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Sandra Gidley: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission for what reasons the decision was taken that the public would no longer be provided with visitors' badges; and who was responsible for the decision. 
Sir Archy Kirkwood:
The Serjeant at Arms and Black Rod jointly decided to curtail the visitor's badge trial as a result of the unacceptable volume of badge losses caused by visitors seeking to retain them. Following consultation with the Advisory Joint Committee on Security, a replacement scheme is to be adopted within the next few weeks based on adhesive paper badges. This scheme is expected to be less expensive and more efficient.
20 Dec 2004 : Column 1419W
Michael Fabricant: To ask the Chairman of the Accommodation and Works Committee (1) if he will make a statement on the reliability of electronic door pass readers on the Parliamentary Estate; 
(3) if he will propose the replacement of the electronic pass reader system with a chip radio frequency system which requires no physical contact between the electronic reader and the pass; and if he will make a statement. 
Sir Archy Kirkwood: I have been asked to reply. I am aware of problems with reliability of some of the pass readers on the Parliamentary Estate. While it is not the practice of the Commission to comment on details of operational security matters, I can report that plans for an upgraded pass system for both Houses are being developed, one of the elements of which will be a "proximity" rather than swipe card facility. It is considered that this will provide a more reliable and user-friendly system.
Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland at how many locations in Northern Ireland the offices of the Social Security Agency and the Training and Employment Agency have been amalgamated into a single office with a joint working arrangement; and what plans he has to amalgamate other offices. 
Mr. Spellar: Of a total network of 35 local social security offices and jobcentres, 22 offices are now operating the joint working arrangements from the new integrated jobs and benefits offices. A further two offices will be co-located by 31 March 2005 and a total of 26 offices will have been completed by 31 March 2006.
Angela Smith: The information requested is not available. Figures for the number of adults who are registered blind or partially sighted are not collected centrally. Such information may be collected by individual Health and Social Services Trusts in respect of their own trust, but information is not collected according to Parliamentary constituency.
Information is, however, collected centrally on the number of registered or eligible to be registered blind and partially sighted adults who were in contact with
20 Dec 2004 : Column 1420W
Social Services staff during the financial year 200304, and is shown according to Health and Social Services Trust in the following table:
|Number of adults in contact with|
Social Services, 200304
|Health and Social Services|
|North and West Belfast||180||232|
|South and East Belfast||323||297|
|Armagh and Dungannon||209||334|
|Craigavon and Banbridge||200||151|
|Newry and Mourne||206||295|
Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much funding in each Education and Library Board area was used to provide appropriate literature and equipment for blind and partially sighted persons in each of the last three years for which records are available. 
Mr. Gardiner: Education and Library Boards (ELBs) assess and make provision for pupils on an individual basis, in line with the Code of Practice on the Assessment of Special Educational Needs. Provision for children who are blind and partially sighted may be made in a variety of settings, with different funding streams.
In a number of cases the ELBs pay fees for children who attend schools/colleges for the blind in GB. These are composite fees, which include an element for equipment and literature. Provision may also be made in special schools, with the majority of these placements in Northern Ireland being made in Jordanstown School: the budget delegated to this school by the North-Eastern Education and Library Board will provide for items of equipment and literature. Provision may also be made in mainstream schools and units. Boards will make available large print literature, CCTV devices, Braillers and appropriate ICT equipment. Other equipment items may be paid for by the schools themselves through their dedicated SEN budgets.
Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many children and young persons under the age of 18 years are registered blind or partially sighted in each constituency in Northern Ireland. 
The information requested is not available. Figures for the number of young persons who are registered blind or partially sighted are not collected centrally. Such information may be collected by individual Health and Social Services Trusts in respect of their own trust, but information is not collected according to parliamentary constituency.
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Information is, however, collected centrally on the number of registered or eligible to be registered blind and partially sighted young persons who were in contact with Social Services staff during the financial year 200304, and is shown according to Health and Social Services Trust in the following table:
|Number of young persons in|
contact with Social Services,
|Health and Social Services|
|North and West Belfast||9||26|
|South and East Belfast||13||17|
|Armagh and Dungannon||3||11|
|Craigavon and Banbridge||15||7|
|Newry and Mourne||6||32|
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the response of 2 November 2004, Official Report, column 236W if he will estimate the costs resulting from delayed discharges in the Province over the last 12 months. 
Angela Smith: It is estimated that the difference between the weekly cost of an elderly hospital bed and the weekly cost of an elderly nursing home bed is approximately £813 per person per week. However, these resources would not be released if all the delayed discharges at any point in time could be moved immediately to nursing home beds, as this would require additional costs in nursing home provision compared to current service levels.
Delayed discharge information is collected only for hospitals which provide an acute service. Delayed discharges refer to persons delayed in these hospitals while awaiting a community care package.
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