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Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her Department's policy is on the display of religious (a) artefacts, (b) symbols and (c) dress by its staff; how many staff have been subject to disciplinary proceedings regarding this policy in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The Department for Communities and Local Government does not have a policy relating to the display of (a) artefacts, (b) symbols and (c) dress by its staff. None of its staff has been subject to disciplinary proceedings in relation to dress.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of the Department's mail is shipped using private companies; and what the cost was over the last 12 months. 
Angela E. Smith: The Department for Communities and Local Government was created on 5 May 2006. The following information covers the period from October 2005 to September 2006, and thus includes data for DCLG's predecessor Department, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the value for money of the spending of her Department's grant for the refurbishment of the Ecton Lane Park Travellers site. 
Meg Munn: All bids for Gypsy and Traveller Sites Grant are assessed by independent consultants on a number of criteria including value for money. On this basis we were satisfied that the scheme to refurbish Ecton Lane Park Travellers site represented reasonable value for money when grant was awarded.
Northampton borough council has undertaken an investigation into the refurbishment of this site. Councils have a general responsibility to secure value for money in the use of funds, subject to scrutiny by the district auditor, and are responsible for taking any remedial action where problems are highlighted.
David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will estimate the total (a) savings and (b) costs across all Government Departments associated with maintaining vulnerable people in housing in the community using the Supporting People programme. 
Mr. Woolas: My Department is currently undertaking an assessment of the costs and savings arising from investment in housing-related support through the Supporting People programme. A report from this work will be published in due course.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what (a) public speeches and (b) official visits he has made on departmental business since 5 May 2005; and how many letters he sent in this period. 
David Cairns: Since his appointment as Secretary of State for Scotland, my right hon. Friend has made official visits, and made speeches to, some of the key Scottish companies and players in the commerce, industry and energy sectors. In keeping with his specific interests, my right hon. Friend has a meeting tomorrow with the Big 6 (the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE), Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC), Institute of Directors (IOD) and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)).
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what meetings Ministers in his Department have held with children since 10 August 2005 to discuss children's rights; and what suggestions were received. 
Maria Eagle: Ministers have held a series of meetings with children and young people from 10 August 2005. These are set out in the table and include meetings with traditionally hard-to-reach groups and which provides information on the date of each meeting and the comments or suggestion made by the children and young people who were present.
|Minister||Date||Sponsoring/organising body||Subject matter||Suggestions received/comments made by young people|
Concerns about lack of planning for the future of children and young people with disabilities, especially those with mental health needs; participation of children and young people in decision-making; the need for the Minister for Children and Young People to be vetted in accordance with procedures; youth service remaining within the education sector
Minister asked to comment on how seriously Government was taking vetting; the role of the Minister for Children in relation to anti-bullying policies; bullying; consulting with children and young people in the care system and acting on their views; consulting with children and young people as part of the RPA; the need for guidance on Schools Councils; the need for greater provision for cycling in Northern Ireland. Group extended am invitation to the Minister to attend their residential weekend.
Need for the next stage of the Racial Equality Strategy to look at childrens and young people's issues; effectiveness of school bullying policies, particularly in relation to racist bullying; need for training of teachers to deal effectively with bullying and children affected by bullying; additional services for fee-paying foreign students; issues relating to the wearing of cultural clothing; need to empower young people to have real input in the future.
Need for formal structures for engagement with children and young people, similar to those in operation in other parts of the UK, for example, Funky Dragon in Wales . Proposals for a Northern Ireland Network for Youth welcomed.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people in Northern Ireland have entered into civil partnership arrangements in each month since they were introduced. 
Civil Partnership was introduced in Northern Ireland in December 2005. The following table shows the number of civil partnerships registered in Northern Ireland between then and 30 September 2006 by registration month.
|Number of Civil Partnership Registrations in Northern Ireland from December 2005 to September 2006 by registration month|
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he will reply to the letter of 10 July 2006 from the hon. Member for North Down in relation to the human rights of care home patients in Northern Ireland. 
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what his Department's policy is on the display of religious (a) artefacts, (b) symbols and (c) dress by its staff; how many staff have been subject to disciplinary proceedings regarding this policy in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Paul Goggins: The Northern Ireland Office has no explicit policy about the display of religious artefacts, symbols or dress. However, the Department's Equal Opportunities Policy contains general guidance stating
The Northern Ireland Office is an Equal Opportunity employer. This means that we want everyone who works in the Department to be treated fairly and equally. We all have the right to equality of opportunityand to a good and harmonious working environment. We should be able to work in an atmosphere which encourages us to use our talents and skillsand in which none of us feels threatened or intimidated.
Both management and Trade Unions are fully committed to this policy that seeks to provide a workplace that encourages mutual respect, harmonious working and where no one feels threatened or intimidated.
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