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The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): The North/South implementation bodies carry out their functions on an all-island basis. Which body of domestic law applies is dependent on where the activity in question takes place, rather than where a body is located.
In view of their policy of improving public health through "Investing in Health", why has the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure proposed to cut the Northern Ireland Sports Council budgets for the next three years. [HL304]
Baroness Amos: The draft priorities and budget 200508 was available for consultation and comment from October 2004 until 7 December. Final decisions have not yet been taken. It is planned that the final budget will be published in late December.
How, with reference to the Northern Ireland Office consultative document, making it r wrld 2Consultation on a Draft Strategy for Children and Young People in Northern Ireland, published by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, consultations were carried out with children "As young as three years old". [HL322]
Baroness Amos: Officials in the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister engaged the NIPPAthe early years organisationto organise a tailored consultation event for pre-school children on 27th November 2002 as part of the research of issues to be included in the draft strategy. Activities were designed to draw out information on specific issues that affect this group. The output produced by the children was interpreted by early years professionals in NIPPA and included as a consultation response. A figure depicting some of the issues that they raised is illustrated on page 19 of the draft strategy, copies of which have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
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Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 1st December (WA 5) concerning underspending by the Northern Ireland Departments for 200304, why the Department of Social Development underspent by £31.4 million in that period. [HL324]
Baroness Amos: The figure of £31.4 million relates to the underspend position based on provisional information provided by the department. Details of underspend are set out in the following table. In some cases projects cost less than anticipated; in others expenditure has slipped to the following year.
|Resource||£15.5 million||1||Slippage in social security welfare reform and modernisation programme and lower than expected IT costs in current year|
|2||Delays in implementation of child support reforms due to the new UK wide IT systems not working properly|
|3||Non-completion os several NIHE special purchase of evacuated dwellings (SPED) acquisitions which were expected to be completed in 200304|
|4||Spend on NIHE supporting people programme, which is a new scheme that commenced in April 2003,less than anticipated|
|5||Delays in uptake in the urban regeneration and community development grant aid by applicants who had anticipated incurring expenditure in financial year|
|6||Delays in commencement and uptake of grant in relation to EU community initiatives such as Interreg III and Urban II|
|7||Non-cash costs i.e. depreciation, cost of capital, less than anticipated|
|Investment||£15.9 million||1||Slippage in social security welfare reform and modernisation programme and lower than expected IT costs in current year|
|2||Spend less than estimate due to slippage in the commencement and completion of schemes by housing associations. The later a scheme commences in the year means less spend incurred in current year with cost shifted to future years|
|3||Delays in uptake in Urban Regeneration and Community Development grant aid by applicants who had anticipated incurring expenditure in financial year|
How many civil servants employed by the Northern Ireland Department of Education were barred from attending interviews for promotion on the grounds of their sick leave records in the 10 years ending on 31 December 2003; and what is the proportion of men and women. [HL380]
Baroness Amos: The Department of Education has made no findings of "unintentional harassment". However, in two cases, where the complaint of harassment was substantiated, it was taken into account, in considering the disciplinary penalty, that in one case harassment occurred "without malicious intent" and in the other that harassment occurred with no "deliberate intent".
What health screening and support are available in the Palace of Westminster for Members of the House and staff; and what steps he is taking to ensure that Members and staff are aware of these facilities. [HL427]
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The Occupational Health and Welfare Service (OHWS) provides a wide range of health protection and promotion services to Members and staff. Members, for example, may use the acute GP emergency service and are entitled to a free medical screening every three years. Staff receive basic health and safety training as part of the staff induction course when they join, and further training as appropriate to their work; permanent staff over 55 are also entitled to
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health checks. In addition, a nurse is available for consultation in the medical room off the Lower Waiting Hall.
The services provided by OHWS are listed in the Members' Handbook, and the Staff Handbook. OHWS has a website on the parliamentary network, distributes leaflets outlining the services it provides, and uses e-mail to draw attention to, for example, molewatch and blood donor clinics. Personal invitations ae issued to those entitled to health screening.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): As part of policy development and analysis, government Ministers and officials receive representations from, and have meetings with, a wide range of organisations and individuals, including those in the gambling industry, about all aspects of the Gambling Bill.
What conversations they have held with the United States Government about the proposed international finance facility; and what response, if any, they received regarding United States participation. [HL372]
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