Select Committee on Home Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Proposed Allocations 2002-03

Resource £m Capital £mTotal £m
Existing Projects
Attrition21.60 21.60
Crown Court Sitting Days11.34 11.34
Case Progression Officers5.00 5.00
Youth Court Time targets7.50 7.50
Fine Enforcement2.00 2.00
Witness Support1.10 0.601.70
Victim Personal Statement8.90 8.90
Direct Communication with Victims3.80 3.80
Auld Implementation0.50 0.50
Unified Fee Scheme1.00 1.00
Casework Directorate1.50 1.50
Cross Border Crime2.30 2.30
ICT0.207.45 7.65
CPS Support15.00 15.00
Vulnerable/Intimidated Witnesses12.05 1.7013.75
Persistent Offenders1.08 4.915.99
CJS Performance Managers2.34 0.402.74
Magistrates' Court Extended Sitting Hours 4.924.92
Cross CJS Local/National funding2.00 2.00
Sub Total104.13 15.06119.19
Street Crime60.0040.00 100.00
CJS IT2.8010.05 12.85
Sub Total62.80 50.05112.85
Total166.93 65.11232.04

  CJS Reserve is £525 million over three years of SR2000. In 2002-03 the sum is £200 million (£140 million resource and £60 million capital).

This table relates to 2001-02
DepartmentInitiative Estimated
Resource Capital
CJJPUAnalytical Unit (a) 0
CJITICT200 1,870
ACJSC: Avon and SomersetCJ Co-ordinator 98
ACJSC: Devon and CornwallC-FAR Life Programme 150
ACJSC: Greater ManchesterMOD Project Worker 9
ACJSC: MerseysideRace Issues Joint Plan 0
ACJSC: West MerciaRace Conference 5
ACJSC: West MerciaVictims/Witness Workshop 0
ACJSC: StaffordshireVideo Equipment 2
ACJSC: StaffordshirePre Court Visit Video 1
ACJSC: West MidlandsPerformance Management Analyst 30
ACJSC: Leicester/RutlandRemand Rate Research Project 3
ACJSC: NottinghamshireDrug Programme Data Collection 29
ACJSC: NottinghamshireJoint Criminal Justice Plan 102
ACJSC: CheshireVictim/Witness Research Project 12
ACJSC: Yorkshire/HumbersideMAP Consultancy 8
ACJSC: Beds/Herts/Suffolk/SurreyCase Tracking Pilot 23
HO—HMPSAttrition 352
HO—NPSAttrition (b) 600
HO—JVUWitness Support 3,600
HO—JVUVictim Personal Statement 67
HO—JVUTIG Secretariat Manuals etc. 10
HO—NPSSitting Hours Pilot (b) 20
HO—HMPSSitting Hours Pilot 0
HO—PODSPersistent Offenders (b) 57140
LCD Attrition (b)11,100
LCD Crown Court Sitting Days (b) 6,340
LCD Case Progression Officers (b) 4,000
LCD Youth Court Time Targets (b) 3,500
LCD Fine Enforcement (b) 3,650
LCD Witness Support (b) 600
LCD Victim Personal Statement (b) 1,800
LCD Auld (b)500
LCD Magistrates' Court Redundancy (b) 8,000
LCD Sitting Hours Pilot (b) 134
LCD Costs and Performance Model (b) 281
CPSCrown Court Sitting Days 5,000
CPSYouth Court Time Targets 4,000
CPSVictim Personal Statement 2,500
CPSBronze + For Victims 4,400
CPSUnified Fee Scheme 1,000
CPSEarly Departure6,500
CPSCasework Directorate 1,500
CPSCross Border Crime 900
CPSSitting Hours Pilot 66
Sub Total65,949 10,610


    (a)  Paid from CJJPU budget. No transfer yet from CJS Reserve.

    (b)  Outturn 2001-02 figures awaited from CJS departments. Figure shown as estimated outturn is allocation.

  12.   Since April 2001, local probation boards have had a statutory duty to consult and notify victims about release arrangements of offenders serving 12 months or more for a sexual or violent offence. Previously, victims were only contacted on the release of offenders serving more than four years. What impact has the change had on workload and how well are probation services coping with this extra work? Please provide outcomes on an area by area basis. (page 68)

  An additional 6,502 new victims of sexual and violent offences have become eligible to be contacted by the National Probation Service during the first nine months of the operation of the statutory duty. We expect this figure to rise to nearly 9,000 by the end of the first year.

  The impact on individual probation areas varies according to their size and case load (figures shown in the attached spreadsheet). The additional case load ranges from 10 additional new victims in Dyfed Powys to 716 additional new victims in London in the first nine months.

  Probation areas are required to contact each eligible new victim within eight weeks of sentence to offer contact and information. The current national standard target requires initial contact to take place within eight weeks of sentence in 85 per cent of eligible cases.

  The cumulative national average performance is currently running at contact with 63 per cent of eligible new victims within target time for the additional case load. (Some areas are consistently achieving figures in excess of the target, others are not yet reaching the target.)


  The cases involving sentences of 12 months to four years are in addition to the victims who were eligible for contact under the previous administrative scheme (sentences of four years or more). Probation areas continue to work with these victims and have a substantial existing case load.

  There were 4,767 new victims in this category in the first nine months of the 2001-02 year, of which nearly 57 per cent were contacted within the target eight week period. We expect this figure to increase to around 7,000 new victims by the end of the year.

  Total new caseload (all cases) for first nine months of the statutory duty is 11,269 new victims. We expect this to reach 16,000 new victims by the end of the year.

  Of these, the total number of victims contacted within eight weeks is 6,795.

  The cumulative average national performance against target on cases falling within the statutory duty is 60.3 per cent for the first nine months.

  13.   Aim 3, target 2 (Increase the number and proportion of recorded crimes for which an offender is brought to justice)—the target for 2003-04 is to bring 1.2 million crimes to justice, ie 100,000 additional offences compared with 1999-2000, or a 9 per cent improvement. In September 2001, performance had fallen below the baseline to just over one million crimes, meaning that an 18 per cent performance improvement is now required. What factors have contributed to this fall in performance and how will it be reversed, in time to achieve the required improvement by 2003-04? (page 70)

  Because so many factors can impact on whether a case is brought to justice, it is very difficult to pinpoint the underlying causes of the fall in performance. However, it is likely that a key reason is the decline in the number of police officers during 1999-2000, which the Government has now reversed.

