HC Deb 16 March 2004 vol 419 cc265-6W
Mr. Mallon

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the review of funding of the voluntary sector; and when policy emerging from that review is likely to be implemented. [160363]

Mr. Spellar

In acknowledgment of the concerns around the longer term sustainability of the voluntary and community sector the Government established a Task Force on Resourcing the Voluntary and Community Sector in Northern Ireland in February 2003. Membership of the Task Force consists of representatives from the statutory sector and a number of independent members.

Under its Terms of Reference, the Task Force has been asked to identify action to be taken to ensure that the voluntary and community sector can continue to make a substantial contribution to the achievement of Government objectives and to the well-being of the Northern Ireland community. It will also seek to identify the impact of impending changes to funding programmes and actions which may be necessary to diversify support for the sector, in the context of an agreed definition of sustainability.

The Task Force established Working Groups comprising key stakeholders to consider themes important to both Government and the voluntary and community sector. It also took account of submissions received and commissioned research to compile their Position Paper, "Pathways for Change", which was published in December 2003. The document has been

Number waiting for first out-patient appointment in the Ear, Nose and Throat specialty, quarter ending 31 December 2003, by trust
Months waiting for first out-patient appointment
Trust 0-2 3-11 12-17 18-23 24+ Total waiting
Royal Group of Hospitals HSS 921 1,589 582 123 65 3,280
Belfast City Hospital HSS Trust 566 338 60 9 5 978
Ulster Community and Hospitals HSS Trust 981 416 9 1 0 1,407
Down and Lisburn HSS Trust 442 458 78 64 21 1,063
Mater Infirmorum Hospital HSS Trust 348 334 20 2 1 705
United Hospitals Group HSS Trust 1,281 2,800 1,180 448 561 6,270
Craigavon Area Hospital Group HSS Trust 719 817 93 53 12 1,694
Newry and Mourne HSS Trust 311 518 183 152 62 1,226
Armagh and Dungannon HSS Trust 80 165 22 0 0 267
Altnagelvin Hospitals HSS Trust 663 937 75 7 5 1,687
Seprrin Lakeland HSS Trust 678 531 2 1 0 1,212


CH3 Part 1&2.

the subject of widespread public consultation which will conclude on 26 March 2004. Final recommendations from the Task Force will be available in early summer.

Until these recommendations have been received it is not possible to comment on any policy which may emerge or an implementation date.

Mr. Mallon

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for what reasons the basis for core funding of ethnic minority voluntary groups has been changed to a one year cycle. [160364]

Mr. Spellar

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Hull North (Mr. McNamara) on 4 February 2004,Official Report, column 945W.

Mr. Mallon

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether an equality impact assessment has been carried out on funding policy for ethnic minority voluntary groups. [160457]

Mr. Spellar

The funding scheme for minority ethnic voluntary organisations was not the subject of an equality impact assessment when it was established in April 2001.

In the event of any change to the policy of the existing scheme, in light of the new Race Equality Strategy, it will be subject to assessment under section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

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