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17 Nov 2005 : Column 1434W—continued


Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to enable prisoners to continue with educational courses started in prison after their release. [16963]

Fiona Mactaggart: In August 2005, the Learning and Skills Council took responsibility in three development regions (the North West, North East and South West) for planning and funding an integrated learning and skills service for offenders in custody and the community, linking it much more explicitly with mainstream provision for post-16 learners. The remaining six regions in England will follow in August 2006.

The key features of the new service are described in The Offenders Learning Journey ( which specifies an early, intense focus on assessing learning needs followed by seamless arrangements for delivering those requirements to offenders across prisons and probation and on into mainstream learning and skills provision.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken to provide victim support-based treatment for prison inmates who were victims of sexual abuse prior to incarceration. [21724]

Fiona Mactaggart: A number of voluntary and self-help groups offer support to both female and male offenders who are survivors of sexual abuse, including interventions by rape crisis centres, counselling services and other health professionals. Services are contracted by prisons according to local circumstances.

The Prison Service has issued operational advice and good practice guidelines entitled Supporting Women in Prison who have been Abused, Raped or who have experienced Domestic Violence (June 2005)." A directory of services for women who have experienced abuse as children or adults has also been published recently.

The Service has also consulted a number of relevant non-statutory agencies, as well as undertaking an extensive literature review on the impact of
17 Nov 2005 : Column 1435W
victimisation and its links with crime by women. Offending behaviour programmes currently being piloted with women are taking account of the role of childhood maltreatment in the causes of offending and substance use for women.

Mr. Pelling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many assaults have taken place on prison officers (a) in total, (b) in the Prison Service and (c) within private prisons in each of the last five years. [25446]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Prison Service does not routinely collect separate data on assaults on prison officers. However, the following table shows the number of serious assaults on all members of staff for the last five full financial years and for the first six months of 2005–06. The data include serious assaults on both prison officers and staff in civilian roles.
Prison system totalHM Prison ServiceContracted prisonsContractor escorts

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the impact of overcrowding on the operation of Springhill Prison; [25861]

(2) what steps his Department is taking to reduce overcrowding in Springhill Prison. [25862]

Fiona Mactaggart: No prisoners are held in crowded conditions at HMP Springhill.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken to reduce the number of suicides in prisons. [26465]

17 Nov 2005 : Column 1436W

Fiona Mactaggart: Prisoner suicide prevention operates by embedding suicide prevention through every area of prison life-including detoxification, decency, health care, staff training, and the built environment. The key intervention currently being introduced across public and private prisons is the new care-planning system for at-risk prisoners: ACCT (Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork). ACCT aims to improve the quality of care by introducing flexible care understanding at-risk prisoners.

Probation Service

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people (a) joined and (b) left the Probation Service in England and Wales during (i) 2003–04 and (ii) 2004–05, broken down by grade. [23829]

Fiona Mactaggart: Information is not available for the full period requested. Data collected prior to 1 April 2003 is unreliable, and is not directly comparable with the more accurate figures collected since that time. The figures presented in the table show full-time equivalent (FTE) figures at the close of each quarter from 1 April 2003 to 30 June 2005.

The starters and leavers data in the table does not capture movements/promotions between grades. For example, the vast majority of new probation officers are trainee probation officers who are appointed at the successful completion of their training. Because these trainees are already employed by the National Probation Service (NPS) at the time of their appointment to a probation officer post, this is not recorded as a 'new start' and does not appear in the starters figures.

This gives the appearance that the number of leavers in the probation officer category continuously exceeds the number of starters. This is not an accurate representation, as probation officer numbers continue to grow in the NPS. The comparison of starters and leavers figures (in order to gauge net growth/loss in staff numbers) is only representative when comparing the overall total figures in each period.
Quarter 1
Quarter 2
Quarter 3
Quarter 4
Senior Probation Officer4.0020.002.0020.001.5016.501.4018.50
Senior Practitioner0.
Probation Officer33.9078.2029.10147.0034.6084.1011.1095.70
Trainee Probation Officer2.0011.00211.0015.00518.0017.80135.0019.00
Probation Services Officer239.00111.30346.10133.80229.16146.01131.53113.13
Other Operational Staff30.4056.2030.7035.2049.3018.3048.7423.60
Deputy Chief Officers/Director1.
AGO and Equivalent1.002.004.709.005.005.675.006.20
Area/District Manager2.
Section or Function Head4.005.0019.0010.008.5010.007.0016.00
Support Staff-Admin187.8087.20176.60109.70244.23113.57164.99117.83
Support Staff Other44.1013.0030.4039.4038.9126.3021.5416.11
Other Specialist Worker7.406.6015.0025.0010.606.007.0013.60

Quarter 1
Quarter 2
Quarter 3
Quarter 4
Senior Probation Officer4.0022.600.
Senior Practitioner1.002.400.
Probation Officer14.5084.400.
Trainee Probation Officer2.0016.004.0011.908.008.078.3113.38
Probation Services Officer137.44138.03171.83158.52165.18110.98193.51103.77
Other Operational Staff13.6519.459.3013.329.003.6010.785.89
Deputy Chief Officers/Director0.000.001.6024.903.0015.176.0516.10
AGO and Equivalent0.
Area/District Manager2.001.504.20106.9625.6693.6823.6484.30
Section or Function Head5.509.5838.0036.00430.0024.0096.009.00
Support Staff-Admin104.61142.66208.18159.83255.53132.86296.81106.79
Support Staff Other27.0521.982.
Other Specialist Worker10.688.0021.2520.8021.4417.0336.1519.10

17 Nov 2005 : Column 1437W

Quarter 1
Senior Probation Officer2.001.27
Senior Practitioner0.504.00
Probation Officer1.000.00
Trainee Probation Officer9.007.30
Probation Services Officer177.21109.30
Other Operational Staff13.5011.30
Deputy Chief Officers/Director5.9015.00
AGO and Equivalent2.0010.20
Area/District Manager17.9099.88
Section or Function Head1.0013.00
Support Staff-Admin236.89124.70
Support Staff Other0.000.60
Other Specialist Worker22.5324.41

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