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Public Relations (Expenditure)

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the total expenditure and the breakdown of expenditure was in her Department for the financial years (a) 1996-97, (b) 1997-98, (c) 1998-99 and (d) 1999-2000, and what the planned expenditure and breakdown of expenditure for 2000-01 is on (i) public opinion research, (ii) television, radio and newspaper advertising and (iii) direct mail. [149269]

Marjorie Mowlam: The total expenditure during (b) 1997-98, (c) 1998-99 and (d) 1999-2000, and the planned expenditure during 2000-01 on (i) public opinion research, (ii) television, radio and newspaper advertising and (iii) direct mail, is shown in the table. All figures are inclusive of VAT where applicable.

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Table--total and planned expenditure

Public Opinion Research(3)--656,604897,622270,096532,076
Advertising (television, radio and newspaper)337,465238,270246,438678,601662,277
Direct Mail548,204660,427521,950428,304553,060

(2) Planned

(3) Not available


1. Figures only include Cabinet Office entities and divisions as of 31 January 2001.

2. Figures do not include the salary costs of Cabinet Office staff.

3. Direct Mail includes all postage services costs of the Cabinet Office.

4. Expenditure on advertising include recruitment advertising.

5. Expenditure undertaken by Central Office of Information on behalf of clients is not included.

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Computer Systems

Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) what facilities are immediately available to Departments principally involved in the collection or

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distribution of funds in the event of existing computer systems failing; [152633]

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Mr. Ian McCartney: Each Government Department is responsible for ensuring it has robust business continuity plans in place to ensure that they can respond effectively to a wide range of problems, including computer failure. Departments are expected to test these plans regularly and to respond to any weaknesses identified. From January 2001 all new high risk projects involving procurement in the Civil Departments of central Government, along with their executive agencies and NDPBs require a business continuity plan that addresses potential problems during implementation and roll out of the project.

Guidance to Departments is principally made available via the Office of Government Commerce, which also chairs an Interdepartmental Business Continuity Planning Forum. This forum has involved a range of commercial companies, including the Guardian IT Group and SGRS.

Departments are also required to ensure that their computer systems are adequately protected, and to review regularly security measures. An IT Health Check Service is available from companies accredited by GCHQ's Communications-Electronics Security Group, which will identify vulnerabilities and recommend effective security counter measures.

To enhance further security across Government, especially in relation to computer systems, all Departments have now prepared plans to achieve compliance with the International Standard on Information Security Management (ISO 17799). The standard requires organisations to develop and test effective business continuity plans, and Departments will be asked to gain objective assurance that key systems are adequately protected.

Strategic Communications Unit

Mr. Baker: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what was the cost of running the Strategic Communications Unit for each financial year since 1 May 1997. [153265]

The Prime Minister: I am replying to this question as it relates to matters for which I am responsible.

The cost of running the Strategic Communications Unit (SCU) in 1999-2000 was £838,421. In the current financial year, the cost up to the end of December 2000 was £732,364. For information on previous years' expenditure, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 10 April 2000, Official Report, column 22W.

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Disability Discrimination Act

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what targets and indicators his Department has set to monitor progress towards delivering increased employer awareness of the employment provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. [150819]

Ms Hodge [holding answer 26 February 2001]: We have not set specific targets for employer awareness of the employment provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). Employer awareness is, however, one of the indicators used by my Department and we test the level through research. A survey carried out in 1998 showed that 75 per cent. of respondents were aware of the DDA, including all respondents from large firms. While 80 per cent. of large firms also stated that they were very or fairly aware of the employment provisions in the Act, awareness was much lower among small businesses at 36 per cent. My Department has recently commissioned a survey of workplaces, involving interviews with line managers as well as personnel staff and head office staff. This survey will examine a range of issues regarding the employment and retention of disabled people, including awareness of the employment provisions of the DDA.

As part of our efforts to raise awareness, a wide range of information about the DDA has been included in free leaflets and by April 2000, over 2 million had been distributed by the DDA Helpline, which was set up to give information and advice to businesses and disabled people. The "See the Person" campaign was launched in June 1999 to raise awareness about disability and to give information and advice to employers and service providers about the requirements of the DDA. The campaign included TV and radio advertisements, posters, press articles, and publicity organised through employers' organisations. The campaign was used to promote new publications such as a good practice guide for employing disabled people which has also been helpfully promoted through organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the CBI. The Government's current publicity campaign--"What have you got to offer"--is aimed at service providers and their responsibilities to provide access to disabled customers under Part III of the DDA. The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) took over responsibility for the Helpline, when it was set up in April 2000, and continues to provide support, advice and free publications about the Act. The DRC Helpline is on 08457 622 633.

On Monday 5 March we announced our intention to end the exemption of small employers from the DDA employment provisions in 2004. Through our document--"Towards Inclusion"--we are consulting on what help small employers might need as a result and we said that the DRC, the Small Business Service and the DfEE's telephone advice line, Equality Direct, would all work together to ensure that effective advice and information are available at the right time. Our intention is to continue working with these and other organisations and services and increase awareness through a range of initiatives including publicity campaigns.

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Job Loss Compensation

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list the occasions since 1971 when compensation was paid to individuals who lost their jobs as a result of a change in the law. [152278]

Ms Jowell: Job gains and losses occur for a variety of reasons. Currently, job gains exceed job losses with employment in the UK up 225,000 over the last year (ending October to December 2000). Where job losses occur it is, in general, contrary to EU state aid rules for the Government to compensate companies, partnerships and/or individuals whatever their cause. In these cases, individuals have employment rights including statutory entitlement to redundancy payments from their employer.

Teacher Training

Jackie Ballard: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how much money was made available for teacher training and in-service teacher training for teaching about child protection in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999 and (d) 2000; and how much will be available in 2001. [152280]

Jacqui Smith: The Department made a further £1.5 million available from the Grants for Education Support and Training (GEST) programme for 1997-98. The purpose of this funding was to enable senior teachers with designated responsibility for child protection to receive appropriate and practical in-service training. From 2001-02, schools will be free to use most of their devolved Standards Fund grant to meet their individual priorities, including, where appropriate, in-service teacher training in child protection. The Standards Fund will increase to around £2.2 billion (excluding capital expenditure) in 2001-02, most of which will be devolved to schools.

Circular 4/98, "Teaching: High Status, High Standards", sets out the requirements for all courses of initial teacher training. It makes specific references to child protection standards, which all trainees must demonstrate that they meet in order to gain Qualified Teacher Status. It is for individual providers to decide how best to deliver appropriate training from within their overall funding.

We are currently reviewing our child protection guidance to the education service and will make a decision later about whether to support any new guidance with further funding for training.

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