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13 Nov 2008 : Column 1361W—continued

Departmental ICT

Paul Holmes: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many (a) memory sticks, (b) laptop computers, (c) desktop computers, (d) hard drives and (e) mobile telephones were (i) lost by and (ii) stolen from his Department in each year since its inception. [234092]

Mr. McFadden: A breakdown of the lost or stolen items as reported is provided in the following table.


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2008 2007

Mobile phones

Stolen

0

0

Lost

2

1

Laptops

Stolen

3

8

Lost

0

0

Desktops

0

0

Hard Drives

0

0

Memory Sticks

0

0


Departmental Information Officers

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform which organisations provided media monitoring services to (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) the non-departmental public bodies it sponsors in each of the last three years; and what the cost of each such contract was. [230224]

Mr. McFadden: The information requested is in the following table.

BERR central monitoring costs
£000

2005-06 2006-07 2007-08

Media Monitoring Unit Cabinet Office

63

60

72

Press Cuttings—Durrants

244

275

234

Total

307

335

306


The chief executives of the Insolvency Service and Companies House will respond to the hon. Member directly.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many full-time equivalent press officers (a) work and (b) provide assistance for his Department. [231504]

Mr. McFadden: There are 13 full-time equivalent press officers that work in the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and seven full-time equivalent press officers in UK Trade and Investment.

Departmental Marketing

David Simpson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the cost-effectiveness of Government-commissioned advertising in the last 12 months relating to matters falling within the remit of his Department. [226515]

Mr. McFadden: The Department commissioned the following advertising in the financial year to March 2008 via the Central Office of Information:

The cost-effectiveness of the advertising was assessed by the number of responses, for example, cost-per-click in the case of online advertising, potential audience size as calculated by press circulation and the discount on advertising rates achieved by COI against standard rate
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card costs. Post-campaign tracking research was used to assess the effectiveness of the National Minimum Wage and Employing People campaigns by testing a sample audience’s recall of the advertisement as part of the overall campaigns.

Effective evaluation of campaign advertising is standard practice in Government communications.

Departmental Older Workers

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many people recruited by his Department in 2007-08 were aged over (a) 55 years and (b) 60 years; and what percentage this represented of the number of new recruits in each case. [235237]

Mr. McFadden: The number of people that were recruited into BERR from its creation in June 2007 to 24 October 2008:

These numbers represent people recruited through open competition, transfers from OGD’s (other Government Departments), Secondments, Loans and Machinery of Government changes.

The percentage that represents people recruited through open competition from the numbers above are:

Energy Supply: Meters

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department is taking to ensure those who use prepayment meters are not disadvantaged. [224274]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 17 September 2008]: I have been asked to reply.

We announced in Budget 2008 that the then Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform was prepared to use his statutory powers with a view to reducing the differential between prepayment and other forms of payment for both gas and electricity.

Ofgem is currently investigating tariff differentials as part of its probe into the energy market. It is due to announce its findings in early October.

If Ofgem's analysis does show that prepayment meter customers are suffering disadvantage then we will in the first instance expect Ofgem and the energy suppliers to provide the solution. If sufficient progress is not made by this winter 2008-09, the Secretary of State is prepared to consult on legislation, with a view to reducing unjustified tariff differentials.

Flexible Working

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform with reference to the judgment of the European Court of Justice in case C-303/06, what plans he has to issue new guidance to employers on the rights of carers to demand flexible working; and if he will make a statement. [221779]


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Mr. McFadden: Carers of adults, together with parents of children under six and parents of disabled children under 18, already have the right to request flexible working. Employers must give serious consideration to their request but can decline it if necessary on specified business grounds. In considering a request for flexible working, as in other matters, employers must also avoid unlawful discrimination. The judgment in the European Court of Justice Case C-303/06 (Coleman v. Attridge Law), which concerns discrimination against an employee on grounds of her child's disability, does not provide a right to demand flexible working.

