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Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what guidance his Department has given fire authorities on (a) minimum levels of provision and (b) response times in drawing up integrated risk management plans. 
Mr. Raynsford: The old, national standards of fire cover, which set out the speed and weight of response to fire depending on building density, were insufficiently flexible to allow Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRA) to respond to the needs of their communities. Integrated Risk Management Planning allows each FRA to set its own local standards for provision and response in the light of local risk.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister produced guidance in 2003 on the development of Integrated Risk Management Planning to help FRAs determine the most effective and efficient use of their resources.
Mr. Gordon Marsden:
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment his Department has made of
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the effectiveness of fire authorities consultations on integrated risk management plans. 
Mr. Raynsford: Under Integrated Risk Management Planning (IRMP) it is for each Fire and Rescue Authority (FRA) to assess the needs of its local communities. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is one of the consultees on the annual IRMPs. The Implementation Support Team, drawn from Her Majesty's Fire Service Inspectorate (HMFSI), provided guidance to FRAs throughout the year.
Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what guidance his Department has issued to fire authorities on (a) minimum provision and (b) response times for specialist equipment carried on incident support units. 
Mr. Raynsford: The minimum provision and response times for specialist equipment carried on incident support units is a matter for each individual Fire and Rescue Authority (FRA). Any change it proposes in its Integrated Risk Management Planning (IRMP) should form part of the consultation on their action plan. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has issued formal guidance on IRMPs and further guidance is planned.
Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether projected cost savings from integrated risk management plans for fire authorities include the cost of meeting (a) minimum levels of provision and (b) response times. 
Mr. Raynsford: Under Integrated Risk Management Planning it is for each Fire and Rescue Authorities to carry out a full risk assessment of its area and decide on the appropriate levels of provision and response times. Any cost savings will reflect those decisions. Any changes to existing provision will be the subject of consultation.
Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what provision his Department has made for monitoring and assessment of performance against fire authorities' projected risk assessments following the introduction of integrated risk management plans; 
Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what changes are planned in the size of the fire safety sector in England and Wales; what estimate he has made of the effects on the funding requirement; whether he has undertaken a risk assessment in respect of such plans; and if he will make a statement. 
Officials have taken full advice on the statutory implications of the restructure and provision of the service. This advice confirms that arrangements following reorganisation will not result in an increased risk to the service.
Mr Mackay: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the (a) staff and (b) consultancy costs were of the (i) Fire Research Department and (ii) HM Fire Service Inspectorate in each quarter since January 2002. 
|(a) Staff pay costs||(b) Consultancy cost|
|(i) FRD||(ii) HMFSI||(i) FRD||(ii) HMFSI|
|April to June 2003||174||757||5||0|
|July to September 2003||131||533||39||0|
|October to December 2003||154||674||135||0|
|January to March 2004(80)||169||619||273||0|
|April to June 2004||348||451||62||0|
|July to September 2004||351||472||86||0|
Figures for January 2002 to March 2003 are not available in the form requested. Staff in these divisions were paid partly from the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions and partly from the Home Office payroll. As a result of machinery of Government changes, complete data is not available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Raynsford: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister plans to have a national network of resilient fire control centres with one in each Government office region. East Midlands is in the first tranche of the implementation plan and its regional fire control centre should become fully operational early in 2007. A procurement exercise is currently under way for the location of the regional fire control centre and an announcement of the site should be made in the first quarter of 2005.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was created in May 2002. Since then there have been two Green Ministers. Between 1997 and the creation of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister there were three Green Ministers; two in the Department for
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Environment, Transport and the Regions, and one in the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions.
|DETR||Glenda Jackson, Beverley Hughes|
|ODPM||Chris Leslie, Phil Hope|
Phil Hope: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is now finalising Regulations and guidance and expects the system to be fully operational in early 2005, at which point local authorities will be able to process complaints about high hedges.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what guidance has been issued to local authorities about assumptions for the rate of growth of house building above the level set out in Regional Planning Guidance 9. 
Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has issued no formal guidance to local authorities about assumptions for the rate of growth of house building above the level set out in Regional Planning Guidance 9, other than that already set out in RPG9. Officials do have regular discussions with the Regional Assembly's officers and committees, which include local authorities, covering the interpretation of Government policy and guidance.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions his Department has had with local authorities in South East England about the infrastructure funds that will be available if house building targets exceed those set out in Regional Planning Guidance 9. 
Keith Hill: As part of the Regional Assembly's process of developing the regional spatial strategy for the South East that will replace the Regional Planning Guidance for the South East (RPG9), officials from the Government Office for the South East and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister are involved in a range of discussions with the Assembly and local authorities relevant to that process. They have also worked with the Regional Assembly and local authorities in piloting a new approach on investment in transport infrastructure through the Regional Transport Board.
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