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Public Relations

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much was spent by (a) his Department and (b) bodies for which it is responsible on external public relations consultants in each of the last four years. [27397]

Beverley Hughes: In November 1999, the Treasury published a statement of Best Practice on the use of consultants within Government. This is accessible on the archive section of Office of Government Commerce's (OGC's) website ( It represents a set of principles that should apply to many areas of consultancy. But it is not binding on Departments and has no status in law.

Decisions on the use of consultants is left to individual business units, but in making positive decisions units will take into account value for money considerations and whether the particular skills exist internally.

The increase in expenditure on Public Relations Consultants can be attributed to the Criminal Records Bureau and United Kingdom Passport Agency undertaking a greater degree of Public Relations work in areas such as market research and media. We do not have historical information to provide any other valid comparisons for the increase.

The available information held by the Home Department on cost for the use of external Public Relations Consultants by (a) Home Department and (b) other bodies over the last four years is as follows:

(a) Home Office


(b) Other bodies



Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter dated 26 April from the hon. Member for Yeovil on the subject of private home security companies. [59719]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 12 June 2002]: I replied to the hon. Member on 22 July 2002.

Refurbishment Projects

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the refurbishment projects that

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(a) are in progress and (b) will start within the next six months; and what action is being taken to ensure that these will procure certified timber. [59759]

Beverley Hughes: The information on existing and forthcoming refurbishment projects with a value over £500,000 in the Home Office including its executive agencies (but excluding sponsored non-departmental public bodies) is as follows:

Projects currently in progress

Main Home Office estate
Croydon file storeRefurbishment
Immigration and Nationality Directorate, Whitgift Centre, CroydonPartial refitting
Riverside Exchange, SheffieldPartial refitting
Prison Service
AshwellReplace wooden buildings—Phase 3
AylesburyWing refurbishment
BirminghamHealth care modifications
BrinsfordNew education building
BrixtonRefurbish Health Care/National roofing programme
Camp HillWing refurbishment
CardiffWing refurbishment/Additional cells
DorchesterReplace kitchen
DurhamWing refurbishment
Eastwood ParkSafer locals programme
EverthorpeOver roofing
FelthamSafer locals programme
FelthamConversion of buildings
FranklandDSPD Unit
GartreeWing refurbishment
GloucesterReplace kitchen/National roofing programme
HuntercombeNew education building/Extend workshop
KirkhamReplace accommodation units
Lancaster FarmsNew workshop complex
LeedsNew gatehouse
LeedsSafer locals programme
LincolnWing refurbishment
LindholmeLeger club refurbishment
Long LartinWing refurbishment
MaidstoneWing refurbishment
New HallNew gate complex
PortlandNew care and custody unit
RisleyNew houseblock
Stoke HealthNew education building
The WeareRefit/Re-mooring
WakefieldWing refurbishment
WandsworthRefurbish workshop
WandsworthNew kitchen
WinchesterSafer locals programme

Projects due to commence within the next six months

Main Home Office estate
Horseferry House, LondonRefitting of 6th and 7th floors to house more staff
Ashley House, LondonRefitting to house more staff
Allington Towers, LondonRefitting to provide temporary accommodation
Metro Point, Canterbury House and St. Anne's, CroydonFit out works
IND, Whitgift Centre, CroydonMajor refurbishment
Prison Service
AshwellReplace wooden buildings—Phase 4
Askham GrangeMother and baby unit
BirminghamSafer locals programme
BranstonNew stores
BrockhillNew kitchen
Buckley HallNew kitchen
Camp HillRoof repairs to workshops
ChelmsfordHealth care centre
Drake HallNew kitchen
Eastwood ParkMother and baby unit
Eastwood ParkSafer locals programme
EverthorpeUpgrade main gate
FelthamSafer locals programme—relocate health care
Highpoint NorthWing refurbishment
HindleySeparation: New education and workshop
KirklevingtonNew kitchen
LeedsSafer locals programme
PentonvilleHealth care centre
PortlandWing refurbishment
PrestonWing refurbishment
StaffordCreate pedestrian entrances
SwanseaSeparation of pedestrian entrance
Thorn CrossRenew roof coverings
WandsworthSafer locals programme—Phase 1
WandsworthSafer locals programme—Phase 2
WealstunReplace accommodation blocks
WinchesterSafer locals programme
WinchesterNew visits
United Kingdom Passport Agency
Peterborough Passport OfficeCounter refurbishment

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National Probation Directorate

In addition to the projects listed in the tables, 155 refurbishment project on the National Probation Directorate estate are either under way or are planned to begin within the next nine months. The average cost will be approximately £100,000. Full details could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Pending the issue of central technical guidance the Home Office did not require contracts to specify certified timber although its use was encouraged. Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) issued a model timber procurement clause in May which has been widely disseminated across the Department and all contracts for future major capital build schemes which involve the use of timber will require contractors to demonstrate that such timber will be provided from properly certified sources. This includes the new Home Office headquarters in Marsham Street.

Information Campaigns

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much his Department spent on information literature, advertising and campaign material in financial year 2001–02; if he will list the campaigns that spent over £250,000; and if he will make a statement. [70212]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 22 July 2002]: In 2001–02, the Home Office spent £22.4 million (exc. VAT) on information literature, advertising and campaign material. The campaigns that spent over £250,000 include: vehicle crime reduction, police recruitment, electoral issues, drugs misuse and child protection on the internet

Personality Disorder Assessments

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason the target to complete 180 dangerous and severe personality disorder assessments by 2001–02 was not met. [68782]

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Hilary Benn [holding answer 11 July 2002]: The development of an assessment process for those who are dangerous as a result of a severe personality disorder is innovative and groundbreaking work.

We are currently piloting assessments at Whitemoor prison and Rampton hospital and using their experience, along with the latest research evidence, to develop a framework for assessment in which clinicians, tribunals and the courts can have confidence. This is fundamental to ensuring that people are referred appropriately to services and that any new legislative powers are applied properly.

The target to complete 180 assessments was agreed early in the life of the pilots, following which a number of refinements were made, the most significant being to extend the assessment process from 12 to 16 weeks. In addition the Whitemoor pilot has had significant difficulties in recruiting suitably qualified clinical staff and had to be temporarily suspended to allow for some refurbishment work in preparation for the treatment unit there. While these factors have inevitably had an effect on throughput, the 94 assessments completed during the period have proved invaluable in informing the development of a high quality assessment process, and provide a sound basis for further work.

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