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Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the job vacancies for three departmental advisers on faith and community issues, advertised by his Department in August 2009, for what reasons the vacancies (a) are for 12-month fixed-term contracts and (b) were not advertised through the Civil Service Recruitment Gateway or departmental website. 
Communities and Local Government advertised the three departmental advisers on faith and community posts in accordance with the rules set out by the Office of the Civil Service Commissioners. We advertised these posts through the Civil Service Recruitment Gateway and the departmental website as well as a range of specific faith and community press, and national media.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department has participated in the production of guidance on the prevention of household waste in eco-towns. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent guidance and advice notes his Department has issued in relation to (a) integrated fire risk management plans and (b) the national fire services framework. 
Mr. Malik: IRMP Guidance Note 4 was reissued in September 2009 and offers Fire and Rescue Authorities a framework in which to develop, implement and manage a risk-based inspection programme which takes account of both the introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and CLG's update of the 'Other Building Fire Frequencies' data which underpin the Fire Service Emergency Cover (FSEC) Toolkit.
The Department issues FRS circulars, the majority of which provide important information or guidance on expectations set out within the National Framework. A table listing the 62 circulars issued to date for 2009 has been deposited in the Library of the House.
FRAs are required by the Fire and Rescue Service National Framework to have in place and maintain an Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) which reflects local need and sets out plans to tackle effectively both existing and potential risks to communities. The IRMP enables the authority to tailor cover for fire and other incidents to local circumstances-evaluating where risk is greatest and allocating resource accordingly.
FRAs are also required by the National Framework, in drawing up their IRMPs, to have regard to the risk analyses completed by Local and Regional Resilience Forums including those reported in external Community Risk Registers (CRRs) and internal risk registers, to ensure that civil and terrorist contingencies are captured in their IRMP.
The Cabinet Office issues guidance in the form of the Local Risk Assessment Guidance which contains information on generic hazards and threats that should assist category 1 responders (including the fire and rescue service) in performing their risk assessment duties required under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent guidance his Department has issued to fire and rescue authorities on (a) the reconfiguration of fire services, (b) the use of retained firefighters by fire services and (c) fire station closures. 
Mr. Malik: Decisions on issues such as the provision of fire services and the closure of fire stations are taken by individual Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs) as part of the Integrated Risk Management Planning process.
FRAs are required by the Fire and Rescue Service National Framework to have in place and maintain an Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) which reflects local need and sets out plans to tackle effectively both existing and potential risks to communities. The IRMP enables the authority to tailor cover for fire and other incidents to local circumstances-evaluating where risk is greatest and allocating resources, accordingly. That would include decisions regarding the appropriate deployment of all firefighters including those working on the retained duty system.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to page 13 of his Department's Resource Accounts for 2008-09, HC 449, for what reasons the FireLink project has been delayed; what assessment he has made of the implications for fire services of such a delay; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Malik: The primary reason for the delays to the Firelink project arose from the contractor's under-estimate of the time required to enhance the resilience of their network. All Fire and Rescue Services excepting two are now migrated onto the Firelink system; Shropshire and London are scheduled to be migrated by March 2010.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment was made of the merits of using employment legislation to prohibit industrial action by the Fire Brigades Union on public safety grounds during the Iraq conflict in 2003. 
Mr. Malik: The legal implications of the industrial action by the Fire Brigades Union were kept under review throughout the dispute, including the period before and after the start of the Iraq conflict in March 2003. As indicated by the Solicitor-General on 19 December 2002, Official Report, column 943W, the Attorney-General has the power to apply to the court for an injunction to prevent threatened breaches of the criminal law. It is the Attorney-General's duty to keep under constant review the question whether to exercise this power.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which fire authorities in Wales have entered into contracts with private sector companies to provide fire cover in the event of industrial action. 
The three chief fire officers in Wales have advised that none of the fire authorities in Wales have entered into contracts with private sector companies to provide fire cover in the event of industrial action.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 6 May 2009, Official Report, column 237W, on fire services: industrial disputes, for what reason (a) his Department and (b) Government Offices for the Regions do not hold copies of contingency plans prepared by fire and rescue authorities in relation to industrial action in the fire service; and whether his Department has made an assessment of the resilience and effectiveness of the fire service in the event of national industrial action by firefighters. 
