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This publication contains the written answers to questions tabled by Members. The content of the responses is as received at the time from the relevant Minister or representative of the Assembly Commission and has not been subject to the official reporting process or changed in any way.

Friday 23 July 2010

Written Answers to Questions

Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister
Agriculture and Rural Development
Culture, Arts and Leisure
Education
Employment and Learning
Enterprise, Trade and Investment
Environment
Finance and Personnel
Health, Social Services and Public Safety
Justice
Regional Development
Social Development
Assembly Commission
Revised Written Answers

OFFICE OF THE FIRST MINISTER AND DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER

Community Relations Work

Lord Browne asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister to outline the total expenditure by their Department on community relations work during this year to date.

(AQO 142/10)

First Minister and deputy First Minister (Mr P Robinson and Mr M McGuinness): We have invested £29m in good relations work in the current CSR period – to build a shared and better future.

Expenditure to date by the Department for 2009/10 on good relations work is £15.8m (which includes PEACE III monies).

This money is invested in sponsorship of the Community Relations Council, which delivers our grant funding through several strategic schemes to community and voluntary groups, funding of the District Councils Community Relations Programme, direct funding of groups by OFMDFM, summer interventions programme work and funding to minority ethnic groups.

We provide match funding to EU funding under the PEACE III Programme. As the Accountable Department for three Priorities within the Programme, we are strategically placed to ensure co-ordination of local activities at the local level.

Civic Forum

Mr T Clarke asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister how many letters the Department has received in the last three months requesting the re-establishment of the Civic Forum.

(AQO 149/10)

First Minister and deputy First Minister: The Department received no correspondence in the three-month period preceding the tabling of the question, nor subsequently, requesting the re-establishment of the Civil Forum. Persons with views on the future of the Civic Forum had an opportunity to submit them to the Civic Forum Review during a three-month consultation period in 2008.

Programme for Government's Child Poverty Targets

Mr F Cobain asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister to provide an update on the Programme for Government's child poverty targets.

(AQO 242/10)

First Minister and deputy First Minister: Since 1998 there has been a downward trend in the numbers of children living in relative income poverty here in Northern Ireland. However, over the most recent period for which statistics are available the figures have remained fairly static at around 24% in 2007/08, on a par with the rest of the UK.

We fully recognise that the targets we have set ourselves in respect of eradicating child poverty here are extremely challenging, particularly in light of the current economic downturn.

The Executive, however, remains totally committed to meeting this challenge by working across government to ensure long-term sustainable progress. Through the workings of the Executive Sub-Committee on Poverty and Social Inclusion, we have asked our officials to undertake work with colleagues from the other Northern Ireland Departments to progress priority actions that will benefit those groups, including children, who are currently in greatest objective need.

Within this process, officials will seek to ensure that current initiatives which contribute to tackling child poverty are properly targeted and effective and also look to identify further opportunities for cross-cutting actions.

The Northern Ireland provisions of the Child Poverty Act will also be a significant step towards focusing efforts within government to meet our challenging PfG commitments of eradicating child poverty by 2020.

The provisions of the Act specifically require us to produce and present to the Assembly, by 25 March 2011, a Child Poverty Strategy for Northern Ireland. There will be an ongoing requirement for strategies to be produced every three years and for annual reports to the Assembly.

Cross-cutting Matters

Dr S Farry asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister (i) what steps their Department intends to take to engage with a future devolved Department of Justice on cross-cutting matters; and (ii) what contribution can their Department make to cross-cutting justice and community safety issues such as reducing levels of offending.

(AQW 2682/10)

First Minister and deputy First Minister: Now that devolution of policing and justice powers has been effected, OFMDFM will collaborate with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on all relevant cross-cutting issues, particularly through DOJ involvement in inter-departmental working groups led by OFMDFM.

We have arranged to meet soon with the Minister for Justice to discuss reducing offending. Although this is the responsibility of the Department of Justice, we share Minister Ford’s view on a closer inter-departmental approach to reducing offending and we will continue to work with him to contribute to improving the lives of all people here.

International Relations Strategy

Mr S Hamilton asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister to provide an update on the development of an International Relations Strategy.

(AQO 581/10)

First Minister and deputy First Minister: The Programme for Government identified an action to develop an International Relations Strategy with OFMDFM being the lead department. This is currently under consideration by us and will, of course, be subject to consultation with Departments and Departmental Committees in advance of consideration by the Executive. It will also reflect the current fiscal environment.

The absence of a formal International Relations Strategy has not, to date, restricted the development of our international priorities. In the US, Europe and Asia, our Executive colleagues have been proactive in raising our international profile and creating opportunities for trade, investment, tourism and skills development. We will continue our international activity to support and promote economic growth.

Child Poverty

Mr D Hilditch asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister what progress has been made on eradication of child poverty by 2020 and what cross-departmental strategy has been devised to achieve this goal.

(AQO 586/10)

First Minister and deputy First Minister: The three statistical measures which have been used to assess child poverty here are firstly the relative income poverty measure; secondly the absolute income poverty measure; and a third measure which combines both low income and material deprivation. These three measures reflect slightly different aspects of poverty and together provide a more comprehensive picture than could be achieved using only one measure of child poverty.

Since 1998, there has been a downward trend in the numbers of children living in relative income poverty here in Northern Ireland. However, over the most recent period for which statistics are available the figures have remained fairly static at around 24%, on a par with the rest of the UK.

In terms of absolute income poverty, 29% of children were in poverty in 1998/99 with the most recent estimate for 2007/08 being 16%. However, as with relative income poverty over more recent years, the figures have remained fairly static.

The mixed income and material deprivation measure was first recorded in 2004/05. At that time it estimated 21% of children to be poor compared to 20% in 2007/08.

We fully recognise that the targets we have set ourselves in respect of eradicating child poverty here are extremely challenging, particularly in light of the current economic downturn.

The Executive, however, remains totally committed to meeting this challenge by working across government to ensure long-term sustainable progress. Through the workings of the Executive Sub-Committee on Poverty and Social Inclusion, we have asked our officials to undertake work with colleagues from the other Northern Ireland Departments to progress priority actions that will benefit those groups, including children, who are currently in greatest objective need.

Within this process, officials will seek to ensure that current initiatives which contribute to tackling child poverty are properly targeted and effective and also look to identify further opportunities for cross-cutting actions.

The Northern Ireland provisions of the UK Child Poverty Act will also be a significant step towards focusing efforts within government here to meet our challenging PfG commitment of eradicating child poverty by 2020.

The provisions of the Act specifically require us to produce and present to the Assembly, by 25 March 2011, a Child Poverty Strategy for Northern Ireland. There will be an ongoing requirement for strategies to be produced every three years and for annual reports to the Assembly.

Inter-Agency Joint Protocol on Flags

Dr S Farry asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister, pursuant to AQW 3615/10, to list the participants in the current review of the Inter-Agency Joint Protocol on Flags.

(AQW 4195/10)

First Minister and deputy First Minister: The working group set up to look at the current Flags Protocol and to review it has met on two occasions on 7th October and 23rd November 2009. The group does not have a set membership and participants included OFMDFM, DRD, DSD, DOE, NIO, PSNI, Equality Commission, Community Relations Council, Housing Executive, BT, NIE, Queen’s University Belfast, Ballymena and Larne Borough Councils.

Initiatives to Improve the Lives of Older People

Mr W Irwin asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister what initiatives they are undertaking to improve the lives of older people.

(AQO 784/10)

First Minister and deputy First Minister: We are continually seeking to improve the lives of all older people as detailed in PSA 7 of our Programme for Government. Here we have committed to promote social inclusion and specifically to delivering a strong independent voice for older people.

To that end, our officials are currently working to bring forward the legislation necessary to establish an Older People’s Commissioner for Northern Ireland. Policy proposals and the draft Bill have been consulted on widely, responses gathered and OFMDFM published its response in May this year. The legislation was introduced to the Assembly on 24 May and it was debated and supported by the Assembly on 7 June 2010. The Bill is now being considered by the OFMDFM Committee.

To ensure momentum in this important arena prior to introducing legislation, Ministers asked OFMDFM officials to appoint an Interim Advocate for Older People and Dame Joan Harbison took up this position on 1st December 2008.

As Older People’s Advocate, Dame Joan is helping to identify problems faced by all older people and providing us with independent advice on a range of issues that impact on all older people here, including how these might be addressed.

OFMDFM is currently reviewing the older people’s strategy "Ageing in an Inclusive Society". We are doing this with the help of the Older People’s Advisory Panel (the Panel) which is chaired by the Older People’s Advocate.

Following preliminary advice from the Panel, we have agreed to a revision of the existing action plan, pending the development of a new strategy. The revised action plan is expected to be completed by early next year with the revised strategy expected to be completed by autumn 2011.

In addition to the work being taken forward by OFMDFM, the Executive have also brought forward a number of other measures aimed at benefiting vulnerable groups including older people.

These measures include actions on fuel poverty, benefit uptake, free fares on public transport and of course free prescriptions.

Visit to the USA

Mr P J Bradley asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister, pursuant to AQO 1176/10, (i) for a breakdown of the £58,455 cost incurred by their Department on the recent visit to the USA; (ii) how many people, including Ministers, travelled to and from the USA; (iii) how many of the group flew (a) business; and (b) economy class; (iv) what was the total cost of the return flights; and (v) what was the total cost of accommodation in the USA.

(AQW 6702/10)

First Minister and deputy First Minister: The table below addresses points i and v of the question.

Flights (Transatlantic and Internal US)
£34,521.89
Accommodation
£10,548.96
Train (DC – New York)
£744.02
Car Hire
£8,763.38
Subsistence
£1,958.15
Gifts
£729.00
Photography
£1,200.00
TOTAL:
£58,465.40

In terms of point ii, we were each accompanied by a Special Adviser, a Principal Private Secretary and a Principal Information Officer throughout the duration of the visit. OFMDFM procured the services of a photographer who also accompanied us. All of the flights (point iii) were categorised as, or were of an equivalent standard to, business class with the exception of two internal US flights; one involving the deputy First Minister and his delegation, the other involved the two Principal Information Officers and photographer. Officials accompanying Ministers fly business class in line with NICS policy.

It is not possible to differentiate the cost of transatlantic flights (point iv) from internal US travel for some of the visit party as their flight package was booked on a single through ticket.

Cohesion, Sharing and Integration Document

Mrs D Kelly asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister when they will publish the Cohesion, Sharing and Integration document for consultation.

(AQW 7823/10)

First Minister and deputy First Minister: We agreed the core of the Programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration on 23rd February 2010.

Public consultation on the Programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration will be launched as soon as possible. The consultation exercise will consist of a range of public meetings held across a number of locations in addition to a round of more focused sectoral-specific events.

Once the responses to the consultation have been collated they will be taken on board within the context of a revised text as appropriate.

The redrafted programme will be considered by the Assembly Committee and the Executive before it is formally launched.

It is anticipated that the final agreed Programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration will be published before the end of the year.

Consultants

Mr D Kinahan asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister what steps they are taking to review the use of consultants in their Department.

(AQW 7993/10)

First Minister and deputy First Minister: The Department reviews the use of consultants on a continual basis in line with guidance issued by the Department of Finance and Personnel.

The term ‘consultancy’ can cover a wide variety of suppliers who offer professional and specialist expertise. External consultants are employed only when it is necessary and when it will provide value for money. External consultants are employed with a view to transferring, when appropriate and to the greatest extent possible, their knowledge and skills to the department’s staff, thereby reducing any future need to engage external consultants.

All procurement for external consultancy services is managed through Central Procurement Directorate (CPD). CPD provides the Department with advice relating to applicable legislation, inviting tenders, agreeing contracts and briefing consultants. CPD has developed Framework Agreements for consultancy services with external suppliers in line with the European Union Procurement regulations. Appropriate use of the Framework Agreement offers the Department the benefits of compliance with EU regulations, reduced internal processing costs and access to competitive fee rates.

Immigration Sub-Group of the Racial Equality Panel

Mr J Shannon asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister to outline the progress of the Immigration Sub-Group of the Racial Equality Panel.

(AQW 8029/10)

First Minister and deputy First Minister: The Forum agreed at its meeting on 24 November 2009 that a thematic sub-group should be established to consider immigration-related issues within the local context. This sub-group, chaired by the Law Centre (NI), has met on two occasions, most recently on 8 June.

The sub-group includes representatives from key statutory and voluntary agencies, including the UK Border Agency, with an interest in immigration-related issues.

The sub-group members have agreed a number of key areas of work. There has been an initial focus on issues around destitution and No Recourse to Public Funds and the related difficulties faced by both the statutory and voluntary sector. It is expected that the group will report back to both the Racial Equality Panel and the wider Forum by early autumn as this work develops.

The group will, of course, take an interest from the devolved perspective in immigration policy that is developed by the new Coalition government in Westminster, in particular the potential impact on the region of proposals for an immigration cap.

Further sub-groups may be established as agreed by the Panel and the Forum.

Block Grant

Mr J Shannon asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister for their assessment of the need to consider a reduction in bureaucracy as a means of ensuring that reductions to the block grant, as a result of the budget and Comprehensive Spending Review, do not damage the local economy and front-line services.

(AQW 8038/10)

First Minister and deputy First Minister: The spending plans of NI departments for the years 2011-12 to 2014-15 will be set as part of the local Budget 2010 process.

The total amount of funding available to the Executive for allocations to local public services will only be confirmed when the outcome of the 2010 UK Spending Review is announced on 20 October 2010. However, Treasury forecasts suggest that there will be a real terms reduction in both current expenditure and capital investment funding.

In response, local departments will need to deliver significant savings over the next four years. Although it is expected that these will come from reductions in bureaucracy and improvements in efficiency in the first instance, there will also be a need for a broader consideration of how all public services and programmes to support the economy are provided. Ultimate responsibility for the planning and delivery of savings resides with individual Ministers.

Departments here are currently working to develop both spending proposals and savings plans to be considered by the Executive. The Executive’s draft Budget 2010 document will be published for consultation in the autumn, in order to have final spending plans in place before the start of 2011.

Northern Ireland Memorial Fund

Mr T Elliott asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister to explain the delay in approving the Northern Ireland Memorial Fund's ongoing work programme.

(AQW 8175/10)

First Minister and deputy First Minister: Discussions are continuing between the Department and the Northern Ireland Memorial Fund to finalise its budget and work programme for 2010/11. We have asked the Memorial Fund to provide us with more information about proposed changes to its grant schemes and we are seeking to agree revised governance arrangements in line with increased budget responsibilities. Whilst these discussions continue, we are continuing to provide funding to individual victims and survivors through the Northern Ireland Memorial Fund.

Northern Ireland Memorial Fund

Mr T Elliott asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister to detail the funding allocated to the Northern Ireland Memorial Fund in each year since 1999; and the total funding allocation for the 2010/11 financial year.

(AQW 8177/10)

First Minister and deputy First Minister: Responsibility for the Northern Ireland Memorial Fund transferred to the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister with effect from September 2006. All the funding for the period 2007/08 onwards, is shown in the table below

YEAR Total Victims Allocation Allocation to NI Memorial Fund
2007/08
£5.47 million
£800,000
2008/09
£8.05 million
£2,039,000
2009/10
£12.4 million
£3,574,500

The fund has been awarded £1,137,500 in year 2010/11 already but the total full allocation will not be known until later in the financial year.

Bills

Mr S Hamilton asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister which of the Bills announced in the Queen's Speech are likely to apply to Northern Ireland; and which of those Bills would require a legislative consent motion to be passed by the Assembly.

(AQW 8413/10)

First Minister and deputy First Minister: The Secretary of State has notified us of five Bills which are likely to require legislative consent motions to be passed by the Assembly for some or all of their provisions if they are to apply here:

Welfare Reform Bill;

Freedom Bill;

Pensions and Savings Bill;

Energy Security and Green Economy Bill; and

Health Bill

In addition, he has informed us that the following 10 Bills will also apply to Northern Ireland but as they are likely to deal with excepted and/or reserved matters should not require a legislative consent motion.

Parliamentary Reform Bill;

Equitable Life Payments Bill;

National Insurance Contributions Bill;

Office of Budget Responsibility and National Audit Office Governance Bill;

European Communities (Amendment) Referendum Lock Bill;

Public Bodies Bill;

Financial Services Regulation Bill;

Postal Services Bill;

Draft Parliamentary Privilege Bill; and

Identity Documents Bill.

Before bringing forward a legislative consent motion to the Assembly, the Minister responsible will seek advice from the relevant statutory committee or committees and agreement from the Executive. The number of legislative consent motions required may vary depending upon amendments to Bills during their passage or as a result of further measures being brought forward in addition to those already announced.

Commission for Victims and Survivors: Replacement Commissioner

Mr D Kennedy asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister for an update on any plans they have to appoint a replacement Commissioner to the Commission for Victims and Survivors.

(AQW 8449/10)

First Minister and deputy First Minister: The Commission has submitted its work plan for 2010/11 and is committed to delivering it with the existing complement of staff. Therefore, there are currently no plans to appoint a fourth Commissioner to the Commission for Victims and Survivors. The Commission is due for a review this financial year – the Department will reassess the situation following the completion of this review.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems

Mr P McGlone asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development if any discussions have taken place between her Department, or its agencies, and the Department of the Environment and the Department for Regional Development, or their agencies, in relation to Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems; and to outline how many meetings have taken place and the outcome of these meetings.

(AQW 7929/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (Ms M Gildernew): The issue of Sustainable Drainage Systems is being led by the Department of the Environment and my Officials in DARD Rivers are members of the cross Departmental SuDS Working Group. This group advised the creation of the DOE paper "Managing Stormwater, a Strategy for Promoting the use of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) within NI". I have been advised that this paper received the endorsement of the Assembly Environment Committee and is expected to be implemented soon. My officials in Rivers Agency remain happy to work with their colleagues in DOE to progress this matter as requested.

Badger Cull to Prevent the Spread of Bovine TB

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development if she has had any discussions with her counterpart in the Deparftment of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in relation to a badger cull to prevent the spread of bovine TB; and if these discussions have enabled the initiation of a cull Northern Ireland.

(AQW 7931/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: I note that the new Liberal-Conservative Coalition in Britain has announced that, as part of a package of measures, they will introduce a carefully-managed and science-led policy of badger control in areas with high and persistent levels of bovine TB. I have not had any discussions with my counterpart in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in relation to a badger cull. I understand that decisions on the shape of the Defra package of measures have not yet been taken and that the Coalition wishes to consider all the issues carefully, including the scientific evidence, and to work out the detail of the package to ensure they get it right. They will be looking at vaccine and culling options as part of that package. They will also watch how Wales embarks on their planned badger cull whilst they finalise their own plans. I shall be very interested to see exactly what it is they propose and how it is to be funded.

My Department has a rigorous TB programme in place, approved by the EU, which includes a strand to address the wildlife factor. The ultimate aim of our TB strategy is to eradicate TB in cattle in the north of Ireland.

Interventions to address the wildlife issue may include improving biosecurity, as well as options for more direct intervention such as the vaccination of badgers, which may be the most feasible solution in the long-term though I recognise it could be some time before an effective oral badger vaccine becomes available. We plan to carry out a TB Biosecurity Study this year to assess what critical differences there are between infected and non-infected herds in a TB high incidence area in County Down. Consideration of both selected cattle and wildlife factors will be key elements of this Study which will help inform new biosecurity advice for farmers. We are also seeking to see how other AFBI research and development projects can best contribute to the fight against TB.

To date, research involving badger culling elsewhere presents a mixed picture of its cost benefit and effectiveness in reducing disease levels in cattle. It would appear that the cost exceeds the benefit by 2-3 times. There are no plans for any cull of badgers here. As the badger is a protected species, any direct interventions in the badger population would be subject to the agreement of the Environment Minister, and also to the availability of the substantial additional funding that would be needed.

My officials will continue to maintain contact with the work that is on-going in the south of Ireland and in England to develop a viable vaccine for badgers, which can be deployed in a cost effective way. We will also track the progress of the Welsh cull as well as the delivery of the Defra package of measures in England.

Action to deal with cattle to cattle transmission of TB will also continue to be an important element of our TB strategy as we move forward.

The Use of Consultants

Mr D Kinahan asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development what steps she is taking to review the use of consultants in her Department.

(AQW 7954/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: I believe that it is important that Consultants are only used when and where necessary. I am therefore currently reviewing the use of consultants within my Department.

Funding for Fencing of New Woodland Areas

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development if she would consider allocating funding for fencing of new woodland areas, similar to the Woodland Creation scheme in Scotland.

(AQW 7972/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: Last year Forest Service reviewed the standard cost models for eligible operations associated with woodland establishment. These models already include a sum for fencing and therefore an additional payment for fencing is inappropriate.

Woodland Creation

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development what discussions she has had with her counterpart in Scotland in relation to Woodland Creation and rolling out a similar scheme in Northern Ireland.

(AQW 7976/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: I have not discussed Woodland Creation Schemes with my counterpart in Scotland and have no plans to introduce a similar scheme here. However, Forest Service and Forestry Commission Scotland officials discuss aspects of their respective schemes on a regular basis.

Movement of a Cattle Herd Infected with Brucellosis from Keady to Caledon

Lord Morrow asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development why her Department allowed a herd of cattle from Keady, known to be infected with brucellosis, to be moved for wintering to the Caledon area last autumn, resulting in cattle in the neighbouring area having to undergo three separate tests for the disease, all of which had to be clear; and for the estimated cost of this action, including veterinary fees for the tests.

(AQW 8056/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: My Veterinary Service aims to deal with disease breakdowns through sound risk assessment of the disease threat and by applying relevant controls. This may include removal of the herd, restrictions on movements of cattle within the herd and possible segregation of groups of cattle within the herd. Restrictions and testing of neighbours thought to have been at risk is another element of our control measures. When we detect disease, we frequently apply measures retrospectively. Without further details of the herds involved it is not possible to discuss the actual circumstances of this case. If further details were provided in the question, it would be possible to give a more specific and detailed response.

Grants Available in Strangford

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development what grants are available for farming and business programmes in the Strangford constituency.

(AQW 8059/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: Grants are currently available for farming and business programmes across the north, including the Strangford constituency under the following measures of the Rural Development Programme:

Axis 1

Measure 1.1 Vocational Training and Information Actions

Measure 1.4 Supply Chain Development Programme

Axis 3

Measure 3.1: Diversification into non-agricultural activities;

Measure 3.2: Support for business creation and development; and

Measure 3.3: Encouragement of tourism activities.

In addition, four measures are currently open under the European Fisheries Fund:

Measure 2.1: Measures for productive investments in aquaculture;

Measure 2.3: Investments in processing and marketing;

Measure 3.1: Collective actions; and

Measure 3.3: Fishing ports, landing sites and shelters.

Rural Development Programme

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to detail the events taking place under the Rural Development Programme in Strangford and all other constituencies in 2010/11.

(AQW 8060/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: No ministerial events promoting the NI Rural Development Programme 2007-13 (RDP) have taken place in the Strangford constituency or elsewhere thus far in this financial year, although I can confirm that a number took place in February and March. The Member will appreciate that it is not ministerial practice to divulge details of scheduled events in advance. However, I am pleased to report that I hope to attend several RDP-related events across the north of Ireland over the coming months, depending on the receipt of suitable invitations.

Staff from my Department have attended a number of events across the north promoting the RDP during 2010/11, the most notable being the Balmoral Show in May.

They have also promoted the RDP at Ballymena, Ballymoney, Armagh and Omagh agricultural shows and are due to attend Derry-Limavady, Castlewellan, Clogher Valley and Enniskillen Shows before the end of the summer.

Tayto Factory in Tandragee

Mr P J Bradley asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development how many times she has visited the Tayto factory in Tandragee since becoming Minister and the dates of any visits.

(AQW 8096/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: I visited the Tayto factory in Tandragee once, this was on 30 October 2007. During the visit I received a tour of the factory and was impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm of the staff.

Meat Plants

Mr P J Bradley asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development for her assessment of the current price being paid by meat plants to beef producers.

(AQW 8097/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: I am aware of the current instability in relation to beef prices and understand the frustration among producers regarding the price paid for their cattle. We would all want to see better and more stable prices.

Whilst the price paid to producers and the establishment of pricing structures is strictly a commercial matter, I believe that I have a role to encourage and facilitate dialogue to help make the supply chain work as effectively as possible for everyone.

In view of the present harsh financial operating conditions, I would also encourage producers to avail of the benchmarking services provided by CAFRE’s Greenmount Campus which should help identify farm business strengths and weaknesses and thereby enable producers to maximise profit margins on the back of what the market can offer.

Cross-Border Agricultural Issues

Mr P J Bradley asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development for her assessment of the lack of progress being made on cross-border agricultural issues.

(AQW 8098/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: Significant progress has been made across a wide range of formal and informal cross-border activities. Some examples of progress within the forum of the North South Ministerial Council include:-

The agreement of the All-Island Animal Health and Welfare Strategy at the North South Ministerial Council Agriculture Sectoral meeting in Hillsborough in March 2010.

On-going all Ireland co-operation on animal health and welfare issues has the potential to help reduce and prevent the spread of animal disease as well as facilitate trade and improve the sustainability of farming. The positive outcomes already achieved as a result of the close co-operation on animal health and welfare through the North South Working Groups that were established under the Good Friday Agreement includes:

As we go forward, the all Ireland strategic approach will enable the achievement of further positive outcomes. We will continue with our Fortress Ireland approach to protect the whole island from the threat of serious animal diseases, such as Bluetongue. I hope that at an early stage we will gain EU recognition of freedom from Aujeszky’s Disease throughout the whole island, which will open up a number of export opportunities for the pig industry. We are continuing to take steps to reduce Brucellosis in the north of Ireland and I hope that we can achieve Brucellosis free status throughout all of Ireland in the near future, which will benefit everyone and lead to a reduction in testing and the associated costs for both farmer and tax-payer. We will continue to work together towards having mutual recognition of genotype programmes during 2010. This will permit trade movements in breeding sheep from the north to the south and vice versa without the need for further genotyping. We will continue to work together on strategies to tackle TB, on data sharing and on animal identification. In addition, we are continuing to work towards broadly similar primary legislation on diseases of animals and welfare of animals.

All of this work will help contribute towards the ultimate aim of the free movement of animals on the island of Ireland.

A comprehensive report on a joint strategic approach to plant health and pesticides has been developed which identified a number of areas of mutual interest that would benefit from an agreed framework for co-ordination and delivery. This is being taken forward by the Plant Health & Pesticides Steering Group and includes work on contingency plans; the efficient use of laboratory facilities and resources; exchange of best practice; joint campaigns on alerting and educating the industry on plant health issues; co-operation on the Protected Zone surveys; and co-operation on Pest Risk Analysis of new threats;

Regular reports have been delivered to the North South Ministerial Council on Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) issues including the CAP Health Check, CAP post 2013, WTO negotiations, the EU response to the poor returns received by milk producers during most of 2009 and developments concerning climate change and agriculture.

Progress has also been made in strategically directing the Steering Committee for Cross Border Rural Development to support sustainable social and economic development including facilitating cooperation on a range of strategy and delivery issues such as shared positive impacts from EU-funded rural initiatives.

Officials in both Administrations also remain in close contact and participate in a range of meetings where co-operation takes place at a less formal operational level. This enables a valuable exchange of knowledge and experience on issues such as flood risk management; education in the agriculture sector and sustainable forest management and operational forestry matters.

Forest Service has in the past year established a forestry forum with Coillte, aimed at dealing with matters of common purpose, for example, the promotion of Woodland expansion in the north & south.

I have also established a north south unit within the Department to monitor progress on cross-border issues and report to me on a regular basis. I believe that activities such as those highlighted above demonstrate my commitment to promote an all Ireland approach.

European Commission Fine

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development how her Department will pay the £60m European Commission fine without impacting on its statutory duties and service provision.

(AQW 8130/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: I would refer the Member to the answer I provided to AQW 7609/10 tabled by Mr Alex Easton MLA and published in the Official Report of Written Answers to Questions dated Friday 25 June 2010.

Imported Foodstuffs

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to detail the percentage of foodstuffs (i) imported and consumed in Northern Ireland; and (ii) imported, further processed and exported from Northern Ireland in each of the last three years.

(AQW 8134/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: DARD does not collect information on foodstuffs imported into and consumed in the north of Ireland. We have estimates of the value of semi-processed foodstuffs purchased from outside the north of Ireland (including from Britain) for further processing by the food and drinks processing sector. These values for the three most recent years available are as follows:

2005 - £176 million

2006 - £187 million

2007 - £209 million

We do not hold any data on the final market destination of products derived from this component of the intake of the food and drinks processing sector.

Scout Troops

Mr A McQuillan asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to outline her Department's policy on scout troops using Forest Services land for camping.

(AQW 8203/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: DARD Forest Service manages Youth Camping sites at several forest areas across the north of Ireland. These sites are frequently utilised by youth organisations, including Scout troops, and the organisations are representative of a wide range of community backgrounds and cultures.

Payment charges for using the sites comply with Department of Finance & Personnel guidelines, and the rationale for these charges is more fully explained in Forest Service’s document ‘Fees and Charges: Operational Strategy for the Provision of Recreational Services’. It is intended that the nightly fees on camping sites should fully cover the operating costs.

My Department’s officials recognise that there is also some demand for a more basic type of camping provision to help young people develop skills in field craft and other outdoor activities. Forest Service managers have recently been in discussion with representatives from the Scouts, including some from within the Member’s own constituency, to agree the most appropriate way forward to facilitate this type of request while meeting our wider management responsibilities.

Fresh Water Levels

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development what steps he is taking to ensure that fresh water levels are maintained, in light of the recent dry spell.

(AQW 8217/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: As the statutory flood defence and drainage authority DARD Rivers Agency has permissive powers under the Drainage Order (NI) 1973 to inspect and maintain as necessary all designated watercourses to ensure they are free flowing and clear from any obstruction likely to create a significant flood risk or drainage impediment.

The Agency is also responsible for the control, so far as is practicable, of water levels on Upper and Lower Lough Erne, the inter Lough channel, Lough Neagh and along the Lower Bann. In some of these locations statutory maximum and minimum levels are stipulated and Rivers Agency staff ensure, as far as possible, that levels do not fall outside these specified levels. At present water levels in these locations are above any minimum statutory level that exists.

Scottish Fisheries Council

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development what contact she has had with the Scottish Fisheries Council in relation to fishing for clams and the methods used.

(AQW 8219/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: I have not had any contact with the Scottish Fisheries Council on this matter. My officials will be participating in a series of meetings over the summer months with their counterparts from other fisheries administrations to discuss a range of shellfish issues including the approaches being taken to scallop management.

On-line VAT Return Facility

Mr D Kinahan asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development what representations she has made, on behalf of farmers, to the Treasury in relation to the ease of use of the on-line VAT return facility.

(AQW 8222/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: I have not made any representations to the Treasury in relation to the use of the on-line VAT return facility.

I am not aware that this is an issue which has been raised by farmers with the Department and, in any case, it would be for individual farmers to complete their own VAT returns.

European Commission Fine

Mr J Bell asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, in light of the £60m fine imposed by the European Commission on her Department for the maladministration of farming subsidies from 2004 to 2006, if she has any concerns over the administration of European Commission subsidies for the period 2007 to 2009; and if she can provide an assurance that farmers will not be unfairly targeted and penalised as a result of this fine.

(AQW 8250/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: The Commission’s procedures lead it to apply a 5% correction when it concludes that all the key control checks have been applied, but not to the extent required to provide sufficient assurance of the regularity of claims. In these circumstances, the Commission views the risk of loss to the Fund as significant.

I have concerns over the amount of disallowance proposed and I am currently challenging this. However, the probability is that until this situation is resolved to the Commission’s satisfaction, we will continue to face ongoing disallowance. In view of the Commission’s position, I have asked my officials to undertake a project to systematically review, and where necessary, amend every field within the DARD system.

It is the farmers’ responsibility to ensure that they comply with the rules of the subsidy scheme being claimed. If my Department finds an irregularity, for example a claim being made on land that is clearly ineligible, it has to apply penalties in line with the EU regulations, and if it is subsequently determined that a fraudulent claim has been made, will actively consider prosecution.

Northern Ireland Countryside Management Scheme

Dr S Farry asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to detail the number of people who have signed up to the delayed cutting and grazing option of the Northern Ireland Countryside Management Scheme in each of the last five years; and the area of land involved for each year.

(AQW 8300/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: The new Countryside Management Scheme (CMS) agreements started on 1 January 2009 and therefore I can only provide figures for that calendar year. Scheme payments are issued following the end of each calendar year. The previous CMS did not offer the delayed cutting and grazing option. Table 1 shows participants who have undertaken to manage this habitat and gives the total area of land involved.

Table 1: Participants who have undertaken delayed cutting and grazing habitat enhancement option and the area of land involved (ha).

Year Participants undertaken delayed cutting and grazing habitat enhancement option Area of land involved (ha)
2009
81
382.67

A number of other options within agri-environment (AE) schemes can benefit the Irish hare, such as ungrazed grass margins. Ungrazed grass margins are available to recipients of the current CMS and are also available under old CMS and Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) schemes. In the 2009 calendar year there were 303 ha of ungrazed grass margins included in 728 agreements with farmers.

Northern Ireland Countryside Management Scheme

Dr S Farry asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development what correspondence she has had with the Department of the Environment on the delayed cutting and grazing option of the Northern Ireland Countryside Management Scheme since the scheme was launched.

(AQW 8301/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: Since the New Countryside Management Scheme (CMS) was launched, DARD has had no correspondence with the Department of the Environment (DOE) on the delayed cutting and grazing option. However, prior to the New CMS launch DARD consulted widely with stakeholders, including the Irish Hare Species Action Group in which DOE representatives participated.

European Common Fisheries Policy

Mr T Elliott asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, pursuant to AQW 2934/10, for her assessment of the approximate market value of (i) cod; (ii) haddock; and (iii) whiting landed that had to be thrown overboard as it was below or above minimum landing size.

(AQW 8377/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: Fish that are caught and discarded subsequently because they are below the minimum landing size have no market value because they cannot be legally landed or sold. The market value of the 2008/9 discard estimates for fish above minimum landing size stated in the AQW 2934/10 is as follows –

  Tonnes Avg. price kg Value
Cod
0.6
£2.00
£1,200
Haddock
2.0
£1.50
£3,000
Whiting
17.8
£1.25
£22,500

European Commission Fine

Dr S Farry asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to outline her understanding of her accountability obligations to the Assembly in light of her decision not to make a statement to the Assembly on the £60m disallowance.

(AQW 8397/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: I am well aware of my obligations both as a Minister and as a Member of the Assembly.

I have discharged my obligations fully through the provision of information and clarification on the ‘disallowance’ issue in the course of Assembly Written and Oral questions and ensured that this issue was brought to the attention of the Agriculture & Rural Development Committee. I have also contributed to the further dissemination of this information through media coverage aimed at ensuring that the industry and wider rural community were also kept fully informed.

I will consider making a statement to the Assembly if there are significant developments with this issue.

Compensation in Lieu of Lost Crops

Mr P J Bradley asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development for an update on the request from farmers and growers for compensation in lieu of crops lost in last winter’s inclement weather.

(AQW 8425/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: A funding bid for potato losses following the severe January 2010 frost and also for sheep losses due to the ice storm of 31 March was submitted as part of the June monitoring round. The outcome of this is still awaited.

Should funding be made available, an announcement about a scheme will be made in due course.

Single Farm Payment

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development how many applications for the Single Farm Payment were granted following appeal in each constituency in each of the last three years.

(AQW 8435/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: I refer the member to my answer of 5 May 2010 (AQW 6560/10 refers).

I am unable to provide the information you have requested by constituency. My Department does not hold information relating to SFP applications by constituency. I am able to provide you an update to the information I provided on 5 May 2010, by postcode.

From 1 May 2010 until 2 July 2010 my Department has changed 14 of its decisions following a Review of Decisions application.

The table below sets out the information by postcode.

Single Farm Payment Review of Decisions (Appeal) cases that resulted in a change to DARD’s original decision (1 May 2010 – 2 July 2010)
Post Code Number Cases resulting in a changed decision
BT22
2
BT34
1
BT44
1
BT57
1
BT60
1
BT62
1
BT71
1
BT77
1
BT80
1
BT94
4
TOTAL 14

Single Farm Payment

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development how many applications for the Single Farm Payment were turned down in each constituency in each of the last three years.

(AQW 8441/10)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: To date, 374 applications to the 2009 Single Farm Payment Scheme have been turned down and consequently no payment was due. The numbers for scheme years 2008 and 2007 are 273 and 313 respectively.

The Department does not hold Single Farm Payment details on a constituency basis. The data is currently held by county and postcode where known.

A list of the total numbers of unsuccessful applications received for years 2007, 2008 and 2009, as at 7 July 2010, for each postcode area is attached at Annex A.

Annex A
Single Farm Payment Applications Turned Down 2007 to 2009
Postcode 2007 2008 2009
100% penalty applied & ineligible claims Inadmissible claims i.e. received after 11 June 2007 100% penalty applied & ineligible claims Inadmissible claims i.e. received after 9 June 2008 100% Penalty applied & Ineligible claims Inadmissible claims i.e. received after 9 June 2009
BT1
0
0
0
0
3
1
BT2
0
0
1
0
2
0
BT3
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT4
0
1
0
0
1
1
BT5
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT6
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT7
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT8
2
0
2
1
3
0
BT9
1
0
0
0
1
0
BT10
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT11
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT12
0
0
0
0
0
1
BT13
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT14
1
0
1
0
1
0
BT15
1
0
0
0
0
0
BT16
1
0
2
0
0
0
BT17
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT18
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT19
1
0
0
0
0
0
BT20
2
0
1
0
0
0
BT21
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT22
1
3
1
0
1
0
BT23
8
4
2
1
5
2
BT24
2
2
4
1
6
1
BT25
2
1
2
0
4
3
BT26
1
0
0
0
1
0
BT27
3
2
2
1
0
0
BT28
3
1
2
2
3
3
BT29
1
1
3
0
5
0
BT30
8
0
2
2
9
1
BT31
1
0
0
0
0
0
BT32
2
0
4
0
7
1
BT33
1
0
0
0
0
0
BT34
17
1
8
1
12
1
BT35
7
3
9
3
14
3
BT36
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT37
0
0
0
0
0
1
BT38
1
0
0
0
1
0
BT39
4
4
2
0
1
2
BT40
2
1
3
0
0
1
BT41
3
1
3
0
3
1
BT42
6
6
5
2
4
1
BT43
1
0
2
0
3
1
BT44
8
2
6
1
6
0
BT45
5
2
5
2
4
0
BT46
4
1
4
0
3
1
BT47
8
1
6
3
12
1
BT48
1
0
0
0
1
0
BT49
6
2
4
2
3
1
BT50
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT51
5
2
5
3
8
1
BT52
2
1
0
1
0
0
BT53
4
2
6
2
7
1
BT54
0
0
0
0
1
1
BT55
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT56
4
1
1
0
1
1
BT57
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT58
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT59
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT60
4
0
5
1
6
3
BT61
1
0
5
0
4
2
BT62
6
2
8
3
1
1
BT63
3
0
3
1
2
0
BT64
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT65
1
0
0
0
0
0
BT66
5
1
6
0
4
1
BT67
1
1
0
1
1
0
BT68
0
0
0
1
1
0
BT69
3
0
3
0
2
0
BT70
9
2
6
2
9
1
BT71
10
5
6
2
13
2
BT72
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT73
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT74
5
3
7
0
20
2
BT75
2
0
1
1
4
2
BT76
0
0
2
0
2
0
BT77
2
0
2
0
3
1
BT78
12
1
12
2
24
1
BT79
12
3
9
1
13
1
BT80
6
2
5
3
9
1
BT81
5
0
3
0
6
0
BT82
4
0
4
0
6
0
BT83
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT84
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT85
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT86
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT87
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT88
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT89
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT90
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT91
0
0
0
0
0
0
BT92
6
0
13
4
20
2
BT93
2
3
6
2
15
1
BT94
3
2
8
1
12
1
No BT Postcode Held
9
2
8
0
6
1
Totals
241
72
220
53
319
55
 
313
273
374

DEPARTMENT OF CULTURE, ARTS AND LEISURE

Public Museums and Art Galleries

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to detail for each of the last ten years (i) the total number of items from public museums and art galleries that were (a) lost or misplaced; and (b) stolen; (ii) the types of items missing; (iii) the length of time for which each item was missing; (iv) whether each item was found or is still missing; (v) the value of these items; and (vi) the costs incurred in replacing these items.

(AQW 7739/10)

Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure (Mr N McCausland): The attached Appendix A contains the details in answer to the above questions.

Year 2010
Annex A
 
No of items Description Time recorded as missing Found Estimated Value Cost of replacement
Stolen
1
American Eight Day Gingerbread Clock
02.04.2009
No
£300
 
1
Pair of wire rimmed spectacles
00.06.2009
No
£20
 
1
Staffordshire earthenware ornament
04.06.2009
No
£500
 
Lost
 
 
 
 
 
Misplaced
1
species : Melitaea didyma
2010 Audit
No
£15
 
1
species : Chesias rufata
2010 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : ICHNEUMON
2010 Audit
No
£2.50
 
1
PHOTOGRAPH; Glass plate negative; species : Nymphaea alba Stamp from South Australia : 6 pence, surcharged 5 pence
2010 Audit
No
£10
 
1
Fire Dog
2010 Audit
No
£3.75
 
1
Shoemaker’s knife
2010 Audit
No
£70-£100
 
1
Shop’s advertisement
2010 Audit
No
£40
 
1
Draw knife
2010 Audit
No
£40-£50
 
1
Cardboard Tags
2010 Audit
No
£40-£55
 
1
School book
2010 Audit
No
£15
 
1
Doll
2010 Audit
No
£30-£40
 
1
Handle
2010 Audit
No
£60-£125
 
1
 
2010 Audit
No
£3
 
Year 2009
 
No of items Description Length of time missing Found Estimated Value Cost of replacement
Stolen
           
Lost
           
Misplaced
1
Library Book-Edwardian Belfast: A Social Profile (Explorations in Irish History)
2009 Audit
No
 
£10
1
Doll’s Clothes
2009 Audit
No
£40-£50
 
1
Tea cosy cover
2009 Audit
No
£125
 
1
Patchwork bedcover
2009 Audit
No
£300-£500
 
3
Augers
2009 Audit
No
£40-£60
 
1
Canal lock gate equipment
2009 Audit
No
£150
 
1
Silversmith’s sandbag
2009 Audit
No
£50-£80
 
1
Mason’s stone hammer
2009 Audit
No
£50-£80
 
1
String holder
2009 Audit
No
£60-£80
 
1
Basket makers cleaver of ‘splitter’
2009 Audit
No
£60
 
1
Green-glass hanging lamp
2009 Audit
No
£60
 
1
Piece of bog butter
2009 Audit
No
n/a
 
1
Crimping tongs
2009 Audit
No
£40
 
3
Jelly moulds
2009 Audit
No
£60-£100
 
1
Black leather pocket book
2009 Audit
No
£25
 
1
Auger
2009 Audit
No
£20
 
1
Weighing machine
2009 Audit
No
£200
 
1
Bottle, medical
2009 Audit
No
£5
 
1
Washing board
2009 Audit
No
£20
 
1
Helmet; Civil defence
2009
No
£25
 
1
Card Game
2009
No
£10
 
1
C.D Brassard [Civil Defence Armband]
2009
No
£10
 
Year 2008
 
No of items Description Length of time missing Found Estimated Value Cost of replacement
Stolen
           
Lost
           
Misplaced
1
turf barrow
2008 Audit
No
£400
 
1
plane
2008 Audit
No
£20
 
1
spectacles
2008 Audit
No
£40
 
1
lamp
2008 Audit
No
£30
 
1
bottle, ink
2008 Audit
Yes 2010
£10
 
1
jam jar
2008 Audit
Yes 2010
£10
 
1
Library Book – How it is Made c.1941
2008 Audit
No
£5
 
1
Cassette
2008 Audit
No
£2
 
1
Baby brush and comb set
2008 Audit
No
£70
 
1
Fleece
2008 Audit
No
£80
 
1
Overskirt
2008 Audit
No
£60-£100
 
1
Sampler
2008 Audit
No
£250
 
1
Blouse
2008 Audit
No
£100
 
1
Scarf Lace
2008 Audit
No
£100
 
1
Clerical Hat
2008 Audit
No
£200
 
1
Doll
2008 Audit
No
£350
 
1
Bedspread
2008 Audit
No
£300
 
1
Baking board
2008 Audit
No
£60
 
1
Tongs (broken)
2008 Audit
No
£15
 
1
Round plane
2008 Audit
No
£60-£70
 
1
Wheelwright’s hoop dog
2008 Audit
No
£100
 
1
Object, Ballycastle glass
2008 Audit
No
£100
 
1
Linen cart
2008 Audit
Yes 2008
£2000-£3000
 
1
2 Horse reaper
2008 Audit
No
£700-£900
 
Year 2007
 
No of items
Description
Length of time missing
Found
Estimated Value
Cost of replacement
Stolen
           
Lost
           
Misplaced
           
Year 2006
  No of items Description Length of time missing Found Estimated Value Cost of replacement
Stolen
           
Lost
           
Misplaced
1
Disc, ground
2006
No
£10
 
1
Pointed implement, double
2006
No
£100
 
1
Axe
2006
No
£100
 
1
Facetted hammer, round
2006
No
£50
 
1
Rubber
2006
No
£100
 
6
Photographic Prints
2006
No
£5 each
 
Year 2005
  No of items Description Length of time missing Found Estimated Value Cost of replacement
Stolen
1
Gilt Pocket Watch
20/11/2005
No
£70
 
1
Decorative Watch Strand
21/11/2005
No
£30
 
1
Nickel Plated Gents Pocket Watch
22/11/2005
No
£60
 
Lost
           
Misplaced
           
Year 2004
  No of items Description Length of time missing Found Estimated Value Cost of replacement
Stolen
           
Lost
           
Misplaced
           
Year 2003
  No of items Description Length of time missing Found Estimated Value Cost of replacement
Stolen
1
Large Wooden Beetle
September 2003
No
£70-£100
 
1
Medium sized cast Iron Kettle
September 2003
No
£70-£125
 
2
Metal milk / Billy cans, one without a lid
September 2003
No
£30
 
1
Small American clock, in working condition
September 2003
No
£150-£200
 
1
Small white enamel candleholder
September 2003
No
£20
 
2
Pair of framed Prints (colour Portraits of King Edward VII & Queen Alexandra)
September 2003
No
£100-£250
 
1
Small hand oil lamp, clear glass reservoir
September 2003
No
£60-£70
 
1
Framed text ‘The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want’
September 2003
No
£70
 
Lost
 
 
 
 
 
Misplaced
1
PRINT; The Rialto Bridge from the West, Venice
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£50
 
1
PRINT; David Hartley
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£250
 
1
PRINT; Abstraction
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£75
 
1
BROOCH; (copy of Tara brooch)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£400
 
1
Brooch, gilt dragon
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£100
 
1
Painting, James McQuitty, Esq. (1922)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£800
 
1
Painting, Portrait of Unknown Woman (1903?)
2003 Audit
No
£500
 
1
Drawing, At Cushendall (1858)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£800
 
1
Drawing, The land-rail or corn crake (Crex crex)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£4000
 
1
Paten
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£5000
 
1
COFFEE-POT; Coffee Pot : Bateson
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£30000
 
1
core : dual opposed
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£50
 
1
BELT; Sam Brown Belt with frog
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
Belt
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£50
 
1
COIN; halfpenny
2003 Audit
No
£1
 
1
COIN; shilling ; forgery
2003 Audit
No
£1
 
1
COIN; half mark
2003 Audit
No
£1
 
1
COIN; two cash
2003 Audit
No
£2
 
1
COIN; penny
2003 Audit
No
£12
 
1
TOKEN; half penny
2003 Audit
No
£15
 
1
photographic lantern slide
2003 Audit
No
£20
 
1
photographic print
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
Photographic print
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
PHOTOGRAPH; Glass negative
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
PHOTOGRAPH; Glass negative
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
PHOTOGRAPH; Glass negative
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
Bookplate
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Tetraphis pellucida Hedw.
2003 Audit
No
£5
 
1
species : Ceratodon purpureus (Hedw.) Brid.
2003 Audit
No
£5
 
1
species : Rubus wahlbergii Arrh.
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Gibbula pennanti (Philippi, 1846)
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Anomia ephippium Linne, 1758
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Delias doytes ssp. Doylei
2003 Audit
No
£15
 
1
species : Hypopimnas missippus
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Anartia jatrophae L
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£15
 
1
species : Boloria selene (Dennis : Schiffermueller 1775)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Euphydryas aurinia (Rottemburg 1775)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£15
 
1
species : Euphydryas aurinia (Rottemburg 1775)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£15
 
1
species : Euphydryas aurinia (Rottemburg 1775)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£15
 
1
species : Euphydryas aurinia (Rottemburg 1775)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£15
 
1
species : Euphydryas aurinia (Rottemburg 1775)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£15
 
1
species : Euphydryas aurinia (Rottemburg 1775)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£15
 
1
species : Pieris napi (Linnaeus 1758)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£257.50
 
1
species : Euxoa tritici (Linnaeus 1761)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£5
 
1
species : Pyrrhia umbra (Hufnagel 1766)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Lycia zonaria (Schiff)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Epirrata dilutata (Denis and Schiffermuller)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Erebia pandrose Borkhausen 1788
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£25
 
1
species : Pyrgus alveus Huebner 1803
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£15
 
1
species : Maculinea arion Linnaeus 1761
2003 Audit
No
£25
 
1
species : Gastrophysa polygoni Linnaeus, 1758
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Notiophilus germinyi Fauvel, 1863
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Platyderus ruficollis (Marsham, 1802)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Megatoma undata (Linnaeus, 1758)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
WASP
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
FLY
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Adalia 7-punctata
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Adalia conglobata
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
HYMENOPTERA
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
HYMENOPTERA
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
PHOTOGRAPHS; Glass plate negative
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
PHOTOGRAPHS; Glass plate negative
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Empis (Euempis) tessellate
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Empis (Euempis) tessellata Fabricius, 1794
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Bicellaria sulcata Zett., 1842
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Barylypa insidiator (Foerster)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Hilara brevistyla Collin, 1927
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Eristalis (S. G. Eoseristalis) intricarius (Linnaeus)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Bicellaria vana Collin, 1926
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Empis S. Anachrostichus verralli Collin, 1927
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Glypta bicornis Boie, 1850
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Cleorodes lichenaria (Hufnagel 1767)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Halictus S. Seladonia tumulorum (Linnaeus, 1758)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Leucozona lucorum (Linne)
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Xantholinus linearis
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Maculinea teleius Bergstrasser, 1779
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£20
 
1
species : Maculinea teleius Bergstrasser, 1779
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£20
 
1
species : Rhingia campestris Meigen
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
species : Zizeeria knysna Trimen
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£30
 
1
species : Glaucopsyche alexis Poda, 1761
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£20
 
1
species : Sphaerophonia menthrasti
2003 Audit
Yes 06 decant
£10
 
1
Sketch for Poster : Palm Trees
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
HYMENOPTERA
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
HYMENOPTERA
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
HYMENOPTERA
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Larentia flavicincta
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Eupithecia pulchellata
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Eupithecia scabiosata
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Xanthorhoe montanata
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Xanthorhoe fluctuate
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Eucosmia certata
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Maniola jurtina
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Tachinus signatus
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Aloconota gregaria Erichson
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Tachyporus atriceps
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Hadena serena
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Procus faruncula
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Antitype chi
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Griposia aprilina
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Agrochola lota
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Scotopteryx luridata
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Lithomoia solidaginis
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Pristiphora alnivora (Hartig, 1840)
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Melitaea didyma Esper, 1779
2003 Audit
No
£20
 
1
species : Mellicta parthenoides Keferstein, 1851
2003 Audit
No
£20
 
1
species : Meloboris ischnocera Thomson
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Lathrobium fennicum
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Pieris napi brittanica Verity, 1911
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Abrostula triplasia Linne
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Anticlea badiata
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
MOTH; Grey Pine Carpet
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
FLY
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
WASP
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Eudoria basistrigalis Knaggs, 1866
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Alucita hexadactyla (Linnaeus, 1758)
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Euzophera pinguis (Haworth, 1811)
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Acleris hastiana (Linnaeus, 1758)
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Aethes nartmanniana (Clerck, 1759)
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
1
species : Drymus sylvaticus
2003 Audit
No
£10
 
Year 2002
  No of items Description Length of time missing Found Estimated Value Cost of replacement
Stolen
           
Lost
           
Misplaced
           
Year 2001
  No of items Description Length of time missing Found Estimated Value Cost of replacement
Stolen
           
Lost
           
Misplaced
           
Year 2000
  No of items Description Length of time missing Found Estimated Value Cost of replacement
Stolen
           
Lost
           
Misplaced
           

Please note with the exception of a trial in 2003 at the Ulster Museum, formal physical verification exercises were not introduced until 2008 and now occur on an annual basis across all of National Museums (NMNI) sites i.e. Ulster Museum Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Ulster American Folk Park and Armagh County Museum. As illustrated, items classified as misplaced continue to be subsequently located as NMNI progresses it storage and documentation arrangements. In relation to costs incurred in replacement, as illustrated, to date they are modest and confined to one library book.   

