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Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the outcome of his recent meetings with political parties in Northern Ireland on the political situation in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Hain: My meetings with all the Northern Ireland political parties have been extremely useful and I hope to intensify this process.
There is cross-party agreement that, in order for there to be progress, we need to rebuild trust and confidence in the political process.
In order for that to happen, we need to see a complete and verifiable end to all criminal and paramilitary activity and the decommissioning of all illegally held weapons.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will appoint a Minister for Women in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Hain: The Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Lord Rooker, has responsibility for equality matters in Northern Ireland and is fully committed to tackling gender inequalities and promoting equality of opportunity for women in Northern Ireland.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many pupils in Northern Ireland have reported incidents of bullying in each of the last 10 years. 
Angela E. Smith: The Department of Education does not collect the information requested.
Information about the scale and nature of bullying in Northern Ireland schools is contained in a research report published in October 2002. A research briefing summary is available on the Department's website at:
The Department will be commissioning updated research into bullying, in all its forms, during the 200506 school year and the results will also be published in due course.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many pupils in Northern Ireland have been found to be in the possession of (a) a weapon and (b) drugs on school premises in each of the last 10 years. 
Angela E. Smith: The Department does not collect the information requested.
From 200203 school year, the Department of Education has been gathering statistics on reasons for suspensions on an annual basis from each of the Education and Library Boards. Statistics are available for the number of suspensions from schools for possessing, using or dealing in illegal drugs or solvents on school premises. The statistics are available on the Department's website at:
Notifications from schools do not identify carrying an offensive weapon as a specific reason for suspension, but could be recorded by schools on the suspension notification form in other categories.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many days the Department has lost due to sickness in the past five years for which figures are available. 
Angela E. Smith:
Sick absence statistics for the Northern Ireland Departments are analysed by financial year as opposed to calendar year. The information set out as follows represents the total number of days lost due to sickness absence in the 11 Departments of the NI Administration, their Agencies and the NIO for the period 2000/01200304, the years for which the figures are available in this format.
12 Sept 2005 : Column 2489W
The figures for 200405 are currently being processed and are not yet available. Published statistics for Northern Ireland Departments for the financial years 2000/01200304 are accessible on the Department's website at www.dfpni.gov.uk/publications.
|Number of days lost due to sickness|
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much has been claimed in expenses by Sinn Fein councillors since the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly. 
Angela E. Smith: The maximum rates of expenses payable to councillors are determined by the Department of the Environment but the amounts claimed by individual councillors or political parties are not held centrally.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has for the management of the South Eastern Education and Library Board following the resignation of its chief executive. 
Angela E. Smith: I understand that the Chief Executive of the South Eastern Education and Library Board announced his resignation at the Board meeting held on 30 June. His resignation will take effect from 30 September 2005.
My Department is currently working with the South Eastern Education and Library Board on the appointment of a new Chief Executive.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many days were lost through staff sickness in respect of each department, agency and non-departmental public body in Northern Ireland in (a) 200304 and (b) 200405; what the average number of days lost per employee was in each case; and what estimate has been made of the cost of sickness absence in each year. 
Angela E. Smith:
Sick absence statistics for the Northern Ireland Departments are analysed by financial year as opposed to calendar year. The information set out at table 1 as follows represents the total number of days lost due to sickness absence in each of the 11 Departments of the NI Administration, their agencies and the NIO for the period 200304. The information relating to non-departmental public bodies is not available centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The 200405 figures for NI Departments and NIO are currently being processed and are not yet available.
12 Sept 2005 : Column 2490W
The information set out at table 2 represents the total number of days lost due to sickness in the NI Prison Service for the period 200305.
The Working days lost per staff year" approach is based on Cabinet Office recommendation. This approach replaced working days lost per person" which can misrepresent the absence rate in organisations which have a high proportion of part-time staff and/or high levels of staff turnover.
Published statistics for Northern Ireland Departments for the financial years 200001 to 200304 are accessible on the Department's website at www.dfpni.gov.uk/publications.
|Department/agency(120)||Total number of days lost||Average days lost per staff year||Cost (£)|
|Land Registers of NI||5,388.7||24.6||334,713|
|Rate Collection Agency||5,039.9||19.3||281,958|
|Health Estates Agency||1,011.3||7.8||118,927|
|Environment and Heritage Service||5,056.8||11.2||427,643|
|NIO (including Home Civil Service)||18,001.5||13.0||1,439,378|
|Total number of days lost||43,808||33,272|
|Average days lost per staff year||20.7||15.9|
|Cost (£ million)||5.1||3.8|
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