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12 Nov 2008 : Column 1161W—continued


John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the reconviction rate was for offenders attending accredited programmes in (a) the community and (b) prisons in the latest period for which information is available. [234147]

Mr. Hanson: There are positive indications that accredited programmes may be effective in reducing re-offending for offenders in the community. The re-offending rate for all offenders who had undertaken interventions was 55 per cent., based on a two-year reconviction rate. Programme completers did statistically significantly better than those who did not start or who dropped out of programmes. The rates were 38 per cent., 61 per cent. and 64 per cent. respectively.

A recent prison-based study showed that the one-year reconviction rate for both adult men and young offenders who had completed enhanced thinking skills (ETS) and
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reasoning and rehabilitation (R+R) interventions in prison represented a positive 2.5 percentage points difference in reconviction for adult male completers (17.0 per cent. vs. 19.5 per cent.) and a 4.1 percentage point difference for young offender completers (31.4 per cent. vs. 35.5 per cent.) compared to matched comparison groups. There was no difference in reconviction rates between programme starters and comparison groups. See tables 3 and 4:

Whitemoor Prison

Mr. Moss: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what representations the governor of HMP Whitemoor has received on staff morale in the last three months. [234019]

Mr. Malik: No representations have been received on staff morale in the last three months by the governor of Whitemoor.

Whitemoor Prison: Islam

Mr. Moss: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what arrangements there are for (a) searching and (b) questioning those visiting Muslim prisoners at HMP Whitemoor. [234018]

Mr. Malik: All visitors to Whitemoor are searched on entering the prison to ensure that unauthorised items are not being brought in. In conducting searches, staff are aware of religious and cultural issues and make special arrangements to accommodate these, while not compromising security. All visitors are required to confirm their identity.

Mr. Moss: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what arrangements are in place for the accommodation of Muslim prisoners at HMP Whitemoor; and what the policy of HM Prison Service is on accommodating Muslim prisoners in specific wings of the prison. [234116]

Mr. Malik: The allocation of prisoners at Whitemoor follows a careful risk assessment, taking into account individual needs, matters such as safety and security, as well as the availability of accommodation. Prison Service policy is for prisoners to be allocated to prisons appropriate to their security category; safety and security; individual needs in respect of sentence planning; as well as taking into account matters such as the continuation of family contact. It is not policy to locate prisoners in particular prisons or any part of a prison on the grounds of religion.


Olympic Games 2012: Contracts

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what the procedure is for allocating landscaping contracts for the Olympic games 2012 site. [234861]

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Tessa Jowell: Landscaping contracts are the responsibility of the Olympic Delivery Authority and are awarded following a competitive tendering process. The Authority is a public body whose procurements are subject to the Public Contracts Regulations.

Olympic Games 2012: Health

Mike Penning: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what research she has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on schemes to ensure a legacy of health improvement from the London 2012 Olympic games. [233435]

Tessa Jowell: An assessment of the potential health benefits of staging the 2012 Games in London was carried out in 2004 on behalf of the London Health Commission and the London Sustainable Development commission. The report is available at

I am arranging for the report to be deposited in the Libraries of the House.

The Department of Health regional teams have commissioned Canterbury Christ Church university to conduct a systematic review to assess the potential for the games to improve public health. Findings from the research will inform the development of the wider health legacy.


Departmental Conditions of Employment

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of those working in his Department (a) are on a flexible working contract, (b) are on a job share employment contract and (c) work from home for more than four hours a week. [233853]

Ann McKechin: All staff in the Scotland Office are on loan from the Scottish Executive or the Ministry of Justice. Any member of staff can request a change to their working pattern and line managers consider requests in line with the policy and guidance of the parent Department.

Staff below the senior civil service (94 per cent.) can work to a flexi-time agreement and local records are kept of hours worked; 6 per cent. of all staff work part-time; and 6 per cent. work compressed hours. No staff work on job share or work from home for more than four hours per week.

Departmental ICT

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many (a) memory sticks, (b) laptop computers, (c) desktop computers, (d) hard drives and (e) mobile telephones were (i) lost by and (ii) stolen from his Department in each year since 1997. [234081]

Ann McKechin: The Scotland Office was established on 1 July 1999. The Office has no recorded losses of memory sticks, hard drives or desktop computers; the following have been reported as lost or stolen:

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Item Lost Stolen









Mobile Phone










Mobile Phone






Departmental Procurement

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what proportion of invoices for goods and services procured from small and medium-sized businesses were paid within 30 days of receipt by (a) his Department and (b) the agencies for which his Department is responsible in 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. [226493]

Ann McKechin: The Scotland Office is unable to distinguish between different sizes of business in the payment records; the size of a business does not influence the payment process. As indicated in its annual report, in 2007-08, the Office paid 99.53 per cent. of its invoices within 30 days. The Office welcomes the recent announcement by the Prime Minister that the Government should aim to pay invoices within 10 days and is working towards this target.


