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The inquiry into the death of police constable Gerald Walker was published in March 2004. This inquiry, by HM Inspectorate of Probation, commissioned by the Home Secretary. The inquiry addressed events leading
to the death of PC Gerald Walker, included consideration of policies and procedures relating to post release licences and related issues of criminal justice inter-agency working and communication. The inquiry cost £40,000. The steps taken following the inquiry included improvements to policeprobation practice and the introduction of a Joint National Protocol between police and the Probation Service.
The Zahid Mubarek inquiry was announced in April 2004, following the House of Lords ruling that an independent public investigation be held into the murder of Zahid Mubarek by his racist cellmate in Feltham Young Offender Institution in 2000. Mr. Justice Keith, chair of the inquiry, was tasked with looking into the events leading up to the murder and to make recommendations on the prevention of such attacks in the future. The report of the Zahid Mubarek inquiry was published in June 2006 and included 88 recommendations related to the prevention of any future deaths in circumstances similar to that of Mr. Mubarek. The Government welcomed the report and published an initial response. A full response to each recommendation was given within two months. Many of these reflected policies and procedures already put in place at HM Prison Service establishments. The inquiry cost £4.2 million.
The Inquiry into the supervision of Peter Williams by Nottingham City Youth Offending Team was published in September 2005 by HM Inspectorate of Probation. This inquiry was commissioned by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) to inquire into the supervision of Peter Williams who had been convicted, in 2005, of murder while on licence. The inquiry also assessed the local area implementation of relevant policies, the governance of the local Youth Offending Team (YOT) and any wider issues. The inquiry cost £30,000. The steps taken following the inquiry required the YJB and the local YOT to take improvement action on enforcement, electronic monitoring, intensive supervision and training.
An independent review of a serious further offence case of Damien Hanson and Elliot White was published in February 2006 by HM Inspectorate of Probation. The inquiry was commissioned by the Home Secretary to inquire into the decisions and management of London probation area relating to the sentences being served by Hanson and White at the time when they committed the offences. The offenders had been convicted of murder in 2005. The inquiry cost £40,000. The steps taken following the inquiry were that the Probation Circulars 49/05, 15/06 and 22/06 were issued requiring areas to undertake a comprehensive review of their risk assessment and management of offenders, and to take improvement actions including training.
The case of approved premises in Avon and Somerset. This inquiry was published in March 2007 by HM Inspectorate of Probation. The inquiry was commissioned by the Home Secretary to investigate allegations made by the BBC Panorama programme and to make any recommendations necessary to improve the management of dangerous offenders. The inquiry
cost £100,000. The steps taken following the review were that the probation area and the approved premises were required to address recommendations regarding resourcing, training, drug testing, and liaison with police.
Costs to HMI Probation were met from within their allocated budget. The cost figures aforementioned are derived using an approach, which absorbs all the support administration and related additional costs of each piece of work into an average cost per hour. This provides cost figures as a calculated proportion of the allocated budget.
...urgently to conduct an investigation into the circumstance surrounding the death of Dr. Kelly.
Lord Hutton completed his report in January 2004. The costs incurred by the inquiry itself were £1.68 million for the financial year 2003-04. These were the costs to the then, Department for Constitutional Affairs, as the sponsor Department for the inquiry. The Government accepted Lord Hutton's report in full.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will review salary negotiations for public sector employees in organisations within his Department's responsibility to reflect the rise in the consumer price index to a point above 3 per cent. 
Mr. Straw: The Government's pay policy is guided by the following principles. Public sector pay settlements should be consistent with maintaining the necessary levels of recruitment, retention and staff engagement needed to support service delivery; ensuring that total pay bills represent value for money and are affordable within Departments' overall expenditure plans; are consistent with the achievement of the inflation target. Timing of pay decisions for a particular work force depends on pay-setting arrangements for that work force.
Mr. Straw: Since the creation of the Ministry of Justice on 9 May 2007 reimbursable expenses by special advisers up to the end of March 2008 was £1,194.86. Because the Department is only 14 months old information for previous years is not held centrally and could be provided only by retrieving paper records from storage and manually collating this information at a disproportionate cost.
Mr. Straw: The Ministry of Justice has answered 2,111 ordinary written questions and 647 named day questions this session. On average it has taken 5.72 sitting days to answer ordinary written questions and 2.32 sitting days to answer named day questions in Parliament.
As my Department was not established until 9 May 2007 the information for previous years is not held centrally and could be provided only by manually collating each question at a disproportionate cost.
John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many men convicted of domestic violence offences have been released under the end of custody licence scheme; what risk assessment or accommodation check was carried out in each case; what records he holds on whether any such offenders have re-offended; whether any such offenders have been recalled to prison; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: Domestic violence is not a specific offence. Offenders who commit domestic violence are charged with a generic offence of assault. It would not be possible to identify the number of prisoners convicted of domestic violence related offences without examining individual case files which would incur disproportionate cost. Similarly, it is also not possible to identify prisoners convicted of domestic violence related offences who have gone on to reoffend or who have been recalled to custody.
