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The Cabinet Office has introduced a revised format for reporting sickness absence statistics across the Civil Service. The new format was introduced at the end of March 2008 and sickness absence reports for the department's predecessor, the Department of Trade and Industry, for 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006-07 are published on the Civil Service website along with data for other departments and agencies at www.civilservice.

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I have approached the chief executives of the Insolvency and Companies House and they will respond to you directly.

Asked by Baroness Warsi

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Information about absences other than sick leave is not held centrally and to establish it would incur disproportionate cost. All staff are entitled to 30 days annual leave per year.

The figures for sickness absence in the department and its agencies for the past three years are given below:

Sickness absence rates shown as average working days lost per person











The figure for 2006-7 is combined, because in that year (and before) the report was prepared in that way by an external company directly from payroll data.

Reducing the level of sickness absence is an important issue for the whole Civil Service. All government departments have been set a target of reducing the average days of sickness absence per person per year to 7.5 or less.

More information on sickness absence is available on the Civil Service statistics website at www.

The figures for sickness absence in the past three years for the non-departmental public bodies associated with the department are given below:

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Name of Non-Departmental Public bodySickness absence rates shown as Average working days lost per person

The Alcohol Education and Research Council




Appointments Commission




Commission for Social Care Inspection




Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence




General Social Care Council




Health Protection Agency




Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority




Human Tissue Authority




Monitor-Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts




Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board




Asked by Baroness Warsi

Lord Tunnicliffe: The Department for International Development (DfID) does not keep comprehensive central records of all non-sickness related absences.

(1) The average number of working days lost to sickness absence in the Department for International Development (DfID) from 2006 onwards, are shown in the table below:


Average working days lost to sickness absence




Through this period, DfID worked towards a target of 5.5 average working days.

(2) During the period 2006 to present, DfID has had two non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs). Crown Agents Holding and Realisation Board was wound up on 1 April 2008, and Commonwealth Scholarship Commission is still in operation. None of these non-departmental public bodies employed any staff.

Guantanamo Bay


Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We requested the release and return of UK nationals from Guantanamo Bay in 2003. We also requested the release and return of former legal residents in 2007, in order to see the detention facility closed as quickly as possible by helping reduce the number of detainees. All the return operations involved officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and from our embassy in Washington, accompanied by officers of the Metropolitan Police Service to ensure the security of the flight and to comply with police procedures during the return. In all cases military or private charters were necessary both to ensure security and because no other flights were available from Guantanamo Bay to the UK.

A total of 14 individuals have been returned from Guantanamo Bay to the UK, nine nationals and five former legal residents, in five separate operations between January 2005 and February 2009. The total transport costs involved, including accompanying officials, was approximately £617,000.

Of the UK nationals, Tarek Dergoul, Jameal Udeen, Shafiq Rasul, Rhuhel Ahmed and Asif Iqbal, were returned to the UK on 10 March 2004. Feroz Abbasi, Moazzam Begg, Martin Mubanga and Richard Belmar were returned on 25 January 2005.

Of the individuals previously legally resident in the UK, Bisher Al Rawi, was returned to the UK on 1 April 2007; Abedennour Sameur, Jamil el Banna and Omar Deghayes were returned on 19 December 2007; and Binyam Mohamed was returned on 23 February 2009.

With respect to the budgeted ongoing cost on return to the UK, the entitlement to support for an individual in the UK is assessed on their particular circumstances, including a range of factors such as personal and family circumstances, employment and immigration status. As a matter of policy we do not comment on individual cases.

Health: Former UK Residents


Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The devolved Administrations do not supply details of the overseas visitors they treat in order for the United Kingdom Government to make claims against other member states. The devolved authorities do not cover the cost of healthcare for their citizens in other European economic area member states under European Union regulations nor does England reimburse the devolved authorities for the cost of treating overseas visitors.

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Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Darzi of Denham: The waivers, as part of the bilateral agreements the United Kingdom has with Denmark, Norway and Malta, are mutual. The UK did not make claims against Cyprus, Iceland and Latvia in 2007-08 either because no citizens from those countries were treated by the National Health Service, the necessary data were not captured to allow the UK to make a claim or claims are still being assessed.

Health: Irish Citizens


Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland make payments to each other to cover the cost of providing healthcare to each other's citizens, including pensioners and their dependants. Payments for pensioners and their dependants are made on the basis of an average cost, which is in line with European Union (EU) regulations (1408/71). Each European economic area (EEA) member state's average costs are scrutinised and agreed by an EU-level group of which the UK is a member.

The Republic of Ireland's most recently agreed annual average cost for pensioners and their dependants is for 2004 and is €8,322 per head. The UK's most recently agreed annual average cost for pensioners and their dependants is for 2003 and is £2,605.81 per head.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Darzi of Denham: The number of years pensioners have paid national insurance contributions plays no part in the calculation of payments the United Kingdom makes to the Republic of Ireland under a bilateral

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agreement. The payments each country makes for pensioners and their dependants are based on an agreed average cost and the numbers of pensioners each country is liable for on the basis of a triennial survey. The numbers do vary due to demographic shifts.

Houses of Parliament: Cyclists


Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): Decisions about restricting the use of particular sections of road between different classes of user, and the placing of associated traffic signing and road markings, are the responsibility of Westminster City Council, which is the relevant highway and traffic authority in this instance.

Human Rights


Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: All appointments for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Commission are made in accordance with guidance from the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Beyond this, some differences stem from the different statutory bases for appointments to the two bodies. The Equality Act 2006 established the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Under the terms of the Act, EHRC can have no fewer than 10 and no more than 15 commissioners including the chair. Candidates are selected on merit and are required to meet the standards of an independent panel before they can be considered for appointment. The Minister for Women and Equality has the final decision on appointments, based on the panel's recommendations.. In making appointments to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, the Secretary of State has an obligation under Section 68(3) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 to, as far as practicable, secure that the commissioners, as a group, are representative of the community in Northern Ireland. In the most recent public appointments process to the commission in 2007, candidates were assessed against the following published criteria: corporate focus, responsibility and accountability, judgment and strategic thinking, and specialist expertise.

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