Previous Section Index Home Page

5 Jun 2006 : Column 481W—continued

In 2005-06 VSNI’s administrative costs were £622,963 and the salary costs were £1,263,936.

The following is a list of the staffing posts within VSNI broken down by grade:

5 Jun 2006 : Column 482W
Post Number of staff

Branch Managers


Branch Co-ordinators


Advice Workers


Administrative Officers (P/T)


Administrative Officers (F/T)


Court Witness Co-ordinators (P/T)


Court Witness Co-ordinators (F/T)




Senior Management Team


C/Injuries Technical Manager


Court Witness Project Manager


Training Officer


HR Officer


Finance Officer (P/T)


IT Support (P/T)


Domestic Assistant (P/T)




The following table details the NIO funding provided to VSNI since 1999-2000. Funding substantially increased from 2001-02 with the development of two new services—assistance for those claiming criminal injuries compensation and support for victims and witnesses attending court. In line with NIO retention policy information is not available from the formation of the organisation:

Financial year Funding (£000)







Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much financial support his Department gives to Victim Support Northern Ireland; and what mechanisms are in place to monitor how that funding is spent. [74120]

Mr. Hanson: Victim Support Northern Ireland (VSNI) is an independent voluntary organisation core- funded by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) to provide information, support and practical help to victims of crime and witnesses.

In 2005-06 the NIO provided funding of £1,907,000 to VSNI for the provision of its Community Service, Criminal Injuries Compensation Service and Court Witness Service.

The NIO has an agreed Conditions of Grant with VSNI which specifies the services to be delivered by VSNI, the arrangements for monitoring service delivery and performance, the roles and responsibilities for the stewardship of public funds and general conditions. In accordance with the Conditions of Grant, the Department closely monitors both business and financial performance on a quarterly basis and also holds quarterly bilateral meetings with VSNI.

Violent Offenders

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he plans to extend the role of the Multi-Agency Procedures for the Assessment and Management of Sex Offenders to include violent offenders in Northern Ireland. [73542]

Mr. Hanson: I believe it is important that we continually review and develop how we manage offenders in the community. This is why I intend
5 Jun 2006 : Column 483W
introducing legislation later this year which will strengthen the current sex offender management arrangements in Northern Ireland by placing these on a statutory footing and extending the arrangements to include the management of non-sexual violent offenders. My officials are currently engaged in detailed consultation with colleagues who operate the offender management procedures, both here and in England and Wales, about the implications of such a change.

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will ensure that the Violent Offender and Sex Offender Register is available to the Probation Board and Prison Service on the same basis as it is to the police in Northern Ireland. [73543]

Mr. Hanson: The Violent Offender and Sex Offender Register (ViSOR), is a secure, confidential, fully auditable national database which allows the police, probation and prison services to monitor and manage sexual and violent offenders and others who may cause serious harm to the public. The three criminal justice agencies have agreed that access to ViSOR for prisons and probation should be provided through Causeway and are currently engaged in the development of the platform and protocols necessary for access to be granted.

Waiting Times

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the (a) average and (b) longest waiting time is for (i) inpatient admission and (ii) initial outpatient assessment in the plastic surgery speciality in Northern Ireland. [74369]

Paul Goggins: Official waiting list information is collected by time band. It is therefore not possible to calculate the average (arithmetic mean) and longest waiting time. It is however possible to identify the median or mid-point waiting and longest waiting time band.

The latest available waiting list statistics show the position at 31 March 2006. Plastic surgery numbers relating to the (a) median and (b) longest waiting time bands for (i) inpatient admission and (ii) initial outpatient assessment are shown in the following table.

Waiting time numbers for plastic surgery specialty at 31 March 2006
(a) Median wait (b) Longest wait

(i) Inpatient admission



(ii) Initial outpatient assessment



Source: Departmental Information Returns CH1 Parts A and B and CHS Parts 1 and 2.

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average waiting time was at each accident and emergency department in Northern Ireland in each of the last 12 months. [74387]

5 Jun 2006 : Column 484W

Paul Goggins: Information on the time that patients wait to be seen in accident and emergency departments is not collected centrally. Not all hospitals have electronic systems to record accident and emergency department activity. For those hospitals that have only manual recording systems in place, data extraction is a lengthy and time-consuming process.

Water Supplies

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what changes are planned to the funding of water supplies in Northern Ireland. [73174]

David Cairns: From 1 April 2007 Northern Ireland’s water and sewerage services will be provided by a Government-owned company, Northern Ireland Water Limited (NIWL). Self-financing arrangements will be introduced which will result in the full costs incurred in providing water and sewerage services being recovered from charges to customers. The comprehensive water and sewerage charging regime to be introduced will involve the general introduction of unmeasured domestic water and sewerage charges with measured charges (i.e. metering) being introduced for all new properties and new connections. Meters will also be offered to pensioner households. In the non-domestic sector, water charges will be extended and sewerage charges introduced for all non-domestic customers.

All these new charges will be phased in over three years so NIWL will not be fully self-financing until 2009-10. There will also be a low-income protection scheme in the form of an affordability tariff which will involve capping charges for eligible customers at an affordable level. The affordability tariff will ensure that eligible low-income households spend no more than 3 per cent. of their income on water and sewerage charges. As many as 200,000 households (30 per cent. of all households) in Northern Ireland who presently qualify for rate rebate, housing benefit or the new Northern Ireland rate relief scheme should benefit from this scheme. The affordability tariff will also extend to all 16 to 17-year-old householders and to children leaving care up to the age of 21. For those on low incomes, the affordability tariff will mean that no-one will pay more than £180 regardless of the value of the property in which they live. On 1 June 2006 the Government published draft legislation, entitled The Water and Sewerage Services (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 2006, which will introduce important changes to the way water and sewerage services are delivered in Northern Ireland. Among other things the Draft Order sets out a framework for the levying of charges for water and sewerage services.

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost to public funds was of water lost through leaks in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years. [74983]

David Cairns: The chief executive of Water Service (Mrs. Katherine Bryan) has been asked to write to the hon. Gentleman in response to this question.

5 Jun 2006 : Column 485W

Letter from Mrs. Katharine Bryan, dated 5 June 2006:

£ million
Cost of water lost through leaks











    Index Home Page