HC Deb 15 September 2004 vol 424 c1574W
Malcolm Bruce

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cases against her Department, the agencies for which it is responsible and its predecessor organisations have been brought to employment tribunals in each year since 1997 in relation to(a) equal pay, (b) sex discrimination, (c) race discrimination, (d) disability discrimination and (e) unfair dismissal; how many cost awards were made against (i) respondents and (ii) applicants; and how much has been spent (A) settling and (B) contesting claims. [181460]

Alun Michael

Defra came into existence in 2001. Since then the number of cases brought against the Department and the agencies for which it is responsible is as follows:

the new quality standards and establish a national strategy to provide training and support for parish and town councils.

The National Training Strategy for parish and town councils was published in November 2001 in partnership with the Government, the Countryside Agency, the National Association of Local Councils and the Society of Local Council Clerks. Jointly, these organisations have used the £2 million mentioned above to: Establish County Training Partnerships made up of local bodies that specialise in providing training for the parish council sector (38 partnerships established); Develop a professional qualification for clerks, the Certificate in Local Council Administration (over 600 registrations for the certificate, 138 certificates awarded so far); Create a distance learning package for clerks and councillors (completed by some 800 clerks as of 1 September 2004); Produce a handbook for councillors, "The Good Councillors Guide" (80,000 copies issued); and Produce an award winning training video, "What's on the Agenda".

In addition, through the Countryside Agency, Defra is providing over £300,000 this year to continue developing County Training Partnerships and County Associations of Local Councils to act as support infrastructure for parish and town councils. Some £40,000 of this money is used to provide a bursary scheme to help small councils meet their training costs.