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11. Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps his Department has taken to consult parents in Northern Ireland on his plans to change arrangements for academic selection for post-primary education. 
Angela E. Smith: Throughout the review of post-primary education, the Department has consulted with parents in a number of ways, including through public meetings, focus groups, questionnaires including a household response form, meetings with representative groups and through written submissions. All views were considered before decisions were taken on the new post-primary arrangements.
14. Angela Watkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps his Department has taken to consult parents in Northern Ireland on his plans to change arrangements for academic selection for post-primary education. 
Angela E. Smith:
I can confirm that good progress continues to be made In relation to the provision of new visitor facilities at the Giant's Causeway. The design has been selected following a very successful international architectural competition. In addition, a separate firm of designers has recently been appointed to design and fit out the new facilities.
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Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on (a) ambulance service cover in Derry city and (b) night-time cover in Derry city during the Christmas period. 
Mr. Woodward: Accident and emergency ambulance services in Derry city are commissioned by the western health and social services board from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) on the basis of historical patterns of demand. Levels of cover therefore vary to meet demand but there are usually three to five vehicles on duty during the day and two to three at night crewed by a total complement of 46 operational staff.
During the recent Christmas period, NIAS experienced an unusually high level of staff sickness absence. In addition to six Altnagelvin station staff already absent, a further seven reported sick at short notice. As a result, of 58 planned shifts over the period 24 to 29 December, it was possible to cover only 41. However, full cover was resumed on 30 December 2005 and was maintained over the rest of the period including new year's eve.
Immediate action taken to reduce the impact of the sickness absence included redeploying staff from other stations, offering overtime to ambulance staff throughout Northern Ireland, assigning day shift staff to night-time cover, redeploying rapid response vehicles and introducing additional non-emergency vehicles to minimise the need for emergency crews to undertake non- emergency work.
In the longer term NIAS plans to review its procedures for allocating leave and overtime, and shift rotas to ensure effective staff cover. NIAS will incorporate its findings into a review of its absence management procedures.
While there was considerable additional pressure placed on ambulance personnel in NIAS's western division, I am pleased to say that the ambulance service's response to life threatening calls in the area and, in particular within Derry city itself, remained on a par with its performance across Northern Ireland performance during the period.
Angela E. Smith:
The Northern Ireland civil service general service recruitment grades are administrative assistant, administrative officer, executive officer II and staff officer graduate. New entrants are normally recruited at the minimum of the respective salary scale. The basic hourly rate for the minimum of these grades are as follows:
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|Executive officer II||6.557|
|Staff officer graduate||9.172|
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate his Department has made of public expenditure on housing in (a) the public and (b) the private sector in the last five years for which figures are available. 
|Public sector funding||Private sector funding||Total|
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to what extent open-source software is being used by Government Departments in Northern Ireland; and whether the recommendations of the e-Government policy unit on this are being implemented. 
Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many successful prosecutions there have been in Northern Ireland for the offence of using a mobile phone while driving since its introduction. 
Until 2004 data relating to offences prosecuted by the police become available early this year information is currently available only for those cases prosecuted by the new Public Prosecution Service. Since the introduction of the offence on 1 February 2004, a total of 18 persons have been found guilty of driving while using a mobile phone. The majority of minor offences dealt with in the magistrates courts are prosecuted by the police and this continues to be the case except in the Belfast Region and Fermanagh and Tyrone which are now covered by the Public Prosecution Service which commenced in June 2005.
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David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many buildings in Northern Ireland are owned by the Government; what the average spare office capacity in them has been in each of the last 10 years; and what plans he has to lease further space to private firms. 
Angela E. Smith: There are currently 162 Government owned office buildings in Northern Ireland. Records showing the average spare office capacity for each building in each of the last 10 years are not held. However, at 1 December 2005 0.8 per cent. of the 261,000 m 2 of space available was vacant. There are currently no plans to lease space out to private firms.
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