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Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many man hours of service were provided by part-time members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary between 1981 and 2001. 
The Police Service does not retain the information requested for the periods concerned.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent discussions he has had with the Electoral Commission on steps to ensure that each elector who has applied for a postal vote receives it. 
Bridget Prentice: Responsibility for the conduct of elections, including the delivery of postal votes to electors, rests with the relevant returning officer. The Electoral Commission issues guidance to returning officers on the issue and distribution of postal votes. My Department has regular discussions with the Electoral Commission on a range of issues concerning the administration of elections, including the arrangements for processing postal votes. Whilst the issue that the hon. Member raises has not been discussed with the Electoral Commission recently, it will be included in future discussions with the Electoral Commission.
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's (a) chart of accounts and (b) resource account codes and usage descriptions for the 2008-09 financial year. 
Mr. Wills: Since the creation of the Ministry of Justice, the Department uses a number of different accounting systems and each of these employs its own chart of accounts. The main accounting systems currently in use are:
the Home Office's Adelphi system, which hosts the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and the Office of Criminal Justice Reform (OCJR);
Her Majesty's Prison Service's Phoenix system; and
the ex-Department for Constitutional Affair's ARAMIS system.
The Department is taking steps to rationalise its accounting arrangements, with NOMS migrating from Adelphi to Phoenix and OCJR migrating from Adelphi to ARAMIS during the current financial year. Ultimately, the aim of the Department's Shared Service Programme will be to move to the use of a single accounting system.
The charts of accounts for 2008-09 therefore reflects the Department's structure as it currently is and will not necessarily reflect the 2007-08 structure, or that of
future years. The charts show the relationship between parent codes (used for preparing resource accounts) and children codes (used for more detailed management purposes). Each code has a brief description that describes its use.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) chairs, (b) desks and (c) other office furnishings have been purchased by his Department and its agencies in each of the last five years; and at what cost in each case. 
Mr. Wills: My Department does not hold central records of the number and cost of chairs, desks and other office furniture purchased in the last five years, to retrieve such information would involve manual checks of local records at disproportionate time and cost.
Within National Offender Management Service (NOMS), it is our policy to make furniture in-house from raw materials sourced from a range of suppliers, rather than buy the furniture as finished products.
Mr. Straw: It is estimated that the cost of sick pay within the public sector Prison Service during 2007 was £68 million. Estimated costs for other parts of the Department are not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
The Cabinet Office published a report on sickness absence in the civil service on 7 February 2008. The report included an analysis of the days lost due to sickness absence. The report included an estimate of £887.66 for 2006-07 as the cost of absence per staff year in respect of all civil servants.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what subscriptions (a) his Department and (b) its agencies has for (i) premium Sky, (ii) digital terrestrial and (iii) cable television channels; and what the annual cost of each was in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
The National Archives, the Boundary Commission for Wales, the Office of the Public Guardian, the Land Registry, the Boundary Commission for England, the Judicial Appointments Commission, the Legal Services Commission and the Tribunals Service do not pay subscriptions for (i), (ii) and (iii).
The National Offender Management Service headquarters does not pay a subscription for (i), (ii) and (iii). No prisoners in public sector prisons receive satellite or other television channels in their cells for which a subscription is payable. In-cell television is conditional on good behaviour.
20 public sector prisons have satellite television in association areas and pay a basic subscription for it. Information on the costs of such facilities is not held centrally and would incur disproportionate cost to obtain.
Private sector prisons' contracts do not specify costs for such services as they form part of the overall operating cost which of course has been competitively tendered prior to agreement. The contractor is required to obtain best price and under the terms of our contracts providers are obliged to obtain commercially competitive rates throughout the duration of the contract.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 13 June 2008, Official Report, columns 607-08W, if he will make it his policy to make details of expenses claims by High Court judges available for inspection by the public. 
Mr. Straw: In accordance with general principles, I have no plans to make available, for inspection by the public, details of expenses claims by High Court judges. As I explained in my earlier answer to the hon. Member, the expenses which may be claimed by High Court judges are governed by their terms and conditions and are subject to appropriate control procedures.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment his Department has made of the effects of fixed fees for legal aid on the funding of voluntary sector organisations providing legal advice. 
