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Information prior to the 12 months ending 31 December 2008 is not considered robust enough to provide any meaningful sick absence rates due to data inconsistency within the HR systems used by trading funds to record absences.

Target rates of worker sickness absence for civil servants in the Ministry of Defence

Since the Cabinet Office publication of Working Well Together in the Public Sector in June 1998 the Ministry of Defence has had sickness absence targets included in the departmental plan with performance contained in the appropriate departmental report and accounts.

Targets have been to reduce sickness absence cumulatively by 2.5 per cent each year, although the continual change in methodology means that the actual figures cannot be compared year on year. The target set for financial year 2008-09 is to reduce sickness absence to 8.0 average working days lost (AWDL) per full time equivalent (FTE) employee.

Asked by Baroness Warsi



13 May 2009 : Column WA206

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The information requested for the Department for Work and Pensions, its agencies and 16 non-departmental public bodies is either not available or not held centrally. It cannot be provided completely or at a proportionate cost.

Information about sickness absence rates is readily available. The data are recorded by managers and in most instances rely on details provided by employees. Information for the year 2006-07 was published by the Cabinet Office and can be obtained at the following internet address:

www.civilservice.gov.uk/Assets/Sickness_ Absence_2006to2007_tcm6-2515.pdf.

Information currently recorded on the department's personnel computer for 2007-08 and 2008-09 is shown below.

The department has a single target for reducing sickness absence to an average of 7.7 days per staff year by April 2010.

2007-08
Average Sickness Absence Rate per Staff Year

Department for Work and Pensions

10.1

Jobcentre Plus

10.1

Child Support Agency*

12.4

The Pension Service

9.7

Disability and Carers Service

10.6

* Child Support Agency became a non-departmental public body in 2008-09

2008-09
Average Sickness Absence Rate per Staff Year

Department for Work and Pensions

8.9

Jobcentre Plus

9.3

The Pension Service

9.2

Disability and Carers Service

9.0

Government: Ministerial Residences

Question

Asked by Baroness Warsi

Lord Patel of Bradford: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office uses 1 Carlton Gardens for a range of events hosted by Ministers and senior officials, as well as other departmental meetings. Two of the Admiralty House flats are unoccupied.

Human Rights

Question

Asked by Lord Laird



13 May 2009 : Column WA207

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has distinct origins flowing from commitments made in the 1998 Belfast agreement. The agreement specified that “a new Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, with membership from Northern Ireland reflecting the community balance, will be established by Westminster legislation”. Part VII of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 provided for the establishment of the commission.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission was established by the Equality Act 2006, replacing the former Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.

Justice: Sharia Law

Question

Asked by Lord Tebbit

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Government have not carried out such an assessment of all states that have systems of Sharia law, or elements thereof, in place. But all states are bound under the UN charter to promote respect for human rights. All states, including those that practise Sharia, have also voluntarily ratified at least one international human rights treaty under the UN's auspices, and are hence bound by their human rights obligations under the relevant treaties and obliged to submit reports on the measures they have adopted to give effect to the rights in the treaties they have ratified to the relevant treaty monitoring body. These monitoring processes are designed to assess the compatibility of a state's laws and practices with its international human rights obligations.

While the Government would not wish to generalise about Sharia, which takes different forms in a number of states, they do have some concerns where Sharia is used to restrict the enjoyment of some human rights and freedoms. We are concerned that women and children can be subject to discrimination in many countries where the principles of Sharia are applied. However, much of this discrimination is based on interpretation, tradition and custom rather than the principles of Sharia itself. Many Muslim states have signed and ratified the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and have committed themselves to eliminating all forms of discrimination against women and we urge them to do so.

The Government's concern about the violations of these rights worldwide is not confined only to states where Sharia is applied. While we oppose the use of the death penalty in all circumstances, depending on how Sharia is interpreted we have serious concerns about: the broad scope of crimes that are punishable by death, the age at which an individual is eligible to face the death penalty and stoning as a method of

13 May 2009 : Column WA208

execution. The UK, with its EU partners, campaigns against the death penalty, under whatever system of law it is imposed.

Pakistani Christians

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

Lord Patel of Bradford: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply to the noble Lord.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, National Statistician, to Lord Greaves, dated May 2009.

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your question asking how many residents in the United Kingdom are from families of Pakistani Christian origin, and in which local authority areas they are mainly resident (HL3326).

According to the 2001 censuses of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, 8,370 people were counted as both Pakistani and Christian.

Thirteen local authorities contained more than 100 people counted as Pakistani and Christian: Slough (250 people), Pendle (245), Ealing (230), Glasgow City (195), Croydon (190), Newham (180), City of Bristol (165),-Waltham Forest (160), Birmingham (160), Redbridge (150), Kirklees (130), Bradford (110) and Manchester (105).

More recent data on ethnic group and religion are available from the Annual Population Survey. However, that survey is not large enough to provide robust estimates at a local authority level for the Pakistani Christian sub-group of the population.

Table C1055: All persons with Pakistani ethnic group with Christian religion
Geographical level: LAs and UAs in the United Kingdom where there are at least 100 persons
Census: 2001 (29 April)
AreaTotal Persons

United Kingdom

8,366

Slough UA

249

Pendle

243

Ealing

232

Glasgow City

195

Croydon

188

Newham

181

Bristol; City of UA

167

Waltham Forest

162

Birmingham

159

Redbridge

149

Kirklees

131

Bradford

108

Manchester

107

Remainder of the UK

6,095

Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated, copyright@ons.gov.uk



13 May 2009 : Column WA209

Created on 06 May 2009 by Office for National Statistics.

Cells in this table have been randomly adjusted to avoid the release of confidential data.

Source: 2001 Census

Police: Northern Ireland

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: These are operational matters for the chief constable and therefore the Government have given no instructions to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Public Bodies

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

Lord Patel of Bradford: The Cabinet Office publication Public Bodies 2008 provides a report on the size and expenditure of the non-departmental public body (NDPB) sector, as at 31 March 2008. Copies of Public Bodies 2008 are available from the Libraries of the House.

Schools: 16-18 Provision

Question

Asked by Baroness Sharp of Guildford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has powers under Section 52 of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 to require institutions within the further education sector to provide education for young people aged 16 to 19. This power does not apply to schools with sixth forms or academies.

Clause 43 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill proposes to replicate the LSC’s powers in the 1992 Act for local authorities and through Clause 42 of the Bill, we propose to extend the local authorities’ powers also to require a maintained school with a sixth form to provide a named individual aged 16-19, with education. The position with academies is

13 May 2009 : Column WA210

not affected by these proposals. As now, local authorities can ask an academy, including the academy sixth form, to admit a child in accordance with their published admission arrangements. If the academy refuses, the local authority can refer the matter to the Secretary of State who, through provisions in the academy funding agreement, can require the academy to admit the child.

These clauses enable local authorities to support the small number of young people who may be struggling to find a suitable place in learning, to fulfil their duty to participate. This will be particularly important when considering the needs of our more vulnerable groups of young people, although the expectation is that local authorities, as with the LSC, will need to use them only very sparingly, if at all.

Social Care: Employers

Question

Asked by Lord Ashley of Stoke

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The General Social Care Council has produced United Kingdom-wide codes of practice for social care workers and employers that provide a clear guide for all those who work in social care and set out the standards of practice and conduct workers and their employers should meet.

In particular, the code requires that employers ask social care workers only to carry out tasks that they are competent to do.

In addition, we have implemented a framework for newly qualified social workers that provides the necessary support and development to set a good foundation for their professional career.

Social Care: Minimum Wage


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