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Prison Service Costs

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the average net operating cost per inmate per week in all Prison Service establishments for the financial year to 31 March.

Mr. Michael Forsyth: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. Robert Ainsworth, dated 3 November 1994:

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent question on the average cost per inmate per week.

The average cost per prisoner place per week in 1993 94 was £437 (£22,712 per year). This figure excludes exceptional items: the cost of holding prisoners in police cells and compensation for abandonment of plans to relocate the Prison Service headquarters to Derby.


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Young Offender Institutions

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research he has commissioned which indicates that young offender institutions are more effective than secure units in the local authority community home system; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maclean: In 1992, the Home Office published research and planning unit paper 66--"Juveniles Sentenced for Serious Offences: A comparison of Regimes in Young Offender Institutions and Local Authority Community Homes". The paper reported the results of a comparison of young offender institutions and local authority community homes, including the education and training provided, costs, reconviction and absconding rates.

Police Posts

Mr. George: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police posts have been privatised or individualised in the last five years in each of the following areas (a) England and Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland, (d) the west midlands and (e) H division, Walsall.

Mr. Maclean: No police posts have been privatised in England and Wales, but as a consequence of contracting out of the court escort function there is to be a phased reduction of 271 officers in the Metropolitan police from October 1994 to March 1995.

The position in Scotland and Northern Ireland is a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Prisons (Suicide Prevention)

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines exist in relation to the handling of prisoners at risk of harming themselves.

Mr. Michael Forsyth: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Dr. Lynne Jones, dated 3 November 1994:

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question asking what guidelines exist in relation to the handling of prisoners at risk of harming themselves.

Instruction to Governors 1/1994 Caring for the Suicidal in Custody'

introduced new arrangements for the care of prisoners at risk of suicide and self-harm, which updated and expanded arrangements set out in the previous instructions issued in May 1989. The new guidelines came into force on the 1 April 1994.

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which prisons currently implement official suicide prevention strategies.

Mr. Michael Forsyth: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.


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Letter from Derek Lewis to Dr. Lynne Jones, dated 3 November 1994 :

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question on which prisons currently implement official suicide prevention strategies.

The Prison Services' revised suicide prevention strategy was laid out in Instruction to Governors 1/1994, which updated and expanded arrangements set out in a previous instruction issued in May 1989. The new instruction was issued in February of this year and came into force on 1 April 1994 in all establishments.

Police (Representation)

Sir Michael Neubert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to alter the provisions for local representation on police consultative and community groups in London.

Mr. Maclean: Under section 106 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, it is for the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis to make arrangements for obtaining the views of people in the Metropolitan police district about matters concerning the policing of the area. We have issued guidance to the commissioner concerning arrangements for the Metropolitan police district emphasising that consultative groups should be as representative as possible of the local community. We have no present plans to revise that guidance.

Departmental Property

Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what properties are owned or leased by his Department for the use of Ministers; what was the total running cost for each property for the latest year available broken down into (a) furniture and fittings, (b) maintenance, (c) staffing, including the number of butlers, cooks and housekeepers, (d) food and hospitality and (e) other costs; what is the estimated value of each property; and how many times in the latest year the property was stayed in overnight by a Minister.

Mr. Howard: The Home Office leases one property used, for security reasons, as the London residence of the Home Secretary of the day. The value of the property is not known. There are no Home Office staff employed at the property and the Home Secretary is responsible for meeting all expenditure on food, private telephone calls and hospitality. Running costs in 1993-94 totalled £79,781 comprising:


2

                            |£                    

--------------------------------------------------

(a) Furniture and fittings  |1,076                

(b) Maintenance             |<1>40,385            

(c) Staff                   |nil                  

(d) Food and hospitality    |nil                  

(e) Other costs             |38,320               

Note:                                             

<1> of which 23,285 was for the replacement of    

the roof                                          

Miscarriages of Justice

Mr. Michael: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) by what dates he intends that the proposed body to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice shall be (a) established and (b) fully operational;

(2) what is his best estimate of the running costs in a full year of the proposed body to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice.


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Mr. Maclean: We are committed to establishing such a body as soon as is practicable. I am not yet in a position to say when the necessary legislation will be brought forward but information on the body's running costs will be made available, in the usual way, when the Bill is introduced.

