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14 July 2009 : Column 251W—continued

Courts: Fines

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many courts accept fine payments by (a) credit and (b) debit card. [285268]

Mr. Straw: By the end of July all magistrate courts and their associated payment offices will be able to accept both debit and credit card payments. In addition there is a national internet site and telephone pay line through which card payments can be taken.

Departmental Contracts

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will make an assessment of the standard of service provided to his Department and its agencies by contractors appointed by reverse auction. [285221]

Claire Ward: Since the beginning to 2008 the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) have undertaken three reverse auctions as detailed in the following table.

Supplier Auction title Completed

Hamilton and Pollock

Polythene bags and sacks-Lot 1

February 2008

Hamilton and Pollock

Polythene bags and sacks-Lot 2

February 2008


Supply of frozen food stuffs

June 2009

All of the products provided by the two suppliers listed above are associated with food/catering services that are supplied for National Offender Management Service (NOMS). The polythene bags and sacks are supplied as light catering equipment for holding food stuff only.

The performance of both suppliers has been satisfactory with no disputes or reason to issue performance warnings during the post contact phase albeit the supply of frozen food is currently in implementation phase having only been awarded in the past four weeks.

Departmental Finance

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the capital budget for his Department and each of its agencies is in the next four years. [285271]

Mr. Straw: The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has a capital DEL budget of £768 million this year, as published in the 2009-10 Main Supply Estimates. This reflects MOJ'S CSR settlement with HM Treasury. Capital DEL budgets for individual MOJ agencies are contained in the following table:

14 July 2009 : Column 252W
To nearest £ million
Executive agency Published net capital DEL budget for 2009-10

National Offender Management Service (NOMS)


Her Majesty's Courts Service


Office of Public Guardian


Tribunals Service


MOJ other (includes NDPBs)


Departmental Unallocated capital Provision (DUP)




(1) MOJ currently has an official DUP for capital DEL which it intends to draw down formally in the supplementary round and forms part of NOMS expenditure plan.

As published in the 2007 Pre-Budget Report and Comprehensive Spending Review, the provisional capital DEL budget for 2010-11 is £733 million. This funding is yet to be allocated out across the Department and its agencies.

No capital budgets have been set beyond 2010-11 as this is dependent on the outcome of the next Spending Review.

Departmental Procurement

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what changes have been made to his Department's (a) office equipment and (b) stationery purchasing policy in the last six months. [285316]

Claire Ward: The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) have not altered any purchasing policies for the supply of office equipment (includes printers, photocopiers, facsimile, etc.) in the last six months.

With regard to the provision of stationery suppliers, the MOJ has recently conducted a mini-competition between Government framework suppliers to supply the total stationery requirement for the whole of MOJ. The mini-competition brought together the supply requirements for HM Prison Service, HM Courts Service and Tribunals Service which was identified as an ideal opportunity to rationalise the stationery product base and increase volume leverage for the benefit of the Ministry and the taxpayer.

Fraud: Essex

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many convictions for offences related to fraud in connection with property leases there were in (a) Essex and (b) Castle Point in each of the last five years. [285473]

Claire Ward: There is no specific offence of 'lease-related fraud'. If detected, a person committing such an activity is likely to be charged with a general fraud offence-for example, dishonestly making a false representation for gain under section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006 or, prior to commencement of the Fraud Act in January 2007, obtaining property by deception under section 15 of the Theft Act 1968.

The number of defendants found guilty of offences under section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006 and section 15 of the Theft Act 1968 in Essex police force area, for the years 2003 to 2007, is shown in the table. Information held by the Ministry of Justice Court Proceedings Database for the number of convictions for fraud offences cannot be broken down to constituency level. Nor is it possible to identify how many of those convicted of fraud were guilty of offences specifically relating to property leases.

