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Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The position is set out in paragraph 2.24 of A Guide to NHS Foundation Trusts. Details will be set out in forthcoming legislation.

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: NHS foundation trusts will be free to decide on their constitutional arrangements, including the remuneration of the chair and non-executive directors on the management board, subject to requirements to be set out in forthcoming legislation.

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What ownership rights will be conferred on members of a National Health Service foundation trust.[HL842]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The position is set out in paragraphs 2.11 to 2.15 of A Guide to NHS Foundation Trusts. Details will be included in forthcoming legislation.

Northern Ireland Implementation Bodies: Pension Provision

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    At what meetings of the North/South Ministerial Council discussions took place about the failure to make pension provision for chief executives of implementation bodies over the last three years; and what course of action was decided upon.[HL861]

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Pension provision for chief executives of implementation bodies was discussed at North/South Ministerial Council meetings on 26 September 2000 and 17 December 2001.

I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given on 9 December 2002 (WA 2), which outlined steps being taken (in accordance with decisions taken by NSMC at those meetings) to make the necessary pension provision for all staff working in implementation bodies. When the arrangements for a pension scheme are finalised the scheme will require approval from the two finance Ministers and the NSMC.

Teaching Qualifications

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Following the Belfast Agreement of 1998 which promised parity of esteem to all on the island of Ireland, whether teacher training qualifications from Northern Ireland are recognised in the Republic of Ireland; if not, why; and what steps are being taken to rectify the position.[HL866]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Registration Council in the Republic of Ireland (RoI) recognises a number of the qualifications awarded by third-level institutions from here as fulfilling its teacher training requirement but in some cases there are additional requirements to be satisfied.

A Joint Teacher Qualifications Working Group, established under the Belfast Agreement, is examining the issue of teacher qualification, including the issue of additional requirements, in the context of teacher mobility. The issue will also be considered by the

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General Teaching Councils for Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, together with representatives of the Republic of Ireland (which is still in the process of establishing its general teaching council).

Northern Ireland Ambulance Service

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 16 December (WA 80) concerning the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, whether a press release from the Executive Information Service of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety of 3 July which refers to spending in the current year and in 2003–04 indicated that £16.2 million was being made available to the service; whether it will outline how the full £16.2 million will be spent on the service during the period; and whether the press release was correct.[HL905]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The £16.2 million announced in the press release refers to a package of planned measures for improvements in the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, including £10.3 million for new ambulances, £4.3 million for improvements to ambulance stations and £1.6 million for the enhancement of the service's communications and control system: £4 million was allocated initially to take forward this package in 2002–03 and 2003–04.

It is anticipated that the balance of resources will be made available to the ambulance service from 2004–05 onwards through the re-investment and reform initiative.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 16 December (WA 80), whether they will now consider methods of accrediting private ambulances in order to ensure a quality of service in which members of the public will not be placed at unnecessary risk.[HL906]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: No. Responsibility for ensuring that the non-emergency services provided by the private sector meet the standards which they require lies with those organisations which use them.

Northern Ireland: National Museums and Galleries

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What district councils and other organisations have been consulted about the corporate plan for the National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland; and when the process of consultation will be completed.[HL909]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: In May 2000 the National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland (MAGNI) launched a vision document entitled Opening Horizons, which set how the organisation proposed to develop over a 10 to 15-year period. This

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was circulated for comment to all district councils, together with education and library boards and members of the Northern Ireland Assembly's Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee. Opening Horizons is regarded as a working document, and consultations are ongoing as its themes are refined and developed.

A review of MAGNI is currently being conducted, and it is expected that this will produce a corporate plan that will also be the subject of consultation.

Northern Ireland Office: Parliamentary Questions

Lord Jopling asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether he will instruct officials in the Cabinet Office to conduct an inquiry into the failure of the Northern Ireland Office to answer 29 Questions on

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    the House of Lords Order Paper which have been unanswered for more than four weeks, when the official target for replies is within two weeks; and whether he will publish in the Official Report the reasons why the Questions which have been on the Order Paper for more than six weeks have not been answered.[HL982]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I am pleased to inform the noble Lord that all 29 outstanding Questions have now been answered.

The suspension of devolved government in the Northern Ireland Assembly and transfer of powers to Westminster has added a considerable burden of work to the Northern Ireland Office.

I would like to assure the noble Lord that the Northern Ireland Office recognises the importance of prompt Answers and is taking steps to ensure that all Parliamentary Questions are answered accurately and promptly.



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