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26 Mar 2008 : Column 162W—continued


Departmental Video Conferencing

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will set a target to increase the use of video-conferencing by his Department to reduce the need to travel to meetings. [195873]

Margaret Hodge: My Department installed a new video-conferencing system as part of the recent refurbishment of our HQ building. This system is already widely used, and we are promoting the use of video-conferencing to staff with the aim of doubling use by 2010.

Heritage Lottery Fund

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on the Heritage Lottery Fund's new mentoring scheme. [194743]

Margaret Hodge: The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will launch its third strategic plan in April 2008, with changes and improvements to all its grant programmes. HLF will offer a mentoring service to applicants who need extra help in developing their projects, to increase the capacity and skills of groups applying for grants and to help improve the delivery of projects.

The role of a mentor is to help the organisation and individuals leading the project to achieve the project’s aims. Mentors may give general advice on how to carry out the project, specialist advice where a project team lacks particular experience, and guidance on good practice.

Wales

Departmental Sustainable Development

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when his Department plans to publish its sustainable operations policy statement. [195892]


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Mr. Paul Murphy: My Department is currently establishing a sustainable operations policy.

We already have a robust recycling programme for paper, cans, glass, plastic, cardboard and shredding. We recycled 5,913 kg from April to September 2007. We have been successful in reducing both energy and water consumption, and 100 per cent. of our electricity is supplied from renewable sources.

As soon as the policy is in place the statement will be published on our website.

Departmental Video Conferencing

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will set a target to increase the use of video-conferencing by his Department to reduce the need to travel to meetings. [195893]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The Wales Office is always looking at ways to reduce the need to travel to meetings. Staff are encouraged to use video conferencing facilities, both in London and Cardiff, for meetings whenever possible and do so on a regular basis.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Naval ratings are being retrained to act as HGV drivers in Afghanistan. [195954]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Currently, 36 Royal Navy ratings are being trained as HGV drivers in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan with three Commando Brigade Royal Marines later this year.

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of expenditure on British military operations in Afghanistan during (a) 2007-08, (b) 2008-09 and (c) 2009-10. [196114]

Des Browne: The MOD has requested £1.649 billion from the Treasury Reserve to cover the net additional costs of operations in Afghanistan for 2007-08. The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Budget speech that we expect to spend over £2 billion supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008-09. The highly changeable nature of operations means that we are not able to provide an accurate forecast for Afghanistan alone nor any indication of cost for 2009-10.

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria he uses to assess the effectiveness of spending on British military operations in Afghanistan. [196115]

Des Browne: The success of British military operations in Afghanistan (for which the net additional cost is funded from the Treasury Reserve), is judged against military strategic objectives set by the Chief of the Defence Staff.


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Progress is reported quarterly by the relevant commander through the Department's formal performance management process (the Defence Balanced Scorecard), which includes endorsement by the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Commitments). The Balanced Scorecard is reviewed by the Defence Board. The Defence Board's conclusions are submitted to Ministers and reflected in the Department's quarterly published public service agreement (PSA) reports and in the departmental annual report and accounts.

As part of its review of Departments' SR04 PSA reporting systems, the National Audit Office concluded that the MOD's data system is fit for the purpose of measuring and reporting performance against this target and that it found no weaknesses in the quality of disclosure of Ministry of Defence public performance reports.

Armed Forces: Mental Health Services

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions (a) he and (b) officials from his Department have had with representatives of Global Health Partners on contracts operated by the Priory Group; and if he will make a statement. [195391]

Derek Twigg: Neither I nor officials are aware of any recent discussions with Global Health Partners on contracts operated by the Priory Group.

Cyprus: Armed Forces

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many complaints have been received from (a) service personnel and (b) dependents of service personnel about treatment received after referral by a service doctor to hospitals in Cyprus in each of the last 10 years. [194946]

Derek Twigg: The majority of complaints received by Commander Medical BFC concerning either The Princess Mary hospital (TPMH, based at RAF Akrotiri) or one of the Republic of Cyprus (RoC) medical facilities are resolved locally and to the satisfaction of the complainant. TPMH operate a robust complaints procedure which is based on the equivalent NHS processes.

Records are available for 1999-2007 concerning treatment received in civilian medical facilities in the Republic of Cyprus. In this period there have been a total of 22 complaints (six from service personnel and 16 from dependents) recorded.

Complaints recorded as being made by service personnel Complaints recorded as being made by dependents

1999

0

1

2000

0

1

2001

0

2

2002

0

1

2003

0

0

2004

0

1

2005

2

5

2006

2

3

2007

2

2


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During the same time frame 137 complaints were made against TPMH itself (58 by service personnel and 79 by dependents):

Complaints recorded as being made by service personnel Complaints recorded as being made by dependents

1999

5

12

2000

5

3

2001

3

7

2002

5

10

2003

10

10

2004

7

9

2005

10

14

2006

7

7

2007

6

7


The incidence of complaints made by service personnel and their dependents concerning medical care in Cyprus (both complaints against RoC medical facilities and TPMH) is broadly comparable to the incidence of complaints received by the NHS in England when allowance for the very different size of patient population is made.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will break down, by sub-head in (a) near cash and (b) non-cash terms his Department’s (i) gross resource outturn, (ii) operating appropriations in aid outturn, (iii) gross capital outturn and (iv) non-operating appropriations in aid outturn for financial years 2001-02 to 2006-07; [191679]

(2) what his Department’s (a) gross resource departmental expenditure limit (DEL), (b) operating appropriations in aid, (c) net capital DEL and (d) non-operating appropriations in aid outturn, broken down in (i) near cash and (ii) non cash terms, was for financial years 2000-01 to 2006-07. [191682]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Substantive answer from Bob Ainsworth to Gerald Howarth:


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Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many road side bomb attacks there were in Basra in each year since 2003. [195382]

Des Browne [holding answer 19 March 2008]: The number of reported improvised explosive device (IED) attacks in Basra in each year since 2003 is as follows:

Total

2003

31

2004

115

2005

82

2006

169

2007

296

2008

24


Data for 2003 covers the period after 6 May 2003. The figure for 2008 is for incidents up until 14 March 2008.

These data reflect reported attacks on both military and civilian targets where IEDs have detonated. The figures can only be an estimate of the actual number of such incidents, as, for example, we can never be sure that all attacks, especially against civilian targets, have been reported.

Ministry of Defence Police and Guarding Agency: RAF Fairford

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with the US authorities on the level of policing at RAF Fairford by the Ministry of Defence Police. [196388]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Discussions are currently taking place between officials and the US authorities on the policing arrangements for RAF Fairford. This is part of a continuing review of security at bases used by the United States visiting force. Any changes in security would not take place without mutual agreement.

Porton Down: Human Experiments

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what settlement has been reached in respect of veterans’ claims relating to participation in trials at Porton Down; what the implications of the settlement are for veterans not represented in the claims made; and if he will make a statement. [189696]

Derek Twigg: I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Substantive answer from Derek Twigg to Mark Todd:


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