948]

(2) how many (a) civil servants, (b) special advisers and (c) other staff worked in the Media Monitoring Unit in each of the last five years. [178949]

Mr. Watson: The costs and staffing levels of the Media Monitoring Unit (MMU) are shown in the following table:

Cost (£) Permanent staff (FTE) Other staff (FTE)

2002-03

715,925

n/a

5

2003-04

1,068,714

12

5

2004-05

1,065,382

13

5

2005-06

1,108,216

13

5

2006-07

1,277,441

14

5


No special advisers are employed by the MMU. However, a No. 10 special adviser did work for some of the time alongside the MMU until 2006-07.

Staffing levels and costs reflect the fact that the MMU is operational for 24 hours a day.

Staff numbers for 2002-03 are not available, because there was no analysis of staff numbers by management unit at that time.


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Official Residences: Repairs and Maintenance

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the cost to the public purse was of project silent night over the lifetime of the project. [193175]

Mr. Watson [holding answer 10 March 2008]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the then Prime Minister, the right hon. Tony Blair, to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 24 July 2002, Official Report, columns 1368-69W.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the budget for works associated with Crown proposal 08/00696/1884 made under the Circular 1884 Procedure is; and on what date such works are expected to be completed. [193177]

Mr. Watson [holding answer 10 March 2008]: Costs incurred on refurbishments and improvements to No. 10 Downing street will be available only when the Department’s resource accounts are fully audited and laid before Parliament.

The Government are legally required to maintain the Downing Street complex to standards appropriate to its Grade 1/2 listed status in consultation with English Heritage. In addition to providing office accommodation the building also fulfils an important representational role. No significant refurbishment works have been undertaken at the Downing street complex since the large scale rebuilding works that took place between 1960 and 1963. As a result much of the infrastructure now needs to be renewed or upgraded. It has therefore been recommended that essential improvements are undertaken through ongoing annual maintenance works.

Public Participation: Incentives

Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the answer of 5 December 2007, Official Report, column 1344W, on public participation: incentives, (1) what criteria were used to select the public participants in the deliberative forum on the draft legislative programme; [174873]

(2) in what manner the forum was advertised to the general public; [174880]

(3) which opinion polling organisations attended the event; [174876]

(4) who the speakers at the forum were. [174877]

Mr. Watson: The deliberative event on the draft legislative programme was organised by Ipsos MORI. The speakers at the forum were the Leader of the House of Commons and the organisers, who managed the recruitment process for people to attend and selected a group of people from all walks of life to be reflective of the population. The event was not advertised to the general public. No additional opinion polling organisations attended the event.

Public Service: Voluntary Organisations

Mr. Bone: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on the Government's policy on commissioning public services from voluntary organisations. [195091]


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Phil Hope: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 19 March 2008, Official Report, column 907, to the hon. Member for Copeland (Mr. Reed) by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Television Screens

Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the Answer of 4 March 2008, Official Report, column 2485W, on television, how many plasma television screens have been purchased in the last 24 months by (a) Downing Street and (b) the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. [195577]

Mr. Watson: The information requested is as follows: (a) Downing street purchased one plasma television screen and (b) the strategy unit purchased none.

Defence

Armed Forces: Housing

Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the amount of money needed to bring all armed forces accommodation up to Grade 4 standard and above under Grade for Change classification. [168380]

Derek Twigg: All service families accommodation (SFA) and single living accommodation (SLA) is assessed by Grade for Charge (GfC), which is an assessment of the physical condition of the accommodation and other factors such as size and closeness to amenities. In addition all SFA (excluding that in Germany) is also assessed by Standard for Condition (SfC), which results in the categorisation of the housing stock taking account of a number of factors including standards of health and safety, sanitary, energy and efficiency. There are standards within four SfCs and GfCs, 1 being the highest and 4 the lowest respectively.

