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Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many full-time equivalent members of staff in (a) her Department and (b) its associated public bodies are working on projects relating to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games; how many of them are working on (i) project management, (ii) legacy planning, (iii) project oversight and (iv) financial oversight; and what plans she has for future staffing levels in each case. 
Mr. Iain Wright: For Communities and Local Government, there are in total 6.6 full-time equivalent staff working on the Olympics programme within the central department. Within the Housing Corporation, English Partnerships and the London Thames Gateway Delivery Corporation, work on London 2012 Olympics issues is carried out as they arise in the course of normal business. None of the posts due to be transferred from the Thames Gateway Executive to the Homes and Communities Agency work full time on this programme.
Within the figure of 6.6 full-time equivalents for Communities and Local Government, 1.5 full-time equivalent staff work on project management; two full-time equivalent staff work on legacy planning; one full-time equivalent works on project oversight and one full-time equivalent works on financial oversight. The additional 1.1 full-time equivalent comprises administrative staff (1) and a risk management consultant (0.1). There are no immediate plans for a change in staffing levels but future staffing levels will be kept under review.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what research her Department has commissioned from Andrew Irving Associates or its parent company Optimisa in
the last 12 months; at what cost; and what contracts the firm has for ongoing research for her Department. 
There is a further stage of Smoke Alarm Maintenance research due to take place in October/November 2008. Beyond this, the Department has no contracts for ongoing research with Andrew Irving Associates.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she has issued on the role of the Local Government Ombudsman in oversight of the functions of parish councils; and if she will make a statement. 
John Healey: The local government ombudsman has no remit in relation to parish councils, and we have not issued any guidance about the local government ombudsmans oversight of parish council functions.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 25 June 2008, Official Report, column 350W, on parish councils: council tax, whether her Department plans to estimate the average Band D parish council precept for 2008-09 in due course. 
John Healey: I have placed in the Library of the House a table showing the requested information on the gross and net income on parking services by each local authority in England in 1996-97. Aggregate 1996-97 information for England is published in Local Government Financial Statistics No. 9: 1998 and the information is drawn from the Communities and Local Government Revenue Outturn (RO) returns.
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Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many applications to become partner organisations her Department has received in the last 12 months; and how many such applications have been accepted. 
Mr. Khan: Assuming this is in reference to the previously proposed Strategic Partners programme, the Department received 215 applications. The decision not to proceed with the proposed programme meant that none of the applications were accepted.
My Department has consulted on a £7.5 million Empowerment Fund, the objective of which is to support a limited number of third sector organisations to achieve their goals, where the achievement of goals aligns with the objectives of the Communities in control: real people, real power White Paper.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what personal information the Audit Commission will be entitled to access as part of the National Fraud Initiative. 
(a) any body subject to audit or English best value authority, and
(b) any officer or member of such a body,
If the Commission thinks it appropriate to conduct a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention or detection of fraud using data held by other bodies (including personal data), the data may be disclosed to the Commission or a person acting on its behalf.
These new statutory powers extend the Audit Commissions National Fraud Initiative and build on the results it has achieved to date. The 2006-07 exercise reported that a record £140 million in fraud and overpayment has been detected. This brings the total for NFI to around £450 million in fraud and overpayments since it started in 1996 and represents a 26 per cent. increase from £111 million detected in 2004-05.
Details of the personal data used in the National Fraud Initiative are published in advance of every exercise, and the data specification for the forthcoming exercise commencing in October this year can be found on the Commissions website at:
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the new edition of planning guidance PPS6 will be a draft version; and what the timetable is for publication and consultation. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Our Proposed Changes to Planning Policy Statement 6: Planning for town centres were published on 10 July 2008. The proposals are in draft for consultation. The consultation period closed on 3 October 2008. A summary of consultation responses will be published by January 2009.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the appropriateness of using section 106 powers to levy an across-the-board planning obligation monetary charge on all household extensions. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Local planning authorities can tailor planning obligation policies to meet their local needs and circumstances within the framework of national planning policy (Circular 05/05). Local planning authorities must take the Secretary of States policy into account and have reasons for departing from it.
The Government have recently announced new planning regulations affecting householder extensions through revisions to the General Permitted Development Order. This means that from 1 October 2008 the majority of homeowners no longer need to apply for planning permission when extending their existing homes.
As such, the use of section 106 powers to levy an across-the-board planning obligation monetary charge on all household extensions will not be possible, as most extensions will no longer require planning permission.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress has been made on the introduction of local member review bodies to replace planning appeals by the Planning Inspectorate. 
Part 9 also contains provision to set up local member review bodies to determine certain planning appeals instead of the Secretary of State as now. We have listened carefully to stakeholder views on this provision and concluded that, while it may bring some benefit, it risks distracting local authorities, particularly at a time when there is an urgent need for them to focus on strategic plans and issues. We therefore intend to drop this provision at Committee stage. (15 July 2008, Official Report, Second Reading debate, column 1164).
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley of 24 June 2008, Official Report, column 265W, on licensing laws, how many of the planning appeals concluded with the application for the premises (a) being refused and (b) being granted in whole or in part. 
Mr. Iain Wright: During the 12 month period 1 June 2007 to 31 May 2008 the inspectorate considered 182 planning appeals in respect of public houses and wine bars. Of these 109 were dismissed and 73 were allowed, either whole or in part. Of the appeals allowed 57 were generally concerned with ancillary works to existing premises or their environs, 10 related to an extension in licensing hours and six to a change of use to form a public house or wine bar.
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