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27 Mar 2006 : Column 694W—continued

Migrant Workers

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he has taken to ensure that the employment agencies bringing migrant workers to Northern Ireland are (a) regulated and (b) monitored in terms of employment rights and working conditions. [61493]

Angela E. Smith: Migrant workers in Northern Ireland are entitled to the same employment rights and working conditions as other workers, including benefiting from the laws relating to the conduct of employment agencies. Employment agencies and employment businesses in Northern Ireland are regulated by Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005 ('Conduct Regulations'). The Conduct Regulations, which came into operation on 25 September 2005, were subject to two full public consultations. They establish a framework of minimum standards that the work-seekers and employers who use employment agencies can expect, including establishing the suitability of work-seekers for vacancies, agreeing terms and conditions, placing controls on client accounts and record-keeping, and clarifying arrangements for charges and fees. Under the 1981 Order, the Department for Employment and Learning has responsibility for enforcing the legislation, including powers to prosecute offenders and in more serious cases, seeking a prohibition notice from an industrial tribunal to prevent an individual from operating an agency for up to ten years.

Under powers granted in the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 2005 the Department may also enter and inspect employment agency premises and records to ensure compliance with the Conduct Regulations. A schedule of inspections, undertaken by the Trading Standards Service on behalf of the Department, will commence from April 2006. The inspections will be scheduled based on the perceived risks of vulnerable groups, including migrant workers and as such a high priority
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will be attached to their interests. The Department will investigate all complaints brought to its attention in respect of employment agencies.

In addition the Department has produced and distributed guidance material aimed at those affected by legislation governing the recruitment sector, including material to assist migrant workers in Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Tetum and Lithuanian.

Oncology Services

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average waiting time is for oncology services in Northern Ireland; how many people in each Northern Ireland health board area are on waiting lists for oncology treatment; and if he will make a statement. [60418]

Mr. Woodward: Waiting list information is collected by time band. It is therefore not possible to calculate the arithmetic mean (average) length of time waiting. It is however possible to identify the median or mid-point waiting time band. The median waiting time band for assessment or treatment in the medical and clinical oncology specialties in Northern Ireland at 31 December 2005 was 0 to 2 months.

Belfast City hospital, the sole provider of oncology services in Northern Ireland, has further advised that in the first two months of this year 95 per cent. of patients were assessed by an oncologist in outpatients within five weeks of referral and, of these, 75 per cent. were seen within two weeks.

Belfast City hospital has confirmed that all patients are seen and treated within clinically significant time bands as recommended by the Joint Council for Oncology (Royal Colleges of Radiology and Physicians).

The number of patients on the waiting list for medical and clinical oncology, for outpatient assessment and inpatient treatment, by health board of residence, at 31 December 2005 is shown in the table.
Health Board of
Outpatient waiters at 31 December 2005Inpatient waiters at 31 December 2005

Board monthly return CHA (inpatients waiting) and departmental information return CH3 (outpatients waiting).

Planning Applications

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many planning applications were deferred after coming before local councils for consultation on a first occasion in Northern Ireland between January (a) 2005 and 2006 and (b) 2004 and 2005. [60071]

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Angela E. Smith: The information requested is as follows:

Police Numbers

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many police officers there are in each division of each police force in Northern Ireland; and what is the population of the area covered by each division. [52282]

Mr. Woodward: The number of police officers and the population in each District Command Unit is provided on the following table:
Distrcit Command UnitTotalPopulation 2001 Census
Belfast, East334
Belfast, North467Total Belfast 277,391
Belfast, South503
Belfast, West313
Dungannon and South Tyrone17447,735
Newry and Mourne25187,058
North Down21876,323

Primary Schools

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to the answer of 9 March 2006, Official Report, column 1742W, on primary schools, if he will break down the number of surplus places in each constituency by education sector. [60835]

Angela E. Smith: Based upon 2005 enrolments, there are an estimated 33,600 surplus places in primary schools throughout the parliamentary constituencies and the breakdown is as follows.
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Number of
surplus places
primary schools
primary schools
Irish medium primary schoolsIntegrated primary schools (includes controlled and grant maintained)
Belfast, East2,0501,850200
Belfast, North3,5002,0001,47525
Belfast, South2,4001,75057575
Belfast, West3,4501,1502,000300
East Londonderry1,70087575075
Fermanagh and South Tyrone
East Antrim1,30047575075
Lagan Valley1,6501,17540075
Newry and Armagh1,7003501,32525
North Antrim2,2001,375825
North Down1,5501,37515025
South Antrim1,850650775425
South Down1,2501751,02550
Upper Bann1,60080079010
West Tyrone1,6001501,450

Prisoners (Resettlement)

Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what resettlement payments were made to those prisoners who were released early under the terms of the Belfast agreement. [60791]

Mr. Woodward: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for East Londonderry (Mr. Campbell) on 23 March 2006, Official Report, column 537W.

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