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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Hammersmith and Fulham (Mr. Hands), of 4 September 2006, Official Report, column 1680W, on the Valuation Office Agency, what the logarithmic variable formula is. 
Mr. Woolas: The term logarithmic variable formula is not used within the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). The formula referred to in the previous answer is the basic structure of the formulae used in all log linear regression modelling within the VOA's automated valuation model (AVM).
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 18 July 2006, Official Report, column 367W, on the Valuation Office Agency, what the cost was to public funds of purchasing the ACORN data from CACI Information Solutions; and for what purposes it was purchased. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the council tax revaluation in England is classified as a mission critical programme by the Valuation Office Agency. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Multiple Regression Analysis used by the Valuation Office Agency for council tax valuations has neighbourhood adjustment factors. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government why the Valuation Office Agency decided not to create a banding engine for the English council tax revaluation. 
Mr. Woolas: A banding engine was not created within the Valuation Office Agency's (VOA's) automated valuation model (AVM) as, at the time the model was being developed, the banding scheme had not been determined.
authority chief executives from the Valuation Office Agency on providing property information for council tax and business rates valuations. 
Mr. Woolas: The letter referred to was from the chief executive of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to his counterparts in each local authority, seeking their support for the implementation of a number of partnership working initiatives, aimed at improving the service provided by the VOA to each local authority and in turn by them to their ratepayers and council taxpayers. A copy of the letter has been placed in the Library of the House as requested.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether neighbourhood is one of the variables in the Valuation Office Agency's automated valuation model's multiple regression formula. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what public sector bodies are part of the Valuation Tribunal Service's electronic data transfer initiatives; and what data are transferred as part of the initiative. 
Mr. Woolas: The Valuation Tribunal Service (VTS) shares electronic data with the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). The VOA transfer data relating to council tax and non domestic rating (business rates) appeals to relevant valuation tribunals. The information is exchanged when a formal appeal is being initiated and therefore details, such as the correspondence address, are required by the valuation tribunals. Valuation tribunals transmit listing dates and appeal status changes to the VOA.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will publish the consultancy reports that have been commissioned by her Department relating to the review of waste management arrangements in London. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 16 October 2006]: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 16 October 2006, Official Report, columns 907-08W.
Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department gives to local planning authorities on the extent to which the European Landscape Convention should be taken into account when considering applications for the development of (a) onshore and (b) offshore wind farms. 
Yvette Cooper: The Government believe that the UK is already fulfilling the requirements of the Council of Europes European Landscape Convention, and therefore it does not have any immediate implications for the land use planning system in England. National planning policies, including Planning Policy Statement 1, Delivering Sustainable Development, recognise the need to provide appropriate protection and enhancement of rural and urban landscapes in England, in line with the principal aims of the Convention. Planning Policy Statement 22 (PPS22) sets out the locational considerations, including for landscape, that should be applied to proposals for renewable energy. PPS22 is supported by a Companion Guide that provides practical advice for considering proposals for renewable energy, including any potential impact on landscape.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has issued to fire authorities and fire brigades on the Working Time Directive and retained fire fighters. 
Angela E. Smith: The Department issued guidance to the Fire and Rescue Service on Working Time Regulations in April 2004. The guidance was drawn up with advice from HM Fire Service Inspectorate and the Health and Safety Executive. Clear reference is made in the guidance where specific arrangements are required to be made by Fire and Rescue Authorities for Retained Duty System personnel.
Mr. McNulty: Neighbourhood watch and other watch schemes have an important role to play in empowering local people to help reduce crime, tackle antisocial behaviour and reduce the fear of crime in communities by working closely with their local police, crime and disorder reduction partnerships and local authorities to report suspicious or antisocial behaviour.
21. Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police community support officers there were in 2005; how many he expects there to be in 2008; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: The published number of community support officers at 31 March 2005 in England and Wales was 6,214. We expect that number to rise to 16,000 by next April and as indicated in the Criminal Justice Review on 20 July, we will discuss with the police service numbers beyond that.
Mr. Sutcliffe: We are giving probation boards increased autonomy, by changing the composition of probation boards through the amendment of the relevant statutory instrument, and loosening ties with the centre. We are removing the prescription that boards must have four magistrate and two local authority members thus allowing more local discretion on the composition of boards and allowing them to more closely meet local circumstances and needs.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions his Department has had with the social exclusion task force on the impact of Prison Service order 6300 on prisoners who are carers and on their children. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The findings of the Social Exclusion Unit Report Reducing re-offending by ex prisoners', published in 2002, were taken into account in the development of the new policy. No discussion with them has taken place since.
|Quarter||Usable operational capacity|
The useable operational capacity of the estate is the sum of all establishments' operational capacity less the operating margin of 1,700 places. The operating margin reflects the constraints imposed by the need to provide separate accommodation for different classes of prisoner, i.e. by sex, age, security category, conviction status, single cell risk assessment and also due to geographical distribution.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much space was available and designated for the practice of (a) Church of England, (b) Roman Catholic, (c) non-conformist Christian, (d) Hindu, (e) Muslim and (f) Sikh faith at each prison establishment in (i) 1997 and (ii) the last year for which information is available; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 18 October 2006]: This information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Prisons are required to provide suitable places of worship and meditation for all faiths that acknowledge the religious, cultural and symbolic requirements of each faith tradition. How this is done in individual prisons will depend very much on local circumstances.
John Reid: Neighbourhood policing will be introduced to every area by April 2007, and every community will have a neighbourhood policing team by April 2008. Delivery of neighbourhood policing has now extended to more than 6,700 neighbourhoods.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the total amount of police officer time spent waiting at the custody desk; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 12 September 2006]: The period of time required to process a suspect at a police station will vary according to the changing operational priorities within each police station, the individual circumstances of the suspect and the suspected offence or offences. An activity-based costing (ABC) model has been developed to help
managers within the police service to calculate the costs of policing activities, including time spent in police custody suites, and inform efficiency improvements.
Mr. Byrne: The key factors affecting costs are the numbers of staff and premises. Particularly important is the staff time taken to process applications. This will be different from the current passport process as people will visit a local office to allow for the recording of biometric data.
Mrs. Claire Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the implications of the quashing of the Anver Sheikh case in the Court of Appeal on 16 October for the quality of the case originally brought. 
Since the Home Affairs Committee Report in 2002, much has been done to improve the way that investigations of historical child abuse are carried out. In particular, guidance from ACPO and the CPS has been developed and reflects lessons learned from the original investigations which took place in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Mr. Coaker: The Licensing Act 2003 has given police and partner agencies greater powers to tackle alcohol-related crime and disorder. The Home Office is undertaking an assessment of the change in the timing and volume of violent offences and criminal damage from October 2004. Initial results, from a sample of police forces that have voluntarily provided data which show what time of day these crimes are committed, were published in Crime in England and Wales 2005-06 in July 2006. The data show no indication of a rise in the overall level of violent offences and criminal damage.
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