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Contracts

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many contracts were let by his Department and agencies for which he is responsible to (a) PWC Consulting or PricewaterhouseCoopers, (b) Ernst & Young, (c) Deloitte & Touche, (d) KPMG and (e) Andersen for consultancy services for the financial years (i) 1997–98, (ii) 1998–99, (iii) 1999–2000, (iv) 2000–01 and (v) 2001 to the latest date for which figures are available, indicating the remuneration in each case. [33854]

4 Mar 2002 : Column 59W

Dr. John Reid: Payments made to each of the companies during the periods in question were as follows:

£

1997–981998–991999–20002000–012001(15)
PWC Consulting/PricewaterhouseCoopers115,829273,70570,853(16)1,982,924126,274
Ernst & Young005,5005,5000
Deloitte & Touche39,372133,210155,4982,145,743414,962
KPMG27,25000062,313
Andersen00000

(15) To date.

(16) This figure contains an estimate of maximum cost of an on-going contract.


As no records are held centrally, there would be disproportionate costs involved in identifying the actual number of contracts let to each company.

Accountancy Contracts

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish the (a) number and (b) value of contracts awarded by his Department to (i) Arthur Andersen, (ii) Deloitte Touche, (ii) Ernst and Young, (iv) KPMG and (v) PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants in each year since 1997. [34991]

Dr. John Reid: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster), Question ref. 33854.

Job Advertisements

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the job advertisements placed by his Department in the last 12 months specifying where the advertisements were placed and the cost in each case. [39064]

Dr. John Reid: The Department advertises external competitions in the Belfast Telegraph, Irish News and Newsletter unless another newspaper is specifically requested.

The vacancies advertised in the last 12 months are as follows:

£

VacancyCost
Crown Solicitor3,296.34
Legal Assistants—DPP2,594.83
Support Grade Band 2 (SBG II)—Gardener(17)2,280
Head of Accounts (NI Prison Service)(18)    5,247.72
Head of Financial Services Division(18)   
Assistant Director—DPP3,875.23
Head of Corporate Services—DPP(19)14,191.37
SGBII—Repository Assistant583.64

(17) This post was also advertised in the Ulster Star.

(18) These competitions were run jointly.

(19) This competition had to be re-advertised and the costs were split between the Recruitment agency and the newspapers concerned.


Catering Services

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost was of (a) in-house canteen and (b) other catering services provided by his Department in each of the last four years. [38922]

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Dr. John Reid: Details of the Department's (including its agencies, but excluding NDPBs as we do not have access to a breakdown of their expenditure) total expenditure on in-house canteen and other catering services combined (unable to identify separate costs) in each of the last four years is as follows:

£
1998–99878,146
1999–20001,112,965
2000–01832,771
2001–02(20)425,124

(20) To date. Full year estimate £510,150.

Note:

Please note that this expenditure includes catering for Government functions held at Hillsborough Castle.


City of London Corporation (Events)

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list those functions, engagements and events which Ministers, his officials and advisers have attended which have been sponsored, funded, promoted and hosted by the City of London Corporation since 1997. [35701]

Dr. John Reid: The information requested is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. All attendance at events, engagements and functions by Ministers and civil servants is taken in line with the guidance and principles set out in the Ministerial Code and Departmental Handbooks.

Departmental Staff

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many staff left the service of his Department and its agencies in the year ended 31 March 2001; how many left before attaining the formal retirement age of 60 years; and in respect of how many his Department and its agencies assumed responsibilities for making payments until retirement age. [37546]

Dr. John Reid: The figures are as follows:

Civil servantsPrison Officers
Number of staff who left my Department in the year ended 31 March 200169878
Number of staff who left my Department before formal retirement age54878
Number of staff my Department assumed the responsibility of making payment to until retirement age2334

4 Mar 2002 : Column 61W

Correspondence

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average response time was for responding to departmental correspondence; what percentage of letters took longer than one month for a response; and what percentage took longer than three months for a response in each of the last five years. [37440]

Dr. John Reid: This information is not held in the format requested.

Since 1 October 1999 the Northern Ireland Office has applied revised service standards. Details of the Department's performance in meeting the target of replying to letters within 15 working days over the period 1 April 1999 to 31 March 2000 can be found in the 2001 Departmental Report. The statistics for 2000–01 are presently being collated and will be published in the spring in the 2002 Departmental Report.

Statistics on the Department's performance in responding to ministerial correspondence is also contained in the Northern Ireland Office Departmental Reports held in the House of Commons Library.

SCOTLAND

Census Website

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) how many hits were received by the 1901 Scottish Census website in its first 24 hours of operation; what the latest average daily number of hits is; and if she will make a statement; [38537]

Mrs. Liddell: This matter is devolved and is the responsibility of the Scottish Executive.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Gibraltar

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the status of the bi-lateral agreement between the Governments of Britain and Spain. [36538R]

Peter Hain: The provisions of the Joint Communiqué agreed in Brussels on 27 November 1984 remain in effect. The negotiating process established by that Communiqué, aimed at overcoming all the differences between the UK and Spanish Governments over Gibraltar, continues.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what funding has been accorded to Gibraltar under the Interreg III Community Initiative. [37222R]

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Peter Hain: Gibraltar is currently involved in three Interreg III programmes, with an allocation of 425,000 euro for each, for the period 2000–06. These are: a dedicated Gibraltar/Morocco programme; the South West Europe programme (covering Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and South West France); and the Western Mediterranean programme (covering Southern Portugal, Southern and Eastern Spain, the South East of France, and Western Italy).

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what funding for Gibraltar, in addition to the Interreg III Community Initiative, will be provided following a bilateral agreement between the UK and Spain under the Brussels Process. [37221R]

Peter Hain: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth, North (Syd Rapson) on 27 February 2002, Official Report, column 1308W.


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