Inspections

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many inspectors were employed by his Department in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 1997-98. [228092]

Mr. McFadden: There were 12 Employment Agency Standards (EAS) Inspectors employed in BERR in 2007-08 and this number has since been increased to 24. In September 2007 at the TUC Conference, John Hutton (then Secretary of State) announced a doubling of the number of inspectors (to 24). The new inspectors joined BERR in July 2008.

There were six EAS inspectors employed in BERR in 1997-98.

Plain English

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many documents produced by his Department were submitted to the Plain English Campaign for approval for Crystal Mark status in each year since 2005; and how many documents achieved such status in each year. [230499]

Mr. McFadden: One document produced by the Department has received a Crystal Mark since 2005: the Small Business Service document ‘Tendering for public contracts’, in October 2006. We have no record of whether there were other documents submitted for Crystal Mark status during this period.

Mr. Scott: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much has been spent by his Department on Plain English Campaign training courses for its staff in each year since 2005. [230615]

Mr. McFadden: BERR has not provided any centrally funded Plain English Campaign training courses for staff.

Plain English may form part of other communications training courses arranged by directorates but this information is not monitored centrally. To identify training individuals have received as part of their job specific development would be a disproportionate cost.

Philip Davies: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many documents produced by his Department and its predecessor were submitted to the Plain English Campaign
13 Nov 2008 : Column 1365W
for approval for Crystal Mark status in each year since 2005; and how many documents achieved such status in each year. [231108]

Mr. McFadden: One document produced by the Department has received a Crystal Mark since 2005: the Small Business Service document ‘Tendering for public contracts’, in October 2006. We have no record of whether there were other documents submitted for Crystal Mark status during this period.

Post Offices: Closures

Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the effect on local communities of the closure of Francis Street and Walnut Street post offices in Leicester South constituency. [234685]

Mr. McFadden: In developing its proposals and reaching its final decisions on post office closures under the Network Change programme, Post Office Ltd. is required to comply with the access criteria set by Government, to take account of geographical factors, including distance to alternative outlets, and to consider a range of socio-economic factors including availability of public transport, local demographics and the impact on local economies. I understand that over 92 per cent. of the population covered by the Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland area plan have seen no change to the post office they used as a result of the Network Change programme.

Post Offices: Marketing

Mr. Harper: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what restrictions there are on the ability of individual Post Office branches to market to the public the services they provide. [234061]

Mr. McFadden [holding answer 10 November 2008]: This is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd. (POL). I have therefore asked Alan Cook, managing director of POL, to reply direct to the hon. Member.

Copies of the letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Postal Services

Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many post boxes there are in (a) Leicester South constituency and (b) the City of Leicester; and how many there were in 1998. [234687]


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Mr. McFadden: This is an operational matter for Royal Mail. I have therefore asked Adam Crozier, Chief Executive of Royal Mail, to reply direct to my hon. Friend.

Copies of the letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Public Holidays

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) what recent representations he has received on increasing the number of bank holidays; [227730]

(2) what recent representations his Department has received suggesting the creation of new bank holidays. [229385]

Mr. McFadden: The Government regularly receives representations requesting additional bank holidays for a variety of reasons. The pattern of bank holidays is well established and accepted but we keep all of these suggestions under consideration.

Regional Development Agencies: Finance

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much was spent on (a) external consultants and (b) private contractors by (i) the North West Regional Development Agency, (ii) One North East, (iii) Yorkshire Forward, (iv) Advantage West Midlands, (v) the East Midlands Development Agency, (vi) the East of England Development Agency, (vii) the South West of England Development Agency, (viii) the South East of England Regional Development Agency and (ix) the London Development Agency in each financial year since their creation; and if he will make a statement. [226756]

Mr. McFadden: The RDAs retain records of the last six years. To provide records before this period will incur disproportionate costs. The following tables show RDA figures for 2002-03 to 2007-08.

Expenditure on private contractors is defined as goods and/or services procured from sources excluding universities, public bodies, the third sector and also private sector organisations created and employed specifically to deliver products and services.

Expenditure on external consultants is deemed as that spent on services commissioned by the RDA to inform the management of the agency, organisational development, strategy, communicating and marketing. It excludes services for specific programme delivery.


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