Visas

Mr. Madden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the United Kingdom post in Islamabad asked for inquiries to be made in the United Kingdom into the application by Mrs. Abida Khatoon (Ref: IMM/C3052) to join her husband in the United kingdom; when he expects those inquiries to be completed; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: I will write to the hon. Member.

EU Common Visa List

Mr. Madden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what Representations he is making to remove New Zealand and Jamaica from the common visa list of the European Union; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: New Zealand and Jamaica are not among the countries proposed by the Commission for inclusion on the common visa list.

Spencer Stuart Consultants

Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many contracts his Department or Government agencies responsible to his Department have entered into with Spencer Stuart consultants in the last two years.

Mr. Michael Forsyth: The Home Office has not let any contracts to the named company during the specified period.

Tiger Products

Mr. Tony Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his of 27 October, Official Report, column 769, what progress has been made in the investigations by the Metropolitan police arising from information passed to them by the World Wide Fund for Nature; and how many people have been charged with offences arising from the possession of tiger products in each of the last five years.

Mr. Maclean: I understand from the Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis that the investigation is still in progress. Information on the number of people charged so is not collated centrally.

Electoral Register

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will bring forward proposals to allow electors not to have their addresses printed on the Electoral Register for specified reasons.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: This question was considered by the working group on electoral registration, set up as part of our general review of electoral law and practice. Officials are due to report to Ministers on the findings of the review shortly.


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Police Finances

Mr. Michael: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has now abandoned his draft formula for setting police force finances; when he intends to present new proposals for setting police force finance in England and Wales; and what scheme he intends to use for the 1995 96 financial year.

Mr. Maclean: The setting of police force budgets is a matter for police authorities.

A version of the new police funding formula was issued for consultation to police and local authority associations in September. This version of the formula did not take sufficient account of the need to provide stability and continuity in policing. We therefore concluded that, for 1995 96, police establishment should be included in the funding formula as an indicator of the need for policing. Police authorities will be notified of their allocations of central Government support in the same way as other classes of local authorities. Details of the proposed local government settlement for England and Wales for 1995 96 will be available very shortly after the Budget announcement.

Workplace Fires

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were (a) killed and (b) injured in fires in places of work in (i) 1992 93 and (ii) 1993 94.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: Figures on fire deaths are provided on a calender year basis. In the United Kingdom in 1992 there were 50 deaths from fires in places of work and 2,087 non-fatal casualties.

Secure Training Unit, Medomsley

Ms. Armstrong: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when his Department expects to respond to letters from Derwentside district council of 1 September, 15 September and 6 October regarding planning permission for the proposed secure training unit at Medomsley; and what are the reasons for the delay.

Mr. Maclean: I understand that the letters from Derwentside district council concern an application for planning permission made under section 299 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The letter of 1 September was an acknowledgement of the application and a response was not requested. The letters of 15 September and 6 October invited payment of a planning fee in connection with the application. Payments of this kind are not normally made until the enabling legislation has been enacted. I apologise for the delay in responding to the correspondence. My officials will shortly be writing to Derwentside district council about the application.

Ms. Armstrong: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department under what guidance or regulation the Home Office made an application for planning permission to Derwentside district council for a secure unit on part of the former site of Medomsley prison; and for what reason his Department was unable to pay the statutory fee.

Mr. Maclean: Applications have been made for the development of a secure training centre on part of the site of the former detention centre at Medomsley under DOE circular 18/84 and also section 299 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.


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In respect of any planning fee due, payments of this kind are not normally made until the enabling legislation has been enacted.

Market Testing

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his current calculation of the costs of preparation for market testing in his Department in terms of (a) payments to consultants and (b) other costs.

Mr. Michael Forsyth: From 1 April 1992 to 30 June 1994 expenditure by the Home Office including the Prison Service in support of the competing for quality programme was approximately £1.5 million on payments to consultants--including advice on efficiency improvements for units subject to competition--and approximately £6.5 million on other costs. It is estimated that annual savings of £27 million have been generated by this programme so far.

Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those parts of the Prison Service which are scheduled to be market-tested, giving in each case the projected timetable and the estimated cost of the market-test.

Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 24 October 1994]: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Ms Joan Ruddock, dated 3 November 1994:

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about those parts of the Prison Service scheduled to be market-tested.

