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We have set out in our recent White Papers on energy and planning a series of initiatives and proposals aimed at reducing uncertainty and shortening the overall timescales from application to a final decision on consent. These include improving the national policy context against which individual planning decisions are made, reforming the planning system for major energy infrastructure projects and introducing more efficient and effective ways of working in the current planning regime. We are also currently consulting on proposals that would in general make householder microgeneration permitted development in England, subject to certain limitations and also subject to controls in conservation areas and World Heritage Sites.

Health: Incontinence Items

Lord Roberts of Conwy asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): A summary of responses to the consultations on the arrangements under Part IX of the Drug Tariff for the provision of stoma and incontinence items to primary care will be published within three months of the date on which the consultations closed, which was 2 April 2007.

In conducting this review, a key objective has been to maintain and improve the quality of patient care. Given the volume of the responses to the consultation, the department has decided that it needs more time to analyse the information provided. Consequently, no changes will be implemented in July 2007 as proposed in the consultation documents.

Health: Rampton Hospital

Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The individual patient activity and clinical treatment timetables for patients vary according to their needs, interests and risk assessment, but there is an expectation that a minimum of 25 structured activity hours is provided for each patient, each week.

Each ward has an activity programme that operates on a daily basis and has been developed in conjunction with the patients. The patients have access, subject to risk assessment and safe management, to a resource centre within the service's secure perimeter.

This includes activities which support rehabilitation and provide life skills, such as information technology, education, cooking, social groups, personal care, gym and ecumenical room, and respond to therapeutic needs, such as specific individual and group treatment groups, music groups and therapy and art or graphics. Some patients also attend sessions in other parts of the hospital.

Office for National Statistics

Lord James of Blackheath asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, National Statistician and Registrar General, to Lord James of Blackheath, dated 12 June 2007.

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Question asking whether the transfer of the Office for National Statistics to Newport will result in the terms and provisions of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations being applied to any employees who do not accept the invitation to transfer; and, if not, what terms of compensation will apply to any staff declared redundant in the course of this relocation. [HL4166]

As a result of ONS contribution to government relocation, we have committed to transferring up to 600 posts by April 2008 and 250 posts by April 2010 from London and the south-east to Newport. It is our intention that between 50 and 100 posts will remain in London.

TUPE or the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations is a form of legislation designed to protect the terms and conditions of employment if an organisation, or services of that organisation, changes hands. This will not happen as part of the relocation of posts from London and therefore TUPE does not apply.

However, employees who are unable to relocate to Newport will, where possible, transfer to other government departments or find alternative employment elsewhere in London. The office has a robust support programme in place to enable this transition. Where such solutions cannot be found, employees whose posts are redundant will be entitled to the Civil Service pension scheme terms.

Prisoners: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Lord Chadlington asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): All prisoners undergo health reception screenings on entry into prison. This is a detailed questionnaire completed by healthcare staff interviewing the prisoner. It is designed to identify any long-term medical conditions, any use of prescribed medication, any history of alcohol or substance dependence, any mental health problems and any symptoms requiring urgent medical attention or indicating a need for review by a medical doctor.

Health reception screenings do not include a screen for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or a blood test for HIV infection.

Tests for STIs or HIV can be offered to prisoners following a risk assessment by a doctor, or other appropriately trained member of the healthcare team, if a prisoner presents with signs or symptoms of such infections or describes risk behaviour which may have exposed him or her to such infections.

Prisoners are also able to request a screen for STIs or HIV if they believe that they may have been exposed to infection.

Lord Chadlington asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: This information is not collected centrally.

A recent study of genital chlamydia trachomatis infection in young male inmates in the United Kingdom found that 13 per cent of new inmates tested positive for chlamydia1.

Also, data collected by the National Chlamydia Screening Programme in 49 prisons, where more than 1,100 screens were performed between April 2005-March 2006, found a similar prevalence rate of infection of 12 per cent.

This is higher than the prevalence in similar groups in the community and identifies prisoners as a high-risk group for infection.

The last major study of HIV prevalence in prisoners in England and Wales found that of 3,942 prisoners tested, 0.4 per cent were infected with HIV, 8 per cent with hepatitis B and 7 per cent with hepatitis C2.

Prisons: Cookham Wood

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): A proposal to re-role Cookham Wood from female prisoners to male young people is under consideration but no decision has yet been taken.

Baroness Stern asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: A proposal to re-role Cookham Wood from female prisoners to male young people is under consideration but no decision has yet been taken.

Questions for Written Answer

Lord James of Blackheath asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: I answered Question HL3577 from the noble Lord, Lord James of Blackheath, on 7 June.

