§ Mr. Malcolm Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will estimate the rates of absenteeism in her(a) Department, (b) agencies and (c) non-departmental public bodies, for (i) 1995–96, (ii) 1996–97 and (iii) 1997–98 to date; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Paul Murphy
The estimated rates of absenteeism for non-industrial staff in the Northern Ireland Civil Service(a) the cores of Northern Ireland Departments and the Northern Ireland office and (b) their agencies are as follows:
(a) Departmental cores Per cent. (b) Agencies Per cent. (i) 1995–96 5.6 8.3 (ii) 1996–97 5.6 6.5 (iii) 1997–98 (1 April 1997— 31 December 1997) 5.7 6.5
Information in respect of non-departmental public bodies as at (i), (ii) and (iii) is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Northern Ireland departments/agencies and the NIO monitor their absenteeism levels closely. They have introduced a number of initiatives to improve control and tackle particular problems in this area and are continuing to explore all available solutions to improve attendance.