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The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): As the Prime Minister has said, the republican leadership has made real efforts to move on from the past. But the Government have also repeatedly made clear that all paramilitary activity must now come to a complete end. We have made this point consistently in the course of our discussions with all the Northern Ireland parties.
The figures for 199394 and 199495 were £6,464,000 and £6,328,000 respectively but it is important to note that the accounting treatment of administration costs prior to 199596 was on a different basis and these amounts are therefore not directly comparable with those for later years.
The increase in costs in the past two years were due in part to non-recurring costs such as redundancy payments, backdated job evaluation payments and maintenance costs. These additional costs were funded from reserves and did not impact on the amount available for distribution to school budgets, which were increased in line with departmental guidance. It is forecast that expenditure for 200304 will return to a level more in line with previous years.
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 31 March (WA 158) concerning the Belfast Education and Library Board, why the number of non-teaching staff of the board increased by over 16 per cent between 199899 and 200203.[HL2359]jenny
21 Apr 2004 : Column WA36
Baroness Amos: Information is readily available for Belfast Education and Library Board appointments only for the 200102 financial year and beyond. For the two-year period up to March 2003, the board's level of non-teaching staff increased by some 6 per cent. This was largely due to a significant increase in the numbers of nursery and classroom assistants appointed in mainstream and special schools to support teachers; to support the introduction and extension of the Making a Good Start initiative; and to provide increased support for children with statements of special education needs.
Baroness Amos: Education and library boards employ, in addition to teaching staff, staff in a wide range of non-teaching occupations. These include many front-line posts such as classroom assistants; school cleaners and caretakers; school transport staff; and school crossing patrols as well as staff in youth clubs and libraries. An analysis of Belfast Education and Library Board staff at March 2003 is as follows:
|Category of staff||Numbers at March 2003||%|
|General and nursery assistants||374||4|
|School Crossing Patrols||112||1|
Baroness Amos: The size of the Police Service of Northern Ireland was established by the report of the Independent Commission for Policing in Northern Ireland. The Chief Constable has in turn developed a human resource strategy, which is being pursued in partnership with the Northern Ireland Policing Board. The operational deployment of police officers is a matter for the Chief Constable, but the numerical strength of the service will not change due to the incidence of a particular crime or crimes. However crimes against the elderly are taken seriously by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and a number of initiatives have been introduced in an attempt to impact on such crimes.
Baroness Amos: The implementation bodies, established by agreement between the British and Irish Governments, carry out their functions subject to the domestic law of the two jurisdictions. That agreement does not require the approval of NSMC to the application of domestic law of the UK or Republic of Ireland to the bodies. Joantodd
Whether, in the absence of agreed devolution in Northern Ireland, it is their intention to increase or decrease the current number of civil servants in the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in the Northern Ireland Office.[HL2143]
Baroness Amos: The Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister is a fully functioning department of the Northern Ireland Administration with a wide range of important policy responsibilities as well as a role in providing services to other departments. Many of its functions have a cross-departmental perspective. As at 1 March 2004 there were 383 staff employed on functions of the department and a further 36 staff who were employed by OFMDFM, but outposted to associated bodies.
Following the suspension of the devolved institutions those staff who were engaged on functions directly related to the devolved arrangements such as private offices to Ministers were redeployed to other posts within the department and in other departments of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
Baroness Amos: The recent announcements on reductions in Civil Service numbers arise from the Government's efficiency review in Whitehall and so do not directly affect Northern Ireland. However, the Government are pursuing a similar focus on delivering greater efficiency in the delivery of public services, with the aim of releasing resources for reallocation to front-line services. This will be a core element of the Northern Ireland priorities and budget process, which will run throughout the rest of 2004.
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