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The Lord Chancellor (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): This is one of the issues on which the consultation paper on the Supreme Court (published on 14 July) seeks views. The paper consults on the question of whether the Prime Minister should recommend names to Her Majesty The Queen directly, after consulting the First Minister in Scotland and the First and Deputy First Ministers in Northern Ireland and the legal profession, or whether an Appointments Commission should be asked to recommend the names to the Prime Minister first. It proposes as one model for such a commission that its members could be drawn from the Judicial Appointments commissions or boards, which have been or will be established in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, to reflect the UK jurisdiction of the new Supreme Court.
The Lord President of the Council (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The extent of any underspend is measured in the context of the financial year end of the entity concerned, and that is the relevant date as regards the surrender of funds. This is 31 December for North/South Implementation Bodies, and 31 March for Northern Ireland departments.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: This is a matter for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. The Chief Commissioner has been asked to write to the noble Lord. A copy of his letter will be placed in the Library.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The decision not to provide the information requested was taken by me, following discussion between officials in the Cabinet Office. It was clear that the costs threshold of £600 would be greatly exceeded, given the considerable time that would be required to sift all Acts for activities banned. It would be contrary to convention if I were to place in the Library the advice I received on this matter.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: A range of activities has been banned by Acts of Parliament passed since 1997. This information is in the public domain. To collate it would require an official to read through all the Acts of Parliament since 1997 to search for activities banned. The cost of this would well exceed the threshold of £600.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Prime Minister has today laid before both Houses the annual reports for 2002 of the Interception of Communications Commissioner, the right honourable Sir Swinton Thomas, the Intelligence Services Commissioner, the right honourable Lord Justice Simon Brown and the Chief Surveillance Commissioner, the right honourable Sir Andrew Leggatt. Some sensitive information has been excluded from the reports of the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Intelligence Services Commissioner in accordance with Section 58(7) and 60(5) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government welcome the continued power-sharing arrangements adopted by many district councils in Northern Ireland. There are no plans however to devolve extra powers specifically to those councils engaged in such arrangements.
Over the coming months, the Department of the Environment proposes to discuss with district councils and other local government interests a number of policy issues that will assist in the determination of future legislation priorities for all district councils.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The educational provision for children with special educational needs is a statutory responsibility of the education and library boards. Most provision for children with dyslexia can be made in school, with supportive organisation and planning, and sometimes with outside assistance from an education and library board reading centre, or peripatetic or outreach literacy support.
Following publication of the report of the Northern Ireland Education Task Group on Dyslexia in May 2002, a follow-up consultative conference was held in September 2002. Consequently, the education and library boards have prepared costed proposals for implementation of the report's recommendations, which the department is currently considering.
In the autumn it is expected that a joint Department of Education/Department of Education and Science working group will complete work on a video to provide support and information for parents of children newly diagnosed with dyslexia and a CD-ROM intended to provide a more detailed toolkit for teachers.
In conjunction with its inspectorate and the education and library boards, the Department of Education is evaluating the effectiveness of two alternative models of intervention on children with dyslexia.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: All schools, having concern about any type of special educational need which a pupil may have, operate the five-stage approach as outlined in the Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs. At stage 3 the school may seek external support from the appropriate education and library board's educational psychology service which, if dyspraxic tendencies are suspected, will make a referral to the community paediatrician and may also involve an occupational therapist. The various professionals involved with a pupil then give the school advice and guidelines on how best to support the pupil. Programmes are designed on an individual basis and the child's specific needs are taken into account when educational plans are drawn up.
In conjunction with its inspectorate and the education and library boards, the Department of Education is evaluating the effectiveness of two alternative models of intervention on children with dyslexia, which is often found alongside dyspraxia.
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