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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 20 July 2005


Parliamentary Question

Lynne Jones: To ask the Solicitor-General what the (a) formal job titles and (b) grades were of the officials involved in drafting the parliamentary answer to Baroness Ramsey (HL2172); and from which Department each came. [13558]

The Solicitor-General: I refer the hon. Member to the replies given by the Attorney General on 28 February 2005, Official Report, column WA1 and 14 March 2005, Official Report, column WA108. All the officials concerned were members of the senior civil service or, in the case of the FCO, Senior Management Structure.

Serious Fraud Trials

Kate Hoey: To ask the Solicitor-General what the reasons are for deciding that serious fraud trials should not be decided by jury. [12496]

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The Solicitor-General: The Government's decision to implement section 43 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 will give effect to recommendations made nearly 20 years ago by Lord Roskill's Fraud Trials Committee, and more recently by Sir Robin Auld in his Review of the Criminal Courts", that the most serious and complex fraud cases should be heard without a jury. The justification for the change is that the efforts made by the prosecution and the court to keep such cases to a manageable length mean that sometimes the defendant cannot be tried for charges that fully expose the extent of the criminality alleged. Moreover, notwithstanding these efforts, some trials are inordinately long and impose an unreasonable burden on juries, whose members ask to be excused and sometimes as a result the jury becomes unrepresentative. In other cases the number of jurors can fall worryingly low because jurors cannot continue to serve for a prolonged period.

Attorney-General (Publications)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Solicitor-General if he will list the publications issued by the Attorney-General's office in each of the last seven years; and what the (a) circulation, (b) cost and (c) purpose of each was. [10579]

The Solicitor-General: The Law Officers' Departments each publish a number of documents within a year. Detailed information for each publication is not available without incurring disproportionate cost. But the following information can be provided in respect of the costs of departmental report and departmental annual reports and business plans.
Department and publication1997–981998–991999–20002000–012001–022002–032003–04
Law Officers' Departments departmental report(1)4,3274,4856,8497,6186,1975,160
Crown Prosecution Service
Annual report22,69522,38718,60024,34034,00035,74129,903
Business plann/an/an/an/an/a13,53615,898
Serious Fraud Office
Annual report22,23521,14020,83325,09332,97331,24341,016
Resource accountsn/an/an/a2,2692,5642,5642,737
Treasury Solicitor's Department
Annual report and accounts11,64711,7469,5059,91017,3725,58210,038
Annual resource accountsn/an/an/a2,4132,5642,5642,591

n/a = not available
(1) Published by the Crown Prosecution Service on behalf of the Law Officers' Departments

The Law Officers' Departments departmental report is a requirement of HM Treasury, explaining departmental expenditure plans and performance. It covers all the Law Officers' Departments and is laid in the Library of the House. The report is circulated throughout the Law Officers' Departments, to HM Treasury and is available to CJS partners and other Government Departments on request. From time to time, the Attorney-General's office also publishes an Attorney-General's review and individual reports on specific areas of work.

The Director of Public Prosecutions is required to report annually to the Attorney-General under section 9 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985. The business plan describes key business initiatives and how the CPS plans to deliver its performance targets. The annual report is laid in the Library of the House. Both documents are circulated throughout the CPS headquarters and its 42 areas in England and Wales, to Criminal Justice System partners and other Government Departments.

HM Crown Prosecution Service was established as an independent statutory body on 1 October 2000. It is required to publish its Chief Inspector's annual report under section 2(2) of the Crown Prosecution Services Act 2002. A copy is laid in the Library of the House. The annual report and business plan are available on HMCPSI's website. HMCPSI also publishes inspection reports which are its core business and distributed to the Law Officers, senior managers in the CPS, to the staff of the business units inspected and those interviewed, as well as media and academics who have requested copies. Area reports are also sent to Members of Parliament
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whose constituents are served by the inspected area. HMCPSI also published a Race Equality Scheme (April 2002) and a Freedom of Information Scheme (July 2003).

The Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office was established in April 2005 and has to date made no publications. For its predecessor, the Customs and Excise Prosecutions Office, details appropriate to annual reports and business plans were in included in the relevant documents for HM Customs and Excise.

The Serious Fraud Office annual report and resource accounts are also a statutory publications, the former designed to inform readers about the work of the office.

The Treasury Solicitor's Department is an agency. As such, its annual report includes its accounts, although its resource accounts have also been published separately since 2000–01. The annual report provides a description of the Treasury Solicitor's business, its aims and objectives and business strategy with a review of performance over the past year and of its finances and accounts. The report is laid in the Library of the House. Copies are provided to the Law Officers, to other Law Officers' Departments, internally to staff and, on request, to media and clients. The business plan is distributed electronically internally. Both annual report and business plan are now available on the website. The Treasury Solicitor's Department has also published the Government Legal Service Journal and Government Legal Service Recruitment Brochure for circulation to universities and other educational establishments or potential applicants, to raise the profile and attract recruits to the Government Legal Service.

Work-related Stress

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Solicitor-General how many cases of work-related stress have been reported in the Law Offices in each of the last three years; how much compensation was paid to employees in each year; how many work days were lost due to work-related stress in each year; at what cost; what procedures have been put in place to reduce work-related stress; at what cost; and if he will make a statement. [7876]

The Solicitor-General: This answer covers those Departments for which I am accountable—the Crown Prosecution Service CPS, the Treasury Solicitor's Department (TSol), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO) and EM CPS Inspectorate (HMCPSI).


The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not hold records for cases of work-related stress.

There have been two cases in the last three financial years (2002–03 to 2004–05) in which staff have made a claim against the CPS for injury due to work-related stress. One claim was withdrawn, and the Service reached an out of court settlement for £10,000 without acceptance of liability in the remaining case.

The total number of days lost and the estimated cost is shown in the following table for the two cases in which work-related stress" was alleged.
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Days lostCost (£)

The CPS provides Counselling and Support services for all its staff. The cost of this over the last three years was £550,054. Over the past year, extra support has been provided to those whose work entails the handling of sensitive and difficult casework.

Financial yearNumber of cases reportedWork days lost

No compensation was paid in respect of cases of work related stress. Salaries continued to be paid during each period of absence.

The cost to the SFO of the lost work days was £6,166.

The Serious Fraud Office is committed to meeting targets for reducing the number of working days lost due to sickness absence. The SFO's strategy is based upon the continuing need to support staff as well as to generally help line managers to take a proactive role in what can be a sensitive area. The strategy results in no additional cost to the office.


While The Treasury Solicitor's Department monitors all sick absence, it does not have a specific system in place for reporting and monitoring cases of work-related stress.

The Department subscribes to a free and confidential telephone helpline service, offering support and information on a wide range of issues, including stress. The Welfare Officer is available to all staff during the working day and face-to-face surgeries are held every six weeks. All staff may apply to alter their standard working patterns under the flexible working arrangements scheme. The only direct cost is that for the telephone helpline service at £6,000 per annum.


HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate's (HMCPSI) records show no days having been lost due to cases of work-related stress in any of the last three years. No cost is therefore associated with days lost or compensation paid.

Workload is monitored and managed appropriately by line managers. Staff attendance is also monitored and staff are able to tailor working arrangements to suit personal circumstances by discussion with line managers, in accordance with our policies on leave and attendance as set out in the Staff Handbook.

HMCPSI are committed to providing a healthy and secure environment for its staff. There is a Health and Safety Policy, that covers such issues. Forums for staff to raise any such concerns include Whitley council (where health and safety is a standing agenda item), the
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HMCPSI Sounding Board and group meetings. To date no concerns regarding work-related stress have been raised.


RCPO is a new Department created on 18 April 2005 when staff transferred from HM Customs and Excise and the Inland Revenue. Systems operating in the predecessor Departments do not separately record work-related stress.

The Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office has policies and procedures in place to address the long hours culture, performance management, personal development and attendance management. It also has anti-bullying policies and deploys phased return to work to aid the rehabilitation of staff from long-term sick absence. A welfare service is provided for staff.

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