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13 Sep 2006 : Column 2402W—continued

Out-of-classroom Education

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of Northern Ireland teacher training courses' treatment of fieldwork as a teaching method in secondary schools. [86923]

Maria Eagle: I am content that teacher education as inspected and assessed by the Education and Training Inspectorate, is fit for purpose. However, individual teaching methodologies such as the treatment of fieldwork, are not inspected separately.

Parades

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many objections were received by the Parades Commission in advance of parades held on 17 March in Northern Ireland. [61106]

Paul Goggins: The Parades Commission has advised that there is no record of objections to any of the parades on St. Patrick's Day.

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether any discussions have taken place between the Parades Commission and organisers of proposed Ancient Order of Hibernians parades during August 2006 which are due to take place in or close to Unionist areas regarding talks between local residents and the march organisers. [84935]

Paul Goggins: The Parades Commission has advised that it is in the process of facilitating dialogue between band organisers and local residents regarding proposed Ancient Order of Hibernians parades during August 2006.

Paramilitary Flags

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what further measures his Department plans to introduce to tackle the flying of paramilitary flags in Northern Ireland. [86585]

Paul Goggins: The Flags (NI) Order 2000 governs the flying of the Union Flag from Government buildings. There are no plans at present to make any major changes to this legislation.

“A Shared Future”: Policy and Strategic Framework for Good Relations in Northern Ireland was published on 21 March 2005. It deals with (in part) the removal of inappropriate and aggressive displays of flags and emblems (specifically paramilitary flags and other displays which have the effect of intimidating or harassing).


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This is best undertaken as a common project with key agencies working collaboratively with the PSNI and local communities to remove such displays. The launch of Protocol between PSNI and key agencies in April 2005 provides for such a mechanism.

Over the past year, individual PSNI District Command Units have been proactively working with others, as laid out in the joint protocol, to have flags removed through a process of consultation and negotiation. PSNI has also independently and unilaterally acted to remove flags when it has determined that the display of a flag is such as to justify enforcement without consultation and negotiation.

Policing

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on (a) the role of the structures of policing in the Patten recommendations and (b) the future of policing in Northern Ireland. [89127]

Paul Goggins: The Government are fully committed to implementing the Patten recommendations. The policing accountability architectures put in place as a result of the Patten report have been a notable success and a model for others to follow. The Northern Ireland Policing Board is one of the key elements in this accountability framework.

Prisons

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the availability of illegal drugs in prisons in Northern Ireland; and what measures are in place to reduce the availability. [87282]

Paul Goggins: The Prison Service acknowledges that it is essential to have detailed monitoring systems and trends analysis of the availability of illegal drugs in prisons. The Service has a detailed monthly monitoring system which includes:

Complementing the statistical data, graphs and charts are produced which provide a trend analysis over six monthly periods. This information is disseminated within the Northern Ireland Prison Service and with the exception of sensitive information, is published on the NIPS website (www.niprisonservice.gov.uk).

More long-term, detailed assessments are carried out by external, independent consultants based on anonymous questionnaires and interviews with prisoners. These assessments provide a clear insight into the nature and scope of substance misuse in each establishment. They also provide a solid foundation on which to build and develop policy. They, too, are published.


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The measures in place to reduce availability of illegal drugs in prison are set out in the “Policy on Alcohol and Substance Misuse” document which was published for consultation on 26 July 2006. It too can be accessed on the Northern Ireland Prison Service website.

Public Swimming Baths

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to increase the provision of public swimming facilities in Northern Ireland. [87283]

Maria Eagle: Article 10 of The Recreation and Youth Service (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 states that each district council has statutory responsibility for the provision of leisure and recreation facilities within its area. Therefore the responsibility to increase the provision of public swimming facilities in Northern Ireland falls to district councils. The Department of Culture Arts and Leisure is sponsoring a competition to facilitate the development of an Olympic standard 50m swimming pool through the provision of a capital grant to the appropriate authority with plans to build such a pool.

Recruitment and Selection

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much of the money spent on recruitment and selection by the Northern Ireland civil service was spent on recruitment agencies and consultants in each of the last four financial years. [86574]

Mr. Hanson: The following table details the amount spent on recruitment consultants by the Northern Ireland civil service in each of the last four financial years.

Amount spent on recruitment consultants
Financial year £

2002-03

418,810

2003-04

724,693

2004-05

395,722

2005-06

196,230

Total

1,735,455


It has not been possible to provide a figure in respect of recruitment agency costs due to disproportionate cost. These costs were largely incurred through the need to fill temporary vacancies.

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much the Northern Ireland civil service has spent on recruitment and selection in each of the last four financial years; and how many jobs advertised were subsequently filled during this period. [86575]

Mr. Hanson: Recruitment Service of the Department of Finance and Personnel has responsibility for the majority of recruitment and selection, through external competition, to the Northern Ireland civil service. The figures in the following table represent the spend incurred by Recruitment Service within the years specified and the number of jobs filled.


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In addition, several departments manage directly some recruitment, mainly to fill temporary positions. The number of jobs filled by departments is included in
13 Sep 2006 : Column 2406W
the following table. The costs associated with this element of departmental recruitment and selection cannot be provided due to disproportionate costs.

Financial year Costs (£000) Recruitment Service appointments Direct departmental appointments Total appointments

2002-03

1,848

3,045

1,240

4,285

2003-04

1,916

3,744

1,193

4,937

2004-05

1,782

2,631

852

3,483

2005-06

1,685

2,201

807

3,008

Total

7,231

11,621

4,092

15,713


It is not possible to provide a figure in relation to jobs advertised. Although some competitions do specify the number of jobs vacancies anticipated at the time of advertising, the majority of competitions do not. These are advertised in such a way as to provide departments with a pool of candidates to satisfy their business needs, at the grade advertised, within a 12-month period.

Reserved Posts

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions ministers have had with the Equality Commission on the eligibility of Irish nationals for reserved posts; and if he will make a statement. [87337]

Mr. Hanson: No discussions have taken place between Ministers and the Equality Commission on this issue.

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people have been ruled ineligible for reserved posts in the Northern Ireland civil service in each of the last five years on the grounds that they were Irish citizens. [87338]

Mr. Hanson: The number of people who have been ruled ineligible for reserved posts in the NICS as a consequence of their Irish citizenship in the last five years is contained in the following table.

Financial year Number

2001-02

0

2002-03

4

2003-04

1

2004-05

2

2005-06

2

Total

9


Schools (Vandalism)

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) state controlled schools, (b) Catholic maintained schools and (c) other schools in each board area have been attacked by vandals over the last three years; and whether each case was recorded as a sectarian attack. [87998]

Maria Eagle: The number of controlled and Catholic maintained schools attacked by vandals over the last three years is as follows:

Education and Library Board 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06

Belfast

(a) Controlled

(1)24

98

137

(b) Maintained

(1)27

100

196

Western

(a) Controlled

29

17

14

(b) Maintained

27

23

22

North Eastern

(a) Controlled

107

141

133

(b) Maintained

51

60

57

South Eastern

(a) Controlled

425

383

459

(b) Maintained

75

100

70

Southern

(a) Controlled

(2)259

(2)254

(2)265

(b) Maintained

(2)279

(2)273

(2)286

(1) Figures from 1 August 2003 when Board started to keep computerised records. (2) Figures are for calendar year.

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