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3 Jun 2009 : Column 526W—continued

State Visits: Republic of Ireland

Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of each visit to Northern Ireland by the President of the Irish Republic in each of the last three years. [276771]

Paul Goggins: As with all VIP visits, the cost to the public purse has not been calculated. To supply such figures could be done only at disproportionate cost.


Arrest Warrants

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what implications there are for his Department of proposed changes under Council Framework Decision 2009/299/JHA to trial absences before the issue of a European arrest warrant. [277090]

Maria Eagle: The UK welcomes this framework decision, since it will ensure that there is consistency and clarity throughout Europe regarding the circumstances in which a European arrest warrant should be executed, where the person has been tried in their absence. It will not require us to change our law regarding when a trial may proceed in a person’s absence. In operational terms, when it has come into force we will need to ensure that our authorities are using the revised European arrest warrant form. This will be picked up in the implementation phase of the framework decision when this Department will work alongside colleagues in the Home Office and others, including the judiciary and devolved Administrations on detailed aspects of implementation.

I do not believe that the Council framework decision on trials in absentia will have significant implications for my Department. It will ensure that our authorities can be satisfied that a person is only being sent back to another MS following a trial in their absence in appropriate circumstances.

Bail Accommodation and Support Service: Billericay

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans ClearSprings Management Ltd has to operate a Bail Accommodation and Support Service property in Billericay constituency. [274605]

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Mr. Hanson: The East of England Director of Offender Management has identified a need for a further three bed spaces for this service in Essex to allow defendants and offenders on Home Detention Curfew requiring accommodation in Essex to return to their home area. Should ClearSprings acquire a property for this service in the hon. Member’s constituency of Billericay I will write and advise him.

Departmental Art Works

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much his Department has spent on artwork since November 2008. [276476]

Mr. Straw: Since November 2008 there has been no expenditure on artwork incurred by the Ministry of Justice HQ, the Office of the Public Guardian, or the National Offender Management Service.

Artwork expenditure is not a separately identifiable category for HM Courts Service and the Tribunals Service. However, neither agency has commissioned any new artwork since November 2008.

Departmental Dismissal

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many members of staff in his Department and its agencies were dismissed (a) for under-performance and (b) in total in each of the last 10 years. [274308]

Mr. Straw: The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) was formed in 2007. To collate such data for the Ministry's predecessor Departments and their agencies would incur disproportionate costs. Data from this date onwards are provided in the following table.

Dismissals for under-performance Total dismissals Number of MOJ employees









Departmental Marketing

Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much has been spent by his Department on advertising in weekly and regional newspapers since its inception. [277151]

Maria Eagle: The Ministry of Justice does not record information centrally at a level of detail that would allow for the specific identification of advertising expenditure in weekly and local newspapers. Such information is held locally by courts, prisons and probation boards throughout England and Wales and could be collated only at disproportionate cost. The vast majority of advertising expenditure incurred by the Ministry, however, relates to staff recruitment.

Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what definition his Department uses of (a) a private estate and (b) a statutory perpetual trust in relation to the status of the Duchies of (i) Cornwall and (ii) Lancaster; [275541]

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(2) whether estates other than the Duchy of Cornwall receive bona vacantia properties. [275960]

Bridget Prentice: In England and Wales, property which is bona vacantia is ownerless property that passes to the Crown by law. It devolves to the Crown, the Duchy of Cornwall or the Duchy of Lancaster depending on where the last private owner was domiciled when they died or in the case of a dissolved company where the registered office and the asset were located. It is administered by the Treasury Solicitor on behalf of the Crown and by the solicitors acting on behalf of the Duchy of Cornwall or Lancaster respectively.

In general terms, the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster are private estates in that they belong to the heir apparent and the monarch respectively in their private capacities. The term “private estates” is, however, defined in several statutes including the Crown Private Estates Acts 1800, 1862 and 1873 and the Crown Lands Act 1823. The meaning of the term in this context is governed by the relevant statute.

I am not aware that my Department has used the term “statutory perpetual trust” to define the status of the Duchies. Nor is the term used in statute to describe them.

Economic and Monetary Union

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what activities have been undertaken by his Department's Euro Minister in that capacity. [277173]

Mr. Wills: Euro Ministers are responsible for Euro preparations in their Department and attend Euro Ministers’ Steering Group meetings. Meetings are held only when necessary to discuss practical preparations to ensure a smooth changeover. The Government’s policy towards membership of the single currency has not changed.

