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Mr. Evennett: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with further education college principals about the Building Colleges for the Future programme. 
Kevin Brennan: I have regular meetings with the Association of Colleges and individual college principles. Additionally, in line with Sir Andrew Foster's recommendations, an FE Reference Panel on Capital was established in collaboration with the Association of Colleges (AOC). Through this panel, the Government have consulted with the sector about the recent prioritisation exercise and on the future of the FE Capital programme. The reference panel last met on the 28 October and will continue to meet on a regular basis.
Mr. Evennett: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what his plans are on the future of the Building Colleges for the Future programme; and if he will make a statement. 
Kevin Brennan: The Building Colleges for the Future Programme continues to move forward. In total across this current spending period, Government will spend £1.7 billion on college buildings with continued investment earmarked for the next spending period.
Since the completion of the prioritisation exercise, the Department has been working with both the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and the Association of Colleges (AOC) through the College Reference Panel to consult
with the sector to determine how to best invest future investment. The group last met on the 28 October and will do so again in January.
Tom Levitt: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what information his Department holds on the proportion of carbon monoxide alarms sold which are (a) provided with lifetime batteries and (b) mains wired; 
Kevin Brennan: The Department does not hold information relating to sales of carbon monoxide detectors. We would advise consumers to only buy carbon monoxide detectors that are marked as conforming to BS EN 50291 as this standard includes performance requirements for such detectors.
Norman Baker: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on what date (a) he and (b) the Secretary of State last travelled by train in the course of his official duties. 
Mr. McFadden: My noble Friend the Secretary of State travelled by train on Friday 4 December for an official visit to Birmingham and I travelled to Coventry on Thursday 3 December to visit Modec, an electric van manufacturing company.
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many (a) scientific advisers and (b) civil servants in scientific posts there are in his Department. 
Mr. McFadden: Professor Brian Collins is the Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. He draws upon science and engineering expertise as necessary from within the department and externally.
There are 197 civil servants in BIS and its agencies who have signed up to the Government Science and Engineering network, which is for civil servants who identify themselves as scientists and/or engineers, or who work in posts which demand science or engineering skills.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what training his Department makes available to its officials immediately prior to an overseas posting; and if he will make a statement. 
Most staff from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) working overseas do so on loan to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
(FCO). The training they receive immediately prior to an overseas posting depends on the post they are to take up.
BIS staff undertaking trade and investment posts overseas normally have the opportunity to attend an induction programme covering UKTI's strategy, structure and business. The programme includes a mix of briefing meetings and broader meetings with key stakeholders, sector specialists and relevant UK companies. Where appropriate, further pre-posting training may be provided by FCO, e.g. language training; IT systems training and similar.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many officials in his Department undertook media skills training in the last 12 month period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department funds any training courses which are undertaken overseas; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McFadden: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) does not normally fund training courses undertaken overseas. BIS staff working overseas mainly do so on loan to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Skills training overseas is usually funded through FCO budgets.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) how many and what percentage of staff of his Department, its executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies work flexibly or part-time; and what his Department's policy is on making jobs available on a job-share or flexible basis; 
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) was created in June from the former Department for Innovation for Universities and Skills (DIUS) and former Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR). Workforce data are currently being amalgamated. We do not have full flexible working data for former DIUS staff, but for former BERR staff it is estimated that 1309 members of staff work flexibly, representing 42.8 per cent. of former BERR staff.
This information does not include executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies. Chief executives of our executive agencies will respond to you directly. The Department offers a wide range of flexible working options to support our staff such as part-time working, home working, condensed hours, flexi-time and annualised hours. The Remote computer access and remote telephony options are also available to staff, to help them to work flexibly.
Job-sharing is a way of widening the talent pool and recruiting the best staff. In BIS, we held a job-share and part-time workshop in July, to encourage more managers and staff to consider job share or part-time arrangements. The workshop was attended by over sixty managers and staff. We also highlighted the Cabinet Office job share website:
We continue to promote job-sharing and job vacancies must explicitly address the scope for flexible working opportunities in posts and state that applications are welcomed from candidates with part-time, job-share or other flexible working arrangements.
The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has asked me to reply to your question how many and what percentage of staff of his Department, its executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies work flexibly or part-time; and what his Department's policy is on making jobs available on a job-share or flexible basis.
As at 19/11/2009, we have the following numbers of staff who are working flexible working patterns:
|Working pattern||Number of employees|
We also offer our staff flexi-time, but we do not record centrally the numbers of staff that use this working pattern. We also do not hold records centrally of the number of staff that job share. Job sharers are included in the table as part-time workers.
