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28 Jan 2010 : Column 1024W—continued

Departmental Drinking Water

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much his Department has spent on bottled drinking water in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [313186]

Mr. Wills: The Ministry's accounting records do not specifically record expenditure on bottled water. To identify relevant expenditure would require examination of thousands of individual invoices, many held locally within the courts, prison and probation systems, and would incur disproportionate cost.

It has, however, been possible to identify expenditure on bottled water for Ministry of Justice headquarters for the first two full financial years since it was established which is as follows:






The expenditure relates to bottled water used for water coolers and dispensers. The cost includes sanitisation and maintenance of these devices. Bottle fed water dispensers are usually found in small local offices or old premises that are due to be vacated. Water dispensers are gradually being replaced by mains-fed water filtration systems across the Ministry's estate. This process is aligned with the Ministry's strategy to rationalise and modernise its national and regional estate to provide more economical, fit for purpose accommodation which is environmentally sustainable.

The Ministry no longer provides bottled water when catering for meetings or events within its headquarters buildings.

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Departmental Internet

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much has been spent on (a) strategy and planning, (b) design and build, (c) hosting and infrastructure, (d) content provision and (e) testing and evaluation for his Department's websites in each of the last three years; and what budget has been allocated for such activities in 2009-10. [309906]

Mr. Wills: The Ministry of Justice costs for hosting the Department's websites across the years 2007-08 and 2008-09 and the budget allocation for 2009-10 are as follows:






2009-10 (forecast)


These figures include the cost of website hosting and infrastructure for and a number of other internal and external web sites, services and applications. Costs cannot be separated out for the departmental website ( as the contract covers parts of the wider web estate of the Ministry. External expenditure on other aspects of non-ICT website support for including strategy and planning, design and build, content provision and testing and evaluation is included in the following figures.




2009-10 (forecast)


Comparable figures are not available for 2007-08 because of organisational and accounting changes.

The expenditure year to date (to end of December 2009) is £71,728 and the Ministry does not expect to spend the full budget allocation.

As there is more use of the internet for Government services, we need to make information about the work of the Department more readily available to citizens and the media, enhancing transparency and accountability for what we do. All our internet users-who include legal practitioners, academics and researchers-are able to use the range of resources published on our website either to work more efficiently within the justice system or to engage with the Department's day-to-day work and to contribute to our published consultations on proposals for change. Investment in web services aims to enhance the user experience, providing easier access to MOJ information and services and delivering in a way that meets audience needs.

Departmental Mobile Phones

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) mobile telephones and (b) BlackBerrys have been provided to (i) Ministers and (ii) special advisers in his Department since the financial year 2008-09; and at what cost to the public purse. [313177]

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Mr. Wills: The number of BlackBerry devices and mobile telephones currently in use by Ministers and special advisers is as follows:

Ministers Special advisers




Mobile Telephones



Included in the above figures is one BlackBerry that was allocated to a Minister in June 2009, and one replacement BlackBerry that was provided to a special adviser since April 2009. Both devices were reallocated from a central pool so there was no additional purchase cost. There have been no new mobile telephones provided to Ministers or special advisers since April 2009.

The cost of using these BlackBerry devices and mobile telephones has been identified from available records, for the period April to November 2009, which is the latest period for which figures are available. The cost includes call charges, line rental, equipment hire, and telecom support costs. Details are as follows:

These figures do not include the support costs for the Department's BlackBerry service as it would not be possible to identify the costs on an individual basis without incurring disproportionate cost.

Family Justice Review

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what opportunities he expects there to be for members of the public to contribute to the review of the family justice system in England and Wales announced on 20 January; when the review panel will be appointed; whether it will hold public hearings; and whether its proceedings will be (a) published and (b) subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. [313542]

Bridget Prentice: Hearing the public's views will be an essential part of the Family Justice Review. The decision on how the public will contribute, whether there will be any public hearings and whether their proceedings will be published, will be taken by the review panel. The review panel will be named shortly. All information relating to the review will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

Filing Store Operations: Coventry

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the merits of (a) proposals to outsource the filing store operations at Coventry and (b) alternative proposals for the future of those operations. [313417]

Mr. Wills: Land Registry currently holds its archived year files in 10 file stores across the country, of which Coventry is one. Outsourcing of this activity is one of the proposals currently subject to consultation within Land Registry. All responses to the consultation, including alternative options for achieving efficiencies, will be considered. It is too early to say what the impact would be on any particular file store if the outsourcing goes ahead, but final decisions to outsource will only be taken where it is clear that this will deliver value for money.

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Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much his Department spent on hotel accommodation for (a) Ministers, (b) special advisers and (c) civil servants in each of the last five years. [305666]

Mr. Straw: The Ministry of Justice accounting systems do not separately identify expenditure on hotel accommodation.

To provide the relevant information at the level of detail requested for the entire Ministry would involve the disproportionate cost of collating data from our designated travel management companies as well as manual examination of large volumes of records held locally by the Ministry of Justice headquarters and its four executive agencies (the National Offender Management Service (incorporating the National Probation Service), Her Majesty's Court Service, Tribunals Service and Office of the Public Guardian).

The majority of hotel bookings are arranged through travel management companies employed by the Ministry to obtain best value for money options. All other expenditure is incurred only on production of valid receipts.

All hotel bookings by Ministers and civil servants are undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code and the Civil Service Management Code respectively.

The annual departmental resource accounts disclose expenditure on "travel, subsistence and hospitality" in notes 10 (administration expenditure) and 11 (programme expenditure). Resource accounts were published by the Ministry of Justice for 2007-08 and 2008-09 and prior to that by the Ministry's predecessor, the Department for Constitutional Affairs. All published accounts can be found at:

Analysis of published totals to identify amounts relating specifically to hotels would incur disproportionate cost.

Land Registry

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent representations his Department has received on the Land Registry accelerated transformation programme. [313418]

Mr. Wills: Since the publication of its consultation document on 22 October 2009, Land Registry has received responses from many interested parties including customers, MPs and members of staff. I have also met some MPs and staff representatives to discuss the proposals. Following the closure of the consultation on 29 January 2010 all of the responses will be carefully considered.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent estimate he has made of the percentage of land not registered with the Land Registry; and what assessment he has made of the likely effects of the Land Registry accelerated transformation programme on the prospects for registration of such land. [313419]

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Mr. Wills: Over 70 per cent. of land in England and Wales, including most urban land, is now registered with Land Registry in about 21 million registered titles. The registered area has increased from 45 per cent. in 2004, when data on geographic coverage first became available. This growth is principally attributable to Land Registry's strategy of persuading landowners of the benefits of voluntary first registration. A large percentage of the land that remains unregistered is in rural areas or includes large estates or public landholdings.

One of Land Registry's strategic objectives is to "Extend the benefits of Land Registration by creating a comprehensive land register". The accelerated transformation programme proposals assume that Land Registry will continue to dedicate resources to voluntary registration and set challenging targets annually to drive the achievement of the comprehensive register.

Land Registry: Coventry

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has for the future of the Land Registry office in Coventry. [313416]

Mr. Wills: Land Registry published their Accelerated Transformation Proposals on 22 October 2009. These proposals are subject to a period of public consultation which ends on 29 January 2010. Under the current proposals, Land Registry would retain an office in Coventry. The proposals assume a further review of estates requirements in 2011. The future of the Coventry office would be considered as part of that review.

Legal Complaints Service

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average cost to the public purse was of the consideration of a complaint by the Legal Complaints Service in each of the last five years. [313372]

Bridget Prentice: The Legal Complaints Service (LCS) is wholly funded by the Law Society and not the public purse.

The Legal Services Act 2007 introduces a new way of handling complaints and establishes the Office for Legal Complaints to provide a single point of entry for all service complaints about providers of regulated legal services. Under current plans, the OLC will become fully operational by the end of 2010. The set-up costs and running costs will by funded initially by the Government through grant in aid and recovered through a levy on the legal sector, so that there will be no cost to the public purse.

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how long on average the Legal Complaints Service took to consider a complaint in each of the last five years. [313376]

Bridget Prentice: The Legal Complaints Service (LCS) has provided the following information:

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Average time for consideration of a complaint (days)











Monarchy: Succession

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will place in the Library a copy of the legal advice upon which the Government rely in asserting that the provisions of Section 1 of the Act of Settlement 1700 do not give illegitimate children the right of succession to the Crown. [313283]

Claire Ward: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Justice (Mr. Wills) gave on 25 January 2010, Official Report, column 704W and the answer I gave on 26 January 2010, Official Report, column 729W.

Offenders: Social Security Benefits

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many adults aged between 18 and 24 years old who entered custody in (a) 2007, (b) 2008 and (c) 2009 were receiving state benefits at the time of entering custody. [313535]

Maria Eagle: Of those 18-24 year old offenders sentenced to custody during 2007, 3,426 were subsequently recorded as having 'state benefits' as their sole or most significant source of income before sentencing. The corresponding figure for those sentenced during 2008 was 3,255. The information was recorded within the Offender Assessment System which is used with 18-20 year old prisoners and with older prisoners serving sentences of more than 12 months. The numbers of assessments used to produce the 2007 and 2008 figures were 7,345 and 7,132 respectively. As the figures are drawn from administrative IT systems, they are subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale assessment and recording system.

No figure is provided for 2009 as the data have not been fully collated.

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