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Lord Chancellor (Duties)

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department on how many occasions (a) the Lord Chancellor and (b) her ministerial colleagues have refused to meet hon. Members to discuss constituency matters in the last 36 months; and what criteria she uses to arrive at such decisions. [30848]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested by my hon. Friend is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. In deciding whether a meeting should or can take place, the Lord Chancellor's policy is to take account of (a) the nature of the issue concerned, any relevant background history, and surrounding circumstances; (b) pressure on his, and other Ministers' diaries; and (c) whether the matter can be fully and satisfactorily dealt with in correspondence.

Working Conditions and Practices

Dr. Cable: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what assessment has been made of the effect of the working time directive on her Department's employees; how many employees are working in excess of 48 hours per week; what steps she is taking to reduce this number; and if she will make a statement. [35890]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Since the working time directive was introduced we have sought to reduce the number of staff working in excess of 48 hours a week (by adjusting working hours or re-designing jobs) to an absolute minimum. Currently, of all the staff in the Lord Chancellor's Department and its agencies (the Court Service and Public Guardianship Office), around 30 staff regularly work in excess of 48 hours on a voluntary basis. They are principally based in the private offices and press

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office. Some other staff may work in excess of 48 hours from time-to-time to cover peaks of work or because their work is of a cyclical nature.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many people are employed in her Department on a job share contract; and what percentage of vacant positions was advertised on this basis in the last 12 months. [35364]

Ms Rosie Winterton: 2,291 staff currently work reduced hours in LCD headquarters, the Court Service and the Public Guardianship Office, a large proportion of whom are engaged on a job-share or job-split arrangement.

Job-sharing is only one of a number of alternative and flexible working patterns that employees are welcome to take up under the Department's work-life balance policies. The flexibility of the pattern is decided in conjunction with local management to suit an individual's need and the needs of their work.

95 per cent. of all vacancies advertised over the past 12 months have been suitable for job-sharing. The expectation is that jobs will be available for job-sharing unless line managers can justify otherwise.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many cases of work-related stress have been reported in her Department; how much compensation has been paid to employees; how many work days have been lost due to work-related stress, and at what cost; what procedures have been put in place to reduce work-related stress, and at what cost, in each of the last three years; and if she will make a statement. [35930]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Detailed sick absence statistics are derived from the recording of medical and self-certificates, which are completed by staff or their

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GPs. While certain illnesses, such as "depression", "anxiety", "general debility" and even "stress" may be indicated on certificates, it is not possible to determine levels of "work-related stress". Consequently, we have no details on the number of working days lost due to work-related stress or the cost to the Department.

However, we know from recent staff attitude surveys and an audit conducted in 1995 that undue stress at work is a problem for a small minority. To deal with this we have introduced a range of stress management courses for both managers and non-managers. Our in-house welfare service is fully trained, and ideally placed, to deal with issues involving work-related stress.

Both the Court Service and LCD headquarters also introduced new work-life balance policies during 2001, enabling staff to adopt more effective working patterns to better balance their work and home life.

We have a legal obligation to provide a safe working environment for all our staff and are committed to meeting targets for reducing the number of working days lost generally to work related injuries and illnesses arising from the Government's Revitalising Health and Safety initiative.

Public Record Office

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what official visits abroad officials from the Public Record Office have made since 1997; at what cost; and for what purpose. [32402]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The official visits abroad by officials from the Public Record Office are as follows:

£

VisitsAverage cost
1997151,000
1998211,100
199925650
200029800
2001241,900

The visits were made for the following purposes:



1. Collaboration, joint projects, research and benchmarking mainly with national archives in USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
2. Service on international committees relating to archives; mainly the International Council or Archives and the European Union, but also the International Standards Organisations; almost all within Europe.
3. Attendance at conferences on archival topics, mainly in Europe.
4. Supervisory visits to Mauritius in connection with transcriptions of the PRO on-line catalogue (PROCAT).
5. Supervisory visits to India and Sri Lanka in connection with transcriptions of the 1901 census.

Departmental Events

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will list the (a) conferences, (b) seminars, (c) workshops, (d) exhibitions and (e) press conferences which have been sponsored by her Department and which took place on non-departmental premises in each of the last four years giving the title, purpose, date and cost of each. [34303]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: This information is not held centrally in the categories required and could be assembled only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Publications

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will list the publications issued by the Department in each of the last four years; and what the (a) circulation, (b) cost and (c) purpose of each was. [34200]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is not held centrally in the categories requested; the information could be assembled only at disproportionate costs.

Ministerial Boxes

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department by what means ministerial boxes are conveyed from private offices in her Department to (a) the Lord Chancellor and (b) her fellow Ministers; how frequently and at what expense private courier firms are employed for such a task; and which courier firms have been used for such duties. [36275]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Ministerial boxes originating from this Department are transported to Ministers' homes either by Government car or by a service provided by the Royal Mail.

City of London Corporation (Events)

John McDonnell: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will list those functions, engagements and events which Ministers, officials and advisers in the Lord Chancellor's Department have attended which have been sponsored, funded, promoted and hosted by the City of London Corporation since 1997. [35700]

Ms Rosie Winterton: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Theft and Fraud

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her estimate is of the cost of theft and fraud to (a) her Department, (b) its agencies and (c) non-departmental public bodies in each of the last four years. [27972]

Ms Hewitt: The estimated cost of theft and fraud to (a) the Department, (b) its agencies and (c) NDPBs is as follows:

Theft

Year£
199811,267
199910,985
20005,870
200118,782

These figures do not include returns from agencies or NDPBs. The information from agencies will be provided as soon as possible. The DTI does not hold information on thefts within NDPBs.


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The annual fraud returns to the Treasury detailing losses relating to fraud are as follows:

Fraud

Year£
1997–982,776
1998–9956,150
1999–20002,589
2000–0146,461

The Department's agencies and NDPBs are included in these figures.


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