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22 May 2007 : Column 1251W—continued


The UK was the second largest bilateral donor in 2006, with ODA reaching $12.6 billion, 0.52 per cent. of GNI. We are on track to reach 0.7 per cent. of ODA/GNI by 2013, two years ahead of the EU schedule of 2015.

Justice

Appeals: Social Security Benefits

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice if she will put in place a mechanism to record details about the nature of medical conditions of people who attend benefit appeal tribunals, in order to ensure that people with (a) chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis and (b) other illnesses are not discriminated against; and if she will make a statement. [138383]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Details of individual appellants’ disabilities are not recorded when cases come before tribunals. However, the benefit type and the issue to be decided is recorded on the Tribunals Service processing system in all benefit cases.

In the case of disability appeals involving medical issues, a medically qualified panel member sits as a member of the tribunal and all panel members have equality and diversity training to enable them to deal with the full range of disability issues arising from
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benefit claims. Judicial office holders who are members of appeals tribunals are independent of the administration.

Data Protection: Intelligence Services

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice when she expects the National Security Appeals Panel of the Information Tribunal to publish on its website the judgment of 28 July 2005; and what the reason is for the time taken to publish it. [135600]

Bridget Prentice: The Decision of the National Security Appeals Panel in the case of the Information Commissioner against the Secretary of State for the Home Department of the 28 July 2005, will not be appearing on the website. This is due to an Administrative Court order, obtained during the Judicial Review proceedings on 23 November 2006 that papers in the case, including a redacted version of the decision, would not be made public.

David Kelly

Norman Baker: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice pursuant to the answer of 19 March 2007, Official Report, column 620W, on David Kelly, if she will list (a) the interested persons and (b) the members of the press who were notified shortly beforehand; and what the time of notification was in each case. [138813]

Ms Harman: I would refer the hon. Member to my previous reply. We do not have the names of the interested persons or details of the times when notification was made.

Disorder Penalty Notices

James Brokenshire: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice pursuant to the answer of 16 January 2007, Official Report, columns 1027-28W, on Disorder Penalty Notices, when she expects the evaluation of the pilot undertaken in six police force areas for issuing penalty notices for disorder to 10 to 15 year olds to be completed; and if she will make a statement. [138202]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The evaluation of the pilots undertaken in six police areas for issuing penalty notices for disorder to 10 to 15-year-olds was completed in November 2006 and is currently going through the final quality assurance procedures prior to publication.

Elections

Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice what discussions her Department has had with the Secretary of State for Scotland on the use of electronic voting for the May 2007 elections to the Scottish Parliament; and if she will make a statement. [137688]


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Bridget Prentice: My Department has had no discussions with the Secretary of State for Scotland on the use of electronic voting for the May 2007 elections to the Scottish Parliament.

Offenders: Rehabilitation

Mr. Watson: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of offender rehabilitation programmes at Moorland Open Prison in South Yorkshire, with particular reference to their effect on maintaining the West Coast Mainline railway; and if she will make a statement. [138250]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government have developed a range of offender programmes with a number of partners across the prison estate, including HMP Moorland, which are successfully tackling the root causes of re-offending and working to reduce social exclusion. Recently published figures show that we have reduced proven adult re-offending by 6.9 per cent. comparing 2004 to 1997.

“Reducing Re-offending Through Skills and Employment: Next Steps” (December 2006) set out our plans to put in place an increased focus on training offenders and helping them get jobs. The initiative at HMP Moorland is part of that strategy.

The West Coast rail scheme is a high quality practical based programme, paying a decent wage and providing close to release prisoners at Moorland, through a 12 week training programme including full safety training, with the rail industry specific NVQ level 2 qualification enabling them to work in the rail industry on release. Job vacancies in this sector have given rise to sustainable employment opportunities for prisoners, thereby reducing the likelihood of re-offending.

Paedophilia: Convictions

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice who is responsible for the management of convicted paedophiles within the community. [138308]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The responsibility for assessing and managing convicted child sex offenders in the community in England and Wales is shared by the police, probation and prison services acting as the Responsible Authority within the statutory Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA), The Responsible Authority must work together with other agencies, such as local health, social, educational and housing services to produce and monitor a risk management plan. Generally speaking, the Probation Service would be the lead agency in carrying out the plan while the offender is subject to probation supervision and the Police would lead once any period of supervision has expired but the offender remains a registered sex offender.

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice in what ways offender management and sentencing policy protects the public from convicted paedophiles being managed within the community. [138310]


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Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government are committed to protecting the public and are determined to ensure there are robust arrangements for dealing with sex offenders in the community. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 created new sentences aimed specifically at sexual and violent offenders. These new sentences are designed to protect the public, and will ensure that dangerous sexual and violent offenders are subject to assessment by the parole board, and in serious cases not released from prison where their level of risk is deemed too high.

Through Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)—statutory requirements for the police, probation and prison services to co-operate in managing potentially dangerous offenders—the way in which child sex offenders are managed in the UK has been revolutionised. It is our intention to look carefully at how this can be built on and strengthened.

Community Notification is an important tool which already exists within the current MAPPA system through the police and naturally we want to explore whether the lessons from other countries, might have value in the UK.

The phased introduction of the NOMS Offender Management Model is improving the way in which sentences are organised and delivered across the probation and prison services, but paedophiles are already subject to robust arrangements.

