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1 Sept 2004 : Column 868W—continued

Prisons

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison officers, in full-time equivalent terms, were employed by the Prison Service on 31 March in each of the last five years; and what the planned number of officers was in each case. [183952]

Paul Goggins: The table shows the number of full-time equivalent officer grade staff employed since 1999 against the best available estimate of planned officer posts. The figures include prison officers, senior officers and principal officers.
 
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As at
31 March
Full-time equivalent officersOperational staffing requirementForecast planned posts
200423,95224,709
200323,33224,147
200222,88123,666
200123,67223,901
200024,02024,158
199923,83123,876

The figures for the planned number of officer posts prior to 2004 are not an accurate reflection of the operational staffing requirement. These figures, based on forecast planned posts, included staff nominally identified for special units within prisons that were used infrequently and were staffed using additional supplementary hours from existing staff; and the staffing requirements for new accommodation that had not yet opened. The Prison Service introduced new arrangements for the collection of workforce data earlier this year to eliminate these anomalies and to reflect more accurately the operational staffing requirement. Before April 2001 the figures were collected as part of a general planning process and were not specifically designed for workforce planning purposes.

A contract supplementary hours scheme has been in operation since April 2001, which allows governors to deploy existing staff on pre-arranged, additional hours contracts, to meet any shortfall in actual staffing availability. In April 2004 this scheme contributed the equivalent of 373 full-time officers. As a result, actual staffing availability at April 2004 (full-time equivalent staff in post plus the use of contracted supplementary hours) was (24,325) compared to the operational staffing requirement of (24,709). This represents a gap of 1.6 per cent, which the Director General considers to be an acceptable operating margin.

Figures on the use of contract supplementary hours are not available prior to April 2004.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the effect of additional investment on delivery in prison and probation services since 1998. [182322]

Mr. Browne: In its Public Service Agreement, published in 2000, the Home Office committed itself to reducing by 2003–04 the proportion of offenders given prison or community sentences who are subsequently reconvicted by 5 per cent. compared to a 1997 baseline. The target was carried forward in the 2002 Public Service Agreement, with a new baseline of 2000. Latest published figures, for 1999, show that 3.2 per cent. fewer offenders were reconvicted than predicted. The Home Office also committed itself to maintaining the (then) current low number of escapes, including Category A escapes. There has been no escape of a Category A prisoner since 1995. The baseline for the total number of escapes in 1997–98 was 0.17 per cent. of the average prison population. The outcome for 2003–04 was 0.067 per cent.
 
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Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 11 March 2004, Official Report, column 1673W, on prisons, what moneys will be made available to (a) build and (b) manage the projected prison establishments. [163273]

Mr. Browne [holding answer 23 March 2004]: The Prison Service plans to ensure that its operating assets are fit for purpose. To that end, it seeks potential sites for new establishments, whether to expand capacity or as part of improving the mix of existing capacity. The business cases for acquisition of sites, for options for the construction of buildings and for future management of sites will be made within the constraints of resources that become available through the spending review process.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what minimum nutritional standards have been set for prison food. [183933]

Paul Goggins [holding answer 13 July 2004]: The requirements for Prison Service catering—for all types of establishment—are set out in the Prison Service Catering Manual (Prison Service Order 5000). Chapter 3 of the manual sets out the mandatory provisions required to produce nutritional meals. These include ensuring that:

All Prison Service establishments have the objective of offering a range of foods that enable prisoners to make healthy eating choices. All establishments must offer at least one lower fat/high fibre/lower sugar or lower salt item on each menu and there must be a clearly marked healthy eating option included on all menus. In particular prisons are required to offer a wide range of interesting fresh fruits, vegetables and salads. As well as being monitored during the cooking process nutrition is also monitored in food specifications via purchasing. Prison Service caterers are required to look objectively at menu selection and continually seek to modify their recipes, cooking methods and service towards more healthy guidelines.

Catering staff are provided with training information and the skills required to produce healthy food—this includes guidelines on how to cook food so as to retain as high a range of vitamins and minerals as possible. The Prison Service runs nutrition training courses at intermediate level for prison caterers—these lead to a formal qualification from the Royal Institute of Public Health. Some establishments involve the local hospital dietician in their menu planning and some have obtained Healthy Eating Awards (Heartbeat) from their local authorities.
 
