§ Mr. McCusker
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement giving the number of civil servants and the annual cost to public funds of the salaries and administrative costs attributable to the administration of sport and physical recreation in Northern Ireland by the Department of Education in each of the past six years;559W
why the number of civil servants is greater than in the equivalent Departments in England, Scotland and Wales together; and whether he could achieve his stated objectives of giving more authority to district councils, reducing duplication and saving money by adopting a simpler system of controlling local authority capital expenditure instead of by abolishing the Sports Council's technical services.
§ Mr. Goodhart
It is not possible to separate entirely the costs attributable to
(i) Capital provision of community facilities by district councils. (ii) Capital provision of community facilities in the Belfast area of need. (iii) Recurrent grant-aid to Belfast playcentres. (iv) Joint-provision of community/education facilities by district councils and education and library boards.
Year Number of staff Salaries £'000 Administrative costs £'000 1974–75 … … … … … 11 33 1 1975–76 … … … … … 11 43 5 1976–77 … … … … … 14 62 6 1977–78* … … … … … 22 100 9 1978–79* … … … … … 23 114 10 1979–80* … … … … … 34 203 17
In 1979–80 these staff were responsible for the disbursement of £7–7 on the provision of community sport and recreational facilities. The numbers involved reflect the different structure and funding of central and local government in Nothern Ireland compared with Great Britain. The financial controls and administrative rules operating between the Department and district councils were simplified in 1978 to allow district councils more freedom of action within certain categories of project. These controls and rules are reviewed regularly to ensure that they are kept to the minimum required for the proper disbursement of public funds.
§ Mr. McCusker
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish a breakdown of the total cost to public funds, including staff time and overtime, of the Northern Ireland Department of Education's involvement in staging exhibitions to promote sport and physical recreation during each of the past six years; and why such exhibitions were mounted by the Department rather than by the Sports Council.
§ Mr. Goodhart
Since 1978, when the first exhibition was arranged, the Department of Education has been involved in four exhibitions to illustrate the range of sport and physical recreational facilities560W the administration of sport and physical recreation in Northern Ireland by the Department of Education since the section responsible for this function was amalgamated in 1976 with the section responsible for the administration of a range of schemes for the provision of community social facilities.
Hence for the years marked * in the table below the staff numbers and associated costs relate to the administration of the following functions, in addition to sport and physical recreation.
which have been provided by district councils, voluntary sports clubs and education and library boards with substantial financial assistance from the Department. Since responsibility for the provision of such facilities rests with these bodies it was considered appropriate that the Department should mount these exhibitions rather than the Sports Council which exercises an advisory role in relation to capital provision. The total cost to public funds, including staff time and overtime were as follows:
£ 1977–78 … … 700 1978–79 … … 12,000 1979–80 … … 15,400 1980–81 (to date) … 8,200 36,300