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Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) with reference to the answer of 17 November 2008, Official Report, House of Lords, column 166WA, on Government departments: public relations, for what reasons his Departments communications staff were not used to mount the campaign to increase public awareness of the Mental Capacity Act; 
(2) with reference to the answer to the right hon. Member for Devizes of 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1670-71W, on departmental public relations, which external public relations consultancies received a portion of the £290,476 referred to; how much each received; and for what purpose the payment was made in each case; 
(3) with reference to the answer to the right hon. Member for Devizes of 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1670-1W, on departmental public relations, on which public relations consultancies the expenditure was incurred; how much was spent on each; and for what purpose. 
The campaign to increase public awareness of the Mental Capacity Act was devised by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) with advice and professional support from Ministry of Justices
Communications Directorate. The campaign was national in scope but needed to be targeted to reach particular people and organisations for which the Mental Capacity Act would have an impact and provide benefits. An external agency was used as the resource did not exist in the OPG, and the MOJ Communications Directorate could not dedicate sufficient resource to run such a campaign. Procuring an external agency to deliver the time-limited campaign also meant that the OPG did not have to hire extra staff and so exceed headcount limits.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department has taken in response to the findings of HM Chief Inspector of Prisons in April 2005 that HM Prison Rye Hill was at that time an unsafe and unstable environment, both for prisoners and staff. 
Mr. Malik: A Rectification Notice was issued against the contractor for Rye Hill, GSL, on 2 August 2007 to address shortcomings in performance across six key areas. Significant progress has been made by the contractor to remedy the failings identified by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons. The Rectification Notice was removed in November 2008. This followed a review meeting that considered the prison had improved its performance sufficiently to justify such action.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many domestic dwellings have been sold at a value of between £125,000 and £175,000 according to records held by the Land Registry since the temporary increase in the stamp duty threshold. 
Mr. Wills: The Land Registrys latest figures cover the period since the introduction of the temporary increase in the threshold for stamp duty, until the end of December 2008. There were 32,985 domestic dwellings sold at a value between £125,000 and £175,000 during this period.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many domestic property transactions there were according to Land Registry data in each local authority in England and Wales in each year since 1997-98. 
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the adequacy of staffing levels in the Information Commissioner's Office to deal with enquiries from the public and hon. Members effectively. 
Mr. Straw: The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is funded by a combination of grant in aid from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to pay for its freedom of information activities and notification fees paid direct to the ICO by data controllers to fund its data protection work. The Information Commissioner is independent of Government.
The MOJ and the ICO regularly review the funding allocated to the Office. In response to business cases made by the ICO, the MOJ has provided the ICO with additional grant in aid above its original baseline for this financial year and the previous three for freedom of information work. Figures are set out in the following table.
The MOJ has made clear that additional funding must result in increased productivity and efficiency. The ICO has reviewed its internal processes and has adopted new procedures to drive performance improvements. During quarter three, the ICO closed 11 per cent. more cases than in the equivalent quarter in the last financial year.
In the current financial year, the MOJ additional grant amounted to £500,000, on top of its £5 million baseline. The MOJ has also promoted a secondment scheme to assist the ICO with its freedom of information casework. Currently, six civil servants are seconded to the ICO, paid for by their respective Government Departments.
Legislation is before Parliament to provide tiered notification fees for data protection payable to the ICO. This will increase the ICOs funding in line with the Information Commissioner's estimate of the cost of meeting both his existing and proposed new statutory data protection responsibilities.
|Grant in aid allocated to ICO for freedom of information work|
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much funding his Department has authorised the Legal Services Commission to provide for legal advice and representation for Travellers through the exceptional funding scheme in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09; and in respect of which planning inquiries such funding was drawn upon in each year. 
Mr. Malik: The Ministry of Justice has authorised the Legal Services Commission (LSC) to grant funding, through the exceptional funding scheme, for gypsies and travellers to be represented at planning inquiries amounting to: £33,496.22 in the financial year 2007-08, and £13,958.69 (to date) in the financial year 2008-09. The final amounts paid may have varied slightly from the figures aforementioned as the LSC can adjust the grant if necessary (for example if the hearing is longer, or shorter, than expected).
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much funding the Legal Services Commission allocated to the Community Law Partnership to provide legal advice for Travellers in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09. 
In 2007-08 the contract for this helpline was worth £56,540 excluding VAT. In 2008-09 the contract for this helpline was worth £61,680 excluding VAT. The Gypsy and Travellers telephone helpline receives funding each year contingent upon the Community Law Partnership delivering their contracted 1,100 hours in 2007-08 and 1,200 hours in 2008-09.
The Community Law Partnership also has a contract with the LSC to deliver services in legal categories including housing, welfare benefits and community care law. That contract is for legal help and does not include representation in court. The LSC is unable to say how much of this funding has been provided to Travellers because it does not hold information to indicate whether clients follow any particular lifestyle.
The Offenders Index holds data on court appearances in England and Wales since 1963. We cannot give a reliable figure for the total number of offenders included as we no longer use the database,
except for analysis of selected cohorts. The Offenders Index was formerly used to provide estimates of reoffending rates, but since 2005, the Department has used data from the Police National Computer to provide its published figures on reoffending.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the maximum amount is that police forces may charge for the provision of meals to prisoners held overnight in police cells under Operation Safeguard. 
Mr. Straw: Under an agreement between NOMS and ACPO, the police are able to charge up to £12 for the provision of meals for a 24 hour period or part 24 hour period (this may be exceeded under exceptional circumstances).
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether the workplace parking charges being introduced by Nottingham City Council will be required to be paid in whole or in part by staff in (a) Land Registry and (b) Legal Services Commission offices located within the workplace parking charge zone. 
Mr. Wills: Until a firm decision has been made as to whether the Workplace Parking Levy scheme in Nottingham is to be introduced and full details made available, neither Land Registry or the Legal Services Commission will be in a position to consider whether the parking charges introduced by the scheme will be passed on in full or in part to their staff at their Nottingham offices.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many cases of prisoners being held in short-term police custody cells owing to insufficient prison capacity there have been in each of the last five years; 
Mr. Straw: Operation Safeguard is the formal agreement between the National Offender Management Service and the Association of Chief Police Officers to hold prisoners in police cells at times of very high population pressure.
Operation Safeguard was activated between 12 October and 22 December 2006 and again from 16 January 2007 to 31 October 2008. The table covers these periods and gives the aggregate total of the number of prisoner nights in which a police cell was used during each year shown. It is not possible to ascertain how many individual prisoners these totals cover.
|Aggregate number of prisoner nights in police cells|
Mr. Hanson: Information on the number of prison officers and associated grades, and other staff within the Prison Service of England and Wales is contained in the following table. The figures include staff working in headquarters.
|Prison Service Staffing (Public and Private Sectors) 2004-08|
|As at 31 December each year||Officer and operational support grades||Other staff||Total SIP|
1. Includes prison officers, senior officers, principal officers and operational support grades in public sector Prison Service and prison custody officers and Senior Prison Custody Officers within private establishments.
2. Figures are on a headcount basis.
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