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8 Feb 2005 : Column 1427W—continued


Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when Crown immunity was removed from HM Prison Service. [208802]

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Paul Goggins: Crown immunity has not been removed from Her Majesty's Prison Service. The service's aim is to comply with all statutory legislation taking into account overriding security needs and potential impact.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many vacancies for staff in prison establishments there were on the latest date for which figures are available; how many staff are working out their notice period; how many staff in prison establishments are expected to retire before 1 April 2005; and how many staff he estimates are required to fill all posts at prison establishments. [206499]

Paul Goggins: Record numbers of prison officers have been recruited to the public sector Prison Service during 2003 and 2004. 2,420 officers were recruited in 2003 (an increase of 50.5 per cent. on 2002), and 1,983 officers were recruited in 2004. At 31 December 2004 23,822 operational staff (prison officers, senior officers and principal officers) were employed at prison establishments against an operational staffing requirement of 24,682. In addition, the equivalent of 473 officers were available for operational duty through the contract supplementary hours scheme. Overall, operational staffing availability was therefore just 1.6 per cent. below the operational staffing requirement, which the Director General considers to be an acceptable operating margin.

For all grades of staff working in prison establishments (excluding Headquarters) there were 1,660 vacancies at 31 December 2004. This figure represents a snapshot and does not take into account new staff still in the recruitment process. A total of 46,533 staff (covering all grades) would need to have been employed in public sector prison establishments to fill all identified posts at 31 December 2004. Information on the number of staff working out their notice is not recorded centrally and could only be collected at disproportionate cost. Between 1 January 2005 and 1 April 2005, 72 staff are expected to retire. Staffing levels of contracted prisons are considered commercial in confidence and are therefore not available.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what grounds he will not publish the case he is making to the Treasury to close smaller prisons and build larger prisons. [201027]

Paul Goggins: We are preparing a detailed investment case to explore further with the Treasury, policy development and internal discussions on this programme are ongoing and involve commercially sensitive information.

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the cost is of providing satellite television facilities to prisoners in Leicester prison; [211744]

(2) which prisons in the UK provide satellite television facilities for prisoners. [211746]

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Paul Goggins [holding answer 3 February 2005]: Sky television is available to prisoners in association areas. The package costs £947.05 a month and is funded from the General Purposes fund which is financed primarily by contributions from members of the public and any profits from prisoner related activities such as the prison shop.

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the policy of the Prison Service is on faith-based offending behaviour initiatives; what the contractual arrangements at Dartmoor are under which an outside organisation is providing services of this kind; and how much in public funds (a) was spent in financial year 2003–04 and (b) is budgeted for (i)2004–05 and (ii) 2005–06 in connection with such externally sourced faith-based initiatives. [213089]

Paul Goggins: All Offending Behaviour Initiatives within the Prison Service are subject to an evidence-based approach to tackling offending behaviour and must conform to the 'What Works' principles to reduce re-offending.

A Service Level Agreement has been drawn up between the governor of HMP Dartmoor and the Inner Change Freedom Initiative (IFI) for the IFI project, a religious intervention aimed at transforming prisoners' behaviour, building on a foundation that rests upon biblical principles. This is currently being reviewed according to procedures set out in PSO 4350—Effective Regimes Interventions.

Comprehensive details of the expenditure incurred by the Prison Service in supporting faith-based offending behaviour courses are not held centrally and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Probation Service

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of how the proposed purchaser/provider split for the probation service in England and Wales will affect the key objective of managing offenders efficiently, effectively and seamlessly. [205710]

Paul Goggins: The rationale for a purchaser provider split is contained in Lord Carter's review of correctional services. This split will enable the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) to drive up the quality of work with offenders. Individual offender managers will be the users of services commissioned by the national offender manager (NOM) or ROMs and accountable for the effective implementation of sentence plans.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether (a) multi-agency public protection work, (b) drug treatment and testing supervision hostels and (c) probation work in prisons under the purchaser/provider model for the probation service in England and Wales will be part of the (i)offender management arm and (ii) interventions arm; and if he will make a statement. [205712]

Paul Goggins: Multi-agency public protection work, residential drug treatment and probation work in prisons all involve elements both of interventions and offender management. The national offender manager and the director general of the national probation
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service jointly issued guidance to probation boards in January 2005 on how they should implement offender management for community orders and licence cases. In implementing this model boards will distinguish offender management from intervention functions. Working closely in the course of 2005–06 they will develop the separation further (with the regional offender managers (ROMs)) to ensure a nationally consistent approach.

Research and Development

Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of opportunities for research or consulting disseminated by the Department resulted in (a) research reports and (b) physical deliverables in each year since 2001–02. [207006]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Home Office conducts a range of social and physical science research and consulting activity to inform the development of the evidence base and support delivery.

Social science

Home Office Research, Development and Statistics (RDS) invite opportunities on commercial tenders for social research contracts. These contracts lead to the production of a final report.

Information on the percentage of tenders that result in publication of the final report is not available, but results are normally published on successful conclusion of the work. Some commercial tenders will result in more than one publication and some publications incorporate more than one external project as well as internal projects. In addition, some of the more recent projects are ongoing and so have not yet reached publication stage.

Physical science research

100 per cent. of work contracted out will meet its specification due to the expertise in setting the specification and monitoring progress of the work contracted out.

The figures on the percentage of funding on contracted out work for earlier years are not readily available, but all of this work resulted in a physical deliverable or report.

Consultancy contracts

In 2001–02 the Home Office awarded 145 management consultancy contracts of which 87 were competitively tendered and 58 were single tenders. This does not include professional services such as accountancy, legal services, scientific research and other professional services procured by the Home Office during 2001–02.

Following the National Audit Office (NAO) report Purchasing Professional Services" the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) issued guidance that re-defined consultancy to include the purchasing of all professional services and not just management consultancy.
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