|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether his Department (a) has evaluated, (b) is undertaking and (c) plans (i) to evaluate and (ii) to undertake research to determine the number of young people and adolescents in Northern Ireland with mental health problems. 
Paul Goggins: The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) commissioned an independent review of mental health and learning disability policy and legislation in October 2002. The review has included policy and services for children and adolescents within its remit and their report has recommended that a study of the mental health needs of children be undertaken as soon as possible. Departmental officials are currently developing the Governments response to the review overall.
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the projected number of hospital beds available for use on site is at the Mid-Ulster Hospital, Magherafelt in (a) 2006-07, (b) 2007-08, (c) 2008-09 and (d) 2009-10. 
|(1) Ambulatory beds, not in-patient|
Under the Developing Better Services framework, acute hospital services in the Northern Board area will be focused on Antrim Area and Causeway Hospitals. Mid-Ulster Hospital will become a local hospital providing a range of day surgery, day procedures, diagnostics and out-patient services, with in-patient care of the elderly beds for assessment and rehabilitation.
There are no immediate plans to revise bed capacity at the Mid-Ulster Hospital, until the implementation
of Developing Better Services. Future consideration however would have to address any issues of quality, safety, sustainability or best practice that could emerge during the planning period.
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the conclusions were of consideration given by United Hospitals Trust to provision of a midwife-led maternity unit at Mid-Ulster Hospital. 
(a) The demand from mothers for such a unit.
(b) The support from staff and other professional groups within the trust.
(c) Value for money considerations.
(d) The wider context of the network of maternity services across the region.
(3) how much revenue has been generated since the new traffic attendant system managed by NCP came into operation; and how much revenue was generated in the last comparable period under the previous parking enforcement system; 
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland five Parliamentary Questions: -
(i) what the value is of the contract with National Car Parks (NCP) to manage parking enforcement throughout Northern Ireland;
(ii) how the revenue generated by parking enforcement tickets under the new traffic attendant system will be used;
(iii) how much revenue has been generated since the new traffic attendant system managed by NCP came into operation; and how much revenue was generated in the last comparable period under the previous parking enforcement system;
(iv) how many people are employed under the contract with NCP to manage parking enforcement in Northern Ireland; and
(v) whether the contract with NCP to manage parking enforcement in Northern Ireland provides for performance bonuses for the (a) chief executive and (b) traffic wardens.
I have been asked to reply as the issues raised fall within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service. For ease of reference, I will reply in the order listed above.
(i) National Car Parks contract value.
As you may be aware our contract with NCP includes for the management of Roads Services off-street charged car parks as well as the enforcement of on-street parking and waiting restrictions. If NCP provides the appropriate level of service, as measured against key performance indicators (KPIs) under the terms of the contract, a performance related payment, over and above the actual costs to NCP, will be made each month. I must stress that these KPIs do not relate to the number of tickets issued by Traffic Attendants. Under the terms of the contract the maximum annual amount payable to NCP will be £8,848,698.38. This sum includes the maximum performance related payment.
(ii) How the revenue from parking charge notices will be used.
The revenue generated by the payment of penalty charge notices is used, along with income from car parking and other charges, to supplement the overall financing of Roads Service by Central Government. Based on current levels of tickets issued and payment rates, income from penalty charges will not cover the total cost of the NCP contract.
(iii) Value of revenue generated since the introduction of the new Traffic attendant system compared with the same period last year.
Since the introduction of the new Traffic Attendant system managed by NCP, £614,700 has been paid so far to Roads Service as a result of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) (both on-street and off-street) during the period 13 November 2006 to 22 January 2007. With regard to the second part of your question, we do not have the figures for the equivalent period last year as on-street parking was managed by the PSNI. However, I can give you an indication of the number of on-street PCNs being issued under the new system compared to parking tickets issued under the old system. Since the introduction of the new system some 25,551 on-street PCNs have been issued. This equates to an annual figure of approximately 133,000 PCNs compared to an annual average of 66,000 on-street parking tickets issued by PSNI.
(iv) The number of people employed by NCP to manage parking enforcement in Northern Ireland.
I have been advised that NCP currently employ 371 staff in Northern Ireland to manage parking enforcement and operate the contract with Roads Service.
(v) Performance bonuses.
I can advise that the contract Roads Service has with NCP to manage parking enforcement in Northern Ireland does not provide for bonuses to any NCP staff members, including their Chief Executive or Traffic Attendants.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department spent on commissioning public opinion research in each of the last five years for which records are available. 
Mr. Hanson: Following an Official Journal of the European Union procurement a private sector supplier was awarded a contract in January 2005 to provide the Rate Collection Agency with a managed Information Communications Technology service. This included the development of an integrated revenue collection and housing benefit system.
Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the cost of dealing with the problems created by the new IT system of the Rates Collection Agency. 
Mr. Hanson: The overall value of the managed service contract which runs for 10 years, subject to a review after eight, is approximately £6 million. The cost of developing the new IT system is subsumed within the overall managed service cost.
Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects the new IT system of the Rates Collection Agency (a) to be fully operational and (b) to incorporate owner-occupier housing benefit information. 
Mr. Hanson: The system is being implemented in four phases and should be fully operational by July 2007. The transfer of owner-occupier housing benefit information is part of Phase 3 (a new housing benefit system) which is scheduled to be implemented by March 2007.
Mr. Hanson: Migration of data between the old and new rate collection systems has caused some problems but the majority of these were due to the poor quality of data in the old system. While efforts were made to correct erroneous data prior to data migration, it was not possible to identify and correct all the issues. Most of these issues have now been resolved.
Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what has caused the problem with the new IT system in the Rates Collection Agency that has resulted in it not being able to process owner-occupier housing benefit applications. 
Mr. Hanson: The new IT system is being introduced on a phased basis. Phase 1, the collection and billing system, went live in October 2006. Phase 3, the replacement of the existing owner-occupied housing benefit system, is due for completion during March 2007. An interface was required to update the new collection and billing system with information from the existing housing benefit system. The complexity of replicating and modifying the interface has been challenging. The agency is working with its suppliers to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether manual payments are being paid for owner-occupier housing benefit applications within the Rates Collection Agency. 
Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans there are for changes in the number of staff dealing with owner-occupier housing benefit applications within the Rates Collection Agency. 
Mr. Hanson: The agency has planned for additional staff to deal with an anticipated increase in the number of applications for owner-occupier housing benefit and the implementation of the domestic rate relief scheme.
Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average turnaround time is to process owner-occupier housing benefit applications to the Rates Collection Agency. 
Mr. Hanson: Average turnaround times apply to those cases where all the information necessary to assess entitlement has been received from the applicant. The average turnaround time achieved to 15 September 2006 was 13 days. Work is currently ongoing to ensure turnaround time improves.
Dr. Alasdair McDonnell:
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many owner-occupiers
housing benefit claims were received by the Rates Collection Agency in Northern Ireland in (a) 2004, (b) 2005 and (c) 2006; and how many have been received in 2007. 
|(1 )Up to and including 21 January 2007|
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent policy initiatives and activities the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development has undertaken on (a) the production of energy crops and (b) the use of farming waste materials for the production of biomass. 
Research and development;
Financial support for the growing of short rotation coppice willow;
Administration of the EU Aid for Energy Crops Scheme
Financial support for development of the willow chip supply chain;
Proposed capital and marketing support under the draft Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2007-13, subject to EU Commission approval.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|