  The two graphs which follow show this decline and subsequent increase in the number of police officers in more detail. The first graph shows how the total number of police officers has varied since 1990. The second shows effective police strength since 1996-97.[1]

  There are several programmes in train or to be implemented during the next two years which will result in an increase in the number of offences brought to justice. These are:

    —  the initiative to target persistent offenders (to be launched this Autumn);

    —  the Street Crime Initiative;

    —  action to increase the number of domestic violence and rape cases which result in an offender being brought to justice;

    —  increasing police capacity (through the recruitment of additional police officers and the introduction of Community Support Officers);

    —  improved use of technology (through the expansion of the DNA database and the roll out of Automatic Number Plate Recognition);

    —  more effective custody management (including the introduction of custody support staff and the roll out of custody IT support); and

    —  improved support for witnesses.

  Significant action is also planned over the next six months to step up activity to meet the target:

    —  ACPO have completed a significant analysis of why cases fall out of the system and what action can be taken to prevent this occurring; similar studies are planned for the CPS and Court Service;

    —  in early Autumn, a new publication, Narrowing the Justice Gap, will be sent to all CJS agencies. This publication will explain why the target to bring more offences to justice is important, how it fits with other initiatives, and what action CJS practitioners are expected to take to improve performance. It will be accompanied by detailed operational guidance.

    —  Following publication, roadshows will be run for CJS practitioners to promote Narrowing the Justice Gap, and to consult them about local examples of good practice and blockages to success. Practitioners will also receive consultancy support to help them analyse how they can bring more offenders, particularly persistent offenders, to justice.

    —  Targets for 2003-04 will be set for each of the 42 CJS areas, aligned to police targets.

  In spite of this activity, because of the significant shortfall between current performance and the 2003-04 target, we cannot be confident of meeting the target.

  14.   Aim 3, target 3 describes a cross-departmental inter-agency national strategy for improving services to victims and witnesses, to be taken forward in 2002-03. Which departments and agencies will be involved and when will the strategy be completed? (page 75)

  We aim to complete and publish the strategy either later this year or early next year. In addition to a number of Home Office representatives with interests in the strategy, the following departments and agencies are playing an active part in the work:

    —  Lord Chancellor's Department

    —  Crown Prosecution Service

    —  Police

    —  National Probation Service

    —  Victim Support

    —  NSPCC

    —  Department of Health

  15.   Rehabilitation and prison regimes: the overarching performance measure for all rehabilitation activity is the target to reduce the rate of reconvictions of all offenders and young offenders by 5 per cent compared to the predicted rates by 2004. The graph on p 79 shows the two year reconviction rate hovering between 55 per cent and 56.5 per cent for the six years 1993-94 to 1998-99.

    (a)  Please clarify this target by providing the predicted rates against which prison rates have decreased by one percentage point (as recorded on page 166).

  The predicted two-year reconviction rate for persons discharged from custody during the first quarter of 1998 was 56.7 per cent The actual rate was 55.7 per cent; hence the actual rate is one percentage point below the predicted rate. Expressed in the format of the PSA target of a 5 per cent reduction against predicted, the prison reconviction was 1.8 per cent lower.

    (b)  How likely are you to meet the 5 per cent reduction by 2004? (page 79)

  The Young Offender target has been achieved ahead of schedule: the overall one-year rate for the July 2000 cohort is 26.4 per cent—a 14.6 per cent reduction as a percentage of the predicted rate for that cohort

  The Adult Offender target is on track. This target is being achieved through the delivery of accredited programmes. Performance of these programmes against the year one benchmarks showed that over 30,000 programme completions were achieved by the Prison and Probation Service in 2001-02—slightly behind target.

  16.   The Report refers to the provision by the Department of Health of 300 psychiatric nurses to improve the care of prisoners with mental health problems. How many prisoners suffer from psychiatric problems? (page 80)

  It is estimated that 90 per cent of prisoners (within a population of some 70,000) suffer from at least one of five main categories of mental disorder (psychosis, neurosis, personality disorder, drug dependency and alcohol dependency). In addition, co-morbidity levels are high. Within this overall percentage, at any given time there are approximately 5,000 prisoners suffering from severe and enduring mental illness. (Source: Psychiatric Problems Amongst Prisoners, Office for National Statistics, 1998).

  17.   Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programmes are operating in 84 of the 154 Youth Offending Team areas in England and Wales. When will they become available in the remaining 70 areas? (page 82)

  The Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP) is currently being expanded to the rest of the 10 Street Crime areas and the bail intake is being doubled. From November 2002 it will target 3,500 prolific young offenders annually and provide programmes to 80 per cent of Local Authorities in England and Wales. This expansion means that ISSP will cover an additional 34 Yots across England and Wales. This brings the total number of Yots covered by the programme to 118. Further expansion beyond this will depend upon the outcome of SR2002.

  18.   Within Aim 4.2 (Reducing crime by providing constuctive regimes that address offending behaviour in custody and after release) the overall offending behaviour programmes target has been met but the Sex Offender Treatment Programmes element of the target was missed—page 166 states 830 SOTPs achieved against a target of 1,160. Why was the target not met? What actions are being taken to meet the target in future? (page 85)

  The Sex Offender Treatment Programme (SOTP) has an intense and highly specialised nature, which places high demand on both facilitators and prisoners. This leads to a higher than average turnover of staff and dropout rate of prisoners. Unfortunately the intensive training means replacing such skilled facilitators is a slow process. Furthermore, it has been difficult to arrange transfers for suitable prisoners to SOTP prisons, in light of an overcrowded estate, which leaves many potential candidates unavailable.

  The achievement of future SOTP targets is being supported through the development of a Strategy, the main element of which is to increase slightly the size of treatment groups. There is work also progressing, on assessing and reducing staff turnover including a review of staff support and initiatives for attracting and maintaining facilitator pools.

  19.   Aim 4, target 4 (To provide in relation to the prison and Probation Service, an independent national complaints service) relates to the processing time for complaints for both prisons and probation. Please provide complaints figures for both for the last ten years. (page 86)

  The Ombudsman's Office was set up in 1994, therefore the data are for the last eight years and not ten. The Ombudsman started taking complaints from Probationers from 1 September 2001.
Prison Complaints
October 1994-
April 1995
199519961997 1998-991999-20002000-01 2001-02
Number Received8701,698 1,8981,9601,919 1,9372,1762196
Number Eligible253521 520553556 561857840
% Eligible29%31% 27%28%29% 29%39%38%
Number Ineligible6171,177 1,3781,4071,363 1,3761,3191,356
% Ineligible71%69% 73%72%71% 71%61%62%

Probation Complaints(Since
1 September
Number Received113
Number Eligible16
% Eligible14%
Number Ineligible97
% Ineligible86%

  20.   There is a SDA target to ensure that the number of referrals to treatment through Drug Treatment and Testing Orders increases to approximately 6,000 in 2001-02—the Annual Report states that 4,835 Orders were made between April 2001 and 31 March 2002, a shortfall of 19 per cent. Why was the target not met and how soon will the number of Orders made reach the target? (page 99)

  Drug Treatment and Testing Orders (DTTOs) were rolled out from October 2000. 2001-2002 was, therefore, the first full year of their operation. Some DTTO programmes have been affected by local implementation problems, mainly relating to treatment capacity to handle referrals. We closely monitor difficulties as they develop and have good working arrangements in place with the Department of Health and the National Treatment Agency to address problems quickly. The rate of the upward trend in DTTOs indicates that we should be on track to meet our target of 6,000 Orders in 2002-03.