Recruitment Policy for Flexible Working
The Insolvency Service strongly encourages opportunities for part-time, job share and other flexible working arrangements. When advertising posts, recruiting managers are not able to specify a specific working pattern e.g. full-time, part-time etc, unless a business case has been made through a relevant Director, and agreed by Human Resources. Applicants are not required to indicate their current or proposed working pattern. It is only at the point where an applicant is contacted to be offered the job that a recruiting manager will discuss with the applicant the proposed working pattern.
Recruiting managers are encouraged to accommodate all working patterns, but where there is any doubt on whether a working pattern can be accommodated, the applicant needs to discuss the proposals with their line-manager to establish what options are available to accommodate the pattern. Where the pattern cannot be accommodated, the recruiting manager provides the applicant with written objective justification for the decision.
I am responding in respect of the National Measurement Office (formerly National Weights and Measures Laboratory) to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 19/11/2009 [reference 301335 ] to the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, asking how many and what percentage of staff of his Department, its executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies work flexibly or part-time.
The National Measurement Office employs 65 members of staff, of whom 9 (13.9%) work part time and 5 (7.7%) have a home working contract. Statutory provisions have been extended to all staff in line with our equality policy and all staff have access to flexitime working and other flexible working patterns. When posts are advertised each one is considered for various flexible working arrangements according to the business needs of the Agency.
I am responding in respect of the Intellectual Property Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled 19 November 2009, to the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO), an Executive Agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, currently has 153 part-time staff, representing 17% of its workforce. The IPO has 72 staff who work from home (representing 8% of the workforce) of which, 17 are part-time.
Other forms of flexible working are available to all IPO staff, including annualised hours, term-time working, job-sharing and compressed hours. Staff are able to manage their work-life balance effectively on a daily basis within a normal bandwidth of 7am to 7pm.
The IPO's flexible working policy is published to all staff via its intranet and sets out its commitment to providing the widest possible range of working patterns for staff. Applications to work flexibly are invited from staff and considered on an individual basis. All vacancies are advertised as open to job share and part-time working.
I am replying on behalf of Companies House to your Parliamentary Question tabled 19 November 2009, UIN 301335, to the Minister of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The majority of Companies House staff work their contracted hours through a flexi system which means they can work flexibly around core hours. 313 members of staff, equating to 26.7% of the workforce, work on a part-time basis.
All jobs are available on a job share or part-time basis.
John Mason: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many questions tabled for answer on a named day his Department received in each of the last 12 months; and to how many such questions his Department provided a substantive answer on the day named. 
Mr. McFadden: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (and the previous Departments for Innovation, Universities and Skills and Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) received a total of 944 named day parliamentary question during the fourth Session of Parliament. A total of 231 questions received a substantive reply on the day requested. The Department aims to provide information to Members accurately and wherever possible on time and notes the Government Response to the House of Commons Procedure Committee's Third Report, published on 7 December 2009 [HC129].
Following the merger of the two Departments in June 2009; the Business, Innovation and Skills parliamentary unit was restructured and the figures for September to November (which form part of the figures indicated above) were 205 tabled named day parliamentary questions of which 122 received a substantive answer on the date specified.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what funding his Department has allocated for the purpose of developing electric cars in the last 12 months. 
Ian Lucas: The Department is supporting the development of electric vehicles through a number of measures including the Technology Strategy Board led Low Carbon Vehicle Innovation Platform, worth approximately £150 million of public sector support; the work of the Research Councils and Energy Technologies Institute; and the Automotive Assistance Programme.
A £50 million Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Programme (with public sector funding of £25 million, announced in 2008 and launched in June 2009), which will see more than 340 vehicles being trialled in several UK regions, managed through eight industry-led consortiums, within the next six to eighteen months-the biggest project of its kind in the world.
The development of an all-electric urban car with the provision of grant funding of £4.5 million for a £9 million project led by Gordon Murray Design, which will develop four prototypes of the vehicle by February 2011.
10 innovative research projects through a £10m investment in business led collaborative R and D projects that will lead to the development of cutting-edge ultra efficient electrical systems for electric and hybrid vehicles, and
A number of collaborative R and D projects, which were allocated funding in prior years, but where spend has continued this year as the projects are typically of three to four years duration.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has committed £1.5 million to projects commencing in 2009 relating to the development of electric vehicles. This brings their current portfolio of projects to £9.22 million in total. In addition, EPSRC supports a broader range of underpinning research into fuel cells, energy storage and networks and grids.
In July, the Energy Technologies Institute announced it would be committing £3 million to the first stage of a project to provide an evaluation of the consumer response to plug-in vehicles and the supporting infrastructure.
In September, the Department also announced an offer of a £10 million loan to Tata Motors European Technical Centre to support £25 million of investment to develop and manufacture electric vehicles in Coventry. Although the company has now secured alternative funding, it has voiced its appreciation for the offer under the Automotive Assistance Programme and the Government remain ready to support the company should it require it.
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