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19 Jan 2006 : Column 1446W—continued


Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps her Department is taking to ensure that problem gambling is addressed by proposed gambling reforms. [43256]

Mr. Caborn: The Gambling Act 2005 includes important new safeguards to protect children and vulnerable adults from the harmful effects of gambling.

We plan to bring the Act fully into force with effect from September 2007.

Olympic Games

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 12 January 2006, Official Report, columns 783–84W, on the 2012 Olympics, for what reason UK Sport has not set an aspirational target for Olympic medals at the 2012 Olympic Games. [43638]

Mr. Caborn: It would not be appropriate for UK Sport, the Government's lead agency on elite sport, to set a target for Olympic medals at the 2012 Olympic Games in advance of agreeing a funding package for elite sport.

The Government are not in a position at this stage to indicate when a decision will be taken on a funding package for elite sport. Funding is currently in place for the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic cycle, which concludes in 2009.


Audible Fire Alarms

Bob Spink: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what proportion of the premises occupied by her Department is fitted with audible fire alarms. [42886]

Ms Harman: The proportion of premises that have an audible fire alarm fitted in my Department is 99.09 percent. This answer is based upon the number of buildings in the Department of Constitutional Affairs Headquarters estate and Her Majesty's Courts Service. It does not include related agencies and NDPBs, as to gather this information would incur a disproportionate cost.

Constitutional Reform Act

Mr. Amess: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs when she expects each section of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 to come into force; and if she will make a statement. [41743]

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Ms Harman: Some provisions of the Constitutional Reform Act have already been implemented. The majority of the remaining provisions—including those related to the rule of law, the role of the Lord Chancellor, the Judicial Appointments Commission and its oversight body, a judicial disciplinary system and general judiciary-related provisions—are expected to be brought into force on 3 April 2006.

Part 3 of the Act, which relates to the establishment of a Supreme Court is expected to be implemented in 2008. Certain provisions in the Act relating to Northern Ireland will not be commenced until after the restoration of devolution to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Departmental Jobs (Regional Distribution)

Mr. Weir: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many and what percentage of jobs in (a) her Department, (b) each (i) non-departmental public body, (ii) executive agency and (iii) other public body for which her Department is responsible are located in (A) each of the English regions, (B) Wales and (C) Northern Ireland. [39870]

Ms Harman: The figures are published in Civil Service Statistics. Departments should refer to Table D which covers permanent staff numbers (FTE basis) in each department and agency. This information is available at the following address on the Cabinet Office Statistics website: civil_service/statistics/civil_service_statistics/index.asp

Information for non-departmental public bodies is not collected centrally on a regional basis. (Departments will have to supply their own figures based on the groupings in Table D of Civil Service Statistics bearing in mind the disproportionate cost threshold).

Departmental Objectives

Mr. Amess: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what discussions she has had with stakeholders about the progress of each target in her Department's Objective (a) I, (b) II and (c) IV. [41740]

Ms Harman: I have held discussions with a number of key stakeholders including the judiciary, legal professions, court users, consumers and private sector organisations, about the progress of the PSA targets falling under the Strategic Objectives in SR 2004.

Departmental Staff (Chronic Back Pain)

Mr. Pelling: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what initiatives are being taken in her Department to help civil servants with chronic back pain. [34971]

Ms Harman: DCA offices and equipment are set out to meet the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and other general health and safety legislation such as Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations1999. Where an assessment of ergonomic risk is necessary, in such cases all assessments are conducted in accordance with the Health and Safety
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(Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002.

Health and Safety audits and Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessments are conducted on work stations as a matter of course, but should a member of staff feel that their 'work station' is not comfortable or their chair, desk or position of their computer terminal is causing discomfort to their back, they can request a DSE risk assessment. These assessments are conducted by trained assessors, who look to aid or prevent chronic back pain by ensuring that:

Apart from office based staff, Court based staff (such as Solicitors, Barristers and Ushers) are cared for in the same way as set out above ... as are the independent Judiciary. In addition to our Office and Court personnel, the DCA also employs people who deal with the more physical aspects of the Departments remit, such as Bailiffs, Security personnel and Enforcement/Fines Officers.

Staff who have roles that may potentially have a detrimental effect on their back are given training on Manual Handling (including lifting, bending, twisting) and, for Bailiffs and Enforcement teams who go out into the community, training on Driving Skills (including posture), Control and Restraint, Arrest Techniques, Conflict Handling and any other training that will aid them in their role and reduce the risk of injury to their back is provided.

In addition to explaining the Health and Safety requirements at Induction, delivering training to minimise the risk of causing or aggravating back pain and providing a robust Occupational Health provision (including a telephone Helpline) that can identify, reduce and then deal with 'back conditions', the DCA also proactively looks to reduce incidents and accidents that may cause chronic back pain by having:

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My Department aims to ensure that all staff are aware of their own personal responsibilities in taking care of their back, but should a member staff develop chronic back pain, as a Department, we aim to make sure the individual(s) concerned are supported and cared for.

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