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1 Nov 2006 : Column 523Wcontinued
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what meetings his Department has held with children since 10 August 2005; what mechanisms have been put in place in Government to study and act on the views of children as a result of the Governments pledge to do so; what suggestions have been received from children by his Department; and what steps have been taken to implement suggestions made by children. 
Maria Eagle: Ministers have held a series of meetings with children and young people from 10 August 2005 and I refer the hon. Gentleman to my previous answer on 26 October 2006, Official Report, column 2038W.
In relation to mechanisms to study and act on the views of children and young people, we are in the process of establishing a participation network, which will be sited within the Northern Ireland Youth Forum. The aim of the network is offer training and consultancy support to the statutory sector in order to engage directly with children and young people; and develop and promote standards of good practice in relation to child and youth participation. It is intended to have network staff in place by January 2007. In addition, options for taking forward the establishment of a Northern Ireland Network for Youth are being considered as part of the development of RPA proposals. Consultation with young people is currently taking place. Account will be taken of the responses to consultation by the cross-sectoral Youth RPA Project Board, responsible for developing proposals for the establishment of the Northern Ireland Network for Youth.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proportion of vacancies in his Department in the last 12 months required candidates to have at least a grade C in (a) English and (b) mathematics GCSE. 
Mr. Hanson: The proportion of vacancies filled within the Northern Ireland civil service in the last 12 months, where a Grade C in either (a) English or (b) Mathematics GCSE was a specific requirement in the recruitment competition, is set out in the following table.
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has given consideration to working with the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism of the Republic of Ireland Government to establish an all-Ireland body to help develop the greyhound industry in Ireland; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Eagle: Greyhound racing is administered on an all-Ireland basis by Bord na cGon. I have recently indicated to the Republic of Ireland Government a willingness to explore the further possibility of all-Island co-operation in this sector.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 9 October 2006, Official Report, column 329W, on parliamentary questions, for what purpose Northern Ireland civil service officials in the North/South Ministerial Council Joint Secretariat receive a daily list of all parliamentary questions tabled to Northern Ireland departments. 
Mr. Hanson: As part of the administrative arrangements for answering parliamentary questions, Northern Ireland civil service officials in the North/South Ministerial Council Joint Secretariat routinely receive a copy of the daily list of all PQs allocated to the departments of the Northern Ireland administration. These arrangements ensure that officials, as in other Departments, are aware at an early stage of the questions on which they may be required to advise Ministers or on which other Departments may be seeking information or advice.
Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many expressions of interest have been lodged with the Department of Education by parents who wish to send their children to the proposed Rowandale Integrated Primary School. 
Maria Eagle: A development proposal to establish Rowandale Integrated Primary School with effect from 1 September 2007 or the earliest date thereafter was published by the South Eastern Education and Library Board on behalf of the Rowandale Integrated Primary School Steering Group on 19 September 2006. The statutory two-month consultation period ends on 20 November 2006.
In submitting the development proposal for the establishment of a new grant maintained integrated primary school the Steering Group indicated that at 18 August 2006, they had received 20 expressions of interest for Year 1 at September 2007 with a further 57 children identified for Year 1 for the years 2008 to 2011
inclusive. In addition, the Group has advised that 22 families had expressed interest in transferring their children to the proposed new school from existing primary schools.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Prime Minister what role UK forces are undertaking in suppressing poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. 
The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made on 10 July 2006, Official Report, column 1135, by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence.
Mr. Blunt: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his reply of 25 October 2006, Official Report, column 1883W, on human rights, on which day in September his Office received a draft of the report. 
The Prime Minister: I have nothing further to add to the answer I gave the hon. Member on 25 October 2006, Official Report, column 1883W.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many items of correspondence have been received by his Department since 5 May 2005. 
David Cairns: The Scotland Office has received 1,761 items of correspondence since 5 May 2005.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of correspondence received by his Department since 5 May 2005 was answered within 15 days of receipt. 
David Cairns: 83.7 per cent. of correspondence received by the Scotland Office has been answered within 15 working days of receipt since 5 May 2005.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of his Departments mail is shipped using private companies; and what the cost was over the last 12 months. 
