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6 Oct 2008 : Column 352W—continued

Olympic Games 2012

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. [221864]

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.


6 Oct 2008 : Column 353W

Optimisa

Mrs. Lait: 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
6 Oct 2008 : Column 354W
the last 12 months; at what cost; and what contracts the firm has for ongoing research for her Department. [222621]

Mr. Khan: The Department has commissioned the following research from Andrew Irving Associates in the last 12 months:

£

2007

November

Fire safety for business—Holiday Accommodation Sector Quantitative Stage 1

12,000

December

Smoke Alarms Maintenance, awareness and attitudes

33,750

2008

January

Fire safety for business—Holiday Accommodation Sector Stage 1

24,000

March

Sustainable Homes Telephone Survey

18,000

March

Fire safety for business—Holiday Accommodation Sector Stage 2

12,000

June

Eco Towns public attitudes

5,000

July

Local government Petitions

6,300

September

Smoke Alarms Maintenance, awareness and attitudes

33,750


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.

Ordnance Survey

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether Ordnance Survey plans to use hectares as a unit of measurement. [223952]

Mr. Iain Wright: Ordnance Survey has used hectares in internal operations since circa 1945, and as a published unit of measurement since 1969.

Ordnance Survey: Databases

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what use Ordnance Survey makes of ACORN data from CACI Ltd. [222573]

Mr. Iain Wright: Ordnance Survey does not use ACORN data from CACI Ltd.

Parish Councils

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. [222587]

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 ombudsman’s oversight of parish council functions.

Parish Councils: Council Tax

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. [222881]

John Healey: Yes.

Parking: Fees and Charges

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) gross and (b) net income from parking for each local authority in England was in 1996-97. [223001]

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.

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the aggregate gross income from local authority parking services in England was in each year since 1996-97. [222879]

John Healey: Information on parking services by local authorities in England is published in Local Government Financial Statistics (LGFS) England.


6 Oct 2008 : Column 355W
Year of data LGFS issue (No/Year) Annex Table number

1997-98

10: 1999

A

Al

1998-99

11: 2000

A

Al

1999-2000

12: 2001

A

Al

2000-01

13: 2002

C

C1b

2001-02

14: 2003

C

C1b

2002-03

15: 2004

C

C1b

2003-04

16: 2005

C

C1b

2004-05

17: 2007

C

C1c

2005-06

17: 2007

C

C1d

2006-07

18: 2008

C

C1b


These publications are in the Library of the House and editions from LGFS No 11: 2000 are also available on the Communities and Local Government website at:

Partner Organisations

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. [221804]

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.

The draft prospectus anticipates around 20 organisations receiving funding. We will shortly publish a final prospectus inviting applications.

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding her Department will provide to partner organisations in (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10 and (c) 2010-11. [221805]

Mr. Khan: In relation to third sector partner organisations, an Empowerment Fund of £7.5 million will be made available to provide strategic, stable and sector funding over the next three years.

Personal Records: Fraud

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. [222810]

John Healey: Under provisions introduced by the Serious Crime Act 2007, the Audit Commission may, for the purpose of assisting in the prevention and detection of fraud, require:

to provide the Commission with such data as it may reasonably require for the purpose of conducting data matching exercises. This includes personal data.

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.


6 Oct 2008 : Column 356W

These new statutory powers extend the Audit Commission’s 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 Commission’s website at:

Planning

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. [222567]

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.

Planning Obligations

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. [216027]

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 State’s 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.

Planning: Appeals

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. [222591]


6 Oct 2008 : Column 357W

Mr. Iain Wright: Local Member Review Bodies are to be removed from the Bill following the submission of an amendment to this effect to the House of Lords at Committee Stage.

In her speech at the Second Reading of the Planning Bill in the other place, my hon. Friend Baroness Andrews said:

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. [222958]

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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