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Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: It is important that the affected governments and communities are better prepared for all future crises. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) has set up an interim Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning Centre which involves both the Japan Meteorological Agency and the United States' National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre. The interim system covers Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives and other countries in the region.

National contact points have been identified and are managed by the IOC team in Paris. National needs assessments are ongoing and a coherent plan for the final system is due by September this year. The first meeting of the Intergovernmental Coordinating
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Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Early Warning System takes place in Australia in early August. It is hoped that the final system will be in place by July 2006. We and other donors are awaiting the final design to decide how we might best support them.

The UK supports the creation of this system and other disaster risk reduction measures. DfID has allocated £7.5 million for disaster risk reduction measures to tsunami affected countries. This will include support to community-level work to raise awareness of danger signals from early warning systems and ensure they know how to respond to best protect themselves and their families.

Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): Addressing the training needs of those health professionals working with people with autistic spectrum disorders is the responsibility of the appropriate regulatory bodies. They set standards for the pre-registration training of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals, approve the education institutions providing training and decide on curricula. We do share a commitment with them that all health professionals are trained so that they have the skills and knowledge to deliver high-quality health services to all sections of the population.

Post-registration training needs for National Health Service staff are decided against local NHS priorities, through appraisal processes and training needs analyses informed by local delivery plans and the needs of the service. Local authorities and health service providers decide how best to provide services to meet the needs of the individuals.

We have, however, produced guidance to help local planning of both services and training. These include Valuing People: A New strategy for people with learning disabilities (2001) recognising that many people with severe and profound learning disabilities have autistic behaviours, even if not formally recognised; and Green Light: How Good Are Your Mental Health Services for People with Learning Disabilities? (March 2004), a guide to developing good services to meet the mental health needs of people with learning disabilities.

In addition, in order to promote the development of local protocols for collaboration between specialist learning disability services and specialist mental health
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services, we have added a learning disabilities dimension to the mental health national service framework (1999) local implementation planning process in 2002 and 2003.

Working with the Teacher Training Agency, the Department for Education and Skills is carrying forward a range of proposals designed to improve the special educational needs skills and confidence of trainee, newly qualified and established teachers.

Cabinet Office: Consultants

Baroness Wilcox asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Cabinet Office spend on consultants in each of the past five years is set out in the table.
2000-0110.93 million
2001-0216.88 million
2002-0313.39 million
2003-0415.93 million
2004-0512.70 million

Cabinet Office: Taxis

Baroness Wilcox asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The amount spent on taxis in the Cabinet Office from 1997-98 to 2002-03 was as follows.

In 2003-04 a number of changes were made to the accounting system in order to rationalise the number of accounts and details of taxi costs ceased to be held separately. Therefore, we are unable to provide separate figures for the financial years 2003-04 and 2004-05.

The increases reflect significant policy work taken on by the Cabinet Office during this period affecting the numbers of staff meeting the criteria for using taxis to travel due to working unsociable hours. The numbers of staff employed by the Cabinet Office rose over this period and contract costs also increased.
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The figures relating to some of the years were also affected by the inclusion of costs relating to earlier years due to the way travel costs were recorded.

All official travel in my department is undertaken strictly in accordance with the rules contained in the Cabinet Office management code.

Cabinet Secretary: Meetings

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: In his capacity as Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service, Sir Andrew Turnbull has not met with the individuals identified by the noble Lord.

Care Homes

Baroness Greengross asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Warner: The Office of Fair Trading published a report on care homes for older people on 18 May 2005. The report made a number of recommendations to the Government, which the Government are currently considering.

Centre for the Measurement of Government Activity

Lord Taylor of Warwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.
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Letter from the National Statistician and Registrar General, Len Cook, dated 27 July 2005.

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking when the United Kingdom Centre for the Measurement of Government Activity will start operating. (HL1450)

I announced my intention to set up the United Kingdom Centre for the Measurement of Government Activity at the end of January this year. Preparations have since proceeded and the centre was formally launched on Tuesday 19 July. Further details were set out in the attached ONS news release on that date. The news release is also available on the ONS website at

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