  21.   The report states that the target for prisoners entering rehabilitation programmes has proved challenging—what is current performance against the target of 5,700 by 2003-04? (page 99)

  The number of prisoners entering rehabilitation programmes has risen sharply from 3,107 in 2000-01 to 4,691 in 2001-02 but falls short of the target of 5,000 entrants. This is due to delays experienced in commissioning programmes as a consequence of the market shortage in trained drug workers. The National Treatment Agency is developing a human resources strategy to improve recruitment and retention within the drug treatment field. Performance should improve when the remaining prison service programmes come fully on line towards the end of this financial year.

  22.   The number of outstanding asylum applications has reduced to 40,000 at the end of 2001, and according to the latest quarterly asylum statistics (First Quarter 2002), to 35,500 at the end of March 2002. However, this still represents almost half of the 72,430 applications for asylum in the UK lodged in the financial year 2001-02. What is the age profile of the backlog applications? (page 102)

  IND took 53 per cent of initial asylum decisions in two months (April-December 2001). Subsequent performance has improved and we expect to be on or close to the 60 per cent target when full year performance results are published at the end of August. Simultaneously older backlog cases were also progressed and the backlog has been reduced to 35,500. Decision-making continues to outstrip applications so that the backlog continues to fall. We do not have a breakdown of the backlog of outstanding asylum applications by age. Such a figure was not produced when the physical count of the backlog was carried out in August 2001, as this would have meant detailed examination of each file.

  At the end of March 2002 the number of asylum applications outstanding for more than 12 months was estimated to be 16,200. The number of asylum applications outstanding for 12 months or less was approximately 19,400 based on data from the ACID database. These figures include work in progress.

  23.   IND's Public Service Agreement target for 2001-02 was to decide 60 per cent of substantive applications within two months, rising to 75 per cent by 2004. There are further targets for four months (75 per cent) and six months (85 per cent). What is the target for the remaining 15 per cent? What is the maximum level of applications assumed in creating this target? (page 110)

  There is no target for the remaining 15 per cent. A proportion of cases take longer than six months to decide because they present complex issues which first need to be resolved. Whilst we try to keep such cases to a minimum, they are not possible to target to a specific timescale.

  There was no maximum level of applications assumed. The target applies to all new, substantive asylum claims.

  24.   How meaningful are these targets when the average time between application and initial decision was 11 months for initial decisions made in 2001-02 (according to Beverley Hughes' answer to a Parliamentary Question from Sir Teddy Taylor on 10 June)? If this was the average time, and over 50 per cent were decided within two months, there must be several cases with extremely long duration? (page 103)

  The 11 months refers to the average since application in all decisions made in 2001-02, including third country cases. For new substantive applications 53 per cent (April-December 2001) were decided in two months. Subsequent performance has improved and we expect to be on or close to the 60 per cent target when full year performance results are published at the end of August. Although old cases are being resolved as quickly as possible, they will continue to skew the average until they have all been decided. Third country cases (ie where someone claims asylum in the UK and for various reasons another state is responsible for its examination) also take longer to resolve than those for substantial UK decisions. The average is still much lower (11 months) than the 20 months in April 1997.

  25.   How much of the £1,089 million spent on asylum support in 2001-02 was for subsistence only support and how much was for those supported in NASS accommodation? (page 102)

  The provisional outturn is that NASS spent directly £438 million on asylum support. The rest of the £1,089 million was reimbursed to Department for Work and Pensions and local authorities. The total financial provision for voucher support, including administration, was £114 million. It is not possible to split the voucher spend into those receiving subsistence only support and those receiving the full support package. The mechanism for providing voucher support is the same for both "full support" and "subsistence only" and when designed the need to differentiate was not seen as necessary. A rough estimate would be that one third of voucher payments relate to those on voucher only support.

  26.   The Report mentions a review of the system of dispersing asylum seekers undertaken in the autumn of 2001, which identified various key concerns including the variable quality and standard of accommodation provided. What is being done to ensure a minimum acceptable standard for the 45,640 asylum seekers supported in NASS accommodation as at March 2002? (page 104)

  Contracts with providers include requirements about inspecting properties, and the provision of a repairs and maintenance service which would include an emergency repairs service where a threat to health or safety is apparent.

  NASS has also carried out audits on all private and voluntary sector providers to ensure they comply with all policies and procedures, as well as documentation and record keeping. A dedicated Key Performance Indicator (KPI) and Complaints team were set up at the beginning of June, to provide a more rigorous scrutiny of contract performance. Financial penalties will be applied where contractors fail to deliver on KPIs.

  27.   The White Paper "Secure Borders, Safe Haven" (February 2002) proposes pilot Accommodation Centres. There has already been much opposition to the four proposed pilot sites which are designed to house 750 asylum seekers each ie a total of 3,000. Assuming the pilots are successful, how many of the 45,000 or so asylum seekers currently supported in NASS accommodation will be transferred to Accommodation Centres, and how much will they cost in comparison with existing NASS support costs? When will the new centres be in operation?

  Accommodation centres will be used for some new applicants while others continue to enter NASS dispersal accommodation. It is estimated that the first trial accommodation centre will open during 2003.

  It is not currently possible to provide a unit cost comparison of accommodation centres and NASS support costs because we have not yet tendered for the provision of accommodation centres, nor have we finalised the operating specification for these centres. Publication of estimated costs is likely to be misleading and could compromise the procurement process.

  In any case, direct comparison is less than straightforward. NASS costs include the cost of accommodation and basic living expenses. They do not for example include the costs of education provision (both for children and adults) or healthcare. Comparison of costs will form part of the evaluation of accommodation centres.

