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Blakenhurst Prison

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what contract price was agreed by the Prison Service when the public sector took over HMP Blakenhurst at Redditch; and what additional sums have since been agreed. [22261]

Beverley Hughes: The year one price for the Service Level Agreement (SLA) at Blakenhurst prison is £10,143,844. The additional annual costs that have since been agreed amount to £58,000. There will also be a payment of £166,000 per year to cover Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment regulations (TUPE) costs for the first three years of the SLA.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 5 November 2001, Official Report, column 84W, on asylum seekers, what categories of data to be stored on the microchip on the asylum seeker's identification card were added after 5 November. [15273]

Angela Eagle: The list we provided earlier has been subjected to change. Discussions are still continuing in order to conclude a final list. Once this has been agreed, I will place a copy in the Library.

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many bed spaces the Landmark company is contracted to provide for asylum seekers. [18346]

Angela Eagle: I regret that I am unable to supply this information on the grounds that details of individual contracts between National Asylum Support Service and its suppliers are commercial in confidence.

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when his Department concluded the last contract with the Landmark company in respect of asylum seekers; and which properties this was in respect of. [18347]

Angela Eagle: The National Asylum Support Service has a single contract with the Landmark company for five years effective from 3 April 2000. I am unable to disclose precise details of the properties involved as there is a need

18 Dec 2001 : Column: 255W

to protect and preserve rights to privacy and security of the individuals living in accommodation provided by Landmark.

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the administrative costs of the policy of dispersing asylum seekers were. [12872]

Angela Eagle: In the period 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001 the administrative costs of National Asylum Support Service (NASS) were £15.6 million 1 . In addition, grants totalling £14 million 1 were paid to voluntary sector organisations by NASS to recognise their role in the dispersal scheme. These figures include start-up costs for NASS.

International Development Foundation

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the progress of the Charity Commission investigation into the International Development Foundation. [14822]

Angela Eagle: This is a matter for the Charity Commission who will write to my hon. Friend. A copy of the Commission's reply will be placed in the Library.


Permanent Secretaries

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the merits of recruiting from the private sector to fill vacancies at permanent secretary level. [23607]

Mr. Leslie: Like any organisation, the civil service benefits from people coming in at all levels. Since the beginning of 1999 well over half of the vacancies at permanent secretary level have gone to open competition and a number of external appointments have been made.

It takes an outstanding individual to come in at the very top of any organisation without previous experience of that sector. There is, however, an increased use of open competition at other levels in the senior civil service, which should broaden the future field of permanent secretary candidates. Last year 202 SCS posts were advertised, and almost two-thirds were won by candidates from outside the civil service.

Civil Service Code

Mr. Fallon: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many complaints have been reported under paragraph 11 of the civil service code since 13 May 1999; how many of these related to special advisers; and how many have been reported to the civil service commissioners under paragraph 12 of the code. [23385]

Mr. Leslie: Information on the number of complaints made within Departments under paragraph 11 of the civil service code is not held centrally. However, information on appeals made under paragraph 12 of the civil service code are set out in the annual report of the civil service commissioners. A copy of the commissioners' latest annual report for the year 2000–01 is in the Library of the House.

18 Dec 2001 : Column: 256W

Devolved Administrations

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans the Government have to publish a revised edition of the Memorandum of Understanding between the UK Government and the devolved Administrations. [24329]

The Deputy Prime Minister: I am publishing today as Cm 5240 a revised edition of the Memorandum of Understanding and supplementary agreements between the UK Government, Scottish Ministers, the Cabinet of the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Executive Committee. Copies of this document have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and will be made available on the Cabinet Office website shortly.

Government Car Service

Richard Burden: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list, by manufacturer and country of manufacture, the composition of the Government Car Service fleet for (a) 1994–95, (b) 1995–96, (c) 1996–97, (d) 1997–98, (e) 1998–99, (f) 1999–2000 and (g) 2000–01. [23094]

Mr. Leslie: The Government Car and Despatch Agency's fleet composition for 1999–2000 and 2000–01 is as follows:

ManufacturerNumber(19)Number(20)Country of manufacture
Rover4435United Kingdom
Jaguar1215United Kingdom
1524United Kingdom
67United Kingdom
Nissan58United Kingdom

(19) Year end 2000

(20) Year end 2001

The Government Car and Despatch Agency was formed in April 1997. Information on fleet composition by country of manufacture is available only for years 1999–2000 and 2000–01. Information for earlier years is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Staff Numbers

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many people were employed in his Department in each of the last four years. [23785]

Mr. Leslie: The numbers of staff in all Departments are shown in Table C of Civil Service Statistics 2000, published on 31 August 2001. Copies are in the Libraries of the House.


Government Bills (Human Rights)

Mr. Fisher: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will provide more specific information about the consideration given to human rights issues by Government Bills. [24725]

18 Dec 2001 : Column: 257W

Mr. Wills: Yes. The Government have agreed changes to the relevant guidance so that the explanatory notes of all Government Bills first introduced after 1 January 2002 will draw attention to the main Convention issues raised by a Bill. I hope that this will further assist the House in its debates on these matters.

Public Guardianship Office

Laura Moffatt: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what additional key performance targets have been agreed for the Public Guardianship Office. [24364]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Two additional key performance targets for the Public Guardianship Office have been agreed as follows:

Legal Aid

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what the size is of the eligibility package for legal aid for (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03; and when it will take effect. [22551]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Changes to the financial conditions for public funding were implemented on 3 December 2001 and will apply to new cases from that date. The cost of this package is £2.5 million this year (2001–02) and £10 million for 2002–03. We estimate that an additional 5 million people will become eligible to obtain publicly funded advice and assistance.

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