With regard to art galleries The Arts Council is not a public museum or an art gallery.

Participation in Sport

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure for an estimate of the number of people who currently participate in (i) soccer; (ii) rugby; (iii) hockey; (iv) cricket; (v) gaelic football and hurling; (vi) tennis; (vii) badminton; and (viii) athletics.

(AQW 8153/10)

Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure: The number of people estimated to participate in the sports listed above is as follows:

(i) Soccer/Association football - 196,704

(ii) Rugby - 68,010

(iii) Hockey - 34,630

(iv) Cricket - 33,802

(v) Gaelic football and hurling - 114,944

(vi) Tennis/ Badminton - 165,636

(vii) Athletics - 72,547

These estimates are based on two surveys, the Department’s Continuous Household Survey 2008/09 and the Young People’s Behaviour and Attitude Survey 2007.

Remuneration Paid to Board Members

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to detail the remuneration paid to members of the boards and committees of the quangos and arms length bodies associated with his Department broken down by (i) job title; and (ii) individual payments in each of the last five years.

(AQW 8216/10)

Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure: The attached table illustrates remuneration paid to Non-Executive members of boards and committees of all quangos and arms length bodies associated with the Department. Remuneration is taken to include gross salary, bonuses, taxable allowance and benefits.

Arms Length Body Fees Paid By Category
2005/06
£
2006/07
£
2007/08
£
2008/09
£
2009/10
£
Arts Council          
Chairperson
8,000.00
8,000.00
8,000.00
11,500.00
10,000.00
Vice Chairperson
4,000.00
4,000.00
3,833.00
3,500.00
3,500.00
Sub-total
12,000.00
12,000.00
11,833.00
15,000.00
13,500.00
NI Screen          
Board members
14,000.00
13,000.00
13,500.00
10,000.00
10,000.00
Sub-total
14,000.00
13,000.00
13,500.00
10,000.00
10,000.00
Armagh Observatory*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
Armagh Planetarium*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
NI Museums Council*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
NMNI          
Chairperson
10,000.00
10,000.00
10,000.00
10,000.00
10,000.00
Sub-total
10,000.00
10,000.00
10,000.00
10,000.00
10,000.00
Libraries NI**          
Chairperson
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
12,000.00
Board members
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
54,000.00
Sub-total
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
66,000.00
Sports Council          
Chairperson
12,999.96
9,999.96
9,999.96
9,999.96
9,999.96
Vice Chairperson
3,500.04
3,500.04
2,625.03
0.00
1,749.66
Sub-total
16,500.00
13,500.00
12,624.99
16,500.00
11,749.62
Foras Na Gaelige (Euros)          
Chairperson
9,323.00
9,388.00
9,589.00
14,000.00
13,806.00
Vice Chairperson
8,253.00
9,635.00
14,317.00
11,500.00
11,340.00
Board Members
82,103.00
79,357.00
57,248.00
86,100.00
81,713.00
Sub-total
99,679.00
98,380.00
81,154.00
111,600.00
106,859.00
Ulster Scots Agency          
Chairperson
5,199.92
5,199.92
11,034.88
9,519.96
5,012.01
Board members
24,386.58
24,386.58
29,295.83
49,978.08
48,136.85
Sub-total
29,586.50
29,586.50
40,330.71
59,498.04
53,148.86
Northern Ireland Events***
N/a
N/a
N/a
N/a
N/a
Fisheries Conservancy Board****          
Chair
3,611.62
2,997.02
2,789.20
4,102.20
N/a
Sub-total
3,611.62
2,997.02
2,789.20
4,102.20
N/a
Waterways Ireland***
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a

*Non-executive board or committee members of Armagh Observatory, Armagh Planetarium and Northern Ireland Museums Council did not receive any remuneration in these years.

**Libraries NI was established in 2009/10 as an Arms Length body of DCAL. Prior to the existence of Libraries NI, the five Education and Library Boards were responsible for Public Libraries. As a result DCAL do not have access the remuneration information prior to 2009/10.

***Non-executive board or committee members of Northern Ireland Events Company and Waterways Ireland did not receive any remuneration in these years.

****The Fisheries Conservancy Board was subsumed into the Department in 2009/10 therefore was no longer an arms length body in 09/10.

I hope you find this information useful.

World Police and Fire Games in 2013

Mr I McCrea asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to detail any plans to use sports facilities in the Mid-Ulster area for the World Police and Fire Games in 2013.

(AQW 8276/10)

Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure: Although no final decisions have been made in regard to the location of any sporting venue for the Games an advertisement was placed in the Belfast Telegraph by Sport Northern Ireland on behalf of the Stakeholder Group on Friday 2nd July 2010 seeking expressions of interest for venue owners wishing to host sporting events.

The selection criteria being used includes that priority will be given to venues that are nearest geographically to the Games Village. However, in exceptional circumstances where there is no suitable venue within Belfast for a particular sport or there is an exceptional venue outside Belfast, other venues will be considered.

The Games Village will be located in close proximity to Belfast City Centre.

Ulster American Folk Park: Modernisation Programme

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, pursuant to AQW 7642/10, to provide a summary of the reform and modernisation programme at the Ulster American Folk Park, including the amount spent on the programme to date and how it was spent.

(AQW 8291/10)

Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure: National Museums’ Reform and Modernization programme identifies fourteen separate projects across all locations. Their underlying aim is either to reduce current expenditure or to increase self-generated income. The projects are brigaded under four headings:

A major element of this programme related to the negotiation of new terms and conditions of employment for staff. This included the introduction of new rota arrangements, revised opening hours and the removal of premium payments for staff who worked regular weekends.

The elements relating specifically to the Ulster American Folk Park are the introduction of new terms and conditions of employment, new rota systems and cessation of premium payments. These affected 72 staff at this location and cost £113,317.

Contracts

Ms M Anderson asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to detail (i) all contracts in excess of (a) 12 months duration and; (b) £1 million entered into by his Department in each of the last ten years; (ii) any year on year over-runs in these contracts; (iii) whether there were break clauses attached to the contracts; and (iv) the number of break clauses that have been exercised.

(AQW 8341/10)

Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure: In response to this question, those contracts in excess of 12 months duration and £1 million in value entered into the last 10 years, have been detailed below:

1. Titanic Quarter Limited

Description: Design and build of new PRONI headquarters

Overruns in project: none

Break clauses built into contract: Yes

Any break clauses exercised: No

2. Mott Mcdonald/HOK Sport Partnership

Description: Design of Multi Sports Stadium

Overruns in project: None

Break clauses built into contract: No

Any break clauses exercised: N/a

Records do not date back 10 years in all cases therefore the results of this question are limited to the availability of historical records.

I hope you find this information useful

Astro Turfs

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure how many (i) water-based astro turf; (ii) sand-dressed astro turf; and (iii) sand-based astro turf pitches there are; and how many of each are available to the general public.

(AQW 8346/10)

Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure: Sport Northern Ireland (SNI) is responsible for the development of sport in Northern Ireland. SNI has advised that the number of astro turf pitches in Northern Ireland is as follows:

Water-based - 5

Sand dressed - 47

Sand-based - 11

In addition to these, there are a further 19 ‘3rd Generation’ pitches in Northern Ireland. All of the above pitches are available for public use.

Tennis, Badminton and Squash Courts Available for use by the General Public

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure how many (i) tennis courts; (ii) badminton courts; and (iii) squash courts are currently available for use by the general public.

(AQW 8347/10)

Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure: Sport Northern Ireland (SNI) is responsible for the development of sport in Northern Ireland. SNI has advised that there are 256 tennis courts, 340 badminton courts and 112 squash courts available for use by the general public in Northern Ireland.

International Matches in Northern Ireland

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure what discussions he has had with sporting bodies which organize on an ‘all-Ireland’ basis about staging international matches in Northern Ireland.

(AQW 8349/10)

Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure: The staging of international matches in Northern Ireland, including those for sports organised on an ‘all-Ireland’ basis, is a matter, in the first instance, for the governing bodies of the sports concerned. However, under my recently published sports strategy, entitled ’Sport Matters: The Northern Ireland Strategy for Sport and Physical Recreation, 2009-2019’, Government has made a commitment to establish Northern Ireland as a world class venue for sporting events. In order to help deliver on this commitment, Sport Matters contains a number of targets and actions that are designed to bring sports facilities generally in Northern Ireland up to modern, international standards. These targets and actions are also intended to ensure that sports facilities in Northern Ireland as whole are better able to serve, in the future, as venues for international sports events and matches.

Sporting bodies in Northern Ireland, including those organised on an ‘all-Ireland’ basis, were extensively consulted on the development of Sport Matters. Furthermore, the commitments, targets and actions that relate to the staging of sports events and matches are now being implemented with the support and assistance, where necessary, of sporting bodies including those organised on an ‘all-Ireland’ basis.

2010 British Transplant Games

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure what financial assistance his Department has provided to Northern Ireland participants in the 2010 British Transplant Games.

(AQW 8384/10)

Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure: Sport Northern Ireland (SNI) is responsible for the development of sport in Northern Ireland including the distribution of funding. SNI advises that it received no applications for financial assistance for participants in the 2010 British Transplant Games.

2010 British Transplant Games

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure if he has planned any local events to coincide with the 2010 British Transplant Games.

(AQW 8387/10)

Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure: Responsibility for planning local events to coincide with the 2010 British Transplant Games rests, in the first instance, with the organisers of the Games, Transplant Sport UK and local councils.

British Transplant Games

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure if he will be promoting the British Transplant Games to transplant patients and in sports clubs and leisure centres to raise awareness of the event.

(AQW 8389/10)

Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure: Responsibility for promoting the British Transplant Games to transplant patients rests, in the first instance, with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety. Responsibility for the promotion of the event in sports clubs and leisure centres rests with the owners of sports clubs and district councils. I would, however, add my own personal support for this important sporting event which I am aware will be held in Belfast in 2011.

2011 British Transplant Games

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure what plans are in place to maximise the benefits of hosting the British Transplant Games in Belfast in 2011.

(AQW 8390/10)

Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure: Belfast City Council is taking the lead in the organisation of the 2011 British Transplant Games in Belfast. Responsibility for maximising the benefits of hosting this event therefore rests with Belfast City Council.

Sport NI: Review of Funding Programme

Mr T Elliott asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, pursuant to AQW 6319/10, how long the review of the equity clause in the terms and conditions of Sport Northern Ireland’s funding programme has been ongoing and when it will conclude; and to outline the issues highligthed by the review to date on which his Department is seeking advice and clarification.

(AQW 8414/10)

Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure: The review of the equity clause in the terms and conditions set by Sport Northern Ireland has raised a number of complex and sensitive matters which are still under careful consideration and subject to further legal advice and discussion between my Department and SNI. It would not therefore be appropriate for me to comment further until the review has been completed.

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Summer Scheme for Special Educational Needs Pupils

Miss M McIlveen asked the Minister of Education to outline the rationale for the decision to reduce the summer scheme for special educational needs pupils in the South Eastern Education and Library Board from two weeks to one week; and the projected savings of this decision.

(AQW 7867/10)

Minister of Education (Ms C Ruane): Chuir Príomhfheidhmeannach ar Bhord Oideachais agus Leabharlainne an Oirdheiscirt in iúl dom nach mór don Bhord, i dteannta le cuid mhór eagraíochtaí poiblí eile, coigiltí suntasacha a dhéanamh sa bhliain airgeadais 2010/11. Chun é seo a dhéanamh, chíor an Bord gach líne buiséid d’fhonn coigiltí, le híostionchar ar sheirbhísí reachtúla, a chur i bhfeidhm. Cé go bhfuil an Scéim Shamhraidh neamhreachtúil, leithdháil an Bord acmhainní dóthanacha air chun é a chumasú do dhul ar aghaidh do thréimhse laghdaithe. Sroichfidh an tiomantas seo chuig soláthar an iompair, mar a shroich sé sna blianta roimhe seo.

I have been advised by the Chief Executive of the South Eastern Education and Library Board that the Board, in conjunction with many other public bodies, has to make significant savings in the financial year 2010/11. In doing so the Board examined every budget line with a view to effecting savings with the minimum impact on statutory services.  While the Summer Scheme is non-statutory, the Board nonetheless has allocated sufficient resources to enable it to continue albeit for a reduced period. This commitment extends to the provision of transport as in previous years. 

By running the summer scheme for one rather than two weeks savings of approximately £80,000 will be effected. 

Admissions Intake for Year 8 Pupils

Mr P Weir asked the Minister of Education when the cap on the admissions intake for Year 8 pupils for each post-primary school in North Down was last reviewed.

(AQW 7879/10)

Minister of Education: Athbhreithníonn mo Roinn líon na n-iontrálacha de gach iarbhunscoil ar bhonn bliantúil.

The Department reviews the admissions number of every post primary school on an annual basis.

Summer School Provision at Sperrinview Special School

Mrs M O'Neill asked the Minister of Education if she is aware of the Southern Education and Library Board's plans to reduce the summer school provision at Sperrinview Special School from two weeks to one week and to withdraw transport; and for her assessment of these plans.

(AQW 7883/10)

Minister of Education: Tuigim ó Phríomhfheidhmeannach Bhord Oideachais agus Leabharlainne an Oirdheiscirt go mbeidh an Bord ag soláthar a scéime samhraidh do dhaltaí a bhfuil riachtanais speisialta oideachais acu ar feadh dhá sheachtain agus go soláthrófar iompar.

I understand from the Chief Executive of the Southern Education and Library Board that the Board will now operate its summer scheme for special educational needs pupils for two weeks with transport provided.

I welcome this decision.

Fire Alarm System at Coleraine Academical Institution

Mr A McQuillan asked the Minister of Education what consideration and priority she has given, under the current budget, to schemes already approved by her Department and tendered for in the 2009/10 financial year, such as the replacement of the fire alarm system at Coleraine Academical Institution.

(AQW 7983/10)

Minister of Education: Tá laghdú suntasach ar bhuiséad caipitil na Roinne Oideachais don bhliain airgeadais 2010-11 agus tá sé ró-íseal le freastal ar na héilimh ar fad a chuirtear air. Bhí sé riachtanach mar sin de, gur cinntíodh gur tugadh tosaíocht do thionscadail mhionoibreacha a tugadh ar aghaidh don bhliain airgeadais 2010/11.

The Department of Education has a significantly reduced capital budget for 2010-11 and it is insufficient to cover all the demands placed on it. It has therefore been necessary to ensure that minor works projects brought forward in 2010/11 are prioritised. I have agreed that only those minor works necessary to meet inescapable statutory requirements such as Health and Safety, Fire Protection and statutory obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act are progressed at this time.

Schemes from 2009/10 which did not have tenders approved will be considered for funding this year if they fall into the aforementioned categories. The replacement fire alarm system for Coleraine Academical Institution will be considered alongside other competing priorities for funding in the 2010/11 financial year.

School Maintenance

Mr P Butler asked the Minister of Education what plans she has to address the current maintenance problems which exist in some schools, if new capital build projects for these schools do not go ahead.

(AQW 8005/10)

Minister of Education: Dhíreoinn aird an chomhalta ar an fhreagra a thug mé ar AQW 7399/10 a chuir Doiminic Ó Brolcháin agus a foilsíodh sa tuairisc oifigiúil ar 25 Meitheamh 2010.

I refer the member to my answer to AQW 7399/10 tabled by Dominic Bradley and published in the official report of 25 June 2010.

Childhood Obesity

Mr A McQuillan asked the Minister of Education to detail any schemes which her Department has in place under the current curriculum to combat childhood obesity.

(AQW 8009/10)

Minister of Education: Cuimsíonn an curaclam athbhreithnithe snáithe ar Fhorbairt Phearsanta agus Comhthuiscint do dhaltaí bunscoile agus snáithe ar Fhoghlaim don Saol agus don Obair do dhaltaí iarbhunscoile a ligeann do dhaltaí fiosrú a dhéanamh ar cheisteanna mar na tairbhí a bhaineann le bia sláintiúil agus gníomhaíocht choirp, na hiarmhairtí a bhaineann le drochroghanna cothaithe, bealaí le teacht ar aiste chothrom bia, na tionchair ar shláinte coirp agus intinne agus bealaí le féinmheas a chothú.

The revised curriculum includes a Personal Development and Mutual Understanding strand for primary pupils and a Learning for Life and Work strand for post-primary pupils which allow pupils to explore issues such as the benefits of healthy eating and physical activity, the consequences of poor dietary choices, ways of achieving a healthy diet, the influences on their physical and emotional health and ways of developing their self-esteem.

It is also a requirement of the revised curriculum for all children to undertake Home Economics at Key Stage 3. This will provide opportunities for young people to develop their understanding of a healthy diet and the hygienic and healthy use of foods in the preparation of meals.

Physical Education is a compulsory part of the revised curriculum for all pupils in Years 1 – 12 and the Department’s guidance recommends at least 2 hours per week. Recognising the importance of developing children’s physical literacy skills, I introduced a sports programme in 2007 to encourage children to have a healthy and active lifestyle. In 2010/11, £1.5 million is available for the Programme which is delivered by the GAA and IFA on behalf of the Department. There are currently 62 coaches working in 600 schools across the north of Ireland.

My Department recognises that a healthy, balanced diet is vital for children’s growth and development, and for their long term health and well being. It has been working for some time to improve the quality of food in schools here and compulsory nutritional standards for school lunches are now in place in all our schools. Standards for other food and drinks provided in schools (breakfast clubs, tuck shops, vending machines etc) have also been drawn up and schools are expected to adhere to them. They specify that items such as crisps, sweets and fizzy drinks should not be provided in school.

It has also been working with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) to draw up a Food in Schools policy document which draws together the range of strategies and plans that are being put in place to deliver improved nutrition for our school children.

The policy aims to ensure that school food is representative of the five food groups; makes a significant contribution to childhood nutrition and enables children to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to make healthy food choices both at school and at home. The draft policy was the subject of public consultation last autumn and the Department is currently considering the responses received.

Finally, my Department is participating fully in the DHSSPS led Obesity Prevention Steering Group and advisory groups.

Consultants

Mr D Kinahan asked the Minister of Education what steps she is taking to review the use of consultants in her Department.

(AQW 8010/10)

Minister of Education: As with all public expenditure, the decision on whether to employ external consultants within my Department is based on a full assessment of the business needs, including ensuring value for money. Business areas are required to explore all options to have work undertaken and only when it is confirmed that there is no alternative, may they submit a Business Case to the Finance Director for approval. In this way, the use of consultants is under constant review in the Department.

Eisíodh Treoir ar Úsáid Sainchomhairleoirí ar fud na Roinne ar cheithre ócáid ó mhí Márta 2009 taobh istigh de DE agus chuig comhlachtaí atá á maoiniú ag DE lena chinntiú go bhfuil gach ball foirne feasach ar na nósanna imeachta a chaithfear a úsáid agus iad ag oibriú le sainchomhairleoirí, lena n-áirítear próiseas an cháis ghnó.

Guidance on the Use of Consultants has issued across the Department on four separate occasions since March 2009 within DE and also to DE funded bodies to ensure that all staff are aware of the procedures, including the business case process, that must be used when engaging consultants.

Additionally, work has been undertaken within the Department to establish a comprehensive database of the Department’s expenditure on the use of consultants. This will provide an oversight of projects undertaken which staff may consult as appropriate.

Consultancy expenditure in my Department fell by almost 21% between 2007-08 and 2008-09.

Consultancy Fees

Mr B Armstrong asked e Minister of Education how much her Department has spent on consultancy fees in each of the last ten years, broken down by Education and Library Board area.

(AQW 8017/10)

Minister of Education: Ní dhéantar taifead den mhéid a chaitheann an Roinn ar shainchomhairleoirí bunaithe ar limistéar an Bhoird Oideachais agus Leabharlainne ach déantar taifead de bunaithe ar nádúr an chaiteachais shainchomhairliúcháin de réir na treorach ábhartha.

Expenditure by the Department on consultants is not recorded on an Education and Library Board area basis but rather is recorded on the basis of the nature of the consultancy expenditure in line with relevant guidance. The Department does not hold details of expenditure on consultancy prior to 2001-02. Details of expenditure by the Department on consultancy from 2001-02 to 2008-09 are provided in the table below. Figures for 2009-10 are currently being finalised and thus are not yet available.

Year £
2001-02
140,869.00
2002-03
217,359.53
2003-04
510,432.00
2004-05
765,799.21
2005-06
532,244.15
2006-07
905,600.57
2007-08
1,067,704.53
2008-09
850,883.94

Priority Status for New Build Schools

Mr B Armstrong asked the Minister of Education to outline the decision making process used to determine which schools are to receive priority status for a new build, including any consultation which takes place with other Departments.

(AQW 8018/10)

Minister of Education: Following the outcome of my review of school capital projects on the Investment Delivery Plan, announced in my statement to the Assembly on 29 June 2010, the process of determining the relative prioritisation of projects within the categories is underway. Decisions on the school building programme are a matter for the Department of Education working with our education partners.

Déanfar an obair le tosaíocht a bheartú laistigh de shrianta an bhuiséid a leithdháil an Coiste Feidhmiúcháin orm. Tá an ráta ag ar féidir liom scoileanna a thógáil ag brath ar bhuiséad a bheith ar fáil.

The prioritisation exercise will be taken forward within the constraints of the budget allocated to me by the Executive. The rate at which I can build schools is dependent on the availability of budget.

Capital Schemes Planned for Lagan Valley

Mr P Givan asked the Minister of Education what capital schemes are planned for the school estate in the Lagan Valley constituency, in each of the next three years.

(AQW 8025/10)

Minister of Education: You will be aware that in Autumn 2009 I instigated a review of all major capital projects currently included in the Investment Delivery Plan (IDP). On Tuesday 29 June 2010 I made a statement to the Assembly indicating that this review has now been concluded and I have now written to all those schools affected by the review informing them of the outcome and where appropriate to seek to resolve issues or concerns which may have arisen as a result of the review process.

Ag an am seo, áfach, níl go leor acmhainní caipitil agam le tús a chur le hobair tógála ar aon scoileanna nua sa bhliain airgeadais 2010/11. Chomh maith leis sin, de thairbhe nach bhfuil na buiséid do 2011/12 agus do 2012/13 ar eolas againn go fóill, ní féidir a dhearbhú cad iad na tionscadail a ndéanfar forbairt orthu sna blianta airgeadais sin, má dhéanfar forbairt ar aon tionscadal ar bith.

At this point, however, I do not have sufficient capital resources to start building work on any new schools in the 2010/11 financial year. Also as budgets for 2011/12 and 2012/13 are not yet known it is not possible to determine which projects, if any, will be taken forward in those financial years.

School Capital Build Projects

Mr M Durkan asked the Minister of Education which school capital build projects are due to proceed to design stage in (i) the remainder of 2010; and (ii) 2011.

(AQW 8030/10)

Minister of Education: On Tuesday 29 June 2010 I made a statement to the Assembly indicating that the review of capital projects currently included in the Investment Delivery Plan has now been concluded.

Mar gheall ar na hacmhainní teoranta airgeadais atá ar fáil do mo Roinn, tabharfar tosaíocht do na tionscadail sin atá ar an Phlean Soláthair Infheistíochta faoi láthair agus dá bhrí sin níl sé beartaithe ag an am seo dul ar aghaidh chuig céim an deartha i gcás aon tionscadail nach bhfuil ar an Phlean seo go fóill.

Due to the limited financial resources available to my Department priority will be given to those projects currently in the Investment Delivery Plan and as such at this time there are no plans to proceed to design stage for any project not yet included in this Plan.

Staff Salaries

Mr S Gardiner asked the Minister of Education how many staff in her Department, and associated quangos, are paid in excess of £100,000 pa in salary and/or remuneration packages.

(AQW 8045/10)

Minister of Education: De ghnáth, foilsítear an luach saothair a fhaigheann feidhmeannaigh shinsearacha mo Roinne i gCuntais Acmhainní na Roinne, a bhfuil fáil orthu ar láithreán gréasáin na Roinne. Bunaithe ar an eolas seo, is féidir liom a dheimhniú go bhfuil 3 bhall foirne faoi láthair a fhaigheann luach saothair de bhreis agus £100,000 sa bhliain.

The remuneration of senior officials in my Department is routinely published in the Departmental Resource Accounts, which are available on the Department’s website. Based on this information I can confirm that there are currently 3 staff members who are paid in excess of £100,000 pa.

With regard to the Department’s various arms length bodies I have been advised by the Chief Executives of those organisations that there are currently two staff members who are paid in excess of £100,000 pa.

Arts and Crafts Classes

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of Education what help or advice is available to individuals who want to set up arts and crafts classes for school aged children.

(AQW 8120/10)

Minister of Education: Ní thugann an Roinn Oideachais cuidiú ná comhairle den chineál seo, agus ní fhaomhann ná ní mholann an Roinn na hacmhainní ná na cláir a úsáidtear leis an churaclam a sholáthar.

The Department of Education does not offer such help or advice, and it does not endorse or recommend the resources or programmes to be used in the delivery of the curriculum. Individual schools determine what support they will use to deliver the curriculum, and in doing so they may wish to engage the services of persons offering arts and crafts classes. Those who wish to offer their services will find a list of schools on the Schools + database which is available on the front page of the Department’s website.

Bullying in Schools

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Education what steps she is taking to address bullying in schools, particularly given the high number of suicides which are attributed to bullying.

(AQW 8137/10)

Minister of Education: Bullying, in whatever form and for whatever reason, has no place in schools. The Department has taken pro-active steps to tackle bullying through development and publication of guidance. Furthermore, the Education and Libraries (NI) Order 2003, which came into operation on 1 April 2003, places a duty on all grant-aided schools to have an anti-bullying policy which includes measures to prevent all forms of bullying among pupils. The effectiveness of these measures is monitored through the regular cycle of school inspections of pastoral care arrangements.

Chuir na Boird Oideachais agus Leabharlainne Grúpa Idir-Bhord ar bun, atá ag forbairt cur chuige comhchoiteann le dul i ngleic le bulaíocht sna scoileanna. Tá oifigeach ainmnithe ag gach Bord a oibríonn le scoileanna le dul i ngleic le bulaíocht trína bheith ag cuidiú le forbairt polasaithe na scoile uile agus trí thacaíocht a thabhairt do dhaltaí aonair ar íospartaigh bulaíochta iad.

The Education and Library Boards have established an Inter-Board Group, which is developing a common approach to tackle bullying in schools. Each Board has a designated officer who works with schools to tackle bullying through assisting in the development of whole school policies and supporting individual pupils who have been victims of bullying.

In 2005, the Department, in partnership with voluntary organisations, including Save the Children, established an Anti-bullying Forum (NIABF) to enable a collaborative and coordinated approach to tackling bullying in schools. The Forum enables members to share models of best practice, disseminate information, to develop and coordinate joint initiatives and to ensure that schools and organisations working with children and young people are able to develop appropriate strategies to prevent and deal with bullying behaviours. The Forum has also established formal links with similar bodies in the South, England, Wales and Scotland.

From early 2006, the Department has been funding a regional coordinator post attached to the NIABF. The coordinator is involved delivering the 3-year Anti-Bullying Strategy which includes the development, implementation and promotion of models of good practice, developing parental partnerships, website development and an annual anti-bullying week.

In June 2007, the Department published a research report on "The Nature and Extent of Bullying in Schools in the North of Ireland". The findings show little change in the level of bullying behaviour reported by pupils compared to an earlier study completed in 2002.

The Department assists with funding Childline NI to provide telephone help to pupils and young people who are experiencing difficulties, some as a result of bullying.

The independent schools’ counselling service is now available in all grant aided post-primary schools allowing pupils to speak to a trained counsellor about their concerns or fears around bullying.

Pre-school Places

Mr P Weir asked the Minister of Education what additional provision will be made to fund pre-school places in the North Down constituency in 2010/11.

(AQW 8144/10)

Minister of Education: On 20 May I announced that I was committing up to a further £1.3m of funding to address the shortfall in pre-school places in the 2010/11 school year.

This money will fund extra places in the voluntary/private sector and has already been allocated to each of the Education and Library Boards, based on the number of unplaced children in their respective areas.

I am advised by the SEELB that, having liaised with pre-school providers, to date, an additional 18 places have been allocated to settings in the North Down constituency.

Is próiseas leanúnach é an próiseas leithdháilte agus ba chóir go gcinnteoidh sé go bhfaighidh gach páiste áit mhaoinithe réamhscoile, más féidir.

This process of allocation is on-going and should ensure that, where possible, every child receives a funded pre-school place.

The Appointment of a Departmental Representative to the Board of a Voluntary Grammar School

Miss M McIlveen asked the Minister of Education to detail the criteria used by her Department when considering approval for the appointment of a nominee representative from the Department of Education to the board of a voluntary grammar school in the last round of appointments.

(AQW 8181/10)

Minister of Education: Tá na nithe seo a leanas san áireamh sna critéir atá á n-úsáid ag an Roinn agus breithniú á dhéanamh ar cheapacháin chuig Boird Gobharnóirí scoileanna deonacha gramadaí:-

The criteria applied by the Department when considering applications for appointments to the Boards of Governors of voluntary grammar schools include the following:-

The Appointment of a Departmental Representative to the Board of a Voluntary Grammar School

Miss M McIlveen asked the Minister of Education (i) if there has been any change, since May 2007, in the policy, practice or procedure used by her Department when considering approval for the appointment of a nominee representative from the Department of Education to the board of a voluntary grammar school; (ii) to outline the reason for any change; (iii) when each change occurred; and (iv) who requested change.

(AQW 8183/10)

Minister of Education: Sular athbhunaíodh déabhlóid i mí Bealtaine 2007, tugadh freagracht as faomhadh ceapachán gobharnóirí chuig scoileanna deonacha gramadaí d’oifigigh shinsearacha sa Roinn.

Prior to the restoration of devolution in May 2007, responsibility for approving governor appointments for voluntary grammar schools was delegated to senior departmental officials. Since then I have assumed the responsibility for the approval role given to me as Head of Department under Schedule 6 to the Education & Libraries (NI) Order 1986, as amended by the Education and Libraries (NI) Order 1993. The introduction of vetting arrangements for new school governors represents a change in procedures for appointments to voluntary grammar school Boards of Governors from 30 April 2007 onwards.

The Appointment of a Departmental Representative to the Board of a Voluntary Grammar School

Miss M McIlveen asked the Minister of Education what is the target, in days, from receipt of initial application to notification of departmental approval, for the appointment of a nominee representative from the Department of Education to the board of a voluntary grammar school in the current round of appointments.

(AQW 8184/10)

Minister of Education: Ní leagtar sprioc le haghaidh na tréimhse idir iarratas agus ceapachán. Cuireadh tús leis an chleachtas reatha anuraidh agus rinneadh earcaíocht trí fhógraíocht phoiblí.

No target is set for the period between application and appointment. The current exercise was initiated last year with recruitment through public advertising. Applications were received from May 2009 through to the autumn for posts in a range of grant-aided schools with applicants expressing their preferences as to the types and sectors of school that they wish to serve in. In the autumn, the Boards of Governors of voluntary grammar schools also had the opportunity to submit their own additional applications. Appointments to individual schools are then considered on the basis of all the applications received. The period can therefore vary quite considerably depending on the timing of the application, the preferences in the applications, the governor positions available at the schools, and the number of appointments to be made.

The Appointment of a Departmental Representative to the Board of a Voluntary Grammar School

Miss M McIlveen asked the Minister of Education to detail the average number of days from receipt of initial application to notification of departmental approval, for the appointment of a nominee representative from the Department of Education to the board of a voluntary grammar school in the last two rounds of appointments.

(AQW 8185/10)

Minister of Education: Bhí meánlíon de 56 lá ann do na laethanta oibre ó fuarthas iarratas tosaigh go dtí gur fógraíodh faomhadh na Roinne do cheapachán gobharnóirí nua chuig scoileanna deonacha gramadaí le linn an athbhunaithe sa scoilbhliain 2005/6.

The average number of working days from receipt of initial application to notification of departmental approval for the appointment of new governors to voluntary grammar schools during the reconstitution in the 2005/6 school year was 56 days. The current reconstitution exercise is continuing with the majority of appointment still to be made so it is not possible as yet to provide an average. Since the last reconstitution exercise vetting arrangements have been introduced for new governors which has added a stage in the process.

Members of the Transitional Education Boards

Mr J Bell asked the Minister of Education for a breakdown of the religious background of the current members of the Transitional Education Boards; and how this compares with the breakdown of the Education and Library Board's membership.

(AQW 8196/10)

Minister of Education: Ní ceadmhach dom an t-eolas a d’iarr tú a thabhairt amach. Mar gheall ar líon na gcomhaltaí ar na Boird, bheadh nochtadh an eolais a d’iarr tú, gan údarú scríofa a fháil ó na comhaltaí aonair, ina shárú ar an Data Protection Act 1998. Meastar eolas ar chreideamh duine mar ‘shonraí íogaire pearsanta’.

I am unable to provide the requested information. Given the numbers of members on the Boards, disclosure of the requested information without individual members’ written authorisation, would constitute a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998. Information regarding an individual's religious belief is regarded as ‘sensitive personal data’.

Commissioners: South Eastern Education and Library Board

Mr P Givan asked the Minister of Education to detail the cost to her Department of the four commissioners in the South Eastern Education and Library Board in each financial year since their appointment, broken down by (i) allowances; (ii) transport, including mode of transport; and (iii) any other expenses.

(AQW 8197/10)

Minister of Education: Chuir Bord Oideachais agus Leabharlainne an Oirdheiscirt an t-eolas atá sa tábla thíos ar fáil do na blianta airgeadais 2006/07 go 2009/10. Níl fáil ar na costais do mhí Aibreáin, do mhí Bealtaine ná do mhí Meithimh 2010 sa bhliain airgeadais seo go fóill.

The South Eastern Education and Library Board has provided the information in the table overleaf for the financial years 2006/07 to 2009/10 inclusive. Costs for April, May and June 2010 in the current financial year are not yet available.

COSTS OF THE SOUTH EASTERN EDUCATION AND LIBRARY BOARD COMMISSIONERS BY FINANCIAL YEAR
Item of Expenditure 2006/07
(£)
2007/08
(£)
2008/09
(£)
2009/10
(£)
Allowances (gross including Employers’ National Insurance Contributions)
75,746
98,441
72,852
75,860

Transport
- flights

1,607
2,016
1,521
1,968
- taxi
188
399
291
447
- ferry
0
1,110
0
0
- car / mileage
2,652
4,660
3,097
3,579
- bus
0
6
0
0
- train
0
4
0
0
Other expenses (e.g. daily subsistence, accommodation and car parking)
1,279
2,001
1,711
1,863
TOTALS
81,472 108,637 79,472 83,717
Notes: -
  1. 2006/07 costs reflect the Commissioners’ appointment date of 6 July 2006.
  2. All figures exclude VAT.

I CAN Centre at Ballynahinch Primary School

Mr P Givan asked the Minister of Education what action she is taking to keep the I CAN Centre at Ballynahinch Primary School open.

(AQW 8199/10)

Minister of Education: Dhíreoinn aird an Chomhalta ar an fhreagra a thug mé ar a cheist phráinneach béil ar an I CAN Centre a foilsíodh sa Tuairisc Oifigiúil ar 28 Meitheamh 2010.

I would refer the Member to my reply to his urgent oral question on the I CAN Centre published in the Official Report on 28 June 2010.

School Maintenance Backlog

Mr P Givan asked the Minister of Education to detail the maintenance backlog for each school in the Lagan Valley constituency, broken down by type of maintenance required and estimated cost.

(AQW 8200/10)

Minister of Education: Dhíreoinn aird an Chomhalta ar an fhreagra a thug mé ar AQW 7399/10 a chuir Doiminic Ó Brolcháin agus a foilsíodh sa Tuairisc Oifigiúil ar 25ú Meitheamh 2010.

I refer the member to my answer to AQW 7399/10 tabled by Dominic Bradley and published in the Official Report of 25th June 2010.

Bangor Grammar School

Mr P Weir asked the Minister of Education, in light of the categorisation of schools announced as part of the review of capital projects (i) under which category is Bangor Grammar School; and (ii) for an update on the proposed new build for Bangor Grammar School.

(AQW 8206/10)

Minister of Education: Cuireadh cóip de thoradh an athbhreithnithe ar thionscadail caipitil i Leabharlann an Tionóil ar 5 Iúil 2010.

The outcome of the review of capital projects has been placed in the Assembly Library from Monday 5 July 2010.

The rate at which the Department can progress new school builds is dependent on the resources made available to it. The financial position this year is extremely challenging and the department is facing severe constraints on its capital budget. As part of the Executive’s June monitoring process, I have bid for additional funds for capital projects.

Cost of reception held for School Principals in Newry on 21 June 2010

Mr G Savage asked the Minister of Education to provide a breakdown of the cost of the reception held for school principals in Newry on 21 June 2010.

(AQW 8207/10)

Minister of Education: Reáchtáladh fáiltiú ar 21 Meitheamh 2010 le haitheantas a thabhairt agus le ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar rathúlacht na scoileanna agus na soláthraithe réamhscoile a mheas an Chigireacht Oideachais agus Oiliúna a bheith sármhaith nó iontach maith sa scoilbhliain 2009/10. Tugadh cuireadh do chathaoirligh bhoird gobharnóirí agus do phríomhoidí na scoileanna seo, do na ceannairí réamhscoile agus d’ionadaithe ó na forais tacaíochta oideachais agus ón Chigireacht Oideachais agus Oiliúna agus bhí 104 duine i láthair ag an fháiltiú.

The reception on 21 June 2010 was held to recognise and celebrate the success of those schools and pre-school providers evaluated as outstanding or very good by the Education & Training Inspectorate during the 2009/10 school year. The reception was attended by 104 people, who included the respective chairs of boards of governors, school principals and pre-school leaders, along with representatives of the education support bodies and the Education and Training Inspectorate.

The reception was held at a local community centre, namely Ballybot House, Newry, to support local enterprise in these difficult economic times. While the Department has yet to receive the final invoice for the reception, a breakdown of the estimated cost, excluding VAT, is detailed in the table below.

Item Cost
Room Hire (Ballybot House, Newry)
£47.50
Food (provided by outside caterers)
£501.50
Tea and Coffee (provided in-house)
£82.50
Cost (excl. VAT)
£631.50

As a key aim was to recognise and pay tribute to the success of these schools and pre-school providers, the Department also employed professional photographic services at a cost of £736.00 excluding VAT. These costs are in line with a photography contract that all departments use. Photographs of participants in the event were sent to local newspapers across the north of Ireland and to date these have appeared around 30 times. This positive publicity helps to highlight the good work in many of our schools and other educational settings and counters the negative approach taken by some media.

The Appointment of a Departmental Representative to the Board of a Voluntary Grammar School

Mr M Storey asked the Minister of Education what criteria her Department will apply in approving the appointment of a departmental representative to the board of a voluntary grammar school in the current round of appointments.

(AQW 8210/10)

Minister of Education: Tá na nithe seo a leanas san áireamh sna critéir atá á n-úsáid ag an Roinn agus breithniú á dhéanamh ar cheapacháin chuig Boird Gobharnóirí scoileanna deonacha gramadaí sa bhabhta reatha ceapachán seo:-

The criteria being applied by the Department when considering applications for appointments to the Boards of Governors of voluntary grammar schools in the current round of appointments include the following:-

Southern Education and Library Board

Mr G Savage asked the Minister of Education to provide a breakdown of the bonuses paid to staff in the Southern Education and Library Board, in each of the last three years.

(AQW 8212/10)

Minister of Education: Thug Príomhfheidhmeannach Bhord Oideachais agus Leabharlainne an Deiscirt le fios dom gur íocadh na bónais seo a leanas don bhliain 2007/08 agus don bhliain 2008/09:

I have been advised by the Chief Executive of the Southern Education and Library Board that the following bonuses have been paid in 2007/08 and 2008/09:

Financial Year Bonus Paid
2007/08
£21,055
2008/09
£20,511

With regard to 2009/10 financial year, the pay remits are still being considered by my Department in light of public sector pay policy.

Southern Education and Library Board Staff Bonuses

Mr G Savage asked the Minister of Education whether staff in the Southern Education and Library Board will receive a bonus in this financial year; and to provide a breakdown of these bonuses.

(AQW 8213/10)

Minister of Education: Tá gné pá i gcoibhneas le feidhmíocht mar chuid de thuarastail ardbhainistíochta sna Boird Oideachais agus Leabharlainne.

The salaries of senior management in the Education and Library Boards have an element of performance related pay.

With regard to 2009/10 financial year, the pay remit for senior management in all of the Education and Library Boards is still being considered in light of public sector pay policy and the Executive decision that senior public officials here should not be awarded bonuses unless there is a clear contractual position to do so. I am however committed to concluding this process as expeditiously as possible.

Capital Projects

Mrs D Kelly asked the Minister of Education to list the schools in the Upper Bann area affected by her decision to cut the funding of capital projects.

(AQW 8214/10)

Minister of Education: Cuireadh cóip de thoradh an athbhreithnithe ar thionscadail caipitil i Leabharlann an Tionóil ar 5 Iúil 2010

The outcome of the review of capital projects has been placed in the Assembly Library from Monday 5 July 2010.

The rate at which the Department can progress new school builds is dependent on the resources made available to it. The financial position this year is extremely challenging and the department is facing severe constraints on its capital budget. As part of the Executive’s June monitoring process, I have bid for additional funds for capital projects.

Review of Capital Projects

Mr J Dallat asked the Minister of Education, in relation to her statement on the review of capital projects, to detail (i) the schools in the East Londonderry constituency which have met the criteria; and (ii) the nature of these projects and the expected start date.

(AQW 8224/10)

Minister of Education: Cuireadh cóip de thoradh an athbhreithnithe ar thionscadail caipitil i Leabharlann an Tionóil ar 5 Iúil 2010.

The outcome of the review of capital projects has been placed in the Assembly Library from Monday 5 July 2010.

The rate at which the Department can progress new school builds is dependent on the resources made available to it. The financial position this year is extremely challenging and the department is facing severe constraints on its capital budget. As part of the Executive’s June monitoring process, I have bid for additional funds for capital projects.

Review of Capital Projects

Mr P McGlone asked the Minister of Education, in relation to her statement on the review of capital projects, to detail (i) the schools in the Mid-Ulster constituency which have met the criteria; and (ii) the nature of these projects and the expected start date.

(AQW 8230/10)

Minister of Education: Cuireadh cóip de thoradh an athbhreithnithe ar thionscadail caipitil i Leabharlann an Tionóil ar 5 Iúil 2010

The outcome of the review of capital projects has been placed in the Assembly Library from Monday 5 July 2010.

The rate at which the Department can progress new school builds is dependent on the resources made available to it. The financial position this year is extremely challenging and the department is facing severe constraints on its capital budget. As part of the Executive’s June monitoring process, I have bid for additional funds for capital projects.

Review of Capital Projects

Ms M Ritchie asked the Minister of Education, in relation to her statement on the review of capital projects, to detail (i) the proposed new build (a) primary; and (b) post-primary schools in the South Down constituency for this financial year; and (ii) if she will make a statement.

(AQW 8232/10)

Minister of Education: Cuireadh cóip de thoradh an athbhreithnithe ar thionscadail caipitil i Leabharlann an Tionóil ar 5 Iúil 2010

The outcome of the review of capital projects has been placed in the Assembly Library from Monday 5 July 2010.

The rate at which the Department can progress new school builds is dependent on the resources made available to it. The financial position this year is extremely challenging and the department is facing severe constraints on its capital budget. As part of the Executive’s June monitoring process, I have bid for additional funds for capital projects.

Review of Capital Projects

Ms A Lo asked the Minister of Education, in relation to her recent statement on the review of capital projects, if Lagan College in Belfast is one of the 13 building projects that may face delay.

(AQW 8233/10)

Minister of Education: Tá athfheistiú agus síneadh Lagan College mar chuid de thionscadal a chuimsíonn scoil nua do Tor Bank Special School. Táthar ag dúil leis faoi láthair go mbainfear amach an sprioc leis an tionscadal seo a chur i gcrích roimh fhómhair 2012. Níl an tionscadal seo san áireamh sna tionscadail caipitil ar tagraíodh dóibh sa cheist.

The refurbishment and extension of Lagan College is part of a project involving the replacement of Tor Bank Special School. This project is currently on target to deliver by autumn 2012. This project is not included within the capital projects referred to in your question.

School Inspections

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of Education how many (i) primary schools; and (ii) post-primary schools have shown an improvement in terms of their last inspection; and how many have shown a decline.

(AQW 8237/10)

Minister of Education: Sna blianta gnó 2008/09 agus 2009/10, ní raibh titim san fheidhmíocht i gceann ar bith de na bunscoileanna ná de na hiarbhunscoileanna a ndearnadh cigireacht orthu (arbh éigean cigireacht leantach a dhéanamh orthu); bhí feabhas ar 75 de na 86 scoileanna a ndearnadh athchigireacht orthu (87%) (86% de bhunscoileanna agus 91.5% d’iarbhunscoileanna).

For the 2008/09 and 2009/10 business years, none of the primary or post-primary schools inspected (and requiring a follow up inspection) showed a decline in performance; 75 of the 86 schools re-inspected (87%) showed improvement (86% of primary schools and 91.5% of post-primary schools).

2008/09

35 primary schools had a formal follow-up inspection: 32 improved by either one or two performance levels; and three maintained their level of performance. Eighteen post-primary schools had a formal follow-up inspection: 16 improved by either 1 or 2 performance levels, and 2 maintained their level of performance.

2009/10

30 primary schools had a formal follow-up inspection: 24 improved by either 1 or 2 levels of performance, six maintained their level of performance. Three post-primary schools had a formal follow-up inspection; all 3 improved by either 1 or 2 levels of performance.

Newly Qualified Teachers

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of Education if newly qualified teachers are given training on leadership.

(AQW 8238/10)

Minister of Education: Déanann múinteoirí nua-cháilithe oiliúint thiomnaithe agus cláir thiomnaithe tacaíochta Ionduchtúcháin agus sa Luathfhorbairt Ghairmiúil a sholáthraíonn an tSeirbhís Chomhairleach don Churaclam de chuid na mBord Oideachais agus Leabharlainne. 

Newly qualified teachers (NQTs) undertake dedicated Induction and Early Professional Development (EPD) training and support programmes provided by the Education and Library Boards’ Curriculum Advisory Support Service.  Theses stages of professional development focus on learning and teaching issues relevant to teachers new to the profession and are aimed at strengthening the competences of teachers in line with those set out in the General Teaching Council's competence framework.  Whilst no specific leadership training is included in the Induction and EPD programmes, professional development programmes in general promote leadership at all staff levels and individual schools can arrange for their teachers (including their NQTs) to avail of the programmes of leadership training provided by the Regional Training Unit.

New Sports Hall and Playing Fields for Saintfield High School

Mr S Hamilton asked the Minister of Education for an update on the development of a new sports hall and playing fields for Saintfield High School.

(AQW 8240/10)

Minister of Education: The rate at which my Department can progress new schemes, such as a new sports hall and playing fields for Saintfield High School, is dependent on the resources made available to it.

Tá an staid airgeadais iontach dúshlánach i mbliana agus tá srianta móra ar bhuiséad caipitil na Roinne. Ag an am seo, níl go leor cistí agam leis an scéim caipitil seo agus le cuid mhór scéimeanna eile a thabhairt chun cinn.

The financial position this year is extremely challenging and the department is facing severe constraints on its capital budget. At this time I do not have sufficient funds to progress this and many other capital schemes. As part of the Executive’s June monitoring process, I have bid for additional funds for capital projects.

Draft Resource Allocation Proposals

Mr G Savage asked the Minister of Education when she will approve the Draft Resource Allocation proposals from the 5 Education and Library Boards which were received by the Department on 18 June 2010 and if the funds will be made available as a matter of urgency.

(AQW 8249/10)

Minister of Education: Commissioning of the Resource Allocation Plans or RAPs for 2010-11 was delayed this year as a result of the delay in the Assembly agreeing the budget for 2010-11. The RAPs submitted by the Boards are currently being scrutinised by the Department and my officials will be engaging with the Boards on their targets and proposed allocations. Before approving the RAPs, I will need to have assurances that the expenditure plans submitted are making the best use of public funds and will allow the Boards to meet their targets, whilst meeting their equality duties.

D’fhonn cur i gcrích an mheasúnaithe seo a cheadú, bhí sé riachtanach leithdháiltí eatramhacha a sholáthar le gurbh fhéidir caiteachas a thabhú go deireadh mhí Iúil.

In order to allow for this assessment to be completed, it has been necessary to provide interim allocations to allow expenditure to be incurred until the end of July.

Convergence Delivery Plan

Mr D O'Loan asked the Minister of Education how many management and administrative posts will be removed in the 2010/11 financial year as a result of the Convergence Delivery Plan; and the location of these posts.

(AQW 8251/10)

Minister of Education: Tá moltaí á bhforbairt ar an dóigh le hathstruchtúrú a dhéanamh ar sholáthar seirbhísí oideachais mar chuid den Phlean Soláthair Choinbhéirseachta i gcomhar leis na forais leasmhara oideachais.

Proposals to re-structure the delivery of education services as part of the Convergence Delivery Plan are being developed in conjunction with the education bodies concerned. Proposals to suppress posts will be subject to approval by the current employers and by the Department of Education by means of a business case process in the coming months. Until this process is complete, it is not possible to identify the precise number of posts or the locations of those to be suppressed.

Convergence Delivery Plan

Mr D O'Loan asked the Minister of Education how many posts are being removed, as part of the Convergence Delivery Plan, in (i) the Staff Commission for Education and Library Boards; (ii) the Youth Council; (iii) the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools; and (iv) the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment.

(AQW 8252/10)

Minister of Education: Díríonn Céim a hAon den Phlean Soláthair Choinbhéirseachta ar na Boird Oideachais agus Leabharlainne, a sholáthraíonn formhór na seirbhísí agus a thabhaíonn formhór an chaiteachais.

Phase One of the Convergence Delivery Plan concentrates on the Education and Library Boards, from where the majority of services are delivered and the majority of expenditure is incurred. Whilst other education organisations are expected to reduce costs in 2010-11, they will participate more fully in convergence activities in Phase Two. Details of proposed restructuring for these bodies will be developed in conjunction with the organisations concerned in the coming months and will be subject to a business case approval process involving the Department of Education. It is not, therefore, possible at this stage to identify the precise number of posts that will be suppressed in each organisation.

Convergence Delivery Plan

Mr D O'Loan asked the Minister of Education how the single Strategic Planning function, outlined in the Convergence Delivery Plan, will be implemented; what are the key areas for action in 2010/11 and who will be responsible for their delivery.

(AQW 8254/10)

Minister of Education: Sainaithníonn an Plean Soláthair Choinbhéirseachta roinnt réimsí inar féidir le coinbhéirseacht éifeachtúlachtaí sa soláthar seirbhíse, comhsheasmhacht sa chur chuige agus torthaí níos fearr a chinntiú.

The Convergence Delivery Plan identifies a range of areas where convergence can bring about efficiencies in service delivery, consistency in approach and better quality outcomes. Strategic Planning for the schools estate is a key area under consideration and plans are currently being developed to identify the best way of progressing this further.

Funding for the Provision of a Youth Club at St Malachy's in South Belfast

Dr A McDonnell asked the Minister of Education for an update on the £900,000 funding for the provision of a youth club at St Malachy's in South Belfast; and to outline the timescale for the allocation of this funding.

(AQW 8255/10)

Minister of Education: Beidh an tionscadal seo á chómhaoiniú ag DE agus ag DSD tríd an Belfast Regeneration Office. Tá mo Roinn sásta cistí a chur ar fáil ach ní féidir iad a scaoileadh go dtí go ndeimhneofar go bhfuil an pacáiste cistithe iomlán ann. Bhí oifigigh ó mo Roinn i dteagmháil le Belfast Regeneration Office de chuid DSD maidir lena ndeonachán.

This project is to be jointly funded by DE and by DSD through its Belfast Regeneration Office. My Department is prepared to make funds available but these can only be released when it has been confirmed that the complete funding package is in place. Officials from my Department have been liaising with the DSD Belfast Regeneration Office regarding its financial contribution.

Policy Implementation Group

Mr D O'Loan asked the Minister of Education to outline the criteria used to decide when to establish a Policy Implementation Group; and whether and when such a group might be established for integrated education.

(AQW 8256/10)

Minister of Education: The Policy Implementation Groups that are being established at present reflect my policy priorities and are intended to complement the work that is underway to deliver convergence of education services. The work on convergence, and on developing a more coherent approach to delivering school improvement, reflects my priority of Raising Standards in all schools. The first group will consider how to develop strategies that will support delivery of the policy of Every School a Good School. Further consideration of how to take forward work on both the Entitlement Framework and Irish-medium education are in train. Officials are working to develop practical proposals that will assist the implementation of these policies during the forthcoming autumn term.

Níl sé beartaithe faoi láthair Grúpa Forfheidhmithe Beartais a chur ar bun le breithniú a dhéanamh ar oideachas imeasctha.

There are no plans at present to establish a Policy Implementation Group to consider integrated education.

Convergence Delivery Plan

Mr D O'Loan asked the Minister of Education to detail the salaries of the four Director Designates as outlined in the Convergence Delivery Plan.

