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22 May 2008 : Column 410W—continued

Social Security Benefits: Sanctions

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he plans to publish the Jobcentre Plus review of the sanctions regime for benefit claimants announced on 20 February. [207161]

Mr. Timms: We will publish the conclusions from the review as part of the Government’s proposal for the next stage of welfare reform.



Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) apprenticeships and (b) advanced apprenticeships there were in (i) his Department and (ii) the agencies for which he is responsible in the most recent year for which figures are available. [206795]

Bridget Prentice: Six members of staff employed within the Ministry of Justice undertook apprenticeships during the financial year 2007-08.

The Ministry of Justice is participating in the Apprenticeships Pathfinder being organised by Government Skills, with an intake likely in September. Numbers are likely to be substantially larger than in previous years. We are also participating in the Civil Service West Midlands Apprenticeships pilot.

Departmental Manpower

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) UK citizens born in the UK, (b) UK citizens born abroad and (c) foreign nationals were employed as staff by his Department and its agencies in each of the last five years. [206544]

Bridget Prentice: Information on the nationality of public sector staff within the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is not held centrally. This could be collected only at
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disproportionate cost. Information on nationality is included on an individual’s application form, which he/she completes at the start of the recruitment process. This is to ensure that the applicant meets nationality requirements under the civil service recruitment code for employment within MOJ.

Legal Services Commission: Complaints

Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) when complaints procedures were first introduced by the Legal Services Commission; and what the terms of those procedures were; [206632]

(2) what changes have been made to the complaints procedures of the Legal Services Commission since they were first introduced; and what the reasons were for such changes; [206633]

(3) what the complaints procedures of the Legal Services Commission are; [206634]

(4) what training and guidance has been provided to the Regional and acting Regional Directors of the Legal Services Commission on the terms of the Legal Services Commission complaints procedures; when it was provided to them; and how it was provided; [206635]

(5) what training and guidance has been provided to the account managers of the Legal Services Commission on the terms of the Legal Services Commission complaints procedures; when it was provided; and how it was provided. [206636]

Bridget Prentice: The LSC’s approach to dealing with complaints is part of its overall focus on customer services. It strives to maintain the highest standards of customer service and effective complaint handling. Success at this is measured through a customer services score target. The LSC expects to have achieved its customer services score target of 90 per cent. for 2007-08.

When the Legal Services Commission was established in 1999, it inherited its complaints procedure from the Legal Aid Board (the body previously responsible for administering legal aid).

The LSC improved its complaints handling procedures following a review in February 2004. The complaints review team developed a new definition of a complaint and added a second tier review system to ensure consistency across the LSC. The new procedure was introduced in April 2004.

Details of the LSC’s complaints procedure can be found on the Commission’s website at:

In terms of training, when the LSC’s new complaints procedure was launched in April 2004, all staff were notified of the changes and given access to the relevant guidance and policy documents on the intranet.

Once the new procedure was in place, specific training was provided on a local basis to complaint handlers who are nominated to co-ordinate responses, offer guidance to colleagues and maintain quality and consistency.

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Account managers may be involved in drafting responses to complaints from providers. Regional directors deal with complaints only in exceptional circumstances.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he plans to reply to the letter of 25 March 2008 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on Miss A. S. Galtrey. [206965]

Mr. Hanson: My right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Children and Youth Justice (Beverley Hughes), and I replied jointly to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on 19 May 2008. We apologise for the delay.

Offenders: Electronic Tagging

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what sentencing guidelines are given to courts on the use of electronic tagging orders combined with curfews and the circumstances in which such a sentence would be appropriate; [206938]

(2) what guidance his Department has issued on using a combination of curfews and electronic tagging in sentencing; and under what circumstances his Department considers such sentencing appropriate. [206949]

Mr. Hanson: Curfew may be imposed under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 as a requirement of a community order or of a suspended sentence order for offences committed on or after 4 April 2005. The Act requires that such a requirement must be electronically monitored unless this is not possible or it is judged inappropriate in a particular case.

The independent Sentencing Guidelines Council issued guidance to the courts on 2003 Act sentences in December 2004. The guidelines give examples of where curfew might be appropriate as part of a community order for offences in the low, medium and high seriousness ranges. They also say that electronic monitoring should be used with the primary purpose of promoting and monitoring compliance with other requirements, in circumstances where the punishment of the offender and/or the need to safeguard the public and prevent re-offending are the most important concerns.

The court may obtain and consider a pre-sentence report prepared by the National Probation Service (NPS) before sentencing. Comprehensive departmental guidance to the NPS on 2003 Act sentences was issued in 2005, explaining how curfew and electronic monitoring might be used. Other departmental guidance on specific aspects of sentencing, which may include references to curfew and electronic monitoring, is issued as necessary.

Open Prisons: Prisoners Release

Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners in open jails in England and Wales had been deemed not suitable for release on temporary licence at the most recent date for which figures are available. [206872]

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Mr. Hanson: I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell), on 7 March 2008, Official Report, column 2834W.

Release on temporary licence is the mechanism that enables prisoners to participate in necessary activities, outside of the prison establishment, that directly contribute to their resettlement into the community and their development of a purposeful law abiding life.

The eligibility requirements are set out in Prison Service Order 6300 Release on Temporary Licence, which is available on the Prison Service website. Eligible prisoners must pass a rigorous risk assessment before temporary release is granted.