Mr. Malik: The preparation, updating and retention of contingency plans for industrial action in the fire and rescue service is the responsibility of fire and rescue authorities. The need to have a contingency plan in place is a requirement of the National Framework for the Fire and Rescue Service, compliance with which is assessed by the Audit Commission as part of their Comprehensive Area Assessment for the fire and rescue service.
Mr. Malik: In my written statement of 25 June 2009, Official Report, column 65WS, I said that our review of national procurement in the Fire and Rescue Service in England had concluded that a national procurement body represented the best way to deliver fire-specific collaborative procurement. For the future, we proposed that this role should be carried out within a larger organisation, also responsible for the management of the service contracts for the Fire and Resilience Programme. These proposals were set out in a consultation paper issued in July, the deadline for responses to which was 5 October 2009. The responses are now being considered and a further announcement will be made in due course.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) of 28 January 2009, Official Report, column 1422W, if he will now place in the Library a copy of the Stage 3 Gateway Review on the FireBuy integrated clothing project. 
Mr. Malik: As reported in the response of 28 January 2009, it is not general practice to make available the outcome of gateway reviews. The Stage 3 Gateway Review of Firebuy's Integrated Clothing Project will therefore not be placed in the Library.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) of 2 June 2009, Official Report, column 454W, on green belt: South East, whether a sustainability appraisal was undertaken in relation to the specific proposals in the South East Plan to review green belt protection in named locations. 
Mr. Malik: The South East Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) was subject to a Sustainability Appraisal, before it was published in May of this year, as required by Section 39(2) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. That included an assessment of the effect of the policies in the RSS.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will initiate a review of the effectiveness of home information packs against the objective set for the policy. 
John Healey: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Caroline Flint) to the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Oaten) on 10 September 2008, Official Report, column 1989W.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of dwellings in England are recorded on the Valuation Office Agency's database with (a) dwellinghouse and (b) value significant code data. 
Barbara Follett: As at 2 October 2009 there were 22,773,690 dwellings in council tax valuation lists in England. Of these (a) all have at least one of the 16 dwellinghouse codes and (b) 6,135,817 (27 per cent.) have one or more of the value significant codes.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what (a) audit and (b) inspection fees the Audit Commission has charged each local authority in England in each of the last three years. 
Parliamentary Question: what (a) audit and (b) inspection fees the Audit Commission has charged each local authority in England in each of the last three years.
Your Parliamentary Question outlined above has been passed to me to reply.
Attached are two tables providing the audit and inspection fees the Audit Commission has charged to each principal local authority in England in each of the last three years (2006/07, 2007/08 and 2008/09).
The lists of bodies are different as not all local authorities (as defined by section 270 of the Local Government Act 1972) are subject to the Audit Commission's inspection powers.
Audit fees (Table 1)-tables available in the Library of the House.
The audit fees provided exclude some 9,500 parish and town councils. The vast majority of these have income or expenditure below £1 million and are subject to the limited assurance audit approach set out in Schedule 1 to the statutory Code of Audit Practice. They have fixed audit fees based on the income or expenditure and we have excluded the fees as it would take a disproportionate amount of time to collate the information requested.
The final audit fees for:
the audit of the 2008/09 accounts; and
nine 2007/08 audits, which have yet to be certified as completed (marked by *);
have not yet been determined by the Commission (as required by section 7 of the Audit Commission Act 1998) as not all audits have been completed. We expect the fees to be determined early in 2010.
Inspection fees (Table 2)
The inspection fees provided relate to the Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) system. Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA) was introduced from 1 April 2009; and with the introduction of CAA, the Commission's income from inspection fees has reduced significantly. Comparing the final full year of CPA (2007/08) with the first year of CAA (2009/10), inspection fee income from local authorities has reduced from £11.6 million to £6.7 million.
A copy of this letter has been placed in Hansard.
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