(AQW 8257/10)

Minister of Education: Taispeánadh an scála tuarastail do Stiúrthóirí (Ainmnithe) sa fhreagra a thug mé ar AQW 7272/10 a foilsíodh ar 11 Meitheamh 2010. Ní íoctar duine ar bith de na Stiúrthóirí (Ainmnithe) ar na scálaí tuarastail seo faoi láthair.

The salary scale for Directors (Designate) was shown in my reply to AQW 7272/10 published on 11 June 2010. None of the Directors (Designate) is currently paid on these salary scales. All the Directors (Designate) are being paid by their current organisations at their existing rates of pay. In the case of four of the six Directors (Designate), their organisations are being reimbursed pro rata in respect of work which they are carrying out in planning the convergence work in preparation for the creation of the Education and Skills Authority.

Extended Schools Programme at Millington Primary School, Portadown

Mr D Kennedy asked the Minister of Education whether her Department intends to continue funding for the Extended Schools Programme at Millington Primary School, Portadown.

(AQW 8258/10)

Minister of Education: Ní chomhlíonann Millington Primary School na critéir cháilitheachta le haghaidh lánmhaoinithe do chlár Scoileanna Sínithe 2010/11. Seo a leanas na critéir cháilitheachta atá i bhfeidhm do bhunscoileanna ó chlár 2008/09:-

For the 2010/11 Extended Schools (ES) programme Millington Primary School (PS) does not meet the eligibility criteria for full funding. The eligibility criteria which have applied for primary schools since the 2008/09 programme are as follows:-

Millington PS qualified for the first two years of the Extended School programme (2006/07 and 2007/08) but fell just short of satisfying the eligibility criteria in 2008/09 and therefore entered the 2 year "buffer zone".

The "buffer zone" allows previously eligible schools who fall a few percentage points below the qualifying thresholds to be funded at a reduced amount (50%) of what the school would have received had it remained fully eligible. If full eligibility has not been re-established after 2 years, schools will exit the programme.

For the 2010/11 programme Millington PS has 46% pupil enrolment from disadvantaged areas and 20% FSME. The school has, therefore, been unable to re-establish full eligibility and will now exit the programme.

An exiting allocation of £7,833 has issued to the Southern Education and Library Board in recognition of plans that may have been made for Extended School activities in Millington PS for the period April to June 2010.

Review of Capital Projects

Mr P McGlone asked the Minister of Education, in relation to her statement on the review of capital projects, (i) to outline the criteria used to assess the capital projects; and (ii) to detail the evaluation of each school in the Mid-Ulster constituency against the criteria.

(AQW 8259/10)

Minister of Education: Cuireadh cóip de thoradh an athbhreithnithe ar thionscadail caipitil i Leabharlann an Tionóil ar 5 Iúil 2010, a chuimsíonn eolas ar na critéir a úsáideadh san athbhreithniú.

The outcome of the review of capital projects has been placed in the Assembly Library from Monday 5 July 2010, which includes information on the criteria used in the review.

The rate at which the Department can progress new school builds is dependent on the resources made available to it. The financial position this year is extremely challenging and the department is facing severe constraints on its capital budget. As part of the Executive’s June monitoring process, I have bid for additional funds for capital projects.

Resource Allocation Plans

Mr P Givan asked the Minister of Education when her Department will make a decision on the Resource Allocation Plans submitted by the Education and Library Boards.

(AQW 8261/10)

Minister of Education: Bhí moill ar choimisiúnú na bPleananna Leithdháilte Acmhainní nó RAPanna do 2010-11 i mbliana de bharr moille sa Tionól maidir le comhaontú an bhuiséid do 2010-11.

Commissioning of the Resource Allocation Plans or RAPs for 2010-11 was delayed this year as a result of the delay in the Assembly agreeing the budget for 2010-11. The RAPs submitted by the Boards are currently being scrutinised by the Department and my officials will be engaging with the Boards on their targets and proposed allocations. Before approving the RAPs, I will need to have assurances that the expenditure plans submitted are making the best use of public funds and will allow the Boards to meet their targets, whilst meeting their equality duties.

Staff Employed in Central Administration

Mr P Givan asked the Minister of Education how many staff are employed in central administration in each Education and Library Board; and, of these, how many are employed in (a) a temporary position; or (b) a temporary promotion position.

(AQW 8266/10)

Minister of Education: Tá tugtha le fios ag Príomhfheidhmeannaigh na mBord Oideachais agus Leabharlainne dom gur mar seo a leanas líonta na mball foirne atá fostaithe i riarachán lárnach agus as sin na líonta a bhfuil poist shealadacha acu nó a bhfuil arduithe céime sealadacha acu:

I have been advised by the Chief Executives of the Education and Library Boards of the following numbers of staff employed in central administration and of these the numbers in temporary positions and temporary promotions:

Board Area Staff Employed Temporary Positions Temporary Promotion Positions
BELB
421
59
29
NEELB
409
59
77
SELB
243
40
70
SEELB
463
90
122
WELB
306
50
46

St Paul's College, Kilrea

Mr J Dallat asked the Minister of Education how many children living in the Kilrea and Garvagh areas failed to obtain a place at St Paul's College, Kilrea for September 2010; and what action she has taken to meet the needs of these children, including those who live within a few metres of the college and children with special educational needs.

(AQW 8267/10)

Minister of Education: Tá tugtha le fios ag Bord Oideachais agus Leabharlainne an Oirthuaiscirt go raibh seoltaí i gCill Ria ag seisear agus go raibh seoltaí i nGarbhachadh ag cúigear de na páistí nár éirigh leo áit a fháil ag Coláiste Naomh Pól, Cill Ria do Mheán Fómhair 2010. Thug siad le fios fosta nár diúltaíodh áit ag Coláiste Naomh Pól do Mheán Fómhair 2010 do pháiste ar bith a raibh ráiteas ar riachtanais speisialta oideachais (SEN) acu.

The North-Eastern Education and Library Board has advised that of the children who failed to obtain a place at St Paul's College, Kilrea for September 2010 six have Kilrea addresses and five have Garvagh addresses. They also advised that no child with a statement of special educational needs (SEN) has been refused a place at St.Paul’s College for September 2010.

Children on the SEN register without a statement of special educational needs would be subject to the school’s normal enrolment criteria.

There is adequate provision for pupils transferring to post-primary school in the Kilrea and Garvagh areas in September 2010. There are places available in the following schools which serve pupils living in the area and to which transport is available from either Kilrea and/or Garvagh:

School Places Available
St Joseph’s College, Coleraine
45
Our Lady of Lourdes High School, Ballymoney
39
St Mary’s, Limavady
44

It is a matter for individual Boards of Governors to determine the admissions criteria to a school and to include, if they so wish, criteria which give priority to children who live close to the school.

Should any parent feel that their child must, for compelling and exceptional reasons, be admitted to a particular school, they can now apply to have their case considered by the new Exceptional Circumstances Body.

The purpose of this Body is to:

Left-over Food in School Canteens

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Education whether there is any policy in place regarding left-over food in school canteens at the end of the school year; and if she is aware that a school in the Newtownards area disposed of left-over food at the end of this school year rather than exploring other options, such as distributing the food to a charity.

(AQW 8277/10)

Minister of Education: Tá tugtha le fios ag Bord Oideachais agus Leabharlainne an Oirdheiscirt dom nach bhfuil siad ar an eolas faoi scoil ar bith ina limistéar a dhiúscair bia ar an bhealach sin.

I have been informed by the South-Eastern Education and Library Board that it is not aware of any school in its area disposing of food in the manner referred to.

All Education and Library Boards have policies in place to ensure the catering service effectively manages food resources. Staff are trained to plan menus and cook for the expected number of pupils. As the end of term approaches orders placed and stock held are reviewed to ensure that the closing stock of non-perishable goods is minimal and perishable foods are used up.

It is normal practice for kitchens to retain a minimum level of non-perishable stock (tinned, dried and frozen food) to assist with the start of the beginning of the new school year.

All food purchased, used or stored is in line with current food hygiene legislation.

Review of Capital Projects

Mr P Weir asked the Minister of Education, in relation to her statement on the review of capital projects, to outline the current position on new builds for schools in the Holywood area.

(AQW 8283/10)

Minister of Education: Cuireadh cóip de thoradh an athbhreithnithe ar thionscadail caipitil i Leabharlann an Tionóil ar 5 Iúil 2010

The outcome of the review of capital projects has been placed in the Assembly Library from Monday 5 July 2010.

The rate at which the Department can progress new school builds is dependent on the resources made available to it. The financial position this year is extremely challenging and the department is facing severe constraints on its capital budget. As part of the Executive’s June monitoring process, I have bid for additional funds for capital projects.

School Transport

Mrs D Kelly asked the Minister of Education what plans she has to review the £75 million spending on school transport to ensure value for money and effective use of resources.

(AQW 8305/10)

Minister of Education: Aithníonn an Roinn Oideachais go mbeadh sé riachtanach breithniú a dhéanamh ar an chaiteachas ar fad le húsáid éifeachtach acmhainní a chinntiú.

The Department of Education recognises that the need to ensure effective use of resources will require consideration of all of its expenditure. School transport, provided in line with the existing policy, is kept under continual review by Education & Library Boards to ensure both value for money and the effective use of resources. Competitive tendering, benchmarking, performance indicators, and the setting of performance targets, are some of the means used to ensure the service is both economic and efficient.

Southern Education and Library Board

Mr G Savage asked the Minister of Education how much the Southern Education and Library Board spent on (i) legal fees; (ii) tribunals; and (iii) damages and compensation in each of the past two years.

(AQW 8311/10)

Minister of Education: Tá eolas sa tábla thíos ar an méid a chaith Bord Oideachais agus Leabharlainne an Deiscirt (i) ar tháillí dlí; (ii) ar bhinsí; agus (iii) ar dhamáistí agus ar chúiteamh i ngach bliain le dhá bhliain anuas.

The amount spent by the Southern Education and Library Board spent on (i) legal fees; (ii) tribunals; and (iii) damages and compensation in each of the past two years is provided in the table below. This includes details of spend for employment related claims as well as public and employer liability claims:

Legal Case - Type 2008-09
£’s
2009-10
£’s
Legal fees1
169,919
147,693
Tribunals2
30,000
10,000
Damages and compensation3
128,875
175,215
TOTAL
328,794 332,908
Notes:
  1. Legal fees above include legal fees for both employee related Tribunal cases and public liability cases.
  2. Tribunal costs above relate to payments awarded to employees who have pursued employee related cases through Tribunals
  3. Damages and compensation costs above relate to public/employer liability claims.

Post-Primary Review of Catholic Education

Mr M Storey asked the Minister of Education for an estimate of the costs of the Post-Primary review of Catholic education, including how much her Department has contributed to the review process.

(AQW 8323/10)

Minister of Education: Ón bhliain 2005, tá acmhainní leithdháilte ag an Roinn ar Chomhairle na Scoileanna Caitliceacha faoi Chothabháil, ar na Boird Oideachais agus Leabharlainne, ar an Chomhairle um Oideachas Imeasctha agus ar Chomhairle na Gaelscolaíochta le tacú le leasú an churaclaim iarbhunscoile, le fócas ar leith ar sholáthar an Chreata Teidlíochta (EF).

Since 2005, the Department has allocated resources to the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools, the Education and Library Boards, the Council for Integrated Education and Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta to support the reform of the post-primary curriculum, with particular focus on the delivery of the Entitlement Framework (EF). The Department approved proposals brought forward by CCMS for the use of this funding to include the Post Primary Review of Catholic Education (PPRCE), recognising that ensuring sustainable post-primary schools is a key factor in the delivery of the EF.

The Department has allocated the following funding to CCMS to support this work:

2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10
£400k*
£629k*
£535k
£547k
£547k

* £108k was re-allocated from 2005/06 to 2006/07.

The level of allocation for 2010/11 is currently being finalised.

Savings in 2010/11

Mr M Storey asked the Minister of Education what criteria she will use to make savings in 2010/11; and how she intends to apportion savings between administration and school budgets.

(AQW 8324/10)

Minister of Education: As you will be aware the impact of the £6.2 billion reduction in public expenditure announced by the Chancellor of the exchequer on 24 May on the overall Block grant is £128 million in 2010-11. The extent to which this will impact on Departmental budgets in 2010-11 is a matter for consideration by the Executive.

Mar sin de, níl mé ábalta cinneadh a ghlacadh ar chionroinnt ná ar aon cheist eile i ndáil le laghduithe sa bhuiséad go dtí go bhfuil mé feasach ar thoradh bhreithniúchán an Choiste Feidhmiúcháin.

I am not therefore in a position to take a decision on apportionment or any other issue in relation to budget reductions until I know the outcome of the Executive’s deliberations.

Middletown Autism Centre

Mr M Storey asked the Minister of Education how much funding has been allocated to the Middletown Autism Centre in each year since 2002.

(AQW 8325/10)

Minister of Education: Since its establishment in March 2007, the Middletown Centre for Autism has been allocated the following funding by my Department:

2007/08 - £210,282.23

2008/09 - £435,136.37

2009/10 - £641,642.50

2010/11 - £160,000.00 (To end of June 2010).

Tá Ionad Uathachais Choillidh Chanannáin á chómhaoiniú ar bhonn 50/50 ag an Roinn Oideachais agus ag an Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna sa deisceart.

The Middletown Centre for Autism is funded jointly on a 50/50 basis by the Department of Education and the Department for Education and Skills in the south.

Criteria Used to Approve a New Nursery Unit

Mr M Storey asked the Minister of Education (i) to outline the criteria used to approve a new nursery unit; and (ii) to detail the reasons why some development proposals, such as the Irish-medium nursery unit in Coalisland and the unit at St Colman's Primary School, Annaclone have been approved, while nursery units for Oakwood Integrated Primary School and Cranmore Integrated Primary School were turned down.

(AQW 8326/10)

Minister of Education: (i) Pre-school education is provided in both the statutory sector and in the voluntary/ private sector and each is equally valued. My Department’s policy is therefore not to displace good quality pre-school provision already in existence with pre-school provision in an alternative setting. In assessing proposals, consideration is given to the overall provision in an area, including the potential impact that the proposed change would have on other existing providers. Consideration is also given as to whether conversion to statutory provision will increase the possibility of places being filled with children under the age of three. For the schools listed, these factors determined whether or not the proposals were approved.

(ii) Breathnaítear gach Moladh Forbartha ar bhonn cáis ar chás agus ina chomhthéacs uathúil féin. Mar sin de, ní féidir cinneadh amháin a chur i gcomparáid go díreach le cinneadh eile.

(ii) Each Development Proposals is considered on a case by case basis and in its own unique context, it is therefore not possible to compare one decision directly with another.

Chairman of the South Eastern Education and Library Board

Mr P Givan asked the Minister of Education (i) why the Chairman of the South Eastern Education and Library Board resigned from his position and as a Commissioner; (ii) why the resignation has not been made public; and (ii) what impact his resignation will have on decisions taken by the South Eastern Education and Library Board.

(AQW 8328/10)

Minister of Education: Mr Douglas Osler stood down as Chairperson of the South Eastern Education and Library Board (SEELB) Commissioners on 30 June citing two primary reasons for his decision.  Firstly, he considered that the task for which he was appointed has been successfully completed, namely that SEELB had been placed on a secure financial footing.  Secondly, he has served for four years and in the absence of a new date for the implementation of the new Education and Skills Authority felt unable to give a commitment for a further unquantifiable period.

I am very grateful for the service, commitment and leadership that Douglas Osler has provided to the Board over the past four years.

Mr Osler’s decision is already in the public domain. The department does not normally make specific announcements on decisions by members to stand down from its public bodies.

Beidh mé ag déanamh machnaimh ar impleachtaí chinneadh an Uasail Osler, ach beidh duine eile de na Coimisinéirí ag feidhmiú mar Chathaoirleach idir an dá linn agus ní bheidh tionchar ar bith ar chinntí an SEELB.    

I will be considering the implications of Mr Osler’s decision but in the meantime one of the remaining Commissioners will be acting as Chairperson and the decisions of the SEELB will be unaffected.    

Controlled/ Maintained Primary Schools

Mr K McCarthy asked the Minister of Education whether it is her Department's policy to reject any request from a Maintained Primary School for a development proposal to increase the number of places if there is a Controlled Primary School in the same catchment area with a significant number of surplus places; and if parents would then be expected to send their children to the Controlled Primary School.

(AQW 8329/10)

Minister of Education: The Department works with school owners and promoters to ensure that there are sufficient places in all areas to meet the needs of children and young people and to facilitate parental preference. When a development proposal is published to increase places in a particular school, the Department will consider the likely impact of the proposal on other schools in the local area. Each case is considered within its own unique set of circumstances before a decision is taken.

Tá sé de rún ag an Roinn cur chuige níos straitéisí a fhorbairt i leith pleanála ar bhonn an cheantair agus beidh sé seo ina fhreagracht reachtúil ag an ESA, nuair a bhunófar é. Is é an aidhm a bheas ann ná a chinntiú go mbíonn oideachas d’ardchaighdeán á sholáthar ag scoileanna atá inbhuanaithe inmharthana san fhadtéarma agus dá bhrí sin go laghdaítear dúbláil agus cur amú sa chóras.

It is the Department’s intention to develop a much more strategic approach to planning on an area basis and this will be a statutory responsibility of ESA, when established. The aim is to ensure that high quality education is provided by schools that are sustainable and viable in the longer term and hence reducing the duplication and waste in the system.

Controlled/ Maintained Primary Schools

Mr K McCarthy asked the Minister of Education whether it is her Department's policy to reject any request from a Controlled Primary School for a development proposal to increase the number of school places if there is a Maintained Primary School in the same catchment area with a significant number of surplus places; and if parents would then be expected to send their children to the Maintained Primary School.

(AQW 8331/10)

Minister of Education: The Department works with school owners and promoters to ensure that there are sufficient places in all areas to meet the needs of children and young people and to facilitate parental preference. When a development proposal is published to increase places in a particular school, the Department will consider the likely impact of the proposal on other schools in the local area. Each case is considered within its own unique set of circumstances before a decision is taken.

Tá sé de rún ag an Roinn cur chuige níos straitéisí a fhorbairt i leith pleanála ar bhonn an cheantair agus beidh sé seo ina fhreagracht reachtúil ag an ESA, nuair a bhunófar é. Is é an aidhm a bheas ann ná a chinntiú go mbíonn oideachas d’ardchaighdeán á sholáthar ag scoileanna atá inbhuanaithe inmharthana san fhadtéarma agus dá bhrí sin go laghdaítear dúbláil agus cur amú sa chóras.

It is the Department’s intention to develop a much more strategic approach to planning on an area basis and this will be a statutory responsibility of ESA, when established. The aim is to ensure that high quality education is provided by schools that are sustainable and viable in the longer term and hence reducing the duplication and waste in the system.

Controlled/ Maintained Primary Schools

Mr K McCarthy asked the Minister of Education whether it is her Department's policy to reject any request from an Integrated Primary School for a development proposal to increase the number of school places if there is a Controlled Primary School or a Maintained Primary School in the same catchment area with a significant number of surplus places; and if parents would then be expected to send their children to the Controlled or Maintained Primary School.

(AQW 8332/10)

Minister of Education: The Department works with school owners and promoters to ensure that there are sufficient places in all areas to meet the needs of children and young people and to facilitate parental preference. When a development proposal is published to increase places in a particular school, the Department will consider the likely impact of the proposal on other schools in the local area. Each case is considered within its own unique set of circumstances before a decision is taken.

Tá sé de rún ag an Roinn cur chuige níos straitéisí a fhorbairt i leith pleanála ar bhonn an cheantair agus beidh sé seo ina fhreagracht reachtúil ag an ESA, nuair a bhunófar é. Is é an aidhm a bheas ann ná a chinntiú go mbíonn oideachas d’ardchaighdeán á sholáthar ag scoileanna atá inbhuanaithe inmharthana san fhadtéarma agus dá bhrí sin go laghdaítear dúbláil agus cur amú sa chóras.

It is the Department’s intention to develop a much more strategic approach to planning on an area basis and this will be a statutory responsibility of ESA, when established. The aim is to ensure that high quality education is provided by schools that are sustainable and viable in the longer term and hence reducing the duplication and waste in the system.

Middletown Autism Centre

Mr I McCrea asked the Minister of Education to detail the protocols agreed with her Department and the Health and Social Care Board in relation to childcare admissions and ongoing professional supervision and development for staff employed at the Middletown Autism Centre.

(AQW 8354/10)

Minister of Education: Is saoráid oideachasúil í Ionad Uathachais Choillidh Chanannáin agus beidh ceithre phríomhsheirbhís ar fáil ann nuair a bheas sé go hiomlán oibríochtúil: Seirbhís Oiliúna agus Chomhairle, Seirbhís Thaighde agus Eolais, Seirbhís Mheasúnaithe Oideachasúil agus Seirbhís Thacaíochta Foghlama.

The Middletown Centre for Autism is an educational facility and when fully operational will offer four key services: a Training and Advisory Service, a Research and Information Service, an Educational Assessment Service and a Learning Support Service. The Centre is subject to inspections by the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI). As the independent body responsible for monitoring and inspecting health and social care services in the north, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) will be involved in inspecting the Centre after residential accommodation is made available to children and young people. The RQIA will be required to inspect the Centre as a boarding school under Article 176 of the Children (NI) Order 1995. In carrying out such inspections, the RQIA will liaise directly and coordinate their work with the ETI. 

The Centre does not currently offer residential accommodation to pupils. However, as the all-round care of the child is paramount, primary care arrangements have already been planned for and will be put in place before residential accommodation is offered on site to children and young people.

The Centre has also discussed its referral routes with staff in the Southern Health and Social Services Board/ Southern Health Trust and agreed how access to emergency health services would be managed when the services involving residential provision are opened.

The Centre has a programme of continuing professional development for all staff employed in the Centre and supervision is provided by specialist senior professional staff who are accredited by the following organisations:

- The General Teaching Council (north of Ireland)

- The Teaching Council (south of Ireland)

- The British Psychological Society

- The British Association & College of Occupational Therapists

- The Health Professions Council

Middletown Autism Centre

Mr I McCrea asked the Minister of Education (i) how many children with autism have been (a) excluded; or (b) suspended from school in each of the last two years; and (ii) of these, how many received interventions for complex cases at the Middletown Autism Centre.

(AQW 8357/10)

Minister of Education: Bailítear staitisticí ar fhionraithe agus ar dhíbirtí ó na Boird Oideachais agus Leabharlainne gach bliain, ach ní shonraíonn an t-eolas seo daltaí a bhfuil uathachas orthu. Mar sin de, ní choinníonn an Roinn an t-eolas a iarradh. 

Statistics on suspensions and expulsions are collected annually from Education and Library Boards, however this information does not specifically identify pupils with autism. The Department, therefore, does not hold the information requested. 

To date, the Middletown Centre for Autism has worked with one child who has previously been excluded from school.

Rathgael House in Bangor

Mr P Weir asked the Minister of Education to detail the number of (i) full days; and (ii) part days she has spent in her offices in Rathgael House in Bangor, in each calender year from 2007 to 2010 to date.

(AQW 8360/10)

Minister of Education: Bainim úsáid as m’oifig Aireachta i bhFoirgnimh na Parlaiminte d’fhormhór mór na ndualgas Roinne.

I use my Ministerial office in Parliament Buildings for the great majority of my Departmental duties. In consequence I spent 2 part days and 1 full day in 2007, 6 part days and 1 full day in 2008, 8 part days and 4 full days in 2009 and to date 7 part days and 1 full day in 2010 at my Departmental headquarters since taking up office.

Middletown Autism Centre

Mr I McCrea asked the Minister of Education what research has been published by the Middletown Autism Centre in each of the last five years.

(AQW 8365/10)

Minister of Education: Ó bunaíodh Ionad Uathachais Choillidh Chanannáin sa bhliain 2007, tá doiciméid taighde foilsithe acu ar na céimeanna tábhachtacha trasdula agus ar éifeachtacht aistí speisialta bia do na daoine sin ar speictream an uathachais. Rinneadh páipéar taighde eile ar mheasúnú oideachais agus foilseofar é i mí Iúil 2010.

Since the Middletown Centre for Autism was established in 2007, it has published research documents on the subject of key transition stages and on the effectiveness of special diets for those on the autistic spectrum. A further research paper on the subject of educational assessment has been completed and will be published in July 2010.

Staff Salaries

Mr J McCallister asked the Minister of Education to detail the number of staff with salaries of £75,000 or more, employed in the administration of education in (i) her Department; (ii) the Education and Skills Authority Implementation Team; (iii) Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta; (iv) the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education; (v) the Council for Catholic Maintained schools; (vi) the Youth Council; (vii) the Staff Commission; and (viii) the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment.

(AQW 8370/10)

Minister of Education: Foilsítear an luach saothair a fhaigheann feidhmeannaigh shinsearacha i mo Roinn de ghnáth i gCuntais Acmhainní na Roinne, a bhfuil fáil orthu ar láithreán gréasáin na Roinne. Bunaithe ar an eolas seo, is féidir liom a dheimhniú go bhfuil 5 bhall foirne faoi láthair a fhaigheann luach saothair de bhreis ar £75,000 sa bhliain. Áirítear sa líon seo Foireann Feidhmithe an Údaráis um Oideachas agus Scileanna.

The remuneration of senior officials in my Department is routinely published in the Departmental Resource Accounts, which are available on the Department’s website. Based on this information I can confirm that there are currently 5 staff members who are paid in excess of £75,000 pa. This number includes the Education and Skills Authority Implementation Team.

With regard to the various arms length bodies I have been advised by their Chief Executives of the following numbers of staff with salaries of £75,000 or more:

Organisation No. of staff with salaries of £75k or more
CnaG
0
NICIE
0
CCMS
1
Youth Council
0
Staff Commission
0
CCEA
0

Literacy and Numeracy Standards

Mr J Spratt asked the Minister of Education what measures her Department plans to take to improve literacy and numeracy standards.

(AQW 8371/10)

Minister of Education: Ó cheapadh mar Aire mé, bhí sé mar thosaíocht agam dul i ngleic leis an tearcghnóthachtáil agus comhionannas a chur chun tosaigh mar aon le caighdeáin a ardú inár scoileanna ar fad, go háirithe caighdeáin sa litearthacht agus san uimhearthacht.

Since becoming Minister I have made it a priority to tackle underachievement and promote equality and the raising of standards in all our schools, especially standards in literacy and numeracy.

In the new school year, I will publish a revised literacy and numeracy strategy. The strategy will aim to improve literacy and numeracy standards for all young people and to close the gaps in achievement between the highest and lowest achievers and the most and least disadvantaged. Ahead of the strategy, in 2009/10, I allocated £4.9m in support of the Boards’ regional literacy and numeracy action plan. I will provide a similar level of funding for literacy and numeracy in 2010/11. Following the publication of the convergence delivery plan, this will be part of the overall quantum allocated to an integrated support plan, commissioned from the Boards and the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment (CCEA), to cover school improvement, literacy and numeracy, curriculum and assessment and the promotion of STEM subjects. This is in addition to the delegated funding provided to schools and the core funding provided to the Education and Library Boards.

The literacy and numeracy strategy is one of a range of inter-connected policies aimed at improving outcomes for our young people. These include my school improvement policy, Transfer 2010, the revised curriculum and assessment arrangements, the Achieving Belfast and Derry programmes, the review of special educational needs and inclusion, the early years strategy and my work through the North South Ministerial Council, where the focus has been on co-operation and the sharing of best practice in tackling underachievement in literacy and numeracy.

Annual Expenditure

Mr T Elliott asked the Minister of Education how much of her annual expenditure was spent on administration in each of the last three years.

(AQW 8381/10)

Minister of Education: Tugtar eolas sa tábla thíos ar mhéid an chaiteachais bhliantúil a caitheadh ar riarachán i mo Roinn, i ngach bliain le trí bliana anuas.

The amount of annual expenditure spent on administration in my Department, in each of the last three years, is outlined in the table below.

YEAR AMOUNT (£000’s)
2007/08
26,190
2008/09
21,612
2009/10*
18,525

*Unaudited

The higher figure reported for administration in 2007-08 reflects the charging of expenditure for the Education and Training Inspectorate which was subsequently re-classified to programme expenditure in line with budgeting guidance.

Irish-medium Primary Schools

Mr T Elliott asked the Minister of Education to list the current enrolment figure and number of empty places in each Irish-medium primary school.

(AQW 8382/10)

Minister of Education: Tugtar an figiúr rollaithe agus líon na n-áiteanna a bhí ar fáil ag dáta an Daonáirimh Scoile ar 9 Deireadh Fómhair 2009 i ngach bunscoil Ghaeilge sa tábla thíos.

The enrolment figure and number of places available at the School Census date of 9 October 2009 in each Irish-medium primary school is a detailed in the table below.

School Name Enrolment Places Available
Bunscoil Mhic Reachtain
56
31
Bunscoil Phobal Feirste
231
175
Gaelscoil na bhFál
163
127
Bunscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibh
170
33
Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin
106
68
Scoil an Droichid
98
27
Gaelscoil na Móna
92
2
Gaelscoil an Lonnáin
51
24
Bunscoil Cholmcille
119
77
Gaelscoil Uí Dhochartaigh
119
31
Gaelscoil Éadain Mhóir
121
24
Bunscoil an Traonaigh
36
22
Gaelscoil na gCrann
62
25
Gaelscoil na Daróige
39
17
Bunscoil an Chaistil
81
24
Gaelscoil na Speiríní
24
17
Gaelscoil Ghleann Darach
54
3
Gaelscoil Éanna
34
6
Scoil na Fuiseoige
117
28
Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche
56
31
Bunscoil an Iúir
107
22
Gaelscoil Uí Néill
129
16

Source: School Census October 2009/School Access Team

Department Spend

Mr J McCallister asked the Minister of Education how much her Department spent on (i) Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta; (ii) the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education; and (iii) the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools in each of the last three years.

(AQW 8388/10)

Minister of Education: (i) Seo a leanas na leithdháiltí a tugadh do Chomhairle na Gaelscolaíochta i ngach bliain le trí bliana anuas:-

(i) Allocations to Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta in each of the last three years are as follows:-

Financial Year 2007/08
£’000
2008/09
£’000
2009/10
£’000
Recurrent Funding (including Earmarked)
591
635
637
Capital Funding
0
0
0
TOTAL
591 635 637

(ii) Seo a leanas na leithdháiltí a tugadh don Chomhairle um Oideachas Imeasctha i ngach bliain le trí bliana anuas:-

(ii) Allocations to Council for Integrated Education in each of the last three years are as follows:-

Financial Year 2007/08
£’000
2008/09
£’000
2009/10
£’000
Recurrent Funding (including Earmarked)
680
618
650
Capital Funding
0
0
0
TOTAL
680 618 650

(iii) Seo a leanas na leithdháiltí a tugadh do Chomhairle na Scoileanna Caitliceacha faoi Chothabháil i ngach bliain le trí bliana anuas:-

(iii) Allocations to Council for Catholic Maintained Schools in each of the last three years are as follows:

Financial Year 2007/08
£’000
2008/09
£’000
2009/10
£’000
Recurrent funding (including Earmarked)
3,929
3,685
5,772
Capital Funding
98
35
30
TOTAL
4,027 3,720 5,802

Education and Library Boards: Staffing Arrangements

Dr S Farry asked the Minister of Education what guidance has been issued to Education and Library Boards regarding their future status including staffing arrangements, given the number of staff in temporary positions and the need to fill permanent posts.

(AQW 8391/10)

Minister of Education: Roimh bhunú an ESA, tá feidhm ag na socruithe reatha rialachais agus cuntasachta go fóill, agus tá na heagraíochtaí reatha go hiomlán cuntasach don Roinn as maoirseacht cistí poiblí agus as caighdeán na seirbhísí a sholáthraítear.

In advance of the establishment of ESA, the existing governance and accountability arrangements pertain, with the existing organisations fully accountable to the Department for the stewardship of public funds and the quality of services provided.

The Convergence Delivery Plan (CDP) outlined the approach for the re-shaping of services in advance of the establishment of ESA and proposals to re-structure the delivery of education services as part of the Convergence Delivery Plan are being developed in conjunction with the education bodies concerned. As part of this process, the Vacancy Control Policy, which has been in operation since October 2006, is currently being reviewed.

£2.9 Million for New Bodies

Mr J McCallister asked the Minister of Education how she intends to spend the £2.9 million set aside for new bodies, in addition to the £5.5 million set aside for Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta, the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education and the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools.

(AQW 8396/10)

Minister of Education: Mar ullmhúchán do bhunú an Údaráis um Oideachas agus Scileanna tá cistí curtha i leataobh agam in 2010-11 le tacú le bunú roinnt foras tacaíochta earnála, an fhorais shealbhaíochta don eastát rialaithe agus an Fhóraim Chomhairligh Oideachais.

In preparation for the establishment of the Education and Skills Authority I have set aside funds in 2010-11 to support the establishment of a number of sectoral support bodies, the holding body for the controlled estate and the Education Advisory Forum. Decisions on funding of these bodies, including the detail of their roles and structures are on hold pending further progress with the Education Bill. Until such progress, CnaG, NICIE and CCMS will continue to discharge the respective roles and responsibilities and will continue to attract financial support on the terms already established.

Financial Assistance to Purchase School Uniforms

Mr B McElduff asked the Minister of Education what level of financial assistance is currently available to people planning to purchase school uniforms for primary and post-primary school pupils.

(AQW 8401/10)

Minister of Education: Cuireann Alt 60 den Education and Libraries (NI) Order 1986 dualgas ar gach Bord Oideachais agus Leabharlainne scéim a dhéanamh le costas éadaí, nó le ranníocaíocht i leith costais éadaí, a sholáthar do chatagóirí áirithe daltaí ag scoileanna deontaschúnta nó ag institiúidí breisoideachais. Tá na critéir cháilitheachta cosúil leis na critéir sin a úsáidtear faoi choinne saorbhéilí scoile.

Article 60 of the Education and Libraries (NI) Order 1986 places a duty on each Education and Library Board to make a scheme for the provision of, or contribution towards the cost of, clothing for certain categories of pupils at grant-aided schools or institutes of further education. The eligibility criteria are similar to those used for free school meals.

The scheme applies to primary schools, post-primary schools, further education colleges and day pupils at special schools. Assistance is available towards the cost of school uniform and appropriate clothing suitable for physical education. Eligible students who attend FE colleges may be assisted with the cost of PE clothing. Normally only one clothing allowance per pupil will be paid during the school year.

The Clothing Allowances Scheme is not intended to cover the full cost of a uniform, rather it is designed to assist those in need with the cost of purchase.

The primary school allowance for the 2010/11 school year will be £35.75. The post-primary/special school rates are:

Under 15 years old
£51.00
15 years old and over
£56.00
PE
£22.00
PE
£22.00
Total
£73.00
Total
£78.00

Speech and Language Therapists

Mr B McElduff asked the Minister of Education to outline the current and future employment opportunities, in the education sector, for speech and language therapists, including those who have recently qualified.

(AQW 8404/10)

Minister of Education: Tá tugtha le fios ag Príomhfheidhmeannaigh na mBord Oideachais agus Leabharlainne dom gur gnáthchleachtas é go gceapann agus go maoiníonn na hIontaobhais Shláinte agus Chúraim Shóisialta teiripeoirí urlabhra agus teanga a sholáthraíonn seirbhísí i scoileanna. Thug Príomhfheidhmeannach Bhord Oideachais agus Leabharlainne an Deiscirt le fios áfach, go bhfuil teiripeoir urlabhra agus teanga amháin fostaithe i Seirbhís Teanga agus Cumarsáide an Bhoird.

I am advised by the Chief Executives (CE) of the Education and Library Boards that it is normal practice that speech and language therapists providing services to schools are appointed and funded by the Health and Social Care Trusts. The CE of the Southern Education and Library Board advises, however, that one speech and language therapist is employed within the Board’s Language and Communication Service.

For the above reason the Chief Executives advise that the Boards are not in a position to outline future employment opportunities for speech and language therapists.

Assembly Questions

Mr J O'Dowd asked the Minister of Education how many written Assembly questions her Department has received since 2007 relating to (i) the controlled sector; (ii) the Catholic maintained sector; (iii) the voluntary grammar sector; (iv) the integrated sector; and (v) the Irish-medium sector.

(AQW 8407/10)

Minister of Education: Leagtar amach sa tábla thíos líon na gceisteanna scríofa Tionóil a fuair mo Roinn ó mhí Bealtaine 2007 a thagraíonn go sonrach (i) don earnáil rialaithe; (ii) don earnáil Chaitliceach faoi chothabháil; (iii) don earnáil dheonach ghramadaí; (iv) don earnáil imeasctha; agus (v) d’earnáil na Gaelscolaíochta.

The number of Written Assembly questions which my Department has received since May 2007 which specifically refer to (i) the controlled sector; (ii) the Catholic maintained sector; (iii) the voluntary grammar sector; (iv) the integrated sector; and (v) the Irish-medium sector is set out in the table below.

Sector Number of Assembly Questions
(i) Controlled
99
(ii) Catholic Maintained
103
(iii) Voluntary Grammar
24
(iv) Integrated
130
(v) Irish-Medium
101

Note: where a question asks about more than one sector it is included in each of the relevant sector totals.

Controlled Sector

Mr J O'Dowd asked the Minister of Education for her assessment of the number of requests from Members for meetings regarding the current state of the controlled sector.

(AQW 8408/10)

Minister of Education: Le bliain anuas, fuair mé 5 iarratas ó Chomhaltaí ar chruinnithe faoi scoileanna rialaithe. Bhain na hiarratais sin le scoileanna áirithe rialaithe seachas leis an earnáil i gcoitinne.

In the past 12 months I have received 5 requests from Members for meetings about controlled schools. Those requests related to particular controlled schools rather than to the sector generally.

Tor Bank Summer Scheme Programme

Ms A Lo asked the Minister of Education what guidance was issued from the South Eastern Education and Library Board regarding the recent reduction to the Tor Bank Summer Scheme programme.

(AQW 8410/10)

Minister of Education: I am advised by the South Eastern Education and Library Board (SEELB) that they issued a letter to all parents of pupils attending the four special schools for pupils with severe learning difficulties in the SEELB area to advise that due to financial constraints, these schools’ summer schemes would only be able to operate for one week in 2010.

I bhfianaise an chinnidh a rinne Boird Oideachais agus Leabharlainne an Deiscirt agus an Iarthair ar na mallaibh lena scéimeanna samhraidh do dhaltaí a bhfuil deacrachtaí troma foghlama acu a athbhunú go hiomlán, d’fhógair Bord Oideachais agus Leabharlainne an Oirdheiscirt ar 2 Iúil 2010 go n-athbhunóidh siad na scéimeanna samhraidh go hiomlán agus beidh siad anois ar siúl ar feadh coicíse.

In light of the recent decision of the Southern and Western Education and Library Boards to fully reinstate their summer schemes for pupils with severe learning difficulties, the South Eastern Education and Library Board announced on 2 July 2010 that it will reinstate the summer schemes in full and they will now operate for 2 weeks.

Remuneration Costs

Ms A Lo asked the Minister of Education for her assessment of the remuneration costs incurred by the South Eastern Education and Library Board and its Commissioners compared to those incurred by their counterparts in the other boards.

(AQW 8411/10)

Minister of Education: Chuir mé costais Choimisinéirí Bhord Oideachais agus Leabharlainne an Oirdheiscirt (SEELB) i gcomparáid le costais na gComhaltaí ó na ceithre Bhord eile. Tá sé tábhachtach go gcuimhnítear ar an staid chriticiúil airgeadais a fuair na Coimisinéirí trí oidhreacht chomhaltaí an Bhoird. Tá comhardú agus cobhsaíocht airgeadais bainte amach acu arís agus tá mé sásta go bhfuil luach maith ar airgead á fháil ó na Coimisinéirí.

I have compared the costs of the South Eastern Education and Library Board (SEELB) Commissioners with those of the Members of the other four Boards.

It is important to remember the critical financial position the Commissioners inherited from the members of the Board. They have restored financial balance and stability. I am satisfied that the Commissioners represent good value for money.

Middletown Autism Centre

Mr I McCrea asked the Minister of Education how much funding the Middletown Autism Centre has received in each of the last five years; and how many young people have attended the centre.

(AQW 8417/10)

Minister of Education: Since its establishment in March 2007, the Middletown Centre for Autism has been allocated the following funding by my Department:

2007/08 - £210,282.23

2008/09 - £435,136.37

2009/10 - £641,642.50

2010/11 - £160,000.00 (To end of June 2010)

Tá Ionad Uathachais Choillidh Chanannáin á chómhaoiniú ar bhonn 50/50 ag an Roinn Oideachais agus ag an Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna sa deisceart.

The Middletown Centre for Autism is funded jointly on a 50/50 basis by the Department of Education and the Department for Education and Skills in the south.

Four key services are to be delivered by the Centre; a Training and Advisory Service, a Research and Information Service, Educational Assessment Service and a Learning Support Service. The services proposed for the Centre are being phased in order to coincide with the completion of the building refurbishment programme.

The Training and Advisory Service began in December 2007, closely followed by its Research and Information Service. To date, training has been delivered to over 3,000 professionals and over 300 parents. A specialist programme of training for parents in the north commenced on 13 April 2010 and ran for five weeks in each of five locations.

The Centre’s Research and Information Service has completed research bulletins covering issues such as diet and autism and also the subject of transitions for those on the Autism Spectrum. A further research bulletin in relation to educational assessment is to be published shortly.

The remaining two services to be delivered by the Centre are a Learning Support Service and an Educational Assessment Service. It was planned that these services would be commenced alongside the completion of the building project at the Centre.

The North/South Ministerial Council joint communiqué in December 2009 stated that "the Ministers of Education and Science and the Minister for Education propose to prepare an updated phased multi-annual plan for the future development of the Centre, in conjunction with the Board and taking account of international best practice and the development of autism services on the island of Ireland since the Centre was established." In light of this announcement, the Centre has been developing its provision of advice and guidance to be delivered prior to the completion of the building project.

Advice and guidance is being offered by the Centre to children and young people previously referred to the ASD Advisory Services in the north who despite focused first level intervention continue to experience difficulties within their educational setting. The Centre’s staff will further assess and identify the strengths and needs of children and young people referred to the Centre and make recommendations for the implementation of relevant strategies. This process will be carried out in partnership with families and the existing first level services.

The provision of advice and guidance will provide trans-disciplinary assessments and support to schools and families in the implementation of a specialist education plan developed from a comprehensive learning support plan. The model of advice and guidance provision will operate on a rolling basis. Two young people, referred by the Interboard Autistic Spectrum Disorder Group, are currently receiving such advice and guidance from the Centre.

Dromore High School and Dromore Primary School

Mr P Givan asked the Minister of Education, in relation to her statement on the review of capital projects, whether the proposed new builds for Dromore High School and Dromore Primary School will proceed.

(AQW 8419/10)

Minister of Education: Níor fógraíodh an togra le haghaidh Dromore High School mar chuid de chlár móroibreacha na Roinne. Tá an SELB ag uasdátú breithmheasa eacnamaíochta do scéim mholta caipitil na scoile áfach agus tá siad ag súil é a chur faoi bhráid na Roinne ar ball beag.

The project for Dromore High School has not been announced as part of the Department’s major works programme. The SELB is, however, updating an economic appraisal for the proposed capital scheme for the school and hopes to submit it to the Department in the near future.

The outcome of the review of capital projects, including that for Dromore Primary School, has been placed in the Assembly Library from Monday 5 July 2010.

The rate at which the Department can progress new school builds is dependent on the resources made available to it. The financial position this year is extremely challenging and the department is facing severe constraints on its capital budget. As part of the Executive’s June monitoring process, I have bid for additional funds for capital projects.

Applied Behavioural Analysis

Mr G Robinson asked the Minister of Education what consideration she has given to the advice of the Scottish Parliament in April 2009 that decisions should not be based solely on the 'Autism Toolbox', particularly the section on 'Overview of Intervention'; whether this advice influenced her approach to the use of Applied Behavioural Analysis, and if not, to explain the reasons.

(AQW 8437/10)

Minister of Education: I understand that the ‘Autism Toolbox’ is primarily used in schools across Scotland and is supported by Local Authorities. The ‘Autism Toolbox’ was written by a multi-professional writing team, overseen by a Working Group and published by the Scottish Government in 2009. The ‘Autism Toolbox’ has not been published for use within special education provision for children with autism in the north of Ireland.

I am advised by the Scottish Government Learning Directorate that concerns were raised by an individual in July 2009 about a section of the Toolbox – the Overview of Interventions. There has been no formal review of the Toolbox. However, I understand that the Scottish Government has taken account of the views of professionals who have developed, written and commented on the Toolbox.

Ní chuireann an Roinn Oideachais cineál amháin idirghabhála chun tosaigh thar chineál eile ach tá an Roinn den tuairim gur chóir go mbeadh an soláthar páistelárnach, dírithe ar mheasúnú cuimsitheach ar uathachas an pháiste agus ar an dóigh a théann an t-uathachas i bhfeidhm ar chumas foghlama an pháiste.

The Department of Education does not promote one type of intervention over another but maintains the view that provision should be child centred, focused on a comprehensive assessment of the child’s autism and how it affects his or her ability to learn.

Sectoral Advisory Body

Mr S Moutray asked the Minister of Education what is the annual estimated cost of each proposed sectoral advisory body.

(AQW 8439/10)

Minister of Education: In developing proposals for education reform, my Department invited submissions from those interested in creating sectoral support bodies to the various sectors in education, to come into operation following the proposed establishment of the Education and Skills Authority (ESA). A number of proposals have been received and my officials have also worked with a group of interested individuals to assist the development of a further proposal to establish a sectoral support body for the controlled sector.

As the legislation to enact the reform of education is currently awaiting agreement by the Executive, there are no plans to move forward with finalising these proposals until a date for the establishment of the ESA is confirmed. Sectoral support bodies were intended to complement the work of ESA and will only be established to support its operation.

Mar sin de, ní féidir a mheas ag an am seo, an ról beacht a bheas ag gach comhlacht tacaíochta earnála agus an costas a bhainfeas leo.

It is not, therefore, possible to estimate the precise role or the associated cost of each sectoral support body at this time.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Among Young People

Mr A Easton asked the Minister of Education to detail the areas of her current budget set aside to deal with drug and alcohol abuse among young people.

(AQW 8452/10)

Minister of Education: Faigheann Boird Oideachais agus Leabharlainne cistiú mar chuid dá Leithdháileadh foriomlán Acmhainní lena chur ar a gcumas oifigigh oideachais drugaí agus alcóil a fhostú le hoiliúint agus tacaíocht a thabhairt do mhúinteoirí chun oideachas drugaí agus alcóil a sholáthar mar chuid den snáithe Forbairt Phearsanta den churaclam athbhreithnithe ar scoil.

Education and Library Boards (ELBs) receive funding as part of their overall Resource Allocation to enable them to employ drugs and alcohol education officers to provide training and support to teachers in delivering drugs and alcohol education as part of the Personal Development strand of the revised curriculum in school. I also recently wrote to all schools reminding them of their responsibilities in relation to drugs education.

My Department also funds an Independent Counselling Service in all Post Primary Schools which is available to provide professional counselling to children and young people if needed, at vulnerable times in their lives. Funding is provided as well to each of the five ELBs and the Youth Council to support youth provision which includes addressing drugs and alcohol awareness sessions for young people.

My Department does not specifically fund individual organisations for drug and alcohol awareness and prevention programmes. Schools and ELBs are given the flexibility to respond to the needs of their school community and may, within their delegated budget, engage, as necessary, the services of organisations to assist in the delivery of the curriculum. As such it is a matter for schools and Boards within their delegated budgets to engage outside organisations to provide awareness training.

The Department of Education works closely with colleagues in the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety led New Strategic Direction on Drugs and Alcohol and will implement fully actions agreed by the steering group in relation to schools.

Applied Behavioural Analysis

Mr G Robinson asked the Minister of Education if she is aware that information provided to her Department regarding Applied Behavioural Analysis has been deemed misleading by a panel of experts advising the Scottish Government; and what steps she is taking to ensure that this does not adversely impact on her Department's policy.

(AQW 8456/10)

Minister of Education: Is eol dom gur chuir Rialtas na hAlban tuairimí na ngairmithe a d’fhorbair agus a scríobh ‘The Autism Toolbox’ a foilsíodh in Albain san áireamh.

I am aware that the Scottish Government has taken account of the views of professionals who developed and wrote the ‘Autism Toolbox’ published in Scotland.

Here in the north of Ireland there is a range of ways in which the education system currently meets the needs of children on the autistic spectrum. The Report of the Task Group on Autism, published by the Department of Education (DE) in 2002 was a major milestone in understanding the needs of children with autism in the north or Ireland. The report states, in relation to methods of intervention, that "The Task Group finds preference for no single approach but concludes that single methods by themselves may not address effectively the triad of impairments associated with ASD" (Autistic Spectrum Disorder). The Group concluded that "intervention programmes should be child-centred rather than method-centred and should address the observed and unique needs of the child." I support the Taskforce Group report and the recommendations therein.

DE does not, therefore, promote one type of intervention over another but maintains the view that provision should be child centred, focused on a comprehensive assessment of the child’s autism and how it affects his or her ability to learn, and in particular to learn alongside other children.

DEPARTMENT FOR EMPLOYMENT AND LEARNING

Permanent Lecturers at Queen's University and the University of Ulster

Mr D Hilditch asked the Minister for Employment and Learning how many permanent lecturers at (i) Queen's University; and (ii) the University of Ulster have been suspended in each of the past two years; and how many were subsequently dismissed.

(AQW 7939/10)

Minister for Employment and Learning (Sir Reg Empey): This information is not held in my Department but the two universities have provided the following information:

  2008/09 2009/10
  Queen’s Ulster Queen’s Ulster
Suspended
1
0
1
2
Dismissed
1
0
0
1

L2 Allowance

Mr C McDevitt asked the Minister for Employment and Learning to detail number of staff receiving a former L2 allowance in each Further Education College, as of 1 June 2010.

(AQW 7961/10)

Minister for Employment and Learning: The six Further Education Colleges have confirmed the number of current staff receiving a former L2 allowance, as detailed in the table below:

Further Education College No. of current staff receiving a former L2 allowance
Belfast Metropolitan
9
Northern Regional
8
North West Regional
7
South East Regional
0
Southern Regional
10
South West
1
Total
35

Staff Salaries

Mr S Gardiner asked the Minister for Employment and Learning how many staff in his Department, and associated quangos, are paid in excess of £100,000 pa in salary and/or remuneration packages.

(AQW 8046/10)

Minister for Employment and Learning: The remuneration of the most senior officials in each Department is published in annual Resource Accounts, which are available on all Departmental websites. In DEL’s case, the Resource Accounts may be accessed at www.delni.gov.uk . There is currently one member of staff paid in excess of £100,000 per annum in salary and/or remuneration packages.

Consultants

Mr D Kinahan asked the Minister for Employment and Learning what steps he is taking to review the use of consultants in his Department.

(AQW 8068/10)

Minister for Employment and Learning: The Department undertakes a range of activities to ensure there is an ongoing review of the use of consultants. We maintain a register of consultancy assignments which is updated on a quarterly basis. We undertake internal test drilling exercises in order to monitor compliance with the Department of Finance & Personnel guidance: FD (DFP) 04/09. We continue, through the preparation of business cases, to stringently assess the need to appoint consultants ensuring full consideration has been given to the use of in-house personnel. Where a consultancy assignment exceeds £50k my approval is sought, and above £75k both my and DFP’s approval is required.

Institute of Professional Legal Studies

Mr P Weir asked the Minister for Employment and Learning (i) how many (a) solicitor students; and (b) bar students enrolled at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies; and (ii) how many (a) solicitor students; and (b) bar students received a bursary in each of the last five years.

(AQW 8078/10)

Minister for Employment and Learning: (i) The number of first year (a) solicitor students and (b) barrister students enrolled at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen’s University Belfast in each of the last five academic years is outlined in the table below:

  2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09
Cert (PC) Professional Legal Studies (Barrister)
30
25
25
25
35
Cert (PC) Professional Legal Studies (Solicitor)
105
100
105
115
125

Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)

Notes:

(1) Figures have been rounded to the nearest 5.

(2) The latest available data are for 2008/09.

(ii) (a) 0 (b) (0)

My Department has not provided any funding for bursaries for solicitor students or bar students at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies in each of the last five years.

Departmental funding for Northern Ireland domiciled students pursuing postgraduate diplomas and certificates, including those for legal practice, in the United Kingdom has not been available since September 2005. At that time, my Department reviewed its priorities in light of the Government’s 2002 Science, Engineering and Technology Strategy "Investing in Innovation" and decided that its postgraduate support budget should be targeted at funding Masters and PhD courses at the higher levels recommended in that report.

Institute of Professional Legal Studies

Mr P Weir asked the Minister for Employment and Learning how many post-graduates law students, other than those enrolled at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, received a bursary in each of the last five years

(AQW 8080/10)

Minister for Employment and Learning: Each year, my Department makes available funding to Queen’s University, Belfast and the University of Ulster for research (MPhil and PhD) and for certain approved courses of full-time study leading to higher degrees (Masters). The universities are responsible for administering the postgraduate awards scheme and allocating the awards within the levels of funding available.

The table overleaf details the total number of postgraduate awards in law, broken down by Masters and PhDs, which the universities made from my Department’s annual postgraduate awards budget allocation, in each of the last five academic years.

