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25 Nov 2009 : Column 236W—continued

Departmental Cost Effectiveness

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what efficiency savings projects (a) his Department and (b) its agencies put in place under the Operational Efficiency Programme; on what date each such project was initiated; how much each such project was expected to contribute to departmental savings; how much had been saved through each such project on the latest date for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [300931]

Mr. Wills: The Operational Efficiency Programme (OEP) published findings in April 2009 that identified potential savings of around £6 billion a year by 2010-11 and a further £9 billion of savings achievable by 2013-14 from across Government. At Budget 2009, the MOJ agreed an additional £70 million savings in addition to the £1 billion savings agreed at the start of the comprehensive spending review period.

The MOJ is making good progress implementing active programmes covering all of the OEP areas. These projects typically include the Department's agencies within their scope:

While these initiatives build on previous related work, full year savings are planned to be realised from 2010-11 through to 2013-14.

It is planned that the MOJ contribution to OEP savings by 2013-14 will be announced in the forthcoming pre-Budget report (PBR).

Departmental Legal Costs

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what expenditure his Department and its agencies have incurred on external legal advice and representation in
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each year since his Department was established; and for what purposes such professional services have been commissioned. [300582]

Mr. Wills: Expenditure on external legal advice and representation is interpreted as the cost of services provided by counsel and solicitors in private practice. It excludes advice from in house legal advisers or Treasury Solicitors. External lawyers are used mainly where in-house resources are not available to deal with commercial contracts and special projects or where there are novel or complex issues where it is considered that a second opinion is required.

Expenditure incurred on external legal advice and representation by the Department and its executive agencies, excluding the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), since the Ministry of Justice was established is as follows:






The accounting records for NOMS do not separately identify expenditure on external legal services. Identification of external fees would involve examination of numerous locally held records and could be undertaken only at disproportionate cost.

Drugs: Prisons

Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether he has any plans to make the use of body orifice security scanner chairs mandatory for (a) visitors and (b) staff members entering a prison in England and Wales. [300795]

Maria Eagle: The National Offender Management Service has not mandated how body orifice security scanner (BOSS) chairs must be used and currently has no plans to do so. As is the case for many searching technologies and techniques, the decision on how to use the BOSS chairs is for individual governors to make, and will depend on their local circumstances, including their existing local searching strategies. The relevant Prison Service Instruction says:

and makes it clear that this can include using the BOSS chair to search staff and visitors. Searching strategies and levels of searches are based on a number of factors, including local resources and intelligence. The recently published Mobile Phones Good Practice Guide also provides specific advice on tackling the smuggling of mobile phones by staff and visitors.

Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many incidents of alcohol being (a) brought into and (b) brewed in prison there have been in each prison in England and Wales in each of the last 10 years. [300807]

Maria Eagle: Finds of alcohol within prisons are treated as a miscellaneous incident and recorded on the Prison Service Incident Reporting System. These incidents are in a format that cannot readily be interrogated
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electronically. To provide the information requested would involve the manual inspection of more than 100,000 incident records which could be achieved only at disproportionate cost.

NOMS has in place a strategy to reduce both the supply and the demand for alcohol with a comprehensive range of security measures and searching techniques to detect items of contraband, including alcohol, and prevent smuggling into establishments. It is a criminal offence to convey alcohol into prison and prisoners caught in possession of alcohol within prison will face disciplinary action. Alcohol consumption is a cause of criminality in society and many prisons have programmes in place to assist prisoners to lessen their dependence on alcohol.

Females: Prisoners

Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many female prisoners were held (a) under 30, (b) under 50, (c) under 100 and (d) over 100 miles from their home in each of the last 10 years. [300953]

Maria Eagle: The following table shows the total number of females held in prisons that were between 0 and 30 miles; 30 to 50 miles; 50 to 100 miles; and over 100 miles from their home area in each of the last five years. Data prior to 2005 are not available in the format requested.

The data in the table include those who were sentenced and on remand and relate to adults, young offenders and juveniles.

Up to 30 miles 30-50 miles 50-100 miles Over 100 miles Total

September 2005






September 2006






September 2007






September 2008






May 2009






All prisoners are asked for details of their home address on first reception to prison and on discharge from prison. Approximately 60 per cent. of prisoners (both male and female) are shown to have given a recognised address.

