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Stolen Equipment

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to the answer of 24 January 2002, Official Report, column 1005W, on stolen equipment, whether the computer equipment stolen from

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his Department was (a) new and unused and (b) used; and what was the nature of the data stored on such items in each case. [42646]

Dr. John Reid: All of the stolen equipment referred to in my earlier answer was used. The stolen computers stored minutes of meetings between departmental and public representatives, routine divisional information and data relevant to the Northern Ireland Information Service.

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to his answer of 24 January 2002, Official Report, column 1005W, on stolen equipment, what criminal proceedings were undertaken for cases of theft against his Department, stating in each case (a) whether the proceedings (i) led to a criminal conviction and (ii) were unsuccessful, (b) the cost incurred by his Department in pursuing a conviction and (c) the value of items recovered; and if he will make a statement. [41509]

Dr. John Reid: All the incidents referred to in my earlier answer were referred to the police for investigation but none resulted in criminal proceedings nor were any of the items recovered.

Election Expenses

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish the returns of election expenses for the 1998 elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly. [45295]

Mr. Browne: I have no plans to publish these returns. As required by the Representation of the People Act 1983, as applied through Schedule 1 of the Northern Ireland Assembly (Elections) Order 1998, the Returning Officer published in not less than two newspapers, the time and place where returns and declarations could be inspected in each constituency where the election was held. Those returns and declarations were also kept available, as required, in an appropriate place, for 12 months after being received by the Returning Officer.

British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many meetings of the British/Irish Intergovernmental Conference have taken place since 1 December 1999. [46139]

Dr. John Reid: The Prime Minister and Taoiseach chaired an inaugural meeting of the conference on 17 December 1999. The conference has not met in formal session since then but Ministers and officials have continued to work with their Irish counterparts on the matters falling within the conference's area of responsibility.

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many meetings of the British/Irish Intergovernmental Conference since 1 December 1999 have included members of the Northern Ireland Executive Committee. [46140]

Dr. John Reid: One. The inaugural meeting of the Conference on 17 December 1999 was attended by the Northern Ireland First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

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North-South Ministerial Council

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many plenary meetings of the North/South Ministerial Council have taken place since 1 December 1999; [46137]

Dr. John Reid: Responsibility for this subject has been devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly and is therefore no longer a matter for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Departmental IT Systems

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment he has made of whether the target of conducting 25 per cent. of departmental dealings electronically will be met in 2002. [45995]

Dr. John Reid: The progress of the Northern Ireland office towards electronic service delivery targets is kept under regular review. A number of significant developments have taken place particularly in the Northern Ireland Prison Service Agency, the Compensation Agency, and the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland.

Paramilitary Shootings

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the responsibility for the shooting of (a) a 40-year-old man on waste ground at the back of Bray street, North Belfast on 14 March and (b) a 24-year-old man shot in both legs at the rear of houses at Glenlea Park, Garnerville on 12 March. [46341]

Jane Kennedy: Police investigations into the two incidents have established that victim (a) did not co-operate with the police, he did not make a statement and a crime scene could not be established; victim (b) did not make a complaint in respect of the incident. It is believed loyalists were responsible for these attacks but they cannot be attributed to any specific organisation.

Public Service Agreements

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he estimates that the Public Service Agreement target for efficiency savings in core departmental administration costs in 2001–02 will be achieved. [45994]

Dr. John Reid: Yes, it is estimated that the Public Service Agreement targets for efficiency savings in core Department administration costs in 2001–02 will be achieved.

Underspend

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the (a) capital and (b) revenue underspend in his Department is expected to be in the financial year 2001–02. [47801]

Dr. John Reid: While an underspend is expected this financial year, provisional figures will not be available until May 2002.

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Compensation Agency/

Forensic Science Northern Ireland

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if the quinquennial reviews in the (a) Compensation Agency and (b) Forensic Science Northern Ireland have been completed. [45991]

Dr. John Reid: Stage 1 of both the quinquennial reviews of the Compensation Agency and Forensic Science Northern Ireland have now been completed. The Secretary of State announced his decision to renew the executive agency status of the Compensation Agency to Parliament on 15 November 2001. Stage 2 of the review of the Compensation Agency is under way and a draft report will be delivered before the end of March 2002. The Secretary of State expects to make an announcement to Parliament shortly on the outcome of the review of Forensic Science Northern Ireland. Stage 2 of the review of Forensic Science will then be completed.

Fireworks

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action he will take to reduce the import of illegal fireworks into Northern Ireland. [43943]

Jane Kennedy: The illegal import of fireworks is one of the areas of concern being addressed as part of the Fireworks Review, which I announced on 12 October 2001. I will be announcing my proposals shortly.

Public Appointments

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many appointments to public bodies have been made through his Department (a) from April 2000 to March 2001 and (b) since 31 March 2001; and how many of these were (i) men and (ii) women. [42154]

Dr. John Reid: Of 64 appointments (including reappointments) to Northern Ireland Office public bodies in the period 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001, 40 were men and 24 were women. For the period 1 April 2001 to 25 March 2002, 13 new appointments 1 were made; nine were men and four were women.


Secondments

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many members of staff were employed by his Department on secondment from non-governmental organisations in (a) 1999, (b) 2000 and (c) 2001. [45224]

Dr. John Reid: The information is as follows:

Number of staff
19991
20001
20010

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many members of staff were employed by his Department on secondment from the private sector in (a) 1999, (b) 2000 and (c) 2001. [45260]

Dr. John Reid: None.

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Performance Management System

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if the improved performance management system referred to on page 64 of the 2001 departmental report took effect from 1 April 2001. [45997]

Dr. John Reid: Yes. The improved performance management system was brought into effect from 1 April 2001. The process has been streamlined, improved guidance has been issued and new report forms are available for use electronically.


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