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Jane Kennedy: The Cabinet Office already commissions and publishes an independent annual report "Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service". This report includes details of the causes of absenteeism. The report for the year 2000 will be published shortly.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) in-house and (b) external (i) Irish-English and (ii) other language translators and interpreters have been employed by criminal justice agencies in the most recent year for which records are available; how many hours of work were contracted externally and at what cost; and what steps he is taking to produce the common list of interpreters recommended by the Criminal Justice Review. 
25 interpreters were used for other languages;
Approximately 1,271 hours of work has been contracted out;
Costs stand at £48,300.
Figures provided by the Northern Ireland prison service indicate that 140 minutes of work at a cost of £4,079.68 was contracted externally in the financial year 200001. A payment of £300 was also made to a Mandarin interpreter. In addition existing staff are used to provide Irish/English translations when necessary.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he has taken to commission the production of a child-friendly guide to the proposed changes under the Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill in the event of its legislative passage. 
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Mr. Browne: The Government will be considering this as part of the work being taken forward on the recommendation, under the review of the criminal justice system, that there should be a public information and education strategy for the criminal justice system. Features proposed by the review (recommendation 14) include the production and distribution of guides to various aspects of criminal justice to target specific groups, including children; publication by all agencies of codes of practice in accessible language; consideration of innovative methods for increasing public understanding such as open days at courts for schools, colleges and the public, and the creation of videos explaining aspects of the criminal justice system; and the inclusion of a criminal justice module in the school civics curriculum.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many employees in (a) his Department and (b) his Department's agencies and non-departmental public bodies have had private medical insurance provided for them in each year since 199798; what the total cost is; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. John Reid: No employees in either (a) the Department or (b) the Department's agencies and non- departmental public bodies have had private medical insurance provided for them in any year since 199798.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the retirement ages that apply to the employees of his Department and its agencies, including how many and which categories of employees are affected by each; and if he will make a statement on his Department's policy on flexible retirement. 
|Maximum retirement age||Number of staff in post|
|Grade D2 and D1 appointed before 1 April 1996||65||318|
|Grade D2 and D1(28) appointed after 1 April 1996||60||267|
|All grades (excluding D2 and D1)(28)||60||912|
(28) The Department may, in exceptional cases, retain an officer, who would otherwise be required to retire at 60 where it is satisfied that it is in the overriding interest of the service to do so.
|Category||Maximum retirement age||Number of staff ain post|
|Exceptional cases at departmental discretion||0||10|
The current normal age of retirement rules require that all staff, with the exception of those in grades below grade C who were in post on 31 March 1996, are normally retired at age 60. This policy was adopted in 1996 after
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detailed analysis of business needs indicated it was necessary, in light of severe financial pressures and to help avoid the need for compulsory redundancies.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many staff were seconded between (a) PWC Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers, (b) Ernst and Young, (c) Deloitte and Touche, (d) KPMG and (e) Andersen and his Department in (i) 19992000, (ii) 200001 and (iii) April 2001 to the latest date for which figures are available. 
Jane Kennedy: The Government are working closely with the Irish Government to take forward the implementation of North/South co-operation measures, including lateral entry and secondment, on a reciprocal basis. The two Governments published a timetable on 13 December. Negotiations are progressing on an inter- governmental agreement with the Irish Government, which we hope to sign shortly. This will provide a framework for the development of formal protocols between the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Garda Síochána covering issues such as long-term personnel exchanges and co-operation on training. Amendments to the legislation will also be taken forward in both jurisdictions, as required.
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Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the terms of reference are for the proposed research into the effect of Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and restrictions on the right of silence at the stage of police questioning; what measures he has proposed to address the needs of those at risk with particular reference to (a) children, (b) members of ethnic or linguistic minorities and (c) people with disabilities; and what steps he has taken to ensure an (i) independent, (ii) cross- community and (iii) lay dimension to the (A) management and (B) evaluation of the research. 
Jane Kennedy: Research into the impact of PACE at the stage of police questioning of juveniles is due to be commissioned in March 2002 following the usual competitive tendering procedures. The terms of reference aim to address recommendations 13 and 180 and of the Criminal Justice Review and are currently being finalised. Advice from a leading academic has been sought on the development of the research plan.
Management of the research will be undertaken by a group comprising, at a minimum, the independent researcher(s), a representative of the commissioning police division, and a representative of the statistics and research branch.
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