To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress the Department has made towards the goal set out in the White Paper, Your Region, Your Choice, of (a) ensuring that regional awareness and devolution feature strongly in civil service training and development, (b) increasing the mobility of civil servants between headquarters offices, regional offices, and the Government Offices and (c) encouraging interchange between the civil service and organisations in the regions. 
My hon. Friend the Minister of State, Cabinet Office set out the overall civil service perspective on the goal set out in the White Paper in his reply of 14 April 2003, Official Report, columns 602–03W. My Department has a key role in our regional agenda and has members of staff in every regional Government Office. We are committed to regional awareness and development and are progressing towards the goal. Regional awareness and devolution issues are always incorporated into internal DTI training where relevant. Vacancies arising in HQ offices, regional offices and the Government Offices are advertised to all DTI staff through our vacancy advertising scheme. We encourage people in the Department to consider posts in these offices as part of their career development.Our central records show that in 2002–03, 80 external secondees took up a secondment in my Department, of whom 63 per cent. were seconded from organisations based outside London. This represents an increase of 20 per cent. over the previous year.During the same period, 22 members of DTI staff took up secondments in external organisations, of whom 41 per cent. were seconded to organisations based outside London. This represents an increase of 1 per cent. over the previous year.