HC Deb 18 May 2004 vol 421 cc953-4W
Matthew Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff were employed in the Department to work in the communications field, and what the total expenditure on communications for the Department was, broken down by(a) Government Information and Communication Service staff and (b) other staff, broken down by (i) press officers, (ii) special advisers and (iii) others, in (A) 1994–95, (B) 1996–97, (C) 1997–98 and (D) 2001–02. [168678]

Ms Rosie Winterton

The number of staff that were employed in the Department's communications field and what expenditure on communications for the Department broken down by Government information and communication service staff and other staff for the financial years 1994 to 2002 can be provided only at disproportionate costs.

Information on numbers and costs of press officers from 1994 to 2002 is shown in the table.

Number Cost (£ million)
1994–95 14 1
1995–96 17 1
1996–97 17 1
1997–98 15 21,062
1998–99 15 21,239
1999–2000 16 21,253
2000–01 19 21,233
2001–02 22 21,279

1 The Department's staffing cost information for press and publicity division for 1994–97 does not separately identify the cost of the press office or individual press officers. This level of detail has only been available since 1997–98.

2 These figure are for the total staff costs in the Departments media centre. Press officer costs cannot be identified separately.


The increased costs reflect increased/new activity.

The special advisers' code of conduct sets out the sort of work a special adviser may undertake on behalf of their Minister. This includes communications activity. Details of the costs of special advisers are issued on an annual basis.

John Mann

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what principles govern workplace drug abuse agreements with trade unions in his Department. [171629]

Ms Rosie Winterton

The agreed policy is part of the Department's health and safety policy statement.

The relevant section reads: Alcohol and drugs. Recreational drugs are not allowed on the premises. Drugs prescribed by a doctor or over the counter medication should be kept secure.

If a member of staff were found in possession of recreational drugs on the Department's premises, they would face disciplinary action as well as appropriate police action.