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These data are provided on a principal offence basis. This means that where a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences, the offence selected is the one for which the heaviest penalty was imposed. Where the same sentence is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

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

N umber of defendants found guilty at all courts for offences of obtaining property by deception( 1) or fraud by false representation( 2) , in Essex police force area, 2003 - 07( 3,4)

Found guilty











(1) Includes the following statutes:
Theft Act 1968 Sec 15.
Fraud Act 2006 (repealed eight sections including S15 of the Theft Act 1968 and was implemented in January 2007).
(2) Fraud Act 2006 S.1(2a)(3)(4), and 2.
(3) These data are on the principal offence basis.
(4) 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 the courts, and 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.
OCJR-E&A: Office for Criminal Justice Reform-Evidence and Analysis Unit

Further Offence Inquiries

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many serious further offence inquiries were conducted in each year since 2001; and how many of those involved a person previously convicted of homicide. [285275]

Mr. Straw: The number of serious further offence reviews which were conducted in each year since 2001, together with the number of those involving a person under supervision for an index offence of homicide, is included in the following table. The table is based on cases that were recorded in the published annual Prison and Probation statistics and the Offender Management Caseload Statistics respectively.

The changes in serious further offence review numbers since 2001 are largely attributable to overall changes in the size and nature of the workload of the Probation Service over this period (from 145,000 in 2004 to 179,000 in 2008), action to address known under-reporting of serious further offences and the revisions to the serious further offence review procedures which took place in 2006. These revisions increased the number of cases requiring review by extending the number of stipulated offences that qualified for review. Prior to 2006, the review procedures stipulated nine named offences which qualified for review; thereafter, there were 74.

The data cover index offences of homicide only since 2006-07, as these are the data that NOMS holds on its electronic database, and obtaining further details would involve manual trawling of individual reviews which would incur delay and large cost.

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Of the 16 offenders in the table with an index offence for a homicide offence, two were subsequently charged with and convicted of a homicide offence. 2 offenders died shortly after the serious further offence and prior to any charge being brought.

Serious further offence reviews Offenders with index offence-homicide






















(1) Four murders one manslaughter two deaths by dangerous driving
(2) Five murders three manslaughters one death by dangerous driving
Up until 2003, serious further offence statistics were compiled on a calendar year basis, and thereafter on a business year basis.

Legal Aid Scheme: Finance

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what expenditure his Department incurred on (a) the legal aid 60 years exhibition and (b) other commemorative events associated with the 60th anniversary of legal aid. [285260]

Mr. Straw: The aim of the 60th anniversary of legal aid exhibition and related media work is to improve people's awareness and knowledge of legal aid services. The Ministry of Justice supported the launch of the 60th anniversary of legal aid exhibition at a cost of just under £900. The LSC has spent just under £40,000 on producing the material for the exhibition (in English and Welsh) and paying for the host venues across the country throughout 2009, including costs for transportation and hosting media events. To date (8 July 2009) the LSC has spent just under £4,000 on supporting other commemorative events associated with the 60th anniversary of legal aid.

Legal Aid: Finance

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what expenditure his Department incurred in legal aid payments in respect of family proceedings in each year since 1997. [285267]

Mr. Straw: Gross payments in family proceedings are shown in the following table. Finalised figures for 2008-09 are not yet available.

Bills paid (£ million)

























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Legal Aid: North West

Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many solicitors' offices provided legal aid to clients in each local authority area in the North West in relation to (a) civil and (b) criminal cases in each of the last three years; [285371]

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of firms of solicitors in the North West which have ceased providing legal services to clients who require legal aid for (a) civil and (b) criminal cases in each of the last three years. [285372]

Bridget Prentice: The information is being collated by the Legal Services Commission. I will write to the hon. Member when the information is available.

Legal Services Commission: Research

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will place in the Library a copy of the results of the research commissioned by the Legal Services Commission on legal visits to prisons. [285270]

Mr. Straw: The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has not commissioned formal research into legal visits to prisons.

Nevertheless, the LSC does undertake online surveys from time to time to obtain information and views from legal aid providers on specific topics. In late 2008, it conducted an online survey inviting solicitors' firms to provide views on the application of good practice guidance on prison legal visits issued in 2007 by the Ministry of Justice and the LSC. The survey covered areas such as legal practitioners' experience of booking prison visits and use of video links for consultations with clients. This exercise has informed work by the LSC at a local level, including a project which aims to increase use of video links by criminal justice partners within the Northumbria area. The LSC has not published the survey results but intends to place a summary on its website by the end of July. A copy will be placed in the House Libraries.

In February 2009, the LSC published a consultation on reform of prison law work, including proposals to increase control on costs. The LSC will publish a consultation response shortly.

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