Members: Correspondence

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Solicitor-General when the Attorney-General plans to respond to the letter of 26 August 2008 from the hon. Member for Lancaster and Wyre on threat assessment documents allegedly left on a train. [235195]

The Solicitor-General: A reply was sent to the hon. Member on 6 November 2008.

Women and Equality

Departmental Internet

Mrs. May: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality for which Government websites the Government’s Equalities Office is responsible; how many visitors each received in the last period for which figures are available; and what the cost of maintaining each site was in that period. [235044]

Maria Eagle: The Government Equalities Office is responsible for one website:

Since January 2008, it has received a total of 22,783 unique visitors. The cost of maintaining this site since January was £891.83, which includes web hosting and design changes.

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Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what guidance he has issued to National Air Traffic Services on the use of continuous descent approach (CDA) for aircraft landing at (a) Heathrow and (b) all designated UK airports, with regard to (i) the distance from the airport at which CDA begins and (ii) the altitude at which CDA begins; [231710]

(2) what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of aircraft using the continuous descent approach at (a) Heathrow and (b) all designated UK airports in each of the last four years; [231711]

(3) what assessment his Department has made of the use of the continuous descent approach (CDA) at (a) Heathrow and (b) all designated UK airports, with particular reference to (i) the distance from the airport at which CDA begins and (ii) the altitude at which CDA begins. [231755]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Aircraft landing at Heathrow have been required for a number of years, wherever practicable, to operate a continuous descent approach (CDA).

This is in line with the Government's policy of encouraging, together with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and NATS, the use of CDA, where airspace and safety considerations allow. The procedure seeks to reduce the noise of arriving aircraft by ensuring that aircraft remain as high as possible for as long as possible and that segments of level flight during descent, which increase engine noise, are avoided. Guidance in the form of an arrivals code of practice on the use of CDA, developed in partnership with the industry, was originally issued in February 2002. This guidance has been kept under review and a revised code was published in November 2006. The code can be accessed on the departmental website at:

The original focus of the arrivals code was to promote CDA at the three London designated airports (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted). Following the successful implementation of the code at these airports, the code has been used by NATS as a basis to promote and encourage greater use of CDA at other airports nationally and internationally. However it has to be acknowledged that local operational circumstances and restraints can vary from airport to airport. CDAs are agreed by air traffic controllers and pilots on a flight-by-flight basis, according to weather and traffic conditions. In all cases, NATS' overriding consideration is the safe and efficient operation of air traffic control (ATC) operations.

CDA performance and developments are monitored. Reports are regularly presented for review by the consultative and technical sub-committees at the three London designated airports Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. Current CDA performance consistently averages 80 per cent. throughout the 24-hour period of operation.

Aviation: Excise Duties

Ian Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of the impact on the number of flights using UK airports following the introduction of aviation duty. [232254]

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Angela Eagle: I have been asked to reply.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friends, the Members for Manchester, Blackley (Graham Stringer) and for Derby, North (Mr. Laxton) and to the hon. Member for Manchester, Withington (Mr. Leech) on 27 October 2008, Official Report, column 789W.


Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what evidence his Department has received on the incidence of bacterial contamination in biodiesel road transport fuels; if he will revise the renewable transport fuels obligation in the light of any evidence received; and if he will make a statement; [230009]

(2) what research his Department is carrying out into bacterial contamination of biodiesel fuels; and if he will make a statement; [230010]

(3) what advice his Department has issued, and to whom, on the prevention of bacterial contamination in biodiesel fuels. [230011]

Jim Fitzpatrick: It is well known that there is a greater tendency for bacterial growth in biodiesel compared to fossil diesel. Fuel suppliers are well aware of this issue and the importance of maintaining good housekeeping practices, such as the cleaning of fuel storage tanks and the use of bacterial growth inhibiting additives. The Department has not seen any evidence that bacterial growth is, in practice, creating fuel quality problems in the UK. The petroleum industry itself would have conducted the original research to develop effective additives and best housekeeping practice, and promulgates advice on this topic.

Birmingham International Airport

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has plans for the extension of the main runway at Birmingham International Airport to enable it to accommodate landing and take-off of Boeing 747s. [234825]

Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 11 November 2008]: Birmingham International Airport submitted in January this year a planning application for a 405 metre extension to the existing runway, which would enable the airport to handle larger aircraft and access to more long haul destinations, including West Coast USA and the Far East.

The application is currently being considered by Solihull metropolitan borough council. Department for Transport Ministers have a quasi-judicial role in the planning process with regard to transport-related applications raised on appeal. It could, therefore, be prejudicial to comment on matters that are subject to a planning application and may come before a planning inquiry.

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