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Irish Language Agency

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Funding by the Department of Education and Science has not as yet been provided to the Irish Language Agency for the two assistant editor posts referred to in my Answer on 6 November in any year since 1999.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, on behalf of both sponsoring departments, informed Foras na Gaeilge on 2 July 2002 that NSMC approval was required for the appointment of two assistant editor posts. Foras na Gaeilge was advised to seek that approval at the earliest opportunity after the necessary departmental approvals were obtained. No similar posts have been requested by Tha Boord o Ulster-Scotch. The job descriptions and salary scales were designed by Foras na Gaeilge, based on existing job specifications and salary scales in the publications section of the organisation. The salary scale was agreed at official level between the sponsor departments and the two finance departments, subject to the approval of NSMC. The posts were created in response to a request from the Department of Education and Science for assistance in the provision of Irish language training aids. That department will provide all the costs involved.

Bali: Terrorist Bombings

Lord Islwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect to lay the Intelligence and Security Committee's report into the terrorist bombings on Bali.[HL 607]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Prime Minister has today laid before the House the Intelligence and Security Committee report of its inquiry into the intelligence, assessments and advice prior to the

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terrorist bombings on Bali on 12 October 2002. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Young People Detained in Adult Prisons

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many people under 18 years of age are currently detained in adult prisons; and when the Government intend to apply the Children Act 1989 to such cases.[HL 180]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): On 21 November one under-18 year-old male was kept in adult accommodation while three were in young offender institutions (YOIs) without specific provision for juveniles. In the women's estate on the same date, all the women under 18 years old were held in YOIs. Sixteen were being held without specific provision for juveniles. Ten of those were unsentenced.

The court has held that the Prison Service's policy, subject to the correction of one sentence, complies with domestic law, including the Children Act 1989. Further, it more than adequately meets the Prison Service's obligations under human rights law.

Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships

Lord Roberts of Conwy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much funding has been provided annually for crime and disorder reduction partnerships since their establishment.[HL234]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The table below outlines the level of funding allocated to partnerships since their establishment through a number of different initiatives.

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Budgeted provision for 1999–2000 £000sBudgeted provision for 2000–01 £000sBudgeted provision for 2001–02 £000sBudgeted provision for 2002–03 £000sTotal initiative £000s
Reducing burglary initiative13,80019,83018,4911,63353,754
Prostitution—What Works05001,0495802,129
Targeted policing initiative6,00012,45021,8806,66646,996
Violence against women05,00010,8806,37122,251
CCTV initiative20,00060,000150,84186,789317,630
Communities against drugs0050,00070,000120,000
Safer communities initiative00020,00020,000
Partnership development fund03,00020,00017,50040,500
Partnership support programme1,0001,0001,0001,0004,000

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Fire Dispute: Additional Police Costs

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the additional daily cost to the police of the firefighter's strike.[HL263]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Government have agreed to reimburse police authorities for additional

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costs incurred by the police in supporting emergency fire cover, which would not have normally been part of their duties.

It is not possible to predict exactly what the cost to police authorities will be as this will depend on the nature of the strike activity and local needs.

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Special Constables

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many special constables there are.[HL302]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: We collect data on special constabulary strength for March and September each year. The latest figures are for 31 March 2002 when there were 11,598 special constables in police forces in England and Wales. We are committed to increasing the special constabulary and we are working with stakeholders on a package of measures designed to address recruitment and retention issues.

Prison Service Orders: Availability

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will ensure that copies of prison standing orders and instructions are available to prisoners through prison libraries.[HL381]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: It is a mandatory requirement for governing governors to ensure that non-protectively marked prison service orders (PSO) and instructions are made available to prisoners through prison libraries. This mandatory requirement is made clear in PSO 0001 The Prison Service Instructions System and in PSO 6710 Prison Libraries. It is also an auditable requirement within the Prison Service instructions system performance standard.

Private Residential Care Homes: Complaints Procedure

Lord Ashley of Stoke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they have taken to ensure that families and elderly residents in private residential care homes have complaints fully investigated; what actions management can be required to take; what monitoring is in place; what sanctions are available; and what compensation is available to residents if there is evidence of negligence and abuse.[HL132]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Under the Care Standards Act care homes are required to have robust procedures for dealing with complaints made by residents or people acting on their behalf. The National Care Standards Commission (NCSC) is responsible for ensuring that care homes complaints procedures conform to the regulations and meet national standards. The NCSC also has discretionary powers to investigate complaints which may inform its role as a regulator.

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People who have concerns about a particular care home can raise these with the NCSC in its role as regulator. The NCSC has strong enforcement powers and we expect it to take swift action where it has concerns that the welfare of care home residents is at risk.

The NCSC is required to inspect all care homes at least twice a year. One of these inspections should be unannounced. But the NCSC can, and does, inspect more often where it has concerns.

In addition, local councils and primary care trusts have the power to investigate complaints under the social service complaints procedure and the NHS complaints procedure respectively for people whose care they commissioned.

Anyone who is dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint or the regulatory activity of the NCSC can ask the relevant ombudsman to investigate.

These procedures are about resolving the complaint or regulatory enforcement action by the NCSC. Issues of compensation are a matter for the courts and anyone seeking compensation should obtain independent legal advice on how best to proceed.

NHS Professionals

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether National Health Service Professionals has a finance director who holds a recognised accountancy qualification.[HL239]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: NHS Professionals is a locally delivered service based on national standards for the supply of temporary healthcare staffing. The service providers of NHS Professionals will have their own standing financial instructions as for all National Health Service organisations, with clear lines of local accountability.

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