Legal Aid

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the effect on levels of local government expenditure of his decision to reduce the budget for family legal aid. [274732]

Bridget Prentice: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave him on 20 May 2009, Official Report, columns 1445-1446W. We have not reduced the family legal aid budget. The consultation document, ‘Family Legal Aid Funding from 2010’, published by my Department and the Legal Services Commission, set out proposals aimed at maintaining legal aid expenditure at 2007-08 levels. The LSC and MOJ have discussed these proposals with a wide range of stakeholders, including the Local Government Association. The LSC has also received responses from a number of councils, which are being considered along with all the other responses received. We do not believe that these proposals would have a material impact on local government expenditure, and a full impact assessment will be published alongside the final proposals.

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David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many offenders had their parole revoked in the latest year for which figures are available; and what the length of time between revocation and reception into prison was in each such case; [277278]

(2) what the average length of time between revocation of parole and reception into prison was in the latest year for which figures are available. [277279]

Mr. Straw: We are currently collating information in this area and will publish that information shortly. I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Prison Accommodation

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many new prison places were provided in (a) 2008 and (b) 2009 to date. [277256]

Mr. Hanson: 2,501 new prison places were provided in 2008 in England and Wales. To date in 2009 a further 522 new places have been delivered.

Figures include new build places and those provided through conversions of existing buildings to accommodation use. Places provided through other measures such as cell reclaims are excluded.

Prisoners: Self-harm

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many (a) British and (b) foreign national prisoners committed acts of self-harm in prison in each year since 1997; [274144]

(2) how many and what proportion of self-harm incidents in prisons in England and Wales were committed by (a) foreign national prisoners and (b) foreign national prisoners held beyond the expiration of their sentence in each of the last five years. [274145]

Mr. Straw: The National Offender Management Service, (NOMS), has a broad, integrated and evidence-based prisoner suicide prevention and self-harm management strategy that seeks to reduce the distress of all those in prison. This encompasses a wide spectrum of Prison and Department of Health work around such issues as mental health, substance misuse and resettlement. Any prisoner identified as at risk of suicide or self-harm is cared for using the Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork (ACCT) procedures, a prisoner-focused care planning system for those at risk, which has helped prisons manage self-harm. Most self-harm is not directly life-threatening, but nevertheless can be extremely distressing for those who have to deal with it. There are no easy answers to preventing self-harming behaviour but we remain committed to finding ways to manage it.

Information on the total numbers of self-harm incidents is not available for the full time period requested (see table note). The following table details the estimated number of individuals who self-harmed from 2004 by type of nationality.

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Nationality type 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

EEA—foreign nationals






Non-EEA—foreign nationals






UK nationals












We do not specifically record whether foreign national prisoners died beyond the date that their sentence was due to expire. The numbers and proportions of self-harm incidents committed by foreign national prisoners in each of the last five years are detailed in the following table.

Nationality type 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

No. % No. % No. % No. % No. %

EEA—foreign nationals











Non-EEA—foreign nationals






















No. = incidents
1. The NOMS incident reporting system processes high volumes of data which are constantly being updated. A new system for recording self-harm was introduced in December 2002 and as a result recording improved throughout 2003. Numbers since 2004 are, therefore, not comparable with those collected previously.
2. Figures are approximate numbers of individuals, based on incidents of self-harm where the prisoner number was recorded.
3. The data are drawn from the prison administrative IT systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system. Nevertheless, the system provides a sensible indication of the numbers of incidents and individuals who self-harm but the numbers should not be treated as absolute.
4. Self-harm incidents are as reported on the NOMS incident reporting system. Due to transition between computer systems the numbers currently exclude a small proportion collected on the new NOMIS system..

Prisons: Dagenham

Jon Cruddas: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of assessing bids for the construction contract for Beam Park West prison. [277472]

Mr. Straw: It is intended that the new prison at Beam Park West will be designed built and operated by the private or third sector. Therefore the evaluation of bidders’ proposals will include evaluation of proposals for both the construction of the prison and the operation of the prison. The administrative costs to manage the whole procurement process, including the evaluation of bids, are included in the overall budget estimate for the new prisons but have not been broken out specifically into separate evaluation elements.

Jon Cruddas: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the average weekly number of vehicles which will require access to and from the Beam Park West site once the proposed prison is operating at capacity. [277473]

Mr. Straw: No assessment of this has yet been made. However, as required by the local planning authority, an environmental impact assessment will be undertaken and submitted as part of the planning application.

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