Previous Section Index Home Page

30 Oct 2006 : Column 120W—continued


Departmental Vacancies

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what proportion of vacancies in her Department in the last 12 months required candidates to have at least a grade C in (a) English and (b) mathematics GCSE. [96747]

Ms Harman: The majority of vacancies within the Department for Constitutional Affairs require either GCSE's (including English Language) at Grade C and
30 Oct 2006 : Column 121W
above or equivalent or relevant administrative experience. We would incur disproportionate costs on providing proportionate figures on vacancies that have required a grade C in (a) English and (b) Maths.

For posts within the senior civil service the requirement is professional qualifications and/or a proven track record of skills and experience.

Ineffective Trials

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many ineffective trials were recorded in (a) magistrates courts and (b) Crown courts in Cambridgeshire in each quarter since June 2001; and if she will make a statement. [97185]

Ms Harman: The number of ineffective trials recorded in the magistrates courts for each quarter since June 2001 are as follows:

Cambridgeshire England and Wales

July-September 2001

n/a

n/a

October-December 2001

n/a

n/a

January-March 2002

n/a

n/a

April-June 2002

92

12,544

July-September 2002

91

12,577

October-December 2002

99

12,685

January-March 2003

64

13,226

April-June 2003

80

12,340

July-September 2003

93

13,308

October-December 2003

69

13,502

January-March 2004

81

13,637

April -June 2004

54

12,831

July-September 2004

51

12,431

October-December 2004

58

11,475

January-March 2005

67

10,493

April -June 2005

72

10,083

July-September 2005

72

9,775

October-December 2005

57

9,283

January-March 2006

62

9,922

April-June 2006

59

8,247


Ineffective trial data prior to June 2002 were not collected in the magistrates courts. In Cambridgeshire based on the aforementioned figures, performance since quarter ending June 2002 has improved by 35.8 per cent.

The number of ineffective trials recorded in the Crown courts for each quarter since June 2001 are as follows:


30 Oct 2006 : Column 122W
Cambridgeshire England and Wales

July-September 2001

27

3,239

October-December 2001

31

3,169

January-March 2002

32

3,056

April-June 2002

24

3,131

July-September 2002

45

3,290

October-December 2002

46

3,166

January-March 2003

28

3,227

April-June 2003

20

2,910

July-September 2003

20

2,871

October-December 2003

20

2,358

January-March 2004

19

2,431

April-June 2004

4

1,912

July-September 2004

13

1,905

October-December 2004

14

1,644

January-March 2005

16

1,514

April-June 2005

18

1,330

July-September 2005

14

1,266

October-December 2005

13

1,199

January-March 2006

17

1,222

April-June 2006

14

1,069


Cambridgeshire performance based on the aforementioned figures has improved since quarter ending September 2001 by 48.1 per cent.

Reducing the ineffective trial rate is a key supporting indicator in ensuring that more offences are brought to justice and provides evidence of our drive to improve the quality of service to victims and witnesses. Nationally, the CJS has reduced the ineffective rate in the magistrates court by 34.3 per cent. and in the Crown court by 67 per cent. Over the last four years this has cut waste in the CJS by £84 million.

Information Technology

Dr. Cable: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs which information technology projects are being undertaken by (a) her Department and (b) its agencies; what the (i) start date, (ii) original planned completion date, (iii) expected completion date, (iv) originally planned costs and (v) estimated costs are of each; and if she will make a statement. [95871]

Vera Baird: In common with any large organisation, IT based change projects in my Department range in scale from the very small, involving just a small number of new PCs, to those supporting major strategic business developments for the Department. For the strategic group, there have been three change programmes covering the courts and headquarters. These areas are covered by separate contracts, details of which are as follows:

Total IT spend under these contracts over the last five years is as follows:

£ million

2001-02

73.8

2002-03

110.24

2003-04

149.6

2004-05

121.38

2005-06

158.51



30 Oct 2006 : Column 123W

In addition, the Transition project was launched on 26 October 2006 to manage the transfer of responsibility for the IT Services provided under the LOCCS, ARAMIS and LIBRA contracts to new suppliers. Project plans are currently being developed so I am unable to provide you with any information to your detailed questions.

International GCSE

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether her Department recognises the International GCSEs as an acceptable substitute for a GCSEs for the purposes of recruitment. [96730]

Ms Harman: My Department recognises international GCSEs as an acceptable substitute for GCSEs for the purposes of recruitment.

