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Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what information she collates on the provision of training by employers in the (a) private sector and (b) public sector, according to the age of employee receiving that training. 
The Labour Force Survey collects data on a quarterly basis from a representative sample of adults in the UK. It can identify employees in receipt of job-related education or training in the last three months
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and in the last four weeks. The age of the employees and whether they work in the public or private sector are also identified.
Phil Hope: My Department is committed to ensuring that everyone has the skills he or she needs to be employable and personally fulfilled. Our 1419 and Skills White Papers set out our strategies for ensuring that education and training meets the needs of employers.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is responsible for the effective planning and funding of learning to raise the skills of the workforce and the potential workforce. It engages through the year with providers and employers to ensure that provision matches employer skills demands.
In order to assess its effectiveness, the local LSC carries out an annual national employer skills survey. Employers are asked about their skills shortages and their satisfaction with local further education provision. Key findings include:
Skills gaps (existing gaps in the workforce) as a percentage of employment have reduced by 8.2 per cent. between 2003 and 2005 and skills shortage vacancies (employers reporting recruitment difficulties) as a percentage of vacancies have reduced from 15.9 per cent. in 2003 to 11.7 per cent. in 2005.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the work of the Assets Recovery Agency since its establishment; and if he will take steps to provide the money recovered as a result of its work to Government Departments in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Woodward: The Assets Recovery Agency has had a significant impact on organised criminals in Northern Ireland. During 200405 the Agency in Northern Ireland disrupted eight criminal gangs, restrained £3.7 million, obtained recovery orders and tax assessments to the value of almost £1.5 million and realised receipts to the value of £780,000.
A new assets recovery incentive scheme, to commence in 200607, will enable all law enforcement agencies to receive a 50 per cent. share of the receipts from confiscations. In addition, the Organised Crime Task
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Force plans to develop an assets recovery strategy in consultation with Task Force partner agencies, including the NI Departments.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has asked the security services to provide the Irish Government with the information they are seeking as a result of the Barron Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. 
Mr. Hain: I am aware that these terrible tragedies continue to be painful for the victims and for their relatives. The British Government welcomed the establishment of the Barron Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, and co-operated with it as fully as possible.
As Justice Barron recognised, we have a responsibility to ensure the personal safety of individuals, and this was a factor in the way in which the material he requested on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings was passed to the inquiry. For that reason we did not provide Justice Barron with original documents. However, the information passed to his inquiry accurately reflects all the relevant information on the Dublin/Monaghan bombings uncovered by the Government's trawl of its files.
This information has also recently been made available by the British Government to Patrick MacEntee, sole member of the new Commission of Investigation into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974. In addition to this, we have provided Mr. MacEntee with further information which he has requested in relation to his specific terms of reference.
Mr. Hanson: Legislation is not yet in place for the establishment of a committee to advise on devolved expenditure under the Big Lottery Fund, Northern Ireland will be consulted on arrangements for the establishment of the committee in due course.
Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has received a copy of the Call for Action document published in 2004 by the Cancer Campaigning Group; and whether he has received an invitation to attend the group's reception on 30 November. 
Mr. Woodward: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has not received a copy of the 2004 Call for Action document or an invitation to attend the Cancer Campaigning Group's reception on 30 November
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what mechanisms are in place to assess the effectiveness of consultant-led projects in his
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Department; what sanctions are available to penalise consultants who run unsuccessful projects; how many projects conducted by consultants were assessed as unsuccessful in each year since 2000; and what sanctions were imposed. 
Mr. Woodward: The information following refers to the Northern Ireland Office and its Agencies. It does not include information for its NDPBs or the 11 Departments of the Northern Ireland Administration.
Any consultancy-led project, in the Department and its agencies, is carried out on the basis of a detailed work package description. The outputs of the consultancy project are compared against the quality defined in the work package. Should the outputs of the project not meet the quality criteria, then the consultancy is required to remedy the deficiencies.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps the Department takes to ensure that consultancies do not claim excessive expenses while working for his Department and its agencies. 
Mr. Woodward: The following information refers to the Northern Ireland Office and its agencies. It does not include information for its NDPBs or the 11 Departments of the Northern Ireland Administration.
The Department's Central Procurement Unit facilitates the tender process and they state in tender documentation that mileage rates will be paid in accordance with civil service rates. They also ask firms to either give an estimated figure for travel expenditure or state that their daily rate includes all expenses. Before approving payment to firms, staff within the Department are responsible for ensuring that the amount of expenses claimed is not excessive.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the 10 largest amounts of damages paid out by his Department in the last year for which figures are available; and what the nature of the claim was in each case. 
Mr. Woodward: The following information refers to all damages paid out in the last year by the Northern Ireland Office (five in total). It does not include information for its agencies, NDPBs or the 11 departments of the Northern Ireland Administration.
Date damages were awarded
|Amount of damages paid out by NIO (£)|
Nature of claim
|July 2005||30,000||Member of staff fell on steps leading to Civil Service building. The full amount|
awarded (£60,000) was equally apportioned between NIO and DFP.
|September 2004||26,000||Alleged discrimination/victimisation case.|
|October 2004||15,000||Member of staff broke wrist at sports day.|
|October 2005||6,000||Alleged breach of contract.|
|January 2005||750||Back injury incurred in the workplace.|
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