Funding for bursaries at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies has not been available from my Department since September 2005
  DEL Funded Postgraduate Awards inLaw AY 2005/06 AY 2006/07 AY 2007/08 AY 2008/09 AY 2009/10
Queen’s University, Belfast Masters
4
2
0
0
0
PhDs
4
4
4
2
0
University of Ulster Masters
0
0
0
0
0
PhDs
2
1
1
0
3
 
TOTAL
10 7 5 2 3

Regional Colleges

Mr P Givan asked the Minister for Employment and Learning how many students in each regional college have failed to complete a full-time course in each of the last three years.

(AQW 8201/10)

Minister for Employment and Learning: The information requested by the member is attached in the table at Annex A.

Annex A
Academic Year
College 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09
Belfast Metropolitan
4,685
3,874
4,918
Northern Regional
2,800
2,311
2,280
South Eastern Regional
2,609
2,165
1,785
Southern Regional
1,655
1,563
1,441
South West
1,505
1,526
1,457
North West Regional
1,760
1,500
1,965
Total*
15,014 12,939 13,846

Source: Further Education Leavers Survey

*Information on completion is only available for those in their final year of study. Therefore, for those enrolled on a course which is longer than one year, it is not possible to identify if they have dropped out in a previous year of study.

Funding for Regional Colleges

Mr P Givan asked the Minister for Employment and Learning how much funding a regional college receives for each registered full-time student; and what are the financial consequences when a student drops out of a course.

(AQW 8278/10)

Minister for Employment and Learning: There is no set funding value for a full time Further Education student. Each eligible enrolment generates a number of Funded Learning Units (FLU) based on attendance, educational level and the economic priority attached to that particular course of study. In the 2008/09 academic year the average funding generated for a College by a full time FE student was £5,054.

A student’s withdrawal will directly affect the number of FLU generated. FE Colleges are funded to deliver an agreed level of FLU and at the end of each year each a College’s actual delivery is assessed against its agreed plan. This, in turn, informs negotiations on the College’s funding allocation for the subsequent year.

Department of Work and Pensions Job Cuts

Dr A McDonnell asked the Minister for Employment and Learning what impact the announcement by the Department of Work and Pensions to cut 8,000 jobs from job centres by March 2011 will have on staffing levels locally.

(AQW 8315/10)

Minister for Employment and Learning: Employment is a transferred matter in Northern Ireland. The announcement by the Department for Work and Pensions to cut 8,000 jobs from JobCentres by March 2011 will have no direct impact on staffing levels in my Department.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Mr A Easton asked the Minister for Employment and Learning to detail the areas of his current budget set aside to deal with drug and alcohol abuse.

(AQW 8453/10)

Minister for Employment and Learning: While not responsible for dealing directly with drug and alcohol abuse, the Department for Employment and Learning seeks to improve the employability of adults with a history of substance misuse as part of the progress2work initiative. The overall budget for progress2work is £300,000 per annum, however there is no specific portion of this budget set aside to address drug and alcohol abuse.

DEPARTMENT OF ENTERPRISE, TRADE AND INVESTMENT

Ballycastle to Campbeltown Ferry Service

Mr M Storey asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment for an update on the restoration of the Ballycastle to Campbeltown ferry service.

(AQW 7938/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (Mrs A Foster): I have agreed with my Scottish Government ministerial counterpart, Stewart Stevenson MSP, to progress to the next stage of our joint consideration of the case for the restoration of the Ballycastle to Campbeltown ferry service, which would involve the development of a service specification and tender.

The Scottish Government, who has lead responsibility for the ferry restoration, is giving serious consideration to the timing of further work to re-establish the ferry service, in light of the current difficult financial climate, to ensure that any new commitments could be supported by adequate funding.

We remain supportive in principle to the provision of a Ballycastle to Campbeltown ferry service.

NI Electricity

Mr D Hilditch asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment why NI Electricity staff cannot discuss customer accounts with constituency office staff on the MLA dedicated hotline.

(AQW 7964/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE), part of the Viridian Group, is a privately owned company which owns the electricity networks in Northern Ireland, and for which my Department has no direct responsibility.

NIE provides a dedicated elected representative hotline providing information only on power cuts, and therefore cannot deal with customer accounts relating to the supply of electricity by NIE Energy.

NIE Energy is a completely separate company within the Viridian Group. It holds some personal information on customer accounts, including bank details, and takes the security of this information very seriously.  This is one of a number of measures to safeguard customer information which NIE Energy has in place. NIE Energy will only supply information relating to any customer to a third party with the customers consent.

Consultants

Mr D Kinahan asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment what steps she is taking to review the use of consultants in her Department.

(AQW 8011/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: The use of consultants in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment is reviewed on an annual basis. At the beginning of each financial year, DETI produces information on consultancy expenditure for the previous financial year and expected consultancy assignments for the current financial year. This information is shared with DFP Supply and Central Procurement Directorate (CPD), who act as DETI’s Centre of Procurement Excellence (CoPE).

When the annual consultancy returns are received, the previous financial year’s expenditure is reviewed to ensure compliancy with the Guidance on the Use of Consultants and for best practice. Returns are checked to ensure that a business case has been approved to establish a justifiable reason for engagement of consultants and that there is a framework for planning and managing the consultancy requirement. Checks are carried out to ensure that:

We also seek explanations from each business area if expenditure varies by 5% from the previous year.

The anticipated current year consultancy projects are also reviewed and potential increases investigated.

Invest NI and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board carry out their own annual reviews of previous year actual expenditure and current year estimated expenditure.

Slemish Mountain

Mr D McKay asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment why Slemish Mountain was not included in the St Patrick's Trail; and what action she will take to ensure that Slemish Mountain is marketed as part of this tourism product.

(AQW 8108/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: When St. Patrick’s Signature Project was scoped it was agreed that the strongest clustering and collective linkages with St. Patrick existed in the Armagh / Downpatrick area. Nine connecting options were fully considered with the current St. Patrick’s Trail becoming the preferred option which was subsequently put in place.

However, the Trail is not exclusive. The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has identified Christian Heritage as a key Product Portfolio and continues to work with key stakeholders to develop the product offering. As a result, Slemish is now included on a new dedicated Saint Patrick/Christian Heritage microsite and on the new St. Patrick’s Trail map. See link below (www.discovernorthernireland.com/History-and-Heritage-Downloads-A802).

Slemish also featured strongly in NITB’s recent 100 Great Days Out publication and is a regular destination in terms of familiarisation visits for journalists and tour operators with an interest in Christian Heritage.

The St Patrick's Trail

Mr D McKay asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment for her assessment of the benefit of including Croagh Patrick, Slemish Mountain and Lough Derg in the marketing of the St Patrick's Trail, in light of the success of the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain.

(AQW 8109/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: When St. Patrick’s Signature Project was scoped it was agreed that the strongest clustering and collective linkages with St. Patrick lay in the Armagh / Downpatrick area. Nine connecting options were fully considered with the current St. Patrick’s Trail (SPT) becoming the preferred option which was subsequently put in place.

However, the Trail is not exclusive. The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has identified Christian Heritage as a key Product Portfolio and continues to work with key stakeholders to develop the product offering. As a result, Slemish is now included on a new dedicated Saint Patrick / Christian Heritage microsite and on the new St. Patrick’s Trail map (www.discovernorthernireland.com/History-and-Heritage-Downloads-A802).

NITB and Fáilte Ireland commissioned a study in 2009 to investigate the feasibility of developing a long distance pilgrim walking route between Croagh Patrick and Downpatrick. The findings of the report advised that this proposal would be cost prohibitive and that there was a lack of authenticity and quality off road walking sections. The report did suggest the development of an internet based viral marketing tool that was Patrician themed. This could be expanded beyond just the St Patrick’s Trail to include other Patrician sites in the Ballymena, Donegal, Mayo sites and Boyne Valley. This concept is currently being developed in the form of the St Patrick’s microsite on http://www.discovernorthernireland.com/stpatrick/

In March 2010, NITB organised a Learning Journey for key stakeholders to Santiago de Compostela. This successful Learning Journey identified best practice across a number of product portfolios, and it is planned that through lessons identified the visitor experience of the Saint Patrick will be enhanced.

NITB will continue to support and promote all its Signature Projects through marketing campaigns, advertising and advertorials at both a local and regional level, while Tourism Ireland Limited (TIL) is currently examining opportunities market the SPT overseas with focus primarily on Counties Down and Armagh.

Most Popular Air Routes

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to list the most popular air routes to and from (i) Belfast International Airport; and (ii) the George Best Belfast City Airport, in each of the last five years.

(AQW 8236/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: The five most popular routes to and from Belfast International Airport and the George Best Belfast City Airport in each of the last five years are outlined below. This information is based on the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) UK Airport Annual Statistics (2005-2009) which include passengers carried on scheduled and chartered services.

(i) BELFAST INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

In 2009 the most popular routes to and from Belfast International Airport were Liverpool, Gatwick, Stansted, Heathrow and Luton.

In 2008 the most popular routes to and from Belfast International Airport were Liverpool, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and Heathrow.

In 2007 the most popular routes to and from Belfast International Airport were Liverpool, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and Edinburgh.

In 2006 the most popular routes to and from Belfast International Airport were Liverpool, Stansted, Luton, Gatwick and Edinburgh.

In 2005 the most popular routes to and from Belfast International Airport were Liverpool, Stansted, Luton, Gatwick and Glasgow.

(ii) GEORGE BEST BELFAST CITY AIRPORT

In 2009 the most popular routes to and from the George Best Belfast City Airport were Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester, Gatwick and Birmingham.

In 2008 the most popular routes to and from the George Best Belfast City Airport were Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester, Birmingham and Gatwick.

In 2007 the most popular routes to and from the George Best Belfast City Airport were Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Gatwick and Edinburgh.

In 2006 the most popular routes to and from the George Best Belfast City Airport were Heathrow, Birmingham, Manchester, Gatwick and Glasgow.

In 2005 the most popular routes to and from the George Best Belfast City Airport were Heathrow, Birmingham, Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow.

Foreign Investment in Cookstown and Magherafelt

Mr I McCrea asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to detail the estimated amount of foreign investment in the (i) Cookstown; and (ii) Magherafelt District Council areas in each of the last five years.

(AQW 8271/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: Invest NI will work with any manufacturing and tradeable services business in Northern Ireland which has the potential and ambition to export, to improve its productivity and to become more internationally competitive. Invest NI does not assist projects which only serve the local marketplace e.g. those involved in retail and distribution activities. Therefore, information relating to investment made by externally-owned businesses in these sectors cannot be provided. This response is based on those inward-investment projects which have been assisted by Invest NI.

Table 1 shows the estimated amount of inward investment secured by Invest NI in the (i) Cookstown; and (ii) Magherafelt District Council areas in each of the last five years. The number of offers of assistance that this investment relates to and the amount of support offered by Invest NI towards these projects has also been included in the table.

The Total Assistance Offered represents the value of support which is expected to be paid towards business-related investment during the life-time of assisted projects. Total Planned Investment represents the expected cost of the projects to these businesses and includes Invest NI’s financial support.

Table 1: Inward Investment in Cookstown & Magherafelt District Council Areas (2005/06 - 2009/10)

 

District Council Area
COOKSTOWN MAGHERAFELT
Financial Year Number of Offers Total Assistance Offered (£) Total Planned Investment (£) Number of Offers Total Assistance Offered (£) Total Planned Investment (£)
2005/06
9
221,231
4,268,554
5
96,769
416,768
2006/07
9
86,313
249,744
1
27,738
110,950
2007/08
10
114,967
782,870
-
-
2008/09
5
7,250
10,550
1
4,500
9,000
2009/10
3
56,465
144,931
4
99,147
303,791
Total 36 486,226 5,456,649 11 228,154 840,509

NOTE: Total Planned Investment includes Total Assistance Offered.

First Trust Bank

Ms A Lo asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment for her assessment of the impact of the sale of the First Trust Bank on small to medium-sized businesses.

(AQW 8336/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: The implications of the sale of the First Trust Bank will not be known until its purchase has been agreed. However, the potential impact on credit availability for small and medium-sized businesses in Northern Ireland is obviously a key concern.

Given that the Irish Government is a significant shareholder in the First Trust’s current owners, the Allied Irish Bank, Executive colleagues and I raised these concerns at a recent meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council. In particular, we stressed the importance of giving these issues due consideration in any future sale of the bank.

Furthermore, while the influence that the NI Executive can have on this commercial decision is limited, I can assure you that my Department, through Invest NI, will seek to enter into discussions as necessary with any prospective buyer to ensure sufficient credit availability in Northern Ireland.

Single Electricity Market

Mr S Hamilton asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment for her assessment of the current performance of the Single Electricity Market.

(AQW 8337/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: The Single Electricity Market (SEM) was established on 1 November 2007. It combined the wholesale electricity markets in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and is at the forefront of regional action to develop the European Internal Electricity Market. It has encouraged greater competition, increased transparency, investment in generation, and greater price stability in electricity. The SEM has provided the basis for attracting more suppliers to enter the retail electricity market, with greater levels of customer switching at the larger business user level, and a new entrant to the domestic electricity market in Northern Ireland from 1 June 2010.

The SEM will also facilitate a significant growth in electricity generated from renewable sources over the next decade. This is key to making Northern Ireland less dependent on fossil fuels and their inherent price volatility, and delivering a more sustainable energy system.

As is required under the legislation, my prime objective is to protect the interests of consumers of electricity by promoting effective competition. In doing so, the legislation further requires that I need to ensure that there is no unfair discrimination between consumers in Northern Ireland and consumers in the Republic of Ireland. I will continue to work actively with the appropriate bodies to ensure that the SEM delivers on this.

Seventh Framework Programme Funding

Dr A McDonnell asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to detail (i) the draw-down target set for Northern Ireland in relation to the €50 billion funding available for 2007 to 2013 under the Seventh Framework Programme; (ii) how much funding has been drawn-down as a result of joint collaboration on a north-south basis; (iii) what action she is taking to secure additional funding via north-south collaboration; and (iv) what plans she has to set a joint north-south draw-down target.

(AQW 8339/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: Northern Ireland has a target to secure €50m from FP7 between 2007 and 2013. Highly confidential data on successful FP7 participation by NI organisations is provided twice yearly from the European Commission directly to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in the UK and Enterprise Ireland in the Republic of Ireland. The most recent figures released on 1 May 2010 indicate that Northern Ireland has now drawn down €23.2m from FP7. Given that funding ramps up towards the end of the Programme, Northern Ireland is on target to reach and potentially exceed the €50m target set in the Regional Innovation Strategy.

Analysis of the latest European Commission dataset on Northern Ireland participation in consultation with Enterprise Ireland indicates that there have been 317 Collaborative Applicants (129 NI and 188 ROI) in 116 proposals to April 2010 of which 91 applicants (37 NI and 54 ROI) have proved successful securing funding of €23,296,619 for 33 proposals (€6,112,819 NI and €17,183,800 ROI). This figure is the combined total for projects involving North/South participation and should not be confused with the total for Northern Ireland on its own which, coincidentally, is also €23.2m.

Senior Management from Invest NI meet with counterparts in Enterprise Ireland on a six-monthly basis to examine opportunities where collaboration in research, development and innovation could bring mutual benefits to both economies. In relation to on-going cooperation on strategic research and development, and increasing joint applications to FP7, executives from Invest NI’s Collaborative R&D Support Service are in regular contact with executives from Enterprise Ireland’s National Support Network for FP7. Invest NI and Enterprise Ireland jointly promote FP7 Training and Information events to their constituencies and often delegates will travel across-border to attend and network. At a recent Bridging the Border Event hosted by Invest NI's Enterprise Europe Network in the City Hotel, Londonderry, both the UK and Ireland National Contact Points for Health were available to provide advice and guidance to companies on forthcoming calls. The event afforded a useful opportunity to share sectoral knowledge from each geographical area in order to encourage joint FP7 applications in the future.

There are currently no plans to formally set a joint North-South drawdown target for FP7 although the practicality of this will be explored if there are additional benefits for Northern Ireland in doing so. However, it should be emphasised that the majority of funding from FP7 is available for drawdown by universities (of which Northern Ireland has the lowest number of all UK regions) and the private sector (large companies are more successful than SMEs) rather than government departments. Participation is in response to "Calls for Proposals" and the topics are, in the main, decided at the European level (not regional priorities). It would therefore be very difficult to set a target based on calls that are not yet identified and which might not fit the strategies of local companies.

It should also be noted that participation is competitive, and the cost of entry in terms of up-front resource commitment is high with no guarantee of success. Currently the average success rate for all EU applicants is only 22% and despite assurances from the Commission to improve processing times, it still takes approximately one year from application to contract approval. Taken together, this makes FP7 participation difficult for an SME-based economy like Northern Ireland.

To encourage applicants, Invest NI set up the Collaborative R&D Support Service (including a Brussels-based resource) to provide advice and guidance on FP7 and financial support for developing project proposals and partnering agreements. Through close cooperation with counterparts in the Republic of Ireland, it is hoped that the number of joint applications for FP7 will be increased.

Financial Assistance Provided by Invest NI

Mr R McCartney asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to detail the average amount of financial assistance provided by Invest NI to (i) foreign direct investors; and (ii) small and medium-sized enterprises for each job they have created in each of the last three years.

(AQW 8361/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: Table 1 shows the average amount of financial assistance provided by Invest NI to (i) foreign direct investors; and (ii) small and medium-sized enterprises for each new job they have promoted in each of the last three years.

Table 1: Invest NI Average Assistance Offered Per New Job Promoted (2007/08 – 2009/10)
  Cost Per New Job (£)
Year Externally-Owned Clients Local SMEs.
2007/08
13,743
11,590
2008/09
13,292
10,855
2009/10
21,817
14,646
3 Year Total* 15,279 12,257
NOTES:
  1. SMEs are locally-owned clients employing less than 250 employees.
  2. Analysis relates to employment-creation projects only.
  3. The higher Cost Per Job figure for externally-owned clients in 2009/10 is a result of an increased number of high quality inward investment jobs.

* The total represents the average cost per job over the 3 year period

In terms of relating this activity to actual job creation, it is too early to assess the job creation impact of these offers, as some projects can take up to 5 years to fully mature; Therefore, this answer is based on new job promotions, which represents the number of jobs that these projects plan to create during their lifetime.

Apprenticeships

Mr P Weir asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment what proportion of the population has an apprenticeship, skilled craft or technician qualification; and how this figure compares with the average in the rest of the U.K.

(AQW 8362/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: Estimates from the Labour Force Survey for the period January – March 2010 estimated that 12% of the working-age1 population in Northern Ireland either have, or were undertaking, a recognised apprenticeship2.

This proportion is similar to Great Britain, where 10% of the working-age population in the period January - March 2010, were estimated to have, or were undertaking, a recognized apprenticeship.

1 Working-age refers to females aged 16 to 59 and males aged 16 to 64.

2 Takes into account recognised apprenticeships including trade, advanced and foundation modern apprenticeship. Please note that these estimates are sourced to a sample survey and are subject to sampling error.

Source: Labour Force Survey, January – March 2010

Belfast International Airport: £1 Pick-Up and Set-Down Levy

Mr S Gardiner asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment if she has had any discussions with Belfast International Airport regarding the impact of the £1 passenger levy for access to the set-down and pick-up area at Belfast International Airport.

(AQW 8368/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: The introduction of a passenger levy is a commercial decision by Belfast International Airport (BIA). I have met representatives of BIA on a number of occasions in recent months and at no stage was the issue of a passenger levy raised.

Investment Allocated to Start-up Manufacturing Companies in South Belfast

Mr J Spratt asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to detail the amount of investment allocated to start-up manufacturing companies in the South Belfast constituency in each of the last five years.

(AQW 8373/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: During the period 2005/06 to 2009/10, Invest NI offered support of nearly £220,000 to new locally-owned start up businesses in the manufacturing sector. Table 1 shows the number of businesses and the associated assistance offered in each of these 5 years. This represents the value of support which is expected to be paid towards business-related investment during the life-time of assisted projects.

Table 1. Invest NI Locally-Owned Manufacturing Start Ups Approved in South Belfast PCA (2005/06 and 2009/10)
Year Of Offer No of Offers Assistance Offered £000s
2005/06
6
38.77
2006/07
5
36.40
2007/08
9
68.52
2008/09
18
73.60
2009/10
3
-
Total 41 217.29

The figures in Table 1 include 33 start ups approved indirectly through the Enterprise Development Programme (formerly the Start a Business programme), delivered in conjunction with Enterprise Northern Ireland. The Enterprise Development Programme established in 2009 does not offer financial support to establish a business. The assistance offered to the 33 start ups was through training, advice and guidance and amounted to just over £10,000.

Support for Start-up Businesses in South Belfast

Mr J Spratt asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment how many start-up businesses her Department has supported in the South Belfast constituency in each of the last five years.

(AQW 8374/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: During the period 2005/06 to 2009/10, Invest NI offered support to 620 new locally-owned businesses in the South Belfast Parliamentary Constituency Area (PCA). Table 1 shows the number of businesses offered assistance in each of these five years.

Table 1. Invest NI Locally-Owned Start Ups Approved in South Belfast PCA (2005/06 and 2009/10)
Year Of Offer Number of Start Ups
2005/06
131
2006/07
122
2007/08
129
2008/09
115
2009/10
123
TOTAL 620

The figures in Table 1 include 565 start ups approved indirectly through the Enterprise Development Programme (formerly the Start a Business programme), delivered in conjunction with Enterprise Northern Ireland.

First Trust Bank

Ms A Lo asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment for her assessment of the impact of the sale of the First Trust Bank on its employees.

(AQW 8409/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: The implications of the sale of the First Trust Bank will not be known until its purchase has been agreed. However, the potential impact on the existing 1,500 staff and wider credit availability in Northern Ireland are obviously key concerns.

Given that the Irish Government is a significant shareholder in the First Trust’s current owners, the Allied Irish Bank, Executive colleagues and I raised these concerns at a recent meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council. In particular, we stressed the importance of giving these issues due consideration in any future sale of the bank.

Furthermore, while the influence that the NI Executive can have on this commercial decision is limited, I can assure you that my Department, through Invest NI, will seek to enter into discussions as necessary with any prospective buyer to explore options to safeguard the jobs of First Trust Bank employees in Northern Ireland.

Invest NI: Conditions of Support

Mr R McCartney asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment whether Invest NI require indigenous small and medium enterprises to source match funding as a condition for support and to what extent.

(AQW 8418/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: Under both Government policy and the European Commission’s rules on state aid, all companies, irrespective of size or country of ownership, must contribute financially towards projects supported by Invest NI.

The extent of a company’s contribution depends on its size, the nature of the project seeking support (eg research and development, training or job creation) and the location of the project, but as a general principle companies should be able to contribute at least 50% of a project’s costs.

In the financial year 2009-2010, Invest NI offered approximately £94m or 62% of its assistance to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), over two thirds of which (£64m) was offered to locally owned SMEs.

On average, SMEs made a contribution of 76% towards the costs of projects supported in the financial year 2009-2010.

Departmental Contracts

Ms M Anderson asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to list (i) all contracts in excess of (a) 12 months duration; and (b) £1 million in value entered into by her Department in the last ten years; (ii) any year on year over-runs in these contracts, in each of the last ten years; (iii) whether there are break clauses attached to the contracts; and (iv) the number of break clauses that have been exercised.

(AQW 8420/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: From a search of available records the table below lists, for the last ten years, the DETI contracts over 12 months in duration and to the value of at least £1 million. Details of ‘year on year over-runs’ and ‘break clauses’ also included.

(i) Contractor / Contract / Duration (ii) Over-runs (iii) Break Clauses (iv) Break Clauses Exercised
Hibernia Atlantic
(Project Kelvin)
(2008-2018)
N/A - Project still on going
YES
NO
Commendium Ltd
(Logon-ni – ICT demo Centres Contract)
(2008-2013)
N/A - Project still on going
YES
NO
BT
(100% Broadband Access Contract)
(2004-2009)
NO
YES
NO
Avanti Communications
(Remote Broadband Services Contract)
(2009-2012)
N/A - Project still on going
YES
NO
Citizens Advice
(Face to Face Debt Advice Service Contract)
(2008-2011)
N/A - Project still on going
YES
NO
Simmons & Simmons
(Energy Legal Advice Contract)
(2001-2005)
NO
YES
NO
Simmons & Simmons
(Energy Legal Advice Contract)
(2005-2008)
NO
YES
NO
Denton Wilde Sapte
(Energy Legal Advice Contract)
(2008-2011)
N/A - Project still on going
YES
NO
RPS
(Isles Project Feasibility Study*)
(2010-2011)*
Contract awarded in partnership with Scottish and ROI Governments
N/A - Project still on going
YES
NO
ARUP
(Abandoned Mines Engineering Contract)
(2002)
NO
NO
NO
Atkins
(Abandoned Mines Engineering Contract)
(2002 – Present)
NO
NO
NO
Wallace Patrols
(Abandoned Mines Security Contract)
(2004 – Present)
NO
NO
NO
Natural Environment Research Council
(GSNI Science and Management Contracts)
(1999-2004)
(2004-2007)
(2005-2007)
(2007-2008)
(2008-2011)
NO
NO
NO
Weber Shandwick
(Tellus Outreach Projects)
(2004-2007)
(2009-2011)
NO
NO
NO
DCENR
(Geological Survey of Ireland)
(Tellus Science Audit Project)
(2004-2007)
NO
NO
NO
SGS
(Geochemical Analysis Contract)
(2004 – 2007)
NO
NO
NO
Natural Environment Research Council
(Tellus Projects)
(2004 – 2007)
(2007-2008)
(2008-2011)
NO
NO
NO

Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme

Mr R McCartney asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to detail (i) the uptake of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme in the Derry City Council area; (ii) the number of applications; and (iii) the total amount lent, in each of the last three years.

(AQW 8430/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: The Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme has been in operation since January 2009.  As of 30 June 2010, in Northern Ireland, there have been 114 businesses offered Enterprise Finance Guarantee backed loans with a value of £19.8 million, of which 97 businesses have drawn down loans totalling £17.2 million.

In Derry City Council area , 6 businesses have been offered Enterprise Finance Guarantee backed loans with a value of £1.03 million, of which 5 businesses have drawn down loans totalling 0.8 million.

Jobs Created in Cookstown and Magherafelt

Mr I McCrea asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment how many jobs have been created in (i) the Cookstown District Council area; and (ii) the Magherafelt District Council area, in each of the last five years.

(AQW 8433/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: It is not possible to provide information on the total number of jobs created in each of the areas requested. DETI collect information on the number of jobs at a particular point in time and therefore can only provide the net change between two points in time.

Table 1 provides information on the net increase in all employee jobs in each of the areas requested as measured by the biennial Census of Employment (conducted in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007). The net increase takes into account both job gains and losses during the period.

Table 1: Net Increase in all Employee Jobs by Area
District Council Area 2001-2003 2003-2005 2005-2007
Cookstown
966
591
1279
Magherafelt
573
1248
738

Table 2 presents information for those businesses assisted by Invest NI during the five financial years ended March 2009. This is based on the number of jobs promoted or safeguarded relating to projects assisted during this timeframe. Invest NI clients would be expected to create these jobs during the lifetime of assisted projects.

Table 2: Invest NI Jobs Promoted & Safeguarded in Cookstown & Magherafelt DCAs (2005/06 - 2009/10)
  COOKSTOWN DCA MAGHERAFELT DCA
Financial Year New Jobs Safeguarded Jobs New Jobs Safeguarded Jobs
2005/06
56
-
84
41
2006/07
151
1
78
8
2007/08
139
4
116
80
2008/09
107
-
224
10
2009/10
100
260
70
47
Total 553 265 572 186
NOTES

1. New Jobs represent the number of jobs expected to be created by the project.

2. Safeguarded Jobs represent the number jobs that would have been lost if the project was not supported.

Electricity from Renewable Sources

Mr B Wilson asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to detail the percentage and quantity of electricity generated from wind in each of the last three years; and how this compares with her Department's targets of generating electricity from renewable sources.

(AQW 8450/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment:

For the 12 months ending % Onshore wind MW hours ( to nearest thousand)
March 2008
4.91
430,000
March 2009
7.10
584,000
March 2010
8.69
710,000

For the 12 months to March 2010, the total renewable electricity figure stood at 9.25%, of which the onshore wind element was 8.69%. It is expected that the current renewable electricity target of 12% by 2012 will be met.

Avanti Satellite Broadband

Mr D McKay asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment how many and what percentage of Avanti satellite broadband customers surveyed by Analysys Mason (i) were not satisfied with their overall service; and (ii) have suffered disruption to their service.

(AQW 8457/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: In their survey, Analysys Mason asked Avanti satellite broadband customers to rate the service on a scale of 1 to 10. Of the 215 customers surveyed to end March 2010 (which represents 23% of the Avanti customer base), 65% (140) gave the service 5 or more. With regard to disruption, just over 50% of customers surveyed (108) have indicated that they have experienced service disruption, with the vast majority of these (some 71% - 76 customers) indicating that the disruption was short-term (lasting up to 24 hours).

Avanti Satellite Broadband

Mr D McKay asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to detail any problems which Avanti are experiencing in achieving the advertised or expected speed of their satellite broadband service.

(AQW 8458/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: There is no evidence to suggest that Avanti is not delivering services in line with the specifications of the contract with DETI. This contract specifies a minimum service of up to 512 Kbps.

Avanti Satellite Broadband

Mr D McKay asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment what percentage of Avanti satellite broadband customers surveyed by Analysys Mason have made a formal complaint to Avanti about their service and how many of these complaints have been resolved.

(AQW 8461/10)

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment: Of the Avanti satellite broadband customers surveyed by Analysys Mason to end March 2010, 41% (88) have indicated that they have made a complaint to Avanti and of these, 62% (55) have been resolved.

Many of these complaints were not due to technical faults with the network, but relate to disruption by such things as bad weather.

DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT

Information Sign at Craigs Dolmen outside Rasharkin

Mr D McKay asked the Minister of the Environment when a replacement information sign will be provided at Craigs Dolmen outside Rasharkin.

(AQW 7900/10)

Minister of the Environment (Mr E Poots): I refer to your letter to my Department on 14 May 2010 and the subsequent responses issued on 19 May and 10 June 2010.

In May 2009, officers from my Department inspected the passage tomb known as Craig’s Dolmen. This inspection was part of an ongoing series of visits being carried out at the c190 monuments in State Care to identify the works requirements at each site. Staff recognised the need for replacement information signage at this monument.

Priority is given to those sites requiring replacement signs where - there are high visitor numbers - which are easily accessible to the public, or - which are of particular archaeological significance. As a result, at present, priority is given to interpretation work at key monuments and sites such as Dunluce Castle and Carrickfergus Castle, both of which are well known State Care Monuments and also part of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board’s Key Signature Projects plus other key sites like Grey Abbey.

Given the other priorities for signage at Monuments in State Care, the sign at Craig’s Dolmen will not be replaced immediately. However, the intention is that, as part of a wider update of signage at Monuments in State Care, the sign at Craig’s Dolmen will be replaced within the next 24-36 months, subject, of course, to the availability of the finance.

Pollution of the River Bush

Mr M Storey asked the Minister of the Environment what assessment has been made of the on-going pollution of the River Bush, in relation to (i) the current levels of salmon stock; and (ii) the potential long-term impact.

(AQW 7943/10)

Minister of the Environment: During late May and early June 2010, reports of extensive foaming on stretches of the River Bush were received and investigated by NIEA. The natural breakdown of algal can lead to foaming in rivers and in coastal areas and samples have been taken for algal analysis along with standard investigative water samples. The samples will also be tested for the presence of detergents.

Investigations are on-going regarding these reports and the watercourse is being kept under observation.

Whilst my Department’s Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) is responsible for investigating reports of suspected water pollution affecting ground or surface waters and for instigating enforcement action, where necessary, under the terms of the Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999, stock levels of fish in waterways is the responsibility of the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure (DCAL). DCAL has advised that survival during the freshwater phase of the salmon life cycle provides an indication of habitat quality, including water quality, on the River Bush. However, survival rates are also affected by competition for food and habitat territories and predation, and the true picture can be complicated when fry and parr are stocked to enhance freshwater production.

Egg to smolt survival from the most recent fully-recruited egg deposition in 2005 was 1.50% which is an increase on the previous 10 year average of 0.99%. Increased survival rates since lows of 0.62% from 1983-93 are, at least in part, due to work by DCAL to restore silted and compacted spawning beds and enhancement stocking conducted since 1997.

The long term impact of low freshwater survival in a situation of stable marine survival and exploitation rates will be a decline in the number of adult salmon returning to the river over time. Salmon populations do, however, adapt to survival pressures and so this is not a simple relationship. Unfortunately, poor marine survival is a greater cause for concern at present.

With regard to the potential long-term impact of any pollution on the River Bush, aquatic invertebrates (e.g. snails, insect nymphs, worms and crustaceans) constitute a major food source for fish. Where these are depleted for any reason, including pollution, the food chain becomes distorted and the fish become emaciated or quite simply move to alternative locations where food supplies are more readily available.

Re-deployment

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of the Environment whether the Planning Service is the only area within his Department where re-deployment is taking place.

(AQW 7944/10)

Minister of the Environment: It might be helpful if I were to explain the background to the need to redeploy staff from the Department. The Department currently faces in year pressures of circa £16 million (over 12% of our opening budget position). This follows a difficult position last year when we had to absorb financial pressures of circa £9 million (6.6% of our opening budget position). Therefore I am seeking additional in year support to help address the challenges this presents for us. However, final decisions on this rest with the Executive.

These financial pressures mean that we must seek to reduce our workforce numbers quickly. Our first step has been to sustain the workforce reductions introduced last year when budget cover for 260 posts across the Department was withdrawn to reduce our expenditure. However, these workforce reductions implemented last year are not sufficient to meet the greater financial pressures we face this year. Therefore further reductions are necessary this year. I currently estimate that a further 350 posts will need to be removed from the Department this year in order to live within the existing levels of funding available to me. These posts will be located in all parts of the Department. In terms of their breakdown, I currently estimate that 180 of the posts will be in the administration grades and 170 in planning grades.

It is anticipated that the majority of the staff will have to be redeployed to other NI Departments.

Pollution Incidents

Mr M Storey asked the Minister of the Environment to detail the number of pollution incidents that have occurred in the river Braid in each of the last three years; and for his assessment of (i) the impact on fish stocks to date; and (ii) the long-term impact of such pollution incidents.

(AQW 7963/10)

Minister of the Environment: The number of pollution incidents in the river Braid that have been reported to and substantiated by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) in each of the last three years are set out in the table below.

Year Number of Substantiated Incidents
2007
2
2008
18
2009
8
Total 28

Of these incidents, 25 were classified as being of low severity and 3 of medium severity. Therefore no long term impact would be expected.

The Department of Culture Arts and Leisure (DCAL) has advised that electric fishing surveys are conducted on the River Braid to inform DCAL salmon management policy. Surveys use a timed (5 minute) electric fishing technique designed to assess the abundance of age 0+ (young of year) salmon fry. In excess of 40 sites are sampled throughout the Braid River and its tributaries each year and a standard ‘fry index’ is developed each year to provide a measure of annual salmon recruitment. The fry indices for the period 2007 to 2009 are shown in the table below.

Year Salmon Fry index (average no. fry per 5 minute electric fishing)
2007
3.66
2008
3.50
2009
2.35

Fry indices in themselves are not direct evidence that salmonid populations in the River Braid have been impacted by pollution. In general salmonid populations exhibit wide variations in recruitment success which are often associated with environmental and biological parameters. For example, sustained high flows during the winter can lead to the wash out of salmonid redds and reduce egg to fry survival.

With regard to the long-term impact of pollution incidents, aquatic invertebrates (e.g. snails, insect nymphs, worms and crustaceans) constitute a major food source for fish. Where these are depleted for any reason, including pollution, the food chain becomes distorted and the fish become emaciated or quite simply move to alternative locations where food supplies are more readily available.

Climate Change Act 2008

Mr M Durkan asked the Minister of the Environment what progress has been made by Departments, and their agencies, in fulfilling their obligations under the Climate Change Act 2008.

(AQW 7970/10)

Minister of the Environment: The specific obligations for Northern Ireland as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008 include:

- to develop and lay before the Assembly a Northern Ireland Adaptation Programme that deals with the climate change risk identified. This is to include objectives, proposals, policies and timescales;

- for Northern Ireland departments to give their views on the UK Government response to the advice and annual reports of the independent Committee on Climate Change; and

- for Northern Ireland departments to give their views to the UK Government when it is making decisions on the setting of UK carbon targets and budgets.

On the obligation to provide a Northern Ireland Adaptation Programme I can report that preparation of a UK wide sector-based risk assessment is progressing (as per the Act to be completed by January 2012). This risk assessment will be the basis for the Northern Ireland Adaptation Programme. Sector stakeholders from Northern Ireland have already been contributing to the UK risk assessment process through workshops. A further workshop for Departments, their agencies and other organisations is planned to take place in September to consider the specific climate change impacts of most relevance to Northern Ireland.

On our obligations to give views in relation to the UK response to the advice and annual reports of the Committee on Climate Change, I have successfully brought these matters to the Northern Ireland Executive for agreement. This has enabled me to provide on an annual basis the UK government with the agreed Northern Ireland position within the three month period stipulated by the Act.

Likewise on obligations to provide views on the level of ambition in relation to UK carbon budgets and targets, I obtained Executive agreement to the UK carbon target for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 80% in 2050 based on 1990 levels and the level of carbon budgets for carbon budget periods 2008-2012, 2013-2017 and 2018-2022.

In order to deliver against this agenda, I recently reached agreement with the Executive to establish a Cross Departmental Working Group (CDWG) on greenhouse gas emissions. This is a very positive development as it will ensure that those key departments which can deliver against the highest priority actions are fully signed up to the actions necessary to implement the climate change agenda and it will promote openness and transparency in the monitoring of these actions. The first task of the CDWG will be to prepare a cross-departmental action plan and make recommendations on the prioritisation of actions; a prioritisation which will reflect the contributions of different sectors to the production of greenhouse gas emissions and the potential to influence different types of emissions (i.e. the available policy ‘levers’).

Statutory Carbon Budgets for Councils

Mr M Durkan asked the Minister of the Environment whether he plans to introduce statutory carbon budgets for councils.

(AQW 7971/10)

Minister of the Environment: I have no plans to introduce statutory carbon budgets for councils in the current Assembly.

Natural Heritage Grant Scheme

Mr J Dallat asked the Minister of the Environment to detail the level of funding to the Natural Heritage Grant scheme in each of the last three financial years and this financial year to date; and the amount of funding planned for the 2011/12 financial year.

(AQW 7975/10)

Minister of the Environment: The level of funding to the Natural Heritage Grant Programme in each of the last three financial years was as follows:

2007/08: £3,188,501

2008/09: £3,364,533

2009/10: £3,406,510

The budget for 2010/11 is £2,702,000. It is not possible to provide figures for 2011/12 as Spending Review 2010 has just been commissioned and budgets for next year have not been agreed.

Illegal Taxi Operators

Mr J Dallat asked the Minister of the Environment to detail the number of successful prosecutions brought against illegal taxi operators in each of the last three years; and the total amount of the fines imposed.

(AQW 7977/10)

Minister of the Environment: There is currently no legislative provision to enable enforcement action to be taken against taxi operators. However, a licensing scheme is proposed under the Taxis Act (NI) 2008.

The Driver & Vehicle Agency, which has primary responsibility for taxi enforcement in Northern Ireland, has successfully prosecuted 244 illegal taxi drivers over the last three financial years resulting in fines of £65,261 and court costs of £4,980 being awarded. The details are as follows.

Year Convictions Fines Court Costs
2007-08
73
£21,285
£1,546
2008-09
92
£23,971
£1,918
2009-10
79
£20,005
£1,516

Access Officers Scheme

Mr J Dallat asked the Minister of the Environment why funding has been withdrawn from the Access Officers scheme; and to outline his plans to ensure that people with disabilities are not discriminated against as a result of failure to provide adequate disabled access.

(AQW 7979/10)

Minister of the Environment: I met with Disability Action to discuss their funding position on 7 May 2010 and to hear more about the range of information, advice and practical support the organisation provides to disabled groups and individuals in the community. I also set out my position in the light of the current very challenging financial position for my Department, and in particular for the Planning Service which has pressures on its budgets of over £8m.

As agreed at that meeting, Disability Action has submitted an economic appraisal and case for funding. This is currently under consideration by Planning Service and Departmental Economists who will provide me with proposals on the future funding of the organisation in the near future.

River Pollution and River Bank Erosion on the Lower Bann

Mr J Dallat asked the Minister of the Environment (i) how much his Department, and its agencies, spent in addressing issues of river pollution and river bank erosion on the Lower Bann, in each of the last five years; and (ii) the amount of money currently allocated for future environmental work relating to water purity.

(AQW 7982/10)

Minister of the Environment: (i) The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) spent an estimated £68,357 investigating pollution incidents within the Lower Bann catchment between 2005 and 2009. The details are set out on a year by year basis in the table below.

Year Number of Incidents Estimated Cost
2005
81
£13,472
2006
80
£13,306
2007
88
£14,636
2008
92
£15,301
2009
70
£11,642
TOTAL 411 £68,357

DARD Rivers Agency, in conjunction with other public bodies, had undertaken the Lower Bann Erosion Alleviation Scheme in 2009 to address flood alleviation and bank erosion issues. This scheme was completed over two financial years. The financial figures over these two years, (2008/09 and 2009/10) are approximately between £8,000 and £12,000. However, due to technical difficulties we are unable to provide an accurate breakdown figure for each financial year. Once this difficulty is rectified, the exact figure will be forwarded.

(ii) Whilst no specific amount of money has been allocated for future environmental work relating to water purity, a cross-Departmental bid for additional resources has been developed by DOE on behalf of DOE, DARD, DCAL and DRD to implement the Water Framework Directive River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) through a River Restoration and Improvement Programme (RRIP). The bid, which is just under £9m, is the estimated budget required to implement the Plans over the next three years.

NI Environment Agency

Mr K Robinson asked the Minister of the Environment for his assessment of the action taken by the NI Environment Agency to identify the sources of pollution incidents reported in 2008 and 2009 in the feeder stream (Lismore) to the Three Mile Water river, given the salmonid status and unique location of the river.

(AQW 7988/10)

Minister of the Environment: I can confirm that between 2005 and 2009, Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) representatives have responded to all reports of pollution in the feeder stream (Lismore) to the Three Mile Water within set targets which are based on the assessed severity of the incident.

Where pollution is ongoing and visible NIEA representatives can usually identify the point of discharge to the river and then track back through the drainage system to identify the actual origin of the pollution. Where the pollution is intermittent it can be a complex task to track the origin of the problem.

The pollution reports in the Lismore Stream have been intermittent and therefore when staff attend a particular pollution incident, it is not always possible to trace the pollution back to the source. Within urban areas where surface water drainage is discharged into watercourses it can be particularly difficult to trace a pollution source. For example, something polluting a roof drain of one property may cause pollution in the nearby stream. Similar problems can also be encountered through the misconnection of domestic appliances such as washing machines into surface water drains rather than into the foul sewer. Scenarios such as these have thus far meant that it has not been possible to identify the source of pollution in the Lismore Stream.

Recycle Glass Products

Mr P Butler asked the Minister of the Environment how many of the 26 local councils allow households to recycle glass products in their recycling bins; and what steps he is taking to ensure that all local councils allow households to recycle glass products in their recycling bins.

(AQW 8007/10)

Minister of the Environment: At present nine local councils provide a kerbside glass recycling collection scheme. In some of these councils the service is available to all households whilst in others there is partial coverage. Overall, 202,914 households or 28% of all households in Northern Ireland have a kerbside glass collection service.

I am committed to improving Northern Ireland’s recycling performance and am keen to support local councils in their efforts to put in place the necessary recycling infrastructure to enable more waste materials, including glass, to be recycled.

Whilst decisions on the collection of waste and the type of container made available to householders for this purpose are a matter for councils, as set out in Articles 20 and 21 of The Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, my Department is taking forward a range of initiatives to assist councils in their efforts to boost recycling of key waste streams including glass.

I launched the Rethink Waste Fund on 28 May which will provide an initial £3.13m capital funding to councils to bring forward initiatives to boost recycling of a range of waste streams including glass. In addition, the £1m funding provided by my Department each year to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has enabled WRAP to provide advice and support to local councils on a range of recycling issues including advice on establishing glass recycling collection systems.

I have asked my officials to commence work on a draft recycling policy which will consider the potential to recycle more of key waste streams, the potential to produce higher quality recyclates and the interventions necessary to bring this about. It is anticipated that the draft policy will be issued for consultation in the autumn.

Renewal of Car Tax

Mr P Butler asked the Minister of the Environment what action he is taking to extend the range of payment methods available for the renewal of car tax, including the option of using a paypoint card.

(AQW 8008/10)

Minister of the Environment: Vehicle licensing is an excepted matter which is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Transport. It is administered in Northern Ireland by the Driver & Vehicle Agency under a formal agreement between DoE and the Department for Transport (DfT), and policy in relation to vehicle excise duty is determined by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea.

This question has been referred to DVLA and officials from that agency will write to you.

Consultants

Mr D Kinahan asked the Minister of the Environment what steps he is taking to review the use of consultants in his Department.

(AQW 8012/10)

Minister of the Environment: At the end of each year my Department reviews the expenditure on the use of consultants, and based on this information sets a reduced threshold for expenditure for the following year. The Departmental Board monitors the expenditure on the use of consultants every quarter to ensure compliance with the agreed threshold.

Before reaching a decision to engage consultants, all the Department’s business areas have to justify the reason for doing so and must be able demonstrate value for money. To this end, business areas must complete a business case for all external consultant projects. Furthermore, all external consultants projects costing £75,000 and over must receive approval from both myself and the Department of Finance & Personnel.

Local Government Boundaries

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of the Environment to outline the current position in relation to local government boundaries.

(AQW 8031/10)

Minister of the Environment: I have circulated a paper and draft Local Government (Boundaries) Order to my Executive colleagues for their consideration.

Planning Service Staff

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of the Environment what criteria will be used when redeploying Planning Service staff to other positions within the Civil Service.

(AQW 8032/10)

Minister of the Environment: There are two distinct groups of staff in the Planning Service affected by the proposed redeployments, general administrative and P&T staff.

The selection of general administrative staff to be redeployed will be based primarily on business requirements i.e. identifying the individuals most suited to the work functions remaining in the Agency, rather than identifying the individuals whose posts are surplus. We will take account of anyone who wishes to volunteer for redeployment. If it is not possible to identify the individuals to remain based on business need and volunteers for redeployment, names may be selected randomly in a fair and transparent manner. Where possible in identifying posts for staff who are to be redeployed their personal preferences will be taken into account.

Separate arrangements exist for P&T staff. They must volunteer for regrading in order to be considered for redeployment - they cannot be compulsorily redeployed.

Planning Service Staff

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of the Environment if he will reconsider the decision to reduce Planning Service staff, in light of the recent changes to PPS21 and the likely resulting increase in planning applications.

(AQW 8033/10)

Minister of the Environment: It might be helpful if I were to explain the background to the need to redeploy staff from the Department. The Department currently faces in year pressures of circa £16 million (over 12% of our opening budget position), a large proportion of which, circa £6.4million, relates to a projected shortfall in planning receipts.

This scale of financial pressure within one year is unprecedented in this Department or any other NI Department and follows a difficult position last year when we had to absorb financial pressures of circa £9 million (6.6% of our opening budget position). Therefore I am seeking additional in year support to help address the challenges this presents for us. However, final decisions on this rest with the Executive.

The shortfall in planning receipts arises as a result of a 45% reduction in planning applications received since a high of 36,593 in 2004-05. I estimate that only 20,000 planning applications will be received in 2010-11 much the same as in 2008-09 and 2009-10. However, the actual ‘live caseload’ in the system for 2009-10 is circa 11,000 planning applications, down considerably from 18,479 in 2007-08. Whereas planning application numbers have been declining, staffing resources have remained static and costs have actually risen.

A contingency report has now been prepared and published on how Planning Service can live within its opening budget allocation. This identifies 271 posts considered surplus in terms of affordability. In light of the reduced volume of planning applications and associated income, redeployment of Planning Service staff is now necessary to align staffing levels and costs more closely to work demands and revenue. The Planning Service will reorganise to live within its budget and reprioritise resources to ensure key services to customers can be maintained and the impact of the reduction in staff is minimised.

I have also initiated a review of the Agency’s funding, fees and structures together with a strategic review of its future priorities in light of the funds available. Together these reviews will provide a strategic focus for Planning Service together with a basis for more stable funding going forward. They will also ensure that future structures reflect available resources.

The Department has also initiated a fundamental review of the nature and structure of the fees charged for planning services with the aim of ensuring that the fees charged for specific chargeable services are broadly consistent with the costs of providing those services.

In terms of the current PPS 21 deferred cases, Planning Service has agreed with me an action plan aimed at reassessing these applications within 6 months. Progress will be closely monitored to ensure there is no significant slippage particularly in those divisions which have the greatest numbers of deferred cases.

I have already written to the Finance Minister about the financial pressure facing the Department in 2010-11 and setting out the measures already taken by the Department to address these financial pressures including a review of the provision of corporate services within the Department and two reviews of Planning Service operating costs. The Finance Minister has reiterated that the allocation of funds to departments is a matter for the Executive and that the Department should plan its expenditure on the basis that it will have to manage all of its financial pressures from within its existing agreed budget allocation. He has also indicated that he could not rule out further pressures on the Department’s budget but that this is dependent on budgetary decisions which may be made in Westminster during 2010-11.

You will appreciate that, given my responsibilities as Minister and the unequivocal advice from the Minister for Finance & Personnel Sammy Wilson, I am unable to reverse the decision in relation to redeployment of staff from Planning Service as I am required to live within the Department’s existing budget which has already been approved by the Executive.

Local Government Reform Programme

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of the Environment whether local government could seek a deferred payment option for any loans granted to fund the local government reform programme, until efficiency savings are realised.

(AQW 8061/10)

Minister of the Environment: Deferred repayments cannot be accommodated on loans granted from the Consolidated Fund as the Fund cannot operate at a loss. However, if a compelling case could be made, the Executive may be prepared to consider the option of repaying the capital and interest on local government reform-related borrowings on local government’s behalf for an agreed initial period.

Departmental Salaries in Excess of £100,000

Mr S Gardiner asked the Minister of the Environment how many staff in his Department, and associated quangos, are paid in excess of £100,000 pa in salary and/or remuneration packages.

(AQW 8067/10)

Minister of the Environment: The remuneration of the most senior officials in each government department in Northern Ireland is routinely published in departmental Resource Accounts in £5,000 bands.

Remuneration information relating to the 2008/09 financial year is available in the Department of the Environment Resource Accounts for the Year Ended 31March 2009 which can be found at

http://applications.doeni.gov.uk/publications/document.asp?docid=16080.

Information on remuneration bands for senior staff in the Department for 2009/10 is contained in the Departmental Resource Accounts for that year which were laid in the Assembly on 2 July 2010. These will also be published on the website shortly. However I can advise that the Accounts show that one individual currently employed by the Department is paid in the salary band £100,000-£105,000.

The Department does not pay in excess of £100,000 pa with regard to salary/remuneration packages for any individual holding a position within an associated quango. The Department does however contribute 50% towards the salary/remuneration package of one contracted individual whose overall total remuneration would exceed £100,000 pa.

PPS 5

Mr P Weir asked the Minister of the Environment when the proposed PPS 5 will be published.

(AQW 8077/10)

Minister of the Environment: On 5 July 2010 Central Craigavon Ltd lodged an appeal against Lord Chief Justice Morgan’s judgement of 14 June 2010 with reference to its initial judicial challenge of draft PPS5. While in light of the aforementioned judgement I had hoped to progress the PPS, unfortunately until the outcome of the subsequent appeal of 5 July 2010 is known, it is difficult to provide a definitive timescale for its potential publication.

George Best Belfast City Airport

Mr D Kinahan asked the Minister of the Environment why his Department amended the criteria for judging the planning application for the proposed runway extension at the George Best Belfast City Airport, to include economic issues.

(AQW 8133/10)

Minister of the Environment: The criteria have not been amended. Economic factors are taken into account where they are a material consideration.

George Best Belfast City Airport

Mr D Kinahan asked the Minister of the Environment why he is not following the terms of the revised planning agreement for the George Best Belfast City Airport which stated that there will be no change in the restrictions, including the Seats for Sale safeguard, until 2013.

(AQW 8135/10)

Minister of the Environment: The modified Agreement contains a restriction limiting airport operators from offering for sale more than 2 million seats from the airport in any period of twelve months. There is no timeframe contained in the Agreement.

Under Article 40A of the Planning (NI) Order 1991 (as amended) the Airport may not apply to modify the Agreement prior to the expiry of the relevant period on 14 October 2013. However, my Department may modify or discharge a planning agreement by agreement if it considers it has good reason to do so.

In announcing that I am minded to lift the seats for sale restriction I have taken into account the earlier expressed view of the Department and the NI Affairs Select Committee that a seats for sale restriction is not a valid or suitable way to manage the environmental impact of airport activity; the view expressed by the Examination in Public that the restriction should only be retained in the short term and reviewed once a noise monitoring and flight tracking system is in place and operational; and the fact that a new integrated noise monitoring and flight tracking system has now been installed by the Airport and is fully operational.

