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21 Apr 2008 : Column 1394Wcontinued
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many working days were lost by her Department due to stress-related illness in each of the last 24 months. 
Mr. Dhanda: The numbers of days recorded as lost to stress-related illness in each month are presented in the following table. The information is available in the required format for the last 18 months only. The figures exclude our Executive Agencies and Communities staff working in the Government Office network for which information is not collected centrally. The figures refer to sickness absence where the primary cause is recorded as stress, tension.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many days sick leave were taken on average by staff in her Department in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Dhanda: The following table shows the average working days lost (AWDL) per staff year for the Department and its predecessor the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The figures have been previously published by Cabinet Office in their series of reports Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service. During this period reporting shifted from a calendar year to a financial year basis, and most recently to a rolling 12 month basis whereby figures for the past 12 months are produced on a quarterly basis. The table makes clear the distinction.
|Basis||Department||AWDL per staff year|
Calendar years run from January to December. Financial years run from April to March.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many of her Department's staff took more than (a) five, (b) 10, (c) 15, (d) 20, (e) 25, (f) 30, (g) 35 and (h) 40 days leave due to stress in each of the last five years, broken down by pay grade. 
Mr. Dhanda: The following table provides the requested information in respect of the 12 months to 31 December 2007. Our records prior to this do not allow for disaggregation into the requested format. The figures exclude our executive agencies and Communities staff working in the Government office network for which information is not collected centrally. The figures refer to sickness absence where the primary cause is recorded as stress, tension.
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what (a) 0800, (b) 0845 and (c) 0870 telephone numbers for the public are in use by (i) her Department and (ii) agencies which report to her Department. 
Mr. Dhanda: Communities and Local Government and its agencies has one non-geographical telephone number to provide information to homeowners in relation to energy performance certificates (0845 365 2468). A third party manages this service on behalf of the Department. The Department does not derive any revenue from this service.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will set a target to increase the use of video-conferencing by her Department to reduce the need to travel to meetings. 
Mr. Dhanda: Communities and Local Government's travel policy stipulates that business must be settled by telephone or video-conferencing before staff consider travelling. The Department's Sustainable Operations Policy also requires staff to consider the most sustainable option for conducting business, and to use the tele- or video-conferencing systems provided wherever practical instead of travelling. We will be concentrating on increasing the usage of the existing systems in the coming year as a key approach to meeting the Department's new air travel reduction target.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many hours (a) in total and (b) on average per employee were worked by civil servants in her Department in the last year for which records are available. 
Mr. Dhanda: In the financial year 2006-07 we estimate that 3,670,000 hours were worked by civil servants in Communities and Local Government. This equates to 1,300 hours per employee. It should be noted that many staff will not have been in post for the duration of the year, or did not work on a full-time basis, or both.
The estimates are derived from the information on available staff years published by Cabinet Office in their report Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which Government Department is the lead body for the development of the Digital National Framework. 
Mr. Dhanda: The activities of the Digital National Framework (www.dnf.org) are agreed by an Expert Group formed of officials representing local and central Government, non-Department Government bodies and the private sector. Their aim is to promote linkages across national and local datasets, which have a geographic component, to support the sharing of information about a common location. The majority of their resource comes from in kind contributions of individual members, supplemented by limited financial sponsorship to cover promotional activities and some technical documentation. Therefore there is no single body taking the lead of the Digital National Framework.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make it her policy to seek the abolition of the East of England Regional Assembly. 
Mr. Dhanda: On 31 March 2008 the Government published Prosperous Places: Taking forward the Review of Sub National Economic Development and Regeneration. This confirms that regional assemblies will not continue in their current form and seeks views on reforms that would streamline the regional tier.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether carbon offsets will be included in calculations to determine whether an eco-town (a) is carbon neutral and (b) has zero-carbon status. 
Caroline Flint: As we set out in the consultation document Eco-townsLiving a greener future, published on 3 April, eco-towns should use innovative design and a range of low and zero carbon energy sources to reduce the demands on energy in the home and other buildings.
At the scale of 5-20,000 homes, eco-towns have the critical mass necessary to trial and develop new or existing technologies to achieve zero carbon across the whole development. Zero carbon means that over a year, the net carbon emissions from all energy use within the buildings on the development are zero.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will consider including heat grids and biomass-based tri-generation systems in evaluating the bids for eco-towns. 
Caroline Flint: We are currently consulting on the potential locations for eco-towns and the broader objectives and benefits of these new settlements. The consultation document, Eco-townsLiving a greener future, was published on 3 April and sets out some innovative approaches that bidders are proposing for more sustainable living. We want to encourage these, and this might include heat grids and biomass-based tri-generation systems.
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