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19 Jan 2010 : Column 245W—continued


Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what guidance has been provided to the public on what should be done with cremation ashes which are not taken home, left at a crematorium or interred; [311217]

(2) whether he plans to amend the Cremation Regulations 2008 to set out a clear procedure to funeral directors which are not cremation authorities on the disposal of retained cremation ashes on their premises; [311218]

(3) what recent representations his Department has received on retention of cremation ashes; [311219]

(4) what guidance has been issued by his Department to funeral directors who are not cremation authorities on the correct disposal of retained ashes. [311220]

Bridget Prentice: We currently have no plans to issue guidance on what should be done with retained cremation ashes. Regulation 30 of the Cremation (England and Wales) Regulations 2008, which came into force on 1 January 2009, sets out the duties of cremation authorities in respect of the disposal of ashes. Although a number
19 Jan 2010 : Column 246W
of representations on this subject were received by the Ministry of Justice in 2008 and 2009, no further representations have been received recently.

Departmental Conferences

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) away days and (b) conferences that took place outside his Department's building attended by civil servants in his Department there have been since its inception; and what the cost was of each. [307528]

Mr. Wills: The information requested is as follows:

Away d ays

Away days are held mainly for team building, team training or business development activities. Such events are held off-site where suitable on-site accommodation is unavailable and where the conduct of the event is facilitated by holding it away from day-to-day business operations.

The Ministry's accounting systems do not separately quantify expenditure on away days. Costs are subsumed within other categories of expenditure depending on their nature and purpose-for example conferences/events or training. It would incur disproportionate costs to scrutinise all the individual transactions which might potentially include away day costs across the Ministry and its executive agencies.

All spending on away days is completed in line with the finance policy manual, which is in line with HM Treasury Guidance on Managing Public Money, and states the following for away days and team building events:

Wherever possible, taking, into account room availability, size and flexibility, managers are expected to use Ministry or other public sector buildings for team events and away days rather than using external venues.


The Ministry's accounting system records a wider category of expenditure-'conferences and events'-for headquarters, Her Majesty's Courts Service (HMCS) and the Tribunals Service. The National Offender Management Service's (NOMS) accounting system records 'conferences and exhibitions' but their procurement system is able to isolate costs that relate to attendance at conferences. Expenditure on this basis since the inception of the Ministry of Justice for headquarters and its four executive agencies (NOMS, HMCS, Tribunals Service and the Office of the Public Guardian) is as follows:

Financial period £





The amounts above exclude expenditure by the 42 local probation boards and trusts within NOMS as this information is held locally and could be collated only at disproportionate cost.

19 Jan 2010 : Column 247W

As part of the Ministry's ongoing efforts to improve value for money and secure efficiencies, an exercise is currently underway to examine the individual transactions that make up the preceding totals. Work completed to date indicates that some of the expenditure relates more properly to away days or training events rather than conferences. The number of individual conferences attended cannot therefore be determined at this stage.

The increasingly cross-cutting nature of government policy makes conferences an effective mechanism for bringing together stakeholders in the Government, private and voluntary sectors to promote a joined-up approach to the delivery of front-line services.

Bookings for conferences arid related expenditure must be made through designated contractors employed by the Ministry of Justice to identify venues and accommodation that offers best value for money.

Departmental Food

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the quantity of food waste generated by his Department in each year for which figures are available. [310805]

Mr. Wills: The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) endeavours to send as much of its food waste as possible for environmentally friendly treatment, such as composting or anaerobic digestion, rather than to landfill. The MOJ does not currently record food waste generated separately from general waste throughout the organisation.

The total figure for food waste generated by the MOJ's headquarters from 2007 to 2009-10 is estimated to be 341 tonnes. This is based on a waste audit carried out by waste and recycling contractors in August 2009. The National Archives estimates that the food waste it generates each year is approximately three tonnes.