I have instructed my officials to commence a period of consultation with Belfast City Council, North Down Borough Council and the Airport Forum which consists of representatives of local residents groups. The consultation commenced on 11 June 2010 and will last for 12 weeks, closing on 3 September 2010. I wish to emphasise that while I have indicated that I am minded to lift the restriction I will not take a final decision on the matter until all the issues raised in the consultation responses have been carefully considered.

Climate Change Act 2008

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of the Environment how much money his Department, and its agencies, have spent on fulfilling their obligations under the Climate Change Act 2008.

(AQW 8158/10)

Minister of the Environment: The specific obligations for Northern Ireland as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008 include:

- to develop and lay before the Assembly a Northern Ireland Adaptation Programme that deals with the climate change risk identified. This is to include objectives, proposals, policies and timescales;

- for Northern Ireland departments to give their views on the UK Government response to the advice and annual reports of the independent Committee on Climate Change, which was required to be established under the Climate Change Act 2008; and

- for Northern Ireland departments to give their views to the UK Government when it is making decisions on the setting of UK carbon targets and budgets.

To date my department has spent £225,340 in fulfilling its obligations, under the Climate Change Act 2008.

River Pollution Incidents

Mr I McCrea asked the Minister of the Environment to detail the number of pollution incidents which occurred in each river in the Mid-Ulster area, in each of the last three years.

(AQW 8162/10)

Minister of the Environment: The Pollution Incident Database used by Northern Ireland Environment Agency records incidents by catchment rather than a constituency basis, therefore, the Moyola, Lower Bann and Ballinderry catchments have been used to represent the Mid Ulster area for the purposes of this response.

All reports of pollution incidents are investigated and if pollution is confirmed the incident is recorded as being substantiated.

Details of the total number of incidents reported and the number of incidents substantiated are included in the table below.

Year Catchment Total Incidents Reported Number of Incidents Substantiated (Confirmed)
2007
Moyola
19
7
Lower Bann
88
34
Ballinderry
62
28
TOTAL
169
69
2008
Moyola
37
22
Lower Bann
92
49
Ballinderry
69
40
TOTAL
198
111
2009
Moyola
37
19
Lower Bann
70
36
Ballinderry
35
23
TOTAL
142
78

Recycling of Domestic Waste

Mr I McCrea asked the Minister of the Environment what percentage of domestic waste has been recycled in the (i) Cookstown District Council area; (ii) Magherafelt District Council area; and (iii) Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council area in each of the last five years.

(AQW 8165/10)

Minister of the Environment: Councils report their provisional recycling figures quarterly to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency in conjunction with the Central Statistics and Research Branch throughout the financial year. The final annual figures are only fully reconciled by the following December. Consequently the figures for the calendar year 2009, given in the attached table and highlighted below, may be subject to further reconciliation.

The attached table at Annex A shows the percentage recycling (including composting) rates between 2005/06 and 2009/10 (provisional estimates only) for Cookstown and Magherafelt District Council areas and Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council area.

In the Cookstown District Council area, the recycling rate (including composting) has increased from 28.1% in 2005/06 to 39.6% in 2009/10 (provisional estimate only).

In the Magherafelt District Council area, the recycling rate (including composting) has increased from 35.7% in 2005/06 to 50.8% in 2009/10 (provisional estimate only).

In the Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council area, the recycling rate (including composting) has increased from 19.5% in 2005/06 to 33.9% in 2009/10 (provisional estimate only).

Planning Permission

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of the Environment what consideration he has given to cases where planning permission for an extension has been granted as the surrounding view is not affected as trees are growing in the area, but the removal of these trees could impact adversely upon the planning permission.

(AQW 8223/10)

Minister of the Environment: The retention of any trees, regardless of their protected status, can be a material consideration in the determination of a planning application, including for an extension. Where appropriate, my Department may impose conditions to retain trees or other landscape features when granting planning permission where it is considered necessary to do so for reasons relating to visual amenity or privacy of adjoining properties. This will depend on the specific circumstances of each case but such conditions will only be imposed where the applicant has control over the trees.

Heavy Goods Vehicles Carrying Waste

Mr D Kinahan asked the Minister of the Environment what procedures are in place to ensure that heavy goods vehicles carrying waste are properly sealed.

(AQW 8227/10)

Minister of the Environment: Article 5 of the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 imposes a duty of care on persons concerned with controlled waste. The duty applies to any person who carries controlled waste and all waste holders must act to keep waste safe against:

  1. accidental spilling or leaking or inadvertent leaching from waste unprotected from rainfall;
  2. accident or weather breaking contained waste open and allowing it to escape; and
  3. waste blowing away or falling while stored or transported.

Waste which is transferred to another person should be in a container, such as a skip. The only reasonable exception would be loose material loaded into a vehicle and then covered sufficiently with, for example, a tarpaulin or netting, to prevent escape before being moved.

Ballycraigy Bonfire, Antrim

Mr M McLaughlin asked the Minister of the Environment (i) which statutory agency is responsible for ensuring health and safety in relation to the large quantity of tyres being stored for burning at Ballycraigy Bonfire, Antrim; and (ii) whether his Department has made any assessment of the environmental impact this bonfire could have on the health and safety of local residents, and if not, whether he will consider undertaking such an assessment.

(AQW 8228/10)

Minister of the Environment: No one statutory agency has overall control of bonfire management.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency does not regulate, and cannot remove waste from, bonfire sites. Its powers relating to bonfires are limited to investigation of criminal offences that are committed when companies or individuals illegally deposit waste, including tyres, on bonfires. My officials have been liaising with the PSNI about the Ballycraigy site and will act on any evidence received regarding the dumping of tyres on the site.

In respect of controlling air pollution arising from bonfires, district councils are the lead enforcement authority and the primary legislation is the Clean Air (NI) Order 1981. Article 4 of the Order prohibits the emission of dark smoke from industrial or trade premises, or other premises on which waste originating from a trade source is burned. Article 23 provides that where a nuisance is caused by smoke emitted from premises, then action can be taken by councils under the Public Health (Ireland) Act 1878 for 'statutory nuisance.'

My officials do not have any remit to undertake assessments regarding health and safety and therefore such an assessment will not be carried out by NIEA.

Vacancy Control Measures in Local Councils

Mrs D Kelly asked the Minister of the Environment if, and when he will lift the vacancy control measures currently in place in local councils.

(AQW 8239/10)

Minister of the Environment: The vacancy control measures were lifted following a meeting of the Local Government Reform Joint Forum on 23 June 2010, which recommended their immediate suspension. All councils were notified of the suspension via a circular issued by the Local Government Staff Commission on 25 June 2010.

Speed Cameras

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of the Environment to outline the criteria used when deciding on the use and location of speed cameras.

(AQW 8272/10)

Minister of the Environment: Responsibility for decisions on the use and location of speed cameras does not lie with my Department.

I would recommend that you address your question to the Minister with responsibility for policing and justice.

Ballycraigy Estate Bonfire in Antrim

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of the Environment to detail all costs incurred by his Department in relation to the Ballycraigy Estate bonfire in Antrim, in each of the last ten years.

(AQW 8290/10)

Minister of the Environment: My Department does not regulate bonfire sites and does not record costs involved in carrying out any investigations in relation to reports of the commercial deposit of waste materials at such sites.

Ballycraigy Estate Bonfire in Antrim

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of the Environment what action he has taken to monitor the environmental impact of the Ballycraigy Estate bonfire in Antrim in each of the last two years.

(AQW 8292/10)

Minister of the Environment: My Department does not regulate bonfire sites, and has not carried out any environmental impact assessment of the Ballycraigy bonfire.

Alleged Fraud in Craigavon Borough Council

Mrs D Kelly asked the Minister of the Environment whether the alleged fraud in Craigavon Borough Council referred to in the Local Government Auditor's report is sub-judice.

(AQW 8298/10)

Minister of the Environment: The issue of an alleged fraud in Craigavon Borough Council is a matter for the Council and it is my understanding that the Police Service has been notified and is investigating the matter.

The Weir, Sion Mills

Lord Morrow asked the Minister of the Environment to detail (i) those considered by his Department or the NI Environment Agency to be stakeholders in the decision-making process for granting a licence to James Herdman to abstract or impound water at The Weir, Sion Mills; (ii) who was informed of this decision; (iii) the dates of these notifications; (iv) any responses received in relation to this decision; and (v) if, and how, all stakeholders were made aware of the ways in which they could make their views known.

(AQW 8302/10)

  1. Minister of the Environment: My Department considered the following to be stakeholders on this licence application:- The Department of Culture Arts and Leisure Inland Fisheries, Loughs Agency, internal NIEA Directorates, The Ulster Angling Federation, Foyle Association for Salmon and Trout Anglers (FASTA), local angling clubs and Lord Morrow, DUP. NIEA engaged with all of these stakeholders as part of the decision-making process for granting the licence to James Herdman.
  2. NIEA also informed Lord Morrow, and Loughs Agency of the decision. In line with the Regulations and NIEA policy, a copy of the decision was placed on the public register on 19 February 2010 which is available to view at WMU offices in Lisburn.
  3. Lord Morrow was informed of the decision to grant the licence on 22 February 2010 in writing and via e-mail on 2 April 2010. Loughs Agency was informed in writing on 30 March 2010. The Ulster Angling Federation received a copy of the licence at a meeting with NIEA on 5 March 2010.
  4. The Ulster Angling Federation responded on 8 March 2010 expressing concerns about the licence conditions. A response to these concerns was issued on 13 April 2010.
  5. During the consultation process, my Department informed all relevant stakeholders in writing advising that their comments were welcome, and would form part of the decision-making process for this licence application. The Department engaged in an ‘open evening’ on 11 August 2009 at the hydro plant to enable stakeholders to view the operation and to provide feedback as appropriate. All queries, concerns and comments were taken into consideration when determining the outcome of the application.

Hare Coursing

Dr S Farry asked the Minister of the Environment, following the decision to ban hare coursing, what temporary measures will be taken to ensure that hare coursing cannot continue in the interim period until this Bill becomes law.

(AQW 8303/10)

Minister of the Environment: Following the Assembly’s decision to introduce a ban on hare coursing using the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill, my Department will not issue licences to net hares. This will serve to prevent hare coursing until such times as the Bill becomes law.

Irish Hare Population

Dr S Farry asked the Minister of the Environment to detail (i) what correspondence his Department has had with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on the delayed cutting and grazing option of the Northern Ireland Countryside Management Schemes in relation to the Irish hare population; and (ii) whether this discussion had any effect on his Department’s position on the protection status of the Irish hare.

(AQW 8304/10)

Minister of the Environment: (i) There has been no direct correspondence between my Department and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) on the delayed cutting and grazing option of the Northern Ireland Countryside Management Scheme in relation to the Irish hare population. However, research sponsored by my Department, and undertaken by Queen’s University, would have informed DARD’s choice of option for the Irish Hare in this scheme.

(ii) There was no direct correspondence, consequently there was no effect on my Department’s position on the protection status of the Irish hare.

Consultants

Mrs D Kelly asked the Minister of the Environment to detail the costs of consultants used in each of the 26 councils, in each of the last three years.

(AQW 8306/10)

Minister of the Environment: The cost of consultants used in each of the 26 district councils in each of the last three years is detailed in the table below.

DISTRICT COUNCIL EXPENDITURE ON CONSULTANCY
COUNCIL 2006/07
£
2007/08
£
2008/09
£
ANTRIM
183,869
161,234
106,624
ARDS
159,409
239,005
281,159
ARMAGH
209,145
199,066
154,539
BALLYMENA
194,535
254,609
392,530
BALLYMONEY
32,679
46,285
39,012
BANBRIDGE
58,000
40,000
90,000
BELFAST
2,053,203
2,577,155
3,367,630
CARRICKFERGUS
13,913
25,671
39,124
CASTLEREAGH
0
34,859
13,056
COLERAINE
145,838
183,151
203,810
COOKSTOWN
25,457
24,583
33,459
CRAIGAVON
242,562
385,930
357,279
DERRY
170,445
153,668
270,751
DOWN
726,328
1,093,165
920,042
DUNGANNON & SOUTH TYRONE
160,539
210,018
309,999
FERMANAGH
78,100
84,175
152,130
LARNE
201,473
141,671
226,094
LIMAVADY
69,093
16,354
41,471
LISBURN
71,108
173,324
210,843
MAGHERAFELT
25,592
126,167
129,841
MOYLE
54,031
27,095
64,422
NEWRY & MOURNE
84,844
186,492
254,628
NEWTOWNABBEY
1,037,760
1,191,583
1,052,810
NORTH DOWN
161,965
147,264
125,785
OMAGH
224,127
103,282
144,974
STRABANE
115,998
115,643
156,988
TOTAL
6,500,014 7,941,449 9,139,000

Local Councils: Senior Management Costs

Mrs D Kelly asked the Minister of the Environment to detail the cost of senior management in each of the 26 councils, including chief executives and deputy chief executives, directors and heads of services, in each of the last two years.

(AQW 8307/10)

Minister of the Environment: My Department does not hold the information requested and to obtain it from councils would incur a disproportionate cost.

Councils Spend on Public Relations Staff and Resources

Mrs D Kelly asked the Minister of the Environment to detail how much each of the 26 councils spent on public relations staff and resources, including advertising, in each of the last two financial years.

(AQW 8308/10)

Minister of the Environment: The total cost of Public Relations in each of the 26 district councils for the last two years is detailed in the table below.

DISTRICT COUNCIL EXPENDITURE ON PUBLIC RELATIONS
COUNCIL 2007/2008
£
2008/2009
£
ANTRIM
123,463
130,600
ARDS
61,970
55,318
ARMAGH
53,955
66,477
BALLYMENA
105,190
177,942
BALLYMONEY
60,168
80,137
BANBRIDGE
100,460
102,565
BELFAST
1,402,747
1,462,512
CARRICKFERGUS
17,168
14,085
CASTLEREAGH
135,293
118,010
COLERAINE
432,625
465,849
COOKSTOWN
119,419
127,103
CRAIGAVON
239,116
248,765
DERRY
145,025
134,696
DOWN
73,144
56,964
DUNGANNON & S TYRONE
86,901
50,558
FERMANAGH
98,839
106,860
LARNE
38,929
72,607
LIMAVADY
106,960
99,496
LISBURN
271,106
286,134
MAGHERAFELT
42,725
80,772
MOYLE
46,512
35,434
NEWRY & MOURNE
230,012
299,582
NEWTOWNABBEY
219,187
241,062
NORTH DOWN
364,756
305,092
OMAGH
146,723
144,918
STRABANE
202,552
164,936
TOTAL
4,924,945 5,128,474

Quarries

Ms D Purvis asked the Minister of the Environment how many quarries are (i) registered for an aggregate levy relief; and (ii) have an exemption to sell mud rock and shale without charging an aggregate levy; and whether any quarries are currently operating without planning permission.

(AQW 8321/10)

Minister of the Environment: (i) There are currently 169 quarry sites registered in the Aggregates Levy Credit Scheme, who are in receipt of the 80% reduction in the Aggregates Levy.

(ii) The Department does not keep records for those quarries with exemptions. The Department is not responsible for the making of decisions on whether an exemption from the payment of the Aggregates Levy applies. Exemption decisions are the responsibility of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, who have advised the Department that they do not have any readily available statistics on sites with regard to exempt material.

(iii) The Department is currently investigating 29 live enforcement cases involving the unauthorised winning and working of minerals (rock, sand and gravel) without the benefit of planning permission. This figure is taken from a live database and may be subject to change as further cases are identified or existing cases are resolved.

Legal Services in each of the 26 Local Councils

Mrs D Kelly asked the Minister of the Environment to detail the cost of legal services in each of the 26 local councils, broken down by (i) solicitors' fees; (ii) barristers' fees; (iii) court costs; and (iv) settlement awards, in each of the last three years; and to indicate whether each service was subject to a tender competition.

(AQW 8327/10)

Minister of the Environment: Information in the form requested is not readily available and could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost.

PPS21

Mr P McGlone asked the Minister of the Environment whether there will be an opportunity for further discussions in relation to planning applications, deferred until the completion of PPS21, which have been recommended for refusal.

(AQW 8334/10)

Minister of the Environment: I can confirm that I have decided there will be another opportunity to defer such applications. The Chief Executive of Planning Service wrote to all district councils on 2 June 2010, following the publication of PPS21, advising them of the reassessment exercise to be carried out in relation to around 2,500 deferred applications. In terms of this reassessment I have decided these should be handled as follows:

  1. Priority will be given to any application that can be approved in terms of the revised policy with an aim to return these to Council and issue a decision as soon as possible.
  2. Where a reconsidered opinion to refuse is formed, the application will be returned to council with an opinion to refuse. The council will then have another opportunity to defer these applications again, to allow an office meeting to be held if that is the corporate view of the council. Following the deferral and reconsideration the council will be reconsulted and a decision either to approve or refuse will be issued.
  3. The applicant will, of course, have an opportunity to appeal to the Planning Appeals Commission if the application is refused.

Vehicles which Transport Animal Carcasses

Mr M McLaughlin asked the Minister of the Environment whether there are any regulations in place to restrict vehicles which transport animal carcasses to rendering plants from accessing the main streets of Crumlin; and (ii) what consideration he has given to introducing such measures to alleviate the concerns of the public.

(AQW 8369/10)

Minister of the Environment: There are no regulations in place to restrict vehicles which transport animal carcasses to rendering plants from accessing the main streets of Crumlin. Such material is not subject to the ordinary waste management controls administered by my Department, such as Duty of Care and Carrier Registration.

However, animal carcasses are classified as animal by-products and they are controlled under the Animal By-Products Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003 (ABP Regulations).

The ABP Regulations include transport conditions and require both unprocessed carcasses and processed material to be identified, transported in covered containers and accompanied by a commercial document or a health certificate.

The movement controls require animal by-products to be collected and transported in covered leak-proof containers or vehicles. Some renderers have in place a system to collect animal by-products in compartmentalised vehicles.

The ABP regulations are administered by DARD and already include stringent measures to protect public and animal health. Although DARD proposes to introduce new Animal By-Products Regulations in Northern Ireland in 2011. I am not aware that they are considering any additional measures at this time.

Review of Public Administration

Dr S Farry asked the Minister of the Environment why he did not make a formal statement to the Assembly on the stalling of the Local Government aspects of the Review of Public Administration.

(AQW 8394/10)

Minister of the Environment: At its meeting on 14 June, the Executive was unable to reach agreement on a way forward for the local government reform programme.

In the absence of an agreement I wrote to the Speaker of the Assembly on 15 June, outlining where the local government reform programme now stood and what the next steps would be in the reform process. Copies of that letter were provided to all Assembly Members, so that they were immediately aware of the latest position.

I have made clear my commitment and that of the Executive to delivering its vision for local government, ensuring the needs of all citizens are at its core.

I have also made clear my intention to bring fresh proposals on a delivery timetable before the Executive over the summer, with the objective of reaching agreement and providing clarity on the delivery timetable for local government reform.

When I am in a position to clarify these matters, I intend to make a Statement to the Assembly on the way forward for all those affected by or with an interest in local government reform.

Wind Farms

Mr B Wilson asked e Minister of the Environment how many planning applications have been approved for wind farms including the number of turbines involved and an estimate of the potential energy to be generated by each farm.

(AQW 8395/10)

Minister of the Environment: My Department has to date approved 41 planning applications for wind farms, involving the construction of 339 turbines with the potential to generate 585MW of energy. The details of each planning approval are set out in the table below.

Current Wind Farms
Extant Approvals Location No. Turbines Capacity (MW)
Corkey
Ballymoney
10
5
Rigged Hill
Limavady
10
5
Eliot’s Hill
Ballymena
10
5
Bessy Bell
Strabane
10
5
Slieve Rushen
Fermanagh
Superseded
Superseded
Owenreagh
Strabane
10
5
Lendrum’s Bridge
Dungannon
20
13.2
Altahullion
Limavady
20
26
Lough Hill
Omagh
Superseded
Superseded
Callagheen
Fermanagh
13
22.75
Tappaghan
Fermanagh
13
19.5
Bessy Bell II
Omagh
Superseded
Superseded
Wolf Bog
Ballymena
5
8.75
Owenreagh II
Strabane
6
5.1
Bin Mt.
Strabane
6
9
Lough Hill II
Strabane
6
10.5
Altahullion ext
Limavady
9
5.2
Slieve Rushen
Fermanagh
18
54
Garves
Ballymoney
5
15
Glen Buck
Ballymoney
1
2.5
Slieve Divena
Omagh
12
24
Crighshane
Strabane
14
28
Churchill
Strabane
8
16
Bessy Bell (Rev)
Omagh
6
9
Crockagarron
Omagh
6
18
Gruig
Ballymoney
10
17.5
Slieve Divena II
Omagh
8
12
Hunters Hill
Omagh
8
13.2
Thornog
Omagh
4
9.2
Curryfree
Londonderry
6
15
Screggagh
Omagh
8
18.4
Tappaghan Ext
Fermanagh
6
9
Long Mountain
Ballymoney
12
27.6
Altamooskin
Omagh
3
6
Slieve Kirk
Londonderry
12
27.6
Carrickatane
Strabane
9
27
Gortfinbar
Omagh
5
12.5
Ballyreagh, Tempo
Fermanagh
1
2.5
Tievenameenta
Strabane
15
45
Glenconway
Limavady
8
18.4
Carn Hill
Newtownabbey
6
12.6
TOTAL: 41   339 585

George Best Belfast City Airport: Seats for Sale

Mr B Wilson asked the Minister of the Environment who was consulted in relation to the proposed removal of the 'seats for sale' limit at George Best Belfast City Airport; and if he can confirm whether the public or local residents were included in the consultation.

(AQW 8399/10)

Minister of the Environment: Under Article 40A(2) of the Planning (NI) Order 1991 my Department is required to consult with the District Council for the area in which the land, which is the subject of the Agreement, is situated. However, given the high level of public interest in the airport’s operational activities and in the interests of openness and transparency I have decided to follow the same consultative process as undertaken with the 2008 modified Planning Agreement. In this context Belfast City Council, North Down Borough Council and the Airport Forum which consists of representatives of local residents groups have been consulted.

Wind Farms

Mr B Wilson asked the Minister of the Environment how many planning applications are currently being considered for wind farms including the date on which they were submitted, the number of turbines involved and an estimate of the potential energy to be generated by each farm.

(AQW 8403/10)

Minister of the Environment: Currently my Department is considering 46 planning applications for wind farm developments. This would involve the construction of 296 turbines with a potential generating capacity of 749MW. The details of each application are set out in the attached table.

Proposed Wind Farms
Application Location No. Turbines Capacity (MW) Date Submitted
Tullinoid
Fermanagh
6
10.5
08/03/04
Eglish
Londonderry
6
15
11/02/05
Drumadarragh
Newtonabbey
4
11.5
16/05/05
Ora More
Fermanagh
9
20.7
15/12/05
Crockdun
Omagh
5
15
20/01/06
Cregganconroe
Omagh
5
10
31/01/06
Altgolan
Strabane
7
17.5
21/08/06
Seegronan
Strabane
6
14
21/08/06
Elginny Hill
Ballymena
10
20
02/08/06
Eshmore
Dungannon
3
9
04/09/06
Inishative
Omagh
6
18
17/10/06
Corby Knowe
Antrim
3
9
17/10/06
Slatbeg
Dungannon
9
20.7
29/08/06
Rathsherry
Ballymena
9
20.7
06/09/06
Castlecraig
Omagh
10
30
22/11/06
Altahullion III
Limavady
12
27.6
05/01/07
Glenbuck II
Ballymoney
3
6.9
01/12/06
Clunahill
Omagh
7
21
22/05/07
Gronan
Strabane
15
34.5
02/10/07
Brockaghboy
Coleraine
20
60
14/12/07
Koram Hill
Strabane
6
13.8
10/05/07
Tullywisker
Strabane
3
6
29/10/07
Shantavny Scotch
Dungannon
7
14
29/10/07
Farkland
Limavady
17
51
12/12/07
Slieveglass
Strabane
3
6.9
28/01/08
Crockbrack
Cookstown
1
2
11/02/08
Curraghmulkin (Dooish)
Omagh
17
39.1
12/03/08
Lisnamuck
Coleraine
3
6
21/02/08
Teiges
Fermanagh
5
12.5
31/03/08
Cappagh
Dungannon
3
9
14/04/08
Aghamore
Strabane
5
15
01/05/08
Meenakeeran
Strabane
8
24
14/04/08
Slieve Croob
Banbridge
1
2.3
27/12/07
Molly Mountain
Fermanagh
7
21
15/08/08
Corkey Ext
Ballymoney
1
2.5
04/09/08
Crockbaravally
Omagh
3
6.9
05/12/08
Mullynaveagh
Dungannon
2
4.6
05/12/08
Connaught Road
Antrim
2
1.7
02/06/08
Smulgedon
Limavady
7
17.5
18/02/09
Crockagarran
Omagh
1
3
04/03/09
Thornog Ext
Omagh
4
9.2
01/04/09
Cloonty
Ballymoney
4
10
08/05/09
Monnaboy
Londonderry
4
10
06/11/09
Crockandun
Magherafelt
11
33
08/01/10
Beltonanean
Cookstown
1
2.3
12/05/10
Binnawooda
Strabane
15
34.5
17/05/10
TOTAL: 46   296 749.1  

George Best Belfast City Airport

Mr B Wilson asked the Minister of the Environment if the George Best Belfast City Airport has amended its environmental statement regarding the planning application to extend the runway, in light of the criticism expressed in the recent Civil Aviation Authority report.

(AQW 8405/10)

Minister of the Environment: The George Best Belfast City Airport has not amended it environmental statement in light of the Civil Aviation Authority report.

DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE AND PERSONNEL

Civil Service Equal Pay Settlement

Mr P Weir asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel for an estimate of the total numbers of current and former civil servants who are eligible for back pay under the Equal Pay settlement.

(AQW 7408/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel (Mr S Wilson): There are approximately 16,000 current and former civil servants who are eligible for inclusion in the NICS equal pay settlement.

Credit or Debit Cards Held by Government Departments

Mr J Dallat asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel to detail (i) the number of credit or debit cards held by each Government Department and its agencies; and (ii) the total amount of money transacted on each card over the last three years.

(AQW 7720/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: The number of credit cards held by each department, and the amount transacted on these over the last three years is detailed in the table below. There are currently no debit cards held by Government departments or their agencies.

Department No of credit cards Amount transacted
2007/08 2008/09 2009/10
DARD
0
£0
£0
£0
DCAL
0
£0
£0
£0
DE
1
£2,198
£748
£920
DEL
0
£0
£0
£0
DETI
0
£0
£0
£0
DFP
1
£4,745
£1,208
£724
DHSSPS
0
£0
£0
£0
DoE
0
£0
£0
£0
DRD
0
£0
£0
£0
DSD
1
£0
£0
£6,488
OFMDFM
0
£0
£0
£0
TOTAL
3 £6,943 £1,956 £8,132

As this question relates to the years prior to the devolution of policing and justice, the Department of Justice has not been included.

Hospitality

Mr J Dallat asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel how much has been spent on hospitality by each Government Department and its agencies in each of the last three years.

(AQW 7722/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: The table below sets out the total spent on hospitality by each department and its agencies in each of the last three years:

Department 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10
DARD
£55,931
£74,991
*£80,072
DCAL
£43,473
£64,452
£44,930
DE
£88,877
£74,495
£56,883
DEL
£35,455
£45,356
**£62,970
DETI
£17,026
£18,777
£19,868
DFP
£205,000
£209,000
£91,000
DHSSPS
£137,400
£196,700
£104,800
DoE
£124,238
£121,996
£102,009
DRD
£80,310
£55,695
£45,609
DSD***
£62,032
£129,483
£77,617
OFMDFM
£207,000
£238,000
£187,000
TOTAL
£1,056,742 £1,228,945 £872,758

* Figures in respect of 2009/10 are provisional as resource accounts have not been finalised.

** It should be noted that expenditure in 2009-10 includes £10,382 that arose as a result of the resolution of disputed invoices for costs originating in 2007-08 (£3,122) and 2008-09 (£7,260).

*** The DSD figures include expenditure incurred by DSD in relation to services provided to DWP which is then recovered by DSD.

The Department of Justice came into existence on 12th April 2010. Details of payments on hospitality before that date are a matter for the previous department. Similar information to that requested is publically available in Hansard in relation to the Northern Ireland Office (House of Commons reference: 26 June 2009: Column 1207W).

Travel Expenses

Mr J Dallat asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel how much has been spent in each of the last five years by each Government Department and its agencies on (i) air fares; (ii) taxi fares; (iii) overnight accommodation; and (iv) meals while on business.

(AQW 7723/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: The information requested is set out in the attached tables. However, in answering, I would wish to highlight the following points:

Airfares
Department 05/06 06/07 07/08 08/09 09/10
DCAL*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
50,632
PPS
38,159
21,202
19,820
14,854
28,613
DFP
366,000
267,000
321,000
291,000
225,000
DE
31,171
37,544
34,498
27,924
19,955
OFMDFM
144,700
128,800
221,700
304,200
195,500
DEL
120,957
86,262
104,216
101,087
92,407
DRD**
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
DSD
379,372
305,150
406,419
415,166
350,183
DOE*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
129,123
DETI
594,136
530,459
587,694
622,427
605,451
DHSSPS
272,303
263,393
279,978
133,700
231,768
DARD*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
193,067

* Prior to 2009/10, DOE, DCAL and DARD are unable to extract this information without conducting an extensive manual exercise which would only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

** DRD is unable to provide the amounts in respect of airfare costs for the years requested.

Taxi Fares
Department 05/06 06/07 07/08 08/09 09/10
DCAL*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
3,097
PPS**
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
DFP
21,000
28,000
27,000
28,000
19,000
DE
2,270
2,896
2,987
3,089
1,687
OFMDFM
14,500
12,400
20,100
14,600
14,900
DEL
11,640
9,340
8,344
8,096
8,087
DRD*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
2,774
DSD***
40,180
50,194
70,319
48,897
52,003
DRD****
5,135
7,187
4,881
5,579
8,565
DETI
68,369
58,517
43,300
51,648
61,730
DHSSPS*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
8,049
DARD*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
9,931

*For the financial years 2005-06 to 2008-09 (inclusive), complete figures on taxi fares could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

**PPS are unable to supply taxi figures for these years.

*** Prior to the introduction of the Account NI system in DSD in November 2008, cost information on taxi fares were included in the generic category of public transport costs. Total public transport costs for 2005/06 to October 2008, are, therefore, included for information in the table above, with specific taxi cost information provided from November 2008.

**** Information provided relates to the payment of taxi companies for DOE Core, Planning Service and Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Expenditure in relation to taxi fares claimed by staff through travel claims cannot be provided except at disproportionate cost. Information also includes claims by staff in the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) which operates as a trading fund and has its own accounting system.

Overnight Accommodation
Department 05/06 06/07 07/08 08/09 09/10
DCAL*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
19,604
PPS
9,705
9,260
14,999
6,239
8,181
DFP
84,000
14,000
40,000
141,000
115,000
DE
30,828
28,180
31,950
24,177
23,252
OFMDFM**
44,600
60,400
100,000
128,400
111,900
DEL***
n/a
n/a
n/a
22,640
26,984
DRD*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
30,198
DSD
181,827
170,545
171,932
176,519
146,842
DOE*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
68,243
DETI
162,964
183,129
199,370
181,481
250,725
DHSSPS*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
32,839
DARD*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
85,770

* For the financial years 2005-06 to 2008-09 (inclusive), complete figures on overnight accommodation could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

** Before 2008/09 the accommodation and meals elements of overnight subsistence costs were not recorded separately in the accounts of OFMDFM. As a result, the costs of overnight accommodation shown in the table above for the years 2005/06, 2006/07 and 2007/08 include associated meals costs.

***The Department does not hold information in a format that would facilitate identification of overnight accommodation for 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08.

Meals on Business
Department 05/06 06/07 07/08 08/09 09/10
DCAL*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
22,516
PPS
16,754
19,261
26,506
26,312
21,787
DFP
195,000
227,000
146,000
126,000
100,000
DE
53,467
46,829
51,140
41,793
43,667
OFMDFM**
7,000
8,400
7,000
5,800
5,900
DEL***
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
DRD*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
45,580
DSD
170,346
153,560
142,198
119,025
114,541
DOE*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
183,309
DETI
69,739
78,544
67,803
78,121
82,616
DHSSPS****
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
DARD*
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
363,730

* For the financial years 2005-06 to 2008-09 (inclusive), complete figures for meals on business could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

** Prior to 2008/09 the costs of overnight meals allowances were not recorded separately from overnight accommodation, so for the years 2005/06, 2006/07 and 2007/08 the costs do not include expenditure on overnight subsistence.

*** The Department does not hold information that would facilitate identification of meals on business for any year.

**** Complete figures on meals could only be provided at disproportionate cost

Pension Enhancements and Lump Sums to Senior Civil Servants

Mr J Dallat asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel to detail the total amount of money paid out by each Department and its agencies on (i) pension enhancements; and (ii) lump sums to senior civil servants leaving the service, in each of the last five years.

(AQW 7724/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: Under the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (Northern Ireland) the main Scheme benefits are met through the Civil Superannuation. Departments are responsible for meeting the cost of any early retirements where a civil servant leaves the Service under compulsory, flexible or approved terms.

The early retirement costs met by the Departments on (i) pensions include the following:

The early retirement costs met by the Departments on (ii) lump sums include the following:

- redundancy compensation payments;

- the cost of early payment of the accrued superannuation lump sum; and

- the enhanced element of the superannuation lump sum.

Tables (i) and (ii) provide the total cost to each Department and its agencies on (i) pensions and (ii) lump sums to senior civil servants leaving on early retirement in each of the last five years.

Table (i) The expenditure incurred by each Department and it agencies on pension during financial years 2005-2006 to 2009-2010 is set out in the table below.

Departmental Expenditure on Pension
Department 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09 09-10
DOE
£44,050.68
£66,980.84
£31,090.97
£32,279.10
£41,853.90
DETI
£19,303.16
£25,807.69
£53,626.17
£19,685.93
£25,819.79
DEL
£23,157.36
£14,914.67
£0
£34,439.62
£36,854.37
DRD1
£67,214.18
£87,420.44
£25,790.41
£0
£0
DFP
£0
£23,658.32
£13,538.44
£49,508.23
£52,206.30
OFMDFM
£14,332.65
£31,406.50
£698.16
£0
£0
DCAL
£0
£0
£5,055
£31,059
£9,3603
DARD
£17,613.92
£45,593.55
£32,105.22
£28,933.44
£56,060.49
DSD
£0
£0
£40,036.15
£45,310.51
£15,064.68
DE
£0
£0
£0
£0
£67,795
DOJ2
£0
£0
£0
£0
£0
DHSSPS4
£20,000
£13,000
£29,000
£51,000
£18,000

Table (ii) The expenditure incurred by each Department and it agencies on lump sums during financial years 2005-2006 to 2009-10 is set out in the table below.

Departmental Expenditure on Lump Sums
Department 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09 09-10
DOE
£8,193.42
£13,579.45
£0
£0
£1,255.33
DETI
£2,732.42
£5,987.38
£3,559.55
£0
£3,934.22
DEL
£4,376.73
£0
£0
£7,797.20
£0
DRD1
£16,991.12
£0
£0
£0
£0
DFP
£0
£6,212.93
£0
£10,155.77
£0
OFMDFM
£3,905.81
£0
£0
£0
£0
DCAL
£0
£0
£3,888.68
£0
£0
DARD
£11,968.66
£2,790.84
£0
£0
£0
DSD
£0
£0
£9,696.02
£0
£0
DE
£0
£0
£0
£0
£7,860
DOJ2
£0
£0
£0
£0
£0
DHSSPS4
£2,000
£1,000
£0
£3,000
£0

1 DRD have included Water Service figures for 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 only.

2 The Department of Justice came into existence on 12 April 2010. Details of payments on pension enhancements and lump sums before that date are a matter for the previous Department, the Northern Ireland Office.

3 Provisional figure which may be subject to change following 2009-10 final outturn confirmation.

4 DHSSPS have provided figures round to the nearest £k.

Suspended Civil Servants

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel to detail, for each Government Department, (i) the total number of civil servants who have been suspended on (a) full pay; and (b) part pay in each of the last five years; and (ii) the total of (a) salaries; (b) national insurance; and (c) pension contributions paid in respect of these employees during their period of suspension.

(AQW 8049/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: The information requested is provided in the table attached. The data sourced is for each of the last five financial years. Figures presented include both industrial and non-industrial permanent staff in the eleven Ministerial Departments and their respective Executive Agencies. In view of concerns regarding Data Protection principles, figures have been amalgamated rather than broken down by individual departments.

Year 2005/06 2006/07* 2007/08** 2008/09 2009/10***
Number of Civil Servants suspended on full pay
19
22
7
9
8
Number of Civil Servants suspended on part pay
0
0
0
0
0
Total Salary paid
81991.11
137589.58
93586.04
88764.74
168626.44
Total national insurance paid
5555.16
11104.15
7186.43
6355.02
9560.27
Total pensions paid
13654.60 25032.55 11104.85 14584.7 27249.44

* These figures include payments made to 1 individual whose suspension began during the 2005/06 year
** These figures include payments made to 2 individuals whose suspension began during the 2006/07 year.
*** These figures include payments made to 3 individuals whose suspension began during the 2008/09 year.

Contracts for the Painting and Decorating of Public Buildings

Mr J Dallat asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel (i) to detail the contracts that have been awarded for the painting and decorating of public buildings in each of the last three years; (ii) to outline the procedures in place to ensure that the contracts have been carried out according to paint specification, particularly where fire resistant paint is required; and (iii) whether any contractor has breached the terms and conditions of a contract in relation to paint specification.

(AQW 8055/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: The Department of Finance and Personnel has not awarded any contracts specifically for painting or decorating of public buildings in the last three years. All painting and decorating work during this period has either been undertaken as part of a more general construction contract or as an order issued in accordance with an existing Measured Term Contract (MTC).

The Department’s Project Manager is responsible for monitoring compliance with the specification and for ensuring that all works are completed in accordance with the contract.

This monitoring process would include appropriate controls. In particular, where the painting work is of a specialist nature, periodic checks may be undertaken to ensure that adequate surface preparation has been carried out; that the correct type of paint has been applied; and that the correct thickness of paint has been achieved.

DFP has no record of any contractor having breached their terms and conditions of contract in relation to a paint specification.

Departmental Solicitor's Office Staff

Mr G Savage asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel how many Departmental Solicitor's Office staff are currently allocated to the Department for Regional Development.

(AQW 8075/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: Staff within the Departmental Solicitor's Office are not allocated to particular Departments. Work from several Departments is allocated to each Division within DSO on the basis of its nature and subject-matter. Management information indicates that, on average over the past three years, work for the Department of Regional Development has required the equivalent of 15.7 full time members of DSO’s legal staff.

Humanist Wedding Ceremonies

Mr B Wilson asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel what consideration he has given to granting legal status to humanist wedding ceremonies.

(AQW 8083/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: Marriage legislation was the subject of extensive review in Northern Ireland a few years ago and widely consulted on. The Marriage (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 provides for two types of marriage ceremony; a religious marriage solemnised by an officiant i.e. a member of a religious body registered to carry out this function; and a civil marriage carried out by a registrar/deputy registrar appointed by a local registration authority as a statutory office holder for this purpose. There has been no previous approach from anyone on this matter either at the pre-legislation public consultation stage, during the actual legislative stages or subsequently.

Regional Health and Social Care Board ICT Group's Bid for a New Computer System

Mr C McDevitt asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel, in relation to the Regional Health and Social Care Board ICT Group's recently approved bid for a new computer system for the board (i) if the bid has been submitted to his Department for approval; (ii) the value of the bid; and (iii) when he expects to make a decision on it.

(AQW 8110/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: My Department has not received a bid for funds in respect of the Regional GP out-of-hours server project.

Procurement Opportunities for Local Companies

Mr B McElduff asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel to detail the measures his Department has taken in the last three years to improve or open up procurement opportunities for local companies, contractors, sub-contractors and small and medium-sized enterprises.

(AQW 8193/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: Public procurement is subject to EU Treaty obligations, which require freedom of movement, transparency and non-discrimination on the basis of nationality. Public sector buyers therefore cannot restrict their purchases of goods, works or services to favour local firms.

Government recognises the important contribution that local companies make to the economy of Northern Ireland and in response to the economic downturn my department established the Construction Industry Forum for Northern Ireland (CIFNI) Procurement Task Group.

Following the publication of the Task Group Report, in April 2009, Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) and the Centres of Procurement Expertise (CoPEs) engaged with the Construction Industry Group for Northern Ireland to develop proposals specifically aimed at maximising opportunities for SMEs.

These measures have been incorporated into a standard Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) template to be used to shortlist firms for invitation to tender for works contracts. The PQQ streamlines the assessment of contractors’ health and safety competency; includes proportionate minimum standards for financial standing for individual firms; and accommodates applications from smaller enterprises to come together as consortia to bid for government contracts. It is being rolled out across all CoPEs from 1 March 2010.

In June 2010 CPD established a Business and Industry Forum for Northern Ireland (BIFNI). This Forum will provide a strategically focused interface between representatives from CPD, the CoPEs and the wider business community, where parties can consider matters of mutual interest including procurement opportunities.

CPD also introduced the eSourcing NI electronic tendering portal in May 2008 and it is expected that it will be operational across all CoPEs by September 2010. The portal will provide SMEs with a single source for all Government procurement opportunities. It also simplifies and standardises the tendering procedure thereby reducing the cost and time required to participate in the procurement process.

In addition, CPD has delivered presentations on ‘how to access Government procurement opportunities’ to over 2000 delegates at some 35 workshops across Northern Ireland.

Civil Service Posts

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel to detail (i) the civil service posts that have been removed through (a) compulsory; and (b) voluntary redundancies in each of the last five years; (ii) the severance packages available to staff; and (iii) the cost of each package, broken down by Department.

(AQW 8218/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: Civil Service Pensions have responsibility for the management of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (Northern Ireland) and its associated schemes, which includes the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland) [CSCS(NI)]. The severance packages available to staff are set out in the rules of the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland) which can be viewed at www.civilservice.pensions-ni.gov.uk.

Table 1 below shows the number of civil service posts which have been removed through (a) compulsory and (b) voluntary redundancies in each of the last five years.

The cost of the redundancy packages under (i), (a) and (b) which took place in the last five years, broken down by Department is shown in Table 2.

Table 1: Compulsory / Voluntary – Posts suppressed
  05/06 06/07 07/08 08/09 09/10
Dept
Comp
Vol
Comp
Vol
Comp
Vol
Comp
Vol
Comp
Vol
DARD
1
 
2
     
1
     
DRD1  
15
 
7
           
DFP      
1
           
DETI        
1
         

1:DRD Water Service Staff moved from NICS to NI Water.

Table 2: Costs of package to each Department.
  DARD DRD DFP DETI
Cost to Dept
£54k
£1,328k
N/R
N/R

Non Reportable: Individual costs cannot be provided as this would be in breach of the Data Protection Act.

Corporation Tax

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel to outline the proposed reduction in corporation tax announced in the recent budget; and if he has made any representations to the Treasury to have corporation tax in Northern Ireland reduced further to compete with the 12% rate in the Republic of Ireland.

(AQW 8220/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: The Chancellor has announced a reduction in the main rate of corporation tax from 28% to 24% over four years from 1 April 2011. The rate of corporation tax for small firms will be reduced from 21% to 20% with effect from 1 April 2011.

Furthermore, the UK Coalition Government has committed to producing a paper examining the potential mechanisms for changing the corporation tax rate in Northern Ireland. While I welcome this decision it is important to remain cautious about the potential costs of such a proposal. I will engage with Treasury Ministers as this work develops and my office is in the process of arranging an initial meeting with the Exchequer Secretary, Mr David Gauke.

First Trust Bank

Mr B McElduff asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel to detail his Department's efforts to promote a strong banking sector; and to detail the extent of his contact with Minister Brian Lenihan TD to protect the interests of First Trust Bank employees and customers in light of AIB group's proposals to sell the First Trust Bank to raise capital.

(AQW 8234/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: Banking policy and banking regulation is a Reserved Matter for HM Treasury and the Financial Services Authority. However, I have engaged extensively with the local banks through my role as Chair of the Executive’s Cross Sector Advisory Forum Banking and Lending Sub-group. This Sub-Group made six recommendations to the Executive, which are now being taken forward through the recently published ‘The Executive’s Priority Measures to Deal with the Economic Downturn.’

I have met with Minister Lenihan on numerous occasions over the past year to discuss NAMA and wider banking issues. The latest opportunity to raise the First Trust Bank issue was the North South Ministerial Council on 5 July. At that meeting I stressed the importance of ensuring that consideration is given to First Trust employees and wider credit availability in Northern Ireland.

Contracts

Ms M Anderson asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel to detail (i) all contracts in excess of (a) 12 months duration and; (b) £1 million entered into by his Department in each of the last ten years; (ii) any year on year over-runs in these contracts; (iii) whether there were break clauses attached to the contracts; and (iv) the number of break clauses that have been exercised.

(AQW 8342/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: Details of the contracts entered into by DFP, since Central Procurement Directorate was established on 1 April 2002, and which are either £1m or more in value and more than 12 months in duration, are set out in Annex A - Table 1. Information on contracts awarded prior to 2002 could only be obtained in part and at disproportionate cost.

The Table includes contracts awarded by DFP, or procured by DFP as a Central Purchasing Body on behalf of a range of Departments. It excludes those where another Department is the sole Contracting Authority.

Term contracts and framework agreements for the provision of supplies, services or works can include the option of additional years beyond the minimum period, provided the contract continues to represent value for money.

Contracts may include a break clause whereby the Department may choose not to continue a contract beyond a certain time provided appropriate notice has been given to the supplier.

All contracts include the option to terminate in the event that the supplier’s performance is unsatisfactory.

Table 1
(i) contracts with a value exceeding £1m (excluding VAT) and a duration of more than 12 months (ii) Any year-on-year overruns beyond minimum period (years) (iii) Any break clauses attached to the contract (iv) Break Clause has been exercised
Year Awarded Funding Dept CPD Reference Title
2002/03
DFP
CP5/02B704
REFURBISHMENT OF SSA OFFICE
No
No
No
2002/03
DFP
1694B70402
MTC CIVIL ENG COUNTY ANTRIM
3.5
Yes
No
2002/03
DFP
1696B70402
MTC CIVIL ENG DOWN & ARMAGH
3.6
Yes
No
2002/03
DFP
1697B70402
MTC CIVIL ENG TYRONE FMANAGH LONDONDERRY
3.6
Yes
No
2002/03
DFP
1695B70402
MTC CIVIL ENGINEERING BELFAST
3.5
Yes
No
2002/03
DFP
PKITNSWT02
PPM OF KITCHEN EQUIPMENT - NORTH- SOUTH & WEST
5.6
Yes
No
2002/03
DFP
PKITBFNE02
PPM OF KITCHEN EQUIPMENT BELFAST NORTH & EAST
5.6
Yes
No
2002/03
DFP
1640B70402
HOLYWOOD ROAD SSA REFURBISHMENT
No
No
No
2002/03
DFP
1725B70402
REFURBISHMENT OF SSA OMAGH AND ENNISKILLEN
No
No
No
2002/03
DFP
0023B70402
REFURB SSA SHAFTESBURY SQ SHANKILL RD & KILKEEL
No
No
No
2002/03
DFP
8014/01
NICS Single Source Maintenance Contract for Telecoms Equipment
No
Yes
No
2002/03
DFP
8172/01
DFP Accounting Services Review
No
Yes
No
2002/03
DFP
8353/01
NICS Provision of Electricity for Construction Service Buildings
No
Yes
No
2002/03
DFP
8535/01
NICS Fleet Insurance Management
No
Yes
No
2002/03
DFP
9335/02
NICS Renewable Electricity
No
Yes
No
2002/03
DFP
9061/02
DFP Supply of a Contact Centre Solution for BDS
No
Yes
No
2002/03
DFP
9335/02
NICS Renewable Electricity
No
Yes
No
2003/04
DFP
0043B70403
REFURBISHMENT OF GOVERNMENT OFFICES
No
No
No
2003/04
DFP
0044B70403
REFURBISHMENT OF GOVERNMENT OFFICES
No
No
No
2003/04
DFP
03-SOUTHC
BUILDING TERM CONTRACTOR FOR SOUTHERN AREA
4.7
Yes
No
2003/04
DFP
03-NORTHC
BUILDING TERM CONTRACT FOR NORTHERN AREA
4.7
Yes
No
2003/04
DFP
0046B70403
REFURB OF GOV OFFICES COLERAINE & LARNE
No
No
No
2003/04
DFP
0083B70404
FITTING OUT OF SSA OFFICES - BANBRIDGE & ARMAGH
No
No
No
2003/04
DFP
8955/02
NICS Province-Wide Courier Service
No
Yes
No
2003/04
DFP
9021/02
NICS Motor Fleet Insurance
No
Yes
No
2003/04
DFP
9276/02
NICS Provision of Electricity for Construction Service Buildings
No
Yes
No
2003/04
DFP
9847/03
eHR Legal Advisors
No
Yes
No
2004/05
DFP
0080B70404
GENERAL PURPOSE MAINTENANCE
5.3
Yes
No
2004/05
DFP
0076B70404
GRASS MAINTENANCE STORMONT
5.0
Yes
No
2004/05
DFP
0079B70404
ROADS AND PAVEMENT MAINTENANCE - STORMONT
5.3
Yes
No
2004/05
DFP
0078B70404
WOODLAND MAINTENANCE - STORMONT
5.3
Yes
No
2004/05
DFP
0096B70404
DDA UPGRADE OF FOUR BUILDINGS
No
No
No
2004/05
DFP
0103B70404
MAINTENANCE OF FIRE SAFETY EQUIPMENT - SOUTHERN
3.2
Yes
No
2004/05
DFP
0071B70404
BLDS FABRIC SERVICING & MAINT NORTH AREA
2.4
Yes
No
2004/05
DFP
0104B70405
STC FOR MAINTENANCE OF FIRE SAFETY EQUIPMENT
3.2
Yes
No
2004/05
DFP
0105B70405
MAINT OF GENERATORS & UNINTERRUPTABLE PS
No
Yes
No
2004/05
DFP
9686/03
NICS Electricity for Construction Service Buildings
No
Yes
No
2004/05
DFP
9918/03
NICS Motor Fleet Insurance
No
Yes
No
2004/05
DFP
12941/03
NICS NI Public Sector Travel Management Services
No
Yes
No
2005/06
DFP
521/05
professional services for Regional Office Accommodation for WRAMP projects
No
No
No
2005/06
DFP
CONFWKRPS
professional services FRAMEWORK agreement
0.6
Yes
No
2005/06
DFP
0091B70405
GROUNDS MAINT ICE & SNOW NORTHERN AREA
1.5
Yes
No
2005/06
DFP
0092B70405
GROUNDS MAINT ICE & SNOW SOUTHERN AREA
1.5
Yes
No
2005/06
DFP
13077/03
DFP RCA IT Replacement Project
No
Yes
No
2005/06
DFP
13750/04
DFP Consultancy Support for Workplace 2010 Strategic Development Plan for NICS Estate
No
Yes
No
2005/06
DFP
13860/04
NICS Renewable Electricity
No
Yes
No
2006/07
DFP
0176418007
JOBS AND BENEFIT ACOMMODATION ANDERSONSTOWN
No
No
No
2006/07
DFP
0213418006
MTC FOR CIVIL ENG MINOR WK 2006/07 BELFAB
2.7
Yes
No
2006/07
DFP
0211418006
MTC FOR CIVIL ENG MINOR WKS 2006/07 ANTRIB
2.7
Yes
No
2006/07
DFP
0210418006
MTC FOR CIVIL ENG MINOR WKS 2006/07 DNARMB
2.7
Yes
No
2006/07
DFP
0212418006
MTC FOR CIVIN ENG MINOR WKS 2006/07 TYFELB
2.7
Yes
No
2006/07
DFP
9946/03
NICS Accounting Services Programme
No
Yes
No
2006/07
DFP
15023/06
NICS Single Source Maintenance for Telecoms
No
Yes
No
2006/07
DFP
13681/04
NICS EDRM Implementation Programme
No
Yes
No
2006/07
DFP
14248/05
DFP VLA CSR System Support Contract
No
Yes
No
2006/07
DFP
14450/05
NIPS Motor Fleet Insurance
No
Yes
No
2006/07
DFP
14481/05
DFP - ICT Procurement for Harbour Gate
No
Yes
No
2006/07
DFP
14731/02
EHR Strategic Partner Procurement
No
Yes
No
2007/08
DFP
13394/04
DFP Provision of Managed Network Services for the Northern Ireland Public Sector
No
Yes
No
2007/08
DFP
13710/04
NICS PCSPS(NI) Post Award Administration & Payroll Project
No
Yes
No
2007/08
DFP
14954/06
DFP ICT Service Provision for NICS - Accommodation Requirement
No
Yes
No
2007/08
DFP
14965/06
DFP Resilent Messaging and Storage Project
No
Yes
No
2007/08
DFP
15609/06
NICS Shared Service Centre Supply and Delivery of PCs
No
Yes
No
2008/09
DFP
1770130408
NEW JOBS & BENEFIT OFFICE BALLYMENA
No
No
No
2008/09
DFP
15773/06
Northern Ireland Public Services Motor Fleet Insurances
No
Yes
No
2008/09
DFP
15625/06
Department of Finance and Personnel NI Direct Phase 1 - Procurement of Contact Centre Services
No
Yes
No
2008/09
DFP
15266/06
DFP NI Direct
No
Yes
No
2009/10
DFP
CPD11393/06
Integrated Consultant Team Framework Agreement
No
Yes
No
2010/11
DFP
10-NORTHC
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT MINOR AND SMALL WORKS NORTH
No
Yes
No
2010/11
DFP
10-SOUTHC
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT MINOR AND SMALL WORKS SOUTH
No
Yes
No
2010/11
DFP
project_1725
Provision of Desktop PC's for NICS, NIO & thier respective NDPB's and Agencies
No
Yes
No
2010/11
DFP
project_1723
IT Assist Supply & Delivery of Networking Equipment/Network Monitoring & Service
No
Yes
No
2010/11
DFP
project_2342
Northern Ireland Public Services Motor Fleet Insurances
No
Yes
No

Cost of Telephone Calls and Postage

Mr S Gardiner asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel how much has been spent by each Department on (i) telephone calls; and (ii) postage in each of the last three years.

