30 Nov 2009 : Column 365W

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 30 November 2009

Public Accounts Commission

National Audit Office

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission for how many days a month the non-executive directors of the National Audit Office are expected to work in return for their annual remuneration. [301674]

Mr. Alan Williams: The time commitment for the non-executive members of the NAO Board is approximately two days per month. The remuneration for the position is £20,000 per annum; the position is non-pensionable. The time commitment for the chairman of the NAO is one day a week. The remuneration is £50,000 per annum; this position is also non-pensionable.

Olympics

Olympic Games 2012: Contracts

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what the total value is of Olympic contracts awarded to (a) UK registered and (b) other firms to date. [302008]

Tessa Jowell [holding answer 26 November 2009]: I have referred this question to the Olympic Delivery Authority. I will write to the hon. Member when I have received a reply, and I will place a copy of my reply in the Libraries of both Houses.

Hywel Williams: To ask the Minister for the Olympics (1) how many Olympic (a) contracts and (b) construction contracts have been awarded to firms based in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland, (d) England and (e) other countries; [302561]

(2) what the monetary value is of Olympic (a) construction contracts and (b) other contracts that have been awarded to firms based in (i) Wales, (ii) Scotland, (iii) Northern Ireland, (iv) England and (v) other countries. [302562]

Tessa Jowell: I have referred these questions to the Olympic Delivery Authority. I will write to the hon. Member when I have received a reply, and I will place a copy of my reply in the Libraries of both Houses.

Olympic Games 2012: River Thames

Chris Huhne: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what estimate has been made of the (a) compensation and (b) other costs associated with the closure of the River Thames for the duration of the rowing events at the London 2012 Olympics. [302045]


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Tessa Jowell: No decision has been made to close any section of the River Thames for the duration of the rowing events, which are being hosted at Dorney Lake, Windsor, for either the Olympic Games or the Paralympic Games.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is responsible for staging the event and is keen to keep the river open. Together with the Olympic Delivery Authority, LOCOG is currently undertaking feasibility work around the venue to determine the requirements. It will then consult with all interested parties on the detail of the plans before submitting relevant applications through the planning process in 2010.

As a company limited by guarantee, LOCOG's costs related to the venue will be met by its budget, which is almost entirely privately-financed through sources such as sponsorship, ticketing, merchandise and broadcast rights.

Prime Minister

Climate Change

Simon Hughes: To ask the Prime Minister whether he plans to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen; and how many officials from No. 10 Downing Street plan to attend. [302362]

The Prime Minister: Yes. Information on all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500 is published on an annual basis. Information for 2009-10 will be published in the normal way.

Community Hero Receptions

Mr. Hands: To ask the Prime Minister which hon. Members have been invited to attend Community Hero receptions in 10 Downing Street. [302833]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 12 November 2009, Official Report, column 624W.

Members: Surveillance

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister if it is his policy that the terms of the Wilson Doctrine in respect of the (a) telephone tapping, (b) other interception of communications and (c) electronic surveillance of hon. Members should remain in force; and in how many instances since 1975 such interceptions have not yet been reported to the House. [302776]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Ruislip Northwood (Mr. Hurd) on 15 October 2009, Official Report, column 1028W.

Northern Ireland

Departmental Disclosure of Information

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many allegations of victimisation for whistleblowing have been made to his Department by its staff since 6 June 2006. [301496]


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Paul Goggins: Since 6 June 2006 there have been no allegations of victimisation for whistleblowing made by Northern Ireland Office staff.

Departmental Equal Pay

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what mechanisms there are to ensure his Department complies with equal pay legislation. [302651]

Paul Goggins: The Cabinet Office requires Whitehall Departments to carry out equal pay reviews. In consultation with trade unions, the Northern Ireland Office carried out an equal pay review which concluded in March 2009.

Departmental Internet

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) page hits and (b) visitors his Department's website received in 2008-09. [301856]

Mr. Woodward: The number of (a) page hits and (b) visitors to my Department's website received in 2008-09 is shown in the following table.

Page hits Unique visitors
2008 2009 2008 2009

January

371,709

354,697

24,507

22,677

February

323,421

337,061

22,927

23,572

March

356,368

384,081

29,149

30,691

April

428,044

301,818

28,829

24,945

May

449,473

370,406

28,350

23,315

June

501,941

257,233

28,297

19,793

July

463,098

722,552

20,631

18,890

August

383,870

298,577

18,458

17,942

September

441,252

398,871

22,379

19,746

October

559,138

364,315

27,814

22,925

November

(1)-

(1)-

(1)-

n/a

December

493,436

n/a

20,491

n/a

(1) Figures for the Northern Ireland Office website are not obtainable for November 2008 due to a changeover from our web statistic provider.

Departmental Meetings

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which (a) individuals other than ministerial colleagues and officials of his Department and (b) organisations he met in an official capacity in the week commencing 9 November 2009. [301160]

Mr. Woodward: In its response to a report by the Public Administration Select Committee Lobbying: Access and influence in Whitehall, the Government agreed to publish online, on a quarterly basis, information about ministerial meetings with outside interest groups. Information for the period 1 October to 31 December 2009 will be published by departments as soon as the information is ready.

Departmental Recruitment

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proportion of jobs advertised by his Department in the last 12 months were online
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only applications; and what provision his Department makes for those wishing to apply for jobs in his Department who do not have access to the internet. [301536]

Paul Goggins: In the last 12 months there have been no jobs advertised by Northern Ireland Office that were online only applications. Applications for positions can be submitted online or as a hard copy.

Departmental Working Hours

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many and what proportion of staff of his Department, its executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies work flexibly or part-time; and what his Department's policy is on making jobs available on a job-share or flexible basis. [301330]

Paul Goggins: The following table shows the number and proportion of staff in the Northern Ireland Office, its agencies and non-departmental public bodies who work flexibly or part time at 24 November 2009.

Total staff Number of part-time staff Percentage

Northern Ireland Office Core

1,329

171

12.9

Forensic Science Northern Ireland

210

29

13.8

Compensation Agency

70

6

8.5

Youth Justice Agency

77

12

15.6

Northern Ireland Prison Service

2,387

234

9.8

Non-departmental Public Bodies

95

14

14.7


Within the Northern Ireland Office, staff are expected to work conditioned hours; however there is a considerable amount of flexibility in the way staff are permitted to work. Flexible working time (that is, a flexible start and finish each day) is available to the majority of staff where operational/business needs permit.

In line with the Employment (NI) Order 2002, the Northern Ireland Office has processes in place to allow staff to request flexible working hours to enable them to balance their family and employment responsibilities.

Weapons: Decommissioning

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with (a) loyalist groups and (b) the Irish government on decommissioning of arms; and if he will make a statement. [302652]

Mr. Woodward: The Minister of State and I meet regularly with the Irish Ministers for Foreign Affairs and the Irish Justice Minister to discuss a range of issues, including decommissioning.

The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning reported to both Governments in September that they believe the Ulster Volunteer Force and Red Hand Commando had completed the decommissioning process. The IICD also reported that
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they had overseen an act of decommissioning by the Ulster Defence Association and been given a commitment that the UDA will complete the decommissioning of their arms before the expiry of the Commission's final mandate.

The decommissioning amnesty will come to an end in February 2010 and I encourage all those groups that hold illegal weapons to engage with the Commission as these arms have no place in normal society.


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