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Public-Private Sector Exchanges

20. Mr. Kidney: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how the scheme for interchange between civil servants and private sector workers will operate in the next four years. [1890]

Mr. Leslie: The Interchange Steering Council met on 18 January 2001. The Council endorsed the Interchange Unit's strategy: to promote interchange with the private sector as well as the wider public sector and the voluntary sector; to further develop the Departmental Interchange Managers Network; to address barriers to Interchange, and to monitor and evaluate the impact on both individuals and organisations. It was also suggested that the Unit do more to develop Interchange regionally and sectorally. It is intended that this approach will be followed over the next four years.

Regulatory Reform

21. Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what further regulatory reform he plans to introduce following the implementation of the Regulatory Reform Act 2001. [1891]

Mr. Leslie: A proposal for relaxing licensing laws for this coming New Year's Eve was laid before Parliament for scrutiny on 28 June.

During the passage of the Regulatory Reform Bill through Parliament, the Government placed in the Library of the House a list of 51 proposals that could be implemented using the power contained in the Act. I expect to see many of these brought forward over the coming months and to see more proposals being added to the list.

Consultation on all of these proposals under section 5 of the 2001 Act has recently ended, with the exception of that for Voluntary Aided (VA) schools in England which ends in August.

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A further five proposals from the list of 51 are currently being prepared for consultation.

Further information on potential Orders made under the Act can be found on the Cabinet Office website at: www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/regulation/act/examples.htm.

Devolution

22. Mr. Cousins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his responsibilities with respect to regional devolution. [1892]

Mrs. Roche: The Prime Minister has asked my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister to be responsible for a White Paper on Regional Governance, in close liaison with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions and in co-operation with other Cabinet colleagues. My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister is also responsible for the Regional Co-ordination Unit and has overall responsibility for the Government Office network.

Programme Delivery

23. Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proposals he has to review the co-ordination and delivery of Government and EU programmes in areas of high social and economic disadvantage. [1893]

Ms Keeble: I have been asked to reply.

I refer my hon. Friend to the final paragraph of my answer of 4 July 2001, Official Report, column 314W.

Climate Change

25. David Taylor: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he next expects to discuss further development on climate change negotiations with the US Administration. [1895]

Mrs. Roche: Ministers keep in close touch with the US and will be discussing further developments on climate change again at the sixth meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change (COP6).

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what responsibility he has for developing the UK's climate change strategy; [820]

The Deputy Prime Minister: I will continue to play a role in international climate change discussions and negotiations on behalf of the Prime Minster.

Websites

27. Mr. Evans: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what action is being taken to ensure Government Departments better utilise websites. [1897]

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Mrs. Roche: The Office of the e-Envoy has taken a number of steps to improve the use of departmental websites:

We have established an infrastructure:



We have published a range of supporting guidance, including:




Women's Unit

28. Michael Fabricant: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his responsibilities for overseeing the work of the Cabinet Office women's unit. [1898]

Mr. Leslie: The Deputy Prime Minister does not oversee the work of the Women's Unit. The work of the Women's Unit is overseen by Baroness Morgan and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, who reports directly to the Prime Minster on women's and equality issues.

Ministerial Replies

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what mechanism exists for ensuring that replies are sent to members of the public who write to Ministers. [1877]

Mr. Leslie: All Departments have standards in place setting the maximum time it should take to answer correspondence from the public. Performance against these standards is monitored and the results published.

Departmental Responsibilities

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he will list the Government agencies and units for which he is responsible; and if he will make a statement; [768]

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he will set out his Department's responsibilities; [1933]

The Deputy Prime Minister: I head a new office of the Deputy Prime Minister in the Cabinet Office. I am supported by a Minister of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Mrs. Roche), by a Parliamentary Secretary, my hon Friend the Member for Shipley (Mr. Leslie) and by Lord Macdonald of Tradeston

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CBE and Baroness Morgan of Huyton for business in the House of Lords. As First Secretary of State I will continue to deputise for the Prime Minister as required, drawing on the resources of other parts of the Cabinet Office as necessary. I will oversee the work of the Social Exclusion Unit, which reports to the Prime Minister through me. I am also responsible for the Regional Co-ordination Unit and the nine Government offices of the Regions.

On international matters I will support the Prime Minister by seeing visiting dignitaries; undertaking overseas visits; and overseeing the work of the International Public Service Unit. I also carry ministerial responsibility for the British-Irish Council and will deputise as necessary for the Prime Minister at meetings of the Council. I will continue to play a role in international climate change discussions and negotiations on behalf of the Prime Minister. In addition, I will chair new Cabinet Committees on Domestic Affairs and on Nations and the Regions; and new sub-Committees on Social Exclusion and Regeneration and on Energy Policy. I will continue to chair the Committee on the Environment.

The Minister of State in the Deputy Prime Minister's Office supports me across the full range of my duties. She will, in particular, oversee the work of the Regional Co-ordination Unit and the Government Offices in the Regions, reporting to me on the development of their role and on the work of the regional network of the COI. She will lead on projects arising out of the work of the Social Exclusion Unit, be responsible for the work of the Business Co-ordination Unit, and will be sponsor Minister for a number of PIU projects. She will also be a member of a number of Cabinet Committees, including those on the regions and social exclusion.

The Parliamentary Secretary will support the Minister of State and me across the range of our duties. He will also support Lord Macdonald and will be the Minister answerable in the Commons for day-to-day decisions on the Civil Service under the Prime Minister as Minister for the Civil Service.

Baroness Morgan of Huyton, Deputy Minister for Women, will report to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry as the Cabinet Minister for Women on: the day-to-day oversight of the Women and Equality Unit and sponsorship of the Women's National Commission. She will co-ordinate equality issues across Whitehall as Chair of a new Cabinet Sub- Committee on Equality. She will also have responsibility for implementation of Article 13 (reporting to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry) and cross-cutting equality issues (on behalf of the three lead equality Ministers).

The right hon. Lord Macdonald of Tradeston CBE, as Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster reports direct to the Prime Minister. He has day-to-day responsibility for the work of the Delivery Unit, which supports the Prime Minister on matters to do with the delivery of public services. He will work closely with me as appropriate on related cross-cutting issues covered by the Cabinet Committees under my chairmanship. He is also responsible for the work of the Regulatory Impact Unit; and the e-envoy's unit's work on e-government. He will chair the Panel on Regulatory Accountability and will jointly chair a new

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Ministerial Group on the Manchester Commonwealth Games with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

The Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Home Civil Service, Sir Richard Wilson, will continue to report direct to the Prime Minister on the work of the Cabinet and Cabinet Committee Secretariats; the Joint Intelligence Committee and the Single Intelligence Vote for which he is the Accounting Officer; and the corporate management of the Civil Service (including the Government Information and Communication Service); the honours system; the Performance and Innovation Unit, which reports through him to the Prime Minister and which will provide support to the new Forward Strategy Unit in Number 10; and the new Office of Public Services Reform which will similarly report through him to the Prime Minister.


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