If no address is given, various proxies are used to determine distance from home, including next-of-kin address and committal court address. Figures have been scaled to match the overall female population.

HM Courts Service: Databases

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what progress has been made towards developing a bilingual version of the Libra IT system; and if he will make a statement; [301482]

(2) how much (a) has been spent and (b) is expected to be spent on developing a bilingual version of the Libra IT system; and if he will make a statement. [301485]

Bridget Prentice: The bilingual version of the Libra IT system was successfully released in all magistrates' courts in Wales on 13 September 2009, as planned.

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The cost of developing the Libra bilingual solution was approximately £4 million, in line with the estimate provided to the hon. Member for Cardiff Central (Jenny Willott) in January 2009. This figure represents costs for application development, it does not include support costs, which are ongoing for the life of the application.

No further development costs will be incurred for the bilingual solution. Support costs for the solution are included in the overall support costs for the Libra application.

HMP Liverpool

Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the effect on the operation of HMP Liverpool of the prison officers strike at that prison on 17 and 18 November 2009. [300950]

Mr. Straw: The industrial action at HMP Liverpool on 17 and 18 November led to reduced staffing levels at the prison, with a resulting adverse impact on the prison regime. This included the cancellation of visits for prisoners, no prisoners being sent to court directly from HMP Liverpool, only very limited regime activities operating, and the deployment of police to patrol the perimeter and picket line. The industrial action was unjustified, and unlawful, contrary to the provisions of s.127 of the Criminal Justice and part 2 order Act 1994, as amended.

Legal Aid: Asylum

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his most recent estimate is of the average cost of legal aid in respect of an asylum case. [301473]

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Bridget Prentice: Legal aid in asylum matters covers a variety of work including initial advice and legal representation at a tribunal and in judicial review.

The following table shows the average cost of an asylum case where the bill was paid during the year 2008-09.

Average cost (£)

Initial advice only


Advice and representation at a tribunal


The average cost of legal aid for judicial reviews in immigration and asylum matters during 2008-09 was £2,480. (The cost for asylum judicial reviews cannot be disaggregated from the figures for both immigration and asylum.)

Mentally Ill: Health Services

Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the total construction cost was of the three most recently completed (a) low, (b) medium and (c) high security mental health units in England and Wales, excluding the cost of the land purchased; how many beds were provided by each such unit; and on what date construction commenced in each case. [300799]

Phil Hope: I have been asked to reply.

Information on the three most recent mental health capital investment schemes approved by the Department is given in the following table. The further details requested can only be obtained from the business cases which would incur disproportionate cost. Details of capital investment schemes below the Department's delegated limit for approval are not held centrally.

Three most recent capital investment schemes approved by the Department
Name Capital cost (£ million) Build start Open date

Derbyshire Mental Health Services NHS Trust


9 October 2007

10 June 2009

Reprovision of mental health services

South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust


5 October 2007

7 May 2009

Medium and low security mental health unit on Runwell hospital site

Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust


23 December 2004

7 April 2008

Elderly and mental health units

Offenders: Mentally Ill

Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent estimate he has made of the relative likelihood of a prisoner identified as having mental health problems on entry to prison reoffending on release, compared with a prisoner who was not originally assessed as mentally ill. [300797]

Claire Ward: There is no estimate at present. However, we are carrying out a longitudinal study of prisoners, Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction (SPCR). This is designed to enhance our knowledge of the extent to which various factors relating to prisoners, including mental health problems, are linked with reoffending.

An initial report on SPCR, focusing simply on prisoner characteristics, including mental health, has been published by the Ministry of Justice, in 2008. This carries the title: The Problems and Needs of Newly Sentenced Prisoners: Results from a National Survey. Ministry of Justice Research Series 16/08 (2008).

Prison Accommodation

Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many adult prisoners who were sentenced to custody in an adult prison in each year since 1997 had already served sentences for previous convictions in (a) a secure training centre and (b) a young offender institution. [300801]

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Maria Eagle: The available information is shown in the following table.

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Adult offenders receiving custodial sentences for indictable offence by the number of previous custodial sentences, 2000-07
Percentage and number of offenders

Number of previous custodial sentences

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007





































All adult offenders (100%)









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