20 Jul 2001 : Column: 461W
Mr. Dobson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the information technology contracts in excess of £500,000 let by the Cabinet Office or its predecessor since April 1991, giving in each case the original estimated cost and original estimated completion date and the actual cost and actual completion date and the names of the contractors involved and consultants retained by his Department. 
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list for each of the units dealing with cross-cutting issues based in his Department and for each financial year for which figures are available (a) the number of staff employed, (b) the annual cost of their operations, (c) the cost of capital works to provide premises for their work and (d) their capital and revenue budgets for the current financial year and future years for which the figures are available. 
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which Minister in his Department oversees the work of each unit run from his Department; which Minister leads on projects arising out of their work; and what their remit and responsibilities are. 
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to recommend revision to his Department's guidance to senior managers on better quality services; what assessment he has made of the operation of this guidance to date; and if he will make a statement. 
20 Jul 2001 : Column: 462W
A major investment has been made in supporting schools to tackle truancy and exclusion. The target for reducing permanent exclusions by a third has been achieved a year early. A second target to ensure all pupils excluded from school for more than 15 school days would receive suitable full-time education is on course to be achieved on time by September 2002.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the purpose and responsibilities are of the people's panel; for what reasons its future is under review; when the review will be completed; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Leslie: The people's panel was set up as a representative sample of the adult population of the UK who agreed to be involved in surveys and other forms of research about their views on, and attitudes to, public services and similar matters of public interest.
We have long been committed to evaluation of the panel, as a new initiative, and a small-scale evaluation was conducted last year. The current review will consider its continuing technical viability, its impact on policy formation, usage by Government Departments, and cost-effectiveness. It will be completed in autumn 2001.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 3 July 2001, Official Report, column 124W, if he will list the title, cost and client for each of the projects included in the expenditure totals already given. 
20 Jul 2001 : Column: 463W
|Cabinet Office Wave 1 (also includes £80,000 for set-up costs)||300,000|
|Management fee to MORI||8,000|
|Women's UnitListening to Women||63,800|
|Management fee to MORI||40,000|
|Attitudes to bio-sciences||60,000|
|Parents' attitudes on value-added school performance tables||12,400|
|The literacy hour||2,500|
|Urban White Paper||19,500|
|Gas safety regulation||14,750|
|Post Office Counter|
|One-stop shops/electronic service delivery||17,000|
|Open All Hours?||14,400|
|Change of address portal||14,200|
|Public services and ethnic minorities||68,100|
|Public awareness of Charter Mark||6,000|
|Social Exclusion UnitAttitudes to public services in deprived areas||14,100|
|The last 12 months||52,550|
|Management fee to MORI||36,000|
|Department of Health|
|Attitudes towards Human Genetics issues||52,500|
|Health messages and young people||30,000|
|The Patent Office|
|Benchmarking of intellectual property awareness||14,500|
|Service standards in working agency||10,600|
|Research into public's expectations of transport in the future||29,050|
|Reactions to new GM food leaflet||19,200|
|Country of origin food labelling||31,665|
Summaries of the research results have been placed in the House Library and full reports are published on my Department's website.
20 Jul 2001 : Column: 464W
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 3 July 2001, Official Report, column 124W, if the results of projects carried out for clients other than his own Department were published in full. 
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many cases investigated and rejected by (a) the local government and (b) the parliamentary ombudsmen that have subsequently gone to judicial review have been successful and found in the complainant's favour; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Leslie: This Government are committed to the renaissance of public services, improving access and delivery and driving up standards. The effective handling of complaints is an important element of this programme of renewal, but there will be times where, having pursued a complaint about a particular public service, a complainant remains dissatisfied. Such cases need to be considered independently and that role is fulfilled by, among others, the public sector ombudsmen in England that were the subject of this review. These ombudsmen comprise the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, the Health Service Commissioner and the Commission for Local Administration (which comprises the three local government ombudsmen and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration ex officio).
In 1999, following representations from the ombudsmen, the Government announced a review to determine whether the present arrangements are in the best interest of complainants and others, against the background of moves towards more integrated public services and an increasing focus on the needs of the consumers of such services. The review team consulted widely and their report was published in April 2000. A consultation paper seeking views on the review's main recommendations and its other conclusions was published last June. In all we received 174 responses to the consultation paper and copies will be placed shortly in the Library of the House together with a statement of the Government's conclusions.
20 Jul 2001 : Column: 465W
We therefore intend to replace the existing arrangements by a unified and flexible ombudsman body for central and local government and the national health service (excluding NHS Pensions, which will continue to fall under the jurisdiction of the pensions ombudsman, established by Part X of the Pensions Schemes Act 1993 (as amended)). In line with the review's recommendations, there will be direct access to this new body irrespective of whether the complaint is concerned wholly or in part with a central Government body. Furthermore, and again in line with the review's recommendations, the new body will have a collegiate structure within which the individual ombudsmen are identified with a particular group of the bodies under jurisdiction but free to carry out crosscutting investigations. Proposals for the precise powers and accountability of the new body, and on whether its jurisdiction should be extended beyond the bodies subject to the Jurisdiction of the existing ombudsmen, will be published in due course.
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