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15 Dec 2009 : Column WA191

Written Answers

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Asbestos

Question

Asked by Baroness Quin

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): Under regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2006, 'duty holders' have a responsibility, to manage the risks arising from asbestos in buildings under their control. For the majority of educational establishments, the duty holder will be the employer which for community schools, community special schools, voluntary controlled schools, maintained nursery schools and pupil referral units is the local authority (LA). For voluntary aided and foundation schools it will be the school governors. Usually duty holders carry out asbestos surveys to record the presence of asbestos containing materials (ACMs). These records must then be made available to contractors so that they know where ACMs are located. If necessary following visual inspections, an intrusive survey may be carried out.

Asbestos which is in poor condition, or which is likely to be damaged or disturbed should be sealed, enclosed or removed. Asbestos that is in good condition and unlikely to be damaged is normally left in place and the risks from it managed until the building reaches the end of its useful life. Asbestos does not pose a serious risk if it is managed properly in accordance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations. All major refurbishments carried out under Building Schools for the Future (BSF) would normally include removal of all asbestos and in minor refurbishment work any asbestos that is likely to deteriorate or to be damaged or disturbed would be removed.

The majority of local authorities have adequate asbestos management procedures in place but we are working with the Health and Safety Executive to further improve asbestos management in schools and we will be producing training and guidance on asbestos management for head teachers, governors and local authorities.

This year the Prime Minister and the Schools Minister Diana Johnson met the Asbestos in Schools Group of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health and agreed to set up a steering group to improve the management of asbestos in schools. This is part of the wider work by DCSF and HSE to promote best practice in the leadership and management of health and safety issues in schools.



15 Dec 2009 : Column WA192

Asked by Baroness Quin

Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: Statistics for asbestos- related diseases for specific occupational groups are not available.

However, HSE has published analyses of national mesothelioma deaths (one of the main and most serious asbestos related diseases) by last recorded occupation of the deceased. These statistics do not tell us about how many teachers have died from mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos in schools. They are limited because they are based on the last recorded occupation, which may not be the one in which asbestos exposure took place.

The statistics do show that teachers do not stand out as a high risk group: they are among a group of occupations with numbers of deaths from mesothelioma that are broadly in line with the average for all occupations.

Asylum Seekers: Deportation

Question

Asked by Baroness Warsi

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): A centrally recorded robust mechanism for identifying unsuccessful removals was not in place until 2008; therefore, figures for the number of removals which failed before the point of departure are only available for the last two financial years, as set out in the table below. Figures prior to that would only be available through the examination of individual records at disproportionate cost.

2008-09 (1 April to 31 March)2009 (1 April to30 November)

Total number of unsuccessful removals of failed asylum seekers before point of departure

5,610 individuals

3,665 individuals

There are a number of reasons why a removal might be unsuccessful-for example, last-minute legal challenges or the disruptive behaviour of the individual. It should be noted that in many cases, the circumstances that led to the failure of the original attempt to remove will have been quickly resolved and a subsequent removal attempt been successful.

The Home Office publishes statistics on the number of persons removed and departed voluntarily from the UK on a quarterly and annual basis. National statistics on immigration and asylum are placed in the Library of the House and are available from the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration-asylum-stats.html.



15 Dec 2009 : Column WA193

Autism

Question

Asked by Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): There is the equivalent of approximately 450 full-time disability employment advisers working across all Jobcentre Plus districts. Although some autistic jobseekers may benefit from mainstream programmes and services, autistic people with more complex support needs will be referred to a disability employment adviser, who will be able to offer more specialised, personalised support.

Asked by Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope

(Lord McKenzie of Luton: As referred to in the White Paper, Raising expectations and increasing support: reforming welfare for the future, published in December 2008, we are currently conducting a department-led review of the work capability assessment in consultation with medical experts and representative groups including the National Autistic Society. In addition, the Government are committed to an independent review of the work capability assessment every year for the first five years of operation.

Belfast Agreement

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The Government are committed to affording due respect and recognition to Ulster-Scots and the Irish language and to supporting the development of their respective cultural traditions. This commitment was reflected in the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006, Section 15 of which amended the Northern Ireland Act 1998 to put the Executive Committee under a duty to adopt a strategy setting out how it proposes to enhance and protect the development of the Irish language and to enhance and develop the Ulster-Scots language, heritage and culture.



15 Dec 2009 : Column WA194

Following the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly on 8 May 2007, it is for the assembly to take the lead on the Irish language and Ulster-Scots.