(AQW 8359/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: This information is not held centrally and has been provided for the Department of Finance and Personnel only.

Expenditure by the Department of Finance and Personnel (including its executive agencies) over the last three years on the above items is as follows:

  2009/10
£000
2008/09
£000
2007/08
£000
Telephone calls
273
371
378
Postage
992
834
648

The information is provided on the basis of the last three complete financial years representing the basis of preparation of the Department’s accounts.

Smoking-Related Deaths

Mr J Spratt asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel for an estimate of the number of smoking-related deaths in each of the last three years.

(AQW 8372/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: Smoking history is rarely recorded on death certificates. However estimates can be made of the number of deaths related to smoking using research undertaken by the Health Development Agency1 which gives estimates on the contribution that smoking makes to specific causes of death. The table below gives the number of smoking-related deaths registered in Northern Ireland, for each year between 2007 and 2009P.

Registration Year Smoking Related Deaths (estimate)
2007
2,310
2008
2,400
2009P
2,360

1 Twigg, L., Moon, G., and Walker, S. The smoking epidemic in England, Health Development Agency, 2004 - http://www.publichealth.nice.org.uk/page.aspx?o=502811

P 2009 data is provisional

Petrol Retailers in Border Areas

Mr B McElduff asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel what action his Department is taking to address the problems faced by petrol retailers in the border area, such as Strabane and Castlederg, caused by currency differentials and fluctuations.

(AQW 8383/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: As you will be aware, tax policy, including determination of fuel duty rates, is a Reserved Matter for HM Treasury to determine. My department cannot therefore directly influence fuel prices in Northern Ireland.

It is a concern that higher fuel prices in Northern Ireland impacts on the competitiveness of our petrol retailers relative to those in the Republic of Ireland. However, this situation also means that both Northern Ireland businesses and consumers situated in close proximity to the border can avail of cheaper fuel than their counterparts anywhere else in the UK. It should be noted that fuel prices have converged dramatically over the last decade. In June 2000 petrol in the Republic of Ireland was 27 per cent lower than in Northern Ireland. Today this differential has reduced to just 7 per cent - undoubtedly one of the main causes of this convergence has been falling value of Sterling against the Euro.

This convergence has made it very difficult to justify a case to HM Treasury for a reduction in fuel duty rates for Northern Ireland. Furthermore, any such reduction would have to be paid for by the Northern Ireland Executive and this would be very difficult at a time of severe fiscal constraint.

Data Collection Practices

Mr P Weir asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel what consideration has been given to the need to review data collection practices to identify data which is no longer required.

(AQW 8427/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: The Department of Finance and Personnel has introduced records management procedures which are integrated as key activities within the Department. These include the implementation of a record management system TRIM, Disposal and Retention schedules which determine the retention, destruction or transfer of records after a specified time period and Information audits which investigate the series of records held by the Department.

Northern Ireland Economy

Mr B Wilson asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel for his assessment of the possibility that the Northern Ireland economy will suffer a double-dip recession in light of measures contained in last month's budget at Westminster.

(AQW 8442/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: The interim Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has forecast that the UK economy will grow by 1.8% in real terms in 2010-11 and by 2.4% in 2011-12, incorporating the impact of policy measures announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget 2010 statement on 22 June 2010.

However, the Executive remains alert to the risk of a possible return to negative growth for the local economy. In this context it is important that the Executive continues to support the local economy and business, in order to reduce the reliance on the public sector.

Budget Cuts

Mr B Wilson asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel if he proposes to follow the example of the Minister of Finance in the Scottish Parliament by deferring the cuts set out in the recent Westminster budget until the next financial year.

(AQW 8444/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: On 24 May 2010 the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced plans to reduce the level of UK public spending by £6 billion in 2010-11. Deferring the NI Executive’s share of this cut in funding would shift the burden onto the 2011-12 financial year when the public expenditure environment is already expected to be more constrained.

In this context, the most sensible option is to accommodate as much of the reduction in funding as possible in the current financial year.

The Executive is currently considering the way forward on this matter as part of the In-Year Monitoring process.

Civil Service Equal Pay Settlement

Mr G Savage asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel for an update on the Equal Pay Claim for Civil Servants.

(AQW 8445/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: Management and Trade Union sides reached a negotiated settlement to the equal pay claims lodged by NIPSA with the Industrial Tribunal on behalf of a large number of its female members in certain grades in the NICS. Implementation of that settlement is well underway, with around 12,000 staff moved to new pay scales. Additionally, approximately 16,000 people are eligible to receive a lump sum payment. The settlement requires that those individuals agree to withdraw any equal pay claim currently lodged with the Industrial Tribunal, or to sign an agreement stating that no such claim will be pursued, before individual lump sum payments can be made.

Civil Service: Offers of Employment Withdrawn Following Security Checks

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel to detail, for each of the last five years, the number of job offers to civil service applicants which have been withdrawn because the candidate failed a security check, broken down by job type and grade.

(AQW 8459/10)

Minister of Finance and Personnel: It is the policy of the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) that all external candidates who are to be offered posts must satisfy the vetting requirements prior to being offered an appointment. In early 2008, when AccessNI took over the role of criminal record vetting, the process was extremely slow and to meet urgent business need a number of conditional administrative appointments were made. Of these, two people subsequently had their employment terminated due to the outcome of the criminal record check.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, SOCIAL SERVICES AND PUBLIC SAFETY

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust: Specialist Dietician

Mr T Clarke asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety when the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust expects to appoint a second part-time specialist dietician to deal with the waiting list of children with intractable epilepsy waiting to access the ketogenic diet.

(AQW 6604/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (Mr M McGimpsey): The Belfast Trust informs me that the Trust advertised for a second specialist dietician on 25 May 2010. A number of applications have been received and interviews will be held in July. An appointment from that process is expected in coming weeks.

Mid-Ulster Hospital, Magherafelt and Whiteabbey Hospital

Mr P McGlone asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety what consultation was carried out with (i) staff; (ii) unions; and (iii) the public, prior to the recent decision to reduce services at the Mid-Ulster Hospital, Magherafelt and Whiteabbey Hospital.

(AQW 6740/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The Northern Trust has conducted an analysis of attendances at the Accident and Emergency departments at Whiteabbey and the Mid Ulster hospitals which shows that 70% of those attending could have their needs met by a minor injuries service on these sites. The Trust will open minor injuries services on both sites from 24th May. In addition, the Trust is creating increased physical space within the A&E department at Antrim Area Hospital and providing a total of 20 additional beds to accommodate the anticipated increase in workload there. These additional facilities will be in place by 24th May and the hospital’s A&E department will also be strengthened by a larger medical and nursing team.

The Trust will also continue to provide medical cover at the minor injuries units in Whiteabbey and Mid-Ulster for 2 months following the change in service to ensure the transition from one model of service to another is safe.

The changes to services at these hospitals has been signalled since the publication of Developing Better Services in 2002 and confirmed in a number of subsequent announcements. I regret the short period of consultation available with those directly affected. I understand that the Trust has been working closely with the unions and the Royal College of Nursing to support individual members of staff find their preferred choice of posting. I will ensure however that Trusts put in place arrangements to inform unions at the earliest possible stage of any urgent change required to health and social care services in the future.

Antrim Area Hospital

Mr P McGlone asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to explain the reasons for the level of patients waiting on trolleys in the Antrim Area Hospital on 15, 16 and 17 May 2010.

(AQW 6963/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: I am advised by the Northern Trust that activity at Antrim Area Hospital was higher than normal over the period of 15 to 17 May. There will always be occasions at our Accident and Emergency departments where activity can be higher than normal and regrettably this can cause some delays. The Trust took steps to manage the situation and to ensure that those patients requiring admission were moved from the Accident and Emergency department to a ward at the earliest opportunity.

Enniskillen Fire Station: Poppy Day Bombing Tribute Picture

Lord Morrow asked e Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, in light of the decision of the Northern Ireland Ombudsman that the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service tribute picture of the 1987 Enniskillen Poppy Day bombing should never have been removed from the Enniskillen Fire Station, when the picture will be returned and what measures are in place to ensure that such an action is not repeated.

(AQW 7266/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: I have read the Ombudsman’s report and I am aware that the acting Chief Fire Officer has written to Mr Gault on foot of the report. This is a sensitive issue which deserves careful consideration. I am aware that discussions are taking place about how to move forward and I am hopeful that the discussions will resolve the issue.

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust: Trolley-Waits

Ms C Ní Chuilín asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (i) how many people have waited on trolleys, for more than four hours, in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust area each day from 1 May 2010 to date; and (ii) to list the hospitals where this occurred.

(AQW 7396/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The Department currently collects information on the time spent waiting to be seen in A&E Departments and Minor Injury Units for all new attendances and unplanned re-attendances regardless of whether or not they are subsequently admitted. This data is collected on a monthly basis from Health and Social Care Trusts within Northern Ireland using the Emergency Care (EC1) return.

EC1 data is published monthly and is available from: http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/index/stats_research/stats-activity_stats-2/emergency_care.htm

FASA Offices in Bangor

Mr A Easton asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for an update on funding for the FASA offices in Bangor.

(AQW 7453/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: FASA are currently operating the "one-stop-shop" pilot in the Bangor area. The PHA has informed me that it will continue to fund all the pilots until March 2011. Subsequently, subject to positive evaluation, it is anticipated that this initiative will be rolled out across Northern Ireland.

Belfast City Hospital Cancer Centre: Linear Accelerator

Mr J Wells asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for an update on the business case for a ninth Linear Accelerator for the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital.

(AQW 7555/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Due to the financial pressures placed on my Department and the Health Service by the budget settlement for 2010/11, funding for a number of service developments, including the introduction of the 9th Linear Accelerator at the Cancer Centre, have had to be deferred.

My Department is continuing to work closely with the Health and Social Care Board and the Public Health Agency to progress plans for cancer services, including the arrangements for additional radiotherapy capacity which is a vital service.

It is clear that over the course of the next Comprehensive Spending Review period additional radiotherapy capacity will be a very high priority for Northern Ireland. In the meantime, I have been advised by commissioners that the current service profile will meet existing levels of demand for radiotherapy.

Adult Day Care in the Glens, Co.Antrim.

Mr M Storey asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for an update on the provision of adult day care in the Glens, Co.Antrim.

(AQW 7613/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The Northern Health and Social Care Trust's daycare facility in Cushendun, Glenmona House, is presently under refurbishment. The centre relocated to a new site at the Cottage Wood, Cushendall in early April 2010. The service has continued to be provided with minimum disruption to service users. The new premises are registered with RQIA for the same daily numbers. The feedback from service users and staff about the alternative premises has been overwhelmingly positive.

Northern Health and Social Services Trust: Salaries in Excess of £80,000

Mr M Storey asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many staff in the Northern Health and Social Services Trust receive salaries of £80,000 or more, per annum.

(AQW 7647/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: A total of 127 staff, of which 126 are medical staff, employed in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust are entitled to an annual basic salary of £80,000 or more per annum.

Health Service Dentists

Mr T Gallagher asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, in relation to the contract awarded to Oasis Dental Care Ltd to address the shortage of Health Service dentists, to detail (i) the location of each new practice where Health Service dentists are currently available; and (ii) the number of Health Service dentists currently employed at each practice.

(AQW 7742/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The table below details (i) the location of, and (ii) the number of Health Service dentists currently employed at each Oasis practice.

  Address No of Health Service Dentists
Enniskillen Elliott House Dental Practice,
5-7 Belmore Street
Enniskillen
BT74 5TB
6
Londonderry Timber Quay Dental Practice
1&2 Timber Quay
Strand Road
Londonderry
BT48 7NJ
4
Omagh Derry Road Dental Practice
1st Floor
Derry Road retail park
Omagh
BT78 5DR
2
Dungannon Linen Green Dental Practice
1st Floor,
the Dye House
Moygashel
Dungannon
BT71 7HB
2
Strabane Strabane Dental Practice
Unit 1,
16 Railway Street
Strabane
BT82 8AF
2
Cookstown Molesworth Place Dental Practice
1st Floor Molesworth Place
Molesworth Street
Cookstown
BT80 8LW
2
Carrickfergus The De Courcey Dental Practice
Unit 3
Lancastrian Street
Carrickfergus
BT38 7AB
2
Glengormley The Glengormley Dental Practice
Unit 1-3350 Antrim Road
Newtownabbey
BT36 5QE
4
Holywood The Maypole Dental Practice
1st Floor
96 High Street
Holywood
BT18 9HW
2
Bangor The Balloo Dental Practice
Ground Floor, D2Balloo Office Park
Balloo Drive
Bangor
BT19 7QY
2
Newry The Armadown Dental Practice
Unit 6
Monaghan Court Business Park
Newry
BT35 6BH
2
Banbridge The Banbridge Dental Practice
47 Church Street
Banbridge
BT32 4AA
2
Lisburn The Lisburn Square House Dental Practice
Office Suite 2,
1st Floor
Lisburn Square House
Haslems Lane
Lisburn
BT28 1TS
3

Self Harm

Lord Morrow asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (i) how many patients, aged 18 and under, have been treated in accident and emergency departments for self harm, in each Health and Social Care Trust, in each of the last 12 months; and (ii) to detail the procedure followed in offering support after discharge.

(AQW 7868/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: This information is not available.

Missed GP Appointments

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail (i) the number of missed GP appointments in each of the last 12 months; and (ii) the estimated costs.

(AQW 7881/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: This data is not available as it is not collated on a central basis.

Promoting Health Campaigns

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety what level of contact or co-operation his Department has had with sporting bodies in relation to promoting health campaigns in each of the last three years.

(AQW 7882/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Sporting bodies provide a valuable resource in the promotion of healthy lifestyles. In addition to addressing physical activity, sports clubs are also important venues to reach people on a range of health issues including healthy eating, staying smoke free, not misusing alcohol and drugs, and self-harm and suicide prevention. Sporting bodies and sports clubs are therefore recognised as important settings and delivery partners in a number of my Department’s health improvement strategies.

In particular, my Department has worked closely with the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure and SportNI on the development and implementation of Fit Futures, and the forthcoming Obesity Prevention Framework.

In addition, my Department has supported the Public Health Agency and the HSC Family to engage with a range of sporting bodies including the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), the Irish Football Association (IFA) and the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) on a number of projects over the last three years. Examples include:

Radiotherapy Machines for the Belfast City Hospital Cancer Unit

Mr A Easton asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety if he plans to grant funding for two additional radiotherapy machines for the Belfast City Hospital Cancer Unit.

(AQW 7885/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: I have not been asked to grant funding for two additional radiotherapy machines for the Belfast City Hospital Cancer Unit

Groups in North Belfast

Ms C Ní Chuilín asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail (i) the groups in North Belfast that work with (a) children; (b) young people; and (c) adults with a disability; (ii) how much funding each group has received in each of the last three years; and (iii) the purpose of the funding awarded to each group.

(AQW 7886/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Information in the form requested is not readily available and could only be compiled at disproportionate cost.

Health Service Facilities for Consultations and Treatment of Private Patients

Lord Morrow asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, pursuant to AQW 7233/10, to list the facilities, in each Health and Social Care Trust, which are used by Health Service doctors and staff to carry out consultations in a private capacity.

(AQW 7892/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: While private patients can be seen and treated in HSC facilities both inside and outside hospitals, the majority of such activity is in hospital facilities, for example, outpatient clinics, theatres, x-ray departments, or laboratories.

However, a complete list of facilities used to treat private patients is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Please note where NHS facilities are used for private consultations the use of these facilities is charged to the patient concerned.

Computer Equipment Within the Health Service

Mr D Hilditch asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail the cost, to date, of the ongoing upgrade and replacement of computer equipment within the Health Service.

(AQW 7901/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The two main schemes covering the ongoing replacement of computer equipment in the health service are the HSC PC Replacement Programme and ICT to Support GPs Under the GMS Contract.

The amount spent under these two schemes over the last 2 complete financial years is as follows:

HSC PC Replacement Programme 2008/09 - £3.25m; 2009/10 - £3.23m

ICT for GPs Under GMS Contract 2008/09 - £1.30m; 2009/10 - £3.27m

Attempted Suicide

Lord Morrow asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (i) how many patients, aged 18 and under, have been treated in accident and emergency departments for attempted suicide, in each Health and Social Care Trust, in each of the last 12 months; and (ii) to detail the procedure followed in offering support after discharge.

(AQW 7906/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: This information is not available.

E111 Health Card

Mr J Craig asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety if the costs of an individual receiving health care whilst abroad, when in possession of an E111 health card, are passed on from the EU country in which they were treated to his Department or the UK Government.

(AQW 7907/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Any costs incurred by Northern Ireland patients using the European Health Insurance Card, formally known as the E111 form, are dealt with by the UK government.

NHS Direct Telephone Service for England, Scotland and Wales

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many people from Northern Ireland have used the NHS Direct telephone service for England, Scotland and Wales; and to make a statement on the lack of availability of a similar telephone service for Northern Ireland.

(AQW 7914/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: NHS Direct is not available in Northern Ireland. If someone from Northern Ireland contacts NHS Direct by telephone they are advised by recorded message that it is not available in their area. NHS Direct does not record the number of such calls received.

The 2009/2010 Patient Experience Survey indicated that the vast majority of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with access to GP and out-of-hours services in Northern Ireland.

Treating Private Patients Using Health Service Facilities

Lord Morrow asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how much doctors and medical staff have paid to each Health and Social Care Trust for carrying out consultations and treating private patients using Health Service facilities, in each of the last three years.

(AQW 7919/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Doctors and medical staff do not reimburse the Trust for use of Trust facilities for private consultations and treatment of private patients. The cost of using the Trust facilities is charged to the individual private patient.

Adoption Waiting List

Dr K Deeny asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many people have voluntary removed themselves from the adoption waiting list in each of the last 12 months.

(AQW 7951/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: For the period from 1 May 2009 to 31 May 2010, 33 applicants voluntarily removed themselves from the waiting list to adopt children from within Northern Ireland (domestic adoption) or from outside the United Kingdom (inter-country adoption). See Table 1 below.

Table 1

Month
Numbers of Applicants that voluntarily removed themselves from the Adoption Waiting List
May-09
-
Jun-09
-
Jul-09
-
Aug-09
6
Sep-09
-
Oct-09
-
Nov-09
-
Dec-09
-
Jan-10
-
Feb-10
-
Mar-10
5
Apr-10
-
May-10
-
Total
33
Notes
     
-‘ Numbers suppressed to prevent disclosure of applicant’s identity
Source of information was each of the five Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland. Information provided by Trusts has not been validated by the DHSSPS
Figures include domestic and inter-country adoptions, approved and not yet approved applicants, and married and non-married applicants

Length of Time People Wait to Adopt

Dr K Deeny asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail the average length of time people wait to adopt, after the required approval has been granted.

(AQW 7952/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: This information is not available centrally, and could only be provided by HSC Trusts at disproportionate cost.

Children Placed in Care

Dr K Deeny asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail the average length of time a child placed in care waits before (i) being adopted; or (ii) placed back with their family.

(AQW 7953/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The latest centrally available figures for the average length of time a child placed in care waits before being adopted is detailed in the statistical bulletin, ‘The Adoption of Looked After Children in Northern Ireland (2007 - 2008)’.This bulletin is available on the DHSS website at: http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/index/stats_research/stats-cib-3/statistics_and_research-cib-pub/children_statistics/statistics_and_research-cib_adoption.htm

Information on the average length of time a child placed in care waits before being placed back with their family is not available centrally, and could only be provided by HSC Trusts at disproportionate cost.

Rapid Response Vehicle Call-outs

Lord Morrow asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, pursuant to AQW 7402/10 and AQW 7404/10, to detail (i) how his Department is kept informed of the NI Ambulance Service performance statistics; (ii) for his assessment of whether targets are being met in relation to rapid response vehicles, given that there is no record kept of the monitoring of response times or the cancellation of ambulances in each Health and Social Care Trust; and (iii) if he would consider introducing measures to allow for accurate monitoring.

(AQW 7962/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: My Department is kept informed of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) performance against its emergency response target through weekly returns from the Health and Social Care Board and by monthly returns direct from NIAS itself. This target applies to all NIAS's emergency response resources as it would be misleading to measure for individual elements of the service.

I am satisfied that the data collected is sufficient and, therefore, do not propose to seek any new additional monitoring of emergency response. I would be concerned that to do so would represent an unnecessary use of finite resources in a vital front-line service.

Skin Cancer

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety what steps he is taking to address the increase in cases of skin cancer.

(AQW 7968/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: My Department is developing a new Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy to replace the 1997 Melanoma Strategy. The new strategy will outline the dangers of excess exposure to UV radiation and will focus primarily on prevention and early detection of skin cancers.

Increased use of sun beds is linked to the rising numbers of skin cancer cases. I have therefore introduced a new Sunbed Bill in the Assembly which contains a range of measures for regulating the indoor tanning industry in Northern Ireland. I expect the legislation to complete its passage by March 2011.

In addition, the Northern Ireland Melanoma Strategy Implementation Group continues to highlight the risks of excess exposure to UV radiation and sunbed usage by means of public information campaigns, as well as specific initiatives aimed at children and young people.

Health Service Staff Expenses

Lord Morrow asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how much his Department has paid in expenses to Health Service staff, in each of the last three years.

(AQW 7969/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: My Department does not pay expenses to Health and Social Care staff.

Trastuzumab

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety when the new drug trastuzumab for the treatment of breast cancer will be available.

(AQW 7973/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Treatment with the cancer drug trastuzumab has been available to all those women in Northern Ireland diagnosed with breast cancer who are found to be clinically suitable for the drug since 2005.

Northern Area Managed Obesity Network

Mr A McQuillan asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety what support his Department is giving to the recently launched Northern Area Managed Obesity Network.

(AQW 7985/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The Managed Obesity Network (MON) is commissioned by the Public Health Agency (PHA) to prevent and address the issue of obesity within the Northern area. It has been developed to provide better coordination between the Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT) and other partners who have an identified role to play. My Department will be influencing the Network through the Obesity Prevention Framework.

In respect of funding, MON received £163,000 in 2009/10 and this was secured by my Department during the previous CSR period.

Closure of Accident and Emergency Departments

Mr A McQuillan asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, in light of the closure of the accident and emergency departments at the Mid-Ulster and Newtownabbey Hospitals, if he can confirm that there will be no changes to the accident and emergency department at the Causeway Hospital.

(AQW 7987/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: I refer the Member to the answer given to AQW 4960/10.

Ten-year Obesity Prevention Strategy Framework

Mr A McQuillan asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety if consultation has been completed in relation to the ten-year obesity prevention strategy framework and when it will be launched.

(AQW 7990/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: My Department has led the development of a draft Obesity Prevention Framework which is currently with Executive Ministers for comment. Following Executive approval the Framework will issue for formal public consultation prior to its launch.

Consultants

Mr D Kinahan asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety what steps he is taking to review the use of consultants in his Department.

(AQW 8013/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The use of consultants within my Department is an area that is continuously under review. In 2009 my Department reviewed its processes and procedures with the result that a more rigorous process is now in place for assessing and approving the use of consultants.

The need to use consultants is only considered when all of the alternatives have been explored and where there is value for money in doing so.

Safe Guarding Board for Northern Ireland

Mr A Easton asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety if the Safe Guarding Board for Northern Ireland has any plans for a new computer system to be used by all bodies responsible for the protection of children to share information.

(AQW 8023/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: It is not the role of the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland to develop such a computer system however, the SBNI will seek to ensure that there is consistency in approach to the collection of data and information sharing thresholds, across a range of agencies and organisations responsible for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and this will be reflected in SBNI policies and procedures.

Lagan Valley Hospital Accident and Emergency Unit

Mr P Givan asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety if he can provide an assurance that the status of the Lagan Valley Hospital Accident and Emergency Unit will not be downgraded before 2013.

(AQW 8026/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The delivery of services at Lagan Valley is a matter for the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust as the service provider. The Trust has advised that it is currently undertaking a consultation in respect of urgent care services across the Trust area, including the Lagan Valley Hospital Emergency Department.

I CAN Early Years Centre in Ballynahinch Primary School

Mr P Givan asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety if he can provide an assurance that the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust will continue to fund the I CAN Early Years Centre in Ballynahinch Primary School and that this facility will continue to provide speech and language services.

(AQW 8027/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust has funding in place to continue to provide one full-time speech and language therapist for the ICAN Centre. Regrettably, the South Eastern Education and Library Board does not yet appear to have secured the necessary funding to fulfil its commitment to continue to provide the school premises, one teacher, and one classroom assistant.

Developing Better Services Document

Mr P Givan asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety what plans he has to update the 2002 Developing Better Services document that relates to the services provided by the Lagan Valley Hospital.

(AQW 8028/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: I have no plans at present to review Developing Better Services or its proposals in respect of Lagan Valley Hospital.

Long-stay Psychiatric Patient

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety what is the average amount of money spent, per day, on food for a long-stay psychiatric patient.

(AQW 8048/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The average daily food cost over the five Health and Social Care Trusts for a long-stay psychiatric in-patient is £3.34.

Ambulances

Mr A Bresland asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many times ambulances, which were booked to take patients to hospital appointments in the Western Health and Social Care Trust area, were cancelled in each of the last three years.

(AQW 8052/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: This information requested is not currently available.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many deaths occurred in the Ulster Hospital as a result of Deep Vein Thrombosis in each of the last five years; and what steps are being taken to reduce the number of deaths as a result Deep Vein Thrombosis.

(AQW 8062/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety:The number of deaths registered in each of the last five years, which occurred in the Ulster Hospital as a result of Deep Vein Thrombosis are detailed in the table below:-

Registration Year
Number of Deaths
2005
1
2006
1
2007
2
2008
2
2009P
1

Source:- General Registrar’s Office

PData for 2009 remains provisional until the release of the 2009 Annual Report of the Registrar General which is due to be released in November 2010.

Deaths as a result of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) have been identified by the following International Classification of Diseases 10th Revision (ICD 10) codes where they have been recorded as the underlying cause of death:-

I80.2 – Phlebitis and thrombophlebitis of other deep vessels of lower extremities

O22.3 – Deep phlebothrombosis in pregnancy

O87.1 – Deep phlebothrombosis in the puerperium

Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism are collectively known as venous thromboembolism (VTE). A target linked to VTE was set in my Priorities for Action 2009/10, with performance monitored by the Health and Social Care Board. A similar target and monitoring arrangements have been set for 2010/11.

Salaries in excess of £100,000 pa

Mr S Gardiner asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many staff in his Department, and associated quangos, are paid in excess of £100,000 pa in salary and/or remuneration packages.

(AQW 8066/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Three senior officials in the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety are currently paid in excess of £100,000 per annum in salary and/or remuneration packages.

Within the Department’s Arms Length bodies, 934 senior staff are currently paid in excess of £100.000 per annum in salary and/or remuneration packages. Of these, more than 97% are clinical staff. This includes the five Trusts and twelve organisations.

Patient Advocates in Acute Hospitals

Mr G Campbell asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail the current number of patient advocates in acute hospitals; and whether there have been any changes in the number of patient advocates or their terms and conditions since 1 January 2009.

(AQW 8072/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: There are currently 4 (4.0 whole-time equivalent) patient advocates within acute hospitals. This is an increase of 2 (2.0 WTE) since 2009 and there have not been any changes to staff terms and conditions.

Source: Health & Social Care Trusts

Rapid Response

Mr J Craig asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, in respect of the last six months (i) on many occasions a rapid response vehicle has arrived at a call-out before an ambulance; and (ii) how long, on average, it has taken an ambulance to arrive at a call-out at the request of a rapid response team.

(AQW 8076/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: (i) Current Information on emergency response attendances cannot be broken down for Rapid Response Vehicles (RRV) only.

(ii) It is currently the protocol that when an RRV is dispatched to a call that the nearest available A&E ambulance will also be dispatched to attend the call. If an RRV arrives first on scene and they identify that due to the clinical or medical nature of the incident that an A&E ambulance is not required, they may stand down the A&E ambulance. RRVs may also request an A&E ambulance to attend an incident however this information is not captured or recorded by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Health & Social Care Trust.

Increase in Costs to the Health Service from the Proposed Increase in VAT

Mr B Wilson asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail the estimated increase in costs for a full year to the Health Service from the proposed increase in VAT from 17.5% to 20%.

(AQW 8081/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: VAT paid on goods and services by government departments in Northern Ireland is mainly refundable. This extends to health and social care bodies not classed as non-departmental public bodies.

Additional pressures will be faced by the non-departmental public bodies for which my Department is responsible as they are unable to reclaim the VAT they incur. It is estimated that the proposed VAT change will cost in the region of £1.1m per annum.

Sick Days taken by Staff in the Antrim Area Hospital Accident and Emergency Department

Mr P McGlone asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail (i) the number of sick days taken by (a) doctors; (b) consultants; and (c) nurses in the Antrim Area Hospital Accident and Emergency Department, in each of the last five years; and (ii) how many of these absences were stress related.

(AQW 8090/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The Department does not collect sickness absence data by the specific hospital or specialty but by the Medical and Dental, Nursing and Midwifery occupational family groups. The information is presented by Trust and is published on a bi-annual basis on the departmental website at www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/index/hrd/wpu/wpu-monitoring.htm.

The reasons for sickness absence are not collected.

Waiting Times in Accident and Emergency Departments

Mr P McGlone asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, on the 1 January 2010, how many patients were recorded as spending 12 hours or more in the Accident and Emergency Departments in (i) Antrim Area Hospital; (ii) the Causeway Hospital; and (iii) Whiteabbey Hospital; and (iv) the Mid-Ulster Hospital.

(AQW 8091/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: On the 1st of January 2010, no patients were recorded as spending 12 hours or more in the Accident and Emergency Departments in (i) Antrim Area Hospital; (ii) the Causeway Hospital; and (iii) Whiteabbey Hospital; and (iv) the Mid-Ulster Hospital.

Swine Flu

Lord Morrow asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, pursuant to AQW 7505/10, for his assessment of the impact on the health budget of the spend on swine flu.

(AQW 8101/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The review carried out by Dame Deirdre Hine on Swine Flu highlights the response across the UK was proportionate and effective. However my Department, and Health and Social Care organisations, are being financially punished for the handling of the pandemic.

In 2009/10 funding set aside for dental and ophthalmic remuneration, delivery of savings in the prescription drugs, and meeting the costs of new cancer drugs were all reduced to meet Swine Flu costs.

In 2010/11, my budget is being reduced by £16.6m for Swine Flu. This will have an impact on services.

Southern Health and Social Care Trust: Meals-on-Wheels

Mrs D Kelly asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail the Southern Health and Social Care Trust's current strategy for the provision of the Meals-on-Wheels service for older people.

(AQW 8105/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The Meals on Wheels service in the SHSCT is provided in accordance with criteria specified in the Departmental circular HSS (ECCU) 2/2008; N Ireland Regional Access Criteria for Domiciliary Care which is published on the Departmental website; www.dhsspsni.gov.uk

Meals-on-Wheels

Mrs D Kelly asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many older people in the Upper Bann constituency had their Meals-on-Wheels service withdrawn in the last 12 months; and to give the reason for this decision.

(AQW 8107/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Statistical information on Meals on Wheels services is not collected on an individual constituency basis, nor can it be disaggregated by geographical areas smaller than HSC Trusts.

Stroke Unit at Altnagelvin Hospital

Mr M Durkan asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for an update on the dedicated Stroke Unit at Altnagelvin Hospital.

(AQW 8111/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The Health and Social Care Board and the Western Trust have recently finalised the revenue funding required to support the new South Wing accommodation at Altnagelvin Hospital.

The transfer of stroke services into this new unit took place on Thursday 1 July 2010 and I officially opened the unit on Tuesday 6 July 2010.

Elderly Care Accommodation

Mr A Maginness asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many people are currently on the waiting list in North Belfast for elderly care accommodation.

(AQW 8119/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Elderly Care Accommodation

Mr A Maginness asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for his assessment of the demand for elderly care accommodation in North Belfast, particularly in the Ballysillan area.

(AQW 8121/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The statutory residential homes covering North Belfast and Ballysillan are Shankill House and Chestnut Grove. Neither of these homes accept permanent admissions although, the Trust does continue to place clients in these homes on a temporary/respite basis. The independent homes in this area are normally at full capacity which can, on occasions, create a waiting list for placements. Those waiting for this type of placement would be provided with a package of care in their own homes until placement can be accessed.

There has not been any notable increase in the demand for Residential placements in North Belfast or Ballysillan.

Elderly Care Accommodation

Mr A Maginness asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to outline the current shortfall in the provision of elderly care accommodation in North Belfast, particularly in the Ballysillan area.

(AQW 8123/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The statutory residential homes covering North Belfast and Ballysillan are Shankill House and Chestnut Grove. Neither of these homes accept permanent admissions although, the Trust does continue to place clients in these homes on a temporary/respite basis. The independent homes in this area are normally at full capacity which can, on occasions, create a waiting list for placements. Those waiting for this type of placement would be provided with a package of care in their own homes until placement can be accessed.

There has not been any notable increase in the demand for Residential placements in North Belfast or Ballysillan.

Voluntary Removal from the Adoption List

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many couples from the East Antrim constituency have voluntary removed themselves from the adoption waiting list in each of the last 3 years.

(AQW 8125/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The information is not available in the format requested.

Adoption Waiting List

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many people in the East Antrim constituency are currently on the adoption waiting list; and how long has each person been on the list.

(AQW 8126/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The information is not available in the format requested.

Reported Link Between Some Blood Pressure Pills and Cancer

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety if he is aware of the reported link between some blood pressure drugs and cancer; and for his assessment of the need to control the prescribing of these drugs.

(AQW 8138/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: I am aware of the reported link between some blood pressure drugs and cancer. On 24 June 2010 the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has started a review of the evidence for the suggested link which will inform whether changes or control of prescribing of these drugs is necessary. My Department will adhere to any proposals from the findings of this review.

Prisoners

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (i) how many current prisoners are considered to be drug addicts; (ii) how many of these people are currently receiving treatment in prison; (iii) what type of treatment they are receiving; and (iv) the cost of providing this treatment for each of the last 12 months.

(AQW 8147/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Responsibility for the provision of Addiction Services in Northern Ireland’s Prisons rests with the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust.

(i)/(ii) There are on average 1400 prisoners in prison at any one time, with up to 5000 prisoners committed each year. Given the dynamic nature of the prison population it is difficult to estimate how many prisoners suffer from addiction at any one time. However, there are currently 185 prisoners availing of the core addiction services and 49 prisoners engaged with the clinical team.

(iii) Prisoners attending/engaging with AD-EPT Service will receive any of the following:

Of the 49 prisoners engaged with the Clinical Team, 19 are in receipt of medication as treatment for drug addiction.

(iv) The South Eastern Trust invests circa £770k in the provision of Addiction Services across the Prison Establishments.

Prescriptions

Mr D Kennedy asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety what is the current total amount provided to pharmacists for dispensing a prescription.

(AQW 8148/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The dispensing fee is currently being paid at £1.04. Pharmacists are also reimbursed for ingredient costs of the medicine as appropriate.

Antrim Area Hospital Accident and Emergency Unit

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail the waiting times, for each day, in the Antrim Area Hospital Accident and Emergency Unit (i) during the four weeks before; and (ii) during the four weeks after, the closure of the Whiteabbey Hospital Accident and Emergency Unit.

(AQW 8152/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Information on Emergency Care waiting times is collected and published monthly and is available from:

http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/index/stats_research/stats-activity_stats-2/emergency_care.htm

National Institute for Clinical Excellence Guidelines on Fertility Services

Mr C McDevitt asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail the timescale for the implementation of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidelines on fertility services, particularly in relation to the number of In Vitro Fertilisation and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection cycles provided by the Health Service.

(AQW 8154/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Northern Ireland aspires to provide the full three cycles of fertility treatment as recommended by NICE however financial constraints currently make this unachievable. I am aware that in some areas of England the number of cycles available is increasing. It is however worth noting that in many of these areas the NHS criteria for treatment are much more restrictive than we apply in Northern Ireland and therefore fewer couples have the opportunity to receive any publicly funded treatment.

Last year I announced an additional £1.5m recurrent funding for fertility services. This, in addition to an investment of £800k in a waiting list initiative, means that no patient is now waiting more than 12 months for treatment from being placed on a waiting list. It is hoped that it will also be possible to introduce a cycle of Frozen Embryo Transfer in addition to the currently funded stimulated cycle of treatment where this is appropriate.

In Vitro Fertilisation and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection

Mr C McDevitt asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety if he will publish a timeline detailing the steps he intends to take to provide patients with three full cycles of In Vitro Fertilisation and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection on the Health Service; and if he will make a statement on this matter.

(AQW 8155/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Northern Ireland aspires to provide the full three cycles of fertility treatment as recommended by NICE however financial constraints currently make this unachievable. I am aware that in some areas of England the number of cycles available is increasing. It is however worth noting that in many of these areas the NHS criteria for treatment are much more restrictive than we apply in Northern Ireland and therefore fewer couples have the opportunity to receive any publicly funded treatment.

Last year I announced an additional £1.5m recurrent funding for fertility services. This, in addition to an investment of £800k in a waiting list initiative, means that no patient is now waiting more than 12 months for treatment from being placed on a waiting list. It is hoped that it will also be possible to introduce a cycle of Frozen Embryo Transfer in addition to the currently funded stimulated cycle of treatment where this is appropriate.

Raised Blood Pressure or Hypertension

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (i) how many adults have been diagnosed with raised blood pressure or hypertension as a result of excess alcohol consumption in each of the last five years; and (ii) to provide a summary of the most recent population prevalence figures for this condition.

(AQW 8156/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Information is not available on the number of adults who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or hypertension as a result of excess alcohol consumption.

Internal Inquiry or Investigation in each Health and Social Care Trust

Lord Morrow asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many Health Service staff, at director level or above, have been the subject of an internal inquiry or investigation in each Health and Social Care Trust, in each of the last three years.

(AQW 8157/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: None of the Health and Social Care Trusts Senior Executive staff have been the subject of an internal inquiry in the last three years.

Prescriptions

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail (i) the additional costs to his Department since the introduction of free prescriptions; and (ii) whether there has been any evidence of an increase in the number of prescriptions dispensed since the change.

(AQW 8159/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Data is not yet available regarding prescribing costs, nor the volume of prescriptions dispensed, since the introduction of free prescriptions in Northern Ireland.

IVF Treatment

Mr P Ramsey asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, for each of the last ten years (i) how many couples underwent IVF treatment; (ii) the average number of IVF cycles undertaken by each couple; and (iii) the total number of IVF cycles undertaken.

(AQW 8167/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: To provide the information in the format requested would incur disproportionate cost.

Over the past four years the publicly funded fertility service has provided in the region of five hundred cycles of IVF treatment per year.

Northern Ireland introduced an interim publicly funded infertility service in 2001 and at this time those treated were offered two treatment cycles. Following a public consultation on the issue revised criteria were introduced in 2006; wider access criteria meant that provision per patient had to be reduced to one cycle of treatment.

IVF Embryos

Mr P Ramsey asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety the number of IVF embryos (i) implanted; (ii) stored; and (iii) disposed of in each of the last ten years.

(AQW 8168/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The information requested in not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Licensed IVF Centres

Mr P Ramsey asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to list the names and identification numbers of all licensed IVF centres and to detail the site visits by inspectors of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to each centre since 1999.

(AQW 8169/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: This area of work is regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

Details of all centres in the UK along with their ID numbers can be accessed directly via the HFEA website (www.hfea.gov.uk). Details of HFEA inspections since 2008 are also publicly available on this site.

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

Mr P Ramsey asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail the applications for research licences to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority since 1999 and to indicate those in which licences were granted.

(AQW 8170/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: I am advised that this information can only be obtained by a direct request to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). They can be contacted through their website (www.hfea.gov.uk).

Performance-Related Bonuses for Senior Staff

Mr P McGlone asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail the total amount paid out in each Health and Social Care Trust on performance-related bonuses for senior staff, in each of the last five years.

(AQW 8172/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: There were no Superior Award bonuses paid to Trust Chief Executives and Directors in April 2009; in relation to the April 2008 to March 2009 performance period. Details of the bonuses paid to these staff in relation to the earlier years have been published in the HSC Trust’s annual reports.

Radiotherapy Services at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Ms M Anderson asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety when a decision will be made on the business case for radiotherapy services at Altnagelvin Hospital.

(AQW 8174/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The Western HSC Trust submitted a business case for the establishment of a new radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin Hospital to my Department in April 2010 for consideration. A decision on approval cannot be made until this has been fully appraised, any issues addressed, and there is clarity around the available funding.

Radiotherapy Services at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Ms M Anderson asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (i) to outline the nature of the proposed satellite radiotherapy centre for Altnagelvin Hospital and whether the centre will operate on a full-time basis; (ii) to provide a timescale for the development of this centre; (iii) if the centre will treat all types of cancer so that patients from the Northwest will no longer be required to travel to Belfast; (iv) whether there is any potential negative impact on other proposed new services; and (v) whether the proposal in relation to the centre has altered from that which was announced in 2008.

(AQW 8176/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: As I announced in April 2008, it is planned that a satellite radiotherapy unit is to be developed at Altnagelvin Area Hospital to meet future radiotherapy demands. A business case for its development, including the detailed plans for the services to be provided, was submitted by the Western Trust to my Department in April 2010. A number of matters of detail remain to be addressed and the HSC Board is working with the Western Trust on these.

Until the business case has been approved, and the necessary funding is in place to deliver the project, I am unable to provide more detailed comment on the scheme however it is still envisaged that the satellite radiotherapy service will be in place, as planned, during 2015.

IVF Treatment

Mr P Ramsey asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail (i) the number of embryos conceived; and (ii) the number of live births, as a result of IVF treatment in each of the last ten years.

(AQW 8186/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: (i) This information is not readily available. To obtain this information would incur disproportionate costs

(ii) The Regional Fertility Centre does not record this information separately for publicly and privately funded patients therefore the following table details the results of treatment for both.

  Pregnancies Live births
2009/10 (pregnancies only)
114
N/A
2008/09
218
197
2007/08
201
198

Due to changes in the method of record keeping at the RFC to obtain the information for earlier years would incur disproportionate costs

New Local Enhanced Hospital in Omagh

Mr B McElduff asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail the procurement method used for the new local enhanced hospital in Omagh; and when construction work is due to commence and be completed.

(AQW 8195/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The business case, including the procurement route, is currently being assessed by my officials. Until this process is completed and the funding to both build and operate the new facility has been identified no announcement can be made on the way forward for this project, including the procurement route.

Hospital Acquired Infections

Lord Morrow asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, pursuant to AQW 7695/10, whether hospitals have wards which are used to isolate patients with hospital acquired infections, whereby higher standards of hygiene measures are used to contain the spread of infections; and if he would consider implementing the same hygiene measures in all wards to reduce hospital acquired infections.

(AQW 8215/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Hygiene standards are the same in all wards across all Trusts in Northern Ireland. Additional environmental cleaning is carried out as necessary in response to HCAI cases in order to maintain those standards.

Pregnant Women; Drug Addiction and Abuse

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many pregnant women received treatment for (i) drug addiction; and (ii) drug abuse in each of the last five years.

(AQW 8225/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Information in the form requested is not available.

Prescriptions for Anti-depressants

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many prescriptions for anti-depressants were dispensed in each of the last five years.

(AQW 8226/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety:The number of anti-depressants for which a prescription was written, dispensed by a community pharmacist, and presented for payment in each of the last five years can be obtained from the Prescription Cost Analysis NI, Family Practitioner Services, BSO, which is available on the Internet at http://www.hscbusiness.hscni.net and follow the links.

Refuge for Male Victims of Domestic Abuse

Mr C McDevitt asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety whether he has any plans to set up a refuge for male victims of domestic abuse, in line with the equality provision set out in Section 75 and given the lack of such services.

(AQW 8229/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Tackling Violence at Home is a cross-departmental domestic violence strategy for Northern Ireland which DHSSPS and DoJ jointly lead on.

The provision for refuge accommodation falls within the remit of DSD.

Supplying Pharmaceuticals to Hospitals and GP Surgeries

Mr M Brady asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (i) to outline the process of supplying pharmaceuticals to hospitals and GP surgeries; and (ii) whether there is a tendering process involving local suppliers and chemists; and how often the process is reviewed.

(AQW 8235/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The procurement of pharmaceuticals in hospitals conforms to the stringent criteria as set out under the Public Contract Regulations 2006 by virtue of EU requirements. Tenders advertised follow the appropriate processes provided for in these regulations which incorporate openness, transparency and equitable treatment. Tendering opportunities are advertised on the E-sourcingNI web portal commonly used by all Centres of Procurement Expertise and following registration on the portal can be downloaded by any organisation local or otherwise.

Contracts are awarded for set periods, usually 2 to 3 years, and may include options to extend beyond that period and are subject to re-tendering upon completion of the full contract period. Individual hospitals order the contracted products direct from the contractor or local wholesaler.

GP’s will either obtain their supplies from the local pharmacist through a Stock prescription or via a central procurement which again complies with the requirements as set out under the Contract Regulations.

IVF Treatment

Mr P Ramsey asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many embryos are currently held in storage in IVF centres.

(AQW 8243/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: This question would need to be redirected to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority who regulate all IVF centres. They can be contacted through their website (www.hfea.gov.uk).

Patients Who are Visually Impaired or Blind

Mr B McElduff asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety whether health centres and hospitals are adequately equipped and designed to accommodate patients who are visually impaired or blind; and whether staff are offered training and support to understand issues relating to patients who are visually impaired or blind.

(AQW 8244/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Health and Social Care Trusts make every effort to ensure patients who are visually impaired or blind can access health and social care buildings by designing, constructing and equipping them to the highest standard. In addition, some Trusts have worked closely with the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) to improve access for visually impaired and blind people. Disability and/or visual awareness training is also available to staff in each Trust area.

IVF Treatment

Mr P Ramsey asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many women receiving IVF treatment were implanted with (a) 1; (b) 2; (c) 3; (d) 4; (e) 5; (f) 6; (g) 7; (h) 8 and (i) more than 8 embryos in the last ten years.

(AQW 8245/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: To obtain the information in the format requested would incur disproportionate cost.

IVF Treatment

Mr P Ramsey asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many multiple births of (a) 2; (b) 3; or (c) 4 babies occurred as a result of IVF treatment in each of the last ten years.

(AQW 8247/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: To provide the information in the format requested would incur disproportionate cost.

IVF Treatment

Mr P Ramsey asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many women were referred to Britain for treatment related to multiple pregnancies as a result of IVF treatment in Northern Ireland in each of the last ten years.

(AQW 8248/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The information requested could only be provided at disproportionate cost as it is not held centrally. It is extremely unusual for any woman from Northern Ireland to need to be referred to Britain for treatment related to multiple pregnancies whether IVF related or not. This would only occur in relation to very rare complications.

Mid-Ulster Hospital Site

Mr I McCrea asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail any plans which the Northern Health and Social Care Trust has for the Mid-Ulster Hospital site.

(AQW 8268/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The Mid Ulster will continue to play an important role in the delivery of hospital services to the local population and form an important part of the wider network of local and acute hospitals across the Trust area. It is critical to the success of our hospital system that we have vibrant local hospitals delivering safe, high quality care to the public.

As a local hospital, the Mid Ulster will provide a significant range of services. It is important that this is recognised by the local community. Services provided at the Mid Ulster include day surgery, diagnostics, outpatients, minor injuries, rehabilitation and day procedures.

In addition, subject to the availability of the necessary resources, the Trust intends to develop a new Health and Care Centre on the site.

Occupational Therapist

Mr P Weir asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety what is the current longest waiting time for an initial assessment by an occupational therapist.

(AQW 8279/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The information is not available in the format requested.

Waiting Times

Mr P Weir asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail the current average waiting times for (i) an initial outpatient appointment; and (ii) a second appointment, in those specialities for which the information is available.

(AQW 8280/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Waiting times for a first outpatient appointment by specialty can be found at the following link: www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/index/waiting_times

The length of time between a first and second outpatient appointment is determined by clinical criteria and will differ on a case by case basis. Consequently, patients awaiting a review outpatient appointment are not managed on a waiting list.

Waiting Times

Mr P Weir asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail the current average waiting time for (i) an initial outpatient appointment; and (ii) commencement of a series of treatment in psychotherapy, in each Health and Social Care Trust.

(AQW 8281/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: I refer the Member to the answer I gave to AQW 4673/10 on 25 February 2010.

Staff Employed in Mental Health

Mr P Weir asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail the number of staff employed in mental health (i) currently; and (ii) in 2007, in (a) acute care; and (b) community care, in each Health and Social Care Trust area

(AQW 8282/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The total number of staff employed in mental health across all staff groups is provided in the table below.

(i) Staff currently employed in Mental Health
HSC Trust
Acute Care
Community Care
Headcount
WTE
Headcount
WTE
Belfast
591
549.2
589
515.2
Northern 3
568
519.3
1,135
996.1
South Eastern
205
176.3
337
282.9
Southern
297
194.4
419
366.4
Western
545
514.5
630
558.6

(ii) It has not been possible to provide this information for 2007 as Trust’s legacy HRMS systems were not consolidated until 2008.

Source: Health & Social Care Trusts

Notes:

1. WTE = Whole-Time equivalent

2. Note that some staff can work across both the acute and community sectors.

3. Northern HSC Trust figures relate to adult services only and includes some disability service staff.

Genito-Urinary Medicine and HIV Services

Ms A Lo asked e Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for his Department's assessment of the current Genito-Urinary Medicine and HIV services and what improvements can be made to them.

(AQW 8335/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The HSC Board is currently working to a target that all patients assessed as clinically urgent are able to access specialist Genito-Urinary Medicine/Sexual Health services within two working days. In addition the HSC Board are considering the provision of more services within primary and community care and training and support services.

A key objective of the Department’s Sexual Health Promotion Strategy and Action Plan 2008-2013 is to reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV. Planned action includes improving access to GUM/ sexual health services and raising public awareness of STIs, with a particular focus on those most at risk, and preventative initiatives including community based programmes and outreach programmes.

Contracts

Mrs M O'Neill asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail (i) all contracts in excess of (a) 12 months duration and; (b) £1 million entered into by his Department in each of the last ten years; (ii) any year on year over-runs in these contracts; (iii) whether there were break clauses attached to the contracts; and (iv) the number of break clauses that have been exercised.

(AQW 8338/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety:  The information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Expense Claims to Members of the Western Local Commissioning Group

Mr G Robinson asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail the total amount paid in expense claims to members of the Western Local Commissioning Group since its inception.

(AQW 8352/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Expenses associated with the Western Local Commissioning Group for the financial year 2009/10 amount to £47,405. Locum cover for independent practitioners accounts for the majority of these expenses. Significant expenditure is unlikely to have been incurred prior to this financial year.

Medical Records

Mr A Easton asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how long medical records have to be retained before they can be destroyed.

(AQW 8353/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The retention period of a medical record varies according to the record type. General medical records are retained for 10 years after the conclusion of treatment, the patient’s death or the date on which the patient permanently left the country. Patient records are held within the Business Services Organisation when a patient dies or goes to live permanently in another country.

Out-of Hours GP Service

Mr T Gallagher asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, following the review of the Out-of Hours GP Service in the western area, to detail the estimated savings on (i) GP costs; (ii) nursing costs; and (iii) administration costs from September 2010.

(AQW 8364/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: (i) The estimated savings on GP costs for the 2010/11 financial year is £300k and £600k for each financial year thereafter.

(ii)Estimated savings on nursing will amount to £45k in 2010/11 and £90k for each financial year thereafter.

There will be no savings in the financial year 2010/11 administration costs as a result of planned changes to the Out of Hours services.

Deep Brain Stimulation as a Treatment for Parkinson's Disease

Dr S Farry asked e Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to outline the availability through the Health Service of deep brain stimulation as a treatment for Parkinson's disease sufferers.

(AQW 8393/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical technique which has been shown to reduce some of the symptoms in some patients suffering with Parkinson’s disease. It is not suitable for everyone who has Parkinson’s disease and the main treatment for the majority of Parkinson’s sufferers is still drug therapy. DBS is not available in Northern Ireland but sufferers may be referred for this treatment to clinics in either Oxford or Bristol depending on their assessed individual needs.

