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Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria are used, expressed as level of risk (a) to the public and (b) of re-offending, for each level of Probation Service supervision for an offender upon release from prison; and if he will make a statement. [44382]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Probation Service assesses offenders using the Offender Assessment System (OASys). There are two main elements within OASys, an assessment of the risk of serious harm posed by an offender and an assessment of the likelihood of reconviction.

Risk of serious harm to the public or to particular groups of people is assessed as low, medium, high or very high. The assessment involves two variables: the likelihood of an event occurring and the potential impact of that event. Serious harm is defined as life threatening and/or traumatic from which recovery (psychological as well as physical) can be expected to be difficult or impossible.

An offender's likelihood of reconviction is expressed as a numerical score that is split into three bands: low, medium and high. This assessment is based on such factors as the offender's criminal history and whether for example he or she is a drug misuser, abuses alcohol or anti-social attitudes. The two elements of assessment come together in the allocation of offenders to a four level 'tiering' structure through which all offenders under Probation Service supervision are managed.

Those offenders who require the least probation input will be in Tier One, while those requiring the most will be in Tier Four. Tier Four includes those offenders released on licence who are assessed as posing a high or very high risk of serious harm and where it is likely that more than one agency should be involved in their risk management under the Multi- Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA).

The MAPPA provide the framework to co-ordinate and strengthen the risk management activity of all the relevant agencies involved. High and very high risk of serious harm offenders are managed in the community at MAPPA Levels Two or Three, dependant on the nature and imminence of their risk and the level of resource, or senior management involvement, needed from the relevant agencies.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the re-offending rate was for individuals serving (a) custodial sentences and (b) community service orders in (i) England, (ii) the Tees Valley and (iii) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency in 2004–05. [37013]

Fiona Mactaggart: Re-offending rates are not currently available on a regional basis. National re-offending rates are published in 'Adult re-offending: results from the 2002 cohort'. Home Office Statistical Bulletin 25/05. This is available on the Home Office's website (
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Security (Small Ports)

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on security at small ports; and how many intelligence-led checks were made at small ports during 2005. [44828]

Mr. McNulty: A small port is defined by the Immigration Service as

Port staffing levels in the United Kingdom are determined by a number of factors:

At smaller ports resources are deployed to meet arriving traffic and in addition powers under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 are used to clear passengers remotely following checks against warning indices. Passengers subject to control will be examined to ascertain whether they qualify for entry to the UK. All small ports are threat assessed for the degree of risk to the integrity of the control. Special multi-agency, and in some cases multi-national, exercises are run alongside ad-hoc intelligence checks at small ports.

Tax Credit Fraud

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been (a) prosecuted for and (b) convicted of tax credit fraud in each of the last five years. [38488]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

The information is contained in the table.
2005–06 (end December)190160

Young Offenders

Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what target he has set for increasing the number of young offenders in education, training or employment when leaving the supervision of youth offender teams. [44858]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Youth Justice Board and the Connexions Service have jointly set youth offending teams a target of ensuring that 90 percent. of the young people they supervise are in full-time education, training or employment. Currently, 75 percent. of young people aged 10 and 17 who are supervised by youth offending teams are in full-time education, training or employment.
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Access to Justice

John Mann: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of systems of access to justice for (a) those with literacy problems and (b) other vulnerable groups. [40695]

Ms Harman: In 2005 my Department made an assessment of the additional support that might be helpful to vulnerable victims and witnesses, including those with communication difficulties, in the criminal justice process. An interdepartmental examination of early advice provision is also examining ways in which access to independent early legal advice can be improved for vulnerable groups. In addition my Department is testing the use of television as a means of delivering education and information for potential users of the Justice System, with a particular focus on vulnerable and socially excluded witnesses.

Her Majesty's Courts Service's victims and witnesses strategy aims to improve the court experience of victims and witnesses, including vulnerable ones. Examples of help given to vulnerable witnesses are: instructions to court ushers to offer witnesses the option of repeating the oath after the usher rather than reading it, thus assisting those with literacy problems; videolink facilities to enable housebound witnesses to give evidence from home and children to give evidence separate from the parties and in a less intimidating environment; and providing an interpreter automatically when a party has a hearing impediment and for those whose first language is not English in cases of committal, domestic violence and where children are involved, and in other cases if this is the only way in which a party can give evidence.

The Legal Service Commission, through the Community Legal Services Strategy, is looking at ways of targeting expenditure more on those who need it most, particularly the socially excluded. Community Legal Services Direct provides free legal advice and information which is available in different languages and formats and is particularly useful to people who may have problems accessing traditional services. People with literacy problems can call a national telephone service to find information about their nearest solicitor, obtain information leaflets in audio formats, and access a website that is speech-enabled.

Clinical Negligence

Mr. Baron: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to her answer of 17 January 2006, Official Report, column 1211W, on clinical negligence, how much the (a) 10 barristers and (b) 10 solicitors who received the highest legal aid fees for clinical negligence work in the last year earned; and, for each barrister and solicitor, in what proportion of cases where proceedings are complete a substantive benefit to the client was reported. [45761]

Bridget Prentice: The information requested is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
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