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Solicitor-General what proportion of vacancies in the Law Officers' Departments in the last 12 months required candidates to have at least a grade C in (a) English and (b) mathematics GCSE. 
The Solicitor-General: The Treasury Solicitor's Department and the Attorney-General's Office require candidates, for open competition vacancies, to have a minimum of five GCSEs (or equivalent) at grade C, including English language. Therefore one 100 per cent. of vacancies require candidates to have at least grade C in English language GCSE or equivalent. No candidates were specifically required to have at least grade C in mathematics GCSE
There have been no vacancies in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in the last 12 months that required candidates to have at least a grade C in English and Mathematics GCSE, as all recruitment is competency based. Candidates for administrative positions will provide evidence of competency in English and Mathematics, where necessary, at interview or through testing.
RCPO held 20 appointment exercises for 54 vacancies of which 21 have asked for at least grade C in English during the last year.
HMCPSI does not quote these qualifications as a requirement but it is an expectation that candidates or prospective employees will have these basic qualifications.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Solicitor-General whether the Law Officers' Department recognises the International GCSE as an acceptable substitute for a GCSE for the purposes of recruitment. 
The Solicitor-General: The Law Officer's Department does recognise the International GCSEs as an acceptable substitute for GCSEs for the purposes of recruitment if formal qualifications were necessary.
John McDonnell: To ask the Solicitor-General how many employees in the Law Officers' Departments were affected by the rise in the minimum wage on 1 October 2006. 
The Solicitor-General: The Law Officers Departments did not have any staff affected by the rise in the minimum wage on 1 October 2006.
Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the grant to the British Geological Survey is in 2006-07; and what it is expected to be in each of the next three years. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The British Geological Survey (BGS) is a wholly-owned research centre of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). BGS receives funding from the science budget via NERC, and from external commissioned research from the public and private sectors. The annual science budget allocations from NERC to BGS are as follows:
|Resource budget||Capital budget||Total budget|
|(1) This figure contains a £1.6 million carry forward from 2005-06. The 2006-07 budgeted figure was actually £24.5 million, in line with the steady increase in the resource budget throughout the four-year period.|
(2) The larger capital budget figures for 2007-08 and 2008-09 is due to re-building work at the British Geological Survey in Keyworth, with the figure settling back down again in 2009-10.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has for (a) voluntary and (b) compulsory redundancies in his Department during (i) 2006-07 and (ii) 2007-08 financial years; and how many officials in his Department, have (A) taken voluntary severance and (B) been made, or informed that they will be made, redundant in each month since July 2006 broken down by (1) directorate and (2) grade. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Departments strategy is to become a more streamlined, influential, policy-making Department at the centre of the DTI family, with delivery through our agencies and arms-length bodies. In order to do this we are undertaking a number of reviews that, in tandem with significant pressures across all budgets, are likely to lead to some reduction in staff numbers.
The Department and the trade unions are committed to working together to make every attempt to avoid compulsory redundancies. However, the Department has decided to put the consultation on a statutory footing because the scale of the changes may result in some compulsory redundancies.
As part of the Departments efficiency programme, the DTI has supported over 450 people during the last two years. They have been given help with upskilling and job search and have either been redeployed or have taken advantage of exit schemes. Despite this some 11 individuals remain without posts and were made aware on 2 August 2006 that they will receive notice of redundancy in the near future. During the period of notice they will remain supported by the Department to help secure alternative suitable posts.
The following number of officials have taken early severance since July 2006:
|Number of staff||Range||DTI group|
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many redundancies there were in his Department in each year since 1997; what the cost of such redundancies was in each such year; how many temporary staff were employed in each such year; and how many staff were seconded by outside organisations to the Department in each year. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The following table gives the number of compulsory redundancies made in each financial year by core DTI (including SBS and UKTI):
|Number of staff|
The information for pre-2004 redundancy charges could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The costs of redundancies since 2004 under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme, including continuing charges, have been as follows:
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