Prisoners released under the ECL scheme are not subject to individualised risk assessment; the assessment of eligibility is against the criteria of the scheme. Prisoners serving a sentence for a serious violent offence are excluded from ECL. All prisoners released on ECL would have been released at their statutory release date a maximum of 18 days later. It is for this reason that ECL operates according to precise fixed criteria. All release arrangements that would otherwise have taken place 18 days later are brought forward to the ECL release date and any licence conditions that would apply at the statutory release date are included on the ECL licence.
Prisons are instructed that they should take appropriate action in response to any information they have received that a prisoner poses a risk of domestic violence or to a specific victim on release. That information should be provided to the police and, where appropriate, submitted to the multi-agency public protection panel, in line with routine risk management arrangements. In such cases, release on ECL should not take place until measures to address the risk have been put in place.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the number of people who were unable to vote in the 2008 London Mayoral election owing to their vote having been used fraudulently by another; and what steps he is taking to prevent such fraud. 
Bridget Prentice: The Greater London Authority was responsible for the conduct and running of the London Mayoral election in 2008. Their officials have confirmed that there is only one complaint that is currently being investigated by the Metropolitan Police. This relates to an alleged instance of someone voting twice. They are aware of no other instances where there is any reported suspicion of an elector being deprived of their vote by the action of another person.
The Government take the risk of electoral fraud extremely seriously and have taken significant steps to tighten up the security in relation to voting. Recent legislative changes include the use of personal identifiers by postal voters and new and increased penalties for those convicted of electoral fraud.
We are continuing to work closely with the Electoral Commission, police, political parties and returning officers to raise awareness and strengthen systems to ensure that fraud is detected and prosecuted.
Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many cases of tagged offenders (a) disarming their tags and (b) breaking curfews while tagged have been reported to police in each of the last three years; and how many resulted in prosecution; 
Mr. Straw: The electronic monitoring contractors are only required to report to the police breaches of curfew for those subject to court bail conditions under the Bail Act 1976. According to data provided by the contractors the number of breaches reported to the police in such cases, in the previous three financial years, is as follows:
|Cases of deliberate tag tampers (including removals)||Cases breached for other reasons||Bail curfew orders|
There has been a large increase in the number of bailed cases in the last three years, particularly since September 2005 when courts were encouraged to make greater use of curfew as a condition of adult bail (curfew as a bail condition for juveniles has been available since 2002). The large increase in the number of reported breaches reflects this.
While there has been a rise in the percentage of cases breached for other reasons, such as late back at the start of the curfew, the number of cases breached for tag tampers, as a percentage of bail curfews, fell from 11 per cent. in 2006-07 to 8 per cent. in 2007-08.
The figures include multiple breaches/tag tampers committed by tagged persons on bail and reported to the police. The system is designed to ensure that any attempt to remove a tag within the curfew address automatically registers as a tamper at the electronic monitoring service provider's control centre.
Mr. Wills: The United Kingdom will be in a position to accede to the seventh protocol when legislation to abolish or equalise three rules of matrimonial property law has been passed. We are seeking a suitable legislative vehicle in which to do so.
Mr. Wills: The Information Commissioner's office is an independent body created by statute. Its responsibilities include handling complaints made under the Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000, Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
The ICO also uses a public relations agency to provide a press office. A recent re-tendering exercise found that the estimated costs for setting up an in-house press office were higher than employing a public relations agency to do this work.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what discussions he had with the Electoral Commission
on the triggering proposals in the White Paper on party finance and expenditure before its publication. 
Bridget Prentice: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Mr. Straw) met with the chairman of and officials from the Electoral Commission prior to the White Paper's publication to discuss its content. Officials at the Ministry of Justice have also been in regular contact with counterparts at the Electoral Commission on a wide range of issues covered in the White Paper. Ministry of Justice officials are continuing to discuss implementation of the White Paper with the Electoral Commission.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether an impact assessment, including a small firms impact assessment, will be produced in relation to the proposals in the party finance and expenditure White Paper to assess the impact on (a) unincorporated associations and (b) political parties. 
Bridget Prentice: In developing proposals for reform of party finance and expenditure, my Department is conducting all necessary impact assessments in accordance with Government policy. These assessments will take into account any relevant impact on specific groups, including unincorporated associations and political parties.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) further to the publication of the party finance and expenditure White Paper, what his anticipated timetable is for the consultation by the Electoral Commission on the new trigger rules guidance; 
(2) further to page 45 of the party finance and expenditure White Paper, whether (a) his Department and (b) the Electoral Commission plans to consult on the definitions of election-influencing expenditure for the purpose of the new trigger rules; 
Bridget Prentice: Publication of the White Paper was intended to encourage discussion and comment on the future of party funding regulation and the specific proposals for legislation. Legislative proposals will be put before this House shortly. The Ministry of Justice does not propose consultation on the matters likely to constitute electoral purposes in the new regime. The Electoral Commission will be charged with publishing guidance. Any consultation that the Electoral Commission may wish to conduct before publishing guidance on this, or any other, topic is a matter for the Commission to decide.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether there will be transitional arrangements for the implementation of the new trigger rules proposed in the party finance and expenditure White Paper. 
Bridget Prentice: No decision has yet been taken as to the precise arrangements for implementation of the rules on triggering. Triggering will be the subject of legislation which will be brought forward shortly.
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