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Mr. Francois: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what progress has been made, in terms of (a) headcount reductions and (b) cost savings, in achieving the efficiency objectives set for the Department by the Gershon review. 
Bridget Prentice: Progress was reported in Budget 2005 and in the Departmental Annual Reports. Further progress will be reported in the Autumn Performance Reports and at aggregate level in the Pre-Budget Report.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs who in the Department has been made responsible for achieving the efficiency objectives set for the Department by the Gershon review. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the effective rate of employer contributions is to final salary pension schemes in the public sector for judges. 
Bridget Prentice: The employer's accruing superannuation liability charge (ASLCs) is set at 29.25 per cent. (including 0.25 per cent. as a contribution to the scheme's administration) of pensionable judicial salaries, after allowing for members' contributions of 3 per cent. or 4 per cent. of pensionable salaries. The contribution rate is set following each valuation of the scheme. The last valuation was as at 31 March 2005. As a result of that valuation the ASLCs rate will increase to 30.75 per cent. from 1 April 2006.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what progress has been made in the appointing of women to senior posts in the judiciary in Northern Ireland; and if she will make a statement. 
The Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 changed the eligibility requirement for judicial appointments to require a prescribed number of years standing as a barrister or solicitor rather than, as previously, a prescribed number of years in practice. This change will ensure that women who take a career break from legal practice are not disadvantaged.
The Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission which was established in June 2005 now has responsibility for recommendations for judicial appointments, and one of its statutory responsibilities is to engage in a programme of action which is designed to secure, so far as it is reasonably practicable to do so (and consistent with appointment on merit), appointments to the judiciary such that those holding such offices are reflective of the community in Northern Ireland.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what special arrangements are in place for legal aid to non-English speakers; and if she will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: In criminal cases, legal aid funding provides for the services of an interpreter when an individual is arrested and held at a police station. Once the case is heard at court, an interpreter for the defendant is arranged and funded by Her Majesty's Court Service.
For civil cases, interpreter fees are allowable in principle as a supplier disbursement in all categories of law, both for preparation work and in court. The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal will pay for interpreters where required for appellants for in country immigration and asylum proceedings.
In addition, free quality legal advice and information is available through the community legal service direct telephone line and website. All CLS direct services are available in English and Welsh. The telephone helpline has access to a translator service for alternative languages, and sections of the website are translated into Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Turkish and Urdu. From 31 October 2005, the CDS direct service will be piloted, providing an interpreter service to non-English speaking clients entitled to telephone advice.
Bridget Prentice: No recent research has been commissioned by the Department of Constitutional Affairs or the Legal Services Commission specifically on the reasons for individuals opting to take up legal aid. However, studies tasked with investigating other aspects of the justice system do occasionally include some consideration of the reasons for take-up of legal aid.
We are currently supporting the local advisory committees' plans to recruit a further 235 magistrates. Together, we launched a major press and radio campaign on 15 September 2005. This was supplemented by an open evening at Liverpool magistrates court on 19 October.
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We have recently reviewed existing guidance by practitioners on this subject. We are now planning discussions with burial authorities and other interested parties over the coming months and, subject to a successful conclusion, we intend to publish guidance.
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Mr. Woodward: I am advised that the PSNI finance department does not hold such information on a central financial record/database. Information in the form requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many antisocial behaviour orders have been issued in Northern Ireland since their introduction, broken down by parliamentary constituency. 
Mr. Hanson: Five interim antisocial behaviour orders on application have been granted in Northern Ireland to date; one in the Belfast city council area, two in the Larne borough council area, and two in the Coleraine borough council area. Data are not collected by parliamentary constituency.
Information on antisocial behaviour orders by conviction is not collected centrally and would be available only at disproportionate cost. It is intended that this information will be captured by the Northern Ireland court service through their Integrated Court Operation System (ICOS) which is due to be rolled out from early next year.
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) children and (b) adults in Northern Ireland have been identified as suffering from an autistic spectrum disorder; how this number has changed in the last three years; and how he expects the numbers to change over the next three years. 
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