Work is currently underway to market test the management of the vehicle fleet. In addition, plans are being developed to market test the Parole Board Secretariat and one or two establishments. Invitations to tender for the management of the vehicle fleet are expected by the end of 1994 and a decision on the preferred supplier by June 1995. The anticipated staff and consultancy costs of managing this market test are £30,000. The timetable for the market testing of the Parole Board Secretariat has not yet been planned and therefore the estimated costs are not known.

Once the Prison Board has decided on which one or two establishments will be market tested, it is estimated that the preferred supplier will be identified within about nine months. The projected staff and consultancy costs for managing each test are expected to be about £100,000.

Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will specify, for each individual prison and department within the Prison Service, the exact benefits, financial or otherwise, which have accrued directly as a result of market testing and/or the contracting out of the management of the Wolds, Blakenhurst, Doncaster and Strangeways prisons, and any other market-testing exercise within the agency to date.

Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 24 October 1994]: The Director General of the Prison Service will write to the hon. Member.

Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those parts of the Prison Service which have been market- tested to date, giving in each case the cost of the market-test, the date of the market-test and the outcome.

Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 24 October 1994]: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.


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Letter from Derek Lewis to Ms Joan Ruddock, dated 3 November 1994:

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about those parts of the Prison Service which have been market tested.

Work in the Prison Service which has been exposed to competition as part of our Competing for Quality programme comprised of the following market tests and contracting:


1992-93 Programme                                                                                  

                                 |Contract award                                                   

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Court Escort and Custody         |Contracted to Group 4.                                           

Services East Midlands and                                                                         

Humberside Decision announced                                                                      

6 November 1992                                                                                    

                                                                                                   

Blakenhurst Prison Decision      |Contracted to UKDS                                               

announced 3 December 1992                                                                          

                                                                                                   

Prison Education service         |Previously outsourced                                            

                                                                                                   

Decision announced 11 February   |All competitions completed and                                   

1993                             |contracts in place.                                              

                                                                                                   

Prison Service Information       |Contract awarded to SERCO.                                       

                                                                                                   

Technology Group Decision        |Contract awarded to SERCO                                        

 announced 31 August 1992                                                                          

                                                                                                   

Manchester Prison Decision       |In-house win following a market                                  

announced 15 July 1993           |test.                                                            

                                                                                                   

Warehousing and Distribution     |In-house win following a market                                  

Decision announced March 1993    |test.                                                            

                                                                                                   

Facilities Management at         |In-house win for services                                        

 Newbold Revel Decision          |previously provided in-house,                                    

announced 31 August 1994         |following a market test.                                         

                                 |Taylorplan awarded contract for                                  

                                 | catering and house-keeping.                                     

                                                                                                   

Court Escort and Custody         |Contracted to Securicor                                          

Service Metropolitan Area                                                                          

Decision announced 16                                                                              

December 1993                                                                                      

                                                                                                   

Doncaster Prison Decision        |Contracted to Premier Prison                                     

announced 12 January 1994        |Services                                                         

                                                                                                   

Buckley Hall Prison Decision     |Contract awarded to Group 4                                      

announced 19 July 1994           |following a market test                                          

Notes:                                                                                             

In addition a number of candidates, initially identified for competition, were withdrawn before    

formal testing. The overall cost of managing our Competing for Quality programme up to June 1994   

has been about £3 million. This includes all direct running costs, consultancy and overheads.      

Savings of at least £17 million a year have been produced and therefore net savings of £14 million 

have been generated.                                                                               

Overseas Domestic Workers

Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many overseas domestic workers sought assistance from (a) official and (b) voluntary bodies in cases of exploitation in each of the last five years.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: This information is not available.

Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many overseas domestic workers suffering (a) physical abuse, (b) denial of food, (c) reduced or no pay, (d) passport confiscation or (e)


Column 1353

imprisonment in the employer's home were reported to him in each of the last five years.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: This information is not recorded.

Fire Certificates

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many fire certificates issued under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 are in force in places of work.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: In 1993 94 there were 126,417 such certificates in force.

Police Finances

Mr. Michael: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how soon police forces in England and Wales will be notified of their financial allocation for 1995 96.

Mr. Maclean: Police authorities will be notified of their allocations of central Government support in the same way as other classes of local authorities. Details of the proposed local government settlement for England and Wales for 1995 96 will be available very shortly after the Budget announcement.


