§ Mr. Matthew Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the progress made by his Department since 1999 in reducing sickness absence; what targets he has agreed with the Cabinet Office; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Mandelson
The Cabinet Office prepares each year an annual report of sickness absence in the civil service which includes information for each Department. The report for 1999 is currently being finalised and will be published shortly.
Details of the Department's targets for reduced sickness absence for years 2001 to 2003 against a baseline year of 1998 will be included in its service delivery agreement. This is also to be published shortly.