§ Mr. Gordon Prentice
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many of his officials attended conferences430W (a) in the United Kingdom and (b) overseas; and how many and what percentage made (i) oral and (ii) written contributions to the matters under discussion in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
§ Ms Jowell
The information available is shown in the table.
United Kingdom conferences Overseas conferences Officials attended conferences between 1–2–97 and 1–2–98 (totals) 1,559 250 Number of officials who made oral contributions at those conferences (totals) 851 177 Percentage 55 71 Number of officials who made written contributions to those conferences (totals) 266 75 Percentage 17 30
The Department does not maintain centralised records of individual attendance of conferences. The information provided in the table was obtained through a trawl of officials' diaries and is the best available. Only conferences which were organised from outside the Department are included. Where an official attended more than one conference during the year the figure included in the table reflects the number of conferences attended. The Department values officials participating in selected conferences to share knowledge and keep up to date with relevant developments and to ensure, in the international context, that the United Kingdom perspective is adequately represented.