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Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent progress has been made towards ratifying the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Wills: The International Convention will be an important tool for preventing enforced disappearance and secret detention in the future. The UK was active throughout the negotiations to draft the convention, and we supported its adoption last year at both the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly.
The Government have therefore been conducting a detailed analysis of the provisions of the convention. This has included analysis of the need to replicate common law provisions in statute law and to create one or more specific new criminal offences, as well as consideration of the need for any reservations or declarations upon ratification. It is now clear that a potentially substantial volume of primary legislation will be necessary to give effect to certain provisions of the convention before the United Kingdom can ratify it. Given that this will require preparation and then parliamentary time, it is not currently possible to set a timetable.
Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many applications for legal aid from residents in (a) Bexleyheath and Crayford and (b) the London Borough of Bexley were granted in each of the last three years. 
The Legal Services Commission (LSC) does not record the grant of legal aid by constituency or borough. The following tables show the numbers
granted in the areas requested, based on providers within the following postcodes covering those areas.
Bexleyheath-DA6 and DA7
LB Bexley-DAI, DA5, DA6, DA7, DA8, DA14, DA15, DA16, DA17, DA18
|Table 1: Instances of civil legal help reported by providers (excluding matters started under the community legal advice telephone advice scheme)|
|Financial year||Area||New matter starts|
|Table 2: Civil representation certificates granted by the LSC|
Bridget Prentice: The Legal Services Commission (LSC) published a response to consultation on Best Value Tendering (BVT) of criminal defence services on 20 July 2009 and a copy has been placed in the House Library. The response sets out the LSC's intention to pilot BVT in Greater Manchester and Avon and Somerset during the period of the next criminal contract, which will take effect in July 2010 and is expected to run until 2013.
The estimated administrative cost of implementing a Best Value Tendering (BVT) pilot is £748,000 in 2009-10 and £263,000 in 2010-11. A breakdown of the main areas of expenditure is set out in the following table and includes some upfront development costs which would not be reincurred if BVT were subsequently implemented outside the pilot areas. These figures relate to the costs of implementation and exclude costs associated with policy development or consultation.
|Item||Costs 2009-10||Costs 2010-11|
|(1) the costs of the pilot review are subject to revision once the scope and method of review have been determined.|
The aim of BVT is to secure a sustainable future for criminal legal aid services over the longer term by enabling prices to reflect local costs of delivery. It is impossible to predict the outcome of a competitive tender exercise as prices are expected to vary depending on the costs of providing a service in a particular area and the nature of the local market. While the Government have always recognised that prices could increase in some areas, it expects that BVT would encourage greater efficiencies on the part of legal aid providers and lead to some savings overall. However, we cannot be precise about what those savings might be.
No decisions have been made about implementing BVT outside of the two pilot areas and this will be dependent on the outcome of a full evaluation of the pilots in 2012. Any such wider implementation would not begin before the next contracting cycle is due to begin in 2013.
The pilot tender exercise will provide a much clearer indication of the savings or costs in the pilot areas, and will enable the LSC to estimate the potential cost impact if BVT were to be rolled out more widely from 2013.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the likely effect on the number of solicitors working on criminal legal aid cases of the use of best value tendering. 
Bridget Prentice: The Legal Services Commission (LSC) published a response to consultation on Best Value Tendering (BVT) of criminal defence services on 20 July 2009 and a copy has been placed in the House Library. The response sets out the LSC's intention to pilot BVT in Greater Manchester and Avon and Somerset from 2010 and to evaluate the pilot in 2012 before making any decisions on implementing BVT in further areas.
BVT will not affect the total volume of criminal legal aid work available within a particular area, but there is the potential for many different outcomes in terms of who secures contracts, and within this there is the potential that some current providers will not be successful. However, we expect that other providers will secure greater volumes of work and may be able to expand and take on staff. BVT is also expected to encourage efficiencies on the part of providers and so may have an impact on the way in which firms choose to structure themselves.
With respect to the number of firms, the LSC will require a minimum number of between four and eight firms in each scheme in the pilot areas. However, the maximum number of firms that potentially could win BVT contracts is much higher. The BVT pilot model sets a low minimum bid size in order to enable firms of all sizes to compete on an equal basis. The impact
assessment, included within the consultation response, contains more detail on the potential impact on the structure of the market in the two pilot areas.
Mr. Straw: Other diary commitments have prevented my attendance at meetings of the National Crime Reduction Board (NCRB) during the last 12 months. However, members of my ministerial team have attended all NCRB meetings during that period and reported back to me.
Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate has been made of the number of people to be employed by each director of offender management in England and Wales in 2009-10. 
Maria Eagle: Staffing levels within each Director of Offender Management's office are shown in the table. To bring the respective area and regional offender management organisations of the Prison and Probation Services together effectively the Regional Restructure Project was commissioned and implementation of the model began in April 2009. It provides a framework on which every new regional office will operate around a core structure, with similar roles being carried out nationally by individuals of the same grade. A number of other roles also exist, outside of the core structure, but which report into the Director of Offender Management. The core structure involves the same number of roles in each region, with variation in the number of posts depending on the geography and size of the region.
|Director of Offender Management-as at 31 August 2009|
|DOMs office||Headcount (core and non-core)|
Mr. Straw: Figures on the number of staff working in an offender management role in the National Probation Service prior to 2006 are unavailable as the figures collected were not broken down into Offender Management Roles. The table shows the number of staff working in an offender management role in 2006 and 2007 broken down into job group:
|National Probation Service|
|( 1) 2006||( 2) 2007|
|(1) Figures provided are fall time equivalent and are as at 31 December for each year.|
(2) Figures provided for 2007 are about to be made public.
1. Figures for 2008 are currently unavailable due to issues with data classification at this level of detail. A data validation exercise is currently taking place that will resolve these issues and information will be available at the conclusion of this exercise.
2. Information is not collected on how many Prison Service staff undertake offender management roles. Offender management is an integral part of the Prison Officer's role within an establishment. How this resource is deployed varies from establishment to establishment.
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