Speech and Language Therapists

Mr B McElduff asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to outline the current and future employment opportunities, in the health sector, for speech and language therapists, including those who have recently qualified.

(AQW 8402/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The HSC Trusts employ speech and language therapists at a range of levels in line with health service needs. The recruitment and selection of staff and associated employment opportunities is a matter for HSC Trusts. My Department carries out regional workforce planning to help ensure that sufficient suitably qualified staff are available to meet the needs of the Health Service. Workforce forecasts are regularly reviewed and corrective action is taken where necessary.

Otoplasty

Miss M McIlveen asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to outline his Department's policy regarding the provision of otoplasty.

(AQW 8415/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The current policy on provision of plastic surgery, including otoplasty which changes the appearance of a person's external ears, is contained in the document A Policy to Make Best Use of Resources in Plastic Surgery and Related Specialties which can be found on my Department’s website at. www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/microsoft_word_-_a_policy_to_make_best_use_of_resources_in_plastic_surgery_and_related_specialties__205_kb_.pdf.

Contracts

Ms M Anderson asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to list (i) all contracts in excess of (a) 12 months duration; and (b) £1 million in value entered into by his Department in the last ten years; (ii) any year on year over-runs in these contracts, in each of the last ten years; (iii) whether there are break clauses attached to the contracts; and (iv) the number of break clauses that have been exercised.

(AQW 8422/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Occupational Therapist

Mr P Weir asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety what is the current average waiting time for an initial assessment by an occupational therapist.

(AQW 8429/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The information is not available in the format requested.

Breastfeeding in Public Places

Mr I McCrea asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (i) for his assessment of the current legislation on breastfeeding in public places; and (ii) to outline what advice midwives give nursing mothers about breastfeeding in public places.

(AQW 8434/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: (i) An assessment of the current legislation on breastfeeding in public places was undertaken as part of the recent review of my Department’s Breastfeeding Strategy. The introduction of legislation to specifically support breastfeeding in public will be considered as part of the development of an updated Breastfeeding Strategy.

(ii) Midwives give all women support in whatever method of feeding they choose for their baby and promote breastfeeding initiation. 56% of babies in Northern Ireland are born in hospitals that have UNICEF Baby Friendly Awards which means all women in these hospitals are encouraged to breast feed their baby.

Results from the latest Infant Feeding Survey 2006 show that breastfeeding rates for NI mothers have increased by almost 10%, rising from 54% in 2000 to 63% in 2005. While NI has still a lower rate than England, Scotland and Wales, the increase over the period was greater in NI than anywhere else in the UK.

The new Maternity Hand Held record for Northern Ireland has a section on infant feeding which encourages the midwife to discuss breastfeeding with mothers in both the antenatal and postnatal period.

All mothers who initiate breastfeeding are given the "Off to a good start" a booklet produced by the Public Health Agency which provides some information about breastfeeding in public.

Waiting Times for Cardiac Surgery

Mr S Moutray asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety what is the (i) current average waiting time; and (ii) longest waiting time for (a) an initial cardiac surgery outpatient assessment; and (b) a cardiac surgery operation.

(AQW 8436/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Information on the average and longest waiting time for a first outpatient appointment in the Cardiac Surgery specialty is not available.

Information on the number of patients waiting, and length of time waiting in time bands, for a first outpatient appointment in this specialty, at 31st March 2010, is collected and can be found at the following link:

http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/index/waiting_times.htm

At 31st March 2010, the average waiting time for cardiac surgery was 69 days. The longest waiting time was 147 days.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme

Mr S Moutray asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety what percentage of patients, who have suffered a heart attack, received a cardiac rehabilitation programme, in each Health and Social Care Trust area, in each of the last five years.

(AQW 8438/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The information requested is not currently available.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Mr A Easton asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail the areas of his current budget set aside to deal with drug and alcohol abuse; and whether any of the Health and Social Care Trusts are addressing these issues.

(AQW 8451/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Through the New Strategic Direction for Alcohol and Drugs, my Department makes just over £7 million available to prevent, address and provide support in relation to alcohol and drug misuse across Northern Ireland. The majority of this funding is issued through the Public Health Agency to take forward a range of regional and local programmes and interventions.

All the local Health and Social Care Trusts actively take forward work in this area, in partnership with the Drug and Alcohol Co-ordination Teams within the Public Health Agency. This includes the provision of statutory addiction services, commissioning of substance misuse treatment and support services from the community and voluntary sector, and the delivery of a range of education, prevention and intervention programmes.

Vulnerable Children and Young People

Dr A McDonnell asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for his assessment of whether early counselling and creative therapy intervention in vulnerable children and young people demonstrably improves their emotional health and well-being and their educational attainment, and has wider benefits for the future well-being of Northern Ireland’s communities; and (ii) to detail the resources provided by his Department for the provision of (a) all psychological therapies; and (b) counselling for children aged 5-12, broken down by each Health and Social Care Trust area, for each of the last three years.

(AQW 8455/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The Bamford Review of Mental Health and Learning Disability acknowledged the benefits of psychological therapies and recommended better access to these services. My Department recently published a strategy for the Development of Psychological Therapy Services. An extra £3.4m has been allocated since 08/09 and a further £1m is being allocated in 2010/11 to expand the range and volume of psychological therapy services. Funding has been provided by my Department and the Department for Social Development.

It is not possible to provide information by Trust on expenditure on psychological therapies and counselling for children as funding is provided from a number of Health and Social Care and Education programmes for this purpose.

Cost of Food for a Hospital Inpatient

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety what is the average amount spent, per day, on food for a hospital inpatient, in each of the Health and Social Care Trusts.

(AQW 8462/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: This information is not available in the format requested.

Occupational Therapist

Mr P Weir asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many people are currently awaiting assessment by an occupational therapist.

(AQW 8463/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The information is not available in the format requested.

Health Service Job Applicants

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many job offers to health service applicants have been withdrawn because a candidate failed a security check in each of the last five years, broken down by post and grade.

(AQW 8465/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: This information is not held centrally and could only be provided at a disproportionate cost.

Review of Public Administration

Mr P McGlone asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, pursuant to AQW 7863/10, to provide a breakdown of £11.01 million spent on designing and implementing the structural change.

(AQW 8473/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Information obtained since my earlier answer to AQW 7863/10 would suggest that dual running costs are much lower and more in the region of £2.5m. This makes actual spend on RPA restructuring in the region of £4.6m so far, rather than £11.01m.

These are one-off costs, but new simplified and focussed structures introduced by the Review of Public Administration will deliver £53 million annually in savings that can be directed back into front line services.

Health and Social Care Services

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety which organisation has the statutory responsibility for commissioning health and social care services in each Health and Social Care Trust area.

(AQW 8474/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The Health and Social Care Board, through its five Local Commissioning Groups, which are co-terminus with HSC Trusts, has statutory responsibility for the effective commissioning of health and social care services and other related interventions to improve and protect the health and social well being of the people of Northern Ireland and reduce differences in access to good health and quality of life.

Direct Payments

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many people have availed of direct payments in each Health and Social Care Trust, in each of the last five years.

(AQW 8475/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: The information is not available in the format requested.

Local Commissioning Group

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety what proportion of investment in health and social care in each Local Commissioning Group area is being allocated directly to a Health and Social Care Trust; and what proportion will each Local Commissioning Group receive directly, in this financial year.

(AQW 8476/10)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: No funding in the Health and Social Care system is allocated directly to any Local Commissioning Group (LCG) or Trust.

All funding is allocated to the Health and Social Care Board (of which LCGs are sub-committees) and the Public Health Agency (PHA). Each Local Commissioning Group has a funding allocation based on the capitation formula. The Board, with the agreement of the PHA, then commissions services from the Trusts reflecting the decisions of the LCGs in respect of the use of their allocations. Based on this process Service and Budget Agreements are in place with each Trust for 2010/2011.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Members of the RUC and PSNI Removed from Jobs Because of Siblings Political Connections

Mr A Maskey asked the Minister of Justice how many members of the RUC and subsequently the PSNI have been removed from their jobs because of siblings' connections to other organisations or parties, in the last twenty years.

(AQW 7152/10)

Minister of Justice (Mr D Ford): Vetting arrangements for police officers are a matter for the Chief Constable, who is accountable to the Northern Ireland Policing Board. I am committed to respecting the operational independence of the Chief Constable and the role of the Policing Board, and I have forwarded this Question to the Chief Constable, who will respond directly.

Security Provision for Judges

Lord Morrow asked the Minister of Justice, pursuant to AQW 7131/10, to detail the annual cost to his Department of security provision for (i) District Judges; (ii) Crown Court Judges; and (iii) High Court Judges for (a) 2007/08; and (b) 2008/09.

(AQW 7494/10)

Minister of Justice: The annual cost to the Department of Justice for security provision for (i) District Judges: (ii) Crown Court Judges; and (iii) High Court Judges for 2007/08 and 2008/09 is presented in the tables below;

NI Court Service
  2007/08£ 2008/09£
District Judges
14,246.88
15,172.93
Crown Court Judges
10,926.69
9,408.54
High Court Judges
16,016.98
16,007.54
Total
41,190.55
40,589.01
PSNI
  2007/08£ 2008/09£
District Judges
N/A
85,588.63
Crown & High Court Judges
N/A
4,774,410.00
Total
N/A
4,859,998.63

In financial year 2007/08 PSNI are unable to provide figures detailing the annual cost of security provision for judiciary.

In financial year 2008/09 PSNI are unable to provide a split of Crown and High Court Judges.

Youth Justice Agency Youth Conferencing Programme

Mr A Ross asked the Minister of Justice how many young people have gone through the Youth Justice Agency youth conferencing programme in each of the last five years.

(AQW 7875/10)

Minister of Justice: Table 1 presents information on the number of young people who have received a youth conference in each of the calendar years 2005 to 2009.

Table 1: Number of Young Persons referred to the Youth Conference Service 2005-2009

Year
Number of Young People
2005
172
2006
491
2007
964
2008
1,013
2009
1,069

Prostitution

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Justice for his assessment of the seriousness of the problem of prostitution.

(AQW 7890/10)

Minister of Justice: In Northern Ireland the selling of sexual services is much more covert in nature than in the rest of the UK and for this reason difficult to quantify.

On-street prostitution mainly occurs in the South Belfast area, although there has been a significant reduction in recorded incidents.

The fact that the off-street sex industry in Northern Ireland is more covert than in other places in the UK increases the risk of trafficking and exploitation. For this reason PSNI focuses operations on brothels controlled by criminal gangs and gives priority to establishing that any persons found working as prostitutes in brothels are safe and are present there of their own free will.

The police are currently carrying out a review of policy in respect of prostitution and the sex industry in Northern Ireland. The objectives of this review include an assessment of the scale of the sex industry in Northern Ireland.

This policy review will allow for a more accurate assessment to be made of the extent of the sex industry and related problems.

TV for Prisoners

Mr T Burns asked e Minister of Justice to detail, for each prison, (i) the availability of terrestrial and satellite TV for (a) specific individual prisoners; (b) groups of prisoners; and (c) in communal areas; (ii) the channels available in each of these groupings; and (iii) the total annual cost of providing these facilities, broken down by how these costs are incurred, including subscription fees.

(AQW 7908/10)

Minister of Justice: In the adult estate HMP Maghaberry and Magilligan prisoners have access to a range of facilities based on the Progressive Regime and Earned Privileges Scheme (PREPS). There are three levels Enhanced, Standard and Basic. Both Enhanced and Standard are entitled to have in cell televisions (unless excluded temporarily as a result of an adjudication hearing). Prisoners on basic regime are not permitted to have in cell televisions. In Hydebank Wood access to facilities is more general due to the nature and specific needs of the population.

Where prisoners choose to have a television in their cell they pay a rental fee out of prisoner earnings. This fee varies from prison to prison. Prisoners may also purchase a television from a range of approved and specified models through the establishment’s tuck shop.

The cost of providing both Terrestrial and Satellite television is met from the Governors Fund which draws its income from profits made by the prisoner tuck shop, prisoner telephone system, television rental fees and recycling initiatives. Additional costs are also detailed below by establishment. The figures quoted relate to the 2009/10 financial year.

Less than 30% of the current prisoner population has access to satellite subscription television in cell and where this is provided access is controlled by staff and limited in nature.

In preparation for digital switchover in 2012, the Prison Service has initiated a replacement programme for TV sets which are not digitally compatible and costs incurred to date are included in the establishment figures below.

HMP Maghaberry
Televisions Available
(a) Access to televisions in Cell Yes
(b&c)Televisions in communal areas Yes
Terrestrial Television Yes ( available to all - BBC1 and 2, ITV, Channel 4 and Five)
Satellite Television Yes (limited to Sky Basic in The Gym, Sky Basic and Movies in the Prisoner Assessment Unit. In addition to Sky Movies Houses Braid, Erne and Mourne have Sky Ultimate).
Cost from Governors Fund £29,621.50 (this includes new TV purchases and Sky Subscriptions for year)
Cost from Prison Budgets £24,629.48 (however this includes £16,139 in relation to the newly opened Braid House Complex)

 

HMP Magilligan
Televisions Available
(a) Access to televisions in Cell Yes
(b&c)Televisions in communal areas Yes
Terrestrial Television Yes ( available to all - BBC1 and 2, ITV, Channel 4 and Five)
Satellite Television Yes (limited to Sky Basic and Sports in Foyleview And Sperrin).
Cost from Governors Fund £9732.90 (Subscriptions for year)
Cost from Prison Budgets £4,396.80 (this includes new TV purchases and any repairs incurred)

 

Hydebank Wood
Television Available
(a) Access to televisions in Cell Yes
(b&c)Televisions in communal areas Yes
Terrestrial Television Yes ( available to all - BBC1 and 2, ITV, Channel 4 and Five)
Satellite Television Yes (Sky Basic and Sky Sports were available to all Houses)
Cost from Governors Fund £28,000
Cost from Prison Budgets £5,345 (this includes new TV purchases and any repairs incurred)

Magazines for Prisoners

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Justice to detail, for each prison, (i) the availability of magazines for (a) specific individual prisoners; (b) groups of prisoners; and (c) in communal areas; (ii) the magazines available in each of these groupings; and (iii) the total annual cost of providing these facilities, broken down by how these costs are incurred, including subscription fees.

(AQW 7910/10)

Minister of Justice: The Northern Ireland Prison Service does not supply magazines for prisoners.

Consultants

Mr D Kinahan asked the Minister of Justice what steps he is taking to review the use of consultants in his Department.

(AQW 7957/10)

Minister of Justice: The Department of Justice (DOJ) reviews the use of consultants in line with guidance issued by the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP): and has in place a range of control mechanisms to ensure that the use of consultants is managed appropriately.

Consideration may be given to employing consultants only when it is necessary and only where it will provide value for money.

Injury on Duty Award Appeals

Mr T Burns asked e Minister of Justice, pursuant to his answer to AQW 7243/10, (i) to detail the total amount of compensation paid in respect of these cases; (ii) to detail the average amount of compensation paid in each case for the three years provided; and (iii) to provide the same information for 2005 and 2006.

(AQW 7978/10)

Minister of Justice: The payment of Injury Benefit awards is a matter for the Chief Constable, who is accountable to the Northern Ireland Policing Board. I am committed to respecting the operational independence of the Chief Constable and the role of the Policing Board, and I have forwarded this Question to the Chief Constable, who will respond directly.

Prison Service: Staff Suspensions

Mr P McGlone asked Minister of Justice, pursuant to AQW 7680/10, for a detailed breakdown of the expenditure by the Prison Service on salary costs for staff suspensions for each of these years.

(AQW 8040/10)

Minister of Justice: The breakdown of the expenditure on salary costs for staff suspensions in the last 5 years as given in the answer to AQW 7680/10 is shown in the table below.

Financial Year Number of staff on suspension Individual Cost
(£)
2005-2006
5

44,311.98
40,842.87
40,842.75
21,377.06
3,548.02

2006-2007
7

29,507.85
5,530.51
42,331.92
22,231.06
24,273.46
8,637.92 Unpaid

2007-2008
5

36,066.36
30,313.12
25,736.38 unpaid
8,067.85

2008-2009
21

42,389.58
27,582.39
14,767.43
12,765.32
12,654.94
12,674.57
12,654.88
12,654.88
12,654.94
12,711.19
12,654.94
12,654.94
12,738.23
8,192.76
10,738.44
9,803.38
10,179.09
10,352.07
10,893.96
252.28
3,769.94

 

Financial Year Number of staff on suspension Individual Cost
(£)
2009-2010
20

26,184.54
26,184.66
26,184.66
26,184.54
26,184.54
26,184.66
26,184.66
26,184.66
26,184.66
26,184.66
3,293.24
40,541.57
6,400.53
35,715.53
21,456.94
15,624.57
19,256.07
24,891.47
11,000.37
4,020.41

Staff Salaries

Mr S Gardiner asked the Minister of Justice how many staff in his Department, and associated Quangos, are paid in excess of £100,000 pa in salary and/or remuneration packages.

(AQW 8041/10)

Minister of Justice: There are three members of staff in the Department of Justice in receipt of an annual salary in excess of £100,000.

Travel Expenses for Solicitors and Barristers

Lord Morrow asked the Minister of Justice how much has been paid in travel expenses from legal aid to (i) solicitors; and (ii) barristers in the last financial year.

(AQW 8057/10)

Minister of Justice: (i) In the last financial year, £2,035,653 in travel expenses (travel time and mileage) has been paid to solicitors.

(ii) In the last financial year, £699,861 in travel expenses (travel time and mileage) has been paid to barristers.

The above amounts exclude civil and criminal cases in which the fees have been determined by the Taxing Master (a judicial officer of the High Court), as the format in which those fees are notified to the Commission does not specifically identify travel.

Sick-related Staff Absence

Mr T Elliott asked the Minister of Justice to detail the levels of sick-related absence among staff in the (i) Prison Service; (ii) PSNI; (iii) Courts and Tribunals Service; and (iv) Youth Justice Agency, for each of the last three years.

(AQW 8064/10)

Minister of Justice: The levels of sick-related absence among staff in the Prison Service, PSNI, Courts and tribunals Service and Youth Justice Agency, for each of the last three years, are given in the following tables:

Northern Ireland Prison Service   Police Service Northern Ireland
Year
Average Working Days Lost per Prison Officer
Average Working Days Lost per General Service Grade
Year
Average Working Days Lost per Police Officer
Average Working Days Lost per Police Staff
2007/08
19.5
8.7
2007/08
11.1
11
2008/09
15.7
8.9
2008/09
8.9
9.1
2009/10
12.8
12
2009/10
8.2
9.2

 

Courts and Tribunals Service
 
Youth Justice Agency
Year
Average Working Days Lost per Staff Member
Year
Average Working Days Lost per Staff Member
2007/08
10.5
2007/08
20.4
2008/09
9.5
2008/09
20.4
2009/10
11.8
2009/10
15.4

It should be noted the Police Service count all calendar days absent as opposed to the other agencies using working days only.

Sexual Offences Examiners in Forensic Science Northern Ireland

Mr T Elliott asked e Minister of Justice to detail the current number of Sexual Offences Examiners in Forensic Science Northern Ireland; and the number of posts that are vacant.

(AQW 8065/10)

Minister of Justice: Within Forensic Science Northern Ireland there is no such position as a "Sexual Offences Examiner" but the Agency does have 13 Court Reporting Officers competent to lead forensic investigations, evaluate findings and give evidence in Court in relation to Sexual Offences.  This is part of a more general Biology role covering ‘offences against the person’ and includes murders, assaults as well as sexual offences. This team is supported by 14 laboratory staff, who carry out the relevant analyses on behalf of the Court Reporting Officers as part of a general Evidence Recovery and DNA analysis service. 

In addition, other FSNI resources, including both Reporting Officers and Laboratory staff will, where relevant, contribute on the non-biological aspects of investigations of sexual offences, including, for example, fingerprints, electronic data recovery, drugs and toxicology.

There are currently no Reporting Officer vacancies within FSNI and 2 vacancies within the laboratory staffing support for cases of this nature.

Compensation Claims Against the Prison Service

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Justice (i) to detail the total number of claims for compensation which were made against the Prison Service by (a) serving; and (b) former prisoners in each of the last five years; (ii) to detail the number of these claims which were (a) successful (b) unsuccessful, in either the courts, or out of court settlements; (iii) to detail the total amount of compensation awarded; and (iv) to provide a summary of the reasons for these claims.

(AQW 8085/10)

Minister of Justice: Point (i) (a) and (b) - it is not possible to supply the information in the format requested. Information for serving and former serving prisoners is not held in this format in relation to prisoner claims.

(i) The total number of prisoner claims made against the Prison Service in each of the last five years is 546, shown year by year as follows:
Year
Number of prisoner claims
2005
92
2006
108
2007
75
2008
105
2009
107
2010 (Jan – May)
59
Total
546
(ii)(a) The total number of prisoner claims for which compensation has not been paid during the past five years is 226, shown year by year as follows:
Year No of claims for which compensation has not been paid
2005
11
2006
41
2007
30
2008
54
2009
55
2010 (Jan – May)
35
Total
226

These figures include claims such as those which are "Statute Barred", dismissed, withdrawn, struck out or not proceeded with.

(ii)(b) The number of claims for which compensation has been paid as a result of pre-proceedings (in-house) settlement, pre-hearing settlement or by a Judge’s decision following court hearing is 223, shown year by year as follows:
Year Number of claims for which compensation has been paid
Total per year In-house settlements(pre-proceedings) Out of court settlement or court award (post- proceedings)
2005
45
29
16
2006
38
20
18
2007
51
26
25
2008
42
36
6
2009
33
23
10
2010 (Jan – May)
14
9
5
Total
223
143
80

NB: The above figures include both injury and property claims.

(iii) The total amount of compensation awarded from 2005 to 2009 and in 2010 to date is £376,047.53, shown year by year as follows:
Year Amount of compensation awarded
2005
£ 45,435.34
2006
£112,577.42
(includes a single payment of £85,164.06)
2007
£ 54,047.86
2008
£ 52,294.28
2009
£ 72,024.99
2010 (Jan – May)
£ 39,667.64
Total
£376,047.53

(iv) The reason for claims against NIPS is the alleged negligence of the Service i.e. allegedly failing to fulfil its "duty of care". Such claims are for various incidents notably:

Compensation Claims Against the PSNI

Mr T Burns asked e Minister of Justice (i) to detail the total number of claims for compensation which were made against the PSNI by serving prisoners in each of the last five years; (ii) to detail the number of these claims which were (a) successful (b) unsuccessful, in either the courts, or out of court settlements; (iii) to detail the total amount of compensation awarded; and (iv) to provide a summary of the reasons for these claims.

(AQW 8086/10)

Minister of Justice: Information relating to compensation claims against the PSNI is an operational matter for the Chief Constable, who is accountable to the Northern Ireland Policing Board. I am committed to respecting the operational independence of the Chief Constable and the role of the Policing Board, and I have forwarded this Question to the Chief Constable, who will respond directly.

Compensation Claims Against the PSNI

Mr T Burns asked Minister of Justice (i) to detail the total number of claims for compensation which were made against the PSNI in each of the last five years; (ii) to detail the number of these claims which were (a) successful (b) unsuccessful, in either the courts, or out of court settlements; (iii) to detail the total amount of compensation awarded; and (iv) to provide a summary of the reasons for these claims.

(AQW 8087/10)

Minister of Justice: Information relating to compensatory claims against the PSNI is an operational matter for the Chief Constable, who is accountable to the Northern Ireland Policing Board. I am committed to respecting the operational independence of the Chief Constable and the role of the Policing Board, and I have forwarded this question to the Chief Constable, who will respond directly.

Speeding Tickets

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Justice how many speeding tickets were issued by the PSNI in each of the last five years and the amount of fines recovered.

(AQW 8099/10)

Minister of Justice: Table 1 below, provided by PSNI, sets out the number of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) issued for speeding offences for each of the last five years.

Table 1: Fixed Penalty Notices Issued for Speeding Offences
OFFENCE
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 TOTAL
EXCESS SPEED - Officer Issued Tickets (Roadside)
12616
12059
12341
9150
9755
55921
R DRIVER EXCEEDING 45MPH Officer Issued Tickets (Roadside)
147
197
296
235
290
1165
BREACH OF TEMP SPEED LIMITOfficer Issued Tickets (Roadside)
-
-
701
1439
858
2998
CAMERASPEEDING OFFENCES (COFPNs)
12857
12327
16050
15212
23047
79493
TOTAL
25620 24583 29388 26036 33950 139577

Revenue derived from FPNs is not held with reference to specific offences.

Payments for speeding offences include offences that were detected by mobile or fixed camera and a Conditional Offer Fixed Penalty Notice [COFPN] was subsequently issued. While the greater proportion of COFPN’s are detections for excess speed, these notices also include detections of red light running by fixed cameras.

An FPN is also issued for offences detected by hand held laser devices; this type of FPN is known as an ‘endorseable’ ticket. This type of FPN is issued for a wide range of other motoring offences and information on the revenue received is only held by type of FPN. Table 2 below details the total amount of revenue received on the two categories of FPN that include speeding offences. There is no direct correlation between the number of tickets issued and the revenue received for any given year.

Table 2: Revenue Received on Fixed Penalty Notices*

Year  Conditional Offers Endorsable TOTAL REVENUE
£60 penalty £60 penalty
2005
£640,440.00
£780,820.00
£1,421,260.00
2006
£572,940.00
£749,456.96
£1,322,396.96
2007
£716,220.00
£1,201,320.00
£1,917,540.00
2008
£735,420.00
£1,607,100.00
£2,342,520.00
2009
£1,033,680.00
£1,660,200.00
£2,693,880.00

*There are a very small number of £30 Non-Endorsable tickets issued for exceeding 45mph while displaying ‘L’ and ‘R’ plates but in terms of overall revenue the sums are so insignificant that they have been disregarded for the purposes of this answer.

When payment of a fixed penalty is not received the matter is registered with the court for enforcement. Table 3 sets out the amount paid for court imposed fines since 2007.

Table 3: Court Imposed Fines*
Year
Payments Received
2007
£47,815
2008
£46, 350
2009
£34,160
TOTAL
£128,325

*Data is only available for the last three years.

Fines for Failing to Wear a Seatbelt

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Justice how many tickets were issued to drivers for failing to wear a seatbelt in each of the last five years and the total amount of fines recovered.

(AQW 8102/10)

Minister of Justice: Table 1 below, provided by PSNI, sets out the number of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) issued to drivers for failing to wear a seat belt for each of the last five years.

Table 1: Fixed Penalty Notices Issued for Failing to Wear a Seat Belt
2005 2006 Jan - June 2007 July - Dec 2007 2008 2009
17472
16191
9693
3734
5631
5000
Total 2007 - 13427

* In mid-2007 the legislation was amended and not wearing a seatbelt became an endorsable offence, which carries 3 penalty points and a £60 fine as opposed to previously being a non-endorsable offence which carried a £30 fine.

Revenue derived from FPNs is not held with reference to specific offences.

When payment of a fixed penalty is not received the matter is registered with the court for enforcement. The specific offence code for Failing to Wear a Seat Belt (Driver) was only created within the NICTS’s IT system in mid-2008 and this data has only been available since then. Table 2 sets out the amount paid for court imposed fines since July 2008.

Table 2: Court Imposed Fines for Failing to Wear a Seat Belt (Driver)
Year Payments Received
2008(Jul – Dec)
£11,680
2009
£27,950
TOTAL £39,630

 

 

 

Time in Prison on Remand

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Justice to detail, for each of the last five years, the total number of prisoners who have spent more time in prison on remand than the length of the custodial sentence imposed on them by the courts.

(AQW 8143/10)

Minister of Justice: The information provided in the table below is from 2007. As no electronic information is available prior to this date, data could only be obtained by researching individual prisoner files and to do so would incur disproportionate costs.

Calendar Year Maghaberry Hydebank Wood Total
2007
35
17
52
2008
35
21
56
2009
19
33
52
2010 (to date)
17
11
28

Investigating the Theft of ATMs

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Justice how much has been spent investigating the theft of ATMs in each of the last five years; and to provide a summary of the outcome of these investigations.

(AQW 8146/10)

Minister of Justice: This is a matter for the Chief Constable, who is accountable to the Northern Ireland Policing Board. I am committed to respecting the operational independence of the Chief Constable and the role of the Policing Board, and I have forwarded this Question to the Chief Constable, who will respond directly.

Registered Sex Offenders

Lord Morrow asked the Minister of Justice, pursuant to AQW 7549/10, what category of sex offender is the individual whose address was given to police as "of a location where the person can be regularly found".

(AQW 8149/10)

Minister of Justice: As indicated in my response to AQW 7549/10, information about offenders subject to the notification requirements set out in Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (the sex offender register) is an operational matter for the Police Service of Northern Ireland. I would therefore recommend that you contact the Chief Constable directly about this further query.

Pilot Drugs Court

Mr D McKay asked the Minister of Justice if he would consider introducing a pilot drugs court to deal exclusively with drugs related offences.

(AQW 8161/10)

Minister of Justice: Between 2000-01 and 2003-04 a multi-agency team considered the issue of drugs courts and they concluded that they were not required at that time in Northern Ireland. In the intervening period we have not been approached to re-consider this issue. At present there are no plans to introduce a pilot drug court to handle drug offences in Northern Ireland. However the situation will continue to be monitored.

Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland Thematic Inspection Report on Sexual Violence and Abuse

Mr T Elliott asked the Minister of Justice if he has received the Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland thematic inspection report on sexual violence and abuse and for his initial assessment of the report.

(AQW 8178/10)

Minister of Justice: I received the CJINI thematic report and met with the Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice to discuss his findings ahead of the report’s publication on 5th July.

The report recognises many examples of good practice and successful partnership working between criminal justice agencies and the voluntary sector. It also draws attention to areas where case management and victim engagement arrangements could be further strengthened and these will be taken forward by the agencies concerned. I am particularly keen to make further improvements in arrangements for supporting victims of sexual violence and abuse and will be publishing proposals in the autumn for tackling the current high levels of attrition particularly in relation to cases involving rape. They include the development of special support and advocacy services for victims of rape or sexual assault; publication of a step by step victim information handbook; and legislation to provide enhanced special measures for victims giving evidence at court.

Firearms Offences

Mr I McCrea asked the Minister of Justice how many people have been convicted of firearms offences in Mid-Ulster in each of the last 5 years.

(AQW 8187/10)

Minister of Justice: The table below gives the number in Mid Ulster constituency convicted of a firearms offence.

Data cover the calendar years 2002 to 2006 (the latest year for which figures are currently available) and are collated on the principal offence rule; only the most serious offence for which an offender is convicted is included.

Number convicted of a firearms offence1 – Mid Ulster2

2002-2006

Year Number convicted
2002
2
2003
1
2004
3
2005
3
2006
4

1. Includes offences related to possessing firearm/ammunition in suspicious circumstances; possessing handgun/ammunition without certificate; possessing prohibited weapons; and possessing firearm or imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence; discharging firearm in a public place; carrying firearm in a public place; and trespassing with firearm on land.

2. Based on the constituency in which the offender’s address falls.

Rape

Mr I McCrea asked the Minister of Justice how many incidents of (i) rape; and (ii) attempted rape have been recorded in the (a) Magherafelt; and (b) Cookstown Council areas in each of the last five years, broken down by the age of the victim; and how many convictions have been secured for each offence.

(AQW 8188/10)

Minister of Justice: The table below gives the number of recorded rape offences (including attempts) in Magherafelt and Cookstown policing areas broken down by age of victim. Due to small numbers and the potential disclosure of victim identity, rape and attempted rape are not given separately and data for the financial years 2005/06 to 2009/10 have been aggregated.

In terms of convictions, there were no persons convicted in Magherafelt and Cookstown police District Command Units for rape (including attempts) during the five years assessed. Data covered are for the calendar years 2002 to 2006 (the latest year for which figures are currently available) and are collated on the principal offence rule; only the most serious offence for which an offender is convicted is included.

While there were no convictions for rape, conviction data is not directly comparable with the number recorded as PSNI denote the offence as it has been initially recorded and this may differ from the offence for which a suspect is subsequently proceeded against.

Recorded Rape offences (including attempts) by age1 of victim and policing area during the period 2005/06 – 2009/10

Age
Cookstown
Magherafelt
Victim under 18 years
23
27
Victim 18 or over
9
10
Total
32
37

Source: PSNI

1 The victim age refers to the victim age at the time the crime occurred.

Sexual violence has a devastating impact on its victims. I am committed to working with Ministerial colleagues on the implementation of the 5 year Regional Strategy on Sexual Violence and Abuse which has prevention strategies, enhanced support for victims and an effective justice response as its key cornerstones. The planned opening of Northern Ireland’s first Sexual Assault Referral Centre at Antrim Area Hospital in early 2012 will be one of its key achievements delivering coordinated aftercare services for victims and acting as a supportive gateway to the justice system where enhanced support services can start to reduce levels of victim withdrawal and improve conviction rates by helping victims to give their best evidence in court.

Elderly People Assaulted in their Homes

Mr I McCrea asked the Minister of Justice how many incidents of elderly people being assaulted in their homes have been recorded in the (i) Magherafelt; and (ii) Cookstown Council areas in each of the last 5 years.

(AQW 8189/10)

Minister of Justice: Data on recorded incidents are maintained by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. I have therefore asked the Chief Constable to respond directly.

Victims of Crime

Mr M Storey asked the Minister of Justice to outline the work being carried out by their Department to assist the victims of crime.

(AQW 8191/10)

Minister of Justice: Improving services for victims of crime is central to the work of my Department.

One of my first acts as Justice Minister was to go and see at first hand how victims are being supported when they come to give evidence in court, by visiting Victim Support and the NSPCC at Laganside Court.

I also had a constructive discussion on victims’ issues with my Irish counterpart Dermot Ahern when I met with him in my first week.

I recently launched two guides to Northern Ireland’s criminal justice system; one for victims and witnesses of crime, the other for families and friends bereaved through murder and manslaughter. I have asked the police and other justice agencies to distribute these widely, as a way of helping victims and their families navigate their way through the complexities of the system.

I will shortly announce a dedicated programme of work specifically designed to improve the victim’s experience of the justice system. This work will be set out in an action plan, which I will publish.

This will include a new Code of Practice which will set out the minimum standard of service that the criminal justice agencies will be expected to provide to victims of crime.

I will also be announcing over the summer a consultation on draft guidance for practitioners on how to assist children and vulnerable and intimidated adult victims and witnesses to give their best possible evidence in criminal proceedings.

I intend to bring forward a Justice Bill which will include a number of provisions for victims. I am proposing the establishment of an offender levy, the revenue from which would be used to establish a Victims of Crime Fund, and I am also proposing to extend the statutory special measures to assist vulnerable and intimidated witnesses give their best possible evidence in criminal proceedings.

Victims of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

Mr M Storey asked e Minister of Justice what meetings he has had with relevant parties since taking up office in relation to victims of (i) sexual assault; and (ii) domestic violence.

(AQW 8192/10)

Minister of Justice: The table below details the meetings I have had, since taking up office, with relevant parties in relation to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence:

DATE
DETAILS OF MEETING
26 May
Meeting with Foyle Women’s Aid (as part of a wider visit to Londonderry).
28 June
Meeting with Dr Michael Maguire to discuss the key findings and recommendations from the forthcoming CJINI report on how the criminal justice system handles cases of sexual violence and abuse in Northern Ireland.
29 June
Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) on Domestic and Sexual Violence

Drink Driving Offences

Mr P Weir asked Minister of Justice how many drink driving offences have been recorded in North Down in each of the last three years.

(AQW 8202/10)

Minister of Justice: Data on recorded drink driving offences are maintained by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. I have therefore asked the Chief Constable to respond directly.

Rival Gangs in the Abbey Glen Drive and Crescent area of Newtownabbey

Mr D Hilditch asked e Minister of Justice to detail the number of recorded incidents involving rival gangs in the Abbey Glen Drive and Crescent area of Newtownabbey since 1 April 2010.

(AQW 8209/10)

Minister of Justice: Data on recorded incidents are maintained by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. I have therefore asked the Chief Constable to respond directly.

Crown Court: Cost of Trials

Lord Morrow asked the Minister of Justice what is the minimum cost of bringing a case to trial at Crown Court.

(AQW 8221/10)

Minister of Justice: There are many variables that influence the cost of bringing a case to the Crown Court. Each case will have its own unique set of circumstances that will have a bearing on the final costs of the case. Even the most straightforward of cases will have the potential to involve virtually all of the criminal justice agencies and the factors that would have a bearing on the costs would include -

Discussions with the Minister for Justice and Law Reform

Mr J Dallat asked e Minister of Justice what discussions he has had with his counterpart in the Republic of Ireland to ensure that there is a free exchange of information on individuals convicted of crimes of assault in both jurisdictions.

(AQW 8231/10)

Minister of Justice: I meet regularly with Dermot Ahern under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Criminal Justice Co-Operation and discuss a range of matters to support co-operation between criminal justice agencies on both sides of the border.  While operational arrangements for information exchange, including decisions in individual cases, are a matter for the police, we will keep the overall framework under review in that forum.

Speeding Tickets

Mr J Shannon asked the Minister of Justice how many speeding tickets, including Fixed Penalty Notices, have been issued in each constituency in each of the last six months.

(AQW 8270/10)

Minister of Justice: Data on Fixed Penalty Notices issued for speeding are maintained by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. I have therefore asked the Chief Constable to respond directly.

Reported Incidents of Domestic Violence

Mr I McCrea asked e Minister of Justice to detail the number of reported incidents of domestic violence in each district council area in each of the last five years.

(AQW 8275/10)

Minister of Justice: The recording of reported incidents of domestic abuse in each district council area is a matter for the Chief Constable, who is accountable to the Northern Ireland Policing Board. I am committed to respecting the operational independence of the Chief Constable and the role of the Policing Board, and I have forwarded this Question to the Chief Constable, who will respond directly.

Police Officers and Prison Officers; Accepting Bribes

Mr T Burns asked the Minister of Justice to detail the number of (i) police officers; and (ii) prison officers who have been disciplined for accepting bribes in each of the last 10 years, broken down by the rank of the officer.

(AQW 8289/10)

Minister of Justice: The conduct and discipline of police officers is a matter for the Chief Constable, who is accountable to the Northern Ireland Policing Board. I am committed to respecting the operational independence of the Chief Constable and the role of the Policing Board, and I have forwarded this Question to the Chief Constable who will respond directly.

With regard to the Northern Ireland Prison Service, I can confirm that no prison officers have been disciplined for accepting bribes in any of the last ten years.

Mediation in Cases of Domestic Violence

Mr T Clarke asked e Minister of Justice for his assessment of the need for mediation between the victim and the accused in cases involving domestic violence; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

(AQW 8379/10)

Minister of Justice: In October 2005 the Northern Ireland Office and the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety launched the ‘Tackling Violence at Home’ strategy for tackling domestic violence and abuse in Northern Ireland. The strategy focuses on the three key areas of prevention, protection and justice and support.  

The overall aims of the strategy and the associated action plans recognise the need to improve services and support for all victims, to hold perpetrators/abusers accountable and to provide effective interventions for their behaviours.

The safety of the victim is paramount to any action that may be taken in a case of domestic violence. Government Departments work closely with those agencies (such as Women’s Aid, Men’s Advisory Project, Victims Support NI) that work directly with victims. It is widely known that mediation is not appropriate in cases of domestic violence. Any intervention, therefore, must have built in safeguards and support for the victim. For example, Integrated Domestic Abuse Programmes, which are programmes for court mandated perpetrators of domestic violence, also offer support services to women who have been victims of the men sentenced to the programme and men’s current partners through women’s safety services.

One of the key actions in the current Domestic Violence Action Plan is to ensure the availability of quality assured programmes for those perpetrators who may be abusing their partners but who are not presently being dealt with through the criminal justice system. When introduced, such programmes will have built in support systems for victims, family members and significant others.

Domestic Violence

Mr T Clarke asked the Minister of Justice what plans he has to address the cost of obtaining a non-molestation order and the wider issues of access to justice for victims of domestic violence.

(AQW 8380/10)

Minister of Justice: The ‘Tackling Violence at Home’ strategy and associated action plans focuses on, among other things, the provision of better protection, justice and support services for victims of domestic violence and their families. A key action in the current action plan is: "To work in partnership with other key organisations to ensure access to justice by domestic violence victims by identifying existing barriers to justice and working together to remove them e.g. financial, cultural, linguistic, etc."

A small working group led by DoJ, Community Safety Unit and with membership drawn from Legal Services Commission, Women’s Aid, and the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has been set up to identify the barriers to justice for victims of domestic violence with a view to taking forward appropriate action to address such barriers. The working group will be considering, among other things, the cost of obtaining a non molestation order.

Legal aid plays an important role in the provision of access to justice for victims of domestic violence, including applications for non-molestation orders, for those applicants who are financially eligible for legal aid. For some applicants legal aid is available free of charge whilst others may have to make a contribution towards the costs of their legal representation, depending on their financial circumstances.

The Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission administers civil legal aid. As part of the work on civil legal aid reform, my officials are examining whether a waiver on the financial eligibility limits for victims of domestic violence should be introduced in Northern Ireland. A waiver was introduced in England and Wales in 2005, the effect of which is that applicants have access to funded legal services subject to varying levels of contribution toward the cost of their case, depending on their financial status and their disposable income or capital at the time of application.

In addition to non- molestation orders new powers, which commenced 30 September 2009, under the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004, offer protection to those victims who are subject to harassment and domestic violence abuse. These new rules allow the courts to serve a restraining order for any offence even when someone has been acquitted in order to better protect victims. Because these orders are imposed by the Court the cost is not borne by the victim.

Another initiative which may go some way to addressing barriers to justice is the proposed introduction of Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs). The Crime and Security Act seeks to strengthen the protection available to victims by enabling the police to apply for a DVPO when a suspected perpetrator of domestic violence is not charged. A DVPO will require the perpetrator to not contact the victim or return to the victim’s address. The Home Office will pilot the scheme in two separate areas and if the evaluation determines the scheme to be successful it is hoped that DVPOs would be introduced in Northern Ireland by way of the Criminal Justice Order early 2011.

Courts and Tribunals Service: Appeals Against Awards Made by the Taxing Master

Mr P Givan asked the Minister of Justice for his assessment of the Courts and Tribunals Service having to make 38 interventions against appeals, from members of the legal profession, against awards made by the Taxing Master; and that 13 of these appeals were subsequently withdrawn following the interventions.

(AQW 8416/10)

Minister of Justice: Where a claim for legal aid fees is going on appeal or review to the Taxing Master, the Department (formerly the Lord Chancellor) may arrange for written or oral representations to be made on its behalf, "with a view to ensuring that the public interest is taken into account".

In the 38 claims in question (comprising 32 claims by barristers and 6 by solicitors), the total amount claimed was approximately £10.5m (including VAT). At the first instance assessment stage, the Taxing Master determined the total amount payable at approximately £5.7m (including VAT).

After notification was given by the Department that it intended to intervene in respect of these claims, the representatives involved in 13 of the claims (all of whom are barristers) have withdrawn their applications that the Taxing Master review his original assessment.

Under the relevant rules, a representative is not required to give reasons for withdrawing their appeal or review application.

PSNI Breathalyser Checks

Mr P Weir asked the Minister of Justice to detail the average number of times per month that the PSNI set up breathalyser checks in North Down over the last three years.

(AQW 8426/10)

Minister of Justice: The use of preliminary breath tests by the PSNI is a matter for the Chief Constable, who is accountable to the Northern Ireland Policing Board. I am committed to respecting the operational independence of the Chief Constable and the role of the Policing Board, and I have forwarded this Question to the Chief Constable, who will respond directly.

Asylum Seekers

Mr J O'Dowd asked the Minister of Justice how many asylum seekers have been arrested in each of the last five years; and (ii) how many asylum seekers are currently in detention.

(AQW 8447/10)

Minister of Justice: The arrest of asylum seekers is a matter for the Chief Constable, who is accountable to the Northern Ireland Policing Board. I am committed to respecting the operational independence of the Chief Constable and the role of the Policing Board and therefore this question should be addressed to the Chief Constable who will respond directly.

The Northern Ireland Prison Service has foreign national prisoners in custody but does not hold information relating specifically to asylum seekers, as that is a matter for the UK Border Agency.

DEPARTMENT FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Hillhead Road in Newry

Mr D Bradley asked the Minister for Regional Development for an update on the future of the Hillhead Road in Newry.

(AQW 7496/10)

Minister for Regional Development (Mr C Murphy): As the Member will be aware, my Department’s Roads Service initially closed a section of the Hillhead Road, Newry on 26 January 2007. A further section of the road was closed on 21 August 2008.

Roads Service subsequently issued legal proceedings against three previous quarry owners in early 2009. I understand that these proceedings have been progressing, and are due to come before the High Court in the coming months. Therefore, until these proceedings have been heard, I am unable to comment further on the future of the Hillhead Road.

Kingarve Road, Dungannon

Lord Morrow asked the Minister for Regional Development, in relation to the trees that were cut down by Roads Service on private property at Kingarve Road, Dungannon, on Saturday 19 December 2009; (i) how many staff made up the work squad; (ii) if a supervisor was present; (iii) the grade and role of the staff in the work squad who misinterpreted the instructions; and (iv) the grade and role of the member of staff who authorised the cutting down of these trees.

(AQW 7501/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department’s Roads Service has advised that there were two members of staff in the work squad, one of whom was the supervisor. The supervisor’s role is to organise, supervise and assist in undertaking the work, and on this occasion it was the supervisor who misinterpreted the instructions given to him by his line manager, whose role is to identify, prioritise and issue instructions for the road maintenance work that is required within his area of responsibility. No member of staff authorised the inadvertent cutting down of the trees in private ownership.

In view of the data protection implications associated with the disclosure of the grades of staff involved, I will write to the Member separately advising him of such details.

Speed Bumps

Mr D McKay asked the Minister for Regional Development to list all 'B' roads in each Roads Service division which have had speed bumps installed in the past ten years.

(AQW 7522/10)

Minister for Regional Development: The table below lists the ‘B’ class roads in each of my Department’s Roads Service divisions, on which speed bumps have been installed in the last ten years:

‘B’ class roads on which speed bumps have been installed
Southern Division B79 Drumalane Road, Newry
B112 Derrymore Road, Bessbrook
B3 Coolmillish Road, Markethill
B3 Loughbrickland Road, Rathfriland
B12 Aghalee Road, Aghagallon
B111 Annareagh Road, Hamiltonsbawn
B111 New Line, Richhill
Eastern Division B20 Ballyholme Road, Bangor
B20 Ballyholme Esplanade, Bangor
B20 Sheridan Drive, Bangor
B20 Grays Hill, Bangor
B178 Church Road, Carryduff
Western DivisionWestern DivisionWestern Division B4 Drumnakilly Road, Carrickmore
B4 Termon Road, Carrickmore
B46 Creggan Road, Carrickmore
B80 Tattymoyle Road, Fintona
B122 Ecclesville Road, Fintona
B46 Dromore Road, Fintona
B46 Carnlea Road, Fintona
B164 Deerpark Road, Ardstraw
B85 Urney Road, Strabane
B72 Meetinghouse Street, Strabane
B85 Urney Road, Clady
B165 Bellspark Road, Clady
B48 Derry Road, Omagh
B72 Castlegore Road, Castlederg
B72 Strabane Road, Castlederg
B4 Edenamohill Road, Edenhill
B4 Letterboy Road, Ederney
B72 Castlederg Road, Ederney
B107 Clabby Road, Clabby
B534 Drumadravy (Lisnarick) Road, Irvinestown
B515 Link Road, Brookeborough
B34 Killyman Road, Dungannon
B43 Mullaghmore Road, Donaghmore
B106 Cavan Road, Killyman
B106 Trewmont Road, Killyman
B4 Cavanakeeran Road, Pomeroy
B4 Edendoit Road, Pomeroy
B43 Tanderagee Road, Pomeroy
B160 North Street, Stewartstown
B520 West Street, Stewartstown
B520 Hillhead, Stewartstown
B40 High Street, Draperstown
B40 Derrynoyd Road, Draperstown
B40 Magherafelt Road, Draperstown
B41 Tobermore Road, Draperstown
B47 Sixtowns Road, Draperstown
B47 Sixtowns Road, Straw
B18 Ballyneill Road, Ballyronan
B160 Ballyronan Road, Ballyronan
B160 Shore Road, Ballyronan
B160 Mullananhoe Road, Ardboe
Northern Division B12 Glenavy Road, Crumlin
B12 Main Street, Crumlin
B53 Station Road, Randalstown
B53 Barnish Road, Randalstown
B53 Craigstown Road, Randalstown
B148 Drumahoe Road, Larne

A1 Cloughogue to Beechill Road

Mr D Bradley asked the Minister for Regional Development when the A1 Cloughogue to Beechill road will be officially opened.

(AQW 7538/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department’s Roads Service has advised that construction of the new A1 Cloghogue to Beechill dual carriageway is ahead of schedule and is expected to be opened to traffic this summer, in advance of the December 2010 programme date. However, Lagan Ferrovial, the Construction Contractor for this Design Build Finance and Operate project, are not yet in a position to confirm the opening date.

Speed Limit

Mr I McCrea asked the Minister for Regional Development to detail any proposals his Department has to reduce the speed limit outside schools to 20mph in the Mid-Ulster constituency.

(AQW 7656/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department's Roads Service has advised that it has no plans to reduce the speed limit outside schools to 20mph in the Mid-Ulster constituency.

CCTV Cameras

Mr P Weir asked the Minister for Regional Development to detail the cost of CCTV cameras on the NI Railway network in each of the last three years.

(AQW 7699/10)

Minister for Regional Development: Translink have provided the cost of CCTV cameras on the NI Railway network in each of the last three years in the following table:

Capital Expenditure by Project 
2007/08 2008/09 2009/10
  £'000 £'000 £'000
Poyntzpass Manually Controlled Barrier CCTV Renewal  72 
2
 
CCTV at Portadown  
1
38
CCTV at York Road  
106
54
CCTV at Botanic Station  
2
CCTV at Yorkgate  
56
CCTV at Antrim Integrated Bus/Rail Station  
99
Replacement of CCTV System at Central Station  
10
Accommodation Crossing Covert Surveillance System  
16
2
Total
 72 
125
261
 
   2007/08  2008/09 2009/10
  £'000 £'000 £'000
Maintenance expenditure 
28
25
43
Total
 28  25 43

The information provided does not include the following capital projects which contain an element of CCTV, but the costs relating to it are not readily available from Translink:

1. Newry Railway Station

2. Greenisland Park and Ride

3. Whiteabbey Park and Ride

4. Whitehead Park and ride

5. Menary’s Miniature Stop Lights Provision

6. Class 3000 Trains

Cairnshill Park and Ride Scheme

Dr A McDonnell asked the Minister for Regional Development to detail (i) the amount invested in the Cairnshill Park and Ride scheme in South Belfast; (ii) the expected date of completion; (iii) when the site and transport service is expected to become fully operational; and (iv) if there are any plans for usage of this site in the interim.

(AQW 7880/10)

Minister for Regional Development: Plans for the introduction of a new park and ride facility at Cairnshill are well advanced and I can confirm that a £7.9m capital investment has been made. Of this £6.25m relates to land costs and £1.65m to construction costs.

Although the construction work at the site is largely complete, the procurement of the bus services, together with the introduction of further bus priority measures, need to be finalised before the site becomes fully operational. I hope to be able to announce the outcome of the procurement in the autumn.

In the meantime, I have asked officials to investigate opening the car park as a park and share site and to consider how existing Translink bus services could be used to benefit accessing the city centre.

CO 71 Contract

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development, pursuant to AQW 6916/10, to detail (i) if NI Water has obtained the date when each individual, employed under the CO 71 contract, started working for NI Water; (ii) whether employees were informed of (a) the purpose for seeking this information, and if not, to detail why; (b) where this information has been stored; and (c) how to access the information to check its accuracy; and (iii) to list those who have access to the information.

(AQW 7927/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I have been advised by Northern Ireland Water (NIW) that as part of its transition to a Government owned Company it sought to obtain some data on all external contractors engaged in its business via contract CO71, in order that it could measure against the requirements of the contract tender arrangement and to understand any future implications of that contract.

As such:

(i) The dates of original engagement for external contractors via various contracts were estimated by NIW line managers.

(ii) (a) External contractors were not approached as this was an internal NIW management exercise.

  1. The information is stored on an internal Microsoft excel spreadsheet.
  2. Access to the information is limited.

(iii) The Head of Mechanical & Electrical in NIW has access to the information.

CO 71 Contract

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development, pursuant to AQW 6916/10, to outline which management level within NI Water requested that the start date of each individual, employed under the CO 71 contract, should be obtained.

(AQW 7930/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I have been advised by Northern Ireland Water that senior management at Level 3 grade sought the estimated start dates for each external contractor engaged via contract CO71.

CO 71 Contract

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development, pursuant to AQW 6916/10, whether NI Water complied with the Data Protection Act 1998 in relation to obtaining the start date of each individual employed under the CO 71 contract.

(AQW 7933/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I have been advised by Northern Ireland Water (NIW) that obtaining the estimated start dates for each external contractor engaged via contract CO71 was an internal NIW management exercise and as such does not fall under the interpretation of sensitive personal data within the Data Protection Act.

