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Fair Employment

Volume 407: debated on Monday 23 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which health and personal social services trusts in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years have settled cases against them under the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 without going before a Fair Employment Tribunal; how many such settlements involved the Labour Relations Agency; what the total cost was to each health trust of such settlements in each year; and what the legal costs involved were. [120122]

The most readily available figures relate to those financial years as set out in the following table.

Trust1999–20002000–012002–2002
Altnagelvin HospitalsNil returnNil returnNil return
Armagh and DungannonNil returnNil returnNil return
Belfast City Hospital112
LRA involvementNoYesNo
Total cost1£2,000£5,000£3,250
Legal costs2n/a2n/a1£3,231
Causeway HSS TrustOne case only during this period settled with a confidentially clause, no LRA involvement and £200 legal costs.
LRA involvement
Total cost1
Legal costs
Craigavon and Banbridge CommunityNil1Nil
LRA involvementNilNoNil
Total cost1Nil£2,500Nil
Craigavon Area HospitalNot available2Nil
LRA involvementNot availableNoNil
Total cost1Not available£1,250Nil
Legal costsNot available£2,375Nil
Down LisburnNil returnNil returnNil return
FoyleNil returnNil returnNil return
Green ParkNil returnNil returnNil return
Homefirst CommunityNil returnNil returnNil return
Mater Infirmorum HospitalNil1Nil
LRA involvementNilYesNil
Total cost1Nil£1,500Nil
Legal costsNilNilNil
Trust1999–20002000–012002–02
Newry and MourneNil returnNil returnNil return
North and West BelfastNil returnNil returnNil return
Northern Ireland Ambulance ServiceNil11
LRA involvementNilNoNo
Total cost1Nil£22,000£1,000
Legal costsNil£13,159£3,051
Royal Group of HospitalsTwo cases in 1999–2000, one of which involved the LRA. Total cost of settlements £19,000 and £2,320 barrister's fees for one of the cases3
LRA involvement
Total cost1
Legal costs
South and East Belfast21
LRA involvementNoNo
Total cost1£52,000£6,268
Legal costs2n/a2n/a
Sperrin LakelandNil returnNil returnNil return
Ulster Community and Hospitals TurstNil returnNil returnNil return
United HospitalsNil returnNil returnNil return
1 Council legal costs only
2 Legal costs not recorded separately against these cases
3 It is not possible to give details of all legal costs as the management of such applications are dealt with under a block contract with legal advisers

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which of the cases taken against health and social services trusts under the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 involved settlements; how many involved the use of the Health and Personal Social Services Superannuation Scheme; and what the total cost was to the scheme for each trust involved for each year in question. [120123]

The Department is not aware of any of the cases taken against health and social services trusts under the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 which involved settlements involving the use of the Health and Personal Social Services Superannuation Scheme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland under which regulations governing the Health and Personal Social Services Superannuation Scheme the practice of using premature retirement under the Scheme to settle Fair Employment Tribunal cases is permitted. [120124]

The HPSS Superannuation Scheme Regulations provide that a member of the HPSS Superannuation Scheme, who is age 50 or over and has five years qualifying service, is entitled to superannuation benefits if their employment is terminated by their employer on grounds of redundancy (including organisation change) or in the interests of the efficiency of the service. Compensation benefits are normally payable in these circumstances under the HPSS Compensation for Premature Retirement Regulations.The Department is not aware of any practice of using premature retirement under the Scheme to settle Fair Employment Tribunal cases.