Column 1354

House Fires

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people were (a) killed and (b) injured in residential house fires in (i) 1992 93 and (ii) 1993 94.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: Figures on fire deaths are provided on a calendar year basis. In 1992 there were 594 fire deaths in dwellings and 11,206 non-fatal casualties. Provisional figures for 1993 show that there were 535 deaths from fires in dwellings and 11,370 non-fatal casualties.

Prison Staff Statistics

Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will provide a breakdown of (a) staff posts by rank and (b) actual numbers in post at the following prisons: Wolds, Blakenhurst, Manchester and Doncaster at the latest available date.

Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 24 October 1994]: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Ms Joan Ruddock, dated 3 November 1994:

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the staffing levels at Wolds, Blakenhurst, Manchester and Doncaster prisons.

The table below shows the staffing figures at these prisons at 19 October 1994.


                                      |Wolds      |Blakenhurst|Doncaster  |Manchester             

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Prisoner Custody Officers             |82         |222        |228        |<1>395                 

Supervisory Prisoner Custody Officers |39         |53         |29         |<2>78                  

Other staff                           |100        |92         |164        |247                    

                                                                                                  

Total staff                           |221        |367        |421        |720                    

<1> Prison Officers. <2> Senior Officers and Principal Officers.                                  


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Children of God

Mr. Frank Cook: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what effect recent discoveries about the organisation entitled the Children of God will have on his proposed changes in the responsibilities of the Obscene Publications Department of the Metropolitan police.

Mr. Maclean: The obscene publications branch--SO1(4)--is within the scope of the Commissioner's intended restructuring exercise. This aims to make the best possible use of resources in the fight against crimes, including all forms of obscene publications and paedophilia. I understand that the Commissioner intends responsibility for paedophilia and top level criminality uncovered by investigations into pornography to remain centralised within SO1(4). These recent changes within the Metropolitan police will not effect their ability to investigate allegations of child abuse against organisations such as the Children of God.

Mr. Frank Cook: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he will take to deal with the situation discovered in relation to the organisation entitled the Children of God; and if he will make a statement.


Column 1354

Mr. Nicholas Baker: The Government understand the concerns about the activities of certain organisations. The Government have no power to ban such groups.

Where allegations of child abuse or any other wrong doing are made against groups or individuals it would be a matter for the police to investigate.

Prisons (Drugs)

Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what is the estimated cost of introducing drug testing in prisons in 1994 95 and each of the next five years;

(2) in which prisons pilot drug testing schemes will be conducted; (3) what is the timetable for the introduction of drug testing in prisons.

Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 24 October 1994]: The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 provides prison officers with the power, where an authorisation is in force for that prison, to require prisoners to produce a urine sample for the purpose of testing for controlled drugs. New prison rules will make it a disciplinary offence for a prisoner to misuse controlled drugs. It will also be an offence for a prisoner to refuse to provide a sample for testing purposes.


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I intend to use these powers to introduce a random testing programme covering all inmates. Prisons will be required to test a set proportion of their population each month.

In addition, prison officers will require prisoners to provide a sample for testing at any time if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the prisoner has been misusing drugs.

Persistent offenders will be tested at a much greater frequency than the general prison population.

Eight prison establishments have been chosen for the initial phase of the drug testing programme. These are Bristol, Holloway, Lindholm, Pentonville, Wakefield and Wayland prisons, and HMYOI/RC Feltham and HMP/YOI Stoke Heath.

The initial phase will commence once the necessary legislation is in place early next year. It is our intention that the drug testing programme will then be developed quickly across the remaining prison establishments.

Initial estimates of the costs of the first phase are approximately £200,000 in 1994 95 and, in the light of the pilot schemes, the estimate will be revised for the next five years.

Mr. Eastham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has on the proportion of prisoners who are drug addicts using shared injection equipment; and if prison management will provide (a) needles or (b) bleach for cleaning needles.

Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 1 November 1994]: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. Ken Eastham dated 3 November 1994:

The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office to reply to your recent Question on the proportion of prisoners who are drug addicts using shared injection equipment and the provision of needles and bleach in prisons. The Prison Service views, as a top priority, the reduction of drug misuse in the English and Welsh prisons. There is no research on the proportion of prisoners who are drug addicts and use shared drug injecting equipment.

The policy is that neither needles or bleach are provided in prisons.


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