Although no estimate has been made of the cost of bringing all accommodation up to each GfC, I can confirm that over the next decade, the Department will spend over £ 3 billion on upgrading and improving service accommodation, with priority given to addressing the lowest standard accommodation first. This includes the delivery of some further 30,000 new or improved SLA bed-spaces to G1fC standard by 2013 and the upgrading of a minimum of 600 SFA properties to S1fC this year, 600 next year and 800 in each year thereafter.

Defence Equipment and Support

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made on phase four of the merger to establish Defence Equipment and Support; how the merger plans have changed since they were first made; and what representations on the merger he has received from external stakeholders. [195104]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Phase four of the merger identified how to optimise DE and S following its establishment in April 2007. As intended, its recently published business strategy (2008-2012) and blueprint
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set out the strategic direction and priorities for DE and S and how it will look and operate by around 2012. Both documents are available via the MOD website at:

DE and S is now developing detailed plans to deliver the blueprint under a single coherent change programme called PACE—Performance, Agility, Confidence and Efficiency, which is aimed at delivering increased effectiveness in support to the armed forces.

A range of stakeholders across the Department and in industry have been consulted in taking these plans forward.

Defence Equipment and Support: Training

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes have been made to training programmes for his Department's staff to reflect the establishment of Defence Equipment and Support. [195103]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The upskilling element of the Defence Acquisition Change Programme was introduced last year to improve the Department's ability to acquire military capability by upskilling staff across the acquisition community, predominantly DE and S. It has developed a series of new blended learning which comprises a mix of e-learning and classroom courses which are focused primarily on training for civilian and military staff across the acquisition community.

Defence Procurement Agency: Standards

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has he made of the Defence Procurement Agency's capacity to meet its targets for 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. [195106]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Defence Procurement Agency ceased to exist on 31 March 2007. Defence Equipment and Support (DE and S) was officially launched on 2 April 2007 bringing together the former Defence Logistics Organisation and the Defence Procurement Agency.

During its first year DE and S has been developing and testing an appropriate performance management regime with targets not externally reported. The exception is the Departmental Public Service Agreement Target For Equipment Procurement to which DE and S contributes and which will be published in the MOD Delivery Report.

Departmental Computers

Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's policy is on turning off computers (a) at the end of each work day and (b) at weekends; what the policy is for Sea King integrated project team employees at Sherborne, Dorset; and if he will make a statement. [193504]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The current policy applied may vary dependant on the particular computer system employed at any given location, and the local security
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operating procedures (SyOps) that will also apply. The ongoing migration to the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) system will bring about a common policy requiring a workstation which is to be left unattended for a prolonged period of time, and in particular if it is to be left overnight or out of normal operating hours, to be logged off and powered down. It will however need to be left connected to the mains power supply so that software upgrades can be carried out remotely and automatically over the network during quiet hours.

The Sea King IPT currently operates on the Equipment Air Support Network which requires users to undertake shutdown and restart at the end of each working day, thereby leaving computers powered on so that software upgrades can be carried out at any time.

Iraq: Detainees

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 31 January 2008, Official Report, column 524W, on Iraq: detainees, what the Government's policy is on the recording of information about individuals detained by UK forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. [194649]

Des Browne [holding answer 18 March 2008]: We maintain sufficient information on individuals during their time in our detention to enable the necessary monitoring and administration over that period and also to enable us to meet our reporting obligations to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether recordings have been made of interviews conducted with individuals captured by British forces during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan; what his policy is on making such recordings; and if he will make a statement. [194678]

Des Browne [holding answer 18 March 2008]: It is our general policy that in both Iraq and Afghanistan, written or video records are kept of interviews with individuals held in detention by UK forces.

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Government has received any assurances from the US authorities regarding the treatment of detainees captured by UK forces in Iraq or Afghanistan and subsequently transferred into US custody. [194706]

Des Browne [holding answer 18 March 2008]: I will write to the hon. Member and will place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.


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