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Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether probation boards have a statutory duty to enter into service level agreements with regional offender managers under the National Offender Management Service arrangements. 
Fiona Mactaggart: Regional Offender Managers (ROMs) will be commissioning services from prison and probation areas through Service Level Agreements (SLAs) from 1 April 2006. The current legislative framework which sets out the statutory duties of probation boards remains in place, and is unchanged by the creation of SLAs. However, the SLAs are the key mechanism for introducing commissioning, and signed SLAs will demonstrate the strength of the relationships. Legal authority is derived from the fact that ROMs are Crown servants exercising the powers of the Secretary of State.
David T.C. Davies:
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been sentenced to life imprisonment since 1992; and of these
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how many served (a) less than five years, (b) between five and 10 years, (c) between 10 and 15 years and (d) between 15 and 20 years before being released on licence. 
|Time served by prisoner when released on licence|
|Year sentenced||Number of prisoners received under life sentences(48)||Less than five years||Five and less than 10 years||10 and less than 15 years|
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people held in detention who claimed to be victims of torture have had their case referred to his Department's Management of Detained Cases Unit in the last 12 months; what decisions were made in their cases; how many have not yet had a decision on their case; what the (a) average and (b) longest time is for those still awaiting a decision; what the (i) average and (ii) longest times were from referral to decision in those cases where a decision has been made; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: Rule 35 (3) of the Detention Centre Rules 2001 (SI 238 2001) requires medical practitioners to report to the manager of Immigration Service Removal Centres any cases where there is concern that an individual may have been the victim of torture. It is sufficient for a detainee to claim torture for rule 35(3) to be triggered. Such information may not always be referred to the Management of Detained Cases Unit (MODCU) given that MODCU take responsibility for detained cases after the 28th day of detention. MODCU do, however, have responsibility for managing all cases relating to the detention of families with children from the outset. Caseworkers are required to consider what action may be necessary in the light of such information. Records of the number of cases referred under rule 35(3) and details of what happened in those cases is not held centrally and could only be obtained through examination of individual files at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will provide the estimated costs, disaggregated from the overall increase in passport costs, of (a) the Authentication by Interview scheme, (b) the acquisition of the 69 potential sites for new passport offices, (c) the Personal Identification Project and (d) the setting up of systems to capture and record fingerprints in passports. 
These costs have been included in the estimated costs for the first year of AbI operation which have been aggregated within the total estimated unit cost of 57.93p for 200607 published in the UKPS Corporate Plan.
The Personal Identification Project (PIP) is in pilot operation at present and the estimated costs will depend on the outcome of the pilot and full roll out across the UKPS offices. The main impact of PIP is in staffing costs; these are part of the overall UKPS passport examiner costs and PIP is to be fully integrated into normal business processes. The predicted cost impacts are also built into the above 200607 unit cost.
The cost estimates for second generation biometric passports incorporating fingerprints will partly depend on the timing of their introduction. While our current assumption is that they will be issued prior to the introduction of ID cards, no final decision has been made on the timing as this depends on the ID Cards Bill, implementation timetable of the EU Passport Regulation and the Government's challenge to its scope. Publishing at this stage would put at risk the ability to secure value for money in negotiations with potential suppliers so these costs are commercial in confidence.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many UK passports were issued in Northern Ireland in 2005; and how many checks were made of the authenticity of those giving counter signatures in that year. 
The number of passport applications and counter signature verification checks processed by the United Kingdom Passport Service at the Belfast office are as follows:
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|Total applications processed by Belfast office||308,107|
|Applications with counter signatures(48)||94,200|
Andy Burnham: British Passport holders may surrender their existing passport for renewal at any time they choose. The full fee must be paid and no refund can be given in respect of unexpired validity in the old passport. The UK Passport Service will add up to 9 months of unexpired validity from the old passport to the new one.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what impact he expects identity tracking of prison visitors to have on (a) drug trafficking and (b) the supply of contraband in prisons; and if he will make a statement. 
Fiona Mactaggart: A wide range of measures are already in place to deal with visitors involved in drug trafficking and the supply of contraband. Around 25 prisons have introduced biometrics of visitors with a further 20 planned. The tracking of visitors using biometric technology will provide establishments with greater assurance as to the identity of visitors and assist in enforcing the measures imposed on those visitors found to have been smuggling drugs and contraband.
There is no current system for sending 'intervention teams' into prisons to improve performance. As the National Offender Management Service develops its commissioning arrangements, it will continue to look primarily to line managementwhether in the public sector Prison Service or the contracted sectorto remedy under-performance, reinforcing or replacing prison managers as necessary.
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Under service level agreements and contracts the Regional Offender Managers may require providers to produce a specific recovery plan to address particular difficulties.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of HM Chief Inspector of Prisons' conclusions that some centrally set prison standards and targets were unnecessary and distracting; what action he is taking to address those concerns; if he will list the centrally set prison standards and targets to which the Chief Inspector refers; and if he will make a statement. 
Fiona Mactaggart: The Chief Inspector of Prisons, Anne Owers CBE, does not recognise the words apparently attributed to her, but would not hesitate to criticise standards or targets as inappropriate where this is merited. Information on the Prison Inspectorate's independent inspection criteria, 'Expectations', may be found on the Inspectorate's website at:
Prison standards and targets are a key part of processes for improving performance. The current suite of Prison Service Performance Standards provides a vital qualitative dimension to the performance management framework for prisons. Performance targets provide essential quantitative feedback. They ensure that operational managers are clear on what is expected of them and that they have information available that enables them to assess performance in establishments and identify the scope for further improvement. Information on Prison Service Standards and targets may be found on the Prison Service website at:
The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) is currently reviewing the performance management framework for prisons as commissioning relationships develop. The aim is a NOMS performance management system that enables effective, transparent monitoring and ensures clear lines of accountability are in place at every level of the organisation.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of the prison population at each prison was detained two to a cell designed for one in each of the last five years. 
Fiona Mactaggart: The following table shows the proportion of the population detained two to a cell designed for one in each prison establishment in England and Wales for the last five full financial years.
|East Sutton Park||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00|
|Guys Marsh||11.80||12.50||14.10||12.70||11 .70|
|North Sea Camp||0.00||0.00||0.00||n/a||0.00|
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many full-time equivalent prison officer vacancies there have been (a) at each
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prison and (b) in aggregate as measured against the operational staffing requirement in each year since 1997. 
The following table gives information on staff vacancies against operational staffing requirement at 31 March 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 for each public sector prison establishment and an aggregate shortfall, including staffing availability contributed by officers working contracted supplementary hours (CSH).
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Information prior to 2001 is not available and the contribution of CSH to staffing availability was not collated for 2001, 2002 and 2003. Therefore the stated shortfalls for these years show a higher shortfall than was the case. Data is not collated centrally on contracted prisons.
|Establishment||31 March 2001||31 March 2002||31 March 2003||31 March 2004||31 March 2005|
|East Sutton Park||||1|||||||
|North Sea Camp||5||5||4||1||2|
|Equivalent full-time equivalent staff|
|Contribution of contract supplementary||(49)||(49)||(49)||313||413|
|Aggregate shortfall including contract supplementary hours||169||804||804||440||264|
|As percentage of operational staffing requirement||0.7||3.4||3.4||1.8||1.1|
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