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The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Bassam of Brighton: It is a legal requirement that websites can be used by disabled people. To enable this to be achieved, the Government have adopted the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are particularly technical in their approach and we provide extensive guidance and encouragement to public sector web managers through the publication of the guidelines for UK government websites.

The responsibility for achieving and sustaining compliance rests with individual departments, agencies and local authorities.

Civil Servants: Numbers

Baroness Howe of Idlicote asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: At 1 April 1997 there were 475,340 permanent civil servants (full time equivalent). The latest figures published in April 2004 show that at 1 October 2003 there were 516,990 permanent civil servants (full time equivalent).

Vehicle Operator and Services Agency: PG9

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Yes.

The prohibition means that the vehicle in question cannot be driven, subject to any special provisions made at the time the prohibition was issued.

Crossrail: Funding

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport's Statement on 20 July set out the steps we are taking on identifying a funding solution for Crossrail which would be equitable for all. There may well be other projects where it would be feasible to capture potential benefits from development for the purposes of delivering the scheme.
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Office of Rail Regulation and the Strategic Rail Authority: Business Appointment Rules

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: All staff at the Office of Rail Regulation are subject to the Civil Service Management Code which among other things states that:

The Strategic Rail Authority's senior executive contract requires staff to abide by its business appointment rules. These include an approval process which applies to staff proposing to take up an appointment covered by the rules within six months of leaving the SRA.

A23: Fatal Accident Sites

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: I refer the noble Lord to my Answer of 19 June concerning the site of the A23 fatal accident site. The Department for Transport Handbook of rules and guidance for the operation of the national road safety camera programme 31 October 2003 covers the criteria for safety camera partnerships' installation of cameras. A copy of the handbook is in the Library of the House.

Transport Direct: Website

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Transport Direct website went online on 12 July 2004, allowing the public access to the site as a further testing period before an official launch later in the year.
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Transport Direct provides real-time information for all 2,500 stations in Great Britain. Users can access live departure boards, which are provided by National Rail inquiries, through the Transport Direct website. Transport Direct also includes a live travel news service that can inform users of any incidents that may occur including cancellations and service disruption. The journey planner will take into account planned engineering works and provide information on rail replacement services.

Transport Direct will provide a live travel information service notifying users of any incidents that may affect their journey, such as road works and accidents. The site also uses historical congestion information to adjust car journey routes.

The total spend up to March 2004 was £16.7 million. The budget for 2004–05 financial year is £17 million.

Pension Schemes: New Entrants

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The information is not available in the format requested.

Government Departments Relocation: Property Commitments

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): The cases where the Treasury has agreed to proposals from departments and public bodies to enter into or renew property commitments from 10 September 2003 are listed below. In each of these cases, the case for relocation out of London and the south-east was fully explored. Treasury approval for these projects is consistent with the key principles set out in the Lyons report. The Government are tightening the requirement for departments to consult
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HM Treasury before taking on any significant new property in London and the south-east.

The implementation of departmental efficiency and relocation programmes will clearly have implications for the management of the public sector estate and
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government will continue to co-ordinate the use and size of their office estate in London and across the United Kingdom to ensure that it is properly configured.

The table below lists new leases approved since 10 September 2003:
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OrganisationLocationOffice Space (sq m)Purpose for New Lease
Treasury Solicitor's
Department1 Kemble Street9,300To conduct the Department's full range of business activities currently undertaken at Queen Anne's Chambers in Westminster, London (and making use of space owned by a public corporation)
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister—Audit CommissionMillbank Tower, Westminster5,100To consolidate four London offices into a single office
Department for Education and Skills—Children and Family Court Advisory and Support ServiceWyndham House, South Quay, Docklands1,400To deliver the full range of the Service's responsibilities currently undertaken at Newspaper House in the City of London
Department of Health—Human Fertilisation and Embryology AuthorityBloomsbury Street1,200To deliver the Authority's responsibilities currently undertaken at two sites in Paxton House and the Fruit and Wool Exchange (and making use of existing civil estate)
Department of Health—University College London Hospitals NHS Trust250 Euston Road13,500To consolidate office space as part of a wider project to redevelop the hospital and provide local services
Department of Health—Commission for Social Care and Inspection33 Greycoat Street, Westminster1,600To serve as headquarters for the newly constituted Commission
Department of Health—Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory AgencyMarket Towers, Vauxhall2,700To deliver the new Agency's responsibilities following the merger of the Medical Devices Agency and the Medicines Control Agency

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