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The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): There were no official ministerial visits to the Royal Bath and West Agricultural Show in 2006. Ministers will consider any invitation to attend the show in the future.
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 21 March (WA 26), whether the multi-disciplinary early intervention teams to deal with autism spectrum disorder are working at board or trust level. [HL6061]
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 21 March (WA 26), how, if the multi-disciplinary early intervention teams to deal with autism spectrum disorder are operating at trust level, information is collated centrally for planning purposes. [HL6062]
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 21 March (WA 26), what is the designated composition of a multi-disciplinary early intervention team to deal with autism spectrum disorder; how many teams operate within Northern Ireland; and where each team is based. [HL6063]
Lord Rooker: Multi-disciplinary early intervention teams to deal with autistic spectrum disorders are drawn from paediatricians, psychiatrists, educational psychologists, nurses, early intervention therapists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and social workers. Seven early intervention teams operate within Northern Ireland. They are
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located in the following trusts: Foyle, Homefirst, Down Lisburn, North and West Belfast, South and East Belfast, Ulster Community and Hospital Trust, and Newry and Mourne, which serves all of the Southern Health and Social Services Board.
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 21 March (WA 26), who comprises the multi-disciplinary early intervention teams to deal with autism spectrum disorder in the Sperrin Lakeland Trust and in the Armagh/Dungannon Trust. [HL6064]
Lord Rooker: The multi-disciplinary early intervention team from the Foyle Health and Social Services Trust works in collaboration with the Sperrin Lakeland Trust and provides an early intervention therapist, a speech and language therapist and an educational psychologist. The early intervention team in the Armagh/Dungannon Trust is provided by the Newry and Mourne Trust.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The cost of doubling the adult basic personal allowances (ignoring all premiums) in income support and jobseeker's allowance would be around £15 billion in the next financial year (200708). This is more than double the current expenditure level because some people not currently on these benefits would gain entitlement, as a result of the increase. The cost is borne across income support, jobseeker's allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit.
The cost of retaining the current adult basic personal allowances (ignoring all premiums) to adults with children, while doubling them for those without children, would be around £10.5 billion in the next financial year.
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The governing board of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is involved in negotiations about its future strategy, including levels of funding for 200711. The board has had difficulty reaching agreement on a range of issues, particularly the overall level of funding for the GBIF and the scale of assessment used to calculate financial contributions. A decision on whether the UK should continue to participate and support the GBIF financially will be based on the outcomes of these negotiations.
How many consultants have been engaged to date on preparations for the Commission for Equality and Human Rights; what processes have been used to engage them; what are their respective day rates of pay; what costs have been incurred to date in 2006-07; and how many of the consultants are from ethnic-minority backgrounds. [HL6116]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) transition programme is tasked with ensuring that the CEHR is ready to open its doors by 1 October 2007. By its very nature, the CEHR is a major and complex change programme. Consultants have been, or are expected to be, appointed to support the programme in the specialist areas of project management, legal advice, human resources, executive recruitment, IT, communications, property and estates management, organisation design, and change management.
Procurement of consultants and professional services has been through government frameworks to ensure transparency, value for money and the ability to deliver to government standards. For the financial year 200607, costs incurred are in the region of £250,000. As consultants have been procured through government frameworks, the day rates are considered competitive market rates for the nature of the specialist services provided.
Whether the Rural Payments Agency has had to cease using the new information technology system for processing single farm payments; and whether they are now using an old information technology system or processing the payments manually. [HL6365]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has not ceased using the new
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information technology system for processing single farm payments. All single payment scheme claims have been, or are in the process of being, validated through the new system and presented to the RPA finance system for payment.
Lord Rooker: My honourable friend the Minister of State for Northern Ireland (David Hanson) launched the Renewing Communities Action Plan on 4 April. The plan, which is available in the Library, includes 62 actions relating to the following five fundamental challenges: improving life prospects, building communities and social cohesion, growing civic and community leadership and active citizenship, improving public service delivery and outcomes, and freeing communities from paramilitary and criminal influence.
Various measures will be introduced to re-focus existing policy to improve service delivery. The impact of these actions, in parallel with other recently announced initiatives, should be felt across all disadvantaged communities in Northern Ireland.
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