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12 Dec 1995 : Column WA105

Health Education Authority: Funding

Baroness Masham of Ilton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In the light of current changes, which government department will be funding the future work of the Health Education Authority.

Baroness Cumberlege: The Department of Health is responsible for the Health Education Authority and will contract for specific services with the authority. Under the new arrangements other government departments are also able to contract directly with the Health Education Authority.

Special Educational Needs Tribunal: Report

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the first annual report of the president of the Special Educational Needs Tribunal will be published.

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Lord Henley): The report has been published today, and copies have been placed in the Library.

I very much welcome the report which shows that, during its first year of operation, the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Tribunal has met the targets it was set for dealing with appeals. This is an excellent start. The SEN tribunal president, staff and members have worked very hard and have achieved a great deal during the year. This has been achieved despite extreme and unexpected pressure--the tribunal has done well to adapt to meet this. The report is a tribute to their hard work. The tribunal has been very well received by both parents and local education authorities. It has gained a deserved reputation for impartiality, informality and, above all, fairness. This is something which I applaud. This is an excellent base on which to build. I hope the tribunal will continue the excellent work it has begun.

Religion: Education Service

Lord Sefton of Garston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they define religion (bearing in mind the multi-cultural state of society) when they decide what position or status they accord to religion in such areas as education.

Lord Henley: A variety of measures have been taken to improve the response of the education service to religious, cultural and ethnic diversity in modern British society. These include action on teacher recruitment, school uniforms, meals and delivery of the curriculum. It is also open to minority groups to make proposals to set up separate schools.

12 Dec 1995 : Column WA106

Retired Service Officers: Employment

Viscount Allenby of Megiddo asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect to introduce new regulations governing the employment of retired officers in the armed forces; and whether they will give an undertaking that any new regulations will not adversely affect retired officers employed in the armed forces.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): Service officers may on retirement apply for positions in mainstream civil service grades in the Ministry of Defence, subject to their having the appropriate qualifications and experience, In addition, those having relevant experience not obtainable outside the armed services may be employed as retired officers. These are civil service posts. New parameters for the recruitment to the retired officer grades are about to be introduced. The main points are a minimum age of 50 for recruitment under normal circumstances, and a system of fixed term appointments of up to five years. Staff already in retired officer posts will retain their existing terms of appointment.

AFF-VIS Aircraft Identification System

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to install the Aircrew Friend or Foe Visual Identification System (AFF-VIS) in British aircraft, since it is installed in the United States aircraft operating in the airspace of former Yugoslavia.

Earl Howe: We are not aware of a system with this name. The identification systems currently in service meet our operational requirements in the former Yugoslavia.

HMSO Supply and Service Agreement

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked the Chairman of Committees:

    Whether he will place the new Supply and Service Agreement with HMSO in the Library of the House.

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): I have today placed a copy of the Supply and Service Agreement with HMSO in the Library of the House.

"Hansard" CD-ROM

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked the Chairman of Committees:

    Whether the new Supply and Service Agreement with HMSO will enable members of both Houses to obtain Hansard CD-ROM without charge.

The Chairman of Committees: No.

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