25 Mar 2002 : Column 537W

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 25 March 2002

NORTHERN IRELAND

Fair Trade

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether fair trade products are sold in his Department. [39832]

Dr. John Reid: No fair trade products are sold in the Northern Ireland Office.

Community Integration

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures the Government have taken in Northern Ireland to assist in the integration of the Catholic and Protestant communities. [41588]

Mr. Browne: Section 75(2) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 states that


As an example of this the Government are committed to the implementation of the Patten recommendations, which are designed to make the police service more widely accepted throughout the community and more representative of the whole community.

A cross-community Policing Board has been established; recruitment to the new Police Service of Northern Ireland is now taking place on the basis of 50 per cent. Catholic and 50 per cent. non-Catholic. A new badge for the police service has been agreed, containing symbols which show parity of esteem for both sides of the community.

Press and Public Relations

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people were employed in a press or public relations function in his Department on 1 January in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999, (d) 2000, (e) 2001 and (f) 2002. [39943]

Dr. John Reid: Information is not held in the format requested.

The number of people employed in the Information Service Division of the Northern Ireland Office between 1997 and 2002 is as follows:

Number
1 April 199737
1 April 199840
1 April 199952
1 April 200052
1 April 200136
1 January 200235


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VIP Police Protection

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people in Northern Ireland receive VIP police protection; how many officers are involved in providing this service; and what the annual cost of providing this service is. [22920]

Jane Kennedy: The Chief Constable has advised me that 91 persons receive some level of police protection. This involves approximately 400 police officers whose duties range from escorting, close protection, to static security at private homes.

The annual cost of providing this level of protection is approximately £21 million. This figure comprises basic police pay and allowances, overtime and vehicle costs as applicable.

Decommissioning

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent progress has been made towards decommissioning. [43845]

Jane Kennedy: IICD reported, on 23 October 2001, that it had witnessed an event, which it regarded as significant, in which the IRA had put a quantity of arms completely beyond use. It also confirmed that the weapons decommissioned included arms, ammunition and explosives.

We now want to see further decommissioning by the IRA, and decommissioning by all other terrorist groups.

Northern Ireland Prison Service

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the NI Prison Service will publish its 2002–05 Corporate and Business Plan; and what performance targets have been set for 2002–03. [46331]

Jane Kennedy: The Northern Ireland Prison Service's Corporate and Business Plan for 2002–05 was published today and I have placed copies in the Library of the House. The following key performance targets have been set for the 2002–03 year:












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INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

PFI/PPPs

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the difference was between the price offered in reaching preferred bidder stage and the final contract price for the five largest PFI contracts let by her Department in each of the last four years; and if she will make a statement. [45599]

Clare Short: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 29 January 2002, Official Report, column 224W.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the difference was between the price offered in reaching preferred bidder stage and the final contract price for PPP contracts let by her Department in each of the last four years; and if she will make a statement. [45614]

Clare Short: DFID has not offered any public-private partnerships in the last four years. The public-private partnership for CDC has not yet been launched or bids invited.

Unpaid Advisers

Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list the names of the unpaid advisers appointed by her since she took office, stating in each case (a) the date of their appointment, (b) the duration of their appointment and (c) the project or projects on which they have been engaged. [43389]

Clare Short: No unpaid advisers have been appointed by me since taking office.

SOLICITOR-GENERAL

Non-governmental Organisations

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Solicitor-General if she will list non-governmental organisations operating in the south-west region that receive public funds from her Department; and what amount of annual funding they received in the most recent year for which figures are available. [39183]

The Solicitor-General [holding answer 4 March 2002]: The Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, and the Departments for which the Attorney-General is responsible, namely, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Treasury Solicitor's Department and the Serious Fraud Office, do not provide funding for non-governmental organisations in the south-west region.

Flexible Working

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Solicitor-General how many and what proportion of the staff of her Department are (a) job sharing, (b) term working and (c) engaged in another form of flexible working. [42429]

The Solicitor-General [holding answer 14 March 2002]: In my own Department, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, there is currently no job sharing, term working or staff engaged in any other form of flexible working.

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In the Departments for which the Attorney-General is responsible, details are as follows:

Crown Prosecution Service

The numbers and proportion of Crown Prosecution staff currently engaged in job sharing, term working and other forms of flexible working are as follows:


The Crown Prosecution Service recognises the need for all staff, particularly those with care responsibilities, to try to find the right balance between work and domestic commitments.

Job sharing and term time working are just a couple of the alternative and flexible working patterns that employees are welcome to take up.

The Department operates a flexible working hours scheme that is open to both full and part-time members of staff. The scheme allows staff to vary their times of arrival and departure, subject to management needs.

The Department also considers applications for term time working by members of staff. In addition, although not recorded as term time working, the Department considers sympathetically any requests for unpaid special leave and/or change in working pattern during school holidays.

In addition to part-time working, job sharing and term time working, the Department will shortly be issuing policies on working compressed hours and home working. Although these policies have yet to be formally promulgated, a number of staff already practise these forms of flexible working.

When advertising vacancies, Crown Prosecution Service area branches are encouraged to welcome applications from people working different patterns. However, there are some instances where this is not possible due to the nature of the work.

Treasury Solicitor's Department

The numbers and proportion of Treasury Solicitor's Department staff currently engaged in job sharing, term working and other forms of flexible working are as follows:


The Treasury Solicitor's Department recognises the need for all staff, particularly those with care responsibilities, to try to find the right balance between work and domestic commitments.

Serious Fraud Office

The Serious Fraud Office does not currently have any staff working on a job share or term basis, although these options are available. However, the Department currently has four members of staff working compressed hours (ie five days in four, or ten days in nine). Three of the Department's members of staff work part-time and six work on a part home/part office basis. The Serious Fraud Office also operates a flexi-time system which enables the majority of staff to structure their working day to suit their own circumstances.

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The Serious Fraud Office recognises the need for all staff, particularly those with care responsibilities, to try to find the right balance between work and domestic commitments.


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