Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Northern Ireland: Prisons

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Dubs): There are no 16 or 17 year-olds held in prisons in Northern Ireland.

There are no persons under the age of 18 held at the Secretary of State's pleasure in Northern Ireland prisons. There is one person under the age of 21 held in prison in Northern Ireland at the Secretary of State's pleasure.

Northern Ireland: Young Offenders

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Dubs: There are 153 males and three females currently held at the two young offenders centres in Northern Ireland.

24 Feb 1998 : Column WA86

Northern Ireland: Children and Young People Centres

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many children and young people are currently held in each of: Lisnevin, St. Patrick's, Rathgael and the Lakewood Centre in Northern Ireland.[HL582]

Lord Dubs:

St. Patrick's12--12
Lakewood Centre26632

Northern Ireland Training Schools: Assessments

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have examined the entry assessment of all young people now in the Training Schools in Northern Ireland; whether they are able to determine the proportion who suffer from physical or learning disabilities; and whether special provisions are being made for such disabilities.[HL600]

Lord Dubs: All young people are medically examined by professionally qualified staff at the time of their admission to a training school to identify medical or physical problems and appropriate treatment is prescribed or arranged as required. Within a few days of admission an assessment is carried out by a member of the teaching staff to help determine the particular educational needs of each newly admitted young person. Each young person in the training schools is placed on an education programme commensurate with their ability.

Export Sales Service: Tender

Lord Williams of Elvel asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the outcome of the tender for the new export sales lead service.[HL746]

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Clinton-Davis): I received 71 initial expressions of interest from which 21 organisations sought to pre-qualify. A shortlist of six firms were then invited to submit bids and of these four organisations actually did so. I am pleased to announce today that the contract to operate the new export sales lead service has been awarded to the Dialog Corporation Plc. I expect to make a further announcement shortly giving details about how the new service will operate.

24 Feb 1998 : Column WA87

Civil Justice Council: Membership

Lord Williams of Elvel asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the membership of the Civil Justice Council.[HL748]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): I have appointed the members of the Civil Justice Council. They are:

    Chairman: Lord Woolf, Master of the Rolls

    Vice-Chairman: Sir Richard Scott, Vice-Chancellor

    Vicki Chapman

    Stephen Cragg

    Carlos Dabezies

    Professor Robert Dingwall

    District Judge Godfrey Evans

    David Gladwell

    Hilary Heilbron QC

    Lord Justice Henry

    Henry Hodge OBE

    Ashley Holmes

    Peter Jacob

    Vicky Ling

    Michael Napier

    Professor Martin Partington

    Judge Sessions

    District Judge Monty Trent

    Owen Tudor

    Tim Wallis

    Ashton West

    Marlene Winfield

In accordance with the Civil Procedure Act 1997,

I have chosen members with a wide range of experience in the civil justice field, including members of the judiciary and the legal professions, civil servants concerned with the administration of the courts, persons with experience in and knowledge of consumer affairs and the lay advice sector, and persons able to represent the interests of particular kinds of litigants. The Council will meet for the first time in March.

Forestry Commission: Planting

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was:
    (a) the total of forestry planting;
    (b) replanting, and
    (c) new planting; for Scotland, England, Wales and Great Britain in each of the last three years.[HL597]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (Lord Sewel): The areas planted by the Forestry Commission or with grant aid from the Commission are set out in the following table.

24 Feb 1998 : Column WA88

Year ending(All areas in hectares)
31 MarchNew plantingReplantingTotal
Great Britain

NHS Trust Boards: Membership

Lord Bassam of Brighton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress they have made in ensuring that the boards of NHS trusts are more representative of the communities they serve and how they intend to extend this principle to the boards of health authorities.[HL751]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): Substantial progress has been made to meet the Government's election manifesto commitment to make National Health Service trust boards more representative of their local communities.

Working within the parameters for public appointments established by the Commissioner for Public Appointments, Sir Leonard Peach, and following the Secretary of State for Health's consultation with him, a number of substantial changes were announced last June to apply to the 1997 round of appointments of chairmen and non-executives to NHS trusts to fill 1,005 vacancies out of a total of 2,509 places on trust boards:

    (a) The person specification for non-executives and chairmen has been changed to encourage more NHS users and carers. Candidates are expected to live in the area served by the trust.

    (b) Interview panels have been instructed to ensure that all candidates are personally committed to the NHS and can bring a user's perspective to the board.

    (c) Members of Parliament and local authorities have been asked to nominate candidates for consideration. These are not for reserved places but to widen the local base from which candidates can be drawn.

    (d) The balance of board membership will move in favour of ordinary users and carers and those with a community voice.

24 Feb 1998 : Column WA89

    (e) The commitment to the goals set for women and ethnic minorities on NHS boards has been reinforced.

Over 1,800 nominations were received from Members of Parliament and local authorities. Both these nominated candidates and those responding to public advertisements were considered against the new criteria. All appointments were made on merit under the Nolan rules, candidates having gone through the same selection process, including an interview with a panel including an independent member.

At 23 February, the Secretary of State for Health has made 884 appointments to NHS trusts and a further 121 are currently under consideration. Of those appointed as non-executive directors in this round, 52.3 per cent. are women. Of those appointed as chairs, 35.5 per cent. are women. This is a significant improvement on the position inherited from the previous government at 1 May.

We have also significantly improved representation of people from ethnic minorities. The previous government set the target that each NHS trust with 10 per cent. of people from ethnic minorities in their local population should have a board member from an ethnic minority. They failed to achieve this in 19 of the NHS trusts to which appointments had to be made in 1997. The Secretary of State for Health has made appointments of members from ethnic minorities in all but two of these. One was a specialist orthopaedic trust to which I appointed a disabled member. The other is to be merged in the summer of 1998. In total, 9 per cent. of appointments since 1 May have been of people from ethnic minorities, taking the total from 5 per cent. to 7.2 per cent.

Around a third of those appointed were existing board members reappointed for a further term of office after a previous period of satisfactory service.

Of those appointed, 620 have declared no political activity and 264 have declared that they have been politically active within the definition used by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Twenty-five have been active on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, 29 on behalf of the Conservatives including a former Cabinet Minister, 206 on behalf of Labour and 4 other. Many of these people represent their community as serving councillors; 117 Labour, 6 Conservative, 16 Liberal Democrats and 3 other.

The Government are committed to an open and transparent process for NHS appointments. The appointments process which we inherited from the previous Government was not consistent and varied from place to place. This is most unsatisfactory. In consultation with the regional chairmen the Secretary of State has produced guidelines which are to be followed in every part of the country. The guidelines also stipulate that there should be a standard procedure for assessing the performance of individual non-executive directors and chairmen. These guidelines have been cleared with the Commissioner for Public Appointments and we will be placing copies in the Library.

These procedures will be used to identify candidates for the 302 vacancies for the boards of health authorities

24 Feb 1998 : Column WA90

which will fall due in March. We are committed to ensuring that health authorities, like NHS trusts, have board members who represent the interests of local NHS users and carers. Public advertisements have already been placed and we have asked Members of Parliament and chief executives of local authorities to make nominations. Around 3,000 completed applications have already been received. To enable proper consideration to be given to all these candidates, especially as in future health authorities will be required to discharge additional duties, and to enable proper notice to be given to all appointees, the Secretary of State intends to ask the 302 incumbents to serve for an additional three months until 30 June 1998.

Full details of appointments to NHS bodies will be published in the Department of Health's public appointments annual report in March.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page