MOJ headquarters The National Archives










HM Prison Service carried out two surveys as part of a business case to evaluate requirements for in-vessel composting and de-watering technology with the overall aim of providing an effective solution to sites with food waste disposal issues and upholding the philosophy of "waste to resource", which means taking waste and processing it into a useful, useable product and adding value to it. In 2006, based on 32 prisons, on average 1.45 kg of food per prison place were wasted per week. In 2007, based on 51 prisons, the figure was 1.34 kg of food waste per prison place per week.

2006 2007

Number of persons responding



Operational capacity



Average food waste per place per week (kg)



The use of de-watering and in-vessel composting technology has been introduced at around 35 prisons to process food waste into compost. The compost is used on prison gardens and horticultural activities thereby
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reducing the requirement for bought-in compost and contributing towards the HM Prison Service strategy for phasing out peat-based products.

Additionally, a small scale anaerobic digestion plant has been installed in Guy Marsh Prison with the objective of processing biodegradable wastes, including food waste, into biogas.

HM Courts Service could provide the data only at disproportionate cost.

Expert Evidence: Costs

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the cost to the Exchequer of expert witnesses in (a) criminal and (b) civil legal aid cases was in the last five years. [309631]

Bridget Prentice: The Legal Services Commission (LSC) does not record centrally the amounts paid to expert witnesses in legally aided cases. As this information is not readily available it could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, following a file sampling exercise, it is estimated that in 2007-08 the LSC spent around £125 million gross on experts' fees in legally aided criminal and civil cases. In addition in criminal cases, there would also be costs to the Exchequer from expert witnesses funded by the prosecution.

Gender Recognition Panels

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much funding his Department has provided to the Gender Recognition Panel in each of the last three years. [310961]

Mr. Straw: I refer the hon. Member to my answers on 9 December 2009, Official Report, columns 464-65W, which set out the costs of the Gender Recognition Panel over the last three years.

Cost (£)







(1) 2008-09 The administrative element of the cost for this year is not on a similar basis due to a change in accounting procedures. This component is now recorded within the overall administrative cost of the Leicestershire Administrative Support Centre, where the Gender Recognition Panel is based. This accounts for a reduction of £14,364 between costs in 2007-08 and 2008-09.

Land Registry

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much his Department spent on (a) land purchase, (b) architectural fees, (c) fixtures and fittings and (d) other costs of the construction and furnishing of the Land Registry office in Croydon. [310711]

Mr. Wills: The overall cost to build the Land Registry office in Croydon, including project management and consultancy fees, was £18,793,041.

The figures requested are as follows :

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John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much consultants employed to assist on the Land Registry's Accelerated Transformation Programme have been paid to date. [310713]

Mr. Wills: The consultants engaged to assist on Land Registry's Accelerated Transformation Programme have been paid £436,937 for their services to date.

Magistrates Courts: Closures

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he plans to publish his response to his Department's consultations on court closures which ended on 5 January 2010. [310963]

Mr. Straw: We are grateful to all those who have contributed to the consultation process and we will publish our response in due course.

Medway Secure Training Centre

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average annual cost is of a place for a young offender at Medway Secure Training Centre. [310680]

Maria Eagle: The average annual cost of a place at a Secure Training Centre at 1 April 2009 is £160,000. This is the average annual cost of a place across the Secure Training Centre sector.

These data have been provided by the Youth Justice Board.

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many young offenders there are at Medway Secure Training Centre. [310681]

Maria Eagle: On 27 November 2009, there were 66 young people held at Medway Secure Training Centre.

These data have been supplied by the Youth Justice Board and have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing and may be subject to change over time.

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many hours of education and training a week young offenders at Medway Secure Training Centre receive. [310682]

Maria Eagle: The performance measure is to ensure that 90 per cent. of young people receive 30 hours of education, training and personal development activity per week, as defined in the National Specifications for Learning and Skills document.

Medway Secure Training Centre reports on the percentage of young people receiving education, training and personal development of more than 30 hours a week and this information is contained in the following table.

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Table showing percentage of young people at Medway STC receiving education, training and personal development of more than 30 hours a week


October 2008


November 2008


December 2008


January 2009


February 2009


March 2009


April 2009


May 2009


June 2009


July 2009


August 2009


September 2009




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