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Expenditure incurred on hospitality by the NIO includes accommodation and hospitality for members of the royal family, visiting dignitaries and heads of state, and also hospitality for the representatives of business, voluntary and community sectors in Northern Ireland attending the annual garden party at Hillsborough Castle.
The information in this answer attempts to provide expenditure on a consistent basis and may differ from that provided in previous answer as definitions of hospitality and treatment across Departments can vary.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many of his Departments employees have been (a) dismissed, (b) suspended and (c) subject to disciplinary action for criminal activity in each year since 1997. 
Paul Goggins: No members of staff employed within the Northern Ireland Office have been (a) dismissed, (b) suspended, or (c) subject to disciplinary action for criminal activity in any year since 1997.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 24 May 2006, Official Report, column 1773W, on departmental staff, how many staff in each Department of the Northern Ireland Office have had two or more periods of sick leave of less than five days in two or more of the years for which he has provided figures. 
|Staff with two or more periods of sick leave of less than five days in two or more of the financial years 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2004-05 by Department|
| Notes: 1. The table provides the number of staff in each Department within the NICS and NIO who have had two or more periods of sick leave of less than five days in two or more of the years 2004-05, 2003-04 and 2002-03. The figures include industrial staff, where appropriate. 2. Staff from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Complaints and the Planning Appeals Commission are included in the DFP figure. 3. Staff from HSENI and OFREG are included in the DETI figure. 4. The HRMS files used to produce the NIO figures include NICS staff only for 2002-03 and NICS and HCS staff for 2003-04 and 2004-05.|
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the likely impact on (a) the police and (b) the public of the recent decision by the District Policing Partnership to remove from Donaghadee and Comber the police rapid response unit. 
Paul Goggins: The DPP has no statutory authority to make decisions in relation to operational matters. Any decision to remove the police rapid response unit from Donaghadee and Comber is a matter for the Chief Constable.
The PSNI has advised that a restructuring of policing services has been commenced within Ards District Command Unit. This entails the centralising of response crews in Newtownards town and Portaferry. In addition, there will be an increase in the number of Community Policing Teams in Comber and Donaghadee.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what criteria will be used to select homes for funding from the Environment and Renewable Energy Fund; what information on applying for funding has been made available; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Eagle: I am pleased to report that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland launched the Household Programme on 24 July as the first initiative to provide funding for homes under the £59 million Environment and Renewable Energy Fund. Householders are eligible to apply for assistance under this programme, which will provide up to 50 per cent. of the cost of installation of renewable energy systems, provided they own the property and it is used primarily for domestic purposes. The grant will be offered on a first-come first-served basis.
The programme is being advertised widely and information on applying for funding, including guidance notes and application forms, can be accessed on the DETI and Action Renewables websites; they can also be requested via dedicated freephone (0800-023-4077), text and e-mail services which are being widely advertised.
Some funding from the Household Programme has been set aside to install 500 solar hot water systems in private households that are deemed to be in fuel poverty. Assistance at 100 per cent. of the cost of installation is available for these cases through the Department for Social Development. The criteria used to select homes for this assistance will be based on the eligibility criteria for the existing Warm Homes Scheme as well as conditions relating to the suitability of the property including suitable orientation needed to benefit from the solar energy. Selection will initially be carried out by the Warm Homes managing agent from the database of homes that have previously received other energy-related assistance under the Warm Homes Programme.
In addition to the Household Programme, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive will receive funding of £1.8 million over two years under the EREF
to install 600 solar hot water panels in their stock. Installation will be applied to dwellings that are in heating conversion schemes and, again, suitability, including suitable orientation of the property, will be the key selection criteria.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many homes in each Westminster constituency have received funding from the Environment and Renewable Energy Fund; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Eagle: On 24 July my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland launched the £8 million Household Programme as a major initiative within the Environment and Renewable Energy Fund.
The Household Programme will provide up to 50 per cent. assistance to homeowners towards the cost of installing renewable technologies such as solar, wind, hydro, biomass or geothermal systems in their homes. A separate element within the programme will provide 100 per cent. assistance to those on low incomes.
In addition, the Warm Homes Scheme is being extended from the fund from 8,250 homes to 10,000, and 600 solar hot water systems will be installed over the next two years in Housing Executive dwellings.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department has paid since 2004 to external consultants who had previously been employed by the Department in any capacity within the previous five years. 
Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the merits of including out-of-classroom learning in secondary schools in inspections by the Education and Training Inspectorate in Northern Ireland. 
Maria Eagle: Out-of-classroom learning provides an important context for children and young people's learning and development. It takes place in almost all schools in all areas of the curriculum. I am satisfied that it is adequately dealt with, as an integral part of post-primary school inspections, by the Education and Training Inspectorate in Northern Ireland.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the timetable is for establishment of each of the strategy for children and young people implementation structures; and what the selection (a) process and (b) criteria are for appointment to the implementation structures. 
Maria Eagle: Structures to oversee the implementation of the 10-year strategy will be set up within the next few months. This will include the strategy planning and review group, which we are required to have up and running to advise on the strategys action plan. We have not agreed the membership of the groups, nor have we finalised selection criteria at this stage. I intend to seek the views of the all-party group on children and young people and other key stakeholders on how this can be effectively achieved.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which IT contracts awarded by his Department in each of the last five years have been abandoned; and what the value was in each case. 
Paul Goggins: The cost of the Key Persons Protection Scheme is given as follows, and the figures recorded include new works, maintenance and running costs, removal costs, some staffing costs and expenditure associated with travel. The costs are calculated in financial years.
|Cost (£ million)|
The increased expenditure during the period 2002 to 2005 reflects the need to provide physical home security measures for those whose personal details were compromised during the former year. This is also reflected in the numbers admitted to the scheme in 2002 and 2003.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to his 19 July speech to the MacGill summer school, what definition he uses of a (a) constitutional endorsement of the structures of policing and (b) the practical service of policing in the community. 
Paul Goggins: The Secretary of State's speech at the MacGill summer school simply pointed out the distinction between practical support for policing and political support for the governance structures of policing, which clearly have a particular resonance for republicans and nationalists in the light of Irish history.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what meetings have taken place involving the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Police Service of Northern Ireland and senior representatives of the Roman Catholic Church since 27 February; what information was provided in relation to (a) each diocese fully within Northern Ireland and (b) each diocese that straddles the border with the Republic of Ireland; when he expects to be in a position to make recommendations as a result of such meetings; and whether he plans to establish an independent inquiry into this matter. 
Mr. Hain: Ministers have regular dialogues with ministerial colleagues in the Scottish Executive, discussing a wide range of issues of mutual interest. It is not our practice to disclose details of such meetings.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to his oral answer of 28 June 2006, Official Report, column 248, on the Northern Ireland Police Fund, what progress has been made in his investigation. 
A full police investigation has been carried out in relation to alleged breaches of security within the Northern Ireland Police Fund. This investigation has now been completed and involved a comprehensive programme of interviews. No persons have been prosecuted as a result of this investigation. It would not be appropriate
to comment on the operational detail of the investigation or on the question of charges being withdrawn as such issues are a matter for the Chief Constable and the PPS respectively. The Secretary of State has already confirmed that he will not call for a public inquiry.
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