  28.   The Report mentions plans for replacing the voucher system currently operated for asylum seekers with a cash payment scheme. When will this occur (the Report says it was introduced in April 2002—the White Paper suggests Autumn 2002)? The voucher system will only have been in place for two years. How much did it cost to set up, how much will it cost to dismantle and how much will the new cash system cost to set up? (page 105)

  From 8 April 2002, all vouchers provided by NASS could be exchanged for cash at post offices. Later this summer we will begin issuing cash on the basis of ARC cards, presented at POs. We continue to use the same contractor, Sodexho, and costs of the change are not significant

  29.   The target for removals of failed asylum seekers is 2,500 a month by March 2003. The total for 2001-02 was 11,515, an average of less than 1,000 a month. What are the greatest barriers in removing failed asylum seekers and how will these be overcome to meet the PSA target? (page 110)

  The greatest barriers to the removal of asylum seekers are the following:

    —  increasing numbers of asylum seekers including those from countries to which return is difficult;

    —  40 per cent increase (and rising) in Judicial Review applications since 2000-01;

    —  decrease in available removal centre beds as a result of Yarl's Wood fire;

    —  operational limitations on availability of police officers for operational visits and the availability of short-term custody capacity;

    —  high numbers of new and newly promoted staff who need to gain experience to become fully effective.

  We are seeking ways to return home asylum seekers to those countries that it was previously not possible to do so. We are also optimising the use of available removal centre beds, with consideration being given to sharing short-term holding facilities with HM Customs and Excise. Legislation is proposed to help decrease Judicial Review applications, and a police protocol has been signed. The training of IS staff continues.

  30.   The targets on removal of failed asylum seekers: do the figures and the targets from the business plans 2001-02 and the targets for 2002-03 refer to applicants only or applicants and dependants? (page 110 and page 172)

  The figures and targets apply to applicants and dependants.

  31.   What will be the cost of making good the damage at Yarl's Wood? (page 110)

  The cost of the reinstatement of the damaged area of Yarl's Wood Removal Centre to the standard, condition and configuration immediately before the fire is estimated to be approximately £42 million before VAT.

  32.   Performance is currently a long way off the 90 per cent target for FCO posts to make a decision within 10 working days on non-settlement applications requiring an interview. Why is this so and what is being done about it? (page 113)

  Data in 2001-02 shows that the actual percentage of Posts interviewing Tier 3 applicants within 10 days was 78 per cent not 53 per cent as estimated at the time of the published HO annual report.

  However, the 90 per cent aim has not been realised. This can be attributed to an increased number of applications requiring interview and heightened security procedures post September 11.

  To address this growing problem (April 2002 shows a growth in applications of 19.3 per cent), UK visas have introduced a series of initiatives to improve service delivery and reduce waiting times for interview:

    —  a modernisation programme;

    —  fast track procedures;

    —  risk management strategy;

    —  operational reviews; and

    —  closer working with the FCO and IND Personnel Directorates.

  33.   The Report describes progress against only one of the four performance indicators listed for Work Permits (UK). Please provide outturn on the other three measures. (page 113)

    —  target 90 per cent of completed High Skilled Migrant Programme applications decided within one week. Actual performance 63 per cent;

    —  target 90 per cent of complete seasonal applications decided within one week. This programme was not yet in operation and therefore cannot be measured;

    —  target 90 per cent of immigration decisions relating to in-country Work Permit applications decided within one week. The figures are not yet available but we are currently working on an IT solution to provide the necessary information.

  34.   The target on dealing with applications for asylum support is to increase the percentage resolved within five days: what is the current percentage? On page 173 it is stated that no data is yet available on the average time taken; so how can a baseline be set? (page 112)

  The current performance for resolving applications for asylum support within five working days averages 45 per cent for the first two months of 2002-03. In 2000-01, the first year of NASS operation, 36 per cent of asylum support applications were resolved within five working days. In 2001-02 the figure was 29 per cent.

  35.   "2001-02 saw a substantial ramping-up of effort to improve the delivery of Home Office objectives"—does the Home Office have a problem with delivery? (page 134)

  The Home Office, in common with the other Departments, is in the process of improving its delivery capacity in order to step-up to the challenge of delivering against some very stretching targets—a number of which have been identified as key priorities by the Prime Minister.

  The ramping-up referred to in the Annual Report is intended to convey the fact that there are a number of initiatives in progress in the Home Office which are designed to build on the long-standing tradition of producing high-quality policies by focussing more heavily on their practical implementation. These initiatives include work to increase the application of the project and programme management techniques already in use for large capital expenditure projects as well as making improvements to delivery planning and performance monitoring systems. Much of this work is being taken forward in collaboration with the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit.

  Like the rest of the Civil Service, the Home Office's change programme involves reviewing and improving structures, systems, processes and behaviours. Under the umbrella of the Permanent Secretary's Group-wide business change initiative "Working in 3D", which reflects the Home Secretary's emphasis on "delivery, delivery, delivery", the main business areas in the Home Office have set up local change programmes.

  These programmes cover internal restructuring, developing new IT systems to support changes in processes and ways of working, and driving behaviours through action on training and development, reward and recognition, bringing on talent and so on.

  36.   How does the Home Office currently score on the new "balanced scorecard", on the "internal measures of the department's health", and the external measures? (page 135)

  Balanced Scorecard used by the Group Executive Board contains 36 "external" measures and 24 "internal" measures. The "external" measures relate to PSAs, SDAs or other performance measures with direct relevance to the public, either outcomes or outputs of the Home Office. The "internal" measures relate to staff, relationships with stakeholders, central internal processes and outputs of the department. Together they seek to give a balanced picture of the organisation, including its current impact on outcomes of direct interest to the public and importantly its ability to deliver in the future.

  In 2001-02 we were on or exceeding just under half our targets, we require some additional work to bring us in line with just over a quarter and require significant work on just over a sixth. There remain, however, many issues around the quantification of these performance measures which attempt to capture and isolate complex social outcomes. And a number require significant work to ensure that they are meaningful.

  Like our "external" measures our "internal" measures attempt to capture complex issues in a quantified manner. They too are currently being developed. The challenge is in developing a small number of meaningful measures and balancing the cost of data collection with the benefits derived.

  Initial work suggests that we have a strong workforce that is able and willing to meet the challenges of delivering our targets but that there is significant work to be done in developing our skills and processes in order to better influence the outcomes of concern to the public.

  37.   What are the "risks threatening the Home Office's delivery plans"? (page 136)

  All delivery plans include a systematic consideration of risk, formally recorded in risk registers. There is a wide variety of different threats to successful delivery, but analysis of the risk registers has identified some common risk themes:

    —  the reliance of the Home Office to varying degrees on external partners/agencies/other government departments to deliver outcomes;

    —  the potential for progress in one area to adversely affect the ability to deliver in other areas;

    —  possible resource problems, particularly securing people with the right skills, and funding for specific projects; and

    —  in some areas, limited evidence base on the factors influencing successful delivery, and limited data to measure progress towards meeting targets.