Civil Service: Retirement

Question

Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

Baroness Crawley: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Jil Matheson, National Statistician, to Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, dated December 2009

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning what is the average age of retirement in the Civil Service in each department, excluding the senior Civil Service. (HL500).

The Office for National Statistics collects data on leavers from the Civil Service as part of the Annual Civil Service Employment Survey (ACSES). The requested data are attached at Annex A.

Annex A

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15 Dec 2009 : Column WA196



15 Dec 2009 : Column WA197

Civil Service employment: average age of retirement by department (excluding Senior Civil Service)1
Permanent employeesYears
31 March 2008Average age of retirement2

Attorney General's departments

Crown Prosecution Service

59

Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate

-

Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers

..

Serious Fraud Office

..

Treasury Solicitor

..

Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office

..

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (excl agencies)3

61

Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service

60

Companies House

+

Insolvency Service

60

Office of Fair Trading

60

Office of Gas and Electricity Market

..

Postal Services Commission

-

Cabinet Office

Cabinet Office excl agencies

60

Other Cabinet Office agencies

Central Office of Information

58

National School of Government

60

Office of the Parliamentary Counsel

-

Charity Commission

Charity Commission

63

Children, Schools and Families

Department for Children, Schools and Families3

+

Communities and Local Government

Department for Communities and Local Governments3

60

Fire Service College

62

Ordnance Survey

60

Planning Inspectorate

60

Queen Elizabeth Il Conference Centre

..

Culture, Media and Sport

Department for Culture Media and Sports3

60

Royal Parks

..

Defence

Ministry of Defence

60

Royal Fleet Auxiliary

-

Army Base Repair Organisation

64

Defence Aviation Repair Agency

64

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

60

Meteorological Office

+

UK Hydrographic Office

..

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs3

60

Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science

59

Central Science Laboratory

..

Government Decontamination Services

-

Marine Fisheries Agency

60

OFWAT

..

Pesticides Safety Directorate

..

Rural Payments Agency

60

Animal Health

60

Veterinary Laboratories Agency

60

Veterinary Medicines Directorate

..

Export Credits Guarantee Department

Export Credit Guarantee Department

+

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (excl agencies)

+

Wilton Park Executive Agency

-

Health

Department of Health (excl agencies)

+

Food Standards Agency

61

Meat Hygiene Service

61

Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

60

National Healthcare Purchasing and Supplies

..

NHS Business Services Authority

..

HM Revenue and Customs

HM Revenue and Customs

60

Valuation Office

+

HM Treasury

HM Treasury

56

Chancellor's other departments

Debt Management Office

..

Government Actuary's Department

..

National Savings and Investments

..

Office of Government Commerce

-

OGC Buying Solutions

60

Office for National Statistics''

58

Royal Mint

60

Home Office

Home office (excl agencies)3

60

Criminal Records Bureau

..

Identity and Passport Service

62

Border and Immigration Agency

60

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills

+

National Weights and Measures Laboratory

61

UK Intellectual Property Office

61

International Development

Department for International Development

+

Justice

Ministry of Justice (excl agencies)

58

HM Courts Service

60

Land Registry

60

National Archives

60

Public Guardianship Office

..

Tribunals Service

60

Scotland Office

..

Wales Office

-

Public Sector Prison Service

60

Northern Ireland Office

Northern Ireland Office

63

Ofsted

Ofsted

60

Security and Intelligence Services

Security and Intelligence Services

57

Transport

Department for Transport3

60

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

57

Driving Standards Agency

62

Government Car and Despatch Agency

+

Highways Agency

60

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

60

Office of Rail Regulation

..

Vehicle Certification Agency

..

Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

60

Work and Pensions

DWP Corporate and Shared Services

58

Jobcentre Plus

59

Disability and Carers Service

59

Pension Service

55

Child Support Agency

59

The Health and Safety Executive

60

The Rent Service

57

Scottish Government

Scottish Government (excl agencies)

60

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service

57

Courts Group

+

Communities Scotland

60

Fisheries Research Services

..

General Register Scotland

59

HM Inspectorate of Education

60

Historic Scotland

+

Mental Health Tribunal Scotland

-

National Archive for Scotland

..

Office of Accountant in Bankruptcy

..

Office for the Scottish Charity Regulator

-

Registers of Scotland

58

Scottish Agricultural Scientific Agency

61

Scottish Buildings Standards Agency

..

Scottish Court Service

61

Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency

60

Scottish Prison Service

55

Scottish Public Pensions Agency

..

Social Work Inspection Agency

..

Student Awards Agency

-

Transport Scotland

..

Welsh Assembly

Welsh Assembly Government

60

ESTN

..

All employees

60


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