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7 July 2008 : Column 1318W—continued


Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Carbon Sequestration

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he expects to begin the public consultation on carbon capture readiness. [215276]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 30 June 2008]: On 30 June, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform announced the launch of the consultation ‘Toward Carbon Capture and Storage’. The consultation, which runs till 22 September, seeks views from a wide range of stakeholders on the regulation of carbon storage, what carbon capture ready means and how it might be implemented and various other aspects of the EU's draft directive on the geological storage of carbon dioxide. The document can be found at:

Departmental Aviation

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many domestic air flights were undertaken within mainland Britain by representatives of (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in the most recent year for which figures are available; and at what cost. [211005]

Mr. Thomas: In 2007-08 the number of domestic flights and costs for such flights was:

All travel is undertaken in accordance with the civil service management code and the ministerial code.

Letter from Gareth Jones:

Letter from Stephen Speed:


7 July 2008 : Column 1319W

Departmental Billing

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether any central government construction clients have been penalised for not adopting the Office of Government Commerce Fair Payment Charter’s commitment to payment periods not exceeding 30 days since 1 January 2008. [215862]

Angela Eagle: I have been asked to reply.

No central Government construction clients have been penalised since 1 January 2008. OGC continues to work constructively both with clients and construction industry trade bodies to assist the implementation of the Fair Payment initiative by all members of project delivery teams.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to how many projects the Office of Government Commerce’s Fair Payment Charter will be applied in 2008. [215864]

Angela Eagle: I have been asked to reply.

The principles of the Fair Payment Charter are required to be applied to all central Government construction projects over £1 million since January 2008.

The precise number of projects affected will depend on the number of projects initiated by individual departments in line with their business priorities for the year. As an indication departmental data on time/cost performance during 2006-07 indicated approximately 180 projects.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what penalties will be imposed on central government construction clients which do not adopt the Office of Government Commerce Fair Payment Charter’s commitment to end withholding of retentions. [215865]

Angela Eagle: I have been asked to reply.

The Fair Payment Charter commits both clients and supply chains working for Government to end the practice of unjustifiably withholding payments.

Retentions may continue to be used by Government clients where they are considered appropriate but such arrangements can only be replicated throughout the supply chain on the same contract terms. Any withholding of payment due to defects or non-delivery must be proportionate and justified in line with arrangements made at the time of the contract.

Departmental Buildings

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on which buildings occupied by his Department’s agencies and non-departmental public bodies the lease will be due for renewal in the next four years. [214696]

Mr. Thomas: I have approached the chief executives of the Insolvency Service and Companies house and they will respond to you directly.

Information requested for non-departmental public bodies is not held centrally and to obtain such information would lead to disproportionate costs.


7 July 2008 : Column 1320W

Departmental Consultants

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much his Department spent on consultancy fees in each of the last five years. [215379]

Mr. Thomas [holding answer 1 July 2008]: Central records indicate that the Department has spent the following on consultancy in each of the last five years.

£ million

2004-05

86

2005-06

53.6

2006-07

40.3

2007-08

26

2008-09

(1)1

(1) To date.

Departmental Home Working

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many staff in his Department are authorised to work from home. [212532]

Mr. Thomas: Arrangements to work at home on a permanent or ad hoc basis are agreed locally between staff members and line managers. An exact number can therefore be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Department supports flexible working and has a home working policy setting out guidance for staff and line managers on agreeing and maintaining home working arrangements. A range of flexible computing options are available to facilitate home working across the Department. At present approximately 1,800 staff in the Department have access to flexible computing technology.

Departmental Manpower

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many and what proportion of his Department's employees are (a) male, (b) female, (c) from an ethnic minority, (d) disabled and (e) not heterosexual; and if he will make a statement. [208406]

Mr. Thomas: The information requested is as follows.

Staff in post including UKTI and OME

Number Percentage

Male

3,031

55

Female

1,364

45

Ethnic minority

377

12

Notified disabled

240

8

Not heterosexual(1)

112

6

(1 )Source: Departmental Staff Survey November 2007. Source: Departmental HR Record system April 2008.

Departmental Pay

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many and what proportion of staff in his Department received bonus payments in each of the last five years; what the total amount of bonuses paid has been; what the largest single payment was in each year; and if he will make a statement. [213287]


7 July 2008 : Column 1321W

Mr. Thomas: The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform awards non-consolidated bonuses in two formats:


7 July 2008 : Column 1322W

Based on the information available the number of staff receiving these awards, as a proportion of the total work force they represent, total amount of bonuses and the size of the single largest payment for which this information can be provided is in the following table.

Special bonuses Performance awards
Financial year Number of staff receiving Proportion of the work force receiving (percentage) Total value (£) Number of staff receiving Proportion of the work force receiving (percentage) Total value (£) Largest single payment of bonuses (£)

2007-08(1)

1,238

36

693,386

1,065

31

(2)2,265,502

16,500

2006-07

919

20

491,669

1,286

29

2,532,180

15,000

2005-06

1,237

27

521, 902

1,257

28

1,808,630

8,000

2004-05

1,261

26

498,592

1,274

26

1,563,180

8,000

2003-04

1,458

29

572,149

1,269

26

1,505,328

6,000

(1) Financial year running from 1 April to 31 March.
(2) Includes staff who were transferred from DTI to DIUS as part of the June 2007 Machinery of Government Changes as these staff received a DTI/BERR pay award in 2007. Does not include those staff transferred into BERR from Cabinet Office and the Department for Communities and Local Government as part of the June 2007 Machinery of Government Changes as these staff received Cabinet Office and DCLG pay awards respectively in 2007.
Notes:
1. In 2007-08 the total value of bonuses paid was approximately 1.5 per cent. of the total Department's paybill.
2. The special bonuses and performance awards for non-SCS staff are paid on a non-consolidated, non-pensionable basis and do not increase the Department's paybill costs each year. For the SCS the Senior Salaries Review Body determines the level of expenditure to cover bonuses.

Departmental Press

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much was spent by his Department on subscriptions for magazines, newspapers and other publications in each of the last 24 months. [215203]

Mr. Thomas: Within the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform the costs of all publication-related expenditure is captured against one account code. The cost of identifying subscriptions for magazines, newspapers and other publications would therefore be above the disproportionate cost threshold (£700). I can confirm that all such expenditure is incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on regularity and propriety.

Departmental Secondment

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what procedures his Department uses to ensure equal opportunities in relation to staff secondments to the Department. [214697]

Mr. Thomas: BERR encourages secondment as an effective method of developing individuals and sharing knowledge and experience with other organisations. A secondee to the Department is a person who works in BERR for an agreed temporary period with the intention of returning to their employer at the end. A secondment in the Department does not affect the employment status of a secondee.

Selection of a secondee into the Department is based on merit. In all cases a secondee will be the person most capable of effectively undertaking the duties of the position they have been recruited for. When there is competition for a role, the most capable person is selected in line with good practice in recruitment and selection.

BERR is an equal opportunity employer and all secondees are subject to the Department’s Equal Opportunities Policies. Secondees will have access to an e-learning diversity awareness training which becomes available to all BERR staff summer this year. This follows the diversity awareness training for key leaders which was delivered the end of 2007 to senior civil servants and some middle managers in the Department.


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