  The risk registers include counter-measures being taken or proposed to reduce the likelihood and/or impact of risks occurring.

  38.   What percentage of Home Office services are currently available electronically? On page 147 the target is to deliver all services electronically by 2005. Is this possible? Aren't some services better delivered face to face? How do you define "electronically"? (page 138)

  What percentage of Home Office services are currently available electronically?

  As at February 2002, 52 per cent of Home Office services were available electronically.

  Is it possible to deliver all services electronically by 2005? Aren't some services better delivered face to face?

  Not all services are able to be delivered electronically because they may require face to face interviews, or the physical processing of certain documents. These services have been identified, and removed from the target group of services that the Home Office monitors towards this target.

  How do you define "electronically"?

  Delivery of services to the public through a range of media including internet, public access kiosk, WAP and digital interactive television. It can also include contact centres, provided that those facilitating the citizens' access to the service are using one of the electronic media described above.

  39.   Capital Modernisation Fund: which of the Home Office's unsuccessful bids were the highest priority? (page 142)

  There were four unsuccessful bids in Round 3 of the CMF. The projects are summarised below. Figures relate to years as follows: 2001-02, 2002-03 and 2003-04:

    —  Police Training: Implementing E-learning (ICT and Distance Learning). £m 1.4/5.3/4.6. A project to implement e-learning in the police service by developing common IT systems across the service, linked to a national provider;

    —  Project Jupiter: a regional pilot to electronically join the organisations that form the 40 Crime & Disorder Partnerships in the East Midlands. £m 0.7/0.9/5.0 Based upon the lessons of this pilot, then to implement the project throughout England and Wales;

    —  National Technical Support Unit. £m 3.5/3.5/2. Modernisation of facilities and infrastructure to provide support to law enforcement in tackling new computer related crime; and

    —  High Supervision Community Housing in London. £m 2.5/0.1/0. Five properties to be purchased in Greater London and refurbished to provide short stay accommodation in London for 16 and 17 year-olds serving a community sentence or remanded on bail.

  40.   How will diversity in the Home Office be improved to meet the target? What is being done to reach the diversity targets for the Senior Civil Service of 35 per cent women, 3.2 per cent ethnic minorities and 3 per cent disabled? (pages 147 and 177)

  The Home Office is on track to meeting its diversity targets for the Senior Civil Service. The current figures for the Senior Civil Service (excluding equivalents) within the Home Office are 27.3 per cent women, 2.7 per cent ethnic minorities. There are no known Senior Civil Servants with disabilities.

  The Home Office has a Diversity Action Plan which sets out a wide range of measures which we are taking to help us meet the targets for the SCS. These include:

    —  diversity Workshops for nearly 3,000 Home Office staff;

    —  positive action training for staff from under-represented groups (women, minority ethnic staff and staff with disabilities);

    —  setting up and supporting networks for minority ethnic staff and staff with disabilities;

    —  setting up mentoring schemes for minority ethnic staff and potential staff;

    —  funding developmental bursaries for staff with disabilities; and

    —  reviewing and revising our recruitment literature and processes with a view to making the organisation more attractive to applicants form diverse backgrounds.

  41.   The performance measure for delivery of government and private Members' Bills and the drafting of secondary legislation is "level of client satisfaction". Of whom is the "client satisfaction survey" conducted? Why is the target for 2002-03 93 per cent if the latest outturn showed 97 per cent success? Why are all the LAB targets below the level of success already achieved? (pages 152 and 184)

  Client Satisfaction Survey questionnaires were issued in March 2002 to 160 regular clients in units throughout the Home Office and Northern Ireland Office, as well as stakeholders such as the Attorney General's Office and the First Parliamentary Counsel. 102 questionnaires were returned, giving a 63 per cent response rate.

  The Client Satisfaction Survey targets of 93 per cent or above, set in the LAB Business Plan for 2002-03, have in fact been raised this year from the 90 per cent or above targets which had been set in previous Business Plans and which had not changed over recent years. In retrospect, and given the successful high level of service LAB has continuously provided, we accept that the targets may be too low and consideration will be given to raising them.

  The important message is that, regardless of the precise level at which the targets are set, the actual level of satisfaction remains very high.

  42.   The target for the Private Office in 2002-03 is that all ministerial correspondence be answered within 15 days by April 2002. Why is the target for a time which has already passed? Later, at page 185, the latest outturn for this target is recorded as only 35 per cent. When was this "latest outturn" recorded? Has the target already been missed? Is the target being extended? Will it be possible to reach it, given poor performance in the past, and if so, what has changed to make this likely? (page 153)

  The question is not totally clear, since it begins by referring to the Private Office target (which is on page 185 of the Report) and then says "later, at page 185.". It is therefore assumed the question is directed at both the Communication Directorate entry on page 181, and the Private Office entry on page 185.

  The SDA target for ministerial correspondence is:
Objective Supporting ObjectivePerformance Measure TargetsTarget Date
95 per cent of ministerial correspondence answered within 15 working days
(20 days in the Prison Service).
Achieve monthly performance in excess of 95 per cent. October 2002PSA/SDA target (answer 95 per cent within 15 days (20 days in the Prison Service))

  The dates given in the text on pages 181 and 185 all refer to the targets in force at the time the report was written. These targets were not achieved, in part because of the decision to suspend work on the Customer Communications Foundation Project (see answer to Q53). The target has now been revised internally to October 2002, but has not yet been published.

  The 35 per cent outturn was recorded for December 2001. The latest outturn figure, for May 2002, is 42 per cent—this is for the whole Home Office including Immigration & Nationality Department.

  There is a high degree of confidence that it will be possible to reach the new target because:

    —  the Home Secretary has recently appointed Michael Wills as Parliamentary Under Secretary with special responsibility for Home Office correspondence handling. In that capacity, Mr Wills is now spearheading an initiative to drive up performance across the office;

    —  a new correspondence handling and tracking system (CTS) is currently in the early development stage and is planned to be rolled out across the office between September and December 2002. The system will allow all incoming correspondence—ministerial and public—to be scanned on receipt and to be subsequently handled and tracked electronically. It will have a significant impact on correspondence handling across the whole HO.

  43.   The target for answering Parliamentary Questions is 95 per cent within target dates. The target on page 185 is all PQs to be answered within target time—has the target changed? If so, why? The latest outturn on page 185 is 46 per cent of PQs answered within target. When was this recorded? What working practices have changed to make the target achievable? (page 153)

  The target for answering PQs has not changed: it is that 95 per cent should be answered by the target date.

