§ Margaret Hodge
[holding answer 20 January 2004]: I have worked closely with the Inter Agency Group, which brings together local government, health and voluntary sector representative bodies, to ensure that we understand their views fully in developing the Children Bill, as well as the other work the Government are taking forward following the publication of "Every Child Matters". Officials have also regularly met representatives of local government to discuss policy development. Our work has also been informed by the extensive consultation we undertook on "Every Child Matters". All areas of local government were fully represented at the nine regional consultation events and we are pleased to have received a huge response to the written consultation, including many submissions from local government representative groups and local authorities. I have also met individual local authority representatives in a number of meetings and on a range of visits.