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Further to the Written Answers by the Lord Rooker on 6 July (WA 106107) and 13 July (WA 152), whether the Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland will take comparative conviction costs into account when examining the performance and effectiveness of the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland. [HL1300]
Lord Rooker: The information to allow comparisons of conviction costs when examining the performance and effectiveness of the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland is not readily available.
Whether the police commander in the east Belfast district command unit is required to seek authority for the deployment of police and military assets in the Short Strand; if so, from whom; under what circumstances such authority would be sought; and what would be the timescale between seeking such authority and the deployment of police and military assets on the ground. [HL590]
What other locations were considered before they took the decision on 21 May 2004 to purchase premises for a centre for children with autism from the St Louis Order in Middletown; which other locations had already been in use for educational purposes; and why each was considered unsuitable. [HL1264]
Lord Rooker: An economic appraisal was completed by the Department of Education in advance of the purchase, which considered a number of options, including a new build on a green field site. The preferred option was the purchase of the site at Middletown, based upon cost effectiveness and a greater certainty of realising the benefits.
At the time of consideration of the premises there were no other educational properties available in Northern Ireland, within an area accessible to families both north and south, containing extensive residential, educational and recreational facilities.
Whether they have any plans to provide a continuous link by dual carriageway between the City of Norwich and the motorway network of the United Kingdom; and, if so, when they expect such a link to be completed. [HL1474]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The City of Norwich is already directly connected to the motorway network by the A11 trunk road. It is of continuous dual carriageway standard between the M11, near Cambridge and Norwich, except for two sections: one at Attleborough and the other between Barton Mills and Thetford.
Following the outcome of the Spending Review 2004 the A11 Fiveways to Thetford improvement scheme has been remitted to the region for advice on its priority alongside other transport proposals in the region. Hence, any construction work will not start before 2008-09 at the earliest. However, the Highways Agency is continuing to prepare details so that the scheme is in a good state of readiness to move forward to construction.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The matter raised is the responsibility of Ofcom as independent regulator. Accordingly, my officials have asked the chief executive of Ofcom to respond directly to the noble Lord. However, details of Ofcom employee numbers are given in Ofcom's annual report 2004-05, a copy of which was laid in the House and published on 19 July 2005. Copies of the chief executive's letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House.
As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking why the Office for National Statistics (ONS) last year changed the basis upon which it measured the effectiveness of the National Health Service. (HL1451)
There was no change in conceptual basis. The UK national accounts estimates released on 30 June 2004 used the same methodology as was introduced in 1998, but took advantage of more comprehensive information and much greater detail on the volume and cost of health services than had been available to ONS before. Further information can be found in the ONS article "Measuring government health services output in the UK national accounts: the new methodology and further analysis", which is available at www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/article.asp?id=988.
Whether they still wish "to see Britain become a world leader in the field of online gambling", as stated in paragraph 133 of the 2003 Department for Culture, Media and Sport position paper The Future Regulation of Remote Gambling. [HL1485]
Lord Davies of Oldham: Yes. It remains the Government's view, given that the demand by people all around the world to participate in online gambling continues to grow, that it is better to provide opportunities here for the well regulated provision of facilities for such gambling rather than leave consumers with the option of using only gambling sites which may be at best inadequately regulated and at worst downright criminal. The British gambling industry is well placed to make the most of the opportunities which Parliament has now agreed, following the advice of the independent Gambling Review Body, the law here should make available. We are determined that the system of regulation of online gambling, which it will be the responsibility of the new Gambling Commission to administer, should be second to none in terms of ensuring fairness, propriety and the protection of children and the vulnerable; and we shall be actively seeking to promote international agreement about the standards of regulation which should apply to forms of gambling which are transnational in nature.
Baroness Amos: In order to carry out its duties, Parliament and its Members need certain rights and immunities. In addition, all Peers, whether Members or not of Parliament, enjoy the privilege of peerage, as distinct from parliamentary privilege. All of these privileges are listed in detail in Chapter 11 of the Companion to the Standing Orders.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Member nominated trustees add value to trustee boards by increasing the variety of skills and experience; they bring a different perspective to bear on trustee discussions and decisions, and the involvement of members in the scheme can increase their sense of ownership in their pension arrangements. The Government believe that scheme members and the sponsoring employer should have the right to nominate an equal proportion of a scheme's trustees, and are therefore proposing to increase the proportion of member-nominated trustees from one third to one half.
In considering the timing of this change, the Government recognise that pension schemes need time to implement other changes introduced by the Pensions Act 2004, including the changes to the existing member-nominated trustee provisions which may take until the latter part of 2007 before they are fully in place. We have, therefore, in the consultation document on the draft regulations on member-nominated trustees and directors suggested that the move to one half member nominated trustees takes place in 2009. This will give schemes a reasonable amount of time to prepare for the change. We will consider the timing of the change further in the light of the comments made as part of the consultation exercise.
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