  The table on page 185 sets out the performance target for Private Office as it was originally published in the business plan for 2001-02. However, the target was wrongly stated in the 2001-02 published business plan and should have read "95 per cent". Accordingly it was corrected in this year's business plan to read as shown on page 153 of the report. With hindsight we should have added a footnote to this effect and will do so on the website version of the report.

  The latest outturn on page 185 is 46 per cent of PQs answered within target. When was this recorded? What working practices have changed to make the target achievable?

  This figure was recorded on 20 May 2002.

  The clearance process for PQs has a number of stages and because of the tight timescales involved, a delay at any stage has a knock-on effect, which can result in targets being missed. Consequently, there is no single solution to reducing the delays. A number of steps are being taken to improve the Department's performance. These include a blitz on all outstanding PQs, shortening the deadlines for officials to return PQs, refining the Special Advisers' PQ clearance procedure, changing the design of yellow jackets, improving the tracking of PQs at every stage, revising guidance on preparing PQ answers and providing more training for officials.

  44.   Aim 3, target 1.2 (To promote race equality in the police service) states that 27 forces are due to achieve their 2002 milestone of recruitment. What is the performance of the remaining forces? (page 162)

  The table below sets out the position based on the latest police service strength figures (30 September 2001), 16 forces in England and Wales will not meet their 2002 milestone.

  On current levels six of the 16 forces need to recruit 10 or less minority ethnic officers to reach the milestone.

Performance of Forces who will not meet 2002 milestone (16)
ForceNo of Officers
as at 30.9.01
No of ME
Officers as
at 30.9.01
Percentage ME
Officers as at
No of ME
Officers needed to
reach milestone
Bedfordshire1,05042 4.0%5.4%15
City of London69918 2.6%4.0%10
Dyfed-Powys1,0985 0.5%1.0%6
Essex2,93731 1.1%1.5%12
Greater Manchester7,036 2002.8%3.2% 22
Hampshire3,44939 1.1%1.9%25
Hertfordshire1,84335 1.9%2.3%7
Lancashire3,28857 1.7%2.0%8
Leicestershire2,06298 4.8%6.4%33
Metropolitan Police25,374 1,1174.4%6.8% 596
Northumbria3,89335 0.9%1.2%10
South Yorkshire3,22386 2.7%3.3%19
Surrey2,01829 1.4%1.8%7
Thames Valley3,70894 2.5%3.1%20
West Midlands7,432382 5.1%7.5%172
West Yorkshire4,859148 3.0%3.5%20

  45.   Aim 3, target 3 (improving the satisfaction of victims and witnesses with their treatment by the CJS). Are the results of the most recent surveys now available and if so, have the satisfaction ratings risen by the required 5 per cent? If the surveys are not yet available, when will they be available?

  Current levels of victim satisfaction will be measured by the 2002 British Crime Survey, and we expect the results to be available in the late autumn. Results from the 2002 Witness Satisfaction Survey are expected to be available at about the same time.

  46.   When will the 2004 target for time from charge to disposal for all defendants be agreed? (page 165)

  Target will be agreed as part of SR2002.

  47.   Please explain why targets for timeliness of National Probation Service reports to the courts have not been met. What impact do late reports have on delays in court? (page 165)

  Pre-Sentence Reports (PSR) are only one aspect of the information required by the court to consider cases and neither the Home Office nor the Lord Chancellor's Department currently collects data which would allow the effect of delay in presenting PSRs to be separately identified as a measure of the overall management or timeliness of court proceedings.

  Probation Service National Standards require probation officers to prepare 90 per cent of PSRs within at most 15 working days of request, or such shorter timescale as has been agreed in protocols with the court. NPS' ability to meet National Standards is dependent upon receiving timely and accurate information from the Crown Prosecution Service and other agencies. This is an area in which there is strong anecdotal evidence that problems do arise and a multi-agency project has now been set up to examine the scope of the problem and to identify remedial action to improve timeliness of PSRs. Project members include the Home Office (National Probation Directorate), Crown Prosecution Service, and Lord Chancellor's Department.

  48.   Aim 4, target 2.4 (Custody to work): the latest outturn on the target for education/training/work training for young people in custody records "slippage against target"—by how much did you slip? (page 168)

  As at February 2002:

    —  15 hours education;

    —  62 per cent receiving 15 hours or more;

    —  38 per cent receiving between 13 and 15 hours;

    —  30 hours Purposeful Activity;

    —  30 per cent receiving 30 hours;

    —  50 per cent receiving between 26 and 30 hours;

    —  20 per cent receiving less than 26 hours.

  49.   Corporate Development and Services Group: Why were only 57 per cent of vacancies filled within 12 weeks? Is the failure to meet the target the reason why this target has now changed? (pages 176 and 147)

  This average figure (of 57 per cent) for time taken to fill vacancies measures several different methods of vacancy filling—internal job filling, Whitehall-wide trawls and direct external recruitment. External recruitment requires the taking of references and security and health checks of successful applicants. These checks, in certain circumstances, can take several weeks to complete and this can have a significant impact on average timescales.

  The target has been amended to reflect recently introduced internal changes to the job filling process. These changes aim to introduce a more integrated approach to vacancy filling and a commensurate improvement in the overall time-scale for the processes.

  50.   Target to deliver central London estate interim accommodation strategy: it has not proved possible to deliver 100 per cent completion of priority 1 projects by March 2002. What were the priority 1 projects? By how much was the target missed? Why? (page 176)

  The priority one projects were the Queen Anne's Gate Chiller Replacement project which was completed in November 2001, the refurbishment of the toilets at Queen Anne's Gate and Horseferry House and the automatic chair lift in Queen Anne's Gate which was completed in September 2001. The only one of these projects which was still outstanding by March was the toilet refurbishment. This project was completed in April and the delay was due to one of the suppliers going out of business.

  51.   Is progress being made satisfactorily towards completion of the new Home Office building? (page 176)

  A PFI contract has been signed (in March 2002) with Annes Gate Properties (AGP) to construct and operate a new Home Office building at 2 Marsham Street, London. The completion of this building will be in early 2005, with staff moving in between January and April that year. Demolition of the existing buildings on the Marsham Street site has commenced.

