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Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Solicitor- General (1) how many (a) special advisers and (b) press officers have been employed by the Attorney-General's Office in each year since 1997-98; and at what cost in each year; 
|Number of press officers||Costs in (£s)|
Records prior to 2000 could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Solicitor General how much (a) the Attorney-General's Office and (b) each of its agencies and non-departmental public bodies spent on (i) publicity and (ii) advertising in each year since 1997-98; and if she will make a statement. 
|Advertising Costs AGO|
|(1) Accounting records are held back to 1998-99; the costs of providing this information prior to this would be disproportionate.|
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Solicitor-General what the remit is of each non-departmental public body sponsored by her Department; and what budget each has been set for (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10 and (c) 2010-11. 
The Solicitor-General [holding answer 23 October 2008]: Serious Fraud Office and Fraud Prosecution Service decisions on whether or not to prosecute an offence, of any kind, are taken in accordance with the principles set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors, issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions under Section 10 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985.
Cases must meet one or more of the following criteria: the allegations involve a loss, or risk of loss more than £750,000 for the Fraud Prosecution Service or in excess of £1 million for the Serious Fraud Office; there is a national publicity and/or widespread public concern; highly specialised knowledge is required; a significant element of the case involves inquiries in a foreign jurisdiction.
Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Solicitor-General what the respective responsibilities are of the (a) Serious Fraud Office and (b) Fraud Prosecution Service; and what arrangements are in place to ensure effective liaison between the two organisations. 
The Solicitor-General: The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) both investigates and prosecutes the most serious or complex cases involving fraud or corruption. This dual function makes the SFO unique among the UKs counter-fraud and counter-corruption agencies.
The Serious Fraud Office and the Fraud Prosecution Service have regular liaison at senior management level, and generic and specific issues arising from the investigation and prosecution of fraud cases are formally raised at the Joint Vetting Committee to ensure the effective and appropriate disposal of fraud allegations.
David Simpson: To ask the Solicitor-General how many staff in her Department did not achieve an acceptable assessment grade in their annual report in the latest reporting year for which figures are available. 
The Solicitor-General: In the last reporting period the Crown Prosecution Service issued six Performance Improvement Notices. For the other Law Officers Departments (Attorney General's Office, Treasury Solicitor's Department, HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, Serious Fraud Office and Revenue Customs and Prosecutions Office) there have been less than five members of staff that did not achieve an acceptable assessment grade.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Solicitor-General how much the Attorney-Generals Office has spent on (a) focus groups and (b) opinion polls in each year since 1997-98; how much she estimates will be spent on each category in 2008-09; and if she will make a statement. 
David Simpson: To ask the Solicitor-General how many complaints of racial abuse relating to staff for which the Law Offices' Departments are responsible have been (a) investigated and (b) upheld in the last 12 months. 
The Solicitor-General: There have been less than five racial abuse complaints relating to staff in the Law Officer's Departments in the last 12 months, therefore this information cannot be provided on grounds of confidentiality.
Dan Rogerson: To ask the Solicitor-General whether any Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigations, apart from that into BAe, have been discontinued by the Head of the SFO following receipt of advice from the Attorney-General in the last five years. 
The Solicitor-General: Under section 1(2) of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 the Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) discharges his functions under the superintendence of the Attorney-General, who in turn is accountable to Parliament. As part of that relationship the Director may consult the Attorney-General, including about sensitive or difficult cases. The Attorney-General has never sought to direct the Director to take any particular decision.
In all cases, the decision whether or not to proceed with an investigation or prosecution (including the decision to discontinue the investigation into the affairs of BAE Systems plc in so far as they related to the Al-Yamamah defence contract) has been taken by the director of the SFO, and not by the Attorney-General.
Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Solicitor-General what support and services the Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Richard Alderman, has provided to the Fraud Prosecution Service (FPS) in his role as an external consultant since the FPS was established; and if she will make a statement. 
The Solicitor-General: Richard Alderman has never acted as a consultant to the Fraud Prosecution Service (FPS). He was however very happy to contribute to Her Majestys Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorates review of the FPS and was accordingly interviewed by a member of the review team.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Leader of the House pursuant to the answer of 5 November 2008, Official Report, column 461W, on Members: allowances (1) in which circumstances hon. Members may (a) carry forward an unspent balance and (b) ask for an advance in respect of the communication allowance; 
(2) whether the (a) carry forward and (b) advance provisions apply to expenditure transferred in to the communications allowance from (i) incidental expenses provision and (ii) the staffing allowance. 
Chris Bryant: The Green Book rules allow hon. Members some flexibility to transfer funds between years in respect of the communications allowance, the incidental expenses provision and the staffing allowance.
Nine requests to carry forward funds from the communications allowance from 2007-08 to 2008-09 were agreed by the Department of Resources. Eight of these were related to difficulties with contractor delivery or invoicing as the financial year came to an end. One case concerned a Member who was unavoidably absent and was unable to complete a project within the year. No Member has requested an advance of funds from a prospective financial year.
The Department of Resources would consider on its merits a request to transfer of funds from the communications allowance to a new financial year if the Member had previously transferred another allowance into the communications allowance.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Leader of the House pursuant to the answer of 5 November 2008, Official Report, column 461W, on Members: allowances, whether hon. Members are able to spend the communications allowance during the period once a general election has been announced but Parliament has not yet been dissolved. 
Chris Bryant: Members can only incur costs against the Communications Allowance for the period prior to the Dissolution of the House. The rules for the use of allowances around the time of a general election are set out in the booklet General Election Arrangements: Rules for Members. This states that
Claims from the Communications Allowance which relate to the period after the date the House is dissolved will not be met. Entitlement to the allowances recommences on the day after polling day for returned Members. The use of such resources is prohibited during the dissolution.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Leader of the House pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Bassetlaw, 13 October 2008, Official Report, columns 846-47W, on the parliamentary resources unit, how much has been paid to the Trades Union Party Liaison Organisation through the Department of Resources and its predecessors in each year since 2003-04. 
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