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice which organisations have statutory duties in the monitoring of convicted paedophiles in the community. [138314]

Mr. Sutcliffe: There is a statutory requirement upon the police, probation and prison services, acting as the Responsible Authority in each of the 42 areas in England and Wales, to establish and monitor multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) in order to manage the risk posed by sexual and violent offenders. The Act also placed a range of other local agencies, such as health, educational, social and housing services, under a duty to co-operate with the Responsible Authority. The agencies work together to identify relevant offenders, share information, conduct more comprehensive risk assessments and therefore draw up better risk management plans. The plans are monitored via multi-agency meetings for as long as is required.

Generally, the police or the probation service will have lead responsibility in monitoring the offender, with assistance from other agencies, although youth offending teams and supervising psychiatrists and social supervisors will take or share a lead monitoring role in some cases.

Paedophilia: Prisoners Release

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice what guidelines apply to convicted paedophiles after release into the area where they committed an offence. [138311]

Mr. Sutcliffe: All convicted child sex offenders are liable to management under the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA). Most will be
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subject to notification requirements (sex offender registration) on release from prison, and those who were sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment or more will generally be subject to licence conditions, breach of which can lead to recall to prison. In addition, some may be subject to Sexual Offence Prevention Orders (SOPOs), which can be imposed where a court deems that the offender poses a risk of serious sexual harm. As with licence conditions, SOPOs can impose restrictions on behaviour, such as staying away from the victim or from schools. Breach of a SOPO is a criminal offence and would make the offender liable to a maximum of five years’ imprisonment.

The twin aims of the MAPPA are to protect the public and to prevent re-victimisation. While offenders will generally be released to their home area, where the offence may have been committed, consideration will be given to an exclusion zone, in the light of specific risks to the victim and also to the impact the return might have locally.

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice what offender management guidelines are provided to local authorities on housing homeless convicted paedophiles. [138312]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Local housing authorities are under a statutory duty to co-operate with Responsible Authority in the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA). The Responsible Authority has to establish arrangements for the identification, assessment and management of sexual and violent offenders. The aim is to facilitate an exchange of information between the agencies and to ensure that the local housing authority is on hand to give advice about accommodation and the procedures by which it is allocated, and the suitability of particular housing stock both generally and in relation to particular cases.

Paedophilia: Re-offenders

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice what the re-offending rate is for convicted paedophiles. [138309]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The re-offending rates for men who sexually abuse children are not known, but we do have information on re-conviction rates for this group of offenders.

The most recent figures we have are for 2004.

Out of the adult offenders who were convicted of a sexual offence against a child, and were released from custody or who started a community penalty in the first quarter of 2004, 12.3 per cent. were reconvicted of a new offence of any kind.

These rates of re-conviction were over a period of two years.

For all adult male offenders convicted of a sexual offence (that is including those who offended against a child and those who offended against adults) and who were released from custody in 2001, 3 per cent. were reconvicted for a further sexual offence within two years.


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Paedophilia: Sentencing

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice when the Sentencing Guidelines Council and the Sentencing Advisory Panel last reviewed sentencing guidelines for convicted paedophiles. [138307]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Following wide consultation, the Sentencing Guidelines Council published definitive guidelines on the Sexual Offences Act 2003 on 30 April 2007.

The guidelines cover a range of sexual offences, including offences involving children, and take into account the impact of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

The full guidelines can be found on the Sentencing Guidelines Council Website at:

The section which relates to sexual offences involving children can be found in Part 3.

Prison Service: Working Hours

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice what mechanisms exist to monitor compliance with (a) health and safety regulations and (b) European Working Time Directive requirements for operational prison governors; and if she will make a statement. [137300]

Mr. Sutcliffe: An audit of the health and safety performance of each prison is carried out every two years by health and safety advisers. The audit focuses on the procedures in place for implementing the requirements of health and safety legislation. A report is prepared for governors which include any deficiencies identified during the audit, the actions required to ensure compliance with legislation and Prison Service guidance and timescales for implementation. Additionally, governing governors are required to regularly monitor health and safety performance in their area of control.

While prison governors are contracted to be “all hours worked”, there is an expectation that they should work a notional 42-hour week. Obviously due to operational requirements they may be called upon to exceed this, but line managers are responsible for ensuring that staff do not regularly exceed working hours set out in the European working time directive.

Prisoners: Repatriation

Mr. Ian Taylor: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice how many non-UK citizens convicted of custodial offences are eligible to be repatriated to their home countries. [138108]

Mr. Sutcliffe: At the end of March 2007, the latest period for which data are available, 2,919 prisoners serving immediate custodial sentences gave their nationality as that of one of those countries with which the United Kingdom has a prisoner transfer arrangement. Of these around 2,000 prisoners appear to meet the basic criteria for repatriation. That is; they are a national of a country with which we have a
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prisoner transfer arrangement, their sentence is final and enforceable, and they have more than the relevant period left to serve as specified in the applicable international arrangement.

Under our existing repatriation arrangements repatriation is a voluntary process and requires the consent of both states involved, as well as that of the prisoner concerned, before repatriation can take place.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems. Care is taken when processing and analysing the returns but the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system, and so although shown to the last individual, the figure may not be accurate to that level.

The figures given relate to England and Wales only.

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice pursuant to the answer of 16 May 2007, Official Report, column 808W, on prisoners: repatriation, when discussions have taken place with the representatives of which countries on the repatriation of their nationals from British prisons without the requirement for prisoners' consent. [138788]

Mr. Sutcliffe: In my answer of 16 May 2007, Official Report, column 808W, I indicated that work is being undertaken to identify those countries with which we already have bilateral prisoner transfer arrangements who may be willing to renegotiate those arrangements to remove the requirement for prisoners to consent to transfer. This is in addition to the EU negotiations and those with the Council of Europe, which concern multi-party agreements. The work is being taken forward in conjunction with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Direct discussions with the governments concerned have not yet taken place.


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