  52.   The Report records "some slippage" against the 2001-02 target on the Home Office's contribution to sustainable development and the environment. Is this still a target in 2002-03? By how much has the target been missed and what is being done about the slippage? (page 177)

  The 2001-02 target on the Home Office's contribution to sustainable development and the environment involved Ministerial agreement to a revised Home Office sustainable development action plan and quarterly review on progress by the Department's Green Minister thereafter. Initially it was decided to hold the revision of the action plan pending the setting of cross Government targets. Early indications were that these would be issued in November 2001. However, once it became clear that these targets were unlikely to be issued until summer 2002, it was decided to proceed with the revision of the Home Office action plan. Ministers approved the action plan in March 2002. Progress on the action plan is being reviewed by the Department's Green Minister quarterly and the action plan will be revised to incorporate the cross Government targets once these are issued.

  Whilst there was a delay in setting a sustainable development workplan, progress did continue on sustainable development issues. Among the achievements were that 14 Home Office buildings and five prisons use green electricity, key sites on the Home Office and Prison estate are participating in the watermark project which aims to benchmark and reduce water consumption and a number of waste minimisation schemes were introduced across the estate.

  53.   What has happened to the Customer Communication Foundation Project? Will failure to deliver this project impact on other systems and processes? (page 181)

  The Customer Communication Foundation Project (CCFP) was suspended in November 2001 because it could not be shown to be cost-effective. Since then the Home Office has implemented a number of process improvements to speed up the handling of customer communications generally, whilst at the same time exploring options for an alternative short term or "tactical" IT solution that would:

    —  help it to meet its SDA targets for replying to all forms of customer communication;

    —  enable it to track and manage both ministerial and public correspondence, as well as emails and telephone calls;

    —  enable accurate measurement of performance; and

    —  help prepare the way for the statutory response requirements under the Freedom of Information Act.

  Three Correspondence Tracking System (CTS) options were identified. One was proposed by Sirius—the Home Office's IT service provider—and was based on the same technology as that proposed for other office-wide projects (Caseworking and Electronic Document Record Management). The other two options were both based on Lotus Notes—one an adaptation of the system used by the Department of Health, the other a bespoke development by Sirius sub-contractors working on the Briefing & Reference Database project (the Home Office element of the Knowledge Network). After evaluation and assessment, it was decided to proceed with a system, which is based on Meridio document management software and Metastorm workflow software. The new system will deliver 75 per cent of the functionality of the CCFP (the main elements missing will be Customer Relationship Management technology and basic knowledge management facilities) for around 39 per cent of the price. The basic knowledge management facilities will now be delivered via the EDRM project, and the scope for introducing CRM, as an "add-on" to the CTS now being developed, will be looked at again in due course.

  Work on the CTS project began on 1 July. Sirius have assured the Home Office that they can deliver the new system in time to meet the Home Secretary's wish that it be operational by the start of the next session (ie mid-October).

  The suspension of CCFP will not have any impact on other systems and processes, mainly because the CTS solution is being delivered in a much shorter timescale than originally envisaged for CCFP, and will actually be completed earlier.

  54.   Note (a) states how Total Public Spending is calculated: please provide a reconciliation between this and the Resource Accounts. (page 189)

    —  Annual report (page 189):

    —  2000-01 Outturn: £9,209 million.

  2000-01 Resource Accounts:

    —  Net Resource Outturn £9,054 million (schedule 1 and 2)

    —  Capital Expenditure £154 million (schedule 4).

  Total £9,208 million.

  The £1 million difference is due to the fact that in 2000-01 the outturn figures supplied for the Treasury Database were not reconciled precisely with those in the Resource Accounts. There will be a reconciliation in future years.

  55.   Estimated outturn for 2001-02 on "regulating entry to and settlement in the UK" is £1,590 million compared with planned expenditure for 2002-03 of £983 million. Has this estimate been revised, and if so, what to? (page 189)

  The latest outturn estimate for 2001-02 is £1,645 million. A Reserve claim of £800 million was made in 2001-02, which boosted planned expenditure on asylum and IT, support to IND. The requirement for additional funds in 2002-03 is under discussion with the Treasury in the context of SR2002.

  56.   Estimated outturn for 2001-02 is £10,970 million against a total provision of £10,587 million as shown in the estimates. Will the Home Office have an excess Vote in 2001-02? (page 189)

  No. The estimated expenditure outturn is within provision voted in the Spring Supplementary Estimate.

The latest forecast is as follows:

    £ million

    Spring Supplementary Estimate 11,178

    Forecast Outturn 10,896

    Underspend (282)

  57.   The Home Office Resource Account for 2000-01 was qualified on the grounds of irregular expenditure arising from the advance of money to local authorities for asylum support. Is this issue or any other likely to impact on the opinion for 2001-02? What action has been taken to ensure an unqualified account next year?


  A number of measures have been taken to remedy the weaknesses exposed in the NAO audit. They comprise:

    —  the introduction of new procedures for checking lists of local authority claimants against IND records to ensure that payments are made only to eligible claimants;

    —  issuing instructions to local authority audit commission auditors making our audit requirements clearer than they are now;

    —  new grant instructions making clear that no payments will be made where audit certificates are outstanding.

  We consider that these measures should be sufficient to ensure that this is no longer a qualification issue but it is, of course, for the NAO to decide.


  The main accounting difficulty we are facing in the production of the 2001-02 accounts is caused by the new requirement to consolidate the accounts of 42 National Probation Service Area Boards. Before April last year the Boards were part of local government in receipt of grants from the Home Office. With the creation of the National Probation Service they became part of the department.

  The consolidated Area Board accounts will need, in turn, to be consolidated into the Home Office Resource Accounts. The 42 Area Boards are audited by the Audit Commission, which operates to a timescale that is not aligned to the production of the Resource Accounts. Their accounts are normally audited in December. We have secured the Audit Commission's agreement to bring forward their audits but even so we shall not be in possession of the audited accounts of the Area Boards until October.

  We are working closely with the Treasury and the NAO, as well as with the NPS, to resolve this issue.

  Action being taken to ensure an unqualified account for 2001-02.

  We achieved a substantial improvement in the quality of the 2000-01 accounts, something which was recognised by the C&AG. We have taken the following steps to ensure that the accounts for 2001-02 are unqualified:

  The accounts production is now better resourced and is being managed under formal project management disciplines with a detailed plan, risk register and management reviews.

  Specific weaknesses identified in the NAO management letter have been addressed; namely:

    —  procedures and guidance have been introduced to ensure better management of suspense accounts;

    —  a thorough review of year end balances has been carried out;

    —  a complete reconciliation of fixed assets has been carried out;

    —  we have introduced new procedures to ensure the production of a robust cash flow statement; and

    —  we have been working closely with the Passports and Records Agency to ensure that the difficulties we had in reconciling the accounts for 2000-01 do not recur.