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Increasingly—and through a partnership between prisons catering, education and PE departments—the Prison Service is encouraging individual prisoners to eat more healthily by:

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 27 April 2004, Official Report, column 938W, on prisons, for what reasons his Department does not propose to extend this further to mirror the two-tier workforce provisions contained in the Local Government Code of Practice on Workforce Matters. [183982]

Mr. Browne: The Home Office complies fully with the policies that currently apply to central Government and agencies, including the Cabinet Office Statement of Practice "Staff Transfers in the Public Sector" and its annex "A Fair Deal for Staff Pensions".

There are no immediate plans to mirror the local government arrangements but as we move forward with our reforms we will work with other Departments to further address the "two-tier" issue.
 
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Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his Oral Answer to the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend, East (Sir Teddy Taylor) 12 July 2004, Official Report, column 1116, on prisons, what factors have contributed to prison operational capacity increasing by 500 places in recent months; and in which prison establishments these places are located. [185363]

Paul Goggins: The additional places referred to in my reply of 12 July to the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend, East (Sir Teddy Taylor) are the result of additional houseblocks which have opened at Her Majesty's Prison Wymott (180 places); Her Majesty's Young Offender Institution Swinfen Hall (120 places); Her Majesty's Prison Wealstun (180 places); and Her Majesty's Prison Winchester (40 places). In addition, a new prison, Her Majesty's Prison Bronzefield, opened in June 2004 and, as at 12 July, had 150 places available.

At the same time some accommodation has been taken out of use for refurbishment.

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many suicides of (a) men and (b) women there were in each London prison in each of the last five years. [186220]

Mr. Browne: The information requested is provided in the table.
Number of self-inflicted deaths(64)
EstablishmentGender
199819992000200120022003Total
BelmarshMale
1110137
BrixtonMale
14222112
FelthamMale
0011002
HollowayFemale
1211106
Latchmere HouseMale
0000000
PentonvilleMale
0113106
WandsworthMale
20712315
Wormwood ScrubsMale
0111115
Total591498853


(64) The Prison Service employs the term "self-inflicted death" rather than "suicide". This includes all those deaths where it appears the person may have acted specifically to take his/her own life.


Tackling the number of self-inflicted deaths of prisoners is a key ministerial and Prison Service priority. Central to the suicide prevention strategy that I announced on 31 March is the need to reduce levels of distress in prisons and to promote the well being of all staff and prisoners. The strategy has strong support from partner agencies and external organisations, and is being developed in close partnership with the Department of Health. The developing strategy will link existing programmes and planned investment in five broad areas of work. These are:

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many women prisoners were held in prisons in England and Wales on 1 July (a) 2004, (b) 2003, (c) 2002 and (d) 2001. [186225]

Mr. Browne: The number of female prisoners held in prison establishments in England and Wales on 30 June in each of the last four years is provided in the following table.
Population of female prisoners England and Wales, 30 June

Number
20013,713
20024,394
20034,595
20044,452


 
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Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the salary ranges are for prison custody officers at each privately run prison establishment. [184693]

Paul Goggins: The salary ranges for prison custody officers at each of the privately run prisons in England and Wales are shown in the table (as provided by each of the four contractors):
£

EstablishmentSalary rangeComment
HMP and YOI Ashfield15,008–16,043Attracts an additional £1,500 local economy allowance
HMP Altcourse14,758–16,773
HMP Bronzefield14,700–22,400
HMP Doncaster14,500–18,500
HMP Dovegate12,500–17,000The maximum salary after two years service is £17,000
HMP Forest Bank14,700–22,400
HMP Lowdham Grange12,000–17,100Salary after graduation £14,200
HMP Pare14,608–17,657
HMP Rye Hill14,758–15,893
HMP Wolds15,726–21,576

Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will (a) carry out an access audit of prisons and (b) develop a strategy for disabled prisoners. [184836]

Mr. Browne: The Prison Service is currently undertaking access audits across the prison estate to ensure that establishments are able to comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

The Prison Service treats all prisoners as individuals and prisons are required to address all individual prisoner needs. However, Prison Service Order 2855 adds to this general duty of care and sets out mandatory requirements including that every establishment must ensure that they have a local policy to prevent discrimination on the grounds of disability and that each establishment should nominate an appropriate member of staff (Disability Liaison Officer) to act as a contact on matters concerning disability.


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