NIW is registered (Z9774154) on the Information Commissioner’s Office Data Protection Register and this provides the necessary data protection compliance to seek and hold employment history on external contractors.

Unadopted Alleyways and Paths

Mrs N Long asked the Minister for Regional Development whether his Department has any plans to develop a strategy for the adoption and maintenance of unadopted alleyways and paths.

(AQW 8001/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department’s Roads Service does not have any plans to develop a strategy for the adoption and maintenance of unadopted alleyways and paths.

Public expenditure to bring such alleyways and paths up to adoption standard, and to maintain them, would be an unjustifiable cost to my Department and would not provide good value for money.

Unadopted Alleyways

Mrs N Long asked the Minister for Regional Development what discussions his Department has had with local government in relation to the difficulty posed in terms of health and safety by poorly maintained, unadopted alleyways.

(AQW 8002/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department’s Roads Service is not responsible for the maintenance of unadopted alleyways and, as such, has not had any discussions with local government in relation to the difficulty posed in terms of health and safety by poorly maintained, unadopted alleyways.

Water Charges: Commercial Properties

Mr M Storey asked the Minister for Regional Development to list the retail or commercial properties that have not paid water charges in the last 12 months, broken down by council area.

(AQW 8014/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I am advised by Northern Ireland Water (NIW) that release of the information requested in relation to specific retail or commercial properties would breach its duty of confidentiality to its customers in respect of maintaining commercially sensitive information which they would have no expectation would be publicly disclosed without their consent. The reputations of those businesses concerned would be damaged if this information was disclosed and disclosure would likely be prejudicial to the commercial interests of those businesses. Information on the names of specific businesses is therefore considered exempt under Section 43 "commercial interests of the Freedom of Information Act". However, the table below provides a breakdown, by Council Area, of the total amount of water charges unpaid over the last 12 months by the retail and commercial sectors.

Council
Number of Customers
Current Total Debt
£
Antrim Borough Council
72
93,076.05
Ards Borough Council
123
132,482.85
Armagh City and District Council
243
198,756.11
Ballymena Borough Council
137
169,849.70
Ballymoney Borough Council
58
30,786.05
Banbridge District Council
78
70,204.41
Belfast City Council
703
1,045,606.52
Carrickfergus Borough Council
34
22,634.22
Castlereagh Borough Council
46
38,202.70
Coleraine Borough Council
108
93,133.74
Cookstown District Council
95
72,885.83
Craigavon Borough Council
246
240,207.32
Derry City Council
215
177,464.04
Down District Council
182
121,501.42
Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council
328
360,706.19
Fermanagh District Council
327
319,597.91
Larne Borough Council
26
7,462.99
Limavady Borough Council
46
165,079.43
Lisburn City Council
102
89,290.62
Magherafelt District Council
138
101,274.95
Moyle District Council
37
39,080.93
Newry and Mourne District Council
382
392,475.80
Newtownabbey Borough Council
94
276,322.43
North Down Borough Council
67
64,473.40
Omagh District Council
227
167,946.51
Strabane District Council
105
67,496.40
Unknown
161
250,163.38
Grand Total
4,380
4,808,161.90

Water Charges: Commercial Properties

Mr M Storey asked the Minister for Regional Development what is the total amount of revenue outstanding as a result of the non-payment of water charges by retail or commercial properties.

(AQW 8015/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I have been advised by Northern Ireland Water that the total amount of revenue outstanding from 1 April 2007 to 31 May 2010 as a result of the non-payment of water charges by retail and commercial properties is £12, 444, 837. This includes £3,182,312 relating to properties billed in May 2010.

Reservoirs at Craigantlet, North Down

Mr A Easton asked the Minister for Regional Development to detail any future plans for the reservoirs at Craigantlet, North Down.

(AQW 8022/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I have been advised by Northern Ireland Water (NIW) that that there are four impounding reservoirs at Craigantlet - Church Road, Creightons Green and Ballysallagh Lower and Upper. All four reservoirs, along with their associated water treatment facilities, have been taken out of service as part of the implementation of NIW’s Water Resource Strategy. It is expected that, within the next few months, these assets will be declared ‘no longer required for future use’ and will be disposed of in accordance with NIW’s disposal policy.

Proposed Bridge for Carlingford Lough

Mr A Easton asked the Minister for Regional Development for an update on the proposed bridge for Carlingford Lough.

(AQW 8024/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I assume the Member’s question refers to the proposal for a bridge at Narrow Water across the Newry River, which flows into Carlingford Lough from the north-west.

The Narrow Water Bridge proposal is being taken forward by Louth County Council and my Department has no direct involvement in this project, nor has it made any commitment to contribute funds to this scheme. However, when requested, my Department’s Roads Service will continue to co-operate with its counterparts in the South, as it continues to develop and take forward this project. Significant work has already been completed and I understand that Louth County Council is to undertake further appraisal of the proposal, prior to progressing it through the statutory processes.

The Member may also recall that I have recently welcomed the conclusions of the Feasibility Report into the Newry Southern Relief Road scheme, which would link the A2 Warrenpoint Road to the A1 Belfast/Dublin dual carriageway, just south of Newry. Roads Service is proceeding with the further environmental and engineering assessments considered necessary to identify a preferred corridor for the Relief Road. This will include engaging in a wider consultation process, in due course.

NI Water: Staff Redundancies

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development how many staff who were made redundant by NI Water were then re-employed by (i) NI Water directly; or (ii) contractors working on behalf of NI Water, in each of the last five years.

(AQW 8037/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I am advised by Northern Ireland Water (NIW) that no employees made redundant by NIW were re-employed by the company directly. NIW is unaware of any ex-employees being re-engaged by contractors working on its behalf. There is no requirement for employees made redundant to notify NIW of future employment.

NI Water: Investigations into the Appointment of Staff

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development whether there are any ongoing investigations in relation to the appointment of staff within NI Water.

(AQW 8039/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I have been advised by Northern Ireland Water (NIW) that there are no ongoing investigations in relation to the appointment of staff within NIW.

Cycling

Mr C McDevitt asked the Minister for Regional Development what consideration he has given to extending the limit on the maximum number of riders in cycling competitions in order to encourage the up-take of the sport and to promote his policy of encouraging cycling as an alternative means of transport.

(AQW 8043/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department’s Roads Service has advised that Cycling Ulster submitted a request to the Committee for Culture, Arts, and Leisure in January 2010, seeking a change to legislation to allow more cyclists to participate in cycling road races. This request was forwarded to Roads Service for consideration.

Although my Department has responsibility for the relevant legislation, it has no policy interest in this issue. Indeed, this issue is cross cutting with the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure having an interest in the promotion of sport, NI Tourist Board having responsibility for tourism events, the Department of Environment having an interest in road safety and the PSNI having an interest in roads policing. However, Roads Service is willing to facilitate any changes agreed by the various stakeholders.

Roads Service convened a meeting on 7 June 2010 with the stakeholders to discuss the request from Cycling Ulster. Further discussions are planned, and it is hoped to complete consultations before the end of September this year.

I can also advise the Member that my Department, through its Travelwise initiative, continues to promote and facilitate cycling as a healthy, environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative means of transport. An Active Travel Forum was established in February this year to research, and bring forward recommendations for an Active Travel Strategy, which will include consideration of the barriers faced by cyclists and proposals to address them.

Consultants

Mr D Kinahan asked the Minister for Regional Development what steps he is taking to review the use of consultants in his Department.

(AQW 8069/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department continually monitors its use of consultants in order to ensure that it only engages external consultants when absolutely necessary where they will provide value for money.

The Department has a number of measures in place to manage the use of consultants which include:

Residents Parking Schemes

Mr J Dallat asked the Minister for Regional Development when he plans to introduce residents parking schemes in (i) Coleraine; (ii) Kilrea; (iii) Garvagh; (iv) Portrush; and (v) Portstewart.

(AQW 8071/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I can advise that my Department’s Roads Service currently has no plans to introduce residents parking schemes in any of the areas identified.

NI Water: Director of Customer Service Delivery

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development to detail the (i) job specification; (ii) essential criteria; and (iii) desirable criteria for the position of Director of Customer Service Delivery within NI Water.

(AQW 8093/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I have been advised by Northern Ireland Water (NIW) that the Job/Person Specification for the position of Director of Customer Service Delivery was as set out below. All criteria were deemed essential except where "desirable" stated.

(i) Knowledge / Experience

a. A degree or equivalent

b. Significant experience in the utilities sector or a demonstrably similar environment

c. Senior (director or head of department) level experience

d. Proven track record in operational management or customer service at a senior level (Experience in both is desirable)

e. Has played a demonstrable and leading role in the management of significant change programmes / projects

f. Experience of managing a sizeable budget (c£50million)

g. Experience of improving working practices and productivity whilst the business goes through a significant period of change and cost cutting

(ii) Thinking Competencies / Skills (e.g. intelligence, problem solving, vision)

a. Forward thinking/vision

b. Analytical

c. Conceptualisation/modelling

d. Problem solving

(iii) Relating Competencies / Skills (e.g. leading, interpersonal, negotiating)

a. Strong leadership skills with evident gravitas

b. Ability to motivate people and get the best out of them

c. Ability to relate to people at all levels

d. Building co-operation and teamwork across all functions

e. Competent in operating at Board level or equivalent

f. Able to act as an ambassador for the company with stakeholders (customers, shareholder, regulators and employees)

(iV) Achieving Competencies / Skills (e.g. results, prioritising, energy, tenacity)

a. Planning and prioritising

b. Understanding what is important and what is not

c. Robust project management

d. Optimising costs and outcomes

e. Delegation and follow up

f. High energy levels with a strong and clear focus on outcomes but willing to focus on and understand detail

(v) Chemistry / culture / fit

a. Able to make a personal impact

b. Ability to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity

c. Tenacious and resilient

d. Open and acceptable

Home location: Lives in or willing to relocate to Northern Ireland

Other: Own car or access to vehicle and current valid licence

NI Water: Director of Customer Service Delivery

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development how many applications NI Water received for the position of Director of Customer Service Delivery; and how many applications progressed to the interview stage.

(AQW 8094/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I have been advised by Northern Ireland Water that 50 applications were received for the position of Director of Customer Service Delivery of which 9 progressed to interview stage.

NI Water: Director of Customer Service Delivery

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development to detail who sat on the interview panel for the position of Director of Customer Services Delivery within NI Water.

(AQW 8095/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I have been advised by Northern Ireland Water (NIW) that the interview panel for the position of Director of Customer Services Delivery was comprised of the Chairman of NIW, Chris Mellor, the Chief Executive of NIW, Laurence MacKenzie and NIW’s Director of Human Resources, Pauline Shepherd.

Land Sale at the Vacant Site at 22-24 William Street, Lurgan

Mrs D Kelly asked the Minister for Regional Development what is the timescale for the completion of the land sale at the vacant site at 22-24 William Street, Lurgan; and the reason for the delay in the sale of this site.

(AQW 8104/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department’s Roads Service has advised that the disposal of Departmental land at 18–24 William Street, Lurgan was completed on 25 June 2010.

I understand that there was a slight delay in completing the disposal, due to the need to secure a Licence to facilitate an emergency access to the rear of the subject property.

Speed Limit Outside Schools in North Down

Mr P Weir asked the Minister for Regional Development to outline any proposals he has to reduce the speed limit outside schools in North Down to 20mph.

(AQW 8112/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department's Roads Service has advised that it has no plans to reduce the speed limit outside schools to 20mph in the North Down constituency.

Residents Parking Schemes

Mr P Weir asked the Minister for Regional Development what is the proposed timescale for the introduction of residents parking schemes outside Belfast.

(AQW 8115/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department’s Roads Service has advised that a small number of schemes are currently being progressed outside Belfast, and the scheme within the City of Derry is at the most advanced stage. It is possible it may be in place by next Spring, subject to the availability of the necessary funding.

However, Roads Service has carried out preliminary surveys in a number of towns to help determine areas where there are significant parking issues for residents.

Within the Belfast Metropolitan Area, the implementation of residents’ parking schemes has been delayed due to difficulties in gaining sufficient local community support for the proposals. Consultation is continuing at present, and the outcome will help inform plans for future schemes within the Belfast Metropolitan Area.

CO 71: Telemetry Validation Project

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development, pursuant to AQW 7585/10, in relation to identifying suitably skilled and experienced staff for the Telemetry Validation Project, whether NI Water took into account an individual's length of service and what consideration was given to possible Transfer Of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations implications for NI Water.

(AQW 8127/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I am advised by Northern Ireland Water (NIW) that in October 2008 Williams Industrial Services provided it with specific individuals to work in the Telemetry Validation Project and other business areas. Williams Industrial Services were advised that, as the employer, they retained full responsibility for the selection and allocation of their employees in relation to the Telemetry Validation Project. The length of service of Williams’ employees was not a consideration for NIW.

NIW does not consider that there was a transfer of employment and therefore did not give consideration to possible implications arising from the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006.

CO 71 Telemetry Validation Project

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development, pursuant to AQW 7585/10, at what management level NI Water engaged with Williams Industrial Services to identify individuals to work on the CO 71 Telemetry Validation Project.

(AQW 8128/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I am advised by Northern Ireland Water that Senior Management at Level 3 engaged with Williams Industrial Services.

CO 71 Contract

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development what action NI Water has taken to correct and update records of service for staff employed under the CO 71 contract.

(AQW 8129/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I am advised by Northern Ireland Water (NIW) that as advised in previous responses to Assembly Questions, those engaged via CO71 are not employees of NIW and as such we do not retain any records of service for those contractors as they are employees of the "contractor".

CO 71 Contract

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development what steps NI Water has taken to ensure that it adheres to the Transfer Of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations entitlement for staff employed under the CO 71 contract.

(AQW 8131/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I am advised by Northern Ireland Water that the C071 contract specification makes clear the contractor’s specific responsibilities which include the potential application of the Transfer Of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 and the Service Provision Change (Protection of Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 in circumstances where there is a cessation or partial cessation of the contract.

CO 71 Contract

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development how many staff employed under the CO 71 contract have (i) received redundancy; or (ii) not received redundancy.

(AQW 8132/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I am advised by Northern Ireland Water (NIW) that, as explained in previous responses to questions relating to the employment status of the staff employed under the CO71 contract, the staff are not employed by NIW and consequently it has no knowledge of how many have or have not received redundancy.

Road Gritting

Mr P Weir asked the Minister for Regional Development to detail (i) the number of hours; and (ii) the amount spent on road gritting in the 2009/10 financial year by (a) Roads Service; and (b) external contractors.

(AQW 8145/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department’s Roads Service supplements its in-house drivers, with drivers sourced through an external contract, to deliver its Winter Gritting Service. During the 2009/10 Winter Service Season approximately 43,000 man hours were committed to delivering the Winter Gritting Service. Roads Service spent approximately £8.1 million on gritting during the 2009/10 financial year, of which approximately £565,000 related to external driver costs.

The overall cost includes supervision, scouting, staff resources and salt.

Sewage Pollution in Rivers

Mr I McCrea asked the Minister for Regional Development how many incidents of sewage pollution have occurred in rivers in the Mid-Ulster area, in each of the last three years.

(AQW 8166/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I am advised by Northern Ireland Water (NIW) that pollution incidents attributed to NIW are classified by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency according to the severity of the incident. The severity ratings of high, medium, low and unsubstantiated are applied to pollution incidents, according to the impact of the incident.

The number of incidents in Mid-Ulster over the past three years is set out in the table below.

 
1 Apr 2007 – 31 Mar 2008
1 Apr 2008 – 31 Mar 2009
1 Apr 2009 – 31 Mar 2010
High
0
0
0
Medium
1
14
13
Low
3
1
4
Total
4
15
17

New Social Housing Units at Church Road, Rasharkin

Mr D McKay asked the Minister for Regional Development what action NI Water will take to ensure that the 11 proposed new social housing units at Church Road, Rasharkin can be built by 2012/13.

(AQW 8171/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I am advised by Northern Ireland Water (NIW) that the public sewerage system serving Rasharkin has currently adequate capacity to cater for the proposed 11 new social housing units at Church Road, Rasharkin.  Responsibility for approving or refusing planning applications rests with the Department of the Environment’s Planning Service.

Traffic Calming Measures in Greater Belfast

Mr C McDevitt asked the Minister for Regional Development to detail the cost, per kilometre, of installing all forms of traffic calming measures and the total amount spent on traffic calming measures in the Greater Belfast Metropolitan area, in each of the last three years.

(AQW 8173/10)

Minister for Regional Development: Road Safety remains a high priority for my Departments Roads Service, and they are committed to delivering a programme of sustainable transport measures aimed at reducing the numbers of collisions on the road network and giving appropriate priority to pedestrians and cyclists.

Traffic Calming is a recognised form of Traffic Engineering which Roads Service use to achieve this aim. Every traffic calming scheme is unique and comprises of a combination of many different features, such as speed humps, speed cushions, kerb build outs, pedestrian refuges, roundabouts etc. Roads Service has also implemented several pilot 20 mph zones to restore the balance between vehicular traffic and pedestrians.

As every scheme is unique, with differing features and design, it is not possible to give a definitive cost per kilometre for traffic calming. However, Roads Service has advised that it has spent some £1,506,000 on traffic calming schemes implemented during the last three financial years in the Greater Belfast Metropolitan area, which includes the six Councils of Belfast, Carrickfergus, Castlereagh, Lisburn, Newtownabbey and North Down. A breakdown of these costs over the last three financial years is detailed in the table below.

The measures provided consisted of road humps, speed cushions, priority junctions, pinch points, footway build-outs, road narrowing, channelisation, formalised parking, traffic islands, mini–roundabouts and gateway features.

Financial Year Cost
2007 – 2008
£494,000
2008 – 2009
£552,000
2009 – 2010
£460,000

Speed Limit for Rathmore Road in Bangor

Mr P Weir asked the Minister for Regional Development if he can confirm that the current speed limit for Rathmore Road in Bangor is 30mph.

(AQW 8204/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department’s Roads Service has advised that the Rathmore Road, Bangor has a current speed limit of 30mph.

Speed Humps

Mr P Weir asked the Minister for Regional Development for his assessment of the use of speed humps, given concerns regarding the delays caused to ambulances and fire engines.

(AQW 8205/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department’s Roads Service has advised that considerable research has been carried out into the design and performance of road humps since the Highways (Road Humps) Regulations 1990 were introduced. All traffic calming measures are designed and implemented in accordance with these regulations.

When implementing any traffic calming scheme, my Department’s Roads Service undertakes an extensive consultation process, during which, all ‘blue light’ emergency services are given the opportunity to comment. Should any of these services voice a concern about a particular scheme, Roads Service will modify the design in order to obtain an acceptable compromise, which will not jeopardise any emergency vehicle’s response time.

Transport for Passengers Travelling from Magherafelt to the Antrim Area Hospital

Mr I McCrea asked the Minister for Regional Development what public transport is available for passengers travelling from Magherafelt to the Antrim Area Hospital.

(AQW 8208/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I have been informed by Translink that Ulsterbus service 110 operates a regular service from Magherafelt to Antrim Bus Station. A separate Ulsterbus service, 321e, operates from Antrim Bus Station to Antrim Area Hospital.

Overhead Motorway Information Signage

Mr S Hamilton asked the Minister for Regional Development (i) on how many occasions and for how long each time any overhead motorway information signage has been out of operation; and (ii) what has been the cost of repairing any breakdowns.

(AQW 8241/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department’s Roads Service has advised that, depending on their nature, faults can affect a single sign, or a multiple of signs. According to Roads Service’s records over the past six months, the number of occasions when the operation of the signs has been affected by faults, is as follows:-

January/February 2010 - 24

March/April 2010 - 16

May/June 2010 - 19

The maintenance of the variable message signs is included within a maintenance contract for the overall motorway control system. The average time to repair the above faults was 2.4 hours.

With regard to the cost of repairing the faults, this is included within the maintenance contract price, which is currently £560,000 per annum. This cost includes the maintenance of all the motorway control equipment, such as variable message signs, lane matrix signals, CCTV, MIDAS incident detection loops and the communications network. Roads Service does not hold information on the specific costs of rectifying faults on the variable message signs.

Motorway Information Signage

Mr S Hamilton asked the Minister for Regional Development how much the existing system used for motorway information signage cost to purchase.

(AQW 8242/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department’s Roads Service has advised that variable message signs within a motorway control system were first installed on the motorway network in 1995, in conjunction with the opening of M3 Lagan Bridge. Since then, the system has been improved and extended to other parts of the motorway network. There has been variation in prices over the past 15 years, and many of the signs were procured as part of more extensive facilities, or through a Design Build Finance Operate contract, therefore, Roads Service is unable to provide a cost for the motorway information signage element, currently on the motorway network.

However, I can advise that, at current prices for signage of this nature, the cost to Roads Service would be in the region of £24,000 for gantry mounted signs, and £80,000 for free standing cantilever type signs.

Interim Members for the Board of NI Water

Miss M McIlveen asked the Minister for Regional Development how many applications were received for the posts as interim members of the Board of NI Water.

(AQW 8284/10)

Minister for Regional Development: As part of the emergency appointments process adopted in this instance (and for which the Department secured the approval of the Commissioner of Public Appointments) the Department drew up a ‘long list’ of potential candidates and these individuals were approached to gauge their level of interest. Following this process the Panel then considered 11 candidates for the posts of interim Non-Executive Directors to the Board of Northern Ireland Water.

Interim Members for the Board of NI Water.

Miss M McIlveen asked the Minister for Regional Development what salary the newly appointed interim members of the Board of NI Water will receive.

(AQW 8285/10)

Minister for Regional Development: The newly appointed interim non executive members of the Board of Northern Ireland Water will receive a fee of £18,000 per annum (pro rata) based on an estimated time commitment of 2 days per month. Any days worked in addition to this estimate will be remunerated at £750 per diem subject to a maximum of four additional days.

Board of NI Water

Miss M McIlveen asked the Minister for Regional Development to outline the expenses entitlement of members of the Board of NI Water.

(AQW 8287/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I have been advised by Northern Ireland Water (NIW) that members of its Board are entitled to reimbursement of those expenses incurred in the course of their duties, provided they are claimed in accordance with the rules governing such expenses as set out in the NIW Employee Handbook. The range of expenses that may be payable along with associated rates and upper limits are set out in the table below. All expense claims for NIW Board members must be supported by receipts and authorised by the Chief Executive Officer of NIW before payment is made.

Expense Type Rate / Limit
Official Mileage £0.40 per mile if motor vehicle insurance is covered for business purposes
Official Mileage £0.257 per mile if motor vehicle insurance is not covered for business purposes
Day Subsistence Allowance £4.25 if more than 5 hours away from normal place of work
Day Subsistence Allowance £9.30 if more than 10 hours away from normal place of work
Night Subsistence Allowance (Central London) Up to £120 per night & £18.30 to cover lunch and dinner
Night Subsistence Allowance (Elsewhere in GB and NI) Up to £80 per night & £18.30 to cover lunch and dinner
Personal Expenses Allowance £5.00 per night

Board of NI Water

Miss M McIlveen asked the Minister for Regional Development to outline the process and criteria used to appoint non-executive members to the Board of NI Water.

(AQW 8288/10)

Minister for Regional Development: In circumstances where the Department had to move quickly pending the running of a full public appointments process I agreed to the Department using an emergency process to fill the four non-executive positions. The Department then discussed the proposed process with the Commissioner for Public Appointments (Felicity Huston) to seek her support to deviate from the normal appointments process. Selection criteria for the four interim appointments were based on business and stakeholder needs. A list of names of potential candidates was drawn up and individuals were contacted to gauge their interest and were asked to submit CV’s. Interviews or "conversations with a purpose" were then held by a panel which included an Independent Assessor. Finally, recommendations were made to me for approval.

Interim Members for the Board of NI Water.

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development to outline the selection process used to identify interim members for the Board of NI Water.

(AQW 8312/10)

Minister for Regional Development: In circumstances where the Department had to move quickly pending the running of a full public appointments process I agreed to the Department using an emergency process to fill the four non-executive positions. The Department then discussed with and secured the support of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (Felicity Huston) to deviate from the normal appointments process. A list of names of potential candidates was drawn up and individuals were contacted to gauge their interest. Interviews or "conversations with a purpose" were then held by a panel which included an Independent Assessor.

The Panel concluded that it was essential for candidates to have:

It was also desirable for candidates to demonstrate competence in the following:

Although a significant number of individuals on the list were contacted it must be said that many were not interested in putting themselves forward to be considered for the Interim appointments. However despite the challenges faced the Department still managed to create a competitive environment undertaking interviews/ conversations with a purpose with 11 candidates for the Non-Executive appointments.

Interim Members for the Board of NI Water

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development (i) where the posts for interim members on the Board of NI Water were advertised; (ii) to detail (a) the job specification; (b) the essential criteria; and (c) the desirable criteria requested; and to include a copy of the advertisement.

(AQW 8313/10)

Minister for Regional Development: The posts of interim Non-Executive Directors to the Board of Northern Ireland Water were not advertised. In circumstances where the Department had to move quickly pending the running of a full public appointments process I agreed to the Department using an emergency process to fill the four non-executive positions. The Department duly sought and received the support of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (Felicity Huston) to deviate from the normal appointments process. The essential criteria developed for the interim appointments were as follows:

Desirable criteria included:

The role of the non-executives is to bring an independent judgement to bear on issues of strategy, performance, governance and executive appointments within NIW. They are expected to bring wide experience and critical detachment to the work of the NIW Board and be prepared to constructively criticise and assist executive management in the development of strategic objectives and policies. A list of names of potential candidates was drawn up and individuals were contacted to gauge their interest. Interviews or "conversations with a purpose" were then held by a panel which included an Independent Assessor, appointed at the request of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Interim Members for the Board of NI Water.

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development whether any conflict of interest arose on behalf of the current NI Water staff or the Minister in relation to the (i) identification; (ii) selection; and (iii) appointment of interim members on the Board of NI Water.

(AQW 8314/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I was invited to consider the list of candidates to be seen by the Panel and to identify any further candidates to be considered by the Panel.

The interviewing Panel included an Independent Assessor who asked each interviewee to confirm that they had no conflicts of interest or probity issues that would effect them carrying out the role of a non-executive director in NI Water, or that would have any detrimental impact on NI Water. There were no such issues identified in respect of the interim Board members appointed.

CO71 Contract

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development (i) why NI Water extended the CO71 contract for 6 months, on two successive occasions, without the contract going out to tender; (ii) to provide a breakdown of the costs incurred by extending this contract on both occasions; (iii) whether legal advice was sought before the contract was extended; and (iv) if NI Water has any plans to extent the contract for a third time.

(AQW 8330/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I am advised by Northern Ireland Water (NIW) that (i) the original tender provided it with an option to extend C071 for up to one year from 1 October 2009 to 30 September 2010. NIW exercised its option to extend in two six monthly terms in agreement with the incumbent provider; (ii) No costs were incurred in either of the extensions as both were agreed on the basis of current contract prices; (iii) Legal advice was not sought as the extensions were within scope of the originally advertised requirement; (iv) NIW will be re-advertising the requirement with a view to having the new arrangements in place by September 2010.

NI Water Staff

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development to outline the criteria used by NI Water to transfer staff under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations.

(AQW 8333/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I am advised by Northern Ireland Water (NIW) that the criteria used to transfer staff under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations are set out within the provisions of Section 3 of the regulations. The relevant extract is set out below. (1) These Regulations apply to—(a) a transfer of an undertaking, business or part of an undertaking or business situated immediately before the transfer in the United Kingdom to another person where there is a transfer of an economic entity which retains its identity; (b) a service provision change, that is a situation in which—(i) activities cease to be carried out by a person ("a client") on his own behalf and are carried out instead by another person on the client's behalf ("a contractor"); (ii) activities cease to be carried out by a contractor on a client's behalf (whether or not those activities had previously been carried out by the client on his own behalf) and are carried out instead by another person ("a subsequent contractor") on the client's behalf; or (iii) activities cease to be carried out by a contractor or a subsequent contractor on a client's behalf (whether or not those activities had previously been carried out by the client on his own behalf) and are carried out instead by the client on his own behalf,and in which the conditions set out in paragraph (3) are satisfied.(2) In this regulation "economic entity" means an organised grouping of resources which has the objective of pursuing an economic activity, whether or not that activity is central or ancillary.    (3) The conditions referred to in paragraph (1)(b) are that—(a) immediately before the service provision change—(i) there is an organised grouping of employees situated in Great Britain which has as its principal purpose the carrying out of the activities concerned on behalf of the client; (ii) the client intends that the activities will, following the service provision change, be carried out by the transferee other than in connection with a single specific event or task of short-term duration; and(b) the activities concerned do not consist wholly or mainly of the supply of goods for the client's use.(4) Subject to paragraph (1), these Regulations apply to—(a) public and private undertakings engaged in economic activities whether or not they are operating for gain; (b) a transfer or service provision change howsoever effected notwithstanding—(i) that the transfer of an undertaking, business or part of an undertaking or business is governed or effected by the law of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom or that the service provision change is governed or effected by the law of a country or territory outside Great Britain; (ii) that the employment of persons employed in the undertaking, business or part transferred or, in the case of a service provision change, persons employed in the organised grouping of employees, is governed by any such law;(c) a transfer of an undertaking, business or part of an undertaking or business (which may also be a service provision change) where persons employed in the undertaking, business or part transferred ordinarily work outside the United Kingdom.(5) An administrative reorganisation of public administrative authorities or the transfer of administrative functions between public administrative authorities is not a relevant transfer.     (6) A relevant transfer—(a) may be effected by a series of two or more transactions; and (b) may take place whether or not any property is transferred to the transferee by the transferor. (7) Where, in consequence (whether directly or indirectly) of the transfer of an undertaking, business or part of an undertaking or business which was situated immediately before the transfer in the United Kingdom, a ship within the meaning of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995[9] registered in the United Kingdom ceases to be so registered, these Regulations shall not affect the right conferred by section 29 of that Act (right of seamen to be discharged when ship ceases to be registered in the United Kingdom) on a seaman employed in the ship.

CO71 Tender

Mr G Robinson asked the Minister for Regional Development (i) how NI Water ensures that (a) embedded contract staff under NI Water tender CO71; or (b) mechanical and engineering staff employed directly by NI Water, do not deliberately interfere with, disrupt or contaminate the public water supply or waste water system which they maintain; (ii) how the security of the water and waste water systems is monitored during normal working hours and outside normal working hours; and (iii) who is responsible for the security arrangements.

(AQW 8344/10)

Minister for Regional Development: I am advised by Northern Ireland Water (NIW) that as explained in previous answers it does not recognise the term "embedded contract staff". It is a statutory duty on NIW to provide wholesome water and it is an offence to provide water that is unfit for human consumption. With regard to the security arrangements for protecting the public water and wastewater systems, responsibility for ensuring that security is maintained within specific works areas rests with the managers of those areas. NIW takes advice from government security advisors in liaison with PSNI. In line with advice provided, NIW does not comment on security matters. The disclosure of security arrangements could jeopardise the integrity of the public water and wastewater systems.

Speed Humps

Mr P Weir asked the Minister for Regional Development for his assessment of the designed safe approach speed of all vehicles to speed humps.

(AQW 8348/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Departments Roads Service is committed to reducing the number of casualties on our roads and Traffic Calming is a recognised and proven safety measure.Since the Highways (Road Humps) Regulations 1990 were introduced, considerable research has been carried out into the design and performance of road humps. Roads Service design and implement all Traffic Calming measures in accordance with these regulations and, although the regulation does not specify a design speed, dimensions and location of the humps are closely regulated to reduce vehicles speed and prevent passenger discomfort.All schemes are signed with appropriate traffic signs, which are positioned to provide adequate warning of the presence of a road hump or a series of road humps. These signs allow a driver entering a traffic calmed area to adjust their speed accordingly and negotiate the various Traffic Calming measures in a safe manner.

Parking at Train Stations

Mr P Weir asked the Minister for Regional Development what steps his Department is taking to increase the availability of parking at train stations.

(AQW 8350/10)

Minister for Regional Development: In line with the strategic direction and underlying principles contained in the Regional Transportation Strategy (RTS) and working closely with my Department, Translink continue to develop and implement the Park and Ride schemes allowed for in the three Transport Plans - the Regional Strategic Transport Network (RSTN), the Belfast Metropolitan Area (BMA) and the Sub-Regional Transport Plan (SRTP).However, given the budgetary constraints on capital funding and the need to prioritise projects, funding for such Park & Ride schemes will be subject to budget availability and the necessary approvals.

Car Parking Provision at Carnalea Train Station

Mr P Weir asked the Minister for Regional Development what plans his Department has to increase the car parking provision at Carnalea Train Station.

(AQW 8351/10)

Minister for Regional Development: Given the budgetary constraints on capital funding and the need to prioritise railway projects, my Department has no plans at this time to develop new parking facilities at Carnalea train station.

Belfast International Airport: £1 Drop-Off and Pick-Up Levy

Mr S Gardiner asked the Minister for Regional Development if Belfast International Airport consulted his Department regarding the implementation of a £1 levy for access to the passenger set-down and pick-up area at the airport.

(AQW 8366/10)

Minister for Regional Development: No. The levying of access charges within the boundary of the privately owned airport is a matter for the owner. My Department was, however, given notice of the airport’s intentions.

Belfast International Airport: £1 Set-Down and Pick-Up Levy

Mr S Gardiner asked the Minister for Regional Development if a traffic impact assessment has been carried out in relation to the decision to implement a £1 levy for access to the passenger set-down and pick-up area at Belfast International Airport.

(AQW 8367/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department’s Roads Service has advised that there was no Planning Application associated with the decision by Belfast International Airport to introduce a £1 levy for access to the passenger set-down and pick-up area. As such, a traffic impact assessment has not been carried out.

Translink

Mr G McHugh asked the Minister for Regional Development why Translink has increased bus and train fares four times in the last two years and whether he has any plans to prevent any further increases.

(AQW 8375/10)

Minister for Regional Development: Fares increases are always a last resort. However it is important to recognise the financial pressures facing Translink. Indeed as Translink remains a Public Corporation those financial pressures are my responsibility. It would not be in the best interests of the consumer or the taxpayer for a financial plan to be agreed that could lead to major difficulties in the organization. Indeed Translink retains company status and there are responsibilities as a direct result. I believe the fares increases have been necessary and justified and kept to the minimum. In respect of the most recent overall increase agreement was given only after carefully balancing up the arguments made by Translink against other stakeholder views. Critically I also took independent advice on the financial position of Translink which confirmed that there were no alternatives available. Discussions around next year’s financial plans will take place in the context of budgetary, cost and passenger information available at the time. I can assure you I will endeavour to keep fares to the minimum for the consumer.

Parking Fines Issued in Enniskillen

Mr T Elliott asked the Minister for Regional Development how many parking fines have been issued in Enniskillen since January 2008 to vehicles registered (i) in Northern Ireland; and (ii) in the Republic of Ireland.

(AQW 8385/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department’s Roads Service has advised that it is not possible to differentiate between parking fines issued to vehicles registered in the North and those registered in Britain, or other countries. However, information is available for Southern registered vehicles.I can advise that 19,535 Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) were issued in Enniskillen town from 1 January 2008 to 30 June 2010, of which 6,484 were Southern registered vehicles.

A4 and A5 Roads

Mr B McElduff asked the Minister for Regional Development to outline his Department's strategy to keep traffic flowing while the major schemes to improve the A4 and A5 roads are carried out.

(AQW 8400/10)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department’s Roads Service has advised that the A4 Dualling scheme, which started construction in December 2007, has progressed to date with the minimum of disruption to traffic passing through the works. While Roads Service has endeavoured to facilitate the free passage of traffic during the works, its primary focus is ensuring the safety of road users and construction workers. Prior to the implementation of any traffic management measure the contractor must submit proposals to Roads Service for comment. Regular meetings are also held throughout the period of contract, between Roads Service and the Contractor, to discuss any proposed traffic management measures and to review the impact of those measures already implemented.Lane closures have been used during the A4 construction works and they have been very successful in terms of ensuring safety, and minimising delay to through traffic. Some night time closures of the A4, with associated diversions, have also been allowed, where lane closures alone could not ensure safe working, for example, to facilitate the placing of bridge beams, that can weigh up to 50 tonnes. When a lane closure is allowed, it attracts a financial penalty known as a Lane Occupation Charge. The severity of the charge for a lane closure varies depending on the nature of the road, and the time of the day during which it is closed. Roads Service has found the use of a Lane Occupation Charge acts as an incentive to minimise the number, and duration, of lane closures granted under the Contract.The proposed route for the A5 Western Transport Corridor dual carriageway is almost entirely off-line from the existing A5. This will bring safety benefits for both road users and construction workers and will also help to minimise traffic disruption. Where the new road crosses the existing A5 and where it ties in at junctions, safety will be given the highest priority. Various measures such as temporary diversions, traffic lights and night working will all be employed to reduce the impact of the works.

Speed Awareness Course Delivered by AA DriveTech

Mr G Adams asked the Minister for Regional Development on what date the speed awareness course delivered by AA DriveTech became available; and who is eligible to apply for this course.

(AQW 8406/10)

Minister for Regional Development: This matter is not the responsibility of my Department. I understand that it is a matter for the Chief Constable of the PSNI and I have sent him the question and asked him to respond directly to you.

Contracts

Ms M Anderson asked the Minister for Regional Development to list (i) all contracts in excess of (a) 12 months duration; and (b) £1 million in value entered into by his Department in the last ten years; (ii) any year on year over-runs in these contracts, in each of the last ten years; (iii) whether there are break clauses attached to the contracts; and (iv) the number of break clauses that have been exercised.

(AQW 8424/10)

Minister for Regional Development: Table 1 lists contracts in excess of 12 months duration and £1m in value procured directly by DRD. The table indicates whether there were any over-runs in these contracts; any break clauses attached to the contractor; and the break clauses exercised.Where possible the information covers contracts entered into over the past 10 years, but in many cases information was only available from 2002-03. Table 2 includes details of the contracts procured by Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) on behalf of DRD which are either £1m or more in value and more than 12 months in duration. This information is limited to contracts awarded prior to 1 April 2002 when CPD was established. Information prior to that period is not readily available and could only be obtained in part and at disproportionate cost.

Table 1
<
(i)
(ii)
(iii)
(iv)
(v)
(vi)
Year All contracts that both exceeded £1m in value (excluding VAT) and lasted longer than 12 months
Year – on year over-run (Extensions)
Period of over-run (Extension)
Break clauses included in the contract
Has a break clause been exercised
Translink Goods & Services
2002/2003
Supply of Vehicle Fuel
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 years extension option taken up
Yes
Exercised
2002/2003
Provision of Class 3000 Maintenance Services
No
Yes
No
2002/2003
Supply of Class 3000 Maintenance Spares
No
Yes
No
2003/2004
Provision of Tyre Rental Services
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 years extension option taken up
Yes
Exercised
2003/2004
Provision of Train Cleaning Services
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 years extension option taken up
Yes
Exercised
2003/2004
Supply of Uniforms
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 years extension option taken up
Yes
Exercised
2006/2007
Supply of Vehicle Fuel
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 years extension option taken up
Yes
Exercised
2006/2007
Supply of Uniforms
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 years extension option taken up
Yes
No
2007/2008
Provision of Security Guarding Services
No
Yes
No
2008/2009
Supply of Electricity
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
No
2009/2010
Supply of Electricity
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
Exercised
Translink Capital Projects
2002/2003
Buses for QBCs
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2002/2003
Magherafelt Bus Station
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2002/2003
Downpatrick Bus Station
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2002/2003
CCTV at Level Crossings
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2002/2003
Train Simulator
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2002/2003
Cleaning & Stabling Facility
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2002/2003
Lurgan Resignalling
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2002/2003
Falls Road Running Repair Shed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2002/2003
New rolling stock
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2003/2004
Bus Purchase
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2003/2004
Moira and Trummery Level Crossings
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2003/2004
Central Station Associated Projects
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2003/2004
Downpatrick Bus Passenger Terminal and Engineering Works
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2003/2004
Replacement Financial Accounting
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2003/2004
Infrastructure Adjustments to accommodate New Trains
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004/2005
Belfast to Whitehead Relay
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004/2005
Relay of Track at Portadown and Moira Railway Stations
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004/2005
Belfast to Whitehead Reconstruction
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004/2005
Integrated Ticketing Project
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004/2005
Buses for QBCs
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004/2005
Bleach Green to Whitehea
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004/2005
Lurgan Resignalling
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004/2005
Magherafelt Bus Centre
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004/2005
New Bus Order
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004/2005
Cleaning Stabling and Valeting Fac.
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004/2005
Antrim to Bleach Green
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004/2005
CCTV at Level Crossings
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004/2005
Bleach Green to Whitehead
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004/2005
Station Halts - DDA Compliance
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2005/2006
Lisburn Bus Station
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2005/2006
T.P.W.S.
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2005/2006
New Rail Vision
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2005/2006
Fencing Programme
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2005/2006
Whitehead to Larne Track Renewal
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2005/2006
York Road Running Repair Depot
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2006/2007
Purchase of New Buses
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2006/2007
Newry Railway Station
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2006/2007
Additional Train Capacity
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2007/2008
New Buses for Belfast Metro Phase 2
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2007/2008
Ulsterbus Fleet Replacement - 90 S/D
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2007/2008
UB Additional School Bus Requirement
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2007/2008
Metro Additional School Bus Requirement
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2007/2008
Ulsterbus Fleet Replacement - 80 D/D
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2007/2008
Ulsterbus Fleet Replacement - 20 Goldliners
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2007/2008
Track Life Extension Works - Ballymena to Londonderry
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2007/2008
New Trains Two - Use of Consultants
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2007/2008
Sea Defences - W'Head to Larne and C'Raine to L’Derry
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2007/2008
New Trains II
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2008/2009
Building Condition Upgrade Programme
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2008/2009
Corporate Asset Management
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2008/2009
Bridge Replacements - Antrim to Coleraine
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2008/2009
Ballast Hopper Wagons
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2008/2009
Class 450 Overhaul Programme
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2008/2009
Meeting House Lane MSL and MCB
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2008/2009
NIR Trackside Fencing Programme
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2008/2009
Ballymena PW and Signalling Facility
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2009/2010
Ulsterbus Fleet Replacement Addendum
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2009/2010
Ulsterbus Fleet Replacement addendum - 44 S/D Rural
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2009/2010
Class 3000 Overhaul Programme
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2009/2010
Train Maintenance Facility
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Roads Service Goods & Services
2002/03
MTC Street Lighting and Traffic Works
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2002/03
MTC Repairs to Structures
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2002/03
MTC Environmental Services 2003Grass Cutting (10 contracts)
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2002/03
MTC Surface Dressing and Renewal of Roadmarkings 2003 (10 Contracts)
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2002/03
TC for Maintenance and Improvements to Structures 2003 (4 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 year extension option taken up
Yes
Exercised in 1 contract
2002/03
TC for Environmental Maintenance 2003 (4 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2002/03
TC for Asphalt and Macadam (Bitmac) Resurfacing 2003 (4 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2002/03
MTC for Street Lighting and Traffic Works 2003 (Eastern Division)
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2002/03
MTC for High Friction Surfacing (2003/2004) all divisions (2 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2002/03
MTC for High Performance Surface Dressing (Using polymer modified binder) 2003 (3 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2002/03
MTC for Minor Improvements to Roads and Carparks 2003 (5 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2002/03
MTC for Minor Improvements to Roads and Carparks 2003 (5 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2002/03
MTC for Bitmac Resurfacing 2003 (9 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2003/04
MTC for Micro-Surfacing of Carriageways, Lay-bys and Footways 2003 (Northern & Western and Southern & Eastern Divisions) (2 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2003/04
MTC for Slurry Sealing of Carriageways, Lay-bys and Footways 2003 (3 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2003/04
MTC for High Friction Surfacing 2003 - (2 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2003/04
MTC for Street Lighting and Street Furniture 2003 (Northern Division)
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2003/04
MTC for Road Markings and Road Studs 2003 (8 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2003/04
TC for Small Scale and Responsive Works 2003 (Eastern Division) (2 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2003/04
MTC for Gully Emptying 2003 (Northern, Southern & Western Divisions) (4 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2003/04
MTC for Street Lighting and Traffic Works 2004 (7 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2003/04
MTC for Repairs and Maintenance to Structures (Eastern)
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2004/05
MTC for Weed Control 2004 (Southern & Western Divisions) (2 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2004/05
MTC for High Performance Surface Dressing 2004 (Northern, Southern, Eastern & Western Divisions)
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2004/05
TC for Surface Treatments 2004 (4 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2004/05
TC for Surface Dressing 2004 (4 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 year extension option taken up
Yes
Exercised in 2 contracts
2004/05
TC for Road Markings and Road Studs 2004 (4 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2004/05
MTC for Surface Dressing of Carriageways and Renewal of Roadmarkings 2004 (4 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2004/05
MTC for Small Scale and Responsive Work 2004 (10 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2004/05
TC for Maintenance and Improvements to Structures 2004 (5 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2004/05
TC for Asphalt and Macadam(Bitmac) Resurfacing 2004 (5 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2004/05
TC for Minor Improvement Works 2004 (4 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2005/06
MTC For Surface Dressing 2005 (3 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2005/06
TC for Small Scale & Responsive Works 2005 (8 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2005/06
TC for Environmental Maintenance 2005 (4 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2005/06
Consultancy Services (Partner) for the Assistance in the Delivery of Roads Services Programmes
No
 
Yes
No
2005/06
Framework Consultancy Services for the Assistance for the Delivery of the Roads Service SRI Programme
No
 
Yes
No
2005/06
MTC For Minor Improvements To Roads & Carparks 2005 (16 contracts)
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2005/06
TC For Road Markings & Studs, Phase 2 (4 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2006/07
TC for Surface Dressing 2006 (3 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2006/07
MTC Street Lighting Maintenance, Street Lighting & Traffic works 2006 (9 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2006/07
TC For Small Scale & Responsive Works 2006 (4 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2006/07
TC For Minor Improvements Works 2006 (2 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2006/07
TC For Minor Improvements Works 2006 (6 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2006/07
TC for Maintenance & Improvements to Structures 2006 Eastern
Yes planned extensions allowed for
2 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2007/08
MTC for the Maintenance & Improvement of Street Lighting 2007 (10 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2007/08
TC for Environmental Maintenance (3 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
4 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2007/08
TC for Asphalt Resurfacing 2008 (4 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
4 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2007/08
TC For Maintenance & Improvements of Structures (3 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
4 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2008/09
MTC Surfacing Dressing 2008 (2 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
1 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2009/10
TC for Surface Dressing 2009 (2 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
4 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2009/10
TC for Surface Treatments 2009 (4 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
4 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2009/10
Consultancy Services (Partner) for the Assistance in the Delivery of Roads Service Programmes 2009
No
 
Yes
No
2009/10
TC Road Markings 2009 (4 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
4 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2009/10
TC For Surface Dressing 2009 (3 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
4 year extension option taken up
Yes
No
2009/10
Framework Consultancy Services for the Assistance for the Delivery of the Roads Service SRI Programme
No
 
Yes
 
2010/11
T C for Asphalt Resurfacing 2010 (5 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
4 year extension option taken up
Yes
 
2010/11
T C for Environmental Maintenance 2010 (4 contracts )
Yes planned extensions allowed for
4 year extension option taken up
Yes
 
Roads Service Capital Projects
2001
Newtownstewart Bypass
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2002
A8 Improvements Belfast to Larne Road
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2002
Strabane Bypass
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2002
Limavady Bypass
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2002
A6 Toome Bypass
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2003
Foyle Bridge Strengthening
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004
A1 Beech Hill to Loughbrickland Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2005
Omagh Throughpass
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2005
A1/N1 Cross Border Road
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2006
DBFO 1
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2007
Skeoge Link
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2007
DBFO2
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2007
A20 Southern Distributor
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2009
A2 Maydown
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2009
M2/A26 Ballee Road East
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2009
Carland Bridge
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2009
A5 Western Transport Corridor
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2010
A8 Improvements Coleman’s Corner to Ballyrickard Road
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
NIW Capital Projects
2000/01
Newry Sewers Upgrading
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Kilkeel WwTW Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Valley Distribution System
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Newry WWTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Woodburn Conduit – Contract 1
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Woodburn Conduit – Contract 2
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Lagmore Conduit
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Strabane WWTW Secondary Treatment
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2001/02
Banbridge WWTW Imps
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Flood Alleviation – various locations
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Lisnaskea WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
North East Antrim Sewerage Scheme
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Orthophosphate Dosing – various locations
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2002/03
Greyabbey/Kircubbin WWTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Lough Macrory WTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Silent Valley WTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Tullaghgarley WWTW Phase 2
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Newcastle Service Res
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Newry WWTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Omagh WWTW Inlet Works
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Knock Valley Relief Sewer
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Western Div WWTW Imps
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Ballynacor Sludge Treatment Dewatering Facility
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2003/04
Fofanny WTW EC Compliance
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Portglenone WWTW Part 2
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Aghalee WWTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
EPF Flood Alleviation Project
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Glenavy Wastewater Treatment Works
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Belfast Incinerator Mercury removal
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Gortgare (Greysteel) WwTW Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Enniskillen Drainage Area Plan
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Kilcoo – RBC Installations West & South
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Ballyclare WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004/05
Kinallen – RBC Installations West & South
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Kilkeel & Annalong Water Supply
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Rathfriland WWTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Fintona RBC Installations
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
River Bann Pumping Station
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Culmore WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Castlederg and Killen WWTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Omagh WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Service Reservoir Integrity – Southern
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Ballinamallard – RBC Installations W&S
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Ballymena North Zone Watermain Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Lislea – RBC Installations West & South
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
PEIT 04/05 Eastern Area (Phase 1)
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
PEIT 04/05 Eastern Area (Phase 2)
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Ballymena South Zone Watermain Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Portadown Watermains Rehabilitation
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Tamnamore/Mullenakill/Clontyclay – RBCs
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Lough Ross/Carran Hill WWTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Killinchy/Whiterock – RBC Installation West & South
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Glarryford Zone Watermain Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Breda South Zone Watermain Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Kirkinriola Zone Watermain Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
North Coast WWTW EC Compliance
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Belcoo – RBC Installations West & South
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Lisbellaw – RBC Installations West & South
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2005/06
Moneyreagh WWTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Beragh/Sixmilecross RBC Installation
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Blackskull – RBC Installations West & South
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Belfast Lough North Shore WwTW – Whitehouse
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Belfast Lough North Shore WwTW – Ca
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Belfast Sewers Project (Tunnel)
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Belfast Sewers Project (Structural 1)
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Belfast Sewers Project (Structural 2)
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Pomeroy WWTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Carnlough/Bessbrook Sewerage Scheme
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Bellaghy WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Drumnakilly, Altamuskin & Carrowclare RBCs
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Loughguille WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Banbridge Drainage Area Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Newry Zone Watermain Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Caledon/Killylea/Tynan – RBC Installations
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Loan Zone Watermain Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Tandragee WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
North Down Strategic Trunk Watermains
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Clough Zone Watermain Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Comber Road Sewerage, Newtownards
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Dundrum WWTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Warrenpoint Zone Watermain Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Stewartstown Zone WM Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Ballymoney Sewerage Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Rostrevor/Tullymurry Zone Watermain Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Sugar Island & Island Bank Catachment SS
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Castlewellan WWTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Mayobridge/Derryleckagh/Crown Cres.
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Claudy WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Lenaderg & Seapatrick SPSs
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Fivemiletown – RBC Installations West & South
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Clay Lake WTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2006/07
Larne WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Sion Mills WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Clady – RBC Installations West & South
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Dunore to Hydepark Pumping Main Replacement
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Letterbreen WwTW RBC Installations Additional
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Dromore WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Irvinestown WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Ards North Zone Watermain Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Belfast Sewers Project
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Pennyburn Pumping Station
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Drumnakilly, Altamuskin & Carrowclare RBCs
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Ballybrakes & Glenstall WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Strangford WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Ballinaleck – RBC Installations West & South
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Magheralin Sewerage Scheme
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Castor Bay/Moira Zone WM Imps
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2007/08
Dromara WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Hilltown WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Clare Village Sewerage Scheme
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Milltown, Antrim WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Hydepark Service Reservoir Integrity
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Londonderry Sewer Imps Stage 1 – Victoria Market
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Limavady WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Warrenpoint WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Portaferry WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Enniskillen WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Seagahan WTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Drumahoe Sewerage Scheme SPS
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Derrylin WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Bangor Outer Zone Watermain Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Loughguile Zone Wm Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Gilford WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Draperstown WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Park WWTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Seahill WwtW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Saintfield WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Ballyholme (Bangor) DAP Phase 1
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Portrush Sewer Improvements Stage 4
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Ballywalter WwTW Interim Solution
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Annahilt WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Lisbarnet WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Cloughy WwTW Interim Solution
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Hugenot Drive Lisburn SPS Upgrade
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Benburb/Milltown – RBC Installations West & South
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Hamiltonsbawn WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
2008/09
Downpatrick WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Crossmaglen WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Castlecaulfield WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Gilford Road Portadown Sewerage Upgrades
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Magherafelt WwTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Drumaness WWTW
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Ormeau Road Storm Separation
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Comber Road/Portaferry Road Newtownards SPS
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Altnahinch and Seagahan WTW’s Sludge Disposal
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Portballintrae Zone Wm Improvements
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A