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Northern Ireland Civil Service

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment has been carried out to ensure that filling of vacancies in the Northern Ireland Civil Service from (a) departmental transfer lists and (b) the central transfer list complies with (i)section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and (ii) all other equality obligations. [65508]

Angela E. Smith: The process of filling vacancies from departmental transfer lists has not been assessed against equality obligations, including Section 75. The central policy on staff transfers has not been subject to equality screening; however, the policy is currently under review. The expectation is that the new policy will establish a consistent approach to filling vacancies across the NICS and the policy will be subject to the equality impact assessment process.

Nursing Home Care

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the letter of 3 August 2005 from the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (COR/379/2005) to the hon. Member for North Down what the exceptional circumstances are under which health care may be provided free of charge in a nursing home in Northern Ireland. [65470]

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Mr. Woodward: The exceptional circumstances where continuing health care needs might be met in a nursing home, rather than in hospital, are a matter for professional clinical and social care judgement in individual cases and will be based on an assessment of whether continuing consultant intervention and/or specialist nursing care could be more effectively and efficiently provided in a nursing home.


Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many fixed penalties were issued during 2005 in Northern Ireland Department for Regional Development pay and display car parks in respect of vehicles that did not have the correct payment sticker displayed on the windscreen. [65314]

Mr. Woodward: The chief executive of the roads service has been asked to write to the hon. Gentleman in response to this question.

Letter from Dr. Malcolm McKibbin, dated 25 April 2006:

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Parliamentary Questions

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he will answer question (a) 38593 and (b) 38594, tabled by the hon. Member for Upper Bann, on special advisers. [63447]

Mr. Hain: I have now responded to the hon. Member's questions (a) 38593 and (b) 38594. I must apologise to the hon. Member for the delay in responding, owing to an administrative error within the Department. Steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence.

Patient Advocates

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many cases were dealt with by patient advocates during 2005 at each of Northern Ireland's acute hospitals. [64910]

Mr. Woodward: The information requested is not available. However, patient liaison and support services, including advocacy, provided by Health and Social Services Trusts, are widely available in Northern Ireland, as are advocacy services provided by the Health and Social Services Councils.

Sex Offenders (Tagging)

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many convicted sex offenders in Northern Ireland have had electronic type tags fitted after their release from prison in each year between 2000 and 2005. [64906]

Mr. Hanson: Electronic tagging is not currently used in Northern Ireland. The recent consultation on the Review of the Sentencing Framework included a section inviting comment on the possible introduction of electronic monitoring and on its various applications. We will bring forward proposals to modernise the sentencing framework during the course of the year.

Special Advisers

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many special advisers are employed by the Government in Northern Ireland; what their (a) role is, (b) relationship with the various civil service departments and officials is, (c) salary is and (d) qualifications are; [38593]

(2) what function special advisers employed by the Government in Northern Ireland exercise in relation to departmental answers to parliamentary questions; and how many of them are members of the Labour Party. [38594]

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Mr. Hain: There are two special advisers employed within my Department. Their role and relationships with Departments and officials are in accordance with the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers issued by the Cabinet Office's Propriety and Ethics Team. I refer the hon. Gentleman to the Prime Minister's written ministerial statement on special advisers of 21 July 2005. This statement referred to the revised Code of Conduct for Special Advisers which reflected commitments given by the Government to the Public Administration Committee and the Committee on Standards in Public Life. It also advised that the Civil Service Order in Council governing the appointment of special advisers had been amended to the effect that special advisers are appointed to assist Ministers. They are employed as temporary civil servants and paid according to the relevant pay band. On the issue of Labour Party membership, this is matter for the individuals concerned.


David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what (a) financial assistance and (b) support is available for expectant mothers in Northern Ireland who deliver a still-born baby. [65354]

Mr. Woodward: The information requested is as follows.

(a) A stillbirth is defined in The Stillbirth Definition (Northern Ireland) Order, 1992 as

Such an event prior to 24 weeks is treated as a miscarriage. This distinction is reflected in the financial assistance available.

If a pregnancy does not result in the issue of a living child, depending on her individual circumstances, a woman may be entitled to receive financial support as follows:

(b) Trained staff within the Health and Personal Social Services (HPSS) in Northern Ireland offer a wide range of support to the bereaved. This is in addition to the services available from voluntary, community and church organisations. In July 2005 the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (NI) published a Careplan for Women who Experience a Miscarriage, Stillbirth or Neonatal Death". This document is designed to promote quality and effective care and forms a basis for trusts to develop their arrangements in accordance with local needs and circumstances. It can be viewed at

In March 2006, a HPSS regional bereavement network for Northern Ireland was established. It comprises five area co-ordinators based in local hospitals, and will help make a significant contribution to developing support for those who experience a stillbirth.
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