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8 July 2009 : Column 847W—continued

Disability Living Allowance

Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many appeals his Department has received against a refusal to award disability living allowance to a young person diagnosed with autism in each year since 2001. [284259]

Bridget Prentice: The First-tier Tribunal—Social Security and Child Support (SSCS) does not keep the information requested in a readily available format. This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The following disability living allowance data is available.

Total number of disability living allowance appeals

Number of appeals cleared at hearing

















Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what training members of appeals tribunals considering awards of disability living allowance receive in respect of issues affecting young people with autism. [284261]

Bridget Prentice: The First-tier Tribunal—Social Security and Child Support (SSCS) panels which hear disability living allowance appeals are composed of three members: a legally qualified member, a medically qualified member and a member with experience of disability issues.

All members of the disability living allowance panel attend refresher training once every three years. While this training is seldom specific to any particular age group or medical condition, it often involves consideration
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of case studies which deal with the type of physical and mental disability (including autism) which frequently present themselves at tribunals. The same considerations apply to the residential training for lawyers which all fee paid tribunal judges attend once every four years. Both these training sessions are mandatory.

All medically qualified panel members who hear disability living allowance appeals were invited to attend a one day training programme during the period 2005-07. The main focus of the training was on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autistic spectrum disorders, including issues affecting young children with autism. The take-up for this training was 87 per cent. and training material was also made available on the judicial website.

In addition, all members of the panel are issued with the Department for Work and Pensions Disability Handbook which has a chapter devoted to autism and Asperger syndrome.

Driving Offences: Fines

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average fine for a person convicted of an offence under section (a) 14(3) and (b) 41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988 was in the last 12 months. [283726]

Claire Ward: The average fine imposed at all courts for seat belt offences under sections 14 and 15 of the Road Traffic Act (RTA) 1988 in England and Wales, 2007 is shown in the following table. It is not possible to separately identify section 14 (3) from other offences in sections 14 and 15.

Section 41D of the RTA 1988, as added by the Road Safety Act 2006 S.26, which came into force February 2007, gave authority to existing regulations, under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, to make certain offences endorsable. The average fine imposed at all courts for these offences are also given in the table.

Court proceedings date for 2008 will be available in the autumn of 2009.

The average fine imposed at all courts for selected motoring offences( 1) , England and Wales, 2007( 2)
Offence description Average fine (£)

Seat belt offences


Use of hand held mobile phone while driving


Causing or permitting the use of a mobile phone while driving a motor vehicle


Using a mobile phone while supervising the holder of a provisional driving licence to drive a motor vehicle on the road


(1) Includes the following statute:
Road Traffic Act 1988 Sections 14(1), (2), (3), 15(1)(A), (2) & (4), & 15B
Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, R.110(1)(2)(3)
(2 )Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
Office for Criminal Justice Reform—Evidence and Analysis Unit.

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National Offender Management Service

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what the principal duties are of each director of offender management in England and Wales; and whether they have responsibility to supervise the activities of frontline probation services; [280179]

(2) how many directors of offender management have been appointed in England and Wales; how many staff are employed by each; what percentage of staff employed by each was previously employed (a) in HM Probation Service, (b) in HM Prison Service background and (c) elsewhere. [280180]

Maria Eagle: The principle duties of each director of offender management in England and Wales includes delivery of the departmental strategic objective of protecting the public and reducing reoffending through driving the effective integration of the work of all agencies in localities and across the region. While a key element of this work is to optimise the integration of the prison and the national probation service at local and regional levels, to protect the public, reduce reoffending and improve performance they are not directly responsible for the supervision of front-line probation as this is the responsibility of the probation chief officers via relevant probation boards or trusts.

There are 10 directors of offender management in post in England and Wales. The remaining region is currently being filled by an interim appointment.

Currently over 500 staff operate in the regional structure undertaking core work and delivery support work. Numbers in post vary from region to region depending on size and operational set up. The staff are predominantly Prison Service staff who were part of the former Service’s Area Office Support Network. The regional offender managers offices were a newer organisation with smaller numbers of staff, comprising of a mixture of Prison Service and national probation service secondees.

The information on exact percentages would incur disproportionate costs to obtain this as all of the DOMs would need to be contacted and they would then need to go further afield in order to obtain this information.

During the design phase of the regional restructure, it was recognised that to operate effectively, it is imperative that the newly created regional teams reflect and utilise the skills, competencies and experience from all parts of the agency and existing fast-track arrangements across the Ministry of Justice. Secondees will continue to be sought into the regional structure from probation to maintain the benefits of probation expertise in the regional offices.