Legal Aid

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to the answer of 20 October 2006, Official Report, column 1450W, on legal aid, how many prisoners at HMP Peterborough giving their permanent address as at the prison are in receipt of legal aid; what the cost of such funding is to the public purse; and if she will make a statement. [97744]

Ms Harman: 51 prisoners giving their permanent address as HMP Peterborough received civil legal aid in the 12 months to 30 September 2006.

The cost of legal aid for the 35 prisoners advised by solicitors was £29,187.80. The cost of legal aid for the 16 prisoners who were advised by a not-for-profit agency cannot be given as the work was contained within a larger contract with these agencies and not accounted for separately.

Magistrates

Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what plans she has to change the account taken of age in the appointment of magistrates; and what assessment she has made of the implications of the Human Rights Act 2000 for this system. [96177]

Ms Harman: There are no plans to change the account taken of age in the appointment of magistrates. The minimum age for a candidate to be considered for appointment by the Lord Chancellor is 18 years and magistrates are required to retire from the bench at 70 years of age by virtue of Section 13 of The Courts Act 2003. The suitability of all eligible candidates is assessed according to the six key qualities as set out in the Lord Chancellor’s directions. The Human Rights Act 2000 has no direct bearing on this system.

Magistrates Courts

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs which magistrates courts have (a) closed and (b) opened in each of the last 20 years. [96936]


30 Oct 2006 : Column 124W

Ms Harman: Up until 1 April 2005 magistrates courts were the responsibility of locally managed Magistrates Courts Committees who were statutorily independent. They were not required by statute to inform the Department of any magistrates courts closures that were not subject to an appeal under Section 56 (3) of the Justices of the Peace Act 1997 (now repealed).

The following tables detail the magistrates court closures and openings that the Department has been notified of since 1995.


30 Oct 2006 : Column 125W

30 Oct 2006 : Column 126W

30 Oct 2006 : Column 127W
(a) Magistrates courts closed since 1995
Courthouse closed

1995

Nottingham (Guildhall)

Nottingham (Sand Field House)

Bala

Hunstanton

Pembroke

Tywn

Whitminster

1996

Bromley (South Street)

Mansfield (Commercial Street)

Hornsea

Howden

Market Weighton

Old Street

Halstead

Biddulph

Kidsgrove

Cheadle

Tonbridge

Amlwch

Colwyn Bay

Bedale

Easingwold

East Dereham

Bleanau Festiniog

Ingleton

Leyburn

Llangollen

Thirsk

1997

Ellesmere Port

Hampstead

Marylebone

Otley

Seaham

Bromsgrove

Ledbury

Hebburn

South Shields (Kepple Street)

Chippenham (Market Place)

Ashton Under Lyne (Manchester Road)

Duckinsfield

Thorne

Pontardawe

Braintree

Stokeley

Clacton on Sea

Bargoed

Monmouth

Pontlttyn

Pontypool

1998

Malton

Marlborough Street

Bishop's Stortford

Hatfield

Hitchin

Market Rasen

Chertsey

Farnham

Oxted

Lutterworth

Ripon

Barnard Castle

Clerkenwell

Sheerness

West Malling

Lytham

Diss

Corwen

Felixstowe

Haverhill

Saxmundam

Stowmarket

Newmarket

March

Saffron Walden

1999

Christchurch

Abingdon

Henley on Thames

Windsor

Morley

Pudsey

Stow on the Wold

2000

Ampthill

Biggleswade

Dunstable

Leighton Buzzard

Lichfield

Keighley

Keswick

Windermere

Wigton

Appleby

Gravesend

Wootton Bassett

Abergele

2001

Alfreton

Ashbourne

Bakewell

Matlock

Leigh

Middleton

Leek

Worcester

Warrington Patten Hall

Macclesfield Park Green

Bideford

Exmouth

Kingsbridge

South Molton

Teignmouth

Tavistock

Axminster

Tiverton

Newquay

Southampton (Commercial Road)

Womborne

Gillingham

Bridlington

Brough

Driffield

Hull (Guildhall)

Hull (Lowgate)

Pocklington

Withensea

Arundel

2002

Bridgenorth

Leominster

Fakenham

Tunbridge Wells

Beaconsfield

Buckingham

Evesham

2003

Thame

Droitwitch

Machynlleth

Chester Le Street

Rugeley

Lampeter

Tenby

Camberley

Trowbridge

Whitchurch

Long Sutton

Caistor

Horncastle

2004

Richmond, Yorks

Stourbridge

2006

Wetherby

Bow Street


Next Section Index Home Page