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16 Apr 2007 : Column 210W—continued


Pupils: Intimidation

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will take steps to ensure that education and library boards in Northern Ireland collect statistics on the incidences of bullying recorded in schools in Northern Ireland. [130953]

Maria Eagle: There are no plans at present to do so; however, information about the scale and nature of bullying in Northern Ireland schools will be contained in a research report, which will be published later this year.

Racial Hostility Offences

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 1 March 2006 to the hon. Member for Foyle, Official Report, column 781W, on racial hostility offences, what progress has been made by the Government and enforcement and prosecution authorities in developing a mechanism to collect information on sentences imposed for offences motivated by hostility towards a person's race in relation to the Criminal Justice (No. 2) (Northern Ireland) Order 2004. [127763]

Mr. Hanson: The Public Prosecution Service is currently in the process of identifying cases since late 2005 where, in the judgment of a Public Prosecutor, there was a racial motivation behind offences. This will enable the identification of sentences by the Court Service imposed for offences motivated by hostility towards a person's race. I will arrange for any information on sentences imposed to be forwarded when it is available.

Railways: Freight

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to increase the amount of freight transported by rail in Northern Ireland. [130955]

David Cairns: Rail freight is uncompetitive for short journeys and for this reason rail freight operations ceased in Northern Ireland in 2004. There are no plans to revive them.


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Rates and Rating

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the eligibility criteria are for the new Northern Ireland special rate relief; and if he will make a statement. [130961]

Mr. Hanson: The rules governing eligibility for the new Rate Relief Scheme are the same as those that apply to the existing Housing Benefit Rate Rebate system. That is, that the ratepayer is habitually resident and has recourse to public funds; is occupying the hereditament as their home; and is liable to pay rates in respect of the hereditament. The level of award depends on the individual circumstances of the claimant.

Regeneration: Belfast

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the expected completion date is for the Department for Social
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Development's appraisal of the proposal for redevelopment of the Greater Village Area. [131774]

Mr. Hanson: Given the extent of the area and the cost associated with the proposed redevelopment, the appraisal will require careful scrutiny by Government. I would anticipate that this process will take some months to complete.

Roads: Bangor

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many accidents were recorded on the A2 Bangor to Belfast road in each of the last three years; and how long the road closed as a result in each case. [129584]

Paul Goggins: I have been advised by the PSNI of the following details in respect of accidents recorded on the A2 Bangor to Belfast Road. The following table shows injury road traffic collisions between the junctions of Knocknagoney Road and Abbey Street/Brunswick Road, Bangor. I have been advised that they do not record road closure times at accidents.

1 January 2004 to 31 December 2006
Fatal collisions Serious collisions Slight collisions All collisions Killed Seriously injured Slightly injured All casualties

1 January to 31 December 2004

2

9

23

34

2

13

58

73

1 January to 31 December 2005

1

5

32

38

1

8

52

61

1 January to 31 December 2006(1)

2

6

39

47

2

6

77

85

(1) Please note 2006 figures are still provisional. Source: Central Statistics Unit, Police Service of Northern Ireland, Lisnasharragh

Due to ongoing validation, this information may be subject to change.

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment has been carried out by his Department of the adequacy of (a) road safety (i) signage and (ii) measures and (b) sightlines at Six Road Ends in Bangor. [129585]

David Cairns: The Chief Executive of Roads Service (Dr. Malcolm McKibbin) has been asked to write to the hon. Lady in response to this question.

Letter from Dr. Malcolm McKibbin , dated 3 April 2007:

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment he has made of the surface quality of the High Bangor-Donaghadee Road; and if he will make funding available to upgrade the road at the conclusion of the building works for the new wastewater treatment facility at Donaghadee. [129589]

David Cairns: The Chief Executive of Roads Service (Dr. Malcolm McKibbin) has been asked to write to the hon. Lady in response to this question.

Letter from Dr. McKibbin, dated 3 April 2007:

Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children: Surgery

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether a dedicated infant surgical unit will be maintained at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. [130693]

Paul Goggins: The Infant Surgical service in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children (RBHSC) provides care for sick infants, many of whom require highly specialised surgery and post-operative care.

Infant surgical beds have been temporarily relocated within other wards in the hospital while refurbishment work is carried out. The infant surgical unit will reopen in new facilities adjacent to an existing children’s surgical ward, which will provide improved accommodation for both patients and their families. The new location adjacent to other paediatric services will also facilitate the maintenance of appropriate staffing levels, thereby ensuring the quality and safety of patient care. The unit will reopen later this year.

The interim arrangements have not led to any reduction in beds or diminution of the service.

Sentencing

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of community sentencing as a means of cutting crime in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [131417]

Mr. Hanson: The most recent assessment of community sentencing is published in the Statistics and Research Bulletin 3/2006 “Reconviction in Northern Ireland: Results from the 2002 cohort”. This bulletin monitors progress against the Northern Ireland Office public service agreement to reduce reconvictions. The following table details the community sentencing data and shows that the actual reconviction rate was 9.9 per cent. lower than the predicted reconviction rate.


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Two year reconviction rates against predicted rates—2002
Community sentencing( 1)

Total

1,448

Reconvicted

582

Actual (percentage)

40.2

Predicted (percentage)

44.6

Difference (percentage)(2)

9.9

(1) Includes community service orders, attendance centre orders, probation orders and combination orders. (2) Percentage difference = (predicted — actual)/predicted.

Social Services: Sexual Offences

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the (a) highest, (b) lowest and (c) average amount paid per patient by each health trust in the Province to (i) independent social care providers and (ii) independent providers of social care for sex offenders was in the last 12 months. [130705]

Paul Goggins: Information on the costs of independent social care provision for sex offenders is not available.

Information on the amounts paid per patient to independent social care providers by each health trust is also not available. However, annually published reference costs give the total cost of Independent domiciliary care per hour provided and the total cost of independent daycare per day attendance. They also give the total cost of Independent Residential Care and nursing care per occupied week. On these bases, across NI health trusts the highest, lowest and average 2005-06 costs for each service are shown in the following table.

£
Highest Lowest Average

Independent services—Domiciliary care (cost per hour provided)

13.46

7.71

10.75

Independent Daycare (cost per day attendance)

43.13

13.42

26.98

Independent Residential Care (cost per occupied week)

485

332

472

Nursing Care (cost per occupied week)

577

447

494

Source:
DHSSPS Reference Costs 2005-06

Social Services: Sperrin Lakeland Health and Social Care Trust

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people in Sperrin Lakeland HSS Trust had their social care needs assessed incorrectly in each of the last five years. [130704]

Paul Goggins: Information on the numbers of people whose social care needs were assessed incorrectly is not collected centrally.

The Community Information Branch (CIB) within the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, requested the information from the Chief Executive of Sperrin Lakeland HSS Trust who confirmed that it is not recorded.

If a complaint is received that an inaccurate assessment of need has taken place, the normal course of action will be for the appropriate team manager to
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review the assessment. If the review is upheld as being inaccurate, a reassessment is undertaken and any inaccuracy is addressed as a training issue with the appropriate staff.


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