Information on those considered unsuitable for release under temporary licence is not centrally available, would require manual inspection of individual prisoners’ records and could not be provided without disproportionate cost.

Personal Injury: Compensation

Mr. Vaizey: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) when he will publish a summary of responses to the consultation on the law on damages; [206701]

(2) when he plans to publish his Department's response to the consultation on the law on damages. [206702]

Bridget Prentice: We aim to publish a summary of responses to the consultation paper on the law of damages together with the Government's response to the consultation before the summer recess.

Prison Service: Safety

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what mechanisms are in place to protect prison staff from assault by prisoners. [205534]

Mr. Hanson: Public and private sector prisons are each required to have a local violence reduction strategy, which involves regular analysis of problem areas, consideration of solutions and an action plan to reduce violence. A whole prison approach is encouraged, engaging all staff, all disciplines and prisoners in challenging unacceptable behaviour, problem-solving and improving personal safety for all. A good practice toolkit supports the violence reduction strategy and guides establishments to develop practical solutions, including environmental and physical measures as well as alternative ways of managing behaviour.

Public and private sector prison staff receive the appropriate training to ensure they have required skills and knowledge to deal with potentially violent situations in prisons and protect themselves from assault.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor has supported the Prison Officer Association's Zero Tolerance Campaign to ensure prisons are a safer place to live and work.


Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners in adult prisons had
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previously been (a) children in care, (b) children in foster care and (c) adopted children in each of the last five years. [207072]

Mr. Hanson: In response to part (a) of the question, I refer the hon. Member to my answer given on 29 April 2008, Official Report, column 391W, to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws).

Information on the total number of prisoners in all prison establishments in England and Wales who were in local authority care at some point when under the age of 16 is not centrally available.

However, a Social Exclusion Unit report “Reducing re-offending by ex-prisoners” published in 2002 reported that 27 per cent. of the prison population had been taken into care as a child against an average across the general population of 2 per cent.

In response to parts (b) and (c), there is no available information on which to provide an answer.

Prisoners Release: Reoffenders

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment since 1997 have been subsequently released and committed further crimes and been re-imprisoned. [203302]

Maria Eagle: To provide the information requested would require data matching between different sources of information, and manual checking of individual records which could be carried out only at disproportionate cost. Data migration for the Department’s new database is currently under way and will be subject to data quality assurance. I hope to write to the hon. Member by the middle of June to provide as much of the information requested as can be obtained reliably from the new database at that time.

Prisoners: Females

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what monitoring is conducted of the care needs of women from Wales who serve custodial sentences in prisons in England after their return to Wales on release. [201604]

Maria Eagle: All prisoners who serve 12 months or more are subject to a period of statutory supervision on release. Those sentenced to any period in custody who are under 21 years at the point of release will also be supervised by the probation service on a standard three-month licence.

In relation to women prisoners returning to Wales, this applies wherever they were imprisoned. Prisoners on licence are seen by the probation service who assess and manage their risk and needs in order to reduce reoffending and this assessment includes any gender issues. Additionally, NOMS Cymru is running the Women’s Turnaround Project, a demonstration project for women based in Cardiff. The project is self-referral with services delivered through the third and private sectors and has close links with HMP Eastwood Park and offers an opportunity for women to be supported with their resettlement needs.

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Prisoners: Learning Disability

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what (a) special programmes and (b) specific education provision his Department provides for prisoners with learning disabilities. [206377]

Mr. Lammy: I have been asked to reply.

The terms ‘learning disability’ and ‘learning difficulty’ are most usually used to refer to mental health and education issues respectively. As the question refers specifically to ‘education provision’, my response sets out what we do to meet the needs of prisoners with learning difficulties.

There are no special programmes or education provision in place for prisoners with learning difficulties specifically. Instead, as part of the Offenders’ Learning and Skills Service, education providers are obliged to assess for and meet the additional learning support needs of offenders with learning difficulties who are engaged in learning and skills programmes available to the prison population more generally.

Prisoners: Rehabilitation

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 12 May 2008, Official Report, column 1381W, on prisoners: rehabilitation, what plans his Department has to assess the effects on the rehabilitation of prisoners of the interaction between inmates and prison guards on prison councils. [206962]

Maria Eagle: The Ministry of Justice currently has no plans to carry out a formal assessment of the impact of prison councils on the rehabilitation of prisoners.

Road Traffic Offences: Electronic Tagging

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many of the electronic tagging orders imposed during sentencing for road traffic offences have been issued in respect of (a) driving while disqualified, (b) drink driving and (c) other offences since 1999. [206939]

Mr. Hanson: The following table shows how many of the electronically monitored curfew orders imposed during sentencing for road traffic offences have been issued in respect of (a) driving while disqualified, (b)
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drink driving and (c)other summary motoring offences since 1999, up to 2006.

Under the Criminal Justice Act 2003, an electronically monitored curfew became one of a number of requirements of the new community order for adults that courts could impose for offences committed after 4 April 2005. Since its introduction courts have only recorded the number of community orders imposed rather than the requirements used. The table from 2005 therefore reflects the number of curfew orders for juveniles and a declining number of orders given to adults for offences committed before 4 April 2005.

Electronic tagging orders imposed during sentencing for road traffic offences, 1999 to 2006
Driving while disqualified Drink driving Other summary driving offences Other driving offences









































Note: 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. Source: NOMS Analytical Services, Ministry of Justice.

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