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9 Dec 2002 : Column WA1

Written Answers

Monday, 9th December 2002.

Belfast Agreement: Food Safety Promotion Board

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 7 November (WA176-177) concerning the Food Safety Promotion Board, how the operation of the Employment Equality Act 1998 and the Equal Status Act 2000 can be monitored if the religious breakdown of the employees is not noted; and what information about each employee is recorded.[HL63]

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Food Safety Promotion Board staff are employed in the Republic of Ireland, where there is no requirement under legislation to monitor the religious breakdown of these staff.

Belfast Agreement: Cross-Border Bodies

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many full-time permanent employees there were in each cross-border body set up under the Belfast Agreement of 1998, taking the Irish Agency and the Ulster Scots Agency separately, currently and for the year 2000 and the year 2001.[HL139]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The information requested, which relates to the numbers of permanent full-time staff (whole-time equivalents) employed in cross-border bodies currently and for the years 2000 and 2001 is as follows:

Body31 December 200031 December 2001October 2002
Food Safety Promotion Board0015
FCILC—Loughs Agency253535
InterTradeIreland12434.7
Language Foras na Gaeilge383536
Language Ulster Scots Agency000
Special EU Programmes Body01130
Waterways Ireland03284
Tourism Ireland02122

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 7 November (WA167-170), why the chief executive officers of the cross-border bodies, set up in 1999, have not yet been provided with a pension; what other cross-border implementation body posts do not have pension provision; and what steps are being taken to make such provision. [HL255]

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: The North/South Co-operation (Implementation Bodies) (NI) Order 1999 provides that the implementation bodies may, for such as their staff as they determine with the approval of the North-South Ministerial Council and the Finance Ministers, pay such pensions, allowance or gratuities, or provide and maintain such pension schemes, as may be so determined.

Currently the chief executives of the bodies are working towards a common pension scheme for the employees of the bodies and themselves, and it is anticipated that the scheme rules will be agreed by early in 2003. The appointment of a pension scheme administrator, to be selected through open competition, is expected to take place soon thereafter, with a view to the scheme commencing later in the year it is proposed that the provisions of the scheme will apply retrospectively to all staff, and will not be less favourable then those enjoyed under existing schemes. Such arrangements will require the approval of NSMC and the two Finance Ministers.

Northern Ireland Civil Service: Security

Lord Rogan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 6 November (WA119) whether they propose that the Security Service team should also conduct an independent and authoritative review of security in the entire Northern Ireland Civil Service.[HL174]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: There does not appear to be sufficient evidence to justify a review across the Northern Ireland departments at present. The Northern Ireland Civil Service will, however, be following the outcome of recent events to establish whether some form of review would be justified.

Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure: Linguistic Diversity Branch

Lord Laird asked her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 6 November (WA123), whether this means that the Linguistic Diversity Branch of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland does not contain officials with expertise in the Irish language and in Ulster-Scots language and culture; and, if not, why not.[HL182]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Expertise in specific languages is not among the core competencies which are required of general administrative staff in the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

Lord Laird asked her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the two parts of the Language Implementation Body, as an international body set up under the Belfast Agreement of 1998, have an equal relationship with the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and its counterpart in the Government of the Irish Republic.[HL185]

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: The relationship between the North/South Language Body, comprised of Foras Na Gaeilge and Tha Boord of Ulster-Scotch, and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs is determined by the North/South Implementation Bodies Agreement of 8 March 1999, and by the North/South Co-operation (Implementation Bodies) (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 and the British-Irish Agreement Act 1999, which incorporated the provisions of that agreement with the domestic law of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland respectively.

Northern Ireland Policing Board: Members' Remuneration

Lord Smith of Clifton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the allowance granted to those members of the Northern Ireland Policing Board who are also Members of the Legislative Assembly has been increased by £10,000 per annum.[HL187]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Northern Ireland Policing Board was reconstituted following suspension of the devolved administration on 14 October. Prior to this, the 10 board members who are also Members of the Assembly had received no remuneration for their work on the board; they were then in receipt of full salary from the Assembly. Under their terms of appointment they will receive remuneration up to the level of £12,000 per annum, abated to take account of any reduced salary drawn from the Assembly. The level of remuneration will be calculated on the basis that it, plus the reduced salary, does not exceed the Assembly salary prior to suspension.

North/South Ministerial Council

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 7 November (WA169), which departments of which governments approved the job descriptions and salary scales of the new appointees listed; and at what meetings of the North/South Ministerial Council they were approved.[HL196]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: In accordance with the North/South Co-operation (Implementation Bodies) (Northern Ireland) Order 1999, each implementation body will, with the approval of NSMC and the two Finance Ministers, determine the remuneration, grading, numbers and other conditions of service of the chief executive and other staff of the body. Job descriptions, grading and remuneration are determined by each body and are agreed with the sponsor departments of each administration prior to referral to Finance Ministers and NSMC for approval.

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In relation to Tourism Ireland Ltd, the memorandum of association of the company provides that the remuneration, grading and other conditions of service of staff shall be determined by the company, with the approval of NSMC and the two Finance Ministers.

The attached table details the meetings of the North/South Ministerial council at which staffing matters, including salary scales, were considered and approved.

Implementation Body/DepartmentNSMC Meetings
Language Body/Department of Culture Arts and Leisure/Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs26 September 2000 5 December 2000 27 June 2001 7 December 2001 25 January 2002 15 April 2002 9 October 2002
Special EU Programmes/Department of Finance and Personnel/Department of Finance16 June 2000 26 September 2000 19 December 2000 9 April 2001 20 June 2001 30 October 2001 20 February 2002
Waterways Ireland/Department of Culture Arts and Leisure/Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs21 June 2000 26 September 2000
InterTrade Ireland/Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment/Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment24 January 2000 26 September 2000
FCILC/Department of Agriculture and Rural Development/Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources.5 July 2000 26 September 2000 6 April 2001
FSPB/Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety/Department of Health and Children4 July 2000 26 September 2000 16 November 2001 27 February 2002
Tourism Ireland Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment/Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism29 June 2001

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 7 November concerning a North/South Ministerial Council (WA 171-172), whether the reference to the administration in the North refers to Donegal County Council, which administers the most northerly part of the island of Ireland; if not, what part of the Answer covers the northern part of the island; and what is the appropriate title for that part of the island.[HL264]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Written Answer referred to by the noble Lord contains a reference to "administrations, North and South". In that context the reference relates to the administration in Northern Irleand and the administration in the Republic of Ireland.

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