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Staff Development

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, (1) what steps he is taking to ensure that the House of Commons becomes a model employer in providing skills training and retraining for staff; [47636]

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Mr. Kirkwood: Until recently, the House had a departmental approach to training, with limited House- wide provision. Following the Braithwaite Report on Management and Services (HC745 of Session 1998–99), and in the context of the plans for House-wide accreditation as an Investor in People, there is now a more structured and planned approach to House-wide staff development. This links training and development priorities to the aims of the House administration and supports managers in their responsibilities for the continuous development and training of their staff.

Departmental training officers meet regularly to discuss priorities and to help develop and maintain the right mix of House-wide training and development. Individual, team and broader training needs for all staff are assessed as part of the annual performance appraisal process, and through House-wide awareness-raising initiatives (for example on equal opportunities). Personal development plans are reviewed and updated regularly.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

Government Vehicles

Norman Lamb: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how many vehicles are owned by the Government; [49300]

Mr. Leslie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Cotswold (Mr. Clifton-Brown) on 26 March 2002, Official Report, column 824W.

Regulatory Impact Assessments

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he plans to review the operation of regulatory impact assessments. [49066]

Mr. Leslie: The Public Accounts Committee published a report on 12 April 2002 'Better Regulation: Making Good Use of Regulatory Impact Assessments' on the basis of a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General reviewing the regulatory impact assessment process. The Government welcome the Committee of Public Accounts report. It makes some helpful recommendations that echo many of the National Audit Office's findings and the Government will give full consideration to them.

Panel for Regulatory Accountability

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the remit of the Panel for Regulatory Accountability is; who serves on it; and at what intervals it meets. [49065]

Mr. Leslie: The remit of the Ministerial Panel on Regulatory Accountability is to take a strategic overview of the regulatory system; to tackle instances where progress on regulatory reform is blocked; and to call

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Ministers to account for new regulation and their performance in addressing the burden of existing regulation.

Ministers serving on the committee are the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (chair), the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office. Mr. David Arculus, the chairman of the Better Regulation Task Force, and Mr. William Sargent, chairman of the Small Business Council are also invited to attend. The membership and terms of reference are available in the Library of the House. Details are also published on the Cabinet Office website.

Information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet Committee business is not disclosed under Exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Government Services

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what action the Government's e-envoy is taking to ensure that all Government on-line services are accessible through simple touch-screen terminals in strategic locations. [49796]

Mr. Leslie: The concept of delivering public services on multiple platforms is a key part of the Government's strategy. The Office of the e-Envoy is working to spread best practice on the delivery of electronic services through a wide range of channels including the web, digital television, mobile communications, kiosks and touch screen terminals. Best practice guidance on these is being worked up by the Channels Policy Working Group into a channels framework, which will be promulgated throughout the public sector.

The Office of the e-Envoy and the DTI are also working closely with the Post Office in the definition of a potential service whereby UK online content can be provided through kiosks located in post offices, making appropriate services available electronically to those members of the public who prefer to use a convenient terminal.

Television Licences

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the (a) number and (b) total cost of television licences paid for by his Department. [48364]

Mr. Leslie: The Cabinet Office holds a multiple form licence covering its core central London buildings and a concessionary licence covering a large number of televisions located, at the Centre for Management and Policy Studies' Residential Training Centre in Sunningdale (Berkshire) . The cost of these two television licences amounted to £6,867 in 2001–02.

In addition 16 individual television licences are held by other parts of the Cabinet Office at a cost in 2001–02 of £1,717.

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WALES

Job Advertisements

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales 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. [39063]

Mr. Paul Murphy: None.

Smart Card Technology

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the use of smart card technology in his Department and in the areas for which it is responsible; and what discussions he has had with private companies about the use of smart card technology within his Department. [50485]

Mr. Paul Murphy: My Department delivers no services direct to the public and has a staff of less than 50 people. There is thus only limited potential for benefiting from smart card technology.

Legal Costs

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what legal costs have been incurred by his Department in each of the last four years. [48605]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The external costs of the former Welsh Office were £568,000 in 1998–99 and £55,000 in the first quarter of 1999–2000.

Since it came into existence in July 1999, the Wales Office has not separately distinguished legal costs.

Sunset Clauses

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which Bills introduced by his Department in the last five years have contained sunset clauses; and what plans he has for the future use of such clauses. [49620]

Mr. Paul Murphy: None.

Departmental Name Change

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the total cost was of rebranding his Department following its name change after devolution. [31959]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The Wales Office spent £2,728 on the design for a logo and associated artwork after its creation as a new Department after devolution.

Jobs

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will provide a breakdown by industry of (a) jobs created and (b) job losses in Wales in each of the past five years. [32232]

Mr. Paul Murphy: There is no authoritative record of job losses and gains. Labour Force Survey information about changes in overall employment in Wales, by industry over the past five years, is given in the table as follows.

All industriesAgriculture, hunting, forestry and fishingMining and quarrying, electricity, gas and water supplyManufacturingConstructionService industriesOther industries
Change on previous year
200014,000-3,000-1,000-25,0005,00020,00018,000
199918,000-3,000-1,000-5,0006,0009,0009,000
19982,000-1,0001,0001,0001,000-23,00024,000
19976,0004,0001,000-11,0005,0005,0001,000
199621,000-5,000-5,000-2,0002,00031,0001,000

Source:

Labour Force Survey, four quarter averages. Figures rounded to nearest 1,000.


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