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Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what role is played by HM Prison Service Professional Standards Unit investigation support section in investigations into professional standards issues within prison establishments; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Probation Risk Screening Tool utilised by the probation service in the courts will be available to assist with the preparation of Fast Delivery Reports. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: Probation staff under investigation in serious further offence cases are entitled to seek Trade Union representation, but they would not be entitled to exercise it by having a representative present at Serious Further Offence interviews. The decision as to whether or not to represent the individual in any follow up investigation concerning capability or disciplinary action as a result of evidence highlighted at the Serious Further Offences interviews, ultimately rests with the Trade Union concerned.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether probation boards have a legal duty (a) to contract out probation work to other bodies and (b) to cooperate with (i) prisons, (ii) police,
(iii) voluntary sector organisations and (iv) other agencies to reduce reoffending. 
Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 22 February 2007]: Under the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000, Probation Boards may contract out probation work but do not have a legal duty to do so. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 sets out the legal obligations on local Boards to co-operate with the police, prisons and other bodies to manage the risk posed by certain offenders. This is in addition to the general aim of Boards to reduce re-offending under Section two of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what additional funding and resources have been provided to the Probation Service following the increase of non-custodial sentences being imposed by the courts due to prison overcrowding; 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government believe that dangerous, violent and seriously persistent offenders should go to prison, and for a long time if necessary, but most offenders can better and more effectively be punished in the community.
The National Probation Service (NPS) has received a real terms increase of 39 per cent. in Resource funding since 2001-02 to meet the cost of increased workload and intensity of supervision. The funding for 2007-08 is not yet finalised, but at present it is planned for the NPS to receive an increase of 3.7 per cent. in 2007-08.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the consistency between the National Standards for Probation issued by the National Offender Management Service and the Probation National Standards; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 22 February 2007]: The probation service currently operates under a set of National Standards introduced in 2005. Another set of standards, the NOMS Offender Management Standards, was published last year but has not been implemented. There are some inconsistencies between the two sets of standards but work is underway to merge them into a single coherent document.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who was responsible for
authorising the bonus payments for staff made as a consequence of the performance test bid at HM Prison Wandsworth; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many work permits were issued for citizens of (a) Africa, (b) Latin America, (c) South Asia and (d) East Asia in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Byrne: Table 1 shows the number of work permit applications which were approved for overseas nationals, in the period 1997 to 2006, from (a) Africa, (b) Latin America, (c) South Asia and (d) South East Asia (not East Asia).
|Table 1: number of work permit approvals per year|
The figures include all individuals who were approved as part of a group application. The figures provided are not national statistics but are based on provisional management information and may be subject to change.
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