Royal Navy: Portsmouth

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The naval base review is not yet complete and, as such, no conclusions have yet been reached. A number of factors are being taken into account as part of the review, not least the requirement to maintain a rapidly deployable and flexible naval fleet, and the concentration of Royal Navy personnel, ships and other equipment.

Schools: ICT

Baroness Verma asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): The weight of evidence shows that effective use of ICT can support both literacy and more personalised learning. This is reflected in Christine Gilbert's 2020 Vision: Report of the Teaching and Learning in 2020 Review Group (published January 2007). Use of ICT has the potential to broaden the range of learning resources, increase the pace of lessons and feedback, promote home-school links and support better collaborative learning.

In the past five years there have been 10 in-depth studies which have assessed the use of information and communications technology (ICT) in schools to support children with literacy and personalised learning. We will place copies in the House of Lords Library. These are:

Evaluation of the Primary Schools Whiteboard Expansion Project (Somekh et al, not yet published);The Interactive Whiteboards, Pedagogy and Pupil Performance Evaluation:An Evaluation of the Schools Whiteboard Expansion Project: London Challenge (Moss et al 2007);Embedding ICT in the Literacy and Numeracy Strategies (Higgins et al 2005);Becta E-Learning in Schools Survey (Kitchen et al, not yet published);The Impact of Broadband in Schools (Underwood et al 2005);An Investigation of Personalised Learning: Approaches used by Schools (Sebba et al 2007); Impact 2007: Personalising Learning with Technology (Underwood et al, not yet published);Evaluation of the ICT Test Bed Project: Final Report (Somekh et al, not yet published);Children and Young People's Home Use of ICT for Educational Purposes: The Impact on Attainment at Key Stages 1-4 (Valentine et al, 2005); andImpaCT2: The Impact of Information and Communication Technologies on Pupil Learning and Attainment (Harrison et al, 2002).

Schools: Teachers

Baroness Greenfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): There are a number of ways in which the Government influence the practice of teachers and teaching assistants. Education legislation provides the context in which teachers and teaching assistants work and may make specific requirements of them.

Other examples that relate specifically to influencing teachers' practice include: the school teachers' pay and conditions document which sets out the details of the teacher contract and professional standards which set out the standards teachers need to meet to progress in their careers. Examples in relation to the practice of teaching assistants include: regulations which set out the specific circumstances in which support staff, including teaching assistants, can carry out “specified work”; a set of professional standards against which teaching assistants and higher level teaching assistants can be assessed; and a variety of training support for teaching assistants, such as an induction programme and national vocational qualifications at levels 2 and 3. The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) working with the Workforce Agreement Monitoring Group, the national strategies, and other specific initiatives promote good practice and provide guidance and training and development in various ways. Ofsted's judgments about teaching and learning also influence practice in schools.

A revised framework of professional standards for teachers will be introduced from September 2007 which sets out requirements about teachers' professional attributes, their professional knowledge and understanding and their professional skills at each career stage. They include, for example, that all teachers from induction onwards should have a good, up-to-date knowledge and understanding of a range of teaching, learning and behaviour management strategies and know how to adapt and use them. Having an awareness of relevant education research would be consistent with achieving this standard. The standards for Excellent Teachers and Advanced Skills Teachers also require teachers to draw on research outcomes and other sources of external evidence to inform their own practice and that of colleagues.

The Government have given the TDA a remit for teachers' continuing professional development (CPD) that includes monitoring the quality and coverage of CPD and providing clear, high quality guidance to schools on CPD and giving leadership to local authorities. The TDA's latest advice to Ministers included proposals for a range of measures that will help schools to plan and evaluate CPD and quality assure CPD. The TDA is now taking its work forward with social partners.

Taxation: Aircrew Licences

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The estimated revenue yield from the changes to the VAT treatment of medical services since 1 May was published at Budget 2007 (Table A2, FSBR 2007). However, HM Revenue and Customs does not have the information required to make a specific estimate for medical services relating to aircrew licence issue and renewal.


Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): Following guidance issued to all posts on 24 August 2006 our consulate-general in Hong Kong suspended the issue of five-year and 10-year multiple entry visit visas. This was in preparation for the introduction of a world-wide biometric identification process, designed to protect an individual's identity, facilitate future entry to the UK, combat visa fraud and abuse of the UK's immigration and asylum systems. The suspension was designed to limit the number of long-term, non-biometrically enabled visas which would have validity beyond the introduction of biometrics.

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: The cost of all long-term visit visas is the same irrespective of the length of validity. A person issued a two-year visit visa in the circumstances described will not be entitled to a free extension of their visa or a discount on a subsequent application.

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