  We are working closely with the NAO to an agreed accounts production timetable, and we are on track.

  58.   In the Home Affairs Committee session on the Annual Report 1999-2000, it was estimated that there would be 9,143 Civil Servant full-time staff in post in IND in April 2001 and 68 casual staff (rising to 300 in July/August 2000). The Annual Report 2000-01 showed a figure of 7,347 staff and 176 casuals, whilst this year's Report shows 9,477 staff and 163 casuals. What impact has the lower than estimated number of staff in 2000-01 had on the work of the Directorate? Are IND now at full strength or is further expansion anticipated?

  IND staffing grew from 5,658 in January 2000 to 10,135 in April 2002. We have continued to run with vacancies in some areas covered by agency staff, while recruiting. Nevertheless IND has made great progress in achieving its aims; for example a record number of decisions on both asylum and non-asylum applications, as well as driving down the time taken to consider applications for British citizenship.

  Further expansion is planned for this year subject to affordability, including a mix of national and regional recruitment to meet plans for regionalisation in many areas of IND business.

  59.   Doubling the size of IND's staff from 4,779 in April 1999 to 9,477 in 2001-02 is a significant feat. How much has been spent on recruitment and training of the extra 4,700 staff? (page 195)

  IND has spent around £6 million on the recruitment of staff over the last two years. This is the direct external cost for recruitment, not including administration costs such as Human Resources Directorate staff costs.

  The overall cost for training IND staff over the past two years is approximately £12 million. The specific costs for training new recruits is not kept separately but will contribute a significant proportion of this cost.

  60.   Public appointments: which public appointments paid at a rate of more than £10,000 per annum are due to be filled in the next year? (page 196)

  The table below lists those public appointments paid at a rate of more than £10,000 per annum which have been, or are due to be, filled up to June 2003.

Executive NDPBs

Criminal Cases Review Commission
Name/PostLength of term/date due Full/Part-time
Sir Frederick Crawford*18 months from Jan 2002 Part-time
Laurence Elks*5 years from Jan 2002 Part-time
Anthony Foster*5 years from Jan 2002 Full-time
Sukminder Singh CBE*5 years from Jan 2002 Full-time
Baden Skitt*5 years from Jan 2002 Full-time
Cmdr Mark Emerton5 years from June 2002 Part-time
Prof Michael Allen5 years from Sept 2002 Full-time
Air Vice Marshall John Weeden5 years from Sept 2002 Part-time

Independent Police Complaints Commission
Name/PostLength of term/date due Full/Part-time
ChairBy April 2003 for 5 years Full or Part-time
10 MembersBy April 2003 for 5 years Full and Part-time

Police Complaints Authority
Name/PostLength of term/date due Full/Part-time
Alistair Graham*Due to be reappointed from March 2003
to March 2004
Deputy Chairs
Molly Meacher*From Feb 2002 until resigned in April 2002 Full-time
Wendy TowersFrom May 2002 until PCA wound up Full-time
Ian Bynoe*Due to be reappointed from March 2003
to March 2004
Mehmuda Mian*Due to be reappointed from March 2003
to March 2004
Duncan Gear*Due to be reappointed from May 2003
to March 2004
Anne Boustred*Due to be reappointed from June 2003
to March 2004

Service Authorities for the National Crime Squad and the National Criminal Intelligence Service
Name/PostLength of term/date due Full/Part-time
David Lock2 years from April 2002 Part-time
Vice Chair
Paul Lever2 years from April 2002 Full-time

Tribunal NDPBs

Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel
Name/PostLength of term/date due Full/Part-time
Roger Goodier4 years from April 2002 Part-time
Deputy Chair
Mrs Suzan Matthews QC4 years from April 2002 Part-time

Other Public Bodies

Asylum Support Adjudicators
Name/PostLength of term/date due Full/Part-time
David Saunders3 years from Jan 2002 Part-time
Ms Sally Verity-Smith3 years from Jan 2002 Part-time
3 Adjudicators3 yrs from April 2003 Part-time

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary
Name/PostLength of term/date due Full/Part-time
Chief Inspector
Sir Keith Povey3 years from Jan 2002 Full-time
Sir Ronnie Flanagan3 yrs from April 2002 Full-time
Kate Flannery3 years from May 2002 Full-time
Kenneth Williams3 years from Sept 2002 Full-time

Local Probation Boards
Name/PostLength of term/date due Full/Part-time
Leslie Robinson3 years from Aug 2002 Part-time
Chair of Sussex2 years from April 2003 Part-time
Chair of LancashireVacant—due to be filled this year Part-time

  61.   A written answer on 19 June 2002 (col 403W, Official Report) lists land and property currently being offered for sale by the Home Office. Why are so many assets being sold now? In broad terms how much do you expect to raise? Will the receipts go into the Home Office budget, in entirety?

  The assets for disposal listed in the Parliamentary Question referred to are mainly on the Prison and Probation estates.

  The Prison Service has undertaken a Surplus Land Disposal Programme over the last three years in line with HM Treasury guidance. The sites that have been identified for disposal have been assessed as having no potential for future development for operational purposes, either because the surplus land is too small, or because of likely difficulties in obtaining planning permission.

  The National Probation Service is rationalising its property portfolio and disposing of poor quality and unfit for purpose buildings.

  The only non-prison, non-probation site being disposed is at Gringley. This follows problems obtaining planning permission to convert the site to a Secure Training Centre.

  In broad terms the combined value of these disposals is estimated to be in the region of £30 million to £36 million. Agreement has been given for the Prison Service and the National Probation Service to keep the receipts from the sale of their properties to help fund the prison building programme and the Probation Service's capital property projects.

  62.   In the case of Mssrs Saadi, Maged and Mohammed against the Home Secretary, regarding detention of asylum applicants at the Oakington Reception Centre, the judgment delivered in September 2001 highlighted administrative flaws in the detention system. What has been done to improve administrative problems highlighted in this case?

  The judgement delivered on 7 September 2001 by Justice Collins was subsequently overturned in the Court of Appeal on 19 October. The Court granted leave to appeal to the House of Lords which heard these cases on 1st and 2nd May and judgement is awaited.

  Justice Collins was critical that the form on which persons are given reasons for detention had not been revised to include reference to the reason for which applicants for asylum were being detained at Oakington. We have subsequently amended the form, which gives reasons for detention in response to this criticism and we ensure that it is served appropriately in all Oakington cases.

July 2002

1   According to ACPO, a police officer will not be fully effective until s/he has been in post for two years (s/he will not be effective in their first year and will be 50 per cent effective in their second year). Back

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