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Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what mechanisms exist to ensure that information provided to HM Prison Service headquarters by individual prison establishments is accurate; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The following protocols ensure that appropriate quality assurances are maintained: Prison Service Order 7100 explains how key Prison Service performance measures are defined; clear approval and validation mechanisms are in place in the networked system for data collation; and further assurances are obtained by independent internal audit, to ensure that the data provided and the methodology for collation is correct.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of night sanitation arrangements at (a) HP Prison Long Lartin and (b) HM Prison Albany; what action he plans to take to improve such facilities; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: Full reviews of sanitation arrangements at both establishments have been carried out recently. At Long Lartin the views of staff and prisoners were sought. A number of possible changes have been identified to improve access procedures as well as in-cell facilities. Revised access procedures are shortly to be the subject of a pilot trial. At Albany as a result of the review procedures were introduced to maximise the opportunity for prisoners to use the sanitation facilities.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what mechanisms exist to ensure that governing governor staff at HM Prison establishments comply with the requirements of the Prevention of Corruption Acts of 1906 and 1916; what assessment he has made of the compliance with the provisions of that legislation in London establishments; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: A Professional Standards Strategy and the Professional Standards Unit were established in February 2003 to tackle staff corruption in the Prison Service. The strategy is contained in Prison Service Order 1215 Professional Standards: Preventing and Handling Staff Wrongdoing. It sets out a policy framework and practical advice for staff, including governing governors, for obtaining, developing and dealing with information and intelligence on corrupt staff. It includes provision for confidential reporting and establishes the requirement to provide specialist professional standards managers at prison, area and national levels. The London Area Professional Standards Managers support and visit London establishments to monitor compliance with the strategy.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what mechanisms are in place to ensure that personal relationships in the Prison Service do not affect the implementation of Prison Service (a) rules and (b) disciplinary investigations; what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of these mechanisms; when he last discussed the operation of these arrangements; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The requirements on managers to ensure that personal relationships do not have detrimental impact on the implementation of prison rules and policies are set out in the staff handbook. In addition, senior managers commissioning disciplinary investigations are required to ensure that the investigating officer does not have a personal interest in the outcome of the investigation.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the policy of HM Prison Service regarding members of selection boards declaring interests in respect of particular candidates. 
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the policy of HM Prison Service is on prison officers entering cells of inmates who are smokers; and if he will make a statement. 
Each prison develops its no smoking policy in line with current health and safety advice and taking into account the type of establishment it is, its population and its particular needs. Local arrangements also require staff to be protected from the effects of passive smoking. The Department of Health has set up a joint committee to consider
implementation in the Prison Service of proposed new legislation on smoking in the workplace.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of senior operational managers in HM Prison Service in the London area achieved an exceeded rating on their Staff Performance and Development record for the year 2005-06; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: Staff Performance and Development Records for 2005-06 are not due to be completed until 30 June 2006 and only two senior operational managers in London have so far had a marking recorded for 2005-06. One of these was an exceeded marking.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the incidence of bullying in the workplace in HM Prison Service; and if he will make a statement on the results derived from the most recent survey of Prison Service staff. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: 19 per cent. of staff who responded to the 2005 Prison Service staff survey said they had experienced bullying in their current prison or headquarters group during the 12 months prior to the survey. The results have been discussed by the Prison Service Management Board and disseminated to staff. Local plans are being drawn up to take follow-up action.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what protocol governs the relationship between HM Prison Service area managers and the regional offender managers in the commissioning of services within the structure of the National Offender Management Service; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how the phrase transitional facilities is defined within the National Offender Management Service; and if he will make a statement on the aims and objectives of the project. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: It is recognised that released prisoners often have difficulty in finding accommodation and employment and consequently run a greater risk of re-offending. The National Offender Management Service is exploring the development of prototype transitional facilities to manage offenders back into the community and minimise the risk of re-offending. This is part of the estates strategy and consultation is planned on the proposals.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what training is provided to governor grades at HM Prison Service establishments who authorise (a) release under the Criminal Justice
Acts, (b) temporary release and (c) release on home detention curfew; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The public sector Prison Service Training and Development Group provide courses on sentence calculation, which are attended by staff from all levels. They also provide a pocket guide to release on temporary licence, available in all establishments. In addition, there are a number of Prison Service Orders and Instructions available giving guidance to governors about release.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners convicted of either (a) theft and (b) possession of drugs have (i) attempted or (ii) committed suicide in UK prisons in each year since 1997. 
The number of apparent self-inflicted deaths involving prisoners in England and Wales sentenced for offences of theft and drugs possession (including with intent), 1997 to 2005, is shown in the following table.
|Number of apparent self-inflicted deaths involving prisoners sentenced|
| Note: NOMS employs the term self-inflicted death rather than suicide. This includes all those deaths where it appears the person may have acted specifically to take his/her own life and not only those that receive a suicide or open verdict at inquest.|
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the quality of resettlement work undertaken at HM Prison Albany; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: Following the publication of a report by Her Majestys Chief Inspector of Prisons in April 2006, an action plan has been produced to address the recommendations contained in that report. These include the revision of the resettlement policy at Albany, based on a needs analysis, and the introduction of a case management model to ensure that prisoners individual needs are adequately assessed and addressed.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he is taking to improve (a) reception and (b) first-night procedures at HM Prison Belmarsh; and if he will make a statement. 
A new core day is being developed at Belmarsh prison, as part of a general improvement programme, which is expected to provide significant
developments for prisoners in their first 12 hours in custody. This will include allowing prisoners more time out of cell and having the opportunity to see the doctor, the chaplaincy and listeners (Samaritans) and drug agencies. The purpose of the changes is to ensure that Belmarsh is able to effectively meet the immediate needs of the new prisoner.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the incidence of bullying at HM Prison Long Lartin; what action he is taking to reduce such bullying; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: To assist Long Lartin prison to target concerns raised by prisoners about violence in general, a violence reduction survey seeking prisoner views, including on bullying, has been completed. A report on the findings is expected to be available within the next month. The local violence reduction management team regularly meet to review areas of concern and consider improved management strategies including a review of bullying strategies.
Mr. Sutcliffe: The segregation unit at Long Lartin manages some of the most difficult prisoners in the high security estate. Prisoners will normally be located there while serving a punishment for disciplinary reasons, where an individual is being particularly disruptive, or for a prisoner's own protection. All prisoners located in the segregation unit are first subject to a health risk assessment.
The Long Lartin unit has seen a number of improvements over the past year, with a reduction of 30 per cent. in the number of prisoners located in the unit for a period greater than three months and the provision of safer cell facilities for those that may be at risk of self-harm.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the operation of the use of intermittent custody facilities at HM Prison Morton Hall; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The operation of intermittent custody at Morton Hall prison is part of a wider exercise to examine extension across male and female low security prisons. The Government are currently reviewing the learning from the pilots of intermittent custody.
There is adequate support in place for vulnerable women at Morton Hall, notably through the reception and induction procedure, health care assessments, the anti-bullying strategy and the suicide
and self-harm prevention policy. A specific local strategy is now being developed.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the evidential basis is for the Government's view that the introduction of contestability into the probation service will raise standards and reduce levels of re-offending. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The case for the introduction of contestability is strong. It is part of the Government's reform of public services and evidence from the National Audit Office supports our position. As demonstrated in the Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment, we expect performance to be driven up and resources to be released which can be reinvested in service provision.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his Answer of 17 May 2006, Official Report, column 1051W, on the Prolific and Priority Offender Strategy, what range of interventions are available to deal with youth offenders under the strategy in Peterborough; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: Young offenders who are targeted under the Prevent and Deter strand of the Prolific and other Priority Offender programme will receive interventions based on an assessment of their needs and the risks related to the likelihood of future offending.
In Peterborough, these young people are reviewed on monthly basis by a multi-agency group which includes the Prolific and Priority Offender co-ordinator, the Youth Offending Service, the police, Connexions, Social Services, community safety staff and education and housing representatives. The group focuses on ensuring that the young people concerned do receive the appropriate interventions or support from the appropriate agencies to reduce the risk of further offending. The nature of the interventions received or support given will vary from case to case, so as to be responsive to the individual needs of the young person concerned.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the Prime Minister's announcement on 15 May 2006, on public sector reform, what issues he has raised with the Prime Minister concerning this announcement. 
Mr. Byrne [holding answer 25 May 2006]: The Prime Minister wrote to the Home Secretary on the 15 May 2006 outlining his priorities for the Home Office and asked for a response in the form of an action plan by the end of June. The Home Secretary will respond to the Prime Minister's request within this timescale.
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