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31 Jan 2008 : Column 570W—continued

There are a further 249 places planned in 2008 for which planning permission is being sought.

Building type Capital cost per place per year of lifespan( 1) (£)









(1) Published in Lord Carter’s Review of Prisons: Securing the Future.
RBRu—Rapid Build Residential unit.
TCM—Temporary Custodial Module in a number of different layouts.
TCF—Temporary Facility.

31 Jan 2008 : Column 571W

The cost per place for conversions is dependent on a number of factors including the nature of the existing buildings, the amount of work required and the time scale for delivery.

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what (a) assessment he has made of, and (b) research he has commissioned into, the relative performance of larger and smaller prisons. [178763]

Mr. Hanson: No research has been commissioned into the relative performance of larger as opposed to smaller prisons. Latest Prison Service Performance Ratings, published in December 2007, show that the largest prisons are performing satisfactorily.

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the number of new prison places that will become available for use between 25 January 2008 and (a) 31 July 2008 and (b) 1 December 2008; and what estimate he has made of the net number of prison places available at each date. [178779]

Mr. Straw: Between 25 January 2008 and 31 July the Prison Capacity programme is planned to deliver around 1,450 places and a total of around 2,500 by the end of the year.

Current capacity forecasts indicate that the net capacity of the prison estate will be around 83,400 at the end of July and around 84,800 by the end of December.

Prisoners Transfers: Costs

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the cost of transferring prisoners (a) from one prison to another and (b) to and from court was in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [178752]

Mr. Hanson: Details of the costs of transferring prisoners to one prison from another in England and Wales using the inter-prison transfer contract are held by financial year and are set out in the following table:

Cost of inter prison transfers (£ million)











Since August 2004 the contracts for the escort of prisoners have included a separate payment for every prisoner journey undertaken. The payment covers vehicle and staff costs. Details of these payments for escorting prisoners to and from courts in England and Wales are available by calendar year from 2005 and are set out in the following table:

31 Jan 2008 : Column 572W
Cost of escorting prisoners courts to and from courts (£ million)







The figures include the cost of all prisoner journeys in the London and south-east contract area as to separate the escort of prisoners from police stations to prisons from the invoiced total could be achieved only at disproportionate cost.

Prisons: Military Bases

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what redundant military facilities he is considering for conversion into prison accommodation. [178768]

Mr. Straw: The site at the former RAF Coltishall has been identified as suitable for conversion to a prison.

Consideration will be given to further suitable military sites as they are identified.


Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his policy is on the provision of resources to the Probation Service in relation to its caseload. [178765]

Mr. Hanson: Funding is allocated to local probation boards using a formula based on statistical data including population and sentencing.

Probation boards are responsible for managing their workload in accordance with Service Level Agreements which are established in negotiation with the regional offender manager. It is the responsibility of the board to deploy resources effectively in order to meet objectives and targets.

Rape: Sentencing

Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many of those convicted of rape in each of the last three years received (a) a determinate prison sentence, (b) a life sentence, (c) an indeterminate sentence for public protection and (d) any other disposal; and what was the average determinate sentence length and average tariff for life and indeterminate sentences. [182298]

Mr. Straw: I regret that not all the requested information is available. The available information is contained in the table. In particular, due to the nature of our current administrate systems it is not possible to calculate the average custodial sentence length for life and indeterminate sentences. In the light of the hon. Member’s question I have asked for further work to be done on sentencing estimates of indeterminate and life sentences.

Figures for 2007 will be available from autumn 2008.

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Number of persons sentenced( 1) for rape( 2) , method of disposal and average sentence length( 3) , all courts, England and Wales, 2004-06
Offence Year Absolute discharge Conditional discharge Fine Community sentence Fully suspended sentence Immediate custody Average sentence length( 3) Life sentences( 4) Otherwise dealt with



























(1) Principal offence basis.
(2) Includes rape of a male and a female.
(3) Months. Excludes life and indeterminate sentences.
(4) Includes Indeterminate sentences for Public Protection (IPPs).
These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.
RDS-NOMS, Ministry of Justice 28 January 2008. Ref: PQ(RN)029-08

Communities and Local Government


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was paid by her Department and its predecessor to Capita Group plc and its subsidiaries in each financial year since 2000; which contracts were awarded by her Department to Capita Group plc in each year since 2000-01 to the most recent available date; what the cost was of each contract; what penalties for default were imposed in contract provisions; what the length was of each contract; whether the contract was advertised; how many companies applied for the contract; how many were short-listed; what criteria were used for choosing a company; what provision was made for renewal without re-tender in each case; and if she will make a statement. [180709]

Mr. Dhanda: Details of spend with the Capita and its subsidiaries before 2002 is not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Hornchurch (James Brokenshire) by my hon. Friend the Member for Poplar and Canning Town (Jim Fitzpatrick) on 23 March 2006, Official Report, columns 97-8W, and to the reply given by the former hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Leslie) to the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Burstow) on 29 January 2003, Official Report, column 862W. These answers give some background to spend with Capita prior to 2005.

Communities and Local Government's spend with Capita and its subsidiaries since 2005-06 is as follows;

Financial year Spend (£)





2007 to December 2007


Since April 2006 Communities and Local Government have kept central records for contracts awarded for over £20,000. Details of contracts awarded before that date can be given only at disproportionate cost. Since 2006 two contracts have been awarded to Capita Resourcing Ltd. They were for commercial and legal management support to the Housing Employment and Mobility Services project.

Both contracts were valued at £139,065 each.

It is departmental policy to pay suppliers in arrears and so protect funds in the event of a default. Also, contracts are awarded using contract terms and conditions that allow us to revise payments because of unsatisfactory performance.

The contracts were and are of six months duration.

The first contract was awarded as a single tender. The strategy adopted to award the second was to seek expressions of interest from a Cabinet Office framework agreement.

Three companies duly submitted tenders and were considered.

Several criteria were used for evaluating the tenders. These were;

The contracts included options to extend for a further six months.

The balance of spend with Capita has been on a variety of lower value contracts particularly around the storage and distribution of departmental publications. This spend was through a collaborative framework contract set up jointly with the Department for Transport in 2002 and full details of which could be supplied only at disproportionate cost.

Community Relations: Religion

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the regional inter-faith forums will be based on the Government Office for the Regions boundaries. [182593]

Mr. Dhanda: Regional faith forums are independent of Government and determine their own organisational boundaries.

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the annual budget is for the regional inter-faith forums. [182595]

Mr. Dhanda: Regional faith forums are independent and are not funded by central Government. We are
31 Jan 2008 : Column 575W
currently consulting on where additional investment might be needed to help sustain interfaith activity.

Council Tax: Empty Property

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 10 December 2007, Official Report, column 116W, on council tax: empty property, which organisation has been commissioned to undertake the research; and if she will place in the Library a copy of the tender notice or terms of reference for the research; [182888]

(2) what the timetable is for the completion of the Roger Tym Partnership/Three Dragons report into council tax and empty properties. [182574]

John Healey: Roger Tym and Partners in association with Three Dragons have been appointed to undertake the research. We expect to publish the report in the spring. I have placed a copy of the specification of work on which the contract is let in the Library of the House.

Council Tax: Lee Valley Regional Park Authority

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 11 December 2007, Official Report, column 540W, on council tax: Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, what the maximum levy that can be charged by the authority is. [182925]

John Healey: A ceiling for the levy is determined by a formula prescribed in The Levying Bodies (General) Regulations 19921 which is adjusted annually to account for changes in the retail prices index.

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