Maria Eagle: Fixed fee schemes were calculated on the basis of historic spend by both solicitor firms and not for profit (NfP) agencies and no money has been removed from the overall civil legal aid budget.
Transitional arrangements have been introduced to assist NfP providers to adjust to recent reforms. The LSC regularly monitors the operation of these arrangements. The great majority of NfP providers are adapting well to fixed fees.
The LSC will be reviewing the operation of the first stage of graduated and fixed fees (implemented in October 2007 and January 2008) to see if any changes should be made to those existing schemes for April 2010. It intends to publish the outcome of that review in January 2009, with a further six-week consultation on any changes to be made to the stage 1 fees as a result. Any such changes would take effect in the new contracts from 1 April 2010.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much the Office of the Public Guardian spent on training staff in the processing of registrations of lasting powers of attorney in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and what training his Department provides for this purpose. 
Bridget Prentice: The Mental Capacity Act 2005 came fully into force in October 2007. Prior to that point training provision was the responsibility of the Public Guardianship Officethe Office of the Public Guardian's predecessor. This included training for the new processes and procedures relating to Lasting Powers of Attorney that the Act introduced.
Since October, the OPG has been responsible for meeting all ongoing training needs. Over the last 12 months, specific training on the registration of LPAs has been provided to staff in the Applications and Processing area, which deals with the registration of LPAs, and to staff in the Contact Centre, which advises clients on LPA process and the progress of individual applications.
Additionally, all staff at the OPG attended awareness seminars on the new Act and LPAs. Initial training is gained through such seminars and similar themed workshops. Practical assistance has then been provided via desk bound training and a buddy scheme whereby experienced staff shadow new staff members and undertake additional floor-walking. This helps to ensure that staff are familiar with new systems and processes from which they may begin to put theory into practice.
Because of the range of training offered and in particular the significant amounts of flexibly provided by desk training, it has not been possible to provide exact figures on the total cost. However, based on average staff costs and reasonable assumptions of the average amount of time per staff member spent on training, we estimate a sum of £73,680 has been spent on staff training in relation to LPAs to date.
Mr. Hanson: The Ministry of Justice is working in partnership with the Departments for Innovation, Universities and Skills, and Work and Pensions to implement the Reducing Re-offending through Skills and Employment: Next Steps action plan, in which the three priorities are to:
engage employers through the Reducing Re-offending Corporate Alliance in improving the skills and employment outcomes of offenders;
build on the new Offender Learning and Skills Service through the campus model which will give offenders more flexible access to skills and employment support with effective use of ICT; and
use the commissioning role of the offender manager to build a new emphasis on skills and jobs in prisons and probation areas.
Work to implement the plan includes ensuring that offenders are given advice on job searching from Jobcentre Plus while still in custody and that this support continues after release. Many offenders are able to benefit from employment programmes such as the new deal and Progress2Work.
In addition, on 31 January 2008, the Secretary of State and Lord Chancellor Official Report, column 37WS, my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) announced the publication of the Prison Policy Update briefing paper which set out the Governments plans to increase the range of constructive work available to prisoners inside prisons, which will in turn increase their chances of getting a job on the outside. This work is well under way.
On 12 June he also announced four new workshops at Stocken prison. Bricklaying, painting and decorating, and learning to refurbish and repair hire equipment for builders merchant Travis Perkins are among the skills being taught in the workshops.
On 10 June I launched a major new vocational training scheme at Wandsworth prison with Cisco Systems, Bovis Lend Lease and Panduit. The scheme will train prisoners in installing voice and data cabling within business and residential developments and, where possible, employing them within the Bovis social enterprise Be Onsite.
The following table, based on information supplied by the Youth Justice Board, shows the ratio of social worker posts to trainees in each young offender institution in the secure estate for children and young people. To a certain extent, the varying ratios reflect the differing sizes of establishments. Steps are being taken to fill five posts that are currently vacant.
|YOI||Ratio of social workers to trainees|
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