National Probation Service for England and Wales

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether he plans to make an appointment to replace the post of Director of the National Probation Service. [283857]

Maria Eagle: Part of the restructuring of the National Offender Management Service is the appointment of 10 Directors of Offender Management (DOMs), one for each of the nine regions in England and one in Wales from 1 April this year (one is currently an interim
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appointment). The DOMs are from a wide range of backgrounds with extensive experience in all aspects of offender management.

The decision to devolve significant powers in offender management to a regional level has, inevitably, required a review of management functions at a national level. There are no longer distinct prisons and probation headquarters functions—the work is now performed by staff directly employed by the NOMS agency.

At the most senior level, these changes are exemplified by the creation of a new post with operational responsibility for both prisons and probation—the NOMS Chief Operating Officer. From 1 April this year, the Chief Operating Officer has taken responsibility for the previous functions of Prisons Director of Operations and Director of the National Probation Service. This post was filled following a full external competition supervised by the Civil Service Commissioner to ensure that the most suitable candidate was selected.

The post of Chief Operating Officer is much more than an amalgamation of senior posts in order to achieve efficiencies. The Chief Operating Officer's function is to ensure that the DOMs are delivering and to hold them accountable if they are not.

The DOMs will now undertake much of the work at a regional level that was previously conducted nationally by either the Director of the National Probation Service or the Director of Operations for the Prison Service.

As a result, there is no intention to reappoint another Director of the National Probation Service, just as there is no intention to reappoint another Director of Operations for the Prison Service.

Political Parties: Finance

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will bring forward legislative proposals to prohibit companies which have registered a trading loss from making donations to political parties. [284219]

Mr. Wills: The Government have no current plans to do so.

The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, and the Political Parties and Elections Bill which is before Parliament, require certain conditions to be satisfied in order for donors to be deemed permissible. Under the 2000 Act, for a company to be a permissible donor, it must be registered under the Companies Act 1985 or the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986, incorporated within the United Kingdom or another member state in the European Union, and must carry on business in the United Kingdom. A company which makes a trading loss in a given year is capable of satisfying this condition. The Electoral Commission offers additional guidance for political parties in receipt of donations from companies. The guidance states that where parties are in any doubt about the status of a company offering a donation, they should seek to obtain a signed statement from the registered director of the company or the company secretary confirming that they are carrying on business. A full copy of the commission’s guidance is available at:

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The Political Parties and Elections Bill contains measures to strengthen the controls on political donations—including those from companies—by requiring all donations over £7,500 to be accompanied by a declaration as to the identity of the true donor.

Probation: Essex

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average ratio of offenders to Probation Service staff in the Essex probation area was in each of the last five years. [283514]

Maria Eagle: The ratio of offenders supervised by Essex probation area to Essex probation staff as at 31 March each year is as follows. The ratio between the number of offenders and offender management staff only is also provided:

All staff : offenders Offender Management staff : offenders















The number of offenders includes some in custody who would be subject to probation supervision on release. Essex probation area restructured its staff grades in 2006 and introduced a split between offender managers and staff who undertook intervention work. Therefore it is not possible to provide the ratio between offender managers and offenders for 2005.

Probation: Finance

Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) when he expects to announce the re-adjusted funding formula for the Probation Service; [277745]

(2) what the re-adjusted funding formula is for the distribution of probation area budgets. [277746]

Maria Eagle: The funding formula for the distribution of probation area budgets remains in place, and the 2009-10 budget allocation process was based primarily on the 2008-09 outturns calculated using this formula.

In 2009-10, the National Probation Service is required to make efficiency savings of £20 million gross in line with the wider Ministry of Justice efficiency programme. But taking account of a £17 million underspend in 2008-09 the net saving will be £3 million. Allocating these savings requirements according to the traditional funding formula would have had a disproportionate impact on some areas. A number of additional factors were therefore taken into account including convictions data, current and past financial performance, externally verified savings potential, and the need to avoid radical budget shifts in any one area.

Final decisions on how to allocate probation area budgets for 2010-11 and subsequent years will not be finalised until there is a definitive budget for the service as a whole for those years.

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Probation: Wales

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average caseload for a probation officer working in Wales was on 31 December (a) 1997, (b) 2001 and (c) 2007. [283086]

Maria Eagle: The average case load for a probation officer working in Wales on 31 December 2007 was 28 cases.

Information on the average case load for 2001 and 1997 is not available for an all Wales perspective. Some of this information is no longer held, and would have been disposed of in accordance with the six-year retention limit specified by the Data Protection Act.

As follows is a table of the information that is available.

1997 2001 2007

North Wales



South Wales











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