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(a) 18; and
are held at the Secretary of State's pleasure.[HL580]
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.
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.
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.
Vice-Chairman: Sir Richard Scott, Vice-Chancellor
Professor Robert Dingwall
District Judge Godfrey Evans
Hilary Heilbron QC
Lord Justice Henry
Henry Hodge OBE
Professor Martin Partington
District Judge Monty Trent
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.
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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:
(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.
(e) The commitment to the goals set for women and ethnic minorities on NHS boards has been reinforced.
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.
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.