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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 10 September 2010

Written Answers to Questions

Health, Social Services and Public Safety
Regional Development
Revised Written Answers


Rioting Over the Twelfth of July Period

Lord Morrow asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many referrals were received by Social Services from the PSNI in relation to juveniles charged in connection with rioting over the Twelfth of July period.

(AQW 1/11)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (Mr M McGimpsey): The information requested is not available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Acute Neurological Service Unit in the Royal Victoria Hospital

Mr T Gallagher asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many beds are currently available within the acute neurological service unit in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast; and how many of these beds will be available under the new Belfast Health and Social Care Trust Plan due to take effect from October 2010.

(AQW 16/11)

Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety: There are currently 23 available beds in the acute neurological service unit within the Royal Victoria Hospital and this was also the average number of beds available during 2009/10.

The Belfast HSC Trust plans to reduce the number of available beds to 15 from October 2010 and bring the neurology service in line with comparable peers in other parts of the UK. The reduction in beds is being planned in parallel with an ongoing modernisation programme within the neurology service.

This programme includes a number of workstreams to review current neurology services and patient pathway models and includes a review of bed utilisation. The aim of the modernisation programme is to develop a more efficient and responsive service with reduced length of inpatient stays that will enable the same level of inpatient activity to be provided with a reduced number of beds.


Investigation into NI Water

Mr G Savage asked the Minister for Regional Development how much his Department has set aside for salaries and secretariat costs in relation to the investigation into NI Water by Sir Jon Shortridge.

(AQW 15/11)

Minister for Regional Development (Mr C Murphy): This matter is being dealt with by the office of the Head of the Civil Service. They have advised that any civil service staff costs arising from this investigation will be met from within existing resources and no budget has been set aside for this purpose.

Appointments to the Board of NI Water

Mr J Craig asked the Minister for Regional Development whether he consulted the Public Appointments Commission in relation to the appointments to the Board of NI Water in June 2010.

(AQW 34/11)

Minister for Regional Development: My officials consulted with the Commissioner for Public Appointments NI (CPANI) and secured her written agreement to an emergency appointments process being run as a deviation from the CPANI Code, subject to “a demonstrable element of independent participation” and conditional on the appointments being short-term in nature.

Budget Allocation for Cycling

Mr C McDevitt asked the Minister for Regional Development to detail the budget allocation for cycling in (i) each Roads Service division; and (ii) each constituency for the (a) 2008/09; (b) 2009/10; (c) 2010/11; and (d) 2011/12 financial year.

(AQW 49/11)

Minister for Regional Development: My Department’s Roads Service aims to provide safer roads for the vulnerable road users, including cyclists, utilising a range of measures that include road safety engineering, traffic calming and enhancement of the pedestrian and cycling network.

Roads Service does not maintain figures for the provision of cycling measures on a constituency basis. However, details of the budget allocations for the provision of these measures, in each Roads Service Division, are shown in the table below:

Measures to provide safer roads for vulnerable road users
Division 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011
Total £1,359,726 £981,193 £128,000

There has been a reduction in the 2010/11 budget allocation for cycling measures due to a reduction in the allocation for Local Transport and Safety Measures (LTSM’s). However, this is largely in line with the planned level of expenditure arising from Budget 2008.

In addition to the capital investment in cycling measures by Roads Service, my Department also promotes the use of sustainable modes of transport, including cycling, through its Travelwise initiative. Travelwise expenditure during the period requested for the annual Bike Week campaigns, which related solely to the promotion of cycling, is shown in the following table:

Years Travelwise expenditure during the annual Bike Week campaigns
£69,500 (estimated)

Unfortunately, allocations are not yet set for 20011/12 and as such I am, at present, unable to provide figures for the next financial year.


Friday 10 September 2010

(AQW 7550/10)

There was an error contained in my answer of 24 June 2010.

The answer stated that “The total cost of court appearances for Torrens Knight in the last 2 years amounted to £2,152.30 plus VAT”.

This should have read “The total cost of court appearances for Torrens Knight in the last 2 years amounted to £2,152.30 including VAT”.