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Baroness Ashton of Upholland: It is an offence for any person to vote more than once in a general election. Individual returning officers are responsible for ensuring that elections are conducted in accordance with the requirements of electoral law. The presiding officer at a polling station, acting under the direction of the returning officer, may ask a person applying for a ballot paper if they have already voted at the election, if it is suspected that the voter is attempting to vote more than once at the election. A ballot paper shall not be given to any person required to answer the above question unless they have answered it satisfactorily.
When they now expect to sign the contract for the information technology systems behind FiReControl; and whether, in view of the delay to the Firelink programme, these two projects can be co-ordinated to ensure an integrated delivery. [HL472]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Baroness Andrews): The FiReControl and Firelink project teams are working closely together as part of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's resilience programme to ensure that we achieve an integrated delivery. We expect to make an announcement on both the issues shortly.
How many licences the Gangmasters Licensing Authority expects to issue to gangmasters in each year; and how many workers will be covered by the regulations (a) at any one time, and (b) during the course of a year. [HL576]
Lord Bach: Following a Defra commissioned study, the Gangmasters Licensing Authority expects to issue approximately 1,000 licences in the first year from the date when the licensing scheme is introduced. The authority is currently developing proposals for the licensing arrangements, including the length of validity of the licence. The authority will consult on these proposals in due course. The authority anticipates inviting licence applications from spring 2006.
The Defra-commissioned research indicates that labour providers supply up to 450,000 workers during the course of a year in the agricultural, shellfish gathering and associated food and fish processing and packaging sectors. In an average month, labour providers may supply around 125,000 people. This number will vary month-by-month according to seasonal fluctuations and market demand.
(a) Whether McKinsey and Company Incorporated is currently carrying out any work for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister; (b) how many projects the firm has carried out for the department during each year in the past five years; (c) for each project, how long such work lasted and how many McKinsey and Company employees were involved; (d) what was the nature of the contracts with the company; and (e) what was the total value of payments made by the department to McKinsey and Company Incorporated in each of the past five years. [HL369]
Baroness Andrews: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was formed in May 2002. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has not awarded any contracts or placed any orders with McKinsey and Company Incorporated since the formation of the department.
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(a) Whether McKinsey and Company Incorporated is currently carrying out any work for Monitorindependent regulator of NHS foundation trusts; (b) how many projects the firm has carried out for the agency since its creation; (c) for each project, how long it lasted and how many McKinsey employees were involved; (d) the nature of any such contract; and (e) the total value of payments made by Monitor-independent regulator to McKinsey and Company Incorporated since its creation. [HL554]
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): This is a matter for Monitor (the statutory name of which is the independent regulator of National Health Service foundation trusts). The chairman will write to the noble Lord and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.
Baroness Andrews: Technical work on water supply and new housing is undertaken by the Environment Agency and the local water companies. This includes work with the South East of England Regional Assembly as part of drafting the new south-east planthe regional spatial strategy. The work shows, against both current programmes and future growth scenarios, that demand and supply side measures in combination should ensure sufficient water supplies for the necessary growth in housing.
Baroness Andrews: Pathfinders are required to demonstrate that they have appropriate mechanisms for engaging and consulting with the community. This is reviewed by the Audit Commission as part of its scrutiny role. There are a wide variety of ways by which Pathfinders and their constituent local authorities are discharging this responsibility, including opinion surveys, formal consultations, public meetings, meetings with individuals and pressure groups, and involvement in planning and design. Community representation on Pathfinder boards is normally via elected councillors and LSP members. Projects implemented by local authorities are open to public scrutiny in the normal way, as are as projects that proceed through the planning process.
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Lord Bach: Initial digitising work undertaken by external contractors based at Northallerton was subject to quality assurance checks by both the contractor and the Rural Payments Agency. Where an error was discovered it was corrected before the map was sent to the farmer.
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Lord Bassam of Brighton: The duties and responsibilities of special advisers are set out in the model contract and code of conduct for special advisers. Special advisers are personal appointments made by Ministers and are outside the rules of open competition.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The English Tourism Board (ETB) was abolished in 1999 and replaced by the English Tourism Council (ETC), which then merged with the British Tourism Authority to form VisitBritain in April 2003.
The ETC and its successor body have not made any direct contributions to major regeneration projects over this period. Its prime responsibility is marketing. VisitBritain received